Monday, January 13, 2003

News Feed 20130109

Financial Crisis
»Greece: January Pensions to See 5-20% Reduction
»If Obama Can Just Create a Trillion Dollar Coin, Then Why Do We Have to Pay Taxes?
»Is Barack Obama Consciously Attempting to Bankrupt the United States?
»Italian Stock Markets Show Strong Gains, Led by Banks
»Italy: Monti Blasted as Arrogant, Out of Touch
»Italy’s Deficit Falls to 3.7% in First 9 Months of 2012
»Merkel Promises Help to Create Jobs in Greece
»Tea-Party Senator Contradicts Self on Obama Redistribution?
»Alex Jones: Best Night of Television Ever
»Armed Mafia Stalk Alex Jones Post Piers Morgan Debate: Video Report
»Bank of America Freezes Gun Manufacturer’s Account, Company Owner Claims
»Biden: NRA to Meet on Guns
»Biden Says Obama to Use “Executive Action” To Restrict Second Amendment
»College Professor Says ‘Crisis Actors’ May Have Played Part if Sandy Hook Was Indeed a Hoax (Video)
»Conspiracy of Brothers
»Ed Schultz: The Constitution is ‘Archaic’ Regarding Second Amendment [Video]
»Founders Enshrined 2nd Amendment to Restrain Government!
»Gossip Web Site Posts Lists of ‘All’ New York City Gun Owners
»Gun Control Dictator Style
»Harvard Doctors Call for Massive Federal Tax ‘On All Firearms and Ammunition’
»Head of Mosque in Miami Under Trial for Terrorism Charges
»If You Thought Sandy Hook Was Bad, The British Massacres of Disarmed Colonists Were Far Worse
»Iowa Lawmaker Calls for Confiscation of Guns
»Jews and the Hagel Nomination: Chelm on the Potomac
»Mosque Applicant Urged to Double Parking Spaces
»Outrage: Bank of America Freezes Funds of Licensed Online Gun Dealer: “We Believe You Should Not be Selling Guns on the Internet”
»Piers Morgan & Guests: Turn in Your Guns or We Will Kill You (Video)
»Piers Morgan Snickers About Shooting Alex Jones
»Second Amendment: My Line in the Sand is Drawn Here!
»Statistics Prove: More Guns, Less Crime
»Twenty-Second Amendment to be Scrapped?
»US Congress ‘Less Popular Than Cockroaches’
»Video: Alex Jones Blasts Out With Justified Outrage at Piers Morgan and Other Traitors to Human Freedom
»Voters Shut Out Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates
»Animal Killer Kayla Bourque Released to Live in Vancouver
Europe and the EU
»Anti Domestic Violence Campaign for Scottish Muslims
»Courage of a Rape Victim British Tourist Returns to Spain to See ‘Sex Attack’ Waiter Who Left Her to Die Face Justice
»EU Demands Access to Details of All UK Drivers: ‘Orwellian’ Move to Hand Out Personal Information to Foreign Police Forces
»French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac Under Investigation for ‘Fraud and Money Laundering’
»Greece: Lagarde List Sparks Inter-Party Feuding
»Greece: Four Votes to Shed Light on Lagarde List
»IMU House Tax Must be More Progressive to be Fair, EU Says
»Italy: Soccer: Berlusconi Vows Milan to Stand Up to Racism
»Italy: Bersani Fires Back at Monti for Wanting to ‘Shut Up’ PD
»Italy: Soccer: Games Shouldn’t be Stopped for ‘Few’ Racist Jeers
»Italy: Northern League Rules Out Berlusconi Being Premier
»Italy: Berlusconi Blames ‘Feminist’ Judges for Massive Alimony
»Majorca: British Woman Raped and Stabbed in Magaluf Faces Attacker in Court
»Rome Prosecutors’ Probe Led to Credit-Card Freeze at Vatican
»Spaniard Wins British Foundation Best Mayor for 2012
»The Incredible Disappearing Germans — A Long-Term Economic Forecast for the 21st Century
»UK: Bradford Moor Driver Mohammed Shahin Attacked Baildon Woman
»UK: Bride Kirsty Lane Who Stole £170,000 From Her Boss to Pay for Dream Wedding is Forced to Repay Just One Tenth of the Money
»UK: Cyclist Sexually Assaults Dog Walker, 61, In Chadderton Hall Park
»UK: Drug Addict Lesbian Couple Who Thought Pensioner Had Secret Fortune ‘Left Him to Die After Torturing Him for His Pin Number
»UK: Economic Reality and the Burden of Welfare
»UK: Grappling With Muslim Sex Gangs in Britain
»UK: Halesowen Muslims Festive Working
»UK: Labour Wanted to Rename a Council Ward After A mosque
»UK: Met Office Releases Revised Global Temperature Predictions Showing Planet is Not Rapidly Heating Up
»UK: Mentally Ill Woman ‘Who Stabbed Grandma to Death With 12in Butcher’s Knife Had Been Released From Secure Hospital After Killing Her Own Mother’
»UK: Polish Sex Attacker ‘Stabbed to Death by Passer-by as He Molested Girl, 18, In the Street’
»UK: Stephen Lawrence’s Brother Sues Met Over Race Discrimination
»UK: Social Services Knew Girl, 4, Was Living With ‘Paedophile’ Foster Parent But Left Her in His Care for More Two Weeks
»UK: The Ralph Miliband Lectures Remind US How Stupid ‘Clever’ People Can be
»UK: What Two Thugs Did to Nurse They Attacked Outside Her Own Hospital as She Waited for a Bus Home
North Africa
»Egypt: Abdel-Gawad Yassin: Sharia Law Must be Flexible
»Morocco Elected Chair of UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee
»Tunisair Cuts Personnel to Avoid Crisis
»Tunisia: Ali Harzi, Suspect in Nation Attack on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Freed
»Tunisia: Stolen Kiss Costs 20-Yr-Olds Jail Time
Israel and the Palestinians
»First Postage Stamp With “State of Palestine” Issued
»Jewish Groups Attack Psalmist Mosque in Jerusalem
Middle East
»Dutch Military Team Arrives in Turkey for Patriots Deployment
»Free Ebook: War on Syria: Gateway to WWIII
»Garvan Walshe: Beware a Pragmatic Foreign Policy
»In 2012, Sharia Enforcement Continued to Spread Around the World
»International Sanctions Against Iran Cause Oil and Gas Revenues to Drop by 45 Per Cent
»Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Program Complete
»Iran: Tehran Cannot Sell Its Oil, 40% Drop in Nine Months
»Lebanon: US Boosts Army as Precaution Against Syria Spillover
»Saudi Arabia: Blind Old Man Uses Rope to Reach Mosque
»Saudi Arabia: Sri Lanka’s Rizana Nafeek Executed
»Stakelbeck Interviews Israeli Vice PM Moshe Yaalon, Plus Deputy
»UAE: Inquiry Into ‘Women’s Branch’ of Islamic Group
»Using Cold War Tactics to Confront Iran
South Asia
»India Says Kashmir Killings’ Inhuman’
»Indian Soldier ‘Beheaded by Pakistan Troops’ As Kashmir Dispute Escalates
»New Trial for Polish Soldiers Over Afghanistan Killings
»U. S. To Leave No More Than 9,000 Men in Afghanistan
Far East
»Philippines: 500,000 Take Part in Annual Feast of Black Nazarene in Manila
»What Did Google Earth Spot in the Chinese Desert? Even an Ex-CIA Analyst Isn’t Sure
Australia — Pacific
»How a Hoaxer Created Sharemarket Havoc
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Al Qaeda Carves Out Own Country in Mali
»Battle to Save African Elephants Waged on a New Front
»Chad, Minimum of 40 Children Paralyzed After New Meningitis Vaccine
»Kenya: Horror as Entire Family of Elephants Slaughtered for Ivory
»Nigeria: Gunmen Fire on Muslims
»Nigeria: Obasanjo to Jonathan — Reach Out to Boko Haram
»Italy: Immigration Bureau Issued 4,800 Expulsion Orders in 2012
Culture Wars
»Italy: Gay Groups Wary About Berlusconi Pledge for Same-Sex Couples
»Obama Administration is Anti-Catholic
»The “New Breed” Of Christian Fashion
»Hubble Space Telescope Could Last Until 2018, NASA Says

Financial Crisis

Greece: January Pensions to See 5-20% Reduction

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JANUARY 3 — Retired Greeks will see their pensions reduced by between 5-20% depending on their pay scale as measures to curb state spending and meet targets set by the country’s creditors start coming into effect this month. The plan, as daily Kathimerini reports, is for pensions up to 1,500 euros to be slashed by 5%, those between 1,500 and 2,000 euros by 10%, etc, while pensions in excess of 3,000 euros will see 20% slashed, although they will not go under 2,550 euros. The unwed or divorced daughters of civil servants receiving pensions will see the amount reduced to a maximum of 720 euros per month, while they may even see a complete abolition of their pension if they declare an income from other sources up to or above that amount, Skai reported on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

If Obama Can Just Create a Trillion Dollar Coin, Then Why Do We Have to Pay Taxes?

If Barack Obama can “solve” the debt ceiling crisis by printing up some trillion dollar coins, then why does the federal government need our money? As another debt ceiling showdown approaches, many in the liberal media are suggesting that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling that Obama should just have the U.S. Treasury create a trillion dollar platinum coin and use it to pay our bills. It sounds crazy, but many notable voices (including Paul Krugman of the New York Times) are supporting this idea. But if the federal government has had the power to create trillion dollar coins out of thin air all this time, then why do we have to pay taxes? Not only that, why do we have a national debt? If the federal government can just create money whenever it wants, then why does the federal government ever have to borrow it from others?

The U.S. Constitution actually grants Congress the power to “coin money”, so why is the Federal Reserve doing it? Those are some very important questions. Most Americans don’t even realize that the U.S. government never actually needed to borrow a single penny from anyone else. The U.S. Congress has the authority to create debt-free money whenever it wants to. Conceivably, the entire federal government could be funded without ever borrowing a single dollar and without ever receiving a single dollar from any of us in taxes. Just imagine that — a nation without a single penny of national debt, no income tax and no IRS. What a wonderful world that would be. Of course there would be other potential dangers under such a system (such as runaway inflation), and those dangers would have to be addressed. But the truth is that we don’t have to have an income tax or 16 trillion dollars of government debt. We only have those things because we have chosen to have those things.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Is Barack Obama Consciously Attempting to Bankrupt the United States?

WND senior staff reporter Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D., makes this claim in a new ebook just published, “Obama’s Plan to Bankrupt the USA: The Cloward-Piven Theory.”

On May 2, 1966, two Columbia University sociologists, Professor of Social Work Richard A. Cloward and his then-research associate Frances Fox Piven, wrote a pivotal article in The Nation, articulating “a strategy to end poverty.”…

“Barack Obama and the radical left activists now in control of the Democratic Party see the Cloward-Piven theory as predicting a welfare state expanded to the point where the accumulated national debt bankrupts the USA,” Corsi said.

“The Cloward-Piven theory predicts capitalism will collapse such that the USA can be reconstructed as a truly socialist state dedicated to the elimination of private property and the creation of ‘social justice’ achieved by redistributing income from the ‘haves’ to the ‘have-nots.’“

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Italian Stock Markets Show Strong Gains, Led by Banks

Other European financial markets also rise

(ANSA) — Milan, January 9 — Italian bank stocks surged on Wednesday, lifting the country’s key financial market and leading those in the rest of Europe.

On the Milan Stock Exchange, the FTSE Mib gained 2.21% to close at 17,326 points — its highest level in 17 months.

The index was lifted by strong interest in telecommunications equities as well as an upbeat sentiment due to encouraging earnings on stock markets in the United States.

