Monday, January 13, 2003

News Feed 20130117

Financial Crisis
»Building Activity in Greece Plummeting, 43.7pct Fewer Permits Issued in October
»Car Giant Renault to Cut 7,500 Jobs in France
»Germany Wants Russian Contribution to Cyprus Bailout
»Germany Begins Hauling Gold Reserves Back Home
»Hotel Mama: Bad Economy Has Young Europeans at Home
»‘I Have Heard About EU Austerity, But Still I Would Like to Go’
»Post-Arab Spring Countries Face ‘Social Time Bomb, ‘ EU Says
»Spanish PM Calls on Germany to Stimulate Economy
»A Bridge Too Far
»A Clarification of Obama’s 23 Executive Orders
»Article II? Obama Got Rid of That
»Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species
»Citizens File Articles of Impeachment Against Obama
»Deaf Man Stabbed Multiple Times After His Sign Language is Mistaken for Gang Signs
»Federal Court Admits Hepatitis B Vaccine Caused Fatal Auto-Immune Disorder
»Make Obama Grab Guns All by Himself
»New York Creates Psychiatric Police State
»NY State Senator: Gun Bill Passed in Middle of Night ‘Turns Law-Abiding Citizens Into Criminals’
»‘Obama High on His Own Power’ Says Sen. Cruz
»Obama Urges Congress to Toughen Gun Laws
»Obama Wants Assault Rifle, 10-Round Magazine Ban
»Obama Unveils $500 Million Gun Violence Package
»Obama is Begging for Impeachment
»Obama’s Gun Policy Advisors: 8-Year-Olds
»Obama Turns Doctors Into Gun Control Snitches Running Health Care Spy Network
»Philadelphia Police Seeking 3 People in Child Kidnapping
»Sheriff Will Not Obey Unlawful, Unconstitutional Orders
»Texas Lawmakers to Introduce Law Threatening Felony Arrest of Any Feds Who Attempt to Enforce Obama’s Gun Control Orders
»The Law of the Sword
»Understanding the Obama Conspiracy & U.S. Takeover
»Whooping Cough Outbreak Involved 90% Vaccinated Kids
Europe and the EU
»Dutch Labour Party Warns Prime Minister on British PM’s Speech
»France: Hollande Losing Popularity, LH2 Survey Shows
»France Warns Embassy Staff to be ‘Vigilant’
»France: Troops Patrol Paris Streets After Terror Threat
»Gang of Men ‘Who Groomed Young Girls for Sex Drove Terrified Victim, 14, To the Woods at Night and Threatened to Cut Her Head Off’
»Germany: Surfers Want to Make Waves in Berlin
»Germany to Move Gold Reserves
»Germany: Bundesbank to Repatriate Gold From Paris and NY
»Islamic Success Story at German Universities
»Italy: Fiat to Make Workers Idle as it Revamps Melfi Plant
»Italy: ‘Save ILVA’ Law to be Challenged Before Constitutional Court
»Italy: Sports Judge Sanctions Pro Patria Team for Fans’ Abuse
»Italy: Roman Engineer Jailed Over Death During Erotic Game
»Italy: Wiretaps Ruling Risks Balance of Power Says Ingroia
»Italy: Berlusconi Brushes Off ‘EPP Endorsement’ of Monti
»Italy: Grillo Says Monti ‘Morally Retarded’ And Doesn’t Know it
»Italy: Bergamo Prosecutor’s Comments Spark Controversy
»Italy: UN Invites Milan Soccer Player to Anti-Racism Event
»Monti Chides Berlusconi Failure to Raise Italy’s Profile
»Netherlands: Over-50s Are the Main Victims of Internet Dating Fraud
»Sweden: The Twitter Character Assassination of Ulf Nilson
»Sweden: Cleaning Lady Steals Train and Crashes Into House
»UK: ‘Caring’ Student, 18, Stabbed to Death as He Walked Home in ‘Bungled Mugging for His Mobile Phone’
»UK: Asda Withdraws Nine Burger Ranges Over Horse Meat Fears as It’s Revealed Tests Found Equine DNA in Other Supermarket Products Last Year
»UK: Astonishing Good Luck of Crane Driver Who Had Been Climbing 500ft Tower When Helicopter Struck After Arriving Late for Work
»UK: Al-Majali: Upskirt Pervert Banned From Carrying Camera in Public
»UK: Bungling Doctors Miss Dentures Stuck in Pensioner’s Throat Four Times Leaving Them Lodged Inside for Nine Weeks
»UK: Could Crash Pilot See Warning Light on Top of Tower? The Questions for Air Investigators as London Mayor Boris Johnson Announces Safety Review
»UK: Father of EastEnders Actress Gemma McCluskie Walks Out of Court as Jury Hears How Her Brother ‘Cut Her Body Into Six Pieces and Put Them in Suitcase and Plastic Bags’
»UK: Ipswich: Teen Girl Was Plied With Drugs and Forced to Become Sex Slave, Court Told
»UK: Man Denies Making Threats to Kill With Bottle of Acid
»UK: Newmarket: Kitchen Worker Jailed for Alleyway Attack
»UK: Paedophile Car Salesman Locked Up Thanks to ‘Courage of Little Girls’
»UK: Serial Fraudster Known as the Don Who Posed as Property Tycoon to Mastermind Britain’s Biggest Ever Mortgage Con Worth £750million is Jailed for Seven Years
»UK: Serial Criminals Who Avoid Jail Outnumber the Prison Population: 90,000 With Ten or More Convictions Escape With Slap on Wrist
»UK: Youngest Sex Gang Victim, 11, Was Branded With Her Own Hairpin by “Sick Sex Monsters” Who Plied Her With Drugs
Mediterranean Union
»Israeli Halt to Funds Unacceptable, PA Mayors
North Africa
»Algeria: 8 Foreigners Kidnapped at Gas Plant
»Algeria: Aqim Claims to Have Taken 41 Hostages
»Algeria Hostage Crisis: Britons Die in Bungled Rescue
»Algerian Gas Field Siege is “Over”
»Americans Among Hostages Seized by Islamists in Algeria, State Department Says
»Benghazi Set for Curfew After Bomb Kills Libyan Policeman
»Egypt: Islamic Extremists Demolish Coptic Church Property in Fayyum
»Egypt’s Sinister Proposal: A Call for Jews to Return
»One British Expat Dead and Five British Workers Held Hostage by Islamic Militants in Mali Revenge Attack on BP Gas Field
»Terrorist Attack in Algeria: Islamist: Hostages to be Killed One by One
»U. S. Citizens Among Southern Algeria Hostages
Israel and the Palestinians
»Egypt: Zionism Statements ‘Taken Out of Context’, Morsi
»Stakelbeck Show From Israel’s Gaza Border
»The Good News From Israel for 2013
Middle East
»Hitler Honored in Upscale Istanbul Mall
»Saudi Arabia: Country Divided Over Women in Shura Council
South Asia
»Bloody Conflict Threatens Thailand’s Security
»Indonesia: East Java: Six Catholic Schools Could be Shut Down for Not Teaching Islam
»Malaysia Rated Most Muslim-Friendly Destination
»Unrest and Political Uncertainty: Pakistan Tumbles Into Chaos
Far East
»‘China Plant Could Make 100,000 Jeeps a Year’ Says Fiat CEO
»China Defends Export Data After Economists’ Skepticism
»Japanese Airlines Suspend All Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flights
»Stability Counts for China’s Middle Class
»Tokyo Prepares for Long-Overdue ‘Big One’
»Tokyo Suspends All Boeing 787 for Safety Concerns
Australia — Pacific
»Australian Amateur Prospector Finds Massive Gold Nugget
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Italy Ready to Give Logistical Support to France in Mali
»Italy to Send Up to 24 to EU Training Mission in Mali
»Mali Islamists Much Stronger Than Expected: France
»Mali: EU Greenlights 450-Personnel, 12.3 Mln Euro Mission
»South African President Praises French Actions in Africa
»Two Tonnes of Black-Market Ivory Worth £700,000 Seized in Kenya in Biggest Seizure the Country Has Ever Made
»250,000 Bulgarians and Romanians ‘To Head to UK’
»Canada to Resettle Up to 5,000 Iranian and Iraqi Refugees by 2018
»Gauck: Refugees Offer Hope for German Future
»Switzerland: Bern Braces for Influx of Asylum Seekers
»Up to 70,000 Romanian and Bulgarian Migrants a Year ‘Will Come to Britain’ When Controls on EU Migrants Expire
Culture Wars
»HBO’s ‘Girls’ Celebrates Dysfunction
»Italy: Monti Opposes Same-Sex Marriage, Offending Some Activists
»Obama the Children Savior Champion of Partial Birth Abortion
»Public Schools Are Teaching What?
»School Teaches That Whites Are ‘Oppressors’
»Teachers Shouldn’t Use Red Coloured Pens to Mark Homework ‘Because it’s Like Shouting and Upsets Pupils’
»Two 6-Year-Olds Suspended for Playing Cops and Robbers — ‘Finger Guns’ To Blame
»Tiny Solar Activity Changes Affect Earth’s Climate

