Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121206

»Diana West: Petraeus’ Poodles
»Documentary Explores Commonalities Christianity, Islam and Judaism Share
»GOP Asked to Reach Out to Muslims, Reject Anti-Islam Bias
»In Changing Harlem, A Mosque Struggles to Pay Rent
»Michele Bachmann Wins: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Hacked the Media
»Within One Year Amish Population Grows by 12,000; Experts Expect Trend to Continue
Europe and the EU
»Barcelona Football Club Stands Up for the Catalan Language
»Blatter Shocked at Dutch Linesman Death
»Denmark: Royal Library Under Fire for Armenian Genocide Exhibition
»Dutch Linesman Killed: Amateur Matches Cancelled as Three Youths Charged
»France: Furore After Santa Visit Axed
»France: Mayor Overturns School Bid to Ban Santa Claus
»Germany: Concern Rises Over Roma Slum Apartment Block
»Global Media Conceals Fact That Football Players Who Beat Dutch Referee to Death Were Moroccans
»Indian Couple Imprisoned in Norway for Abusing Son
»Italian Industry Minister Critical of Possible Berlusconi Return
»Italy: Govt Won’t Hire 260,000 ‘Precarious’ Civil Servants En Masse
»Italy and France Sign Off on High-Speed Rail Link
»Italy: Berlusconi Suggests He Will Stand in Spring Elections
»Mafia Investigators Must Destroy Italian President Wiretaps
»National Parliaments ‘Not Best’ For EU’s Interests
»UK: Bus Passenger Strangles Commuter Twice With Scarf
»UK: Dangerous Billesley Man Jailed for Raping Homeless Woman
»UK: London Borough of Newham Deliberation on the Proposed Riverine Mosque
»UK: Mohammed Tariq Jailed for Seven Years for Johnny Assani Manslaughter
»UK: Mother Beat Son to Death for Failing to Learn the Koran by Heart
»UK: NRAP Architects’ West Ham Mosque Thrown Out
»UK: Paedophiles Who Trade Child Porn Will Not be Sent to Prison: New Sentencing Laws Suggest Community Punishments
»UK: Teenager Due in Court Over Alleged Rape of 11-Year-Old Girl
»UK: Tougher Sentences for Child Sex Gangs Who Groom Girls in Care
»UK: The Organisation Behind the Newham Mosque Plans
»UK: Wembley Man Accused of Stabbing Policemen in Kingsbury Feared He Would be Killed in a Racist Attack
»Balkan Visa-Free Regime Under Scrutiny
North Africa
»Egypt: Presidential Ultimatum, Demonstrators Must Leave
»Egypt: 5 Killed in Clash Outside Egyptian Presidential Palace
»Egypt: Obama and Morsi: Separated at Birth
»Egypt Crisis: Tanks Deployed After Fatal Cairo Clashes
»Is Egypt on the Brink of Becoming the World’s Largest Islamic Republic?
Israel and the Palestinians
»Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal to Make First Visit to Gaza
»Jordanian King Arrives in West Bank
»Stakelbeck Reporting From Israel
»Turkey to Donate 1.25 Mln USD to Help Palestinian Refugees
Middle East
»5 Policemen Killed Near Iraqi Capital
»German Cabinet Approves Missile, Troop Deployment in Turkey
»German Troops Heading to Turkey-Syria Border
»Syria-Based Orthodox Patriarch Dead at 92
»Turkey: Domestic Violence Kills Over 350 Women in 4 Years
South Asia
»India: Notice to Government, Google on Anti-Islam Film
»India: Muslims Comprise of 48% of Jail Inmates in West Bengal
»Pakistan: Punjab: 22-Year-Old Mentally Disturbed Christian Man Dies in Prison
»Pakistan: Prayer Leader Gunned Down Inside Mosque
»Taliban Group Attends Paris Conference on Afghanistan
»Taliban Insurgents Killed in Eastern Afghan Province
Far East
»Palace of First Chinese Emperor Unearthed
Australia — Pacific
»Supporting Islam and Australia
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Islamic Jihadists Occupy Mali With Impunity
»Touareg Rebels, Mali Meet in Ouagadougou
»A Million Migrants From East Europe Now Live in Britain: That’s 1.5% of the Population of Eight EU Nations
»Naples Immigrant Wedding Gang Busted
»UK: ‘A Kick in the Balls I Just Didn’t Need’: Brave Aussie Loses Visa Bid
»US Population Will Grow by 127 Million by 2050 (75% Will be Immigrants)
Culture Wars
»Church Cancels ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Play Following Atheist Outrage, Threats Over School Trip
»Saturn Moon Enceladus Eyed for Sample-Return Mission


Diana West: Petraeus’ Poodles

No doubt in the spirit of the season, somebody bestowed an audio sweetmeat upon Bob Woodward — 13-plus minutes of an off-the-record conversation that took place in the spring of 2011 between Gen. David Petreaus, then ISAF commander in Afghanistan, and Fox News analyst KT McFarland, then visiting Petraeus’ Kabul HQ. The exchange under consideration comes at the end of an interview when McFarland announces she has a personal message for Petraeus from Fox News President Roger Ailes, part of which is: If Petraeus isn’t appointed joint chiefs chairman, he should resign from the Army in six months and run for president. Obviously, he Petraeus didn’t do. it And that’s the Washington Post headline — “Fox news chief failed attempt to enlist Petraeus as presidential candidate.” But there is more to the message than that.

The segment starts thus:

KT: I have something to to say to you, by the way, directly from Roger Ailes, OK? …

P: … I’m not running (laughs) …

KT: OK! … Roger Ailes, I told him I was coming.

P: I love Roger.

KT: I know and he loves you and everybody at Fox loves you. I’m supposed to say directly from him to you, through me, is, first of all: Is there anything Fox is doing right or wrong that you want to tell us to do differently?

This question is devastating to the Fox News brand. And it opens the door on the kid gloves and soft-lenses with which Fox has consistently handled demonstrably disastrous Petraeus counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. This remains true no matter how much both Ailes and McFarland now brush off the Ailes’ message to Petraeus as a gag McFarland took too seriously. “It was more of a joke, a wiseass way I have,” Ailes told the Post. “I thought the Republican field [in the primaries] needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate.” Ailes now considers McFarland to have been “way out of line.” But what about Ailes himself? Wasn’t he “way out of line” by putting her up to this — or are we to believe McFarland was making the whole thing up?

As if to amplify this notion, McFarland penned a half-defensive, half-confessional response yesterday that carries the headline, “My Petraeus interview firestorm silly, off-base.” In a piece recasting audio we can all of us listen to for ourselves, she respins Woodward’s piece and media reaction to it as so much baseless hyperbole — a credulity-straining exercise. She writes:…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Documentary Explores Commonalities Christianity, Islam and Judaism Share

“Three Faiths, One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” released in November 2005, compares the differences and similarities in beliefs and practices of the Abrahamic faith communities such as the ritual of fasting as well as historical conflicts between the faiths. Many scenes, shot in the greater Washington area, feature prominent local scholars, theologians, and religious leaders. Among those featured in the program slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s father Judea Pearl who is interviewing American University professor and “Islam Under Siege” author Akbar Ahmed; volunteers with the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core; Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University; as well as the Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, the former Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Washington and former chairman of Howard University’s African Studies Department Sulayman Nyang.