But key to Wednesday’s gains in Milan was the continued investor interest in banks shares. Overall, the financial-services sector has been on the rise over news that implementation of some Basel III liquidity standards have been delayed for four years and other requirements eased.

Italian banks already meet the Basel III liquidity requirements, but the easing of rules has been generally positive for financial-sector stocks.

Meanwhile, the spread between Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond and its ultra-safe German counterpart closed at 282 basis points, roughly where it has lingered all week.

At close of trading Wednesday, the yield on 10-year Italian paper stood at 4.29%, the same point as where it closed one day earlier.

In other European markets, Frankfurt’s DAX rose by 0.32% to reach 7,702.47 points, while London’s FTSE 100 fell by 0.74% to close at 6,098.65 points, Paris’s CAC 40 ended the day up by 0.25% to 3,715.02 points, and Spain’s IBEX 35 ended the day 1.87% higher at 8,611.10 points.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Blasted as Arrogant, Out of Touch

Outgoing premier wins cross-party disapproval after opening fire

(see related wrap) (ANSA) — Rome, January 3 — Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti came under a barrage of criticism on Thursday after making some hard-hitting comments as the campaign for next month’s general elections heats up.

Former European commissioner Monti was at the helm of an emergency technocrat government from November 2011 until last month while staying on as caretaker premier and he is standing to retain office on a reform platform.

He called his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi “volatile” and said his centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party was taking extreme stances on economic issues.

He also suggested the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) should suppress anti-reform elements within its ranks.

Centre-left premier candidate Pier Luigi Bersani, the PD’s leader, said he had no intention of silencing anyone in his party.

“I have respect (for Monti), but I ask for respect for the entire PD. We are a liberal party that will never shut anyone up,” said Bersani, adding that courage “did not mean shutting people up, but enabling them to participate”.

Italy’s biggest trade-union confederation, the left-wing GCIL, also attacked after Monti accused it of obstructing structural economic reforms. “He doesn’t know this country,” said Susanna Camusso, the leader of the CGIL, which has strong ties with the PD. “He offers criticism but very few proposals. If he has decided to stand in elections he should discuss his platforms.

“We’ve all seen his so-called reforms,” added Camusso.

“Poverty, unemployment and human frailty are all on the rise in this country”.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, blasted Monti as an academic who is out of touch with the real world. “Monti is a professor and professors… are distant from reality, which they look at through the keyhole while they have an assured salary and do not know the difficulties of businesses,” Berlusconi said on Italian radio. Berlusconi added that Italy should have had early elections in November 2011 when the financial crisis forced him to end his third term as Italian premier rather than making way for Monti’s emergency government of unelected technocrats. He also repeated criticism of the economic record of Monti’s government. “Everything has happened in a year. There has been the disaster of the technocrat government and we are in the full throes of a recession,” Berlusconi said. Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola, the leader of the left-wing SEL party, expressed irritation after Monti suggested the PD should break off its electoral alliance with his party.

Monti said it was always good to “cut the wings” and suggested he could govern with the PD after the elections if it broke with the SEL.

“There’s an element of arrogance (in what Monti says) that should be rejected,” Vendola said.

“Mario Monti is going around Pier Luigi Bersani to do a dance of death for him”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy’s Deficit Falls to 3.7% in First 9 Months of 2012

Deficit-GDP ratio down 0.5 on same period in 2011

(ANSA) — Rome, January 9 — Italy’s public deficit fell to 3.7% with respect to gross domestic product in the first nine months of 2012, 0.5% lower than in the same period in 2011, thanks to government tax hikes, Istat said Wednesday.

The national statistics added that the deficit-GDP ratio fell to 1.8% in the third quarter of 2012, 0.7% lower than in the same three months in 2011. Istat said the new and much-criticised IMU property tax, introduced by outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s emergency government of unelected technocrats, was the driving force of the higher tax revenues that have brought down the deficit. The tax hikes were part of austerity measures Monti’s government passed to put Italy on course to balance the national budget in structural terms this year and move the country away from the centre of the eurozone debt crisis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Merkel Promises Help to Create Jobs in Greece

Samaras in Berlin; ‘great effort, investments necessary’

(ANSAmed) — BERLIN — Germany must play a part in helping Greece fight unemployment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday in Berlin. ‘We also have to do everything we can to guarantee economic growth and the security of work places’, Merkel said in a joint statement with Greek Premier Antonis Samaras. Merkel explained that she wanted to understand how reforms were continuing and Athens’ economic outlook.

Greece ‘suffers unemployment, in particular youth unemployment’, stressed Samaras. The country, he said, is making ‘progress and huge efforts’ and now investments are necessary to counter youth unemployment. ‘We will do everything in our power to bring back the situation into order’, continued Samaras, stressing that the Greek government has started ‘systematic measures’ and taken action to recuperate market confidence.

The premier also stressed the ‘sacrifices’ endured by the Greek population, recalling how investments in the country are ‘important’ and ‘necessary’ for recovery.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tea-Party Senator Contradicts Self on Obama Redistribution?

Did Texas Senator Ted Cruz, considered a tea-party favorite, mean to argue the Republican party should approach the economy through the lens of one of the founders of so-called U.S. economic distributive justice?

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Friday, Cruz criticized the Republican approach to finances and called for an “ alternative course,” which he defined as “ opportunity conservatism.”

“We should assess policy with a Rawlsian lens, asking how it affects those least well-off among us. We should champion the 47 percent,” he wrote…

The use of the term “Rawlsian lens” is instructive.

Cruz was referring to John Rawls, the American political philosopher who was one of the 20th century’ s most influential theorists on so-called equality.

Rawls laid the foundations for what became the “economic fairness” movement of future progressives and may have informed President Obama’ s economic politics.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Alex Jones: Best Night of Television Ever

Piers Morgan (CNN) thought he might pump up his horrendous ratings and avoid having to go back to England. So he invited Alex Jones to come east and appear on his show.

They would discuss gun control and the petition to have Morgan deported. It would be good television. An interesting conversation. Perhaps things would get contentious.

But Morgan’s producers and bookers had made a fatal error of judgment.

To say Alex was loaded for bear is a vast understatement.

He crashed the television party in a way it’s never happened before.

You could call it: the internet invades mainstream media. But that doesn’t begin to do it justice.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Armed Mafia Stalk Alex Jones Post Piers Morgan Debate: Video Report

After the appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan, Alex Jones and Infowars video producer Rob Dew noticed they were being followed, watched and approached by possibly undercover agents claiming to be fans.

Alex was promised three segments on Morgan’s show; however, his producers apparently cancelled the last segment after Jones continued bashing Morgan with unscripted truths and facts.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Bank of America Freezes Gun Manufacturer’s Account, Company Owner Claims

Bank of America has reportedly frozen the account of gun manufacturer American Spirit Arms, according to its owner, Joe Sirochman.

In a Facebook post dated December 29, Sirochman wrote the following:

“My name is Joe Sirochman owner of American Spirit Arms…our Web site orders have jumped 500 percent causing our Web site e-commerce processing larger deposits to Bank of America. So they decided to hold the deposits for further review.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Biden: NRA to Meet on Guns

Vice President Biden will meet this week with the National Rifle Association and a variety of other groups as his task force on guns intensifies its efforts.

Biden will meet Wednesday with gun-safety organizations and shooting victims groups and on Thursday will meet with gun ownership organizations and sportsmen who use guns recreationally, according to the White House.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the organization accepted an invitation received from the White House late Friday.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Biden Says Obama to Use “Executive Action” To Restrict Second Amendment

On Wednesday during a press conference with attorney general Eric Holder, vice president Joe Biden said president Obama is considering taking “executive action” to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the American people.

“The president is going to act,” said Biden. “There are executives orders, there’s executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet. But we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required.”

“As the president said, if your actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking. But I’m convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of Americans and take thousands of people out of harm’s way if we act responsibly.”

In other words, according to the Obama administration and the Justice Department, if trashing the Constitution saves one life, it is worth it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

College Professor Says ‘Crisis Actors’ May Have Played Part if Sandy Hook Was Indeed a Hoax (Video)

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Communication professor James Tracy postulated that “crisis actors” may have acted out roles simulating distraught parents, murdered teachers, and children portrayed to be dead in the Sandy Hook shooting, according to the Sun Sentinel. photoJames Tracy PhD, University of Iowa

“As documents relating to the Sandy Hook shooting continue to be assessed and interpreted by independent researchers, there is a growing awareness that the media coverage of the massacre of 26 children and adults was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends,” Tracy wrote on his blog site where he lists a timeline of the events of the Sandy Hook tragedy as they played out in real time.

If you’ve never heard of “crisis actors” you’re not alone, but a quick visit to should fill you in.

Google lists a summary of the site as follows: “Helping schools and first responders create realistic drills, full-scale exercises, high-fidelity simulations, and interactive 3D films.” Tracy’s blog further notes, “The entourage’s personnel are ‘available nationwide for active shooter drills and mall shooting full-scale exercises.’“

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Conspiracy of Brothers

by Daniel Greenfield


Shawki listed six men, Arif Alikhan, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security for policy development; and Mohammed Elibiary, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He also listed Rashad Hussain, the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as well as Salam al-Marayati, co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America and Eboo Patel, a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. Not to mention Huma Abedin…

Reader comment by Ar’nun on 8 January 2013.]

I think this is the one case in which many of us are not looking forward to the day when we can look at Liberals and say “I told you so!” By then it will be too late.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ed Schultz: The Constitution is ‘Archaic’ Regarding Second Amendment [Video]

On his Tuesday show, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz aggressively argued it’s time to curb the right to bear arms, in order to prevent gun violence.

“The bottom line here, folks, is that we are at a crossroads in this country in this conversation,” Schultz said. “If we don’t do it now, when are we going to do it? When do the people’s opinion matter to the lawmakers in Congress? How many more children do we have to see die? And how many more bogus promotional sound bites do we have to have from the National Rifle Association that don’t tell the truth about gun violence in this country? It’s not just laws, it is a societal problem. But we have to take the step forward and do something right.”

Schultz admitted he is sportsman and has used firearms himself. But he argued that the Constitution is “archaic” with regards to firearms.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Founders Enshrined 2nd Amendment to Restrain Government!

Quote after quote makes clear — the founding fathers of the United States intended Americans to have weapons to defend against history’s greatest killer, Governments. Power inherently corrupts, and those founders wisely enshrined (but never GRANTED) the 2nd Amendment and other individual rights to discourage abuse by government and create a balance of power.

1. “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” — Joseph Stalin
2. “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” — Anonymous American adage
3. “The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” — Samuel Adams
4. “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…” — Tench Coxe 1788
5. “The Constitution preserves “the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” — James Madison, The Federalist, No. 46
6. “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” — Joseph Stalin
7. “In earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.” — Zbigniew Brzezinski
15. “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” — Thomas Jefferson
16. “Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn’t.” — Ben Franklin
17. “If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.” — Joseph Stalin

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Gossip Web Site Posts Lists of ‘All’ New York City Gun Owners

Here’s a classic example of the liberal mindset: find someone (or a group of people) who you disagree with, and rather than debate them, use anger and intimidation against them. That’s exactly what one author on a left-wing web site is doing when he posted the names of all registered gun owners in New York City.

Here’s what the author, John Cook, wrote:

Below is a 446-page list of every licensed gun owner in New York City. I obtained it from the NYPD two-and-a-half years ago via a Freedom of Information Law request. Because the NYPD is more interested in raping and/or eating ladies and spying on Muslims than it is in honoring public records law, the list contains only the names, and not the addresses, of the licensees.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Gun Control Dictator Style

“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.” — Mao Tze Tung, Nov 6, 1938

How ironic that those who are calling for gun control are those who want the guns so they can have the control.