Financial Crisis

Building Activity in Greece Plummeting, 43.7pct Fewer Permits Issued in October

There was a 43.7 percent drop in the number of building permits issued in Greece in October 2012 compared to a year earlier, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Wednesday.

Just 1,506 permits were issued during the month, which corresponds to 0.27 million m2 of surface area and 1.07 million m3 of volume.

That represents a 32.4 percent decrease in surface and a 27 percent decrease in volume, compared to the same month in 2011.

“In the last twelve months, from November 2011 until October 2012, the total Building Activity in the whole country, calculated on the basis of the number of issued building permits, amounted to 26127,” said ELSTAT.

“This figure corresponds to 4,754.3 thousand m2 of surface and 18,500.3 thousand m3 of volume, reflecting a 31.6 percent decrease in the number of building permits, 31.2 percent decrease in surface and a 29.2 % decrease in volume, compared with the corresponding period of November 2010 until October 2011,” the agency added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Car Giant Renault to Cut 7,500 Jobs in France

There was more bad news for France’s ailing car industry on Tuesday when Renault announced it would be slashing its staff numbers by 7,500 by 2016.

The company will shed 5,700 jobs through natural attrition, with the balance coming from the extension of an early retirement programme subject to agreement with unions, a spokesman said.

Renault insists it has no plans to make any staff redundant as part of the cutbacks.

The manufacturer has also said it has no desire to close down any car plant but much will depend on whether trade unions will back the plan.

“If an agreement is signed with unions, this staff redeployment would require neither a plant closure or a voluntary redundancy programme,” said Gerard Leclercq, head of Renault’s French operations.

Renault’s current workforce in France stands at 44,642, making the job cuts announced on Tuesday equivalent to a 17 percent reduction in staff numbers.

The announcement is a further blow to France’s once towering automobile industry, which is still reeling after PSA Peugeot Citroen announced it would be cutting 8,000 jobs, including the closure of an iconic plant at Aulnay-Sous-Bois to the north of Paris.

The job cuts come after the country’s leading car manufacturers have repeatedly posted disastrous sales figures.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Wants Russian Contribution to Cyprus Bailout

BERLIN — The German government wants Russia to chip in to the bailout currently being discussed for Cyprus — a eurozone country whose banking system has generously accommodated Russian businessmen.

“The position of the German government is that it would be welcome if Russia extended its aid to Cyprus, as it has done in the past,” a German official told this website on Tuesday (15 January).

Earlier that day, news agency Bloomberg said German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told MPs in a closed meeting Moscow must to contribute to the eurozone bailout for Cyprus.

Helping out Cyprus — whose banks, according to a leaked German intelligence report, are guilty of money laundering for Russian oligarchs and organised crime — is controversial for German politicians, with Chancellor Angela Merkel warning last week that the island nation must not expect “special treatment” and that she will push for strict conditions for any international loan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Begins Hauling Gold Reserves Back Home

With much of its gold reserves deposited abroad, Germany has long depended on foreign countries to secure its precious metals. Now, Berlin is moving some of its reserves from New York and Paris back home to Frankfurt.

Germany’s gold reserves are massive, second only to those of the United States in their quantity. They total some 3,400 tons, much of it acquired during the so-called “economic miracle,” when Germany was rebuilding after the Second World War. Around a third of the country’s reserves are in Frankfurt, while the rest is deposited in France, Great Britain and the United States. But the German Central Bank, under pressure from the public, wants to start bringing much of those reserves back home.

In 1951, the Bank of the German States — the forerunner of the German Central Bank — purchased its first 500 kilograms of gold as security against a potential currency crisis. More than 60 years later, the current value of Germany’s gold reserves totals 140 billion euros ($186 billion) — an incomprehensible sum to the normal person. That’s why the issue is being followed by the public with such interest, with Germans debating whether the gold reserves should be sold, because they don’t gain interest, or should be kept for hard times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Hotel Mama: Bad Economy Has Young Europeans at Home

Young Europeans in countries hit hardest by the Continent’s economic crisis are finding it difficult to move out of their parents’ home. Data shows that over 50 percent of those aged 25 to 34 in some countries have yet to move out.

Most young adults are eager to leave home to start independent lives. But in those European countries where the economic crisis has hit hardest — particularly in southern and eastern EU member states — that appears to be a difficult move to make.

In 2011, more that 50 percent of the 25- to 34-year-olds in Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Malta still lived in their parents’ homes, a SPIEGEL analysis of information from the European Commission statistics division Eurostat has revealed.

In Portugal, Italy, Hungary and Romania more than 40 percent of those in this age group remain in the nest (see graphic).

Nations with a high percentage of Catholics show a particularly high number of young adults who have yet to move out of their parents’ home. This is also the case in Eastern Europe, where working conditions for entry-level workers are particularly precarious.

These numbers are in stark contrast to those in the EU’s most northerly member nations, where less than 5 percent of 24- to 34-year-olds in Finland, Sweden and Denmark continue to enjoy the luxuries of Hotel Mama. In Germany, the level is 14.7 percent.

A similar phenomenon, dubbed the “boomerang generation,” has been identified in the United States, which is suffering from a long recession. The Pew Research Center reports that some 29 percent of Americans in the same age have had to return to their parents’ home in recent years. And some 78 percent of them say they are happy with their living arrangements.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘I Have Heard About EU Austerity, But Still I Would Like to Go’

Istanbul — The sharp pin of hammers striking on metal can be heard through the noise of a speeding scooter.

Above, hidden away in back alleys and crumbling buildings in the maze of streets in the Kumkapi district in Istanbul, workers toil away for meagre pay. Others are carrying or pushing heavy loads of cloth and textiles down the road.

Many of them are Turks. But some come from as far as way French speaking Africa. Young men from Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana and the Ivory Coast have come looking for jobs and, possibly, for a path to Europe.

“I’m 35 years old. I’ve got to feed my family,” says Mohamed Nkatoue Mantouim, a recent arrival from Cameroon.

He explained that the lack of work at home forced him to seek his fortune in Istanbul, where he said he has been treated with scorn and outright racism.

“I have to get up very early in the morning and start looking for job. It is only God who decides,” he says. If he is lucky, he can earn up to 200 Turkish liras (€85) a week.

But it is a daily struggle. Christantus Njoku, a 30-year-old from Cameroon, has yet to be paid for carrying heavy loads of concrete up a nine-floor building for the past three days.

Their friend, 23-year-old Ngoult Abdel, also from Cameroon, said they live in a cramped two-bedroom apartment shared by 40 young African men.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Post-Arab Spring Countries Face ‘Social Time Bomb, ‘ EU Says

BRUSSELS — High youth unemployment in many post-Arab Spring countries is a “social time bomb” the EU has said. On his whirlwind tour of the region, EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy stopped in Egypt and Tunisia on Tuesday (15 January).