Filmmakers Gerald Krell, Meyer Odze and Adam Krell of Auteur Productions produced the film because in their lives “we have come to the conclusion that if we are to build cultures of peace in the world, interreligious understanding is prerequisite to that vision. If religious conflicts of the past are to be avoided in the future, religious pluralism and serious interfaith conversations are essential to the global community. And so the core message of all our interfaith films is that pluralism is critical to human survival.”

The documentary airs 9-11 p.m. Wednesday on Maryland Public Television.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

GOP Asked to Reach Out to Muslims, Reject Anti-Islam Bias

A coalition of 11 major American Muslim organizations today called on the Republican Party to reach out to Muslim voters by rejecting anti-Islam bias and discriminatory legislation.

At a noon news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the coalition announced the publication of a full-page advertisement in the conservative Washington Times newspaper outlining recent examples of intolerant speech and actions by Republicans and offering recommendations to help improve GOP relations with the Muslim community.

That open letter to the GOP states in part:

“We are writing to offer an open invitation to reassess your party’s current relationship with American Muslims. As with other demographics, American Muslim support for Republicans has dropped precipitously in recent years. This shift away from the GOP is not set in stone, but its future direction is dependent on choices your party makes.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

In Changing Harlem, A Mosque Struggles to Pay Rent

Following the sun’s path over the sky, cabdrivers double-parked outside the mosque for Jumu’ah, or Friday prayer, in this part of central Harlem known as Little Africa. The worshipers steadily dripped in, men through one entrance, women through another…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Michele Bachmann Wins: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Hacked the Media

by Alex Seitz-Wald

A new report shows that it’s not just Fox News. Anti-Shariah groups are pulling the conversation to the fringe

In the months following 9/11, Republican President George W. Bush spoke passionately about the need to respect Muslim-Americans and “the vibrant faith of Islam, which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality.” This year, every Republican presidential candidate united in seeing Islamic Shariah law as a threat to the United States, despite a total lack of evidence. Anti-Muslim attitudes are now much higher than they were immediately following 9/11. Islamophobic rhetoric once unacceptable in public discourse is now commonplace. And there are now over 50 controversies raging across the country about whether Muslims should be allowed to construct houses of worship. How did we get from there to here?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Within One Year Amish Population Grows by 12,000; Experts Expect Trend to Continue

The Amish population in North America and right here in Central Pennsylvania is growing at an astonishing rate.

Experts call it a significant growth rate. We’re talking about doubling the Amish population every 18-20 years. He listed several reasons why it’s happening and what it means for the non-Amish in Lancaster County.

Dr. Donald Kraybill is an Amish expert, familiar with population trends.

He says Lancaster Amish, as well as in Pennsylvania and across the country, are doubling their population every 18-20 years.

In Lancaster county in 1990, there were 16,000 Amish. But two decades later? Roughly 32,000. Nationwide between 2011-2012 the Amish population grew by 12,000 to just under 274,000.

Dr. Kraybill says there are two reasons. First there are typically five or more children per family. Supporting that, a high retention rate, 90 % of Lancaster County Amish children grow up to join the church. “One Amish woman said to me, sometimes we joke among ourselves that if we keep growing this fast in the future soon half world will be Amish and other half English taxi drivers that provide us English transportation.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Barcelona Football Club Stands Up for the Catalan Language

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — The Barcelona football team has taken a position in support of the Catalan culture and language. According to a statement released by the football club on its website, the decision was made in reaction to a draft law aiming to increase Spanish language instruction in the region.

Barcellona underscored that the Catalan language, like the club itself, is “an element of integration that makes it possible to identify with Catalonia”, and that teaching the language in schools is of an “identity-related” nature. “For this reason,” the statement notes, “Barcellona puts itself at the service of its country — as it has all throughout its history — to defend culture and identity.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Blatter Shocked at Dutch Linesman Death

(Reuters) — FIFA president Sepp Blatter has expressed his “sadness and distress” after a linesman died following an incident during a youth competition earlier this week.

Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, died on Monday after an under-17 match in Almere on Sunday. He was officiating for the Buitenboys team, for whom his son plays. Three teenaged players, two aged 15 and one 16, will be charged with manslaughter, assault or public violence over the death of Nieuwenhuizen, according to Dutch prosecutors…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Royal Library Under Fire for Armenian Genocide Exhibition

The Royal Library has attracted heavy criticism after agreeing to let Turkey co-arrange an alternative exhibition about the Armenian Genocide.

The library has complied with the wishes of the Turkish ambassador to Denmark to be involved with the exhibition, ‘The Armenian Genocide and the Scandinavian response’, which is currently on display at the University of Copenhagen.

The Turkish Embassy has been granted the opportunity to stage a Turkish version of the historical events in a move that has generated criticism from a number of circles, including politicians, historians, and the Armenian Embassy in Copenhagen.

“This is giving in to Turkish pressure and it won’t do. Without comparing the two events, it’s like asking neo-Nazis to arrange a Holocaust exhibition,” Søren Espersen, a spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti (DF), told Berlingske newspaper.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Dutch Linesman Killed: Amateur Matches Cancelled as Three Youths Charged


None of the reports say anything about the boys other than their age. Except this one in Dutch from De Telegraaf. Marcel East the clubs chairman witnessed the attack on his friend…

“Last night he was still as approachable in the hospital. He recognized me, “Hey Marcel, okay? “ What a ** * football, huh, “he said.” “He talked a bit confusing, but nevertheless made a positive impression and thought he would recover again. It’s the last time I did this golden football friend may speak . . . After the final whistle gave almost all players the referee a hand to thank him for the leadership. Only the three Moroccan players of Nieuw Sloten walked to our linesman, pulled him to the ground and started on his head and neck to kick “

It was a Moroccan who killed Theo van Gogh. Moroccans regularly threaten and beat up gay men in Amsterdam. Moroccan ‘loverboys’ rape Dutch girls and drag them into drug addiction and prostitution.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Furore After Santa Visit Axed

AN INFANTS school has attracted a storm of controversy after it was suspected of axing a Father Christmas visit because of pressure from Muslim families. The headteacher of the Grand-Clos school in Montargis (Loiret), told Le Parisien: We’re going through hell; incredible harm is being done to the school and the children”. She said they have been receiving threatening phone calls and she plans to take legal action. However they did not come from people associated with the school, she said. The controversy was sparked by an email spread on the internet, in which a person calling herself an “upset Montargis resident” denounced a decision by the headteacher — who has been in the job just a few weeks — to cancel the traditional Santa visit after she received complaints from “a few Muslim mothers”.