It is of interest to the American people to take note of those who they entrust to serve them. We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, yet time and time again in this country we have leaders in government who put on the guise of “patriot” and then turn out to be the criminal in garb…

Looking back, who has committed murder in the largest degree? Dictators Adolf Hilter, Mao Tze Tung, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, etc.

Time and time again it has been a corrupt government who is responsible for the mass murder of their own people under the deceptive guise of “gun control,” all of which the said dictators implemented.

Keep in mind these people promised their citizens protection and freedom upon the forfeiture of their guns.

How many times, I ask, does history need to repeat itself?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Harvard Doctors Call for Massive Federal Tax ‘On All Firearms and Ammunition’

A trio of public health doctors from Harvard University argued Monday that the federal government should institute “a new, substantial national tax on all firearms and ammunition” to pay for programs that “reduce gun violence.”

They wrote that the practice of periodic government safety inspections of automobiles should be expanded to include firearms, “including documentation of home storage and safety measures.” And they compared the enforcement of speed limits on roadways to now-common proposals to restrict the sale and possession of high-capacity magazines that can hold dozens of rounds of ammunition.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Head of Mosque in Miami Under Trial for Terrorism Charges

MIAMI: U.S. prosecutors are laying out their case in court against two South Florida imams accused of funneling more than $50,000 to support the Pakistani Taliban, playing wiretapped phone calls and showing bank records to bolster their accusations against the Pakistan-born men.

Hafiz Khan, the head of one of Miami’s oldest mosques, and his son, Izhar Khan, were arrested in May 2011 on charges they conspired to provide money and support for the Pakistani Taliban, which the United States considers a terrorist organization. The Khans, both U.S. citizens, were named in a four-count indictment and have pleaded not guilty. If convicted the two face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for each count…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

If You Thought Sandy Hook Was Bad, The British Massacres of Disarmed Colonists Were Far Worse

The primary reason why the American colonists rebelled in the first place was a growing sense of isolation from the British crown thousands of miles away. Academics, business owners and colonial politicians tried in vain to have their voice heard in the English parliament, to be granted some form of representation so they could make their argument for or against rules, regulations and taxes proposed by the crown. When they were repeatedly denied such representation, especially regarding tea and other taxes many colonists and businessmen viewed as highly counterproductive and unpopular, talk of rebellion began.

The first incident that foreshadowed the brutality that was to come occurred on March 5, 1770, in Massachusetts. Labeled the “Incident on King Street,” American patriots called it the Boston Massacre.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Iowa Lawmaker Calls for Confiscation of Guns

‘We have to change, and we have to get stricter and tougher with what we do’

(DAILY CALLER) In an interview with the Daily Times Herald in Caroll, Iowa, state Rep. Dan Muhlbauer said governments should start confiscating semi-automatic rifles and other firearms.

Muhlbauer, a Democrat from the western Iowa town of Manilla, is a cattleman and farmer. The newspaper reported that he owns a .410 shotgun, a .22 rifle and a .22 pistol.

“We cannot have big guns out here as far as the big guns that are out here, the semi-automatics and all of them,” Muhlbauer told the newspaper during a December 19 audiotaped interview. “We can’t have those running around out here. Those are not hunting weapons.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Jews and the Hagel Nomination: Chelm on the Potomac

Now in his second term in office, President Obama appears to have returned to his Chicago days consorting with the likes of Ali Abunimah and Bill Ayres at the Woods Foundation giving grants to the Arab American Action Network prior to his run for the US Senate. President Obama knows he has liberal Jews in his back pocket and can appoint anti-Israel (some like Power line blog questioned might also be anti-Semitic) Chuck Hagel and arch Wahhabist fellow traveler and ex-CIA”shadow warrior’, John Brennan. What’s the expression: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Or its corollary: “a fool and his money are soon parted”. Especially wealthy liberal Jews who look increasing like the Wise Men of Chelm in the humorous stories by yiddishists, among them Y. L. Peretz, Leyb Kvitko, and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Back in September 2009, I made this comment to an article on the Israel National News website: “Where else but in “Chelm on the Potomac “ would we find foolish shatdlanim Jews out to destroy Israel’s security and future.”

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Mosque Applicant Urged to Double Parking Spaces

Four-hour hearing on application to build mosque in Liberty Corner begins with disagreement over necessary parking.

A four-hour continued hearing on a proposal for a 4,252-square-foot mosque in Liberty Corner Village began Tuesday with the applicant’s attorney saying he had learned the board’s professionals now are asking that 110 parking spaces be provided for the house of worship if it is built, rather than the 50 spaces in the application. The board’s attorney, Jonathan Drill, said that he and David Banisch, planner for the township had concluded that number was appropriate as guided by 2010 International Traffic Engineers standards for mosques, as compared with churches and synagogues…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Outrage: Bank of America Freezes Funds of Licensed Online Gun Dealer: “We Believe You Should Not be Selling Guns on the Internet”

Legal gun ownership in America is under attack on all sides. From pending bans that would restrict the sale, transfer and possession [2] of certain weapons, to outright calls for repeal of the Second Amendment [3], we are entering an unprecedented era in American history.

So much so, that not only is the government now coming after your right to bear arms, but private sector businesses are following suit.

One of the country’s largest financial institutions, the ironically named Bank of America, has now taken it upon themselves to decide what is or is not a lawful business practice.

The following alert was posted on the Facebook [4] page of licensed firearms dealer and manufacturer American Spirit Arms [5].

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Piers Morgan & Guests: Turn in Your Guns or We Will Kill You (Video)

After labeling Alex Jones “scary” for his pro-second amendment rant on CNN, Piers Morgan and his guests proceeded the following night to joke about murdering Jones in cold blood.

Morgan, who has built his gun control argument on the justification of reducing violence in America, called Jones’ aggressive on-air defense of the right to bear arms “undignified” and “unedifying,” yet just 24 hours later he was laughing and joking about gunning down Jones with a semi-automatic weapon.

Watch the clip above and decide for yourself how “undignified” and “unedifying” the conduct of Morgan and his guests was as they mockingly threatened to shoot Jones for his political opinion on gun control.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Piers Morgan Snickers About Shooting Alex Jones

(INFOWARS.COM) CNN and the gun grabbing media are now calling for Alex Jones to be shot the day after his heated appearance with Piers Morgan.

In a segment on Piers Morgan’s CNN program, sports columnist for the Daily Beast, Buzz Bissinger, shockingly states:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Second Amendment: My Line in the Sand is Drawn Here!

If Barack Obama and his gaggle of gun grabbers have their way, the American citizenry will have all of their firearms taken away. If their current attempt to outlaw semi-automatic rifles is successful, does anyone think it will stop there? Don’t be naïve! The goal of people like Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, et al., has always been total gun confiscation. In fact, Senator Feinstein is actually on record as saying so…

Writing for the National Association for Gun Rights, Dudley Brown said, “After reading Senator Dianne Feinstein’s new so-called ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban, I can only describe it as the effective END of the Second Amendment in America.

“The definition of an ‘Assault Weapon’ in this bill is so broad you can drive a truck through it! They’re targeting EVERYTHING — rifles, shotguns and even handguns.

“You see, the gun-grabbers are going for broke.

“Even owners of supposedly ‘grandfathered’ firearms will be treated like common criminals.

“If passed, Feinstein’s so-called ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban would:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Statistics Prove: More Guns, Less Crime

Despite the onslaught of media propaganda in support of the Obama administration’s anti-second amendment agenda in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the statistics clearly illustrate that gun control does not reduce violent crime and in fact has the opposite effect.

As the graph above highlights, according to the latest figures obtained by the FBI, violent crime offenses in the United States have been falling since 2007. The five year trend clearly shows that, despite there being an ongoing national debate about gun violence in America, violent crime itself is actually becoming less of a problem.

The graph below from the Department of Justice also highlights the fact that over the last 40 years, the amount of guns in America per 1000 people has increased, whereas serious violent crimes have decreased.

In addition, despite the media drumbeat that murders involving guns represent the number one safety threat to American citizens, the reality is completely the opposite.

Amongst the “top ten killers” in the United States, homicide by firearms is at the bottom of the list, according to figures from the CDC and the FBI. Almost 20 times more people die in the United States from medical errors than they do from firearm homicides, but there is no outcry to slap draconian regulations on the medical industry.

In addition, the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs in the United States routinely outpaces the number of homicides committed using a rifle. Should US lawmakers introduce urgent legislation to outlaw hammers and baseball bats?

Look at Chicago, which in 1982 passed a ban on all handguns except for those registered with the city before the ban was enacted.

Since the handgun ban took effect, the number of murders in Chicago committed using handguns has been 40% higher than before the ban, and has spiked even higher in recent years, proving that the gun ban actually served to cause an increase in violent crime.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Twenty-Second Amendment to be Scrapped?

A representative called Hose Se Serrano from New York has deposited a deposition called HJ-RED-15

Proposing to remove/amend/repeal the 22nd amendment removing the law that any President can serve ONLY two terms off 4 years, this is going through the senate, and if voted to change would allow President Obama to stand for re-election for a 3rd term.

With this and all the gun laws perhaps about to change, this is a worry for the people of the USA or should be. With the possibility of no guns and a president who can’t be removed, we need to really ask, what is the agenda of the USA?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US Congress ‘Less Popular Than Cockroaches’

American survey finds Congress has lower ratings than cockroaches, traffic jams, and Genghis Khan.

The US Congress, fresh off its fiscal cliff budget crisis, was in for new teasing Wednesday as a poll revealed it is now less popular than cockroaches and lice, the AFP news agency reports.

The Public Policy Polling survey of 830 Americans from January 3-6 revealed that Congress had hit new lows in the eyes of the same US voters who sent representatives to work there.

The legislative body proved less popular than traffic jams, Donald Trump, France, lice, Genghis Khan, cockroaches and used car dealers, the poll found.

Just nine percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Congress.

“We all know Congress is unpopular,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling.

“But the fact that voters like it less than cockroaches… really shows how far its esteem has fallen with the American public over the last few weeks.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Video: Alex Jones Blasts Out With Justified Outrage at Piers Morgan and Other Traitors to Human Freedom

Outspoken pro-liberty radio host Alex Jones angrily blasted CNN talking head Piers Morgan on national television yesterday evening, expressing the total outrage that millions of Americans share over issues like unconstitutional gun control. Morgan, a British subject, has called for Americans to be completely disarmed as if they were colonial slaves to the British Empire. Morgan is just one of many foreigners who are actively attempting to subvert Americas freedoms and destroy the Bill of Rights. That’s why over 100,000 Americans have so far signed a White House petition to deport Morgan.

Click here to watch the full interview on [url]

CNN producers invited Alex Jones to appear as a guest on Piers Morgan’s show, no doubt to help increase the lagging ratings of Morgan’s show which only has a fraction of the viewers of the Alex Jones Show. There, Alex began by schooling Morgan on the purpose of the Second Amendment:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Voters Shut Out Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates

In perhaps the most resounding referendum on the legacy of steroids in baseball, voters for the Hall of Fame rejected the candidacy of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in voting announced Wednesday. For the first time since 1996, and the eighth time over all, no players received the necessary 75 percent of the votes from baseball writers.

[Return to headlines]


Animal Killer Kayla Bourque Released to Live in Vancouver

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A former Simon Fraser University student who was convicted of torturing and killing animals and admitted to wanting to kill homeless people has been released from jail and will live in Vancouver.

Kayla Bourque, 23, was convicted in November of causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to animals, wilfully and without lawful excuse killing animals, and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Child pornography charges she was facing were stayed.

She was sentenced to one month in jail on each of the charges, but had already spent six months in custody by the time she was sentenced. The judge then ordered her to serve an addition two months in custody, in part so probation officials could prepare for her highly supervised release.