At a round-table discussion in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, Rompuy said 50 million jobs would need to be created in the next couple of years for all the young people in the region about to enter a severely depressed labour market.

“Such a dramatic situation is a social time-bomb,” said Rompuy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spanish PM Calls on Germany to Stimulate Economy

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in an interview with the Financial Times called on Germany and the other creditor nations in the eurozone to take action to stimulate economic growth. Meanwhile the Fitch rating firm on Tuesday said Spain will continue to face downgrade risks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


A Bridge Too Far

Infrastructure is the backbone of a nation; it connects people to services, markets and jobs. It provides clean drinking water, access to foods not locally grown and allows for the electricity we take for granted in today’s hi-tech world. One of the biggest reasons America surged ahead during the industrial revolution was the massive expansion of the railroad system which shortened cross-continental travel from months to days. Eisenhower’s push to build the Interstate Highway network unleashed a manufacturing boom that has never been rivaled. But all infrastructures require resources to ensure their everyday running and maintenance. US infrastructure spending peaked in the early 1960’s at 3.1% of the GDP; by 2007 it had dropped to 2.4% and keeps falling. While China, Canada, Mexico, Australia and India are putting greater amounts of money into their infrastructure, the US is system is aging and failing in a downward spiral that has serious long term ramifications for our ability to compete in the world marketplace we once led.[16]


In July of 2007, routine maintenance and safety upgrades closed 4 lanes of the bridge to allow for the construction. On August 1, four of the eight lanes were closed for resurfacing, and there were 575,000 pounds of construction supplies and equipment on the bridge. With rush hour traffic slowed to a crawl the bridge was literally end to end traffic. At 6:05 p.m. Central Standard Time, a witness later testified they heard a thunderous clap and saw dust billowing from the bridge just seconds before they saw the central span collapse into the river below.[4] The southern section of the bridge toppled 81 feet eastward while the northern section crumbled into a rail yard crushing three unoccupied freight cars.[5]

Within minutes it was over, and as the dust settled it revealed a scene from one of the Mad Max films. Vehicles and construction workers were flung up to 115 feet away like rag dolls in a tornado. On one of the broken slabs listing at a crazy angle was a burning truck and a school bus carrying 60 children. Survivors and bystanders began to pull kids from the bus and only ten of them had to be taken to the hospital.[4]


The investigation also raised the troubling question of why this defect was not discovered in over 40 years of inspections and even more ominously, the specter of this disaster happening again as this same design was used in the construction of 700 other bridges all over the US. Unfortunately, bridges are only one part of the massive infrastructure fabric which is slowly unraveling. America, we have a Problem

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

A Clarification of Obama’s 23 Executive Orders

In an effort to clarify President Beaurat Obama’s “23 ways to look like I’m doing something while actually doing nothing on Gun Control” Executive Orders; I will use my 30 years of Law Enforcement experience to give a “Cop-on-the-beat” interpretation of what is actually meant.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Article II? Obama Got Rid of That

How? When you’re the “king” — you just ignore it. Or write an illegal Executive Order and simply erase it.

Barack Hussein Obama, the community organizer who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, got there by violating Article II of the Constitution of the United States not once but four times in four years. Add his four violations of Article II with two violations of Article I since becoming the “Occupier,” and we have six impeachable offenses that could, and should, land Mr. Obama in a federal penitentiary.

While any American with an IQ larger than their hat size who has read Lord Christopher Monckton’s Peer Review on Obama’s birth, or has studied Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s forensic report on the evidence which conclusively proves that the long form birth certificate that Obama claims as his long form birth certificate is a very amateurish forgery of the long form Hawaiian birth certificate of Virginia Sunahara, who was born at Wahiawa Hospital in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and died of postnatal complications the following day at Kapi’olani Hospital. Her birth and death certificate number was 151-61 10641. That, of course as all of us now know, is the number that Obama’s political advocates in Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s [D-HI] liberal bureaucracy claims belongs to Obama.

But before dealing with the impeachable crimes that should remove Obama from the White House and transfer him to the Big House, let’s settle the birth certificate issue once and for all, since it’s this distraction that has kept the American people from coming to grips with the fact that Obama is not, and never was, a citizen of the United States. The birthers created an unnecessary distraction—the question whether Obama met the constitutional letter of the law needed to be deemed an Article II natural born citizen. Their argument muddied the water so much that most Americans through the birthers were splitting hairs because Obama’s father was a Kenyan citizen although his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham was born in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on Nov. 29, 1942 and was an American citizen. In their mind, that settled the birth issue. The only problem is, according to US Citizenship law at the time of Obama’s birth, an American mother—unmarried, or at least not married to an American husband (and living outside of the United States at the time of the live birth of her baby)—had to be at least 19 years of age to transfer citizenship rights to her offspring. On Aug. 4, 1961 Stanley Ann Dunham was three months and 25 days shy of being able to legally transmit citizenship to her son, who was born in Kenya, not Hawaii—the claims and fabrications of the Obama people notwithstanding.

The fact that Obama does not possess a genuine United States birth certificate is the crux of the battle going on in the court in Honolulu at this time.


In the book, “Fugitive Days” by former domestic terrorist and Obama-buddy Bill Ayers writing about changing one’s identity to avoid capture by law enforcement, wrote: “We soon figured out that the deepest and most foolproof ID had a government-issued Social Security card at its heart, and the best source of those were dead-baby birth certificates…available to us at any county courthouse for a couple of bucks.” Over the years Barack Hussein Obama has used at least 27 different social security numbers. The most recent one— and the one he is using to draw his paycheck at the White House is still officially listed as the Social Security card of Jean Paul Ludwig. Ludwig was born in Connecticut in 1890. He’s been dead for 32 years.


While Obama’s records, dates and names are deliberately skewed out of focus so the lens of history under the Barry Soetoro chapters of Obama’s life—the Indonesian chapters, could be erased and quietly replaced with the edited Barack Obama—the mulatto American—chapters that suggest that Obama was not born in Kenya but Hawaii. He was suddenly no longer the Wahabbi-trained Islamist raised in Indonesia where his step father traded his British citizenship for an Indonesian education since, in Indonesia, only citizens are awarded with an education. Now, through the opaque shroud of history the Wahabbi-trained Muslim from Kenya and Indonesia became the make-believe Christian from Hawaii.

Except to his closest friends who still called him Barry, Soetoro was being methodically erased because those who were retooling him for an American political career knew that a Shariah-indoctrinated radical Muslim didn’t fit in the pro-Israeli political landscape of the United States.

[Comment: Detailed article that lays out the entire fraud.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species

Pubic lice, the crab-shaped insects that have dwelled in human groins since the beginning of history, are disappearing. Doctors say bikini waxing may be the reason.

Waning infestations of the bloodsuckers have been linked by doctors to pubic depilation, especially a technique popularized in the 1990s by a Manhattan salon run by seven Brazilian sisters. More than 80 percent of college students in the U.S. remove all or some of their pubic hair — part of a trend that’s increasing in western countries. In Australia, Sydney’s main sexual health clinic hasn’t seen a woman with pubic lice since 2008 and male cases have fallen 80 percent from about 100 a decade ago.

“It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen,”said Basil Donovan, head of sexual health at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute and a physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre. “Without doubt, it’s better grooming.”

The trend suggests an alternative way of stemming one of the globe’s most contagious sexually transmitted infections. Pubic lice are usually treated with topical insecticides, which once included toxic ones developed before and during World War 2. While they aren’t known to spread disease, itchy skin reactions and subsequent infections make pubic lice a hazardous pest.