The cancellation is described by the local education authority as being due to budget constraints, however one parent told Le Parisien: “I went to see the headteacher to understand the cancellation and she said she didn’t want to get her fingers rapped by certain Muslim families.” The headteacher also sent out a note to families saying Christmas would be different this year “so as to respect everyone’s beliefs”. However she later told local paper La République du Centre this was a reference to the fact that “some children believe in Father Christmas and others don’t” and “if I had meant religion, I would have said that”.

An official at the Montargis mairie told Le Parisien the head told them she had phoned her predecessor to discuss how to “deal with the families who, each year, threaten to boycott the day of Father Christmas’s visit”. Montargis mayor Jean-Pierre Door has written the education authority and the headteacher, saying Father Christmas is “pagan” anyway, and not specifically Christian. He said the visit should go ahead — even if all the councillors have to dress up as Father Christmasses”.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Mayor Overturns School Bid to Ban Santa Claus

A French headmistress who tried to ban Santa Claus out of “respect for different beliefs” has been ordered to ensure the presents get delivered on time in the traditional fashion.

In a letter to parents, the head of the Grand-Clos de Montargis primary school had informed them that: “This year, in order to respect different beliefs and the principle of secular education, Father Christmas will not be coming to school.”

A puppet show was proposed as an alternative end-of-term treat for the children of the school in Montargis, south of Paris.

That did not go down well with the local council, which called in the national school inspectorate and between them they ensured a rapid U-turn.

“Like every year, there will be a Christmas party with a Father Christmas,” deputy mayor Jean-Pierre Door told AFP. “We would have made sure of that, even if we had to dress up ourselves.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Concern Rises Over Roma Slum Apartment Block

Concern is rising and complaints multiplying about hundreds of Roma living in a dilapidated apartment block in Duisburg, rented out at seemingly high prices by a red light slumlord, it was reported on Thursday.

Dubbed the “problem house” by the Ruhr Valley city’s press, the eight-floor building in western Germany is officially home to 139 residents, mostly Roma. Police believe there are many more crammed into the 46 flats, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

Despite squalid conditions inside and out, one resident said he paid €300 per month for a two-room flat which the magazine said was indescribably horrid. He had come to Germany from Romania — travelling within the European Union — in search of a better life.

But, due to the labour ban still imposed on people coming to Germany from Romania and Bulgaria, none of those setting up home in Germany are allowed to work legally. This leaves people living in places like the Duisburg building bored, impoverished and disappointed.

Duisburg police documents seen by Der Spiegel stated that neighbours had “understandably” complained about the Roma living in the building.

“The houses are rubbish-strewn, the area around them a complete mess and the standard of hygiene unacceptable,” the report said. It added that residents were often spotted going to the toilet outdoors.

People living nearby have become increasingly hostile and even aggressive towards the people living in the building. Police files talk of young local Turks chasing the Roma, while one man living in the building said none of the nearby shop owners would serve him.

And although the public have not been informed, Der Spiegel said that a few weeks ago, a group of three or four masked men armed with sticks and knuckle-dusters attacked a group of five young Roma in a park. “It is to be assumed that this was a targeted attack by young Turkish-heritage men on equally young Roma of Romanian nationality,” the magazine quoted a police report.

Hundreds of others watched and some were cheering on the attack, the officer wrote. He described the background to the attack as probably, “the stronger and unregulated growth of the Roma group and the associated nuisance.”

Australian man stabbed protecting women in bus attack ‘told to leave UK’

A man who was stabbed as he tried to protect elderly women and a pregnant woman from thugs has been told to leave the country.

Tim Smits, 33, who was honoured by a national charity after he was knifed twice defending the passengers, has outstayed his visa and has been ordered to return to his native Australia by the UK Border Agency.

The graphic designer applied for a compassionate extension to his visa after spending months recovering mentally and physically from the violent attack in September last year.

But despite being honoured by the Andrew Carnegie Hero Trust Fund and being given an Islington council citizenship award, the agency ruled against his application.

Gang leaders aged NINE in Hackney blamed on ‘lack of male role models’

Children as young as nine are taking over the leadership of gangs in London because of a lack of positive male role models, a former Home Office minister has warned Parliament.

Meg Hillier, the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, told MPs that “youngsters aged nine and ten” had started to act the “big man” after the jailing of older gang members following the London riots.

She blamed the problem, on Hackney’s Pembury estate, on the low number of male primary school teachers and nursery staff and the absence of other good male influences in their lives.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Global Media Conceals Fact That Football Players Who Beat Dutch Referee to Death Were Moroccans

by Cheradenine Zakalwe

The story about a referee being beaten to death by players of a Dutch youth club went round the world. Here’s a typical example from the Guardian.


Almost all reports left out one important fact however: the perpetrators were Moroccans. This fact was mentioned by the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, referencing a report in a Dutch newspaper.

“That the attackers who have been arrested were three Moroccans, according to the “Algemeen Dagblad”, certainly does not make the case any easier. According to an Interior Ministry report from November 2011, 40 per cent of all Moroccan immigrants aged between 12 and 24 were arrested, sentenced or charged within the last five years. In city districts where people of Moroccan descent form a majority of the inhabitants, youth criminality already reaches 50 per cent.”

[Reader comment by anonymous on 5 December 2012 at 16:53.]

They seem to have deleted all the comments from yesterday on the Daily Telegraph story, when commenters quoted from the Dutch media exposing the ethnic nature of the murderers.

[Reader comment by anonymous on 5 December 2012 at 17:26.]

Selection’ B-1 team Nieuw Sloten: Quote:

Soufyan Babou

Daveryon Blasse

Yassin Dardak

Fady Fayed

Rheza Firmansyah

Ismael Ikhouane

Demian Jibodh

Othman Karimi

Serkan Kiran

Younes Roubion

Mandeep Singh

Kemal Arif Tasli

(+ 3 dutch)


[JP note: The Dutch beat the sea and Spaniards, let’s hope they can beat Islam too, but the outlook is grim.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indian Couple Imprisoned in Norway for Abusing Son

A Norwegian court said on Tuesday it has sentenced an Indian couple to prison for physically abusing their then six-year-old son in a case that has drawn widespread attention in India.

The couple, who were living in Norway for professional reasons at the time, were found guilty of burning their son, today aged seven, with a hot spoon and the father was also found guilty of lashing him several times with a belt. The father and mother were sentenced to prison for 18 and 15 months respectively.

The Oslo district court refused to disclose their names, but Indian media have identified the parents as Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a computer engineer, and his wife Anupama.

Social services were alerted after the boy refused to get off a school bus in March after wetting himself. He said he was afraid his parents would “burn my tongue”, as they had threatened to do on previous occasions. Police then opened an inquiry that uncovered the abuse.

The boy said he was deliberately burned with a hot spoon on his leg in January, causing a three-by-five centimetre (one-by-two inch) scar. His parents claimed it was an accident. The child also told judges his father had hit him on the back with a belt on several occasions, which the father denied.

The sentence was in line with the prosecution’s request. According to Norwegian media reports, the parents plan to appeal the sentence. The boy and his younger brother currently live with their grandparents in India.

