Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121218

Financial Crisis
»Commission Urges Italy to Stick With Debt-Reduction Policies
»Italy: EC ‘Temporary’ OK to MPS Rescue
»Italy: European Financial Markets Gain on Budget Optimism in U.S.
»Risk of Poverty for Italians Growing at Fastest Rate in EU
»Slovenia — Back to Reality, Forth to Austerity
»Florida Professor: Obama an ‘Apostle’ Sent to Create ‘Heaven Here on Earth’
»Frank Gaffney: Chuck Hagel as a ‘Teachable Moment’
»It Isn’t Redneck ‘Gun Culture’ That Causes Mass School Shootings — It’s the Culture of Narcissism
»Officials Defend Decision to Name School After Murderer
Europe and the EU
»Denmark: World’s Largest Indoor Ski Centre Planned for Jutland
»Denmark: Parliament to Beef Up Security
»Greece: Trash Piling Up in Athens Due to Workers’ Strike
»Greece: Chios Mandarin Granted Special EU Status
»Greek Villagers Evade Taxes, Drive Ferraris
»Italy: Critic Says Berlusconi’s Engagement Election Boost
»Italy: Rabbi Protests Naples Honorary Citizenship to Abu Mazen
»Miss Italy Pageant Elects Assisi Woman Miss End of World
»Rome Faces EU Waste-Management Fines
»Swedish Teens Riot Over Instagram Sex Rumours
»UK: ‘Alien Nation’: Peter Hitchens on the Islamification of Britain
»UK: As Muslims We Will Show Love for Jesus
»UK: Mosque Needs New Site, Say Neighbours
»UK: Staffordshire Hoard: Gold Fragments Found in Hammerwich
»UK: Threat of Right Wing Fanatics is Growing Warns Home Secretary
»Why Rudolph’s Nose is So Bright: Norway Study
North Africa
»Egypt: Islamic Fundamentalist Preacher Sentenced to a Year
»Egypt: Top Prosecutor Quits, Weeks After Morsi Appointed Him
Middle East
»Danish Muslim Group Supports Syrian Hate Preacher
»Jordan — the Next Middle East Flashpoint?
»Qatar in the Bottom of Rankings for Environmental Pollution
»Russia ‘To Evacuate Its Citizens in Syria’
»Syria: Russia Sends 5 Baltic Fleet Warships to Med
»Moscow Mosques Building Plan Sparks Debate
»Vladimir Putin Calls on Russian Families to Have Three Children
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Taliban to Meet Enemies in France
»Afghanistan: Blast Kills 10 Girls in Eastern Afghanistan; Car Bomber Targets Kabul
»Being a Non-Believer in Pakistan
»India: Orissa: 12 Houses Razed to the Ground, Belonging to Christians of Kandhamal
»India Does Not Object to Xmas Permit for Italy Marines
»India: Kerala: No to Christmas in Italy for Two Marines
»Italians Complete Wells, Road Improvements in Afghanistan
»Mental Illness is Rampant in Afghanistan
»Pakistan: Karachi Polio Killings: Vaccination Workers Shot
»Polio Workers Killed in Pakistan
»Germany: ‘Stigmatization of Migrants Must Stop’
»Germany Growing Increasingly Diverse
»I No Longer Recognise the Britain I Grew Up in
Culture Wars
»Muslim Leaders Demand Exemption From Gay Marriage Laws
»Twitter Tops 200 Million Active Users

Financial Crisis

Commission Urges Italy to Stick With Debt-Reduction Policies

‘Strong determination is needed to avoid slippages’ says report

(ANSA) — Rome, December 18 — The European Commission on Tuesday urged Italy to stick with policies aimed at bringing down its massive national debt.

Italy’s government debt is around 126% in relation to gross domestic product (GDP) and it crossed the two-trillion-euro mark for the first time in October when it reached a record high of 2.014 trillion.

Its size is the reason Italy has been exposed to the eurozone debt crisis.

Premier Mario Monti’s emergency technocrat government has passed deficit-cutting austerity measures to put Italy on the path towards balancing its national budget and eventually being able to start reducing debt levels. “Government debt (120.7% of GDP in 2011 and expected to rise to 126.5% in 2014) is above the 60% of GDP (Fiscal Compact) Treaty threshold,” the EC said in its Fiscal Sustainability Report 2012.

“On the basis of current policies, debt would be on a declining path over the medium term and beyond. “But, as the improved structural primary fiscal position expected to be reached by 2014 is rather demanding from both international and country-specific historical standards, strong determination is needed to avoid slippages in the fiscal stance.

“Indeed, risks would be much higher in the event of the structural primary balance reverting to lower values observed in the past, such as the average for the period 1998-2012. “The focus should, therefore, be on resolutely continuing to implement sustainability-enhancing measures and reduce government debt”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: EC ‘Temporary’ OK to MPS Rescue

Monte dei Paschi di Siena in 3.9-bln-euro recapitalisation

(ANSA) — Brussels, December 17 — The European Commission on Monday gave a “temporary” green light to a 3.9-billion-euro recapitalisation of troubled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS).

MPS, the world’s oldest bank and the third biggest in Italy, incurred heavy losses this year and its bonds were downgraded to junk status by Standard & Poor’s earlier this month.

The government led by Premier Mario Monti has been helping it get back on its feet after a two-billion-euro first-half loss with so-called ‘Monti bonds’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: European Financial Markets Gain on Budget Optimism in U.S.

Milan rises as Italian-German bond spread shrinks

(ANSA) — Milan, December 18 — Milan joined other European financial markets in showing modest gains Tuesday, as investors took heart from rising optimism that the United States will find a budget deal. Investors seemed confident that politicians in the US would eventually find a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” of billions of dollars in austerity measures due to kick in at year end.

In cautious anticipation, on the Milan Stock Exchange the FTSE Mib gained 0.94% to close at 16,160 points.

And the spread between Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond and its ultra-safe German counterpart closed near its lowest point in two years Tuesday at 304 basis points.

The yield on Italian ten-year bonds was 4.45%, close to the minimum seen in the past two years.

Tuesday’s spread was well below last Tuesday’s close of 340 basis points, and suggests some stability is returning to bond markets, where the spread indicates investor confidence in the outlook for the Italian economy.