Clipping, waxing and shaving the groin destroy the optimal habitat of pubic lice. The practice has helped spur sales of depilatory products for companies such as Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc. (RB/) P&G

The global market for depilatories was worth $4.69 billion last year, according to London-based Euromonitor International Ltd., which estimates sales increased at a 7.6 percent average annual clip the past decade. Cincinnati-based P&G, Slough, England-based Reckitt Benckiser and Energizer Holdings Inc. (ENR), based in St. Louis, dominate the market, which Euromonitor predicts will reach $5.6 billion by 2016.

A majority of college men and women in the U.S. and Australia remove all or part of their pubic hair, researchers at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, reported in a 2011 paper, citing surveys and research by other scholars. In the U.K., 99 percent of women older than 16 years remove some hair, most commonly from the under arms, legs and pubic area, a 2005 study found.

Brazilian waxing took off internationally in the early 2000s, possibly spurred by the attention it was given on television shows such as Sex and the City, said Spring Cooper Robbins, a senior lecturer and sexual health researcher at the University of Sydney.

About a block from New York’s famous Fifth Avenue shopping strip, women in fur coats and Louis Vuitton handbags are filing in and out of a beauty salon on a recent Friday afternoon. They perch on metallic silver and red floral sofas in the reception located in a Midtown Manhattan office building, waiting for a woman dressed in white to escort them to a waxing room.

The shop run by Jonice Padilha and her sisters Jocely, Janea, Joyce, Juracy, Jussara and Judeseia may be ground zero in the war on pubic lice. Growing up in the Brazilian coastal city of Vitoria, the sisters, like other women there, routinely waxed their pubic hair off to accommodate the ever shrinking bikinis worn on the beach.

In 1994, they introduced the waxing technique at the J Sisters nail salon they opened in 1986. Things exploded from there, Padilha said.

About 200 clients a day, including celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, come for treatments ranging from complete hair removal to custom designs. Regulars returning every four week’s pay $75 for a Brazilian. Men of all ages and sexual orientation are going for the “Sunga” wax, a $90 treatment in which all pubic hair, including on the testicles, is removed.

Hygiene and comfort are key reasons customers keep coming back, she said.

‘Environmental Disaster’

“It’s like a freedom,” said Padilha of the salon’s signature bikini wax treatment. “When we started the salon 26 years ago, we never thought it would be a success.”

Nor was it expected to aid in the fight against pubic lice, she said.

“Pubic grooming has led to a severe depletion of crab louse populations,” said Ian F. Burgess, a medical entomologist with Insect Research & Development Ltd. in Cambridge, England.”Add to that other aspects of body hair depilation, and you can see an environmental disaster in the making for this species.”

Pubic lice, known scientifically as Phthirus pubis, infest about 2 percent to 10 percent of the human population, researchers at East Carolina University said in a 2009 study.

Incidence data aren’t kept by the World Health Organizationin Geneva because the gray, six-legged, millimeter-long louse doesn’t transmit disease, and national authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and U.K.’s Health Protection Agency don’t collect the information.

Lousy Data

Researchers instead track pubic-lice infestations from surveys and records kept by clinics such as Donovan’s, which receives about 35,000 annual patient-visits annually.

“Historically, it’s been very difficult to get incidence data on pubic lice simply because people don’t like to report it,” said Richard Russell, director of medical entomology at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital. “In over 40 years, I could count on two hands the number of people who had brought pubic lice in for identification and admitted to knowing what they were.”

A 2003 study of sexually transmitted infections in Australia found pubic lice was the most common symptom-causing ailment, with at least a third of people experiencing an infestation at some point in their life. Most people self-treat the problem with a topical Lousacide bought from pharmacies, Donovan said.

Ten years ago, U.K. doctors noticed a dwindling in cases of pubic lice even as patient numbers and prevalence rates of other sexually transmitted infections increased.

Going Hairless

Janet Wilson, a consultant in sexual health and HIV, linked the trend with the growing popularity of pubic hair removal she and colleagues observed among patients attending the genitourinary medicine department at the General Infirmary in Leeds, northern England.

In a letter to a medical journal in 2006, they noted patients began getting a procedure known as the “Brazilian,” in which all but a small strip of hair is removed. Women and men who have sex with men took up the practice initially. Now, heterosexual men are doing so also, Wilson said.

She and colleagues are analyzing patient records to see if it’s lowered rates of pubic lice further, and will present their latest findings at a medical meeting in May, she said.

“We put the flag out, so to speak, if we see a case of pubic lice nowadays,” Wilson said in an e-mailed response to questions. “The ‘habitat destruction’ of the pubic lice is increasing and they are becoming an endangered species.”

Skin Trauma

One in seven American men ages 25 to 34 years have had their body hair waxed, according to a Mintel Group Ltd. report published in October 2011.

“Now there are tutorials about the proper — and safe —way to shave the chest, arms, or groin depending on how hirsute the individual may be,” the report said.

Waxing, shaving and plucking hair can cause skin trauma, breaching its protective barrier and potentially aiding the spread of other sexually transmitted infections, said Cooper Robbins at the University of Sydney. Non-sterile depilation products and procedures increase the infection risk.

A 20-year-old Australian woman with poorly controlled diabetes was hospitalized with a life-threatening bacterial infection of her genitalia following a routine Brazilian wax, doctors reported in 2007, noting a lack of published data on infectious risks.

Ingrown Hairs

“No matter what type of hair removal is used, there is the risk of ingrown hairs,” Cooper Robbins said. “That also creates the opportunity for infection.”

The female louse needs to mate only once to remain fertile throughout her lifetime and can lay eggs every day. Once hatched, the young lice begin feeding straight away, gorging themselves with blood until discovered, according to Cambridge entomologist Burgess.

Lice species that inhabit the human body generally stick to certain domains, with head lice staying near the scalp, body lice preferring to hide in clothing between blood-meals on the body, and pubic lice lingering predominantly in the coarse hair of the pubic and perianal areas, said Russell at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.

Chest Hair

“In the case of fairly hirsute men, they will move up the hair of the stomach which connects to the pubes and sometimes get into chest hair,” he said. “In both men and women, they occasionally get into the axillary hair under the arms.”

The pubic louse is closely related to the gorilla-afflicting louse, Pthirus gorillae, from which it probably diverged 3.3 million years ago, researchers said. The life cycle of the female pubic louse ends if it’s unable to find a suitable place to lay eggs, Russell said, making it plausible that pubic hair removal is reducing populations of the insect.

“It makes sense from the point of the view of the biology of the beast, but how you’d ever find out, I don’t know,” Russell said in a telephone interview. In the case of pubic lice,”habitat destruction is a good thing,” he said.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Citizens File Articles of Impeachment Against Obama

For sedition against the Constitution

“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

There can no longer be any doubt — the forces of tyranny are running wild across our once great Republic. The time has come for all good men and women to rally to the aid of their country. We have now entered a historic crossroads that will decide the destiny of the United States. Arrogance and corruption has long festered in Washington DC, but the last decade has seen an extreme acceleration of criminal looting and attacks on liberty — every freedom is under sustained assault.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Deaf Man Stabbed Multiple Times After His Sign Language is Mistaken for Gang Signs

Police in North Carolina say a deaf man was stabbed several times after his sign language was mistaken for gang signs by another man. Burlington Police Sgt. Mark Yancey said 45-year-old Terrance Ervin Daniels was using sign language with another deaf man. He said a third person saw them, thought they were flashing gang signs and stabbed Daniels with a kitchen knife.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Federal Court Admits Hepatitis B Vaccine Caused Fatal Auto-Immune Disorder

The United States Court of Federal Claims sided with the estate of Tambra Harris, who died as a result of an auto-immune disease called systemic lupose erythematosus (SLE). The court awarded $475,000 following her death after finding the hepatitis vaccine caused her injury in the form of SLE. But this near-admittance of a cause-effect relationship between the vaccine and the illness and subsequent death isn’t enough. No, we still give the shot to babies.