The case made headlines in India, where a number of media outlets had incorrectly claimed the parents risked prison in Norway for threatening to send the boy back to India if his incontinence continued. It followed another highly-publicised case that saw Norwegian social services remove two young Indian children from their parents’ custody due to shortcomings in their care.

The family blamed it on cultural differences toward childcare, and the case escalated into a diplomatic row with the intervention of Indian government officials. The children were finally handed over to their uncle in India and Indian social services have since ruled that they should be returned to the mother’s custody.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Industry Minister Critical of Possible Berlusconi Return

Country must give impression of ‘moving forward’, says Passera

(see related story) (ANSA) — Rome, December 6 — Italian Industry Minister Corrado Passera on Thursday said it would not be positive if ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi decided to stand for a fourth term at the helm of government in next spring’s national elections.

“Anything that can make the rest of world, our partners, imagine that we are turning back is not a good thing for Italy,” Passera told state broadcaster Rai.

“We have to give the impression that the country is moving forward”. Passera is a senior member of Premier Mario Monti’s emergency government of unelected technocrats, which came to power last year when Berlusconi was forced to resign as prime minister with Italy’s debt crisis threatening to spiral out of control.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Govt Won’t Hire 260,000 ‘Precarious’ Civil Servants En Masse

‘Solution must be gradual,’ says Filippo Patroni Griffi

(ANSA) — Rome, December 5 — Italy has around 260,000 civil servant who are working on so-called ‘precarious’ temporary or flexible contracts and are waiting to be given permanent positions, Civil Service Minister Filippo Patroni Griffi said Wednesday.

But the minister stressed that it was impossible for these people to be put on regular contracts in one go.

“It is not possible to think about giving these people steady contracts en masse,” Patroni Griffi told the House.

“It would be against the Constitution. Every solution has to be gradual”.

He said 130,000 of the ‘precarious’ staff were working in schools, 115,000 were working in the health sector and in local government and 15,000 were working for central government. A temporary solution to the problem could be to allow these workers’ contracts to be renewed by up to three years, and, in some special cases, by as much as five years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy and France Sign Off on High-Speed Rail Link

Construction on Lyon-Turin line to begin in 2014

(ANSA) — Lyon, December 3 — Italy and France will begin building the controversial high-speed rail link between Lyon and Turin in 2014, according to a joint statement from French President François Hollande and Italian Premier Mario Monti Monday.

According to a statement, issued during a summit meeting between the two leaders, construction of the high-speed rail, which has led to violent protests in Italy, is to proceed “according to the expected schedule”.

The new, multi-billion-euro rail line, is seen by the two countries as “strategic” and a piece of “priority infrastructure” not just for France and Italy but for the entire European Union.

After their bilateral meeting, Monti said that the high-speed rail project, known in Italy as the TAV, is an important driver of economic growth.

The Italian premier said he and the French president were “both convinced” that discipline in government spending is necessary for growth, but that “at the same time it is not enough. “What is needed is concrete initiatives, like the one confirmed today, with a common political will, of the high-speed link between Turin and Lyon,” Monti added.

While the leaders were meeting for their summit Monday, protesters — including 12 busloads from Italy — gathered in Lyon. A delegation of French protesters invited to attend a meeting with the summit’s representatives refused the invitation after the buses from Italy were delayed at the Italian-French border while border police performed searches.

Consultations between Italian and French protesters were underway Monday afternoon. “We just arrived and are determining what needs to be done,” one activist told ANSA.

No-TAV activists have organized a series of protests against the rail link throughout Italy over the last few years.

Some have included violent clashes with police and disruption of highway traffic.

Opponents of the project contest its high cost and impact on the environment.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Suggests He Will Stand in Spring Elections

Ex-premier ‘besieged’ with requests to run

(ANSA) — Rome, December 6 — Silvio Berlusconi has suggested he will stand for a fourth term as Italian premier in next spring’s national elections.

The media magnate said he would retire from front-line politics after being forced to resign from the helm of government to make way for Premier Mario Monti’s emergency administration last year, when Italy’s debt crisis threatened to spiral out of control.

But the 76-year-old has changed his mind several times in recent months after whether to return, with his centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party struggling in the opinion polls and ravaged by internal divisions.

Berlusconi said he was “besieged by requests from the party to announce as soon as possible my return to politics to guide the PdL” after a meeting with PdL top-brass on Wednesday.

“Today the situation is worse than it was a year ago when I left the government out of a sense of responsibility and love for my country,” he said. “Today Italy is on the verge of the abyss. “The economy is in dire straits. There are a million more people unemployed, the national debt is increasing, spending power is collapsing and the tax burden is at intolerable levels.

“I cannot let the country fall into an endless recessive spiral”. The PdL was meant to hold a primary on December 16 to choose its premier candidate but it is now accepted by almost everyone within the party that this will not happen.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mafia Investigators Must Destroy Italian President Wiretaps

Constitutional court upholds appeal against Palermo prosecutors

(ANSA) — Rome, December 5 — Italy’s Constitutional Court has ruled that Palermo prosecutors investigating alleged negotiations between the Mafia and the State must destroy wiretaps of President Giorgio Napolitano.

The Italian head of state appealed to the court on the grounds that the prosecutors had surpassed their powers by recording four conversations he had with Nicola Mancino, a former interior minister and senate speaker, between November 2011 and May 2012.

Napolitano argued that the Italian Constitution forbids prosecutors from investigating the head of state unless he is suspected of high treason or attacking the Constitution itself.

The wiretaps should have have been destroyed immediately, he said.

He also argued that the powers of the Italian president would be diminished for future holders of the office if he accepted the conduct of the prosecutors.

Mancino was charged along with 11 other people in July in relation to alleged negotiations to stop a series of Cosa Nostra bomb attacks in the early 1990s that claimed the lives of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, among other people.

Mancino is accused of perjury for saying he did not know about the negotiations. He denies this.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

National Parliaments ‘Not Best’ For EU’s Interests

BRUSSELS — A new ideas paper on progress towards further EU integration highlights the shifting power sands for national parliaments as the European Parliament is set to become the principle democratic guardian of a future EU.

The paper — put together by EU council president Herman Van Rompuy and published Thursday (6 December) — lays out a loose time framework for achieving “genuine economic and monetary union.”

In a section entitled democratic legitimacy and accountability — the section itself is an acknowledgement of the how the issue has moved up the political agenda — the paper notes that the one of “guiding principles” is that democratic control should happen at the “level at which the decisions are taken.”

It points out that while state budgets are at the “heart” of parliamentary democracies, national assemblies “are not in the best position” to take the “common interest” of the union into account.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Bus Passenger Strangles Commuter Twice With Scarf

A commuter was strangled twice with a scarf by a bus passenger in an unprovoked attack while on his way to work, police have said.

The 37-year-old victim passed out because the assault was so fierce, Scotland Yard said.

The attack happened at around 1.50pm on Saturday on a single decker C1 bus travelling between Victoria and White City.

The victim had got on the bus at Victoria bus station on his way to work in Earls Court.

At 1.42pm the suspect got on the bus at Creswell Gardens and CCTV footage shows that he sat immediately behind the victim.