In other European markets, Frankfurt’s DAX ended the day 0.64% higher at 7,653.58 points, while London’s FTSE 100 also closed trading slightly higher by 0.4% at 5,935.9 points, Paris’s CAC 40 rose by 0.29% to close at 3,648.63 points, and Spain’s IBEX 35 ended the day 1.54% higher at 8,164.10 points.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Risk of Poverty for Italians Growing at Fastest Rate in EU

Especially hard hit are families with children and elderly

(ANSA) — Rome, December 18 — The percentage of Italians at risk of falling into poverty has been rising at the quickest pace recorded in the European Union, says a study released Tuesday.

According to report “Europe 2020” Italy has seen the risk of poverty rate rise to 29.9% in 2011 from 26.3% in 2010.

That increase is the greatest recorded among EU countries, said the report.

Especially hard hit are families with children, particularly those in the south of Italy. The elderly are also at risk.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Slovenia — Back to Reality, Forth to Austerity

For years, Slovenia was seen as a model among the nascent EU members. But now the former Yugoslav republic is faced with a serious recession and high debt. It may soon be the next duck in an unpopular pond.

A specter is haunting Slovenia — the specter of the European Stability Mechanism.

Prime Minister Janez Jansa has warned his people straight out that if the reforms and austerity measures proposed by his conservative government aren’t implemented, a “national bankruptcy” would be unavoidable — as would a bailout.

“Any Slovenian government you can imagine will be more social than what the troika will impose upon us,” were the words echoing out of Ljubljana earlier this month, when the government introduced its austerity budgets for the next two years.

At the same time, Jansa’s finance minister, Janez Sustersic, has been campaigning for a reform of the Slovenian banking sector. And the central bank head Marko Kranjec has uttered his “hope” that Slovenia can avoid a bailout, despite how “slow the speed of reforms has been, far too slow.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Florida Professor: Obama an ‘Apostle’ Sent to Create ‘Heaven Here on Earth’

According to a book written by longtime Florida A&M University professor Barbara A. Thompson, Barack Obama is no mere mortal. He is, as she wrote, “Apostle Barack,” sent to create a “heaven here on earth,” a post at PJ Tatler said Monday.

In her book, “The Gospel According to Apostle Barack: In Search of a More Perfect Political Union as ‘Heaven Here on Earth,’“ Professor Thompson says she was given this message in her dreams.

“Yes, Barack had worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people, especially those who elected him in 2008. His followers needed to re-elect him to a second term, so that he could continue to accomplish the promises he made, thus, realizing his vision of America as a more perfect political union or heaven here on earth,’“ the book description at Amazon says.

“Then, as I began to contemplate ways to assist Barack in his 2012 re-election bid something miraculous happened. I felt God’s (His) Spirit beckoning me in my dreams at night. Listening, cautiously, I learned that Jesus walked the earth to create a more civilized society, Martin (Luther King) walked the earth to create a more justified society, but, Apostle Barack, the name he was called in my dreams, would walk the earth to create a more equalized society, for the middle class and working poor,” she added.

[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Chuck Hagel as a ‘Teachable Moment’

The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama dodged a politically perilous “bullet” when he declined to nominate Susan Rice as the next Secretary of State. Had he done so, the President would have provided his critics a high-profile platform for exposing and critiquing his administration’s conduct with respect to Benghazigate and the larger, dangerous practice of “engaging” Islamists, of which it was a particularly dismal example.

Yet, President Obama is reportedly intent on creating what may prove to be a similar “teachable moment” by nominating former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. Sen. Hagel has been an outspoken champion of controversial and even radical policies firmly embraced by Mr. Obama during his first administration. Worse yet, they are likely to be priorities for his second term now that the President has, as he put it in his overheard side-bar with Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev last March, “more flexibility.”…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

It Isn’t Redneck ‘Gun Culture’ That Causes Mass School Shootings — It’s the Culture of Narcissism

by Brendan O’Neill

There is one question that the pious critics of America’s so-called gun culture cannot answer. If mass school shootings like that in Connecticut really are a product of the apparently mad Second Amendment, of the fact that guns are widely available in the US, then why did such shootings only take off in the late 1970s and early 1980s? Guns have been available in the US for more than two centuries, but multiple-victim shootings in schools, of the sort that rocked Connecticut and Columbine before it, are a very modern phenomenon. It cannot be simply the availability of guns that leads people to massacre children or their fellow students, or else there would have been horrors like this throughout American history…

But look at the photo of Adam Lanza. Or better still watch the videos and manifestos made by the Columbine killers or the Virginia Tech shooter and other recent school shooters. Do you really see Southern-style gun culture in these videos and words and images, or do you see a different, more modern culture at work? I see youngsters raised to consider themselves little gods, who see their self-esteem as king and who believe their angst must always be taken seriously. I see youth brought up in a world where we are increasingly encouraged to cultivate a persona, preferably a dangerous, edgy one, through media like YouTube and Twitter. I see young people so imbued with the narcissistic creed of the politics of identity, where how you feel and what you want must take precedence over any social or communal considerations, that they have been absolutely wrenched from both their own communities and from even basic moral codes.

I see the culture of narcissism, taken to its extreme, not the culture of gun worship. Which rather suggests that the supposedly liberal politicians currently wringing their hands over the availability of guns in the US might want to shine the spotlight on themselves instead, and on the dislocated, atomised, self-regarding modern world they have had a hand in creating.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Officials Defend Decision to Name School After Murderer

A California school district is defending its decision to name a new elementary school after an infamous murderer — by calling him a hero and a role model to children. The decision has infuriated many parents and law enforcemetn officers.

The Alisal Union School District in Salinas agreed to name the new school in honor of Tiburcio Vasquez — who was eventually hanged for killing at least two people in the nineteenth century.

Superintendent John Ramirez defended the board’s decision telling Fox News that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

“Tiburcio Vasquez, along with others, was an individual who was a revolutionary,” Ramierz said. “He was not okay with the oppression.”

Vasquez “was probably the most notorious bandit California ever saw,” according to the University of Southern California library. He was 14-years-old when he committed his first crime — stabbing a constable.

In 1875 Vasquez was convicted of two murders and subsequently hanged. Other historical records indicate he may have killed as many as six people — including a law enforcement officer.

“He took from the rich and gave to the poor,” Francisco Estrada told KION. “He was your inspiration of Zorro.”

Estrada sat on the naming committee for the new elementary school and said the convicted murderer was a good man who should be a model to the youth of East Salinas.

He said Vasquez was simply misunderstood.

“Mr. Vasquez, number one, was not a murderer,” he told the television station. “He was framed by the system at that time.”