So, what is hepatitis B and why are we told that it is so important that newborn infants are vaccinated against it? Hepatitis B is not pleasant and can be deadly. But newborns (and the vast majority of people at any age) aren’t at risk of contracting the disease. It’s spread by contact with bodily fluids, as in through unprotected sex or dirty needles.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Make Obama Grab Guns All by Himself

Without your Second Amendment Rights, you have NO other Rights, which is exactly why Obama and his band of Democratic Socialists want your guns. Obama and Biden are prepared to disarm American citizens by Executive Order with 23 orders ready to go, and congress should make sure that they make this move all alone by refusing to pass any new gun control legislation through congress. (Obama signed these 23 EO’s as this column was in editing.)

Make no mistake, almost every Democratic Socialist (aka progressive) member of congress will support Obama’s rush to disarm law abiding citizens. Just like Hitler, Obama will exploit children to push his anti-American agenda, using innocent babies as human shields to protect Democrat Marxists as they attempt to strip Americans of their God given and constitutionally protected Right to keep and bear arms.

It’s not guns in the hands of the “lawless” that Obama & Co. are after. The lawless don’t care what laws we pass, and most of them voted for Obama & Co. It’s the guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens who oppose Obama’s march to Marxists that they worry about.

The NRA (National Rifle Association) will put on a dog and pony show for members, presenting a public opposition to the massive assault of Constitutional Rights, and in the end, they will cave (compromise away rights) as they have done many times before, allowing Marxists to shove the nation towards a second Civil War.

Gun Owners of America has no plan on the table to stop the gun grab either, “We don’t think there is much likelihood Congress is going to move to change gun laws,” Larry Pratt, executive director for Gun Owners of America, told “Fox News Sunday.” — WRONG! Obama just signed 23 EO’s today!

In a radio interview yesterday [url], I explained how they will disarm American citizens and why…

In short, Obama & Co. have no intention to “save America.” They intend to destroy America and all they have to do is spend the nation deeper and deeper in to unsustainable debt, regulate business out of business (including gun manufacturers and distributors), drive society further into an immoral abyss and federal dependency, and disarm the people just ahead of the final fiscal collapse.

We have seen all of these things before, in pre-World War Germany and countless other nations around the world. Governments have killed more “defenseless” people throughout history than all the wars and criminals combined, more than 170 million through genocide and always following the disarming of their citizens.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

New York Creates Psychiatric Police State

Governor Cuomo, along with Democrat and Republican legislators, is ramming through a bill to restrict gun ownership, re-classify weapons in order to ban them — and, in a far-reaching move, create psychiatrists as cops who must report patients to law-enforcement, in order to keep the patients from owning a weapon.

Psychiatrists must report patients “who could potentially harm themselves or others.” If such a patient owns a gun, it will be confiscated.

This means a comprehensive data base, accessible by law-enforcement personnel and anyone else involved in doing background checks These “problematic” patients will be kept from buying a new weapon, too. Otherwise, the law would have no teeth.

As usual, the devil is in the details. Psychiatrists will err on the side of caution and report many patients. No shrink wants to blink into television cameras after one of his patients has just shot his father.

Patients who want to own weapons will lie to psychiatrists about their thoughts and feelings, never admitting they’re considering suicide or murder.


New York has just created a door that swings in both directions. A huge number of people who are seeing psychiatrists can be kept from gun ownership. And people who can see with their eyes what this country has turned into can be turned, on cooked-up technicalities, into psychiatric patients. Once in the system, they, too, can be denied all 2nd Amendment rights.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

NY State Senator: Gun Bill Passed in Middle of Night ‘Turns Law-Abiding Citizens Into Criminals’

A New York State Senator has lambasted the passing of what is being called the nation’s toughest gun control bill, saying that it was introduced during the middle of the night, and that members were forced to vote on the legislation when they had not even had a chance to read it.

“I simply cannot support a bill that turns law abiding citizens into criminals by creating an entire new category of illegal firearms out of currently legal rifles and shotguns,” said Senator Greg Ball in a statement.

“…the last minute push, in the middle of the night without critical public input from sportsmen and taxpayers was outrageous and forced members to vote on a bill they had not read.” Ball noted.

The Senator stated that he believed the bill does nothing to address the issue of mental illness, and gave specific examples of cases within his district, which he urged that the legislation would not help to improve in any way.

“We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president,” the Senator said on the Senate floor, in reference to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Ball added that he believed the NY Senate was willing to transform law-abiding citizens into criminals “hoping on the front pages that we will be seen as preventing tragedies.”

“Good night, I voted no and I only wish I could have done it twice.” Ball concluded.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

‘Obama High on His Own Power’ Says Sen. Cruz

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas said Thursday that Barack Obama is “high on his own power” with regard to the president’s announced efforts on gun control. Speaking on Laura Ingraham’s radio talk show, Cruz, who was just elected to the Senate last November, said “this is a president who has drunk the Kool-Aid.”

“He is feeling right now high on his own power, and he is pushing on every front, on guns,” Cruz said. “And I think it’s really sad to see the president of the United States exploiting the murder of children and using it to push his own extreme, anti-gun agenda. I think what the president is proposing and the gun control proposals that are coming from Democrats in the Senate are, number one, unconstitutional, and number two, they don’t work. They’re bad policy.”

Cruz told Ingraham that he does not believe Obama will be successful in passing gun control legislation and that the political ramifications of pursuing such laws could be bad for Democrats.

“I think he’s going to pay a serious political price, and I think the price that’s going to be paid on this is going to manifest in Senate races in 2014, in some red states,” Cruz said. “And there have got to be some Democrats who are up for reelection in 2014 who are very, very nervous right now that Presidnet Obama is picking this fight.”

[Return to headlines]

Obama Urges Congress to Toughen Gun Laws

President Obama called upon Congress on Wednesday to toughen America’s gun laws to confront mass shootings and everyday gun violence, betting that public opinion has shifted enough to support the broadest push for gun control in a generation.

At a White House event at noon, Mr. Obama announced plans to introduce legislation by next week that includes a ban on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks for gun purchases and new gun trafficking laws to crack down on the spread of weapons across the country.

[Return to headlines]

Obama Wants Assault Rifle, 10-Round Magazine Ban

(AGI) Washington — President Obama is calling for a ban on assault rifles and magazines with a 10-round capacity .

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

Obama Unveils $500 Million Gun Violence Package

Without waiting for Congress, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a sweeping $500 million program to curb gun violence, setting up a fight over universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.

Obama also used his presidential powers to issue 23 orders that don’t require congressional approval. The largely incremental executive steps include requiring federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a fulltime director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

But the president, speaking at the White House, acknowledged the most effective actions must be taken by lawmakers.

[Comment: These kind of “laws” take months to write, yet it has only been a few weeks. This was clearly ALREADY written, and was ready and waiting for the right “crisis”.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama is Begging for Impeachment

I am not a Constitutional scholar, but I am aware of the consequences of past executive orders. The nation now has a rogue government agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, by virtue of an executive order by President Nixon. Later, President Carter reorganized the executive branch and created a separate Department of Education. Currently, executive orders permit the President to seize control of the entire nation in the event of an attack or the declaration of a national emergency.

Now we are told that President Obama is planning to issue up to nineteen executive orders to do an end run around Congress and the Second amendment on the issue of gun control. Whereas Social Security was often referred to as “the third rail” if presidents or Congress attempted to reform it, it would appear that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is the new third raid and touching it is likely to enflame both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Former Attorney General, Edwin Meese, recently went on record to say that the proposed executive orders would be an “impeachable offense.” There is a growing chorus of resistance to Obama’s “imperial presidency”, but whether it is the executive orders or a judgment rendered by a forthcoming Supreme Court conference, it would appear that Obama has over-reached.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Gun Policy Advisors: 8-Year-Olds

Hey, why not? The entire gun control push is based on emotion anyway, so why not justify it by releasing a bunch of handwritten letters from kids urging the president to do something? It’s as shameless as it is pathetic, but is anyone really surprised by now that Obama would stoop to this?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama Turns Doctors Into Gun Control Snitches Running Health Care Spy Network

(NaturalNews) If you needed another reason to avoid visiting a doctor, Obama just gave you a new one: as part of Obama’s 23 executive orders announced today, doctors will be transformed into gun control snitches who are ordered by Obama to ask patients about guns they might have at home.