The former SFU criminology student has admitted to taking delight in killing animals and fantasizing about shooting homeless people. Several psychologists who interviewed Bourque found she showed no remorse or insight into her crimes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Anti Domestic Violence Campaign for Scottish Muslims

London: A new campaign to combat domestic violence and encourage women in the Muslim community to speak up against it is being initiated in Scotland by a Muslim women’s group.

‘Change This’ — as it is being called — will urge Muslim men and women to report any such violence they may have witnessed or experienced following its launch in Glasgow and Edinburgh next month…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Courage of a Rape Victim British Tourist Returns to Spain to See ‘Sex Attack’ Waiter Who Left Her to Die Face Justice

A British model yesterday gave evidence against the man accused of stabbing, raping and leaving her to die on a holiday island.

Cheryl Maddison, 25, was forced to relive the ordeal that took place just six days after she moved to Majorca to start a new life.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, she said the attack ended only when she played dead, lying in her own blood.

Her testimony lasted 70 minutes and she left the court without coming face to face with the accused, Mohamed Fadel el Anssari.

The 31-year-old waiter from Morocco is said to have followed her up to her rented flat and sexually assaulted her on the balcony.

He then allegedly stripped her naked and forced her to shower before ordering her into the bedroom. ‘That’s where he climbed on top of me and raped me,’ Miss Maddison told the provincial court in Majorca’s capital Palma. ‘I bit him and scratched him but then I passed out, I lost consciousness.

‘When I woke up I was by myself in the bedroom. There was blood coming out of my chest. That’s when he entered the room again. He put a knife into my neck. The knife went right into my neck.

‘I thought he wanted me to die. My breathing was making gargling sounds because he had stabbed me in the lung. So I held my breath so he thought I wasn’t breathing any more.’

She was unconscious by the time paramedics arrived to take her to hospital.

She underwent emergency surgery for wounds to her neck, throat, chest and back

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

EU Demands Access to Details of All UK Drivers: ‘Orwellian’ Move to Hand Out Personal Information to Foreign Police Forces

Brussels is demanding that 26 police forces across the EU should have access to the personal details of every motorist in Britain.

The Government is being threatened with fines totalling millions of pounds unless it obeys the ‘Orwellian’ edict.

Foreign police also want open access to the UK’s national DNA database and fingerprint records so they can check them against crime scenes and camera footage.

MPs and civil liberties groups fear identity mistakes will lead to Britons being accused of crimes they have not committed.

But there is particular alarm at the idea of overseas police having access to information about every registered driver in the UK…

European rules allow police to conduct tests of a lower quality than are permitted in Britain.

Academics in the Netherlands, which has been running the scheme for four years, found that two-thirds of ‘matches’ at the lowest level wrongly identified an innocent person as a genetic match.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac Under Investigation for ‘Fraud and Money Laundering’

A French Socialist minister involved in the battle against tax evasion was today placed under investigation for fraud and money laundering.

The official inquiry into budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, 60, will be viewed as a disaster by President Francois Hollande, who is currently imposing one of the most left-wing agendas in recent European history.

Mr Cahuzac is accused of opening a secret UBS bank account in Switzerland in a bid to avoid paying government charges.

He is said to have shut the Geneva account in 2010 before transferring the funds to Singapore — a move which went undetected until Paris investigative news site Mediapart revealed it last month.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Greece: Lagarde List Sparks Inter-Party Feuding

To Ethnos, 3 January 2013

“War over the list” headlines To Ethnos. Former finance minister, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, who is accused of excising the names of his close family from the “Lagarde List” of Swiss bank account holders, will shortly face a parliamentary inquiry. However, the investigation will not be enough to satisfy the members of the radical left coalition Syriza, which is publicly accusing another former finance minister and the current leader of the Pasok socialist party, Evangelos Venizelos, of attempting to hide the list.

For Ta Nea, the “polarisation of the parties” could blow apart a number of political movements: in particular Pasok, which has been extensively implicated in the scandal, and whose approval rating plunged from 49 per cent to 7 per cent between the 2009 and 2012 elections. “The party which supports the government is waiting for backing from the prime minister,” notes the daily.

However, the rules of “political procedures will require investigation of political figures” implicated by the list. To Vima remarks —

The affair has highlighted the mores of those in power and revealed the attitudes that prevail in the management of scandals. For many observers, the affair has drawn attention to the basic political problem of this country, which is the arbitrary status of politicians and the protection of the powerful. Having said that, it is extremely important that criminal or civil cases be conducted without paralysing the government or diverting it from its principal mission, which is the stabilisation of the economy and the resumption of development. The government and all of the political parties must protect the climate of economic stabilisation. However, this does not mean they should not be extensively questioned on all aspects of the political scandal that has been prompted by the Lagarde List.

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

Greece: Four Votes to Shed Light on Lagarde List

Papandreou and Papademos may be investigated

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JANUARY 9 — The Greek parliament is set to vote on the so-called ‘Lagarde list’ — a list of Greek citizens with bank accounts in Switzerland suspected of having evaded taxes, early next week. Following a decision by Greece’s pro nazi Golden Dawn party to support Anexartiti Ellines in requesting a probe into the activities of former Prime Ministers Giorgos Papandreou and Lucas Papademos, four secret ballots are scheduled. One will decide on whether to investigate former Finance minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, and is backed by three of the government coalition parties. Another shines the spotlight on his successor in Lucas Papademos’ government, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and is backed by Greece’s main opposition party Syriza. And two more will focus on the former Prime Ministers.

“As Prime Ministers Giorgos Papandreou and Lucas Papademos were aware of everything related to the management of the ‘Lagarde list’ on the part of the two finance ministers. They did nothing to clean it up or shed light on the archive containing 2062 personal names”, Anexartiti Ellines said in his request for an investigation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

IMU House Tax Must be More Progressive to be Fair, EU Says

Old ICI property levy increased poverty slightly

(ANSA) — Brussels, January 8 — The property tax known as IMU introduced by the technocrat government of outgoing premier Mario Monti to help mitigate Italy’s debt crisis needs to be made more progressive if it is to enact a fairer redistribution of wealth, according to the Employment and Social Developments in Europe 2012 report.

The old ICI property levy, abolished on first homes by the former government of Silvio Berlusconi, did not affect inequality and slightly increased poverty, the report added.

Berlusconi has vowed to scrap the highly unpopular IMU if he wins next month’s general election.

Other parties, including the poll-leading centre-left Democratic Party and a centrist bloc led by Monti, have promised to ease it.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Soccer: Berlusconi Vows Milan to Stand Up to Racism

Serie A giants walked off after abuse in friendly

(ANSA) — Milan, January 4 — Owner Silvio Berlusconi said Friday that AC Milan would abandon any matches, including Champions League games, tainted by racist abuse like that which caused his players to walk off a friendly against fourth-tier Italian side Pro Patria on Thursday. Milan players left the field after home fans directed racist jeers at black players Kevin Prince Boateng, ‘Baye Niang, Urby Emanuelson and Sulley Muntari during Thursday’s match at Busto Arsizio, north of Milan.

“I guarantee that Milan will leave the field in all matches in which episodes like this take place, including international ones,” said former Italian premier Berlusconi. The 76-year-old media magnate added that he had called to congratulate Boateng, who led the walk-off, “for his reaction to a deplorable episode of racism”.

A 20-year-old man was cited to prosecutors on Friday for allegedly taking part in the racist chants.

The man, who is unemployed and has no criminal record, is being probed for allegedly breaking a special Italian law against inciting racial hatred.

He is said to have admitted to being part of a group of fans who directed abuse at the players. Judicial sources said he is the only member of the group of Pro Patria fans involved to have been put under investigation so far. Boateng said he was grateful for the solidarity he received.

The Ghanaian midfielder picked up the ball and kicked it towards the supporters who were jeering and then took off his shirt and walked off the pitch.

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini then led the rest of the team off and the game was abandoned. The club, the Italian Soccer Federation and the Italian professional footballers’ association all backed the players for standing up to racism, in addition to condemning the Pro Patria fans’ behaviour. Boateng also received solidarity via Twitter from fans and former and current soccer stars such as Marco Materazzi, Patrick Vieira and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

“Thank u all for the support and understanding…means a lot!!!” Boateng said on his Twitter account on Friday. Italian football has been battling racism in the stands for a number of years after several shameful high-profile incidents.

FIGC prosecutors are looking into the Pro Patria case.

Busto Arsizio Mayor Gigi Farioli on Friday apologised to Boateng and said he was misquoted after complaining about the midfielder hitting the ball into the stands rather than criticising the fans’ racism.

He added that Boateng would be a “sort of honorary citizen of Busto Arsizio” from now on, although he still insisted the player should not have kicked the ball into the crowd.

Pro Patria Chairman Pietro Vavassori said black people would be invited to attend the team’s next home game in the VIP section, in a gesture to show the club is not racist.

The head of the Italian Referees’ Association (AIA), meanwhile, defended match officials after they came under fire for not stopping the match earlier. AIA chief Marcello Nicchi said referees cannot abandon a game under current regulations as this power lies with interior ministry officials.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Bersani Fires Back at Monti for Wanting to ‘Shut Up’ PD

‘We will silence no one’ says premier candidate

(ANSA) — Rome, January 3 — Premier candidate Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), rebuffed outgoing Premier Mario Monti on Thursday for telling him to silence the alleged anti-reform elements within his party’s ranks. “I have respect (for Monti), but I ask for respect for the entire PD. We are a liberal party that will never shut anyone up,” said Bersani.

Earlier Thursday, Monti called on Bersani to “be brave and silence the conservative part of his party a little,” referring to opposition to labor-market reform from Italy’s biggest trade union confederation, the left-wing CGIL, which has ties to the PD, and from Stefano Fassina, the PD spokesman on economic affairs.

Bersani said that courage “did not mean shutting people up, but enabling them to participate”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Soccer: Games Shouldn’t be Stopped for ‘Few’ Racist Jeers

Interior minister says major part of crowd must be involved

(ANSA) — Rome, January 7 — Italian Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri said Monday that soccer matches should not be stopped if only a handful of fans are involved in racist chants.

The question of when football games should be stopped is a hot issue after AC Milan walked off in a friendly at fourth-tier side Pro Patria last week when their black players were targeted by racist jeers from home supporters.

Some Lazio fans could be heard making monkey chants at Cagliari’s Victor Ibarbo during a home win on Saturday but the abuse was drowned out by the rest of the Lazio faithful and the game proceeded.

“If a limited number of people are doing the racist chants, it’s necessary to take action against them, without suspending the match,” Cancellieri said. “The suspension of a match must be decided with great strictness when there are the conditions to do so, in part to avoid this being used to deliberately have a win awarded to the offended team.

“If, on the other hand, a significant part of the crowd takes part in the chants, then the (interior ministry’s) public-order official should suspend the match”.

Nevertheless, she praised Milan’s Kevin Prince Boateng for leading last week’s walk-off.

The Ghanaian midfielder picked up the ball and kicked it towards the supporters who were jeering and then took off his shirt and walked off the pitch.

“This incident serves to draw attention to a phenomenon that unfortunately is widespread and should be considered as such and prompt reflections and more incisive action,” Cancellieri said. “It was a good gesture (to walk off) and it has all of my appreciation.

“But it’s necessary to have a very serious strategy in place because we cannot leave the destiny of a match in the hands of five or six people who maybe do the racist chants on purpose”. Sepp Blatter, the head of international soccer’s governing body FIFA, said at the weekend that Milan were wrong to walk from the Pro Patria match.

“The only solution is to be very harsh with the sanctions — and the sanctions must be a deduction of points or something similar,” Blatter said.

AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi disagrees.

“I’m of the opposite opinion,” the ex-premier said on Monday when asked about Blatter’s comments.