“The history was written by mainstream whites,” he said. “It wasn’t written by Californians or people of Mexican descent. When do we have our history written by us? When do we stop having our heroes branded as villains?”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Denmark: World’s Largest Indoor Ski Centre Planned for Jutland

A total of eight runs will be available at the new alpine-style park near the town of Randers

The world’s largest indoor ski park may be coming to Denmark, according to online innovation magazine Gizmag.

Danish architecture firm CEBRA is working in collaboration with travel company DanSki to design Skidome Denmark, an indoor ski park that will be near the city of Randers in Jutland.

If built, the park would measure 100,000 square metres in total and offer 70,000 square metres of skiing, accommodating up to 3,000 skiers and snowboarders at any one time.

Skidome Denmark would take the world record for the largest indoor ski facility from SkiDubai, which holds the current record thanks to its 22,500 square metres of skiing facilities.

“The ski park will provide over 3km of indoor and outdoor slopes as well as a freestyle park,” Gizmag reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Parliament to Beef Up Security

New measures will see drivers stopped at the main gates, but won’t affect cyclists or pedestrians

All public traffic passing through parliament’s main entrance will be stopped out of security concerns, it has been decided, although the restictions will not apply to pedestrians or cyclists and are not expected to be enforced for a few more months.

Folketingets Præsidium, parliament’s executive committee, has finally decided to follow the advice of the domestic intelligence agency PET, which in 2009 urged traffic restrictions in order to minimise the risk of a bomb attack.

“It has been difficult to ignore the advice from PET,” Mogens Lykketoft (Socialdemokraterne), the chairman of Folketingets Præsidium, told Berlingske newspaper. “Other Nordic countries have already restricted motor traffic.”

A temporary solution will be implemented in a few months time, followed by permanent barriers that will only lift for important guests, deliveries and other specially-registered vehicles.

The decision to restrict traffic has not been welcomed by opposition party Venstre, which also opposed increasing security when it was first proposed.

“I know people will say this is only a small step, but it’s a step in the wrong direction,” Venstre’s deputy chairman Kristian Jensen told Berlingske. “It will increase the distance between politicians and the people.”

Others argued that it was high time that security around parliament was beefed up, among them MP Pia Kjærsgard, a member of both Dansk Folkeparti and Folketingets Præsidium.

“We live in a country that has steadily become a terrorist target, and I think we need to take that seriously,” Kjærsgaard told Berlingske. “I have been coming here for almost 29 years, and when I started there were neither bulletproof doors nor security at the entrance. But we have to acknowledge that reality has changed, and we have to adapt to it.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Trash Piling Up in Athens Due to Workers’ Strike

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 18 — Athens and Thessaloniki are facing problems with trash that is amassing on their streets due to an ongoing strike by municipal workers as daily Kathimerini reports. Their union, POE-OTA, is protesting efforts to place hundreds of local government employees in a labor mobility scheme that could lead to them losing their jobs after 12 months. Their protest was due to end on Tuesday but POE-OTA is joining a broader civil servants’ 24-hour strike on Wednesday, when the union will decide whether to extend its protest.

Thessaloniki faces a problems in its suburbs, where trash has piled up due to the month-long protest but the city center is in a better condition as participation in the strike by workers has been low.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Chios Mandarin Granted Special EU Status

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 18 — A variety of mandarins grown on the eastern Aegean island of Chios was on Monday granted protected designation of origin and protected appellation status by the European Union regulatory authority for the labeling of foodstuffs. The Chios mandarin, as daily Kathimerini reports, is the 97th Greek product to receive the rubber stamp, a list which also includes Chios mastic.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greek Villagers Evade Taxes, Drive Ferraris

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 18 — Greek tax inspectors who routinely find tax cheats in Greece said they were amazed at how brazen and widespread it was in the village of Arma, near Thebes, where they said they found most of the residents driving around in super-luxury cars such as Ferraris and the Porsche Cayenne. The agents, as GreekReporter writes, said they were examining nine suspects for tax evasion and charged that one stole more than 1 million euros by not paying any Valued Added Taxes (VAT) on goods he sold. The inspectors said that a farmer from presented fake invoices with net asset value of 2.5 million euros, while another farmer is said to have issued fake and bogus invoices with net value of 1.1 million euros. The inspectors were in the village to look for a farmer woman they said had 100 fake invoices of 4.1 million euros she made from selling potatoes and onions. They said she was getting VAT refunds on on behalf the other villagers. The officials said they suspect some 9-10 million euros had been stolen by alleged tax cheats in the village.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Critic Says Berlusconi’s Engagement Election Boost

Sgarbi suggests pregnant fiancee even better for campaign

(ANSA) — Rome, December 18 — Former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s surprise engagement to a much younger woman is an election ploy to boost his popularity, a political commentator said Tuesday.

And if Berlusconi really wants to give his lecherous image a makeover, his fiancee Francesca Pascale should announce a pregnancy to present a family image, added Vittorio Sgarbi in a radio comment.

The former premier has been trying to resuscitate his political career while fending off criminal charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

“Berlusconi and Pascale have been together for at least a year and a half, and this (sudden announcement) is obviously planned for his campaign,” said Sgarbi. “At this point, it’s best to become pregnant,” to enhance Berlusconi’s family image. The commentator, critic, and former politician said that Pascale’s interest in Berlusconi is common for younger women drawn to wealthy men.

Berlusconi, who is 76 to her 27, is Italy’s richest man and very powerful.

“She is there because nothing is more attractive than power,” added Sgarbi.

“It’s the story of a girl who finds a powerful man, that takes care of her”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Rabbi Protests Naples Honorary Citizenship to Abu Mazen

Not a partisan offer, both peoples have rights, city council

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES, DECEMBER 18 — The city’s Jewish community on Tuesday protested against the municipal government’s decision to offer Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) honorary citizenship.

“The same recognition should also be guaranteed to Israeli president and Nobel peace prize winner, Shimon Peres,” Naples and South Italy Rabbi Shalom Bahbout wrote in a letter to Il Mattino newspaper.

During Abu Mazen’s visit to Rome recently, two city council members gave Abu Mazen a letter from Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris, offering him honorary citizenship in view of his commitment to dialogue and peace, and to the affirmation of the identity of the Palestinian people. Abu Mazen thanked him, promising he would visit Naples in April.