Here’s the doublespeak from the executive order text:

Doctors and other mental health professionals play an important role in protecting the safety of their patients and the broader community by reporting direct and credible threats of violence to the authorities. But there is public confusion about whether federal law prohibits such reports about threats of violence. The Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits these reports in any way.

What this means is that doctor-patient confidentiality is now history. Even worse, doctors are being pressed to start interrogating patients about whether they own guns so that this information can be reported to the government. This is all being done under the cover of so-called “gun safety” but it’s really about turning doctors into devious government spies who conduct covert patient interrogations under the cover of providing them with health care. Once collected by the government, this information will then be used to seize guns from those individuals under some kind of mental health designation…

CDC ordered to treat gun ownership as a disease — The Centers for Disease Control — the same government agency that routinely lies about flu pandemics and vaccines — is also being ordered by Obama to “research the causes and prevention of gun violence.”

This is doublespeak for having the CDC label gun ownership a “pandemic” and produce maps showing the “hot spots” of gun ownership that must be targeted with disarmament efforts in order to stop the spread of the “disease.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Philadelphia Police Seeking 3 People in Child Kidnapping

Action News has learned that Philadelphia Police are now searching for three people, 1 man and 2 women, in connection with Monday’s abduction of a 5-year-old girl in West Philadelphia.

Police say one of the women actually abducted the girl, signing her out of Bryant Elementary school Monday morning.

They believe the other woman rescued the girl from a home in West Philadelphia and dropped her off at a playground in Upper Darby, where she was eventually found.

Police have not identified any of the suspects by name.

More details are expected in a police news conference scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Wednesday.

WATCH the news conference LIVE on beginning at 1:00 p.m.

The girl went missing Monday morning after her mother dropped her off at Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia. That was at 8:45 a.m.

Police say minutes later, a woman dressed in Muslim garb which only showed her eyes, signed in with the name “Tiffany.”

The woman was told to go to the school’s office. But police say she went to the girl’s classroom instead, telling the substitute teacher on duty she was the girl’s mother and was taking her to breakfast.

When the substitute teacher challenged her, police say the woman got indignant, saying, “I signed what I was supposed to sign, I’ve got other appointments and I do not need to put up with your nonsense.”

That woman, who is now the subject of an intense search, is described as a black female in her 20s, standing about 5’5” to 5’6” tall. Police say she may have been pregnant. She is seen on surveillance video walking with the girl from her classroom at about 8:50 a.m.

The Fraternal Order of Police is offering a $5,000 reward for tips leading to the woman’s arrest.

Sources say the girl was then taken from her school to a home at an unknown location where she was blindfolded. Investigators said that this did not appear to be a random act, but rather the girl was targeted, noting that the woman knew where to go and asked for the girl by name.

Authorities say when someone from the girl’s daycare arrived to pick her up at 3:00 p.m., they finally realized something was wrong. An Amber Alert was then issued for the girl on Monday evening.

She was found by a passerby named Nelson Mandela Myers at 4:40 a.m. Tuesday at a playground in Upper Darby, Delaware County, 1.5 miles away from Bryant Elementary School.

She was crying, wet, and wearing only a t-shirt.

Upper Darby police say Myers was on his way to work when he heard the girl’s cries Tuesday morning and found her under a playground sliding board near 69th Street and Marshall Road, cold and upset.

On Tuesday night, Mayor Michael Nutter announced Myers would receive the $10,000 reward that was being offered for information leading to the girl’s return.

Once found, the girl was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she was evaluated, reunited with her mother, and released.

           — Hat tip: JB[Return to headlines]

Sheriff Will Not Obey Unlawful, Unconstitutional Orders

[Note: The following letter was sent to Vice President Joe Biden from Josephine County, Oregon Sheriff Gil Gilbertson regarding the Constitutional rights of the second Amendment to the US Constitution.]

As the elected Sheriff of this County, I am saddled with the duty, as well as responsibility, to uphold the Constitution and protect those people who placed their trust in me to do what is right.

I believe in our Constitution and all it stands for. We, you and I, are sworn to protect and defend our Constitution as required through the “Oath of Office”. This same Constitutional form of government provided us with the most privileged, and envied, country in world history.

Someone once said our country would collapse from within, without a shot being fired. No nation in the world can do more damage to the United States than we can inflict upon ourselves. We are keenly aware of just that by the accelerated pace in which our central (federal) government is usurping the Constitution. This lends itself to a much broader discussion, but for brevity sake I remain focused upon the Second, and Tenth Amendment issues.

It is so typical of the “big brother” mentality to punish the masses, for the heinous crimes committed by a few despicable individuals.

The Constitution, and Bill of Rights, guarantees liberties to the people. These documents, as you know, cannot be whisked to the side by regulation or executive order. According to these documents, the Executive and Judicial branches were to have NO lawmaking powers. The question then becomes how is it “executive” orders can be enforced as if they were laws?


The Sheriff’s Office is the supreme law enforcement officer over their county and the federal government cannot supersede that legal authority.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “…The great innovation of this design was that ‘our citizens would have two political capacities, one state and one federal, each protected from incursion by the other’“ — “a legal system unprecedented in form and design, establishing two orders of government, each with its own direct relationship, its own privity, its own set of mutual rights and obligations to the people who sustain it and are governed by it.” (P.920

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Texas Lawmakers to Introduce Law Threatening Felony Arrest of Any Feds Who Attempt to Enforce Obama’s Gun Control Orders

(NaturalNews) Texas state Rep. Steve Toth has just announced his intention to introduce a “Firearms Protection Act” into law which would make it a felony crime for anyone, including federal agents, to enforce Obama’s anticipated gun control executive orders, including orders that attempt to limit the size of gun magazines.

“The Firearms Protection Act bill would make any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries. Anyone trying to enforce a federal gun ban could face felony charges under the proposal,” reads Steve Toth’s website announcement.

“We can no longer depend on the Federal Government and this Administration to uphold a Constitution that they no longer believe in. The liberties of the People of Texas and the sovereignty of our State are too important to just let the Federal Government take them away. The overreach of the federal administrations executive orders that are do not align with the Constitution, are not very popular here in Texas.”


President Obama is expect to announce 19 executive orders as early as tomorrow that would bypass Congress and impose unconstitutional and illegal restrictions on gun magazine capacity, the sales of rifles and much more.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Law of the Sword

My last two columns which stated that my line in the sand has been drawn and I will NOT register or surrender my firearms, even if that makes me a lawbreaker (in the sight of government), have generated multiplied thousands of reader responses. And while the vast majority of these responses expressed complete agreement, there were several responses from professing Christians telling me that I was in violation of Holy Scripture for making such a stand.

As one might expect, some of my brethren argued the erroneous “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” interpretation of Romans 13. For the sake of the many new readers of this column, let me point out that my son, constitutional Christian attorney Timothy Baldwin, and I have co-written a pivotal book dealing with this fallacious interpretation of Romans 13 in a book entitled “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission.” This book takes the entire Word of God to show that nowhere does the Bible teach (including in Romans 13) that Christians should submit to unlawful government. In fact, just the opposite is taught: Christians often have a duty to RESIST unlawful government.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Understanding the Obama Conspiracy & U.S. Takeover

The Constitutional government of the United States has been overthrown, and the American people have been captured. The only question now is what are we, as true Americans believing that our Constitution is the one and only law of the land, going to do about it? It’s now simply a matter of what the blowback from the tyranny being thrust upon us will look like, how or even if it will play out.