The pair have a brief conversation before the suspect launches at the victim and strangles him with his dark scarf from behind.

Footage shows the victim passing out for a matter of seconds and then coming round. The suspect then tries to strangle him again.

The suspect was seen leaving the bus at Shepherds Bush at 1.57pm.

He is a black male, in his early to mid 20s.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Dangerous Billesley Man Jailed for Raping Homeless Woman

Somalian Abdulsalah Abdalla raped a 21-year-old woman in a hostel for homeless people

A “dangerous offender” who raped a woman in a hostel in Birmingham has been jailed for six years.

A month previously Somalian Abdulsalah Abdalla had also sexually molested a teenager as she walked in a street, the city’s Crown Court heard.

Judge William Davis QC said that Abdalla was a “dangerous offender” with extremely distorted thinking and ordered him to remain on licence, once he was released from prison, for an extended period.

He also said it had been an aggravating feature that he had committed the second offence of “raping a young woman effectively in her own home” while on bail. Abdalla, 23, of Hillybank Road, Billesley, admitted rape and sexual assault.

Hugh O’Brien-Quinn, prosecuting, said the 21-year-old victim lived on the second floor of a hostel for homeless people.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: London Borough of Newham Deliberation on the Proposed Riverine Mosque

by Esmerelda Weatherwax

To Stratford Old Town Hall on the evening that the London Borough of Newham made their decision on the latest proposals from Tabighli Jamaat for their Riverine Mosque. For our non-English readers this is not Stratford on Avon where Shakespeare came from; this is Stratford atte Bow (as it was when Chaucer mentioned it) in East London.

The planning meeting was scheduled to start at 7pm with the doors opening to the public from 6pm. Haitham al Hadadd, while not a member of TJ, himself said that this was a landmark for Islam in the heart of London to benefit all the ummah and he called upon 15,000 Muslims to line the entrance. I arrived shortly before 5pm and there were already about 500 people, no I’ll rephrase that, 500 Muslims, identifiable from their Islamic dress, lined up outside the Old Town Hall. I had heard that the hall would take 200 people, and that admission was on a first come first served basis. I knew immediately that I had no chance of getting inside. More and more Muslims were arriving every minute, 95% men, but a few women, many in niqabs were on the edges with their mahrams…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mohammed Tariq Jailed for Seven Years for Johnny Assani Manslaughter

He was jailed for seven years.

The 43-year-old father was left lying, unconscious and bleeding, on the ground in Walbrook Road, after being punched and kicked by up to 11 men.

Mr Assani, of the Pear Tree area, died in hospital the following day, on August 15 last year.

Tariq, of Walbrook Road, Derby, is the third person to be convicted of causing Mr Assani’s death.

In March, Tariq’s brothers, Mohammed Shahid and Mohammed Rafiq, known as Tahir, were convicted of the offence.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Mother Beat Son to Death for Failing to Learn the Koran by Heart

A mother who beat her son to death for failing to learn the Koran by heart murdered him and burned his body to hide the evidence, a jury has found.

Sara Ege, 33, treated her son Yaseen like a “dog,” brutally beating him with a stick for failing to memorise religious texts. The seven-year-old died in July 2010 from internal injuries caused by three months of punishing beatings from his own mother. Ege accused her husband, Yousef, of being the real killer throughout her murder trial at Cardiff Crown Court. But he was cleared on Wednesday of failing to act to prevent the death of his son at home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, south Wales. Ege was found guilty of murder and of perverting the course of justice. She will be sentenced in the new year. Details of the punishing beatings Yaseen regularly suffered at the hands of his mother were so traumatic she could not listen herself. She was given leave by the judge to absent herself from the court room when the jury was told of the events leading to his death…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: NRAP Architects’ West Ham Mosque Thrown Out

Councillors concerned by size of building

NRAP Architects’ proposal for the so-called West Ham mega-mosque have been thrown out by Newham Council. The planning committee last night rejected the plans for a a 9,350-capacity mosque and associated facilities on a contaminated and complex 6ha site near the Olympic Park. Councillors expressed concerns about the size of the buildings and the impact on traffic. Officers had recommended refusal, arguing the design would result in a building that was “monolithic, incongruous and overly dominant”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Paedophiles Who Trade Child Porn Will Not be Sent to Prison: New Sentencing Laws Suggest Community Punishments

Paedophiles who trade in child pornography will be spared jail under new sentencing rules for courts revealed yesterday.

The Sentencing Council suggested community punishments for those convicted of trading or possessing child pornography in its guidelines on dealing with all types of sex crimes.

People caught selling or distributing internet child pornography may receive ‘high level community orders’, and the council also proposed community orders for people possessing images of non-penetrative sex between adults and children.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Teenager Due in Court Over Alleged Rape of 11-Year-Old Girl

A man will appear at the Old Bailey today in connection with the alleged rape of an 11-year-old girl on her way home from school in Enfield.

Opemipo Jaji, 18, of Osward Place, Enfield, is also charged with attempted rape following an incident said to have taken place in Jubilee Park on November 23.

The girl returned home after the ordeal between 7.45pm and 8pm and police were immediately called.

She was subsequently taken to hospital where she was treated for serious injuries and underwent surgery.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Tougher Sentences for Child Sex Gangs Who Groom Girls in Care

Members of child sex gangs who groom girls in care before raping them face a 50 per cent increase in their sentence under tough new guidelines for judges.

The plans focus on sex gangs which groom vulnerable children after nine men from Rochdale were convicted over a sexual exploitation and trafficking ring which abused young teenage girls. Under the current guidelines, rapists who attack a girl in care face a jail term of between eight and 13 years, but this could rise to between 13 and 19 years in the most serious of cases. Rapists could also face a 50 per cent increase in their jail term, with the starting point for the most serious of these offences rising from 10 to 15 years.

Attackers who film or record their assaults would also face tougher sentences to tackle what Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, has described as a “pernicious new habit”, the Sentencing Council said. And judges would be able to send anyone possessing child abuse images to jail, as opposed to the current guidelines in which only a non custodial sentence is available for possession of the lowest level of images…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Organisation Behind the Newham Mosque Plans

The organisation behind plans to build a giant mosque in Newham is one of the lesser known and most misunderstood Muslim revivalist movements that came out of north India at the turn of the last century. Tablighi Jamaat began as an offshoot of Deobandism, the deeply socially conservative school of Islam which movements like the Taliban also trace a theological lineage to. But they espouse none of the violent militancy of their ideological cousins who continue to blight Afghanistan and much of tribal Pakistan…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Wembley Man Accused of Stabbing Policemen in Kingsbury Feared He Would be Killed in a Racist Attack

A knifeman accused of trying to murder four police officers in Kingsbury told jurors he feared he was going to be killed in a racist attack.

The Old Bailey heard Christopher Haughton, 33, of Milford Gardens, Wembley, left three constables with potentially fatal injuries after slashing them with a meat cleaver in a butcher’s shop in Kingsbury High Road, on November 19 last year.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Balkan Visa-Free Regime Under Scrutiny

BRUSSELS — EU ministers of interior are set to discuss visa policy in Brussels on Thursday (6 December) with several member states wanting to reintroduce visas for passport holders from Western Balkan countries.