The invitation, said city council member Sergio D’Angelo, was not a partisan one. “It is a stage in the unfolding of our friendship with the Palestinian people, whom we address in hopes they will pursue dialogue and co-existence with the people of Israel,” D’Angelo explained. “Both have the right to a state.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Miss Italy Pageant Elects Assisi Woman Miss End of World

Beauty queen studies physics, dreams of becoming astronaut

(ANSA) — Rome, December 18 — Beauty pageant winners are often out of this world, but Italy’s first Miss End of the World truly wants to leave planet Earth.

Mariachiara Vigoriti, 25, is studying physics and dreams of becoming an astronaut while simultaneously winning beauty pageants, including the first in Italy to mark the end of the world on December 21 as predicted by the ancient Mayan Indian calender.

Clad in a dress made with 500 sheets of 24-carat gold, as befitting the first queen of the apocalypse, the Assisi-born Vigoriti will be included in the Miss Italy pageant’s annual calendar alongside Miss Italy herself, Giusy Buscemi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Rome Faces EU Waste-Management Fines

Clini warns that failure to act quickly may cost Italy millions

(ANSA) — Brussels, December 17 — Italy could be slapped with up to 280 million euros in fines from the European Union if it doesn’t act quickly on waste-management measures, Environment Minister Corrado Clini warned Monday.

If the early termination of Italy’s legislative session halts progress on landfill management issues, the country could be subject to fines, he warned, calling for “urgent measures”.

Clini spoke on the sidelines of an EU environment ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Swedish Teens Riot Over Instagram Sex Rumours

Swedish high school students outraged over sexual rumours circulating on Instagram about girls in the Gothenburg area barricaded a school in protest and turned violent when police intervened.

“They’re throwing bottles and stones at the police and attacking passers-by and people driving past,” Västra Götaland police spokesman Björ Blixter told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

A student at Plusgymnasiet high shool in Gothenburg was outed as the owner of the anonymous Instagram account, a claim which has not been verified.

“She is out of harm’s way, that was the first thing we made sure of,” Paula Hammargren, spokesperson for the school’s owner Academedia, told The Local as she boarded a train heading for Gothenburg.

The school has asked other schools in Gothenburg to “come and get” their students to calm the situation down.

The turmoil was set off after an Instagram user asked for tips on “sluts” in Gothenburg, and promised anonymity to anyone sending in pictures. More than 200 pictures were submitted, giving names and alleged sexual activities of girls aged 13 to 14.

Followers of the Instagram account ballooned as more and more pictures of Swedish teens labeled as “sluts” and “whores”.

“It grew to 7,000 to 8,000 followers. They were [pictures of] younger siblings of my friends, born around 1997 and later, that were uploaded,” a 22-year-old Gothenburg resident told Aftonbladet.

Once the Instagram account was shut down, the allegations then appeared on a Facebook page. Users began naming each other and the comments field was quickly filled with threats of violence.

A second Facebook page called for people to assemble at the school of the 17-year-old girl believed to have posted the initial ‘slut request’ and then shared the pictures of the underage girls. That page reportedly said the older girl needed to be beaten up as punishment.

Expecting trouble, police had gathered at the Plusgymnasiet high school by 8.30am on Tuesday.

“As far as I know, about 600 said they were coming on the Facebook event page and are heading here,” police spokesman Fredrik Dahlgren told TT this morning.

Certain streets around the school have been blocked off, with horse-mounted police, SWAT teams, and police using city buses to shuttle people away from the scene.

One witness told the Aftonbladet newspaper that the situation seemed to be spiraling out of control.

“The protesters are kicking down lampposts and jumping on cars,” he told the paper.

“They’re going berserk.”

Around 1.30pm, police spokesman Björ Blixer admitted police were having trouble handling the tumult.

“It doesn’t feel like we have control of the situation at the moment,” he told Aftonbladet.

The rioting students then moved over to the Nordstan mall in central Gothenburg, forcing confused holiday shoppers to take cover inside stores as police work to bring the unruly teens under control.

“They rushed in and were chasing one another and shouting threats,” one frightened shopper told TT.

Police have parked a van in front of one of the mall entrances, according to TT, in an effort to block the advance of the angry mob.

By 2pm, the scene at the mall had calmed down.

“There hasn’t been any damage that we know of,” Nordstan mall marketing director Anders Larsson told TT, adding that the mall has decided to beef up security for the rest of the day as a precaution against further disturbances.

The incident comes on the day after as it emerged that new policies governing the popular image-sharing site, recently purchased by Facebook, would enable it to use members’ names and images alongside marketing messages.

The changes prompted an outpouring of angry comments on Twitter and other social media forums, and also raised concerned among privacy advocates that the company could exploit images of users as young as 13.

Founded in 2010, Instragram is a free photo-sharing program and social network that allows users to apply digital filters to their pictures and then share them with other Instagram users.

As of September 2012, the service had an estimated 100 million registered users.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Alien Nation’: Peter Hitchens on the Islamification of Britain

London is rapidly becoming a separate nation, as different from England as Scotland or Wales are, with indigenous British people now in a minority, in some areas a very small minority indeed, and incidentally with extremes of wealth and poverty not known since Edwardian times. Then of course there is the decline in Christianity, down by four million, from 72 per cent to 59 per cent; the growth in indifference to religion, with non-believers almost doubling to 14.1 million; and also of Islam, rising so fast that one British resident in 20 is now a Muslim.

The Muslim population is young, and keen on large families, while the Christian population tends to be older and less likely to have children. This is very much a work in progress, far from complete. A lot of nominal Christians are no longer bothering to pretend to a faith they have never cared much about. Do not be surprised if, in ten years, the gap between the number of professing Christians and the number of Muslims has grown much smaller. The secularists, who have so enthusiastically sought to drive Christianity out of British life, may realise with a gulp of apprehension that they have only created a vacancy for Islam — a faith that is not at all troubled by Richard Dawkins.

Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday, 16 December 2012

Hitchens goes on to assert that the increased diversity of the UK is “the result of a deliberate, planned attempt to change this country for ever”, an accusation derived from a tendentious account of government immigration policy by former New Labour adviser Andrew Neather. This conspiracy theory is much loved by the anti-migrant, anti-multiculturalist right and proved a source of particular inspiration to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: As Muslims We Will Show Love for Jesus

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wishes all the people of Leicestershire and Rutland a merry Christmas and happy new year. Although we may not put up stockings and Christmas lights in our houses during the holiday season, make no mistake, as members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, we celebrate the life of Jesus — and all prophets — all year. Although our views diverge from Christians regarding the divinity of Jesus, Muslims hold a deep reverence for the Prophet Jesus who we, too, regard as the Messiah and whose name is mentioned no fewer than 25 times in the Holy Qu’ran.