If you are looking for normal political solutions out of this legal, financial, moral and spiritual mess of a country, I believe that time has long passed. If your hope rests in a change with the midterm elections, go back to sleep or better yet, increase the dosage of your medication. It is clearly evident by the actions and inaction of the spineless or compromised leaders in whom you’ve placed your hope and future, and the future of your children and grandchildren, that doing so again will change nothing. We are a captured operation, and partisan politics is nothing more than theater to divert your attention from the iron fist of tyranny that is about to change life as you know it.

You must understand that our nation today is ruled not by democrats or republicans, but by the party of royalty with a European mindset and a Globalist agenda. The morphing from a two-party system into one of elite royalty did not happen overnight, but incrementally and under the proverbial radar of a deliberately distracted public.


By believing in the Constitution, we’ve earned ourselves a spot on the latest incarnation of the White House enemies list. By supporting the Constitution as the ultimate law of the land, we’ve identified ourselves as an enemy of the state. By “clinging” to our guns and Bibles, we pose a danger to the globalist agenda rooted in socialism, fascism and communism. By understanding that we are being victimized by an out-of-control banking system, we have earned a spot on the “single-cause” terrorist watch list. By becoming informed of the tyranny that exists before us, we have become a threat to their ultimate global objectives.

They are afraid of not just the guns, but of by a well armed and well informed populace that understands the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment. It is the well informed and the well armed that they fear, as they should. They are racing against the clock as we become more informed and better armed. Accordingly, they must act in haste, as they see us rapidly peeling away the layers of lies that have kept them insulated for so long.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Whooping Cough Outbreak Involved 90% Vaccinated Kids

Vermont has declared a statewide epidemic of whooping cough that started in 2012 and has continued into the year 2013. To date there has been a total of 612 confirmed cases of pertussis of which 90% have been vaccinated against the bacteria with the Tdap vaccine. The New England Journal of Medicine released a study that parallels this outbreak showing that of the confirmed cases of whooping cough the majority of them, 80%, had received multiple Tdap vaccinations — with most receiving 5 or 6 doses.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Dutch Labour Party Warns Prime Minister on British PM’s Speech

Dutch Labour MPs have urged prime minister Mark Rutte not to ally himself too closely with his British counterpart when David Cameron makes a major speech on Europe in the Netherlands on Friday.

Although Cameron is welcome in the Netherlands, Rutte must distance himself from Britain’s desire for a separate status within Europe, the Financieele Dagblad quotes PvdA foreign affairs spokesman Michiel Servaes as saying.

The PvdA and Rutte’s VVD form the current coalition government.

‘It is important that prime minister Rutte states the Netherlands does not see any virtue in a separate status on key European areas of cooperation, such as the free movement of workers or agreements on minimum social standards,’ Servaes said. ‘And certainly not in terms of any special position for the financial sector.’

Economic crisis

Cameron cannot pick out the bits of the European Union he likes, Servaes said. The most important issue at the moment is that Europe finds a solution for the economic crisis and Cameron must not complicate a possible treaty change with British wishes in other areas.

Cameron is due to give his speech on his vision of Europe and the British role in it on Friday. The location has not yet been made public.

According to the FD, business leaders and members of the diplomatic corps have been invited to attend.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Hollande Losing Popularity, LH2 Survey Shows

Mali and same-sex marriage winning points, Le Monde

French President Francois Hollande

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — Popular support for French President Francois Hollande fell by a point ahead of his traditional new year’s press conference tomorrow, a survey by LH2 for Le Nouvel Observateur news weekly showed on Tuesday.

The survey, conducted Friday and Saturday, before Hollande sent troops into Mali, showed 54% of respondents have a negative opinion of the president, 39% support him (down by 1% over December), and 7% declined to answer. Hollande is 15 points behind former president Nicolas Sarkozy in the same period in 2008, the survey pointed out. It is still too early to measure the impact of the Mali intervention on Hollande’s image, according to Le Nouvel Observateur. Premier Jean-Marc Ayrault lost 21 points in six months, with 54% negative, 35% supporting him, and 11% not answering, the survey also showed. Mali, labor reform, and Hollande’s determination to legalize same-sex marriage in spite of protests may “be a turning point in his five-year term,” wrote Le Monde newspaper under a front-page headline reading “Hollande: the possibility of a rebirth”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

France Warns Embassy Staff to be ‘Vigilant’

France has urged its embassy staff around the world to be “vigilant” and on guard for potential reprisals linked its recent military intervention in Mali, the foreign ministry said.

On Friday, France launched a campaign of air bombardments in Mali to halt an Islamist rebel advance on the capital, Bamako. A contingent of 750 French troops has been sent to bolster Malian forces against the rebels, who have controlled northern Mali since April.

“A general message of vigilance has been sent to our embassies,” a diplomatic source at the foreign ministry told AFP.

The message also called on embassies to take precautionary measures to try to detect whether there are any hostile reactions toward France and to urge French citizens to avoid crowds, the source added.

According to the consulate general of France in Egypt, the French embassy in Cairo has demanded that Egyptian authorities ensure the security of its interests in the country after calls Friday to demonstrate against the intervention in Mali.

“In response to this intervention, various extremist groups have publicly expressed threats against French interests, especially in Arab countries,” the consulate general said in a statement addressing the French community around the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Troops Patrol Paris Streets After Terror Threat

France has deployed 700 troops in and around Paris, Interior Minister Manuel Valls revealed on Tuesday in the latest indicator of mounting concern over potential reprisals for military intervention in Mali.

Leaders of the militant Islamist groups under attack in the West African state have warned that France has “opened the doors of hell” by unleashing its warplanes and have called on fellow extremists to hit back on French soil.

Valls said everything possible was being done to ensure that did not happen, while cautioning that the threat posed by foreign and homegrown extremists had existed long before French forces went into action in the former colony.

“In terms of evaluating the risk, we have to be prudent. But our interior and exterior intelligence services are being extremely vigilant.

“The threat is not new but it is very strong and we have to be fully mobilised to meet it.”

France has not yet raised the level of its national anti-terrorist alert system to the “scarlet” level that was briefly applied last year when Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah went on a killing spree in and around the southern city of Toulouse.

Under the current “reinforced red” alert, France has stepped up security at all public buildings, railway stations and other transport facilities as well as at airports and nuclear power plants.

Special measures have also been put in place to deter potential attacks on the embassies of foreign countries that have backed France’s action, with US, British and Israeli interests deemed to be the most likely targets. Merah’s killing of a rabbi, three Jewish children and three French paratroopers and the dismantling in October of an Islamist “terrorist cell” have highlighted the extent to which France faces a homegrown threat.

Anti-terrorist judge Marc Trevidic said there had already been a trickle of French Islamists heading to Mali before France launched airstrikes on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Gang of Men ‘Who Groomed Young Girls for Sex Drove Terrified Victim, 14, To the Woods at Night and Threatened to Cut Her Head Off’

Girls as young as 11 were groomed and raped by a child sex ring before being sold to abusers across Britain, a court heard yesterday. Nine men, mostly of Asian heritage, befriended vulnerable girls with gifts of perfume, alcohol and drugs before subjecting them to a ‘living hell’ for eight years.

The six girls were subjected to ‘extreme physical and sexual violence’ while they were repeatedly raped by numerous abusers.

The attackers used knives, meat cleavers and baseball bats to inflict severe pain on the girls for their twisted pleasure. On other occasions the girls were bitten, scratched, suffocated, tied up, beaten and burnt with cigarettes. The men are said to have fed the girls copious amounts of drugs so that they became more complicit to their depraved demands.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Surfers Want to Make Waves in Berlin

Surfing in Berlin? Two entrepreneurs are hoping to build a huge wave pool in the heart of the German capital, allowing surfers to get tubed at the city’s former Tempelhof Airport.