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands say migrants from the region are abusing the current visa-free system by requesting asylum, reports the AP.

Each asylum application request has to be examined, they say, creating large caseloads and backlogs.

Around 60,000 people from the region have reportedly requested asylum throughout Europe in the past three years. The numbers have dropped in the past year but peaked in May, says the EU’s border control agency, Frontex.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Presidential Ultimatum, Demonstrators Must Leave

Republican Guard’s warning over ban on today’s demonstration

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — Demonstrators must leave the area of the presidential palace and all demonstrations on Thursday afternoon are banned under Republican Guard’s orders, according to a statement of the Egyptian presidency. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is scheduled to address the nation, state television quoted the presidency’s secretary as saying, without however indicating when the speech has been scheduled.

Meanwhile Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie will lead the funeral ceremony of the seven victims of yesterday’s clashes, according to the website of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party. The ceremony will take place in front of the presidential palace, according to the Mena news agency.

For his part, the former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed el Baradei wrote on his twitter account that the presidential decree and Egyptian constitution are ‘in a state of clinical death’ and that the regime has last all its legitimacy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt: 5 Killed in Clash Outside Egyptian Presidential Palace

CAIRO, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — Five people have been killed in the overnight clash between opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi outside the presidential palace, official news agency MENA reported Thursday. Tanks have been deployed outside the palace by the Egyptian military forces, as Morsi’s supporters formed their so-called “ committees” to bar opponents from nearing the vicinity of the presidential palace. The two sides threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at each other, while hundreds of security troops were deployed to separate between them, MENA said. The latest victim, 22-year-old Mohamed Mohamed al-Sanousi, died of a bullet in the chest, MENA added. According to the Health Ministry, as of Thursday morning, as many as 446 people were injured during the clash…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Obama and Morsi: Separated at Birth

by Daniel Greenfield

In Cairo, Morsi scribbles his decrees and in Washington DC, Obama scribbles his. There is an ocean between the two men, but there is a good deal that they have in common. Both are ideologues who piggybacked on public outrage over the national impact of international economic declines to climb to power and pursue their true agendas…

But Obama is not an American and Morsi is not an Egyptian. Obama is a Progressive and Morsi is an Islamist. Their approach to anyone outside that circle is limited to distinguishing between potential converts and useful idiots…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt Crisis: Tanks Deployed After Fatal Cairo Clashes

The Egyptian army has deployed tanks and armoured troop carriers outside the presidential palace in Cairo after clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi left five dead and hundreds injured.

But, despite their presence, there are reports of a fresh outbreak of stone-throwing between the two sides. Egypt is seeing growing unrest over a controversial draft constitution.

The government insists that a referendum will go ahead this month. The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says the clashes are possibly the most dangerous development in Egypt’s growing political crisis…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Is Egypt on the Brink of Becoming the World’s Largest Islamic Republic?

Add Andrew Bostom’s comment to Samuel Tadros’ analysis of the draft Egyptian Constitution and the betting is on the rise of Egypt as the new Sunni Islamic Republic. Time for the Copts to flee to their Diaspora. And to think that if Israel hadn’t given back the Sinai in the Camp David accords of 1979, there might have been a safe haven for the Copts and apostates. Pity!…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal to Make First Visit to Gaza

Khaled Meshaal, the exiled political leader of Hamas, will make his first visit to the Gaza Strip this week to attend the Palestinian Islamist group’s 25th anniversary rally.

The two-day visit by Mr Meshaal, who has been in exile for 45 years, comes in the wake of last month’s air offensive by Israel against Hamas and other armed Islamist factions to stop them firing rockets from the enclave at southern Israeli towns…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Jordanian King Arrives in West Bank

RAMALLAH, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — King Abdullah II of Jordan arrived in the West Bank city of Ramallah Thursday as the first top foreign leader to visit the Palestinian territories after the United Nations last week recognized them as a non-member observer state…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck Reporting From Israel

I just returned from a week in Israel, where I interviewed top government officials and military spokespeople and traveled throughout the country—including hotspots like the Gaza border, Hebron and Samaria and an up-close look at Israel’s groundbreaking Iron Dome missile defense system.

At the above link are some more details about my trip and a glimpse at what you’ll see on upcoming episodes of the Stakelbeck on Terror Show.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

Turkey to Donate 1.25 Mln USD to Help Palestinian Refugees

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, DECEMBER 5- Turkey will extend 1.25 million USD to help Palestinian refugees, Anatolia news agency reports from the United Nations headquarters. Ankara will donate the money to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) which held a meeting on Tuesday in New York to collect assistance for nearly five million Palestinian refugees who have been trying to survive in five different zones in the Middle East. A total of 27 countries and institutions committed to support UNRWA in 2013. UNRWA was established in 1949 in order to help 750,000 Palestinian refugees after Arab-Israeli war. It provides health, education, rehabilitation and protection for the refugees.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

5 Policemen Killed Near Iraqi Capital

BAGHDAD, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — Gunmen attacked a power station in south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Thursday, leaving five policemen dead, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. At dawn of Thursday, the gunmen using silent weapons attacked the power station in Jurf al-Nadaf area, some 20 km south of Baghdad. Five guarding policemen, who apparently were sleeping, were shot dead, the source said on condition of anonymity. Violence in Iraq has decreased from its climax in 2006 and 2007, when sectarian conflicts pushed the country to the brink of a civil war. But tensions and sporadic shootings and bombings are still common across the country.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

German Cabinet Approves Missile, Troop Deployment in Turkey

BERLIN, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — The German cabinet on Thursday agreed to participate in a NATO mission sending Patriot missiles and some 400 soldiers to Turkey to help the country cope with potential security threats from Syria. “Turkey is currently the most-affected partner in the Syria conflict. It is exposed to a potential threat from Syria,” the foreign and defense ministries said in a joint statement…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

German Troops Heading to Turkey-Syria Border

The German government said Thursday it had approved participation in a NATO mission to deploy Patriot missiles to help member state Turkey defend its border against Syria and will send up to 400 troops.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Syria-Based Orthodox Patriarch Dead at 92

(AP) — The patriarch of a Damascus-based Eastern Orthodox Church, Ignatius Hazim, has died in a Beirut hospital. He was 92. Hazim was named Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East for the Greek Orthodox in 1979. His church is known as the Greek Orthodox Church of the Antioch. He died of a stroke in Beirut’s St. George’s hospital on Wednesday, Syria’s state-run news agency SANA said. Hazim hailed from the Syrian town of Maharda in the central province of Hama. SANA said his remains will be brought from Lebanon to Syria for burial. There are a number of mostly autonomous Eastern Orthodox churches in the Middle East and the region also has more than a half dozen patriarchs, including the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of world’s Orthodox Christians…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Domestic Violence Kills Over 350 Women in 4 Years

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, DECEMBER 5 — Over 350 women (exactly 369) were killed in Turkey as a result of domestic violence inflicted between 2009-2012, the website of the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy reported on Tuesday. According to the ministry, in 2009, 108 women were killed, in 2010 this figure hit 106, in 2011 — 99, and in 2012 — 56 women. During this period, more than 4,000 women have been under state guardianship. Violence against women in Turkey is one of the most important social issues. The Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy is conducting a series of programmes for women guardianship.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: Notice to Government, Google on Anti-Islam Film

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notices to the central government and Google India on a plea that videos of the controversial anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” be removed from various sites, including YouTube.