As a Muslim, I invoke God’s blessings every single day on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). But I also choose to show my love for the Prophet Jesus, not with Christmas decorations and frantic holiday shopping trips, but by invoking blessings on him on a regular basis as well. In our five daily prayers, we beseech God to bless us as he did Abraham and his people, which included Jesus. As we all attempt to navigate another stressful holiday season, may we all remember his patience, steadfastness and unconditional love for humanity and make that a part our faith and lives.


Dr Habib Akram, president, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Leicester.

[JP note: Muslim love unplugged: pull the other one — it’s got bells on.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Needs New Site, Say Neighbours

ONE of the city’s three mosques has outgrown its site and should move elsewhere, it has been claimed. Neighbours of the Madina Mosque in Stanley Road oppose plans to extend the premises, which already caters for hundreds of Muslims each day. A planning application was submitted on October 15 to build a single-storey prayer room at the back of the mosque as well as making other alterations…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Staffordshire Hoard: Gold Fragments Found in Hammerwich

In 2009, a metal detector enthusiast discovered what came to be known as the Staffordshire Hoard, a collection of more than 3,000 gold and silver Anglo-Saxon objects dating to the seventh and eighth centuries. Last month, after the farmer-owned English field was plowed, archaeologists and metal detector enthusiasts returned to search for additional metalwork pieces.

They recovered more than 90 of them, some of which fit with parts from the original hoard. The newly found artifacts include a possible helmet cheek piece, a cross-shaped mount, and an eagle-shaped mount. “We think these items were buried at a deeper level which is why we didn’t find them first time around,” said County Council archaeologist, Steve Dean.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Threat of Right Wing Fanatics is Growing Warns Home Secretary

The threat of an Anders Breivik style right wing attack in the UK is growing, the Home Secretary signalled yesterday.

Theresa May revealed extra resources have been put in to monitoring the risk from right wing extremists, especially from a “lone wolf” fanatic. She said concern has grown in the wake of the Norway attacks in July last year when Breivik slaughtered 77 people, mainly youths. The spread of violent right wing anarchy amid the fallout of the euro crisis, especially in Greece and Spain, has also increased fears, intelligence sources said. In evidence to the Commons joint committee on the national security strategy, Mrs May said: “We’ve had increased focus on right-wing groups in the last year or so, particularly since the Breivik incident in Norway. It’s still the case that we’re likely to see a lone actor on the basis of right-wing extremism. We’ve had more resources looking into right-wing extremism.”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Why Rudolph’s Nose is So Bright: Norway Study

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s snout has been immortalised in movies, books and song. But until now, no-one has offered a scientific explanation for the glow that allows the world’s most famous antlered herbivore to guide Santa’s sleigh through the night before Christmas.

In a study released on Monday, researchers in Norway and the Netherlands used a hand-held microscope to examine the nasal lining of five healthy humans, two reindeer and a sixth person with a non-cancerous nasal growth.

Reindeer noses have 25 percent more blood vessels than human noses, according to the tongue-in-cheek investigation, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in its Christmas edition.

The tiny blood vessels provide plentiful oxygen-carrying cells and help control the body’s temperature, showed their findings, which were backed by an infrared image of a reindeer after exercise.

“Rudolph’s nose is red because it is richly supplied with red blood cells, comprises a highly dense microcirculation, and is anatomically and physiologically adapted for reindeer to carry out their flying duties for Santa Claus,” the paper observes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Islamic Fundamentalist Preacher Sentenced to a Year

And hefty fine for defaming actress Elham Shaheen

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, DECEMBER 18 — Notorious Islamic fundamentalist Egyptian preacher Abdallah Badr was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 20,000 Egyptian lire (approximately 4,000 euros) for defaming actress Elham Shaheen, Al Masry Al Youm online newspaper reported Tuesday.

On his show on Al Hafez satellite TV, Badr has called the actress, who has openly denounced Islamic fundamentalists on talk shows, “a prostitute” and “an infidel” and accused her of being “lascivious and promiscuous”, the newspaper said.

Shaheen responded by suing him and TV chief Atef Abdel Rashed for defamation and incitment to hate against artists, contributing to the country’s chaos. As soon as the verdict was handed down, Badr supporters tried to storm the courtroom, calling for the judiciary to be “cleaned up” and issuing threats against the actress.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Top Prosecutor Quits, Weeks After Morsi Appointed Him

Egypt’s public prosecutor, Talaat Ibrahim, has resigned his post amid pressure from within the judiciary; they argued that his appointment by President Mohammed Morsi put the courts’ independence at risk.

Talaat Ibrahim (left in top image) offered his resignation as Egypt’s top prosecutor on Monday, less than a month after Morsi appointed him to the post.

One part of Morsi’s controversial November decrees, criticized especially within the Egyptian courts, was the appointment of Ibrahim as public prosecutor in place of Abdel Maguid Mahmoud. Mahmoud had held the post for years, also under the tenure of former President Hosni Mubarak — Morsi said he sacked the prosecutor owing to his connections to the prior government. The move prompted protests, however, from within the courts.

Public prosecutors staged a sit-in outside Ibrahim’s office on Monday, demanding that he step down. They argued Morsi’s appointment of the prosecutor was inappropriate, saying that the Supreme Judicial Council should have taken the decision.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Danish Muslim Group Supports Syrian Hate Preacher

Imprisoned in Lebanon, Omar Bakri uses technology to get his message out — an increasing trend used to radicalise young Danish Muslims, according to PET

TV2 News reports that a radical Muslim group called ‘Kaldet til Islam’ (The Call to Islam) are being taught by Omar Bakri, a notorious anti-Western preacher.

Bakri may be serving a life sentence In Lebanon for inciting murder, theft and possession of weapons and explosives, but he was still able to speak to a demonstration organised by Kaldet til Islam this September on Kongens Nytorv through a mobile telephone attached to a megaphone.

“Those that make films, pictures or caricatures of the prophet should watch out! Islam promises death to anyone that insults the prophet’s honour,” he told the demonstration according to TV2 News. “Anyone that insults the prophet should be killed.”