“I gave my compliments to the players for their courage”.

Last week Berlusconi said Milan would also walk out of official games if there is racist chanting, including matches in the European Champions League.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Northern League Rules Out Berlusconi Being Premier

Maroni backs Tremonti to be premier after deal with PdL

(ANSA) — Milan, January 7 — Northern League leader Roberto Maroni on Monday ruled out the possibility that Silvio Berlusconi will be premier if the centre right wins next month’s general elections after signing a deal to revive his party’s alliance with the ex-premier’s People of Freedom (PdL) party. Maroni said it was “explicitly stated” that Berlusconi would not be PM.

Earlier on Monday Berlusconi said he may be economy minister, not prime minister, if his centre-right bloc wins.

The 76-year-old media magnate said the issue of who will be premier in the case of a centre-right victory would be addressed after the elections.

He added that PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano was a possibility.

However, Maroni, who has won the PdL’s backing for his bid to become governor of Lombardy thanks to the deal, said he was in favour of former economy minister Giulio Tremonti being at the helm of government. Tremonti recently left the PdL to form his own party that has strong ties with the League. “Berlusconi is the head of the coalition and no premier candidate is named (in the agreement), but it says explicitly that it will not be Berlusconi,” said Maroni. “Given that Berlusconi has pointed to Alfano, I’ll allow myself to put forward Tremonti as a candidate. “We are very satisfied with the agreement as we can say that we’ll probably win in Lombardy with the deal”. He added that the centre right would work to create a “macro-region” in northern Italy after the elections.

The League has long battled for greater autonomy for the wealthier richer regions of northern Italy. It also takes hard-line stances against immigration and several senior figures have been criticised for making allegedly xenophobic statements in the past.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Blames ‘Feminist’ Judges for Massive Alimony

Ex-premier ordered to pay 36 million euros a year

(ANSA) — Rome, January 9 — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has blasted the three women judges who ordered him to pay his ex-wife Veronica Lario 36 million euros a year in alimony as feminists and communists.

In 2009 Lario filed for divorce from the 76-year-old media magnate, who has been at the centre of a series of sex scandals and is on trial in Milan for allegedly paying for sex with an underage prostitute.

“The figure was decided on by three feminist and communist judges,” Berlusconi told La7 television. “It’s something that is unreal — 36 million euros with back payments of 76 million euros. These are the Milan judges who have been persecuting me since 1994”. Three-time premier Berlusconi, who is leading a centre-right coalition at next month’s elections, has repeatedly said a long series of court cases presented against him were the result of a campaign by politically motivated magistrates. He is appealing against four-year prison sentence he received in October in relation to tax fraud in the trading of film rights for TV broadcasts by his Mediaset media empire. Berlusconi added that he was hopeful of negotiating the alimony, saying his relations with Lario were “very civil”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Majorca: British Woman Raped and Stabbed in Magaluf Faces Attacker in Court

A young British woman who was raped and left for dead in the party resort of Magaluf on the island of Majorca four years ago faced her attacker in court Tuesday.

Cheryl Maddison, 25, of Houghton le Spring, Co Durham told the court in Palma how she was raped and then stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife after being followed home from her bar job on the island. Waiving her right to anonymity, Miss Maddison described how the prolonged attack, during which she suffered multiple stab wounds and a collapsed lung, only came to an end after she pretended to be dead. The prosecution is calling for 23 years in prison for the accused, Mohammad Fadel El Anssari, a 31-year-old Moroccan who was working as a waiter at the time of the attack in May 2008…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Rome Prosecutors’ Probe Led to Credit-Card Freeze at Vatican

Money-laundering investigation sparked stoppage

(ANSA) — Rome, January 7 — An investigation by Rome prosecutors into an alleged money-laundering case led to the freeze on January 1 of credit-card transactions at the Vatican, sources said Monday.

The freeze, which has made international headlines and worried tourists, has meant that visitors to the Vatican’s museums and shops must now pay cash.

The Bank of Italy suspended bank-card payments in the Vatican city state over its failure to fully implement international anti-money laundering standards.

In late December, the central bank denied Deutsche Bank Italy, the Vatican’s former provider of electronic payment services, a permit because of the Vatican’s shortcomings in financial controls and oversight.

Now, it appears the tipping point that triggered this action was a Roma prosecutor’s investigation of possible money-laundering in 2010 at the Vatican’s bank, also known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

The Holy See has been trying without success to join the ‘white list’ of states that meet international standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Last July, the Council of Europe’s Moneyval department said in a report that the Holy See had made progress on financial transparency, but added that more reforms were needed.

Soon after, the Holy See appointed a Swiss expert, Rene’ Bruelhart, to work on Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) activities and strengthen the Holy See’s framework to fight financial crimes.

In the past there have been allegations that the IOR was used to launder money, most notably by ‘God’s Banker’ Roberto Calvi, whose body was found hanging under Blackfriar’s Bridge in London in 1982, a suspected victim of the Mafia.

IOR was also named in kickbacks probes stemming from the 1990 collapse of public-private chemicals colossus Enimont, part of the Clean Hands investigations that swept away Italy’s old political establishment.

More recently, there has been a series of Italian TV reports and a best-selling book claiming to show how individuals have used IOR to squirrel away money, dodging Italian regulations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spaniard Wins British Foundation Best Mayor for 2012

MADRID, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) — Inaki Azkuna, the Mayor of the Basque city of Bilbao, was named as the best Mayor in the World by the British foundation, City Mayors, late on Monday night. The prize, which was announced shortly before midnight, recognizes those Mayors, “who have made lasting contributions to their communities and who have shown a compromise to the wellbeing of their citizens, both nationally and internationally…

[JP note: For 2013, I nominate Lutfur Rahman for his efforts on behalf of the Ummah.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Incredible Disappearing Germans — A Long-Term Economic Forecast for the 21st Century

If you look at the Fathoms bar to the right of this article, you’ll see a list of links. This week, two of them come via Faisal Islam and concern the strength of the German economy. One chart shows the remarkable stability of German house prices, while the other illustrates Germany’s enviable record on unemployment over the last few years. It would seem that Germany has not only weathered the global economic crisis, but has emerged in a more powerful position than before. But are we really seeing a new era of German ascendancy, in which other countries defer to and seek to emulate the German way of doing things?

Not according to John Vinocur, who, in an important article for the New York Times, invites us to look beyond current events:

“…a survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development which projects German growth falling to an average of 1.1 percent over the period from 2011 to 2060 [pdf]. That’s at the bottom of a sample pile of the world’s critical industrial and emerging economies, about half the rate of the United States’ or Britain’s expansion, behind France, Italy and even Greece, and left in the dust by India, China, Indonesia and Mexico.”

Given the seeming inability of our political culture to look ahead five years, let alone fifty, do these long-term trends actually matter?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Bradford Moor Driver Mohammed Shahin Attacked Baildon Woman

A Bradford minicab driver has been jailed for more than seven years for raping a passenger who fell asleep as he drove her home to Baildon.

Mohammed Shahin, 28, subjected his 20-year-old victim to what police described as a “sickening attack” after picking her up in Leeds where she had been on a night out.

It was later found that Shahin had switched off the GPS tracking system that monitored his vehicle’s movements from the moment the woman got in, suggesting he had a sinister motive from the outset.

The 28-year-old, of Fitzroy Road, Bradford Moor, pleaded guilty to rape and was jailed at Nottingham Crown Court to seven and a half years in prison.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Bride Kirsty Lane Who Stole £170,000 From Her Boss to Pay for Dream Wedding is Forced to Repay Just One Tenth of the Money

A blushing bride who left her employers’ business with ‘life-threatening injuries’ has been ordered to pay back less than a tenth of the money she stole to pay for her wedding.

Kirsty Lane, 30, put 25 jobs at risk when she used her position to siphon off almost £200,000 from the business to pay for the sumptuous ceremony at The Great Hall at Mains.

Now, Peter Sutton, company director of Pure AV in Walton Summit, near Preston, said the order to repay just £17, 831 was ‘extremely disappointing’, adding: ‘I hope she has learnt her lesson.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Cyclist Sexually Assaults Dog Walker, 61, In Chadderton Hall Park

Police are hunting a cyclist who sexually assaulted a 61-year-old dog walker in a park.

The victim was walking her dog in Chadderton Hall Park when she was approached by a teenager who asked her to shine a torch on his cycle so he could ‘fix the chain’.

She pointed the beam at the ‘rusty’ chain and cog and moments later he grabbed the woman’s arm and carried out a sex assault.

The woman screamed and her attacker ran off.

Now police have released an ‘efit’ image of the suspect in a bid to catch him following the incident at 5.30pm on December 27.

The attacker is Asian, aged between 15 and 17, about 5ft 5i, slim with very short dark hair with a long fringe.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Drug Addict Lesbian Couple Who Thought Pensioner Had Secret Fortune ‘Left Him to Die After Torturing Him for His Pin Number

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A drug addict lesbian couple left a retired bus conductor to slowly die after torturing him for his PIN number, a court heard.

Kelly Louise Barnes, 32, and Jodie Barnes, formerly Ramsbottom, 31, are accused of targeting Barry Reeve, 67, at his home in Norwich, believing he had a secret stash of money.

They beat him and cut him with a knife before leaving him dying and prosecutors allege they turned the volume on Mr Reeve’s television up in an attempt to mask his screams.

Mr Reeve, known as Titch because of his small stature, is thought to have remained alive until at least the following morning.

The attackers returned to his terraced house in the city’s Corton Road later that evening and striped it of anything of value, including food from the freezer.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Economic Reality and the Burden of Welfare

Only now, with welfare costing a crippling £208billion a year — almost £1 in every £3 raised in tax — have ministers been driven by economic reality to acknowledge we can’t go on like this.

True, the decision to cap increases in working-age benefits at one per cent for three years is a blunt instrument, which will affect many who have jobs (though this year’s income tax cuts for the low-paid will remove much of the sting).

But after years in which benefits for the unemployed have risen almost twice as fast as wages, it represents a long-overdue rebalancing of the economy in favour of work and self-reliance.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Grappling With Muslim Sex Gangs in Britain

by Bruce Bawer

One of the big news stories in Britain last year was the uncovering of what that country’s media insist on calling “Asian sex gangs.” Simply put, groups of “Asian” men turn large numbers of “white” girls into their sex toys, “grooming” them for exploitation and then passing them around to one another. For those unfamiliar with the standard euphemisms of the British press — left-wing and right-wing, highbrow and lowbrow alike — “Asian” and “white” are codes for “Muslim” and “non-Muslim,” respectively. The reason these men can target non-Muslim girls so remorselessly is simple: they know that in their religion’s eyes female infidels are already prostitutes, whose failure to wear veils renders them undeserving of respect and responsible for any sexual act to which they might be unwillingly subjected…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Halesowen Muslims Festive Working

MORE than 20 volunteers took to the streets of Halesowen on New Year’s Day to clean up following the seasonal festivities. Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association worked their way across Long Lane and the town centre litter picking. The group also organised a visit to Russells Hall Hospital’s children’s ward where they donated chocolates and toys to children, visited old people’s home Woodview House Nursing Home, Hayley Green and collected money for Save the Children UK over the Christmas season…

[JP note: See also ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Labour Wanted to Rename a Council Ward After A mosque

Trial by Jeory

There have been a couple of developments since I last wrote about the changes to ward names in Tower Hamlets. The deadline for public objections to the dropping of Banglatown from ‘Spitalfields and Banglatown’, and St Dunstan’s from the proposed new Stepney wards is on Monday. Do please write to the Local Government Boundary Commission at if you have strong views on either. I submitted my letter yesterday.