A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also issued notices to the commissioner of police as well as the ministries of information and broadcasting, home, corporate affairs, external affairs and minority affairs…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Muslims Comprise of 48% of Jail Inmates in West Bengal

Kolkata: According to a recently released report of ‘Prisons Statistics — 2011’ by the National Crime Bureau, the Muslim percentage of inmates in West Bengal is disproportionately high. 56.7% of convicts belong to Muslim community were lodged in four States namely Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Besides Gujarat and Maharashtra, West Bengal is amongst those states with high numbers of Muslim prisoners or under trial. In Gujarat Muslim population are 10%, but as per ‘Prisons Statistics — 2011’ Muslim prisoners under trials and convicts in jail are 22%. In Maharashtra Muslim population are 10%, but comprise of 34% prisoners. In West Bengal Muslim population are 25%, but Muslim prisoners under trials and convicts in jail are 48%. Total convicts in jail in West Bengal are 5660, as on December 31, 2011. Of this, Hindus are 2919, Muslim 2595, Sikh 6, Christian 126 and others are 15…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Punjab: 22-Year-Old Mentally Disturbed Christian Man Dies in Prison

For police, he died from a sudden illness. Priests and activists call for justice and an investigation. Like Rimsha Masih, the victim suffered from mental illness and was thrown in jail on the basis of unsubstantiated charges. After a week since he was taken into custody, police had not yet started the investigation.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — A young Christian man, Nadeem Masih, was suddenly taken ill overnight on 1 December and died in prison. The mentally disturbed man been imprisoned on trumped-up blasphemy charges, this according the official police report. However, many elements in the case remain obscure, starting with the charges.

Nadeem Masih was accused of breaking Pakistan’s ‘black law’ by a local resident, backed by a group of Islamists, whose complaint appear fabricated in more ways than one like the accusation levelled against Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Christian girl who fortunately was released after blasphemy charges against her were dropped.

However, the fate of the 22-year-old man is different. Despite the absence of an investigation or even actual evidence against him, he died in police custody.

Nadeem Masih was from Nankana Sahib, a town in Punjab. He was mentally disturbed. On 22 November, he was put in jail after he was accused of burning some pages of the Qur’an. He remained in custody for days despite the lack of evidence against him. Early reports suggest that police had not even started their investigations because of the absence of elements against him.

In a statement, police said he was placed in custody to guarantee him “greater safety” against possible reprisals by extremists should he be released. However, he died overnight on 1 December under unusual circumstances. For the agents, he suddenly felt ill and died.

Conversely, Christian activists and lawyers are saying that he was in “good health” and that he was beaten to death in his cell. Such a possibility is not easily dismissed since another young Christian man, Robert Fanish Masih, also from Punjab, was killed in prison.

Nadeem Masih’s body has been returned to the family, but lawyers want an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The young man’s father, Yousaf Masih, has not made any statement on the matter and appears unwilling to pursue it any further, perhaps out of fear of retaliation.

Some local Muslim religious leaders did come in Nadeem’s defence, believing him to be innocent.

“This is indeed an unfortunate incident,” said Fr Arif John from the Lahore Diocese. “A mentally unstable young man dies in police custody. The authorities should investigate the circumstances under which he passed away. The allegation of blasphemy should not be used to kill the people.”

Fr Kamran John agrees. “The young man was illegally detained for over a week” without charges. This worsened his mental state. “This is a patent violation of human rights; his death should be investigated thoroughly.”

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

Pakistan: Prayer Leader Gunned Down Inside Mosque

KARACHI, Dec 5: Three assailants shot dead a prayer leader inside a mosque in Sector 5-C of New Karachi on Wednesday evening.

One of the assailants who was caught by area people when trying to flee told police he worked for the Taliban and killed the Peshimam because the latter was an ‘informer’.

According to police, three suspects who arrived on a motorcycle walked into Jamia Masjid Islamia Ahl-i-Hadith within the remit of the Bilal Colony police station and killed Peshimam Ahsanullah, 38. The victim was shot with a single bullet to the head causing his instant death, said police…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Taliban Group Attends Paris Conference on Afghanistan

According to reports Taliban group representatives based in Qatar are going to participate in a conference which will be organized by a research organization in France. Mawlavi Shahabuddin Delawar member of the Taliban group policy department in Qatar and Mohammad Naeem a close member of the Taliban group in Qatar liaison office will offer views of the Taliban group regarding the future of Afghanistan in the conference…

[JP note: All roads lead through Qatar.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Taliban Insurgents Killed in Eastern Afghan Province

KABUL, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — Several Taliban insurgents, including a local insurgent leader, were killed in an operation in eastern Afghan province of Kunar on Wednesday, the NATO-led coalition forces said Thursday. “An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in Dara-e Pech district, Kunar province, yesterday that killed the Taliban leader Akhbar and several other insurgents,” the coalition said in a statement without disclosing the exact number of the killed. Akhbar coordinated the movement of insurgent fighters in Kunar and was directly responsible for supplying money and equipment to insurgents for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the province 180 km east of Kabul…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

Palace of First Chinese Emperor Unearthed

Chinese archaeologists have unearthed the palace of China’s first feudal emperor, best known for the terracotta warrior army guarding his tomb.

The Chinese state media reports that archaeologists have excavated the palace complex of Qin Shihuang in Xi’an, China, site of the life-size terracotta soldiers. The palace consists of 10 courtyard buildings and one main building, the paper reported. The complex runs about 2,264 feet (690 meters) long and 820 feet (250 m) wide. The total area is about a quarter of the size of Beijing’s Forbidden City, built in the 1400s.

Qin Shihuang was born in 259 B.C. as heir to the throne of Qin, one of the six kingdoms found in what is now China. At the age of 13, Qin Shihuang took over the throne of Qin. By 221 B.C., he had conquered and unified the six warring Chinese states into one Empire, which he ruled until his death in 210 B.C.

Archaeologists told the Xinhua news agency that walls, sewers, doorways and rock roads were among the remains of the ancient palace. They have also found pottery and bricks. The layout of the palace matched other traditional Chinese structures, with a central axis lined up with a main building.

The main burial chamber of Qin Shihuang has yet to be excavated, as archaeologists worry that doing so without sufficient resources would do more harm than good. Reports written in the centuries after the emperor’s death claim the burial chamber includes a map of Qin Shihuang’s kingdom, including rivers of mercury. The ceiling is said to be encrusted with jewels.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Supporting Islam and Australia

THE Muslim activists behind the controversial billboards proclaiming Jesus was a “prophet of Islam” have launched a TV campaign to show the world their religion is about “peace and respect”.