According to TV 2 News, Abu Asadullah and Abu Musa, the spokesperson and chairman, respectively, of Kaldet til Islam — which numbers only around 50 members — regularly listen to Omar Bakri’s teachings over the internet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Jordan — the Next Middle East Flashpoint?

For the West, the Jordanian monarchy is an anchor of stability in the Middle East. But one analyst argues that ignoring the discontent there to maintain the status quo could deepen tensions in the country.

As rebellion continues to sweep one Arab nation after another, Jordan’s diplomatic importance seems to grow. Quite apart from its relative domestic stability, the Hashemite Kingdom is currently the only Arab country with a resident ambassador in Israel, a vital point of contact given Jordan’s large Palestinian population.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Qatar in the Bottom of Rankings for Environmental Pollution

Emirate third last in Happy Planet Index

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, DECEMBER 17 — Qatar ranked third last in the Happy Planet Index ranking drafted by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) which measures the wellbeing and environmental impact of countries. The Emirate, which hosted the 18th United Nations conference on climate change, ranked 149th among the 151 countries examined, with the worst data on the country’s environmental impact.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures how countries are able to guarantee citizens a sustainable and happy life through three criteria: life expectancy, wellbeing and environment-friendly policies.

Botswana ranked last and Costa Rica first. Italy came in 51st right after France and a little ahead of Saudi Arabia with a good life expectancy but a negative environmental impact.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Russia ‘To Evacuate Its Citizens in Syria’

Russian has sent warships to Syria, a move that could indicate the Syrian regime feels increasingly threatened by rebels. Meanwhile, two Russians in the country have been kidnapped and a top US journalist has been freed.

Russia sent warships to the Mediterranean for a possible evacuation of its citizens in Syria, a Russian news agency reported on Tuesday, a possible indication that Syrian President Bashar Assad feels threatened by rebels who are zoning in on Damascus.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Syria: Russia Sends 5 Baltic Fleet Warships to Med

Possibly to evacuate Russians living in Syria, anonymous source

(ANSAmed) — MOSCOW, DECEMBER 18 — Russia sent five Baltic Fleet warships to a Mediterranean location near the Syrian border to replace those of its Black Sea Fleet, which had been stationed in the region since November, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson made known Tuesday. The ships left Monday from Baltiysk port for “a long-term mission” and a “series of exercises,” according to the ministry. It did not say whether they will dock in the Syrian port city of Tartus, north of Damascus, where Russia has its sole Mediterranean naval base. Functioning since the Soviet era, the base provides technical assistance and supplies to both civilian and military ships. The fleet is being deployed “to participate in a possible evacuation of Russian citizens from Syria should the situation become critical,” an anonymous source in Baltiysk told Interfax news agency. Preparations for this mission were undertaken “in a hurry,” the source said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week announced plans to evacuate Russian nationals from Syria if necessary.

Officially there are currently 5,000 Russian living in Syria, but that number reaches 25-30,000 when taking into account numerous Russian-Syrian marriages and their children.

Two Russian citizens were kidnapped along with Italian engineer, Mario Belluomo, yesterday along the coast near the port city of Latakia, in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Moscow Mosques Building Plan Sparks Debate

Moscow authorities may provide six sites for the construction of mosques in different parts of Moscow. While nationalists warn against building mosques without taking into account the opinion of locals, Russia’s human rights activists support the authorities’ move.

Moscow authorities are ready to provide six sites for the construction of mosques in different administrative districts of Moscow, Izvestia reported on Dec. 17. “The Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the European Part of Russia already knows three sites that will be approved, after several years of debate,” the newspaper said. “They are located in Southern Butovo, Lyublino, and near the metro station Shosse Entuziastov.” Other buildings needed by the Muslim community will also be built on the provided territories, Ravil Gainutdin, chairman of the Russian Council of Muftis and chairman of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the European Part of Russia, told Interfax. “There will be a mosque in Butovo, in Lyublino (where the Moscow Islamic University is located), and in Shosse Entuziastov, where we also plan to build an Islamic culture center,” Gainutdin said. A source in the Moscow government has confirmed to Interfax that the three sites (Lyublino, Butovo and Shosse Entuziastov) have already been approved, although no final decision has been made…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Vladimir Putin Calls on Russian Families to Have Three Children

President Vladimir Putin has urged Russians to have at least three children as he said a resurgent nation should be a confident and “influential” power on the world stage.

In a bullish state-of-the-nation address in Moscow on Wednesday, Mr Putin promised to smite corruption, create millions of new jobs and boost Russia’s military might while warning that foreign meddling in the country’s internal affairs was unacceptable.

He claimed the country shared universal democratic values, adding: “Russian democracy is the power of the Russian people with their own traditions of national self-government, and not the realisation of standards foisted on us from outside.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban to Meet Enemies in France

Taliban representatives will this week meet their bitter foes from the Northern Alliance in an initiative aimed at heading off civil war in Afghanistan after Nato forces leave at the end of 2014.

The old enemies will be represented among 20 delegates attending a conference organised by a French think tank, at an undisclosed location outside Paris. The Taliban have insisted that the meeting will not involve negotiations, but a senior member of the Afghan High Peace Council said simply getting the enemies in the same room was “an excellent development”. Northern Alliance leaders have been among the most opposed to any concessions to the Taliban in peace talks and have warned they will reject any secret deal between Kabul and the insurgents. Many of its commanders have said they are rearming and would rather fight than see their foes given any power. The two factions fought through the late 1990s as the Taliban surged north and swept the northern forces back into a handful of besieged mountain provinces…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Blast Kills 10 Girls in Eastern Afghanistan; Car Bomber Targets Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives targeted the compound of a private military contractor on the eastern outskirts of Kabul on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring at least 15 others, including foreigners, the police said. In a separate episode, 10 girls were killed in a rural district of eastern Afghanistan on Monday when a roadside bomb exploded while they were collecting firewood, the Afghan police said. The office of the governor of Nangarhar Province said the girls were all between 9 and 11 years old. The Ministry of Education said some were as young as 6…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Being a Non-Believer in Pakistan

A recent report says that Pakistan is one of the seven countries in the world where atheists face discrimination and persecution. DW talks to Pakistani non-believers about their lives in the Islamic Republic.

The Freedom of Thought 2012 report, issued this week by the Netherlands-based International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), states that non-believers in many Islamic countries suffer discrimination and can even be executed if their beliefs become known to the public or state authorities.