While dropping Banglatown was a Tory proposal (one I think they now regret), removing the name of St Dunstan was a Labour idea. The current ward name is St Dunstan’s and Stepney Green. The final Labour proposal, which has been provisionally accepted by the Commission, is Stepney East and Stepney West. However, I understand that Labour councillors had actually wanted to call one of the wards ‘St Dunstan’s and Shahjalal’. Shahjalal (named after Shah Jalal, who is credited with the spread of Islam in Bengal) is the name of the popular but rather ramshackle mosque in Duckett Street, which over the past few years has also been a centre of feuding over various management and funding arrangements…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Met Office Releases Revised Global Temperature Predictions Showing Planet is Not Rapidly Heating Up

The Met Office has admitted that global warming has stalled.

Officials say that by 2017, temperatures will not have risen significantly for nearly 20 years.

They concede that previous forecasts were inaccurate — and have come under fire for attempting to ‘bury bad news’ by publishing the revised data on Christmas Eve.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Mentally Ill Woman ‘Who Stabbed Grandma to Death With 12in Butcher’s Knife Had Been Released From Secure Hospital After Killing Her Own Mother’

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A schizophrenic patient who stabbed a passer-by to death with a 12in butcher’s knife had been released from a secure mental hospital just two years earlier after killing her mother, the Old Bailey heard today.

Law firm accounts manager Sally Hodkin, 58, was on her way to work when she suffered a fatal cut to her neck from a butcher’s knife during the attack by Nicola Edgington, who was being treated in the community.

Minutes earlier Edgington, who was being monitored by a psychiatrist, nurse and social worker, had attacked another woman, Kerry Clark, but the 22-year-old was able to fight her off.

Edgington, 32, had spent just three years in a secure hospital after admitting the manslaughter of her mother Marion, who she stabbed to death in November 2005.

The following year she was given an indefinite hospital order and treated as an inpatient before being released in 2009.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Polish Sex Attacker ‘Stabbed to Death by Passer-by as He Molested Girl, 18, In the Street’

A Polish sex attacker was killed by a passerby who intervened to stop him molesting an 18-year-old girl in the street, a jury heard yesterday.

Janusz Smoderek died of stab wounds soon after he drunkenly assaulted the teenager while on his way home from a lap-dancing club.

Stephen Sleaford admits stepping in to save the young woman, but insists he was not responsible for Smoderek’s death, and says it was in fact the Pole who was carrying a knife, not him.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Stephen Lawrence’s Brother Sues Met Over Race Discrimination

Stephen Lawrence’s brother today launched a race discrimination case against Britain’s biggest police force, claiming officers harassed him due to his skin colour.

Stuart Lawrence, 35, claimed that Metropolitan Police officers had stopped him at least 25 times over “recent years” because he was black. Launching his legal battle today, the teacher claimed he was the victim of a sustained campaign of harassment from Scotland Yard officers. The father-of-one, from Peckham, south London, said that he has been repeatedly stopped in his car with “no apparent reason and without any justification”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Social Services Knew Girl, 4, Was Living With ‘Paedophile’ Foster Parent But Left Her in His Care for More Two Weeks

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

Child protection campaigners have slammed social workers who allowed a four-year-old girl to stay with a foster parent for two weeks after they suspected he might be a paedophile.

Bristol City Council failed to act instantly after police warned them the vulnerable child lived with an alleged sex offender, which the NSPCC believe could have put her at ‘serious risk of harm’.

The local authority has spent two months fighting a High Court battle to prevent details of the case being reported.

But Mr Justice Baker found the council was ‘unjustified’ in trying to keep criticism of its staff secret, and has overturned the gagging order.

‘It is in the public interest that these allegations are published,’ he said, according to The Sun, who fought the injunction.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: The Ralph Miliband Lectures Remind US How Stupid ‘Clever’ People Can be

by Douglas Murray

For anybody who needs reminding of how stupid ‘clever’ people can be, can I recommend Guido’s post on the Ralph Miliband lecture series? Each year the London School of Economics still holds an annual commemoration of the dead Marxist now best known of as the father of David and Ed. Much that has gone wrong with our universities can be learnt by briefly considering these events…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: What Two Thugs Did to Nurse They Attacked Outside Her Own Hospital as She Waited for a Bus Home

These shocking pictures show the terrible injuries inflicted on a nurse when two muggers punched, stamped on and kicked her as she waited for a bus outside a hospital.

Lorna Hobson, 65, believed she was going to die as she was beaten on her way home from work.

As she lay screaming in agony opposite Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital the two young men ran off — only to return to continue the attack before finally making off with her bag.

‘I walked down the path to the bus stop and I stood inside the bus shelter, which is brightly lit,’ she said.

‘I noticed two youths across the road. They passed me and they must have come up behind me.

‘One of them said something about the time. I remember looking at my watch and then they jumped on me and grabbed my bag. I screamed and they punched me full in the face.

They dragged me out of the shelter and up a gravel path nearby. I was screaming. It was dark and I couldn’t see anything. I just remember screaming and the kicks, the punches and the stamping.’

Mrs Hobson said the robbers left, possibly because they had been disturbed, but then came back to continue the assault.

‘I remember lying on the ground and thinking, “They’ve gone, I’m safe and I’m alive” — but then I saw them coming back and they started it all over again.

‘I thought it was going to be the end and they were going to kill me.’

The youths were described as 16 to 20, 6ft tall, skinny and dark-skinned. One was wearing grey jogging bottoms and a dark top.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Abdel-Gawad Yassin: Sharia Law Must be Flexible

Judge Abdel-Gawad Yassin says Sharia law must be open to change because it is related to the social life of the people and argues religious practice in the public sphere must be restructured to take account of this fact

At a conference held to honour and recognise his intellectual efforts, Egyptian judge and thinker, Abdel-Gawad Yassin, vehemently criticised what he called ‘religious thinking’ in general, and in Islam in particular way, because it mixes what is divine with human, social and historical realities, giving the social conditions a religious character…

Yassin ended his speech by commenting on the new Egyptian constitution. It included Article 219, which states that Sharia is a source of legislation. Yassin said he looks at this article and others like it with a doubting eye because all Islamic thinking needs to be restructured.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Morocco Elected Chair of UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee

New York City, Ny — The North Africa Post — Morocco has been elected last week, in the person of its Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mohamed Loulichki, chair of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee. Morocco, which is non-permanent member of the Security Council since January 2012, will chair the committee for the period ending December 31, 2013. The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), set up in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, works to bolster the ability of United Nations Member States to prevent terrorist acts both within their borders and across regions…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tunisair Cuts Personnel to Avoid Crisis

1,700 over a total of 8,500 to be cut in two years

(ANSAmed) — Tunis, January 7 — The management of debt-stricken Tunisian air carrier Tunisair is preparing to implement a plan to tackle a crisis which started in the months following the revolution in spite of a growing number of passengers.

The crisis, said the airline’s President and Director General Ranah Jrad, is mostly due to the cost of personnel — 8,500 workers — which is considered too high for a company which is strongly penalized by its old planes and has too few resources for a renewal plan that would make it more competitive. A first step will be to cut down the number of workers by 1,700 units, 20% of the total. The first consequences of this bi-annual plan (2013-2014) will become effective in the coming months when 329 workers who are retiring will not be replaced. The management of Tunisair has said the company could be hiring workers for short periods of time if necessary. According to Jrad, the measures will enable the company to save 165 million euros which, together with the growth in the number of passengers in 2012, could open a positive new phase. Unions however are gearing up for battle and have accused the state of not holding dear the future of Tunisair as proven by the recent concession to Qatar Airways of favourable conditions at the international airport of Tunis.

The Tunisian airline is planning to boost connections in the African continent and will soon inaugurate a flight connecting Tunisia to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burkina Faso. The airline will however need more capital which Jdar said will be brought from the current 53 million euros to 90 million — an announcement which seems to imply the arrival of a strategic partner given that the state, the company’s main shareholder, is debt-stricken.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Ali Harzi, Suspect in Nation Attack on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Freed

Tunis — The investigating judge to the Tunis Court of First Instance decided, on Monday, to release Ali Harzi, who had been arrested after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi (Libya), an authorised source of the Justice Ministry announced on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Stolen Kiss Costs 20-Yr-Olds Jail Time

Reported to police by girl’s brother

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — The two are both twenty year olds, but nothing else is known about them: neither their names nor where exactly they live in Tunis’s chaotic lower-class suburbs. The only thing certain is that, after kissing in the street (perhaps it did not stop at this, but the substance of the matter changes little), they were detained by the police and taken before a judge on charges of public indecency.

A single hearing in court followed, in which they initially tried desperately to deny the accusations, only to admit in the end that a kiss or two had been exchanged, trusting in the benevolence of the law. The judge, unmoved, applied the law to the letter. However, he handed down a relatively light punishment: a suspended sentence of two months in jail. What makes the incident worthy of note is that the one to alert the police was the girl’s brother, who once he found out went directly to the police station to demand that something be done about it. What’s more, the brother took action after getting tipped off by a diligent ‘friend’ who — on catching a glimpse of the two kissing — thought it his duty to inform the girl’s family of the ‘scandal’. The Arabic-language newspaper Assarir reported the news today, but did not provide details that could identify the two ‘guilty parties’.

The incident is also a sign of how the wind blows in Tunisia, and the changes wrought. The tolerance for which the North African country had been known for the past 50 years is slowly slipping away. The law has recently targeted other young people, but it should be noted that ‘public decency’ varies according to what area of the capital you find yourself in. While in the suburbs young people can be sentenced to jail time for kissing, the same cannot be said in wealthy residential zones like Marsa and Le Lac, where the sparkling nightlife and public kissing and hugging raises no eyebrows nor protest.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

First Postage Stamp With “State of Palestine” Issued

RAMALLAH, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) — The first Palestinian postage stamp carrying the name “State of Palestine” was issued as the first step toward sovereignty after the status of Palestine at the United Nations was upgraded, a Palestinian official said Tuesday…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Jewish Groups Attack Psalmist Mosque in Jerusalem

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Jewish groups have attacked the Psalmist Mosque in Jerusalem and destroyed the Ottoman tiles in the mosque, the Al-Aqsa Foundation and Cultural Heritage Organization said. In a written statement released, the Al-Aqsa Foundation and Cultural Heritage Organization said that Jewish groups attacked the Psalmist Mosque, located in the south-west of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and destroyed Ottoman marbles and tiles from the 17th century…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Dutch Military Team Arrives in Turkey for Patriots Deployment

ANKARA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) — A 30-member Dutch military team, which departed from the Netherlands, arrived in southern Turkey on Tuesday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported. The team will make preparations for the deployment of Patriot air defense system to be installed along Turkish-Syrian border, according to the report. Two cargo planes carrying Dutch team landed in Incirlik air base in Adana province in southern Turkey, said the report…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Free Ebook: War on Syria: Gateway to WWIII

“War on Syria: Gateway to WWIII” (118 pages) attempts to cover the intricacies of the West’s methods of unconventional warfare and how they’ve manifested themselves over the last several years, finally miring Syria in a state of war. The book also looks at how the violence in Syria is just one part of a much larger geopolitical strategy, and where it may lead next.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Garvan Walshe: Beware a Pragmatic Foreign Policy

Garvan Walshe was National and International Security Policy Adviser for the Conservative Party until 2008. He is now studying for a PhD at the University of Manchester, and is managing partner at The Research Department, a consultancy. He will be editing this new column focusing on foreign policy every Tuesday.