Called “I’m Muslim and proud”, the $30,000 commercials — airing on Foxtel and SBS — aim to repair the religion’s image in Australia. Worried about negative public perceptions after the September riots in central Sydney, the My Peace organisation aims to show Australian Muslims are “just like everyone else — they love their family, contribute to the community and are proud Australians”. The “Jesus and Islam” message sparked outcry among some Christians when it appeared on billboards around Sydney.

Diaa Muhammad — who founded My Peace in 2011 to “build bridges between the Muslim and wider community” — hopes to energise Muslims with positive images so they saw themselves as proud members of Australian society. “We hope this campaign enables the wider community to see us in a new light, to see that our values are closely matched and our beliefs are not that different,” he said. “Social media has enabled My Peace to connect with thousands of Australian Muslims.”

[JP note: Peace jihad.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Islamic Jihadists Occupy Mali With Impunity

Foreign Islamist jihadists from Sudan, Algeria, Libya and elsewhere, who are part of a network of terrorist groups that affiliate themselves with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, are entrenching themselves in yet another African country.

Al Qaeda is currently occupying an area the size of France in the northern portion of Mali. Like a virus exploiting a weak immune system, the jihadists, mostly Arabs, are exploiting a power vacuum created by internal fighting among ethnic tribes within Mali that had led to a coup and a weakened central government.

Yet, in the face of both a strategic and humanitarian crisis in northern Mali caused by Islamist jihadist invaders, the Obama administration is dithering as conditions in northern Mali worsen by the day. So is the United Nations on which the Obama administration appears to be relying for a global consensus regarding what to do next.

Reports from the ground indicate that the jihadists have stepped up their forces in the area, turning northern Mali into another breeding ground for the spread of Islamic terrorism throughout Africa.

[Return to headlines]

Touareg Rebels, Mali Meet in Ouagadougou

Nouakchott — Two Touareg rebel groups met with representatives from the Malian government in Ouagadougou on Tuesday (December 4th), agreeing to respect “national unity” and renounce terrorism. As part of the diplomatic dialogue, Ansar al-Din, the Movement for the National Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the Malian government agreed to a ceasefire, to “respect national unity and the territorial integrity of Mali”, as well as the “rejection of any form of extremism and terrorism”, AFP quoted the joint statement as saying…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


A Million Migrants From East Europe Now Live in Britain: That’s 1.5% of the Population of Eight EU Nations

The number of Eastern Europeans living in Britain is equal to 1.5 per cent of the population of their homelands, MPs were told yesterday.

The astonishing revelation effectively means that one in every 67 citizens of eight former communist nations has moved here.

Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Estonia all joined the EU in 2004 — giving them unrestricted access to the UK’s labour market.

BRITAIN is facing an influx of almost half a million Romanians and Bulgarians, an MP warns.

Tory Philip Hollobone claimed the number of people from both countries could TREBLE to more than 425,000 when work restrictions are lifted next year.

He told MPs the figure has already rocketed from 29,000 to 155,000 since Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. But he said it was a “disgrace” the Home Office has no plans to predict how many will come here when the restrictions are lifted.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Naples Immigrant Wedding Gang Busted

Three arrested in citizenship scam

(ANSA) — Naples, December 5 — Italian police on Wednesday broke up an organisation in Naples that allegedly paid hard-up people to marry Chinese, Moroccan and Tunisian immigrants so they could become citizens.

Three people were arrested in connection with “at least 13 weddings,” police said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘A Kick in the Balls I Just Didn’t Need’: Brave Aussie Loses Visa Bid

An Australian man recognised for his bravery after suffering knife wounds while protecting elderly women on a London bus has been refused the right to remain in the UK, a newspaper reports.

Tim Smits, 33, from Melbourne, was stabbed and punched when he stood up to thugs on a bus in September 2011, Britain’s Evening Standard newspaper reported.

His actions earned him a local council citizenship award and an honour from the Carnegie Hero Trust Fund.

However, the UK Border Agency has rejected the graphic artist’s application for a compassionate extension to his visa.

Mr Smits spent months recovering from the violent attack for which two men were jailed.

“What needs to happen before it’s compelling and compassionate?” Mr Smits told the Standard on Thursday of his visa extension application.

“The refusal letter was a massive hammer blow — a kick in the balls I just didn’t need… I had dealt with so much already.

“All the appreciation I have had from the community has really kept up my spirits, but the coldness of the Border Agency and lack of compassion has made me sick.

“It’s made me question if I want to live in a country that wants to kick me out, even though I love it here. It doesn’t give you much faith in humanity.”

Mr Smits, who has appealed the rejection of his visa application, stood up to two 19-year-old men who began abusing fellow bus passengers on a suburban London route. He was knifed by one of the teens and punched by another.

           — Hat tip: Salome[Return to headlines]

US Population Will Grow by 127 Million by 2050 (75% Will be Immigrants)

Washington, DC (December 6, 2012) — A new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Center for Immigration Studies projects the impact of immigration on the size and composition of the U.S. population. The findings reveal that immigration makes for a much larger overall population, while having only a minimal effect on slowing the aging of American society.

Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research, notes, “there is simply no question immigration makes for a much larger and more densely settled country, but it is not a cure for an aging society.”

The complete study can be found at:

Among the findings:…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Church Cancels ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Play Following Atheist Outrage, Threats Over School Trip

Charlie Brown may be a harmless cartoon character, but atheist activists in Little Rock, Arkansas, have pushed fervently to prevent a local public school from seeing a church production featuring the popular children’s figure. In the wake of the intense controversy over Terry Elementary School’s decision to send children to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at Agape Church, the house of worship has now cancelled the student matinee performance of the show.

As previously reported, the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers (ASF) was actively fighting against plans to send kids to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” during the school day on Dec. 14. The group claims that its angst over the show has nothing to do with the traditional cartoon and everything to do with the separation of church and state.

“We’re not saying anything bad about Charlie Brown,” Anne Orsi, a lawyer and vice-president of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers (ASF), told KARK-TV late last month. “The problem is that it’s got religious content and it’s being performed in a religious venue and that doesn’t just blur the line between church and state, it over steps it entirely.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Saturn Moon Enceladus Eyed for Sample-Return Mission

Scientists are developing a mission concept that would snag icy particles from Saturn’s moon Enceladus and return them to Earth, where they could be analyzed for signs of life.

The spacecraft would fly through the icy plume blasted into space by geysers near Enceladus’ south pole, then send the collected particles back to our planet in a return capsule. Enceladus may be capable of supporting life, and the flyby sample-return mission would bring pieces from its depths to Earth at a reasonable price, researchers said.

“This is really the low-hanging fruit” of sample-return missions, said study leader Peter Tsou of Sample Exploration Systems in La Canada, Calif., who presented the idea here Wednesday (Dec. 5) at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “It would be a shame not to pick it.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

'Worried about negative public perceptions after the September riots in central Sydney, the My Peace organisation aims to show Australian Muslims are “just like everyone else"'

Sometimes I think that the papers might be on our side after all. secretly