The IHEU — a union of over 100 humanist, rationalist, secular, atheist and free thought organizations — conducted its survey across some 60 countries.

While non-believers are also legally and culturally discriminated against in many secular Western countries, the results showed that persecution was becoming increasingly acute in non-secular Islamic nations.

The expression of atheistic views or anti-religious ideas can even bring with it a death sentence in Afghanistan, Iran, the Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, the report noted.

Pakistani experts say that discrimination against non-believers has gradually increased in their country, which was once also known for its rebellious secular student movements, Marxist poets and painters, and non-conformist political leaders. They claim things have changed for the worse in the Islamic country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

India: Orissa: 12 Houses Razed to the Ground, Belonging to Christians of Kandhamal

The authorities of the village of Raikia demolished the houses, belonging to tribal Christians in the community. The official explanation: the houses stood near a road to be expanded. In reality, a wealthy landowner has allegedly corrupted the officials, to take possession of the land.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — The local authorities of the village of Raikia (Kandhamal district, Orissa) have demolished 12 houses belonging to Christian families in the area. According to the official explanation, the administration needed the land on which the houses stood to widen the street. In reality, a wealthy landowner has allegedly put pressure on the administration of the district, to take possession of the area. The incident occurred on December 12, but the news has spread only in recent days.

At 11:00 am, local officials and police reached the main road of Raikia, 300 meters from where the houses were located. Shortly after, a bulldozer began the demolition. One of the tenants, Niranjan Samal, a school inspector, tried to protest. The agents arrested him, then had his house demolished. In total, three homes were destroyed, while another nine were partially destroyed.

Sandip Nayak, one of the Christians affected, said: “My mother was served a notice to vacate the house on December 6, because it was on land owned by the government. But she and the other elders have always paid the rent on a regular basis, for years.” According to the young man, the need to widen the road is just an excuse, to hide the hand of Piklu Sabat, a rich entrepreneur of Raikia. In fact, he owns the land behind the houses, and in the past had already tried to buy the homes by offering money to the families. They refused, and the man allegedly corrupted the local officials.

“By depriving the Christians of a roof”, accuses Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “the Raikia government has created a new Bethlehem. As Jesus was born in a manger, so these women and children will spend Christmas in the cold, in extreme poverty, abandoned by their own administration.”

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

India Does Not Object to Xmas Permit for Italy Marines

Court decision postponed as judge seeks ‘guarantees’

(ANSA) — New Delhi, December 18 — The Indian government said on Tuesday it would not object in the event that a local court decided to allow two Italian marines on trial for murder to return home for Christmas.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are on bail in India after allegedly shooting and killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of the southern state of Kerala during an anti-piracy mission in February. They have asked to be allowed to spend two weeks with their families in Italy over Christmas and a Kerala court was due to rule on the request on Tuesday.

However the hearing was postponed by a day as the court sought guarantees from the Italian authorities that the soldiers would return to India at the end of the two-week period. Latorre and Girone have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between the two countries over who should have jurisdiction in the case.

Proceedings began in Kerala but Italy subsequently petitioned that it should have jurisdiction over the case because the incident took place on an Italian ship, and in any case that the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission.

India’s Supreme Court has dithered over a verdict and last week the country said it would be at least another three months before a ruling is handed down.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

India: Kerala: No to Christmas in Italy for Two Marines

The defense has asked the High Court of Kerala to allow the two marines home for Christmas, with the promise to return to India after the holidays. The state government fears instead Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone would remain in Italy, “torpedoing” the process.

Kochi (AsiaNews) — The Government of Kerala is against the request made by the two Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, to be allowed to return to Italy to celebrate Christmas with their families. Lawyers for the soldiers of the Battalion San Marco, on trial for the murder of two Indian fishermen, filed an appeal to the High Court of the state. The court should decide tomorrow, and asked the state governments and Central Union if it considers guarantees on the return of two of the Italian Marines in Kochi after the holidays “reliable”.

In an affidavit, the Consul General of Italy in India, Giampaolo Cutillo, has guaranteed the return to India of the accused, immediately after the holiday season. However, the Government of Kerala is concerned that the temporary return to Italy would “torpedo” the entire trial. According to the Indian state in fact, the Italian government could hold Latorre and Girone for the parallel criminal proceeding undertaken by the Public Prosecutor of Rome. In this case, said the attorney general of Kerala Asaf Ali, “we would have no legal solution to bring them back.”

Meanwhile, India and Italy await the verdict of the Supreme Court in the trial regarding the jurisdiction of the case. A verdict is, on which depends the final acquittal and return of the two sailors.

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

Italians Complete Wells, Road Improvements in Afghanistan

Builders improve Herat network and add to country’s main r

(ANSA) — Rome, December 17 — An Italian military contingent in Afghanistan completed community service facilities, including wells, a water channel and roads in the province of Herat.

The facilities, meant to help improve the lives of villagers, were carried out by the Italian Provincial Reconstruction Team, part of Italy’s military contingent in the country.

Some 11 new wells were built, another nine restored and a one-kilometer water channel was excavated.

Other projects include the opening of the last kilometer of road connecting Herat’s eastern suburbs to the city center. The team had already built numerous sections of the road, in other areas, and began another piece of the new Ring Road — the main artery that connects Herat to Kabul passing through Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif — which will eventually reach the district of Injil. The team also began construction works on a new market area near the Ring Road and close to Herat’s airport.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mental Illness is Rampant in Afghanistan

According to the American Medical Association, around 70 percent of the Afghan population suffers from psychological disorders. Mentally challenged people face discrimination and their families suffer.

“Mohammad! Madman!” the children cry after him. They laugh and make jokes. Mohammad does not know how to answer and shouts back angrily at his tormentors: “Not me! You!” The 16-year-old is just one among many mentally handicapped in trouble-torn Afghanistan. The authorities are not in a position to supply any reliable numbers.

Mohammad lives with his parents and two sisters in one of the poorer areas of Kabul. The whole family suffers with him — when he is restless, his mother orders him out of the house so that she can have some respite. No school will accept him because of his hereditary mental disability — and there are no special schools for people with mental illness in Afghanistan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Karachi Polio Killings: Vaccination Workers Shot

Four female Pakistani polio vaccination workers have been shot dead in the country’s largest city Karachi, police say.