Russian foreign policy has returned to its Tsarist norm. The Kremlin once counselled a simple rule: when a region is convulsed by revolution, offer all support to the beleaguered tyrannies. Maybe, like in the People’s Spring of 1848, they’ll manage to hold out. Now it’s hardly astonishing that Putin has stuck by Assad. More surprising to us should be that elsewhere in the Middle East, Britain had been planning to do just the same. Somewhere in Whitehall the finishing touches were being put to the Prime Minister’s visit to the region. Tunisia’s last dictator Ben Ali had fled into exile. Hundreds of thousands of people crowded into Cairo’s Tahrir square to demand that Hosni Mubarak join him. Hints of revolt could be discerned in Syria, Morocco and even Libya. The theme of the visit was to be the promotion of British exports, the exports in question were chiefly to be weapons, the weapons not just tanks and planes but the kind of “security equipment” Britain had recently supplied Gaddafi.

At the very last minute, David Cameron’s political instincts kicked in. With Mubarak gone, a walkabout through Tahrir Square appeared (sans arms-dealers) in the PMs itinerary. His speech in Kuwait was hastily rewritten. Now it focused on the importance of promoting democracy and lavished praise on the region’s only liberalising monarchy. The media gods must have been on his side that day, for they ignored nearby Bahrain where internal security personnel, bolstered by crack Saudi troops, busied themselves rounding up doctors found treating the protesters injured by the regime’s forces…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

In 2012, Sharia Enforcement Continued to Spread Around the World

By Martin Parsons.

A year ago it was clear that, despite the widely presumed promise of the Arab spring, 2011 had been a year in which sharia enforcement has both spread and intensified both in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. This is part of a longer term pattern of increasing Islamisation that has been happening since the late 1970s and which has continued in 2012.

The enforcement of sharia happens at a number of levels. The ultimate aim of Islamists is that sharia becomes the only system of law and government, with both Muslims and non Muslims alike subject to it. However, in many Islamic countries sharia exists in different degrees either as the sole form of law (as in Saudi Arabia), or more commonly a formal system alongside parliamentary law with a court able to rule that parliamentary legislation must be changed to comply with sharia (as is the case in Pakistan). In other situations, it exists more informally alongside parliamentary law with a blurred boundary as to whether criminal and civil cases are taken to sharia or government courts. In other countries still, particularly those in the West, sharia is enforced informally within the Muslim community, as significant pressure may be exerted on individual Muslims to follow the dictates of sharia

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

International Sanctions Against Iran Cause Oil and Gas Revenues to Drop by 45 Per Cent

Iran’s oil and gas revenues have dropped by a dramatic 45 per cent since sanctions were imposed by the West over it’s nuclear development programme.

The restrictions came into force in July under which the EU put a complete embargo on oil and gas from Iran, which eliminated 18 per cent of Iran’s export, and has led to financial collapse.

The result of these and further banking and trade sanction over the refusal to halt uranium enrichment, has seen oil exports drop 40 per cent in the last nine months, compared to the corresponding period last year, a senior lawmaker said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Program Complete

Source reveals secret site, last obstacle is to arm missiles

Iran successfully has built a nuclear bomb with the help of Russia and North Korea and has enough weapons-grade uranium and plutonium for more, according to a source in the Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit.

The source, who has access to Iran’s nuclear program, said the Islamic regime is working out of seven nuclear sites, most unknown to the IAEA, and that its nuclear bomb program is complete.

North Korea has provided the regime with plutonium for nuclear warheads, the source verified, and the last obstacle to overcome is arming missiles with those warheads.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Iran: Tehran Cannot Sell Its Oil, 40% Drop in Nine Months

The data supplied in Parliament by the Minister for Oil is a result of the sanctions underlining effects of the economic crisis that is affecting the country. Despite government intervention, the national currency has lost nearly 80% of its value against the dollar.

Tehran (AsiaNews) — Iranian oil sales are down 40% and net profits by 45% in the last nine months according to a report presented to parliament today by the oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, deputy-minister Gholam Reza Kateb told semi-official ISNA newsagency.

The fourth largest oil producer in the world, Iran has always had problems with the refining of the black gold, so much so that it imports gasoline. For political reasons the regime of the ayatollahs sells gas at low prices, but it is in short supply. It now appears that the export of oil, which is crucial for the Iranian economy, is suffering, probably as a result of sanctions imposed on Iran by Western countries because of its nuclear program.

In this framework the National Iranian Petrochemical Company (NIPC) announced its decision to invest $ 3.6 billion for the construction of 11 projects in the petrochemical industry, as reported by state PressTv. The deputy director of the NIPC, Abdolhossein Bayat, said that of the 70 petrochemical projects of the five-year plan for economic development (2010-2015), “17, worth 6 billion dollars in foreign investment, have been introduced so far , for the National Development Fund (NDF). “

The oil minister had argued in recent weeks that the country would be able to bypass the sanctions on export. A statement that the latest figures seem to contradict. The effects of the crisis is the loss of value of the national currency, the rial, against the dollar. Despite some initiatives taken by the government, the losses are close to 80%.

Another sign of the crisis is the decision, announced by the Minister, for the suspension of the supply of fuel to some airlines for unpaid bills.

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

Lebanon: US Boosts Army as Precaution Against Syria Spillover

Expects Assad to fall

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT — Two hundred M113 armoured vehicles for troop transport donated by the US to Lebanon were offloaded in Beirut’s port today. With this delivery, Washington’s military aid to the country over the past six months has risen to 140 million dollars, while between 2006 and 2011 a total of 700 million was provided. Lebanon has thus become the tenth largest nation recipient of military aid from the United States, which is trying to ward off the danger of Lebanon getting caught up in the ongoing violence in neighbouring Syria. The supplies, underscored a US diplomat in the Lebanese capital, will improve the Lebanese armed forces’ “ability to respond to the crisis”. This is an ever more urgent need, given the clashes which in 2012 saw Shia supporters of the Syrian regime and Sunni opposition groups face off in Lebanon as well. And this did not only occur in the northern city of Tripoli, but also in Beirut’s suburbs and in the southern city of Sidon. Iran’s ability to influence Lebanese politics has been boosted since June 2011, when the current government under Prime Minister Najib Miqati was sworn in. Playing a dominant role in the government is Hezbollah, the Party of God close to Syria and Iran, whose militias (armed by the latter two countries) are powerful enough militarily to compete with that of the regular army. The Syrian opposition has also accused Hezbollah and Iran of taking an active part in the crackdown of the uprising. Both deny the accusations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Blind Old Man Uses Rope to Reach Mosque

An ageing blind Saudi man insists on walking all the way to mosque five times every day although he was deprived of his sight many years ago. His guide is just a rope, which he tied to the power pole next to the mosque entrance. The unidentified man was asked by village residents to pray at home, but he insists on going to the mosque every day, using the rope to find his way. A YouTube film showed the man, wearing the traditional Saudi gown and headgear, walking slowly, but with confident steps, until he reaches the mosque door, where another man happening to be going to pray led him inside the mosque. “God has deprived this old man from his eye sight but not from his perception and faith,” the Saudi Arabic language daily Al-Saudeh said.

[JP note: And Western leaders use the rope of dhimmitude to commit obscure self-sacrifice ritual?]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Sri Lanka’s Rizana Nafeek Executed

The young Muslim woman was on death row since 2007 for allegedly killing an infant.

Colombo (AsiaNews) — Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek was executed in Saudi Arabia today (6 am GMT), Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry reported. The execution took place in Damami, a town about 400 kilometres west of Riyadh. The young Muslim woman was on death row for allegedly killing an infant.

Last Saturday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed to the Saudi king for a delay to allow a Sri Lanka delegation to meet the baby’s family to work out a deal.

Fr George Sigamoney, head of Caritas Sri Lanka, told AsiaNews that he was “deeply upset” over Rizana’s execution. Since her arrest, he had fought for her release.

“Unfortunately, what we expected to happen happened,” he said. “As a representative of the Church and of Caritas I want to express my sorrow and solidarity to Rizana’s family. I pray for them that they may have the courage needed to face their pain and get through this moment.”

“I want to remember Rizana in another way,” Fr George said. “As a nation, we must reflect and weep for the loss of this young life.” However, “I believe the time has come for government authorities to deal in a serious manner with the predicament of migrant workers seeking employment in the Middle East.”

When news came of Rizana’s execution, the Sri Lankan parliament observed a minute of silence as a show of respect. Her parents, sisters and brothers went to their mosque to pray.

Rizana’s mother, Fareena, asked Sri Lankan authorities to repatriate her daughter’s body for burial.

Her father Sultant is devastated not only because of her death but also because he is the one who sent her overseas, still underage, in order to help the family, neighbours said.

“There is no doubt that the charge of murder against Rizana is wrong,” the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said in a statement issued today. “The laws in Saudi Arabia falls short of universally accepted norms concerning investigation of crimes, most importantly in this case the failure to conduct of an autopsy upon the body of the deceased person, alleged to have been murdered by Rizana. None of the fair trial guarantees were observed when Rizana was tried in the Saudi court.”

“The Government of Sri Lanka or the office of the President did nothing to save Rizana’s life, despite calls for assistance from Rizana’s family and from the global civil society.” In fact, “President Rajapaksha’s government refused to pay at least the lawyers’ fee for filing the appeal. [. . .] So long as there is a government that does not show any care for the rights of its people, similar tragedies will be repeated in Sri Lanka.”

Born into a very poor family in Mutur village (Trincomalee District in the Eastern Province), Rizana had moved to Saudi Arabia in 2005 when she was only 17, on a false passport, to work as a domestic helper.

When her employer’s child died, she was accused of murder and sentenced to death in 2007 after a phony trial based on a confession written in Arabic she was forced to sign, even though she did not know that language.

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

Stakelbeck Interviews Israeli Vice PM Moshe Yaalon, Plus Deputy

On this week’s edition of the Stakelbeck on Terror show, from Jerusalem, we have exclusive interviews with two of Israel’s top government officials, Vice Prime Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon and Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon.

Both men are outspoken advocates for Israel’s security who tell it like it is and don’t mince words. I had the chance to talk to them about Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood and much more.

Click the link above to watch.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

UAE: Inquiry Into ‘Women’s Branch’ of Islamic Group

Linked to July arrests, other more recent ones against MB

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, JANUARY 9 — There is also a “women’s branch” of an alleged secret Islamic organisation accused of plotting to overthrow Gulf monarchies, many members of which were arrested in July. The news was reported in a statement released by the UAE Prosecutor General’s office. “The women’s branch is an integral part of the organisation’s overall structure, and it will be treated as such before the law, which does not make gender-based distinctions,” said Prosecutor General Salim Said Kubaish in a statement published by the WAM news agency. “The interrogations of the women under detention are being carried out with full respect for their right to privacy and in line with Koranic law,” Kubaish underscored, specifying neither the identities of those being interrogated nor the number of those under investigation. The latest inquiry is only the most recent in a series of crackdowns by UAE authorities against groups suspected of undermining national security. Last week eleven Egyptians accused of belonging to a Muslim Brotherhood cell were arrested in an operation that embarrassed the authorities in Egypt, which is now governed by a party created by the Muslim Brotherhood itself. A few days ago a sweep-up operation landed a number of UAE nationals and Saudis affiliated with Al Islah behind bars on accusations of “conspiring against national security”. Al Islah is an illegal organization linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Using Cold War Tactics to Confront Iran

(DANIEL PIPES) Abraham D. Sofaer, a former U.S. district judge and legal adviser to the State Department, now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, argues in Taking On Iran: Strength, Diplomacy and the Iranian Threat (Hoover Institution, 2013) that since the fall of the shah during the Carter administration, Washington “has responded to Iranian aggression with ineffective sanctions and empty warnings and condemnations.”