The attacks happened during a three-day Unicef nationwide drive against polio, which is endemic in Pakistan. No group has said it carried out the shootings, but the Taliban have issued threats against the polio drive and are active in parts of Karachi. The attacks took place in three separate locations in the city. Meanwhile, a teenage girl was wounded in an attack when gunmen opened fire on a team of female health workers on the outskirts of Peshawar in the north-west. Pakistani health officials said the latest anti-polio drive — during which an estimated 5.2m polio drops were to be administered — had been suspended due to the attacks…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Polio Workers Killed in Pakistan

Six healthworkers who were part of a polio immunization drive have been shot dead inside 24 hours in Pakistan. The murders in Karachi and Peshawar have prompted authorities to suspend the polio campaign there.

Pakistani gunmen killed five health workers who were part of a polio campaign on Tuesday, a day after a man working on the same project was also shot, prompting Islamabad to halt its polio immunization campaign, according to officials.

“The health minister has ordered the suspension of the anti-polio campaign throughout Sindh following the killings,” senior government official Saleem Khan said.

“A decision to restore the immunization drive will be taken after assessing the (security) situation,” he added.

Gunmen shot four dead of the health workers as they were administering the oral polio vaccine in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and the capital of Sindh province, a police spokesman told the DPA news agency. Two male workers also sustained injuries in the attack. Another female vaccinator was killed in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The tragedy came after a gunman shot and killed a male volunteer in Karachi for the same polio campaign as he travelled home late on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Germany: ‘Stigmatization of Migrants Must Stop’

This year on International Migrants Day, the number of migrants worldwide is higher than ever. Still, attitudes remain ill-informed, says Jean-Philippe Chauzy from the International Organization for Migration.

DW: It’s been 22 years since the signing of the UN convention protecting the rights of migrant workers. What is the situation like for migrants across the world today?

Jean-Philipp Chauzy: Each region where migration is occurring has its own special situation, involving internally displaced peoples, people fleeing conflict or natural disaster or just people on the move looking for more financial rewards. What we are seeing in many parts of the world though, especially during the economic downturn, is that migrants are being stigmatized and scapegoated. We notice that especially in discussions in many industrialized countries. Migrants are being made responsible, in some cases wrongly so, for the current state of the economy…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany Growing Increasingly Diverse

One out of every eight residents of Germany is foreign-born, said the National Statistics Office (Destatis) on International Migrants Day. After a slight decline, immigration is again on the rise in the country.

Around 10.7 million migrants from 194 countries live in Germany, Destatis said on Tuesday.

The majority of Germany’s immigrants, some 7.4 million, come from within Europe. Of those, nearly half come from EU member states.

The countries of origin for most immigrants in Germany are former states of the Soviet Union, with 2.4 million people. Turkey is second with 1.4 million people, followed by Poland with 1.1 million.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

I No Longer Recognise the Britain I Grew Up in

By A. N. Wilson

When I come out of the railway station at Stoke-on-Trent, as I have done countless times since my childhood, I make my way to the taxi rank and ask for Barlaston, a small village five miles away, where my parents began their married life.

The taxi-driver invariably registers a total blank. ‘I am going to the Wedgwood factory.’ Blank. ‘You know? Wedgwood? Famous pottery?’ Complete blank.

Only when I produce a post-code, and we can tap it into a SatNav, does the Asian taxi-driver have any idea where we are going: and it is certainly not anywhere in the Britain of my boyhood.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Muslim Leaders Demand Exemption From Gay Marriage Laws

Muslim leaders today demanded they should have the same legal exemption to gay marriages as the Church of England amid a growing chorus of condemnation.

The Muslim Council of Britain, which represents 500 mosques and community organisations throughout the country, claimed the law was “utterly discriminatory”. Officials said they were “appalled” by the legislation, announced by Maria Miller last week, would allow same-sex couples to marry as early as 2014. But the Culture Secretary has made it expressly illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to conduct same-sex weddings. She added that any religious group was allowed to “opt in” and perform ceremonies if they wish. But the MCB today attacked the laws and insisted that mosques and other religious centres under its control should be exempted…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Twitter Tops 200 Million Active Users

Twitter said Tuesday the number of active users of the service has topped 200 million, in a sign of the sizzling growth of the messaging platform.

News of the milestone came in a tweet, of course, from the official Twitter account: “There are now more than 200M monthly active @twitter users. You are the pulse of the planet. We’re grateful for your ongoing support!”

The number was the first official estimate from Twitter since it claimed 140 million active users.

Twitter offered no details on the latest update, but in the past has said the majority of active users were in the United States.

Outside analysts have provided various estimates for Twitter, which is privately held and thus not required to disclose most business data.

Earlier this year, a French-based research firm said over 500 million people are on the micro-blogging site, with Americans and Brazilians the most connected.

Another group, Sys-Con media, estimated last month that Twitter had over 465 million accounts and that the number of daily tweets had topped 175 million.

A recent survey found one in seven Americans who go online use Twitter and eight percent do so every day.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

"Apostle Barack, the name he was called in my dreams, would walk the earth to create a more equalized society, for the middle class and working poor,” she added."

By taking from the middle and giving some of it to the poor, All Praise Holy Barack

Anonymous said...

So now we know why the British government has thrown Tommy Robinson into prison on trumped up charges in the hope that he will be done in by his muslim cell mates and why Emma West is similarly incarcerated.

It would seem that, from what our Home Secretary, Theresa May, has said, Britain is drifting towards the same paranoid anti-nationalist, stamp on anybody who is anti-multiculturalist or anti-islamification police state as Norway and Sweden, all on the back of Anders Breivik.

Apart from its support for big business, property developers, the bankers who have ruined the world economy and employers who are hooked on cheap immigrant Labour, David Cameron's culturally Marxist Conservative Party is getting so close to New Labour and the Liberal Democrats that it is becoming difficult to distinguish between them.

Only certain flags are allowed to be flown from public buildings here but after there was a challenge to the flying of the striped gay rights flag from a number of police stations, the communities secretaries (yes the English are just a community now) rushed a bill through parliament making it legal with no public consultation and no public consent. In the view of many here now democracy is as dead as a dodo and the New World Order is well and truly in place.

To Theresa May's parents' generation the pro-nationalist anti-globalist pro-white, pro-Christian views of many still in this country would have been the norm and her Conservative Party would have been something that Marxist students would have only dreamed of. But this is no longer the case.

The only good thing is that action and reaction are equal and opposite and this is just going to accelerate the exit of the rats leaving the sinking ship of Cameron's Conservative Party for the "extreme right" of UKIP and other what would have once been called conservative parties.