Not since 1988, he notes, has the U.S. government focused on the Iranian military force that specifically protects the country’s Islamic order and most often attacks abroad, variously called the Pasdaran or Sepah in Persian and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC in English. This roughly 125,000-strong elite force, created in 1980, has an outsized role in Iran’s political and economic life. It possesses its own army, navy, and air force units, it controls ballistic missile programs, and it shares control over the country’s nuclear program. It runs the Basij, which enforces strict Islamic mores on the Iranian public. Its military forces are more important than the regular armed forces. Its Quds Force of about 15,000 agents spreads the Khomeini revolution abroad via infiltration and assassination. Its graduates staff key positions in the Iranian government.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India Says Kashmir Killings’ Inhuman’

India has criticised arch-rival Pakistan over a firefight in Kashmir in which two of its soldiers were killed, saying that the mutilation of one of the bodies was “inhuman”.

India also summoned Pakistan’s envoy to New Delhi to protest over Tuesday’s incident, in which — according to India — Pakistani troops crossed the territory’s heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) and fired at one of its army patrols.

The body of one of the soldiers was found “badly mutilated” in a forested area on the side controlled by India, Rajesh K. Kalia, spokesman for the Indian army’s Northern Command, said. However, he denied Indian media reports that one of the bodies had been decapitated and the throat of another had been slit…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indian Soldier ‘Beheaded by Pakistan Troops’ As Kashmir Dispute Escalates

India accused Pakistan of a “grave provocation” on Tuesday night after the “ghastly” death of two of its soldiers at the hands of Pakistani troops in Kashmir, amid claims that one of them was beheaded.

In the second clash in three days between soldiers from the nuclear-armed rivals, an Indian patrol found Pakistani troops about half a mile inside Indian territory, an army spokesman said. A firefight broke out and two Indian soldiers were killed. Indian army sources claimed that one of the soldiers was decapitated and his head taken away by retreating Pakistani troops. His body was found “badly mutilated” in a forested area of the Himalayan territory, said Rajesh K. Kalia, a spokesman for the Indian army’s Northern Command. A spokesman for the Pakistan army denied that its forces launched an “unprovoked” attack and dismissed the claims as Indian propaganda…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Trial for Polish Soldiers Over Afghanistan Killings

Four Polish soldiers acquitted of killing eight civilians in south-east Afghanistan are to go on trial again.

The eight civilians, including women and children, died in the village of Nangar Khel when Polish troops opened fire on a wedding party in August 2007. Military prosecutors appealed to the Polish Supreme Court after seven soldiers were cleared of war crimes in June 2011, citing lack of evidence. The court upheld the acquittal of three — ordering the re-trial of the others. The judge said the men had given conflicting accounts of why the village was attacked: At times they said they were responding to Taliban fire, at others they said they were following orders or that their ammunition was faulty…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

U. S. To Leave No More Than 9,000 Men in Afghanistan

(AGI) — Washington, Jan. 5 — The United States will leave no more than 9,000 men in Afghanistan after its withdrawal in 2014. The Wall Street Journal reported how the White House has ordered the Pentagon to review the planning that provided for a contingent of 15,000 soldiers to remain in the country after withdrawal. Now the Department of Defense has identified three scenarios, leaving either 3,000, 6,000 or 9,000 soldiers.

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

Far East

Philippines: 500,000 Take Part in Annual Feast of Black Nazarene in Manila

Devotees try to touch and kiss the life-size statue of the Black Nazarene during the annual feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila, the Philippines, Jan. 9, 2013. The Black Nazarene, a life-size wooden statue of Jesus Christ carved in Mexico and brought to the Philippines in the 17th century, is believed to have healing powers in this country. Authorities said about 500,000 people participated in the procession that started in Manila’s Rizal Park.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

What Did Google Earth Spot in the Chinese Desert? Even an Ex-CIA Analyst Isn’t Sure

Late last month, former CIA analyst Allen Thomson was clicking through a space news website when he noticed a story about a new orbital tracking site being built near the small city of Kashgar in southwestern China. Curious, he went to Google Earth to find it. He poked around for a while, with no luck. Then he came across something kind of weird.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

How a Hoaxer Created Sharemarket Havoc

ONE young man sitting in a forest used a laptop and a mobile phone to temporarily wipe more than $314 million off the value of Nathan Tinkler’s Whitehaven Coal on Monday morning.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is now investigating the elaborate hoax, in which anti-coal campaigners issued a fake press release and impersonated a corporate affairs spokesman from ANZ Bank…

Asked if he had qualms about lying to the public to achieve environmental ends, Mr Moylan said: ‘‘Our primary concern is the impact of this mine on the environment at the end of the day. A lot of people were taken in by it, but when you compare the cost of that to the health of our forests and farmlands, it justifies it.’’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Al Qaeda Carves Out Own Country in Mali

Deep inside caves, in remote desert bases, in the escarpments and cliff faces of northern Mali, Islamic fighters are burrowing into the earth, erecting a formidable set of defenses to protect what has essentially become Al Qaeda’s new country.

They have used the bulldozers, earth movers, and loaders left behind by fleeing construction crews to dig what residents and local officials describe as an elaborate network of tunnels, trenches, shafts, and ramparts.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Battle to Save African Elephants Waged on a New Front

It is increasingly clear that more armed patrols in Africa’s wilderness, or sniffer dogs at its ports, or even proper penalties at its courts, will not stop the slaughter of its remaining half-million elephants.

There is a growing threat of the species’ extinction under the onslaught of professional poachers with automatic weapons, modern 4x4s and night-vision goggles. Those brave men and women deployed to protect Africa’s wildlife are out-resourced by an enemy correctly now identified alongside international drugs smugglers and human traffickers. “Africa has half-a-million elephants left, but all together they would not be enough to satisfy the demand that has arisen,” said Paul Udoto of the Kenya Wildlife Service…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Chad, Minimum of 40 Children Paralyzed After New Meningitis Vaccine

On December 20, 2012, a vaccination tragedy hit the small village of Gouro, located in northern Chad, Africa. According to the newspaper La Voix, out of five hundred children who received the new meningitis vaccine MenAfriVac, at least 40 of them between the ages of 7 and 18 have become paralyzed. Those children also suffered hallucinations and convulsions.

Since this report, the true extent of this tragedy is coming to light, as parents of these vaccinated children have reported yet more injuries. The authorities in the area are shaken, as citizens set fire to a sanitary administration vehicle in a demonstration of their frustration and anger at the government’s negligence.[1]

“We wish that our children would get their health back,” shared the parent of a sick child.

Mr. M., the cousin of two of the vaccine-injured children, who currently remain critically ill and hospitalized, explained that many of the children reacted within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine. He said that at first the children vomited and complained of headaches, before falling to the floor with uncontrollable convulsions while bent over with saliva coming from their mouths.

He shared that on December 26, 2012, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Social Security visited Gouro, bringing with them two Members of Parliament. He said that after some discussion, they decided to evacuate approximately 50 paralyzed children to a hospital over three hundred miles away in N’Djamena, the capital city of Chad.

He added that the government responded to the tragedy by paying the parents money in a desperate bid to silence them, further stating that many of the parents are traumatized and confused.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Horror as Entire Family of Elephants Slaughtered for Ivory

Armed wildlife rangers on Tuesday night fanned out across eastern Kenya in pursuit of ivory poachers who killed an entire family of 12 elephants in the country’s worst single such slaughter since the 1980s.

Eleven adults and one infant calf died in a “targeted and efficient” attack highlighting the growing professionalism of poachers bankrolled by international criminals supplying soaring demand for ivory in the Far East…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Gunmen Fire on Muslims

Kano — Gunmen on a motorcycle killed three people on Monday when they opened fire on a group of Muslim worshippers in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, the latest such attack in the region, police said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Obasanjo to Jonathan — Reach Out to Boko Haram

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said more could be done to reach out to the Boko Haram sect to find out what leads it to carry out acts of violence. In an interview with American television network CNN yesterday, Obasanjo suggested the Federal Government should adopt a dual-track approach rather than just cracking down on the group. “To deal with a group like that, you need a carrot and stick. The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Italy: Immigration Bureau Issued 4,800 Expulsion Orders in 2012

(AGI) — Rome, Jan 5 — Italian immigration authorities issued or renewed 140,000 immigration visas and 4,800 expulsion orders in 2012, the Immigration Bureau of the Police Headquarters of Rome reported. Since the beginning of last year, police patrol agents have accompanied 10,000 EU and non-EU foreign citizens to the relevant Immigration Bureau.

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

Culture Wars

Italy: Gay Groups Wary About Berlusconi Pledge for Same-Sex Couples

Activists call for concrete proposals

(see related story) (ANSA) — Rome, January 7 — Several Italian gay groups expressed wariness on Monday after ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said the centre right would back legal recognition for couples who live together, including same-sex ones, if it wins next month’s general elections.

The Gay Center called for action, not words, and argued that the three governments Berlusconi led between 1994 and 2011 did “nothing” for gays.

“We’ll see if we’re faced with a change of direction (from Berlusconi),” said Fabrizio Marrazzo of the Gay Center.

“But concrete proposals are certainly necessary,” he added, calling for the proposal to be put into the centre-right’s manifesto. Arcigay President Flavio Romanialso also asked Berlusconi to put the pledge in “black and white” and said he had “legitimate suspicions” about such a “sudden change of course”.

The ex-premier, who has been at the centre of a series of sex scandals and is on trial in Milan for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute, was blasted in 2010 for saying it was “better to like pretty women than be gay”.

Romani said his association’s doubts also stemmed from comments Berlusconi made in 2011 in which he said he was against gay unions being given the same status as marriages between men and women. However, Enrico Oliari, the president of an association representing centre-right-supporting gays, welcomed Berlusconi’s comments and said the 76-year-old media magnate had given a “lesson” to several centrist politicians, including outgoing Premier Mario Monti. “Berlusconi’s opening-up over the recognition of gay couples is a piece of news you cannot fail to take account of,” GayLib head Oliari said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Obama Administration is Anti-Catholic

If you don’t think the Obama Administration is anti-Catholic, this will change your mind. Right this very moment, there is a petition on the White House website condemning Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas address to the College of Cardinals and the Catholic Church. Signers of this petition want to declare the Catholic Church an official “hate group” because of our views on same-sex marriage.

The White House could easily remove this petition from the website if they wanted.

Talk about a double standard! You can bet the White House wouldn’t waste a second removing a petition seeking to restore segregation or rescind the 24th Amendment banning the poll tax!

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The “New Breed” Of Christian Fashion

Our younger generation is being preyed upon by adults that will do anything for a buck. Adults are the ones who peddle the raunchy products that hyper-sexualize the culture. Young people, especially, are demeaned and exploited for profit.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was surfing the net for articles to include in the Email Brigade News Report, I came across a piece entitled “Provocative Clothing Company Creates Tees to Help Christian Girls be ‘Playful’ for Jesus.” For obvious reasons the headline grabbed my attention.

Featured in the article is a picture of an attractive young woman in a sexy pose seated on a bed wearing a tank top with the words “God knows my secrets.”

From the Christian News Service story:

A California-based clothing company is targeting professing Christian girls who seek to be provocative and “playful” in the way that they dress, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Hubble Space Telescope Could Last Until 2018, NASA Says

LONG BEACH, Calif. — NASA’s 23-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is still going strong, and agency officials said Tuesday (Jan. 8) they plan to operate it until its instruments finally give out, potentially for another six years at least.

After its final overhaul in 2009, the Hubble telescope was expected to last until at least 2015. Now, NASA officials say they are committed to keeping the iconic space observatory going as long as possible.

“Hubble will continue to operate as long as its systems are running well,” Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said here at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Hubble, like other long-running NASA missions such as the Spitzer Space Telescope, will be reviewed every two years to ensure that the mission is continuing to provide science worth the cost of operating it, Hertz added.

In fact, Hubble supporters hope it will continue to run even after its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is launched — an event planned for 2018.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

"‘I thought it was going to be the end and they were going to kill me.’"

and another of our countrymen is converted