Arnd Wiener, a surfing coach for Germany’s national youth squad, and sports marketing agent Falko Nadol want to bring rideable waves to Berlin in just two years, the daily Berliner Zeitung reported on Tuesday.

Using a new “Wavegarden” system developed in Spain’s Basque country, the pool would even produce tubes — those coveted waves that completely encase a surfer.

“This technology will revolutionize surfing,” Wiener told the paper. “It will finally be possible to do it away from the coast.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany to Move Gold Reserves

The German Bundesbank plans to move all gold reserves out of Paris and reduce US reserves, reports Handelsblatt. Of the German gold reserves, 45% are stored in the US (3.396 tonnes), the Bank of England holds 13%, Banque de France in Paris 11% and the German Bundesbank has 31%.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Bundesbank to Repatriate Gold From Paris and NY

The Bundesbank is expected to announce on Wednesday that it will repatriate its gold reserves held in Paris and move back some which is currently in the New York Federal Reserve vaults, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The paper said it obtained a copy of the German central bank’s plans, which follows criticism of the bank’s gold holdings abroad. The foreign holdings were a relic of the Cold War, the paper said, as the gold was sent abroad for safe keeping when Germany was divided into eastern and western countries.

After a review of the Bundesbank’s annual financial statements, the Bundesrechnungshof or Federal Audit Court recommended that the bank come up with a plan on how to store the gold.

Nearly 3,400 tons or 45 percent of the Bundesbank’s reserves are held at the New York Fed, while the Bank of France has 11 percent and the German central bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt houses 31 percent. The Bank of England holds 13 percent.

Last autumn Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele said there were no longer compelling reasons for keeping the gold in Paris. Cold War security considerations no longer applied, he said, and there were other arguments against keeping German reserves in Paris.

In the face of a world currency crisis, the German central bank would be able to obtain currency from the New York and British banks, but not from the French one, as France is a euro member country.

The Bundesbank is expected to make details of its plan public on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Islamic Success Story at German Universities

New Islamic theology courses at German universities are proving highly popular, even abroad. The courses were announced only three years ago, but they are already changing the German religious landscape.

Islamic theology is finding its place in German universities at a pace which is surprising many. German academics even speak of Germany acting as a magnet for talent from other European countries.

“There’s never been such a process before at European universities,” says Reinhard Schulze, who teaches Islam at the University of Berne in Switzerland.

Lecturers at German universities, speaking at a meeting of experts with the German parliamentary education committee, said they were convinced that there would be a rapid increase in the teaching of Islam.

Katajan Amirpur of the University of Hamburg said that setting up new theology courses had been “a matter of justice.” Mathias Rohe from the University of Erlangen felt that establishing the courses at universities had provided a “very big boost.” Bülent Ucar, a specialist in the teaching of Islam from Osnabrück, took the opportunity to thank the politicians at federal and state level for their commitment over the past years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Fiat to Make Workers Idle as it Revamps Melfi Plant

Factory to change production to 500X SUV, Jeep model

(ANSA) — Potenza, January 15 — Fiat has applied to carry out temporary layoffs for almost two years at its Melfi plant in southern Italy as it revamps the factory to change the models it produces there, unions said on Tuesday.

The plant is set to stop production from February 11 until December 31, 2014 so that it can switch from making the Fiat Punto to the carmaker’s new 500X SUV and a new model Jeep. The left-wing FIOM union expressed “strong concern because as of today the investment plans for the plant are not known”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Save ILVA’ Law to be Challenged Before Constitutional Court

Italian steelworks at center of health, environment case

(ANSA) — Taranto, January 15 — An appeals court in the southern port city of Taranto on Tuesday upheld a request by local prosecutors to challenge the constitutionality of a 2012 law allowing the troubled ILVA steelworks to remain in production while much-needed environmental upgrades are carried out.

The challenge will now be passed on to Italy’s Constitutionl Court.

Prosecutors argued that the law, initially passed as a government decree before being converted by parliament, involved a conflict in the attribution of powers between the judiciary and the executive.

The Taranto tribunal also confirmed an earlier court-ordered seizure of steel and semi-finished products from the plant pending the constitutional court ruling. The products, weighing in the region of 1.8 million tonnes and worth a billion euros, are currently lying on the company docks. ILVA has been at the centre of a political and legal battle since July when local magistrates ordered the partial closure of its Taranto plant due to serious health concerns.

In November seven top company managers were arrested as part of a corruption probe.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Sports Judge Sanctions Pro Patria Team for Fans’ Abuse

Says that AC Milan players justified in walking off field

(ANSA) — Milan, January 15 — A sports judge sanctioned the fourth-tier Pro Patria team Tuesday but cleared Milan in a case involving racist jeers against black players during a friendly match earlier this month.

Sports judge Gianpaolo Tosel said that it was understandable why AC Milan players, led by Kevin Prince Boateng, walked off the field during the match at Busto Arsizio north of Milan on January 3 due to racial abuse.

He noted that while a team is not normally permitted to leave the field, unless ordered off by the referee, the “essential values of sport and civility,” allowed players to make gestures of solidarity in the face of “vulgar insults”.

Last week, a sports judge ruled that Pro Patria must play their next home league game behind closed doors because of the racist incident.

Many Pro Patria fans painted their fans black for their team’s league match to show they are not racist and express solidarity for the black players.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Roman Engineer Jailed Over Death During Erotic Game

Engineer convicted of manslaughter after death in sex game

(ANSA) — Rome, January 15 — A 45-year-old Rome engineer was sentenced Tuesday to four years and eight months in jail for manslaughter in an erotic game that went terribly wrong.

Soter Mule was jailed for the death of Paola Caputo, 23, who died during a sex game in a garage in the Settebagni district of Rome between September 9 and 10, 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Wiretaps Ruling Risks Balance of Power Says Ingroia

Warns that State-mafia case decision ‘jeopardizes power balance’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 15 — The powers of Italy’s president could be opened more widely by a Constitutional Court ruling in the state-mafia case, former deputy prosecutor Antonio Ingroia said Tuesday.

The judgement, released late in the day, could “broaden the powers of the Head of State, thereby jeopardizing the balance of power,” warned Ingroia, who had been deputy prosecutor in Palermo before his recent national election campaign.

Italy’s Constitutional Court last month ruled that Palermo prosecutors investigating alleged negotiations between the Mafia and the State must destroy wiretaps of President Giorgio Napolitano.

Ingroia, who led that investigation, added that he needed to read the entire judgement, but said it also confirmed “the principle of the absolute secrecy that must surround the communications of the Head of State”. That means, he added, that only a judge and public prosecutor could destroy wiretaps of a presidential office.

Ingroia had been closely examining suspicions that high-ranking politicians and police negotiated with Cosa Nostra to try to stop a series of bomb attacks that claimed the lives of anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.

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

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

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Brushes Off ‘EPP Endorsement’ of Monti

Suggests Daul’s statement self-serving

(ANSA) — Rome, January 16 — The endorsement of Mario Monti as future Italian premier by a leading European politician was purely self-serving, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi scoffed Wednesday.

Berlusconi, leader of the right-leaning People of Freedom (PdL) party, shrugged off the endorsement of Monti made one day earlier by Joseph Daul, caucus leader of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament. “He is just one of the 14 deputy speakers of the EPP,” said Berlusconi, campaigning for election in next month’s national Italian vote.

“Daul is just one of the EPP’s 14 deputy speakers. Maybe he has personal ambitions,” and is seeking an alliance with Monti, former European commissioner, for his own gain, added Berlusconi.

He also suggested that Monti was too close to Germany, another reason he has been popular with some European leaders.

In the same vein, Berlusconi dismissed suggestions he has had personal problems with other European leaders including EP Speaker and Socialist caucus chief Martin Schultz — with whom he once famously crossed swords in the EP — and Jean-Claude Junker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and head of the Euro Group of economy and finance ministers.

The pair, along with Daul, were not “respected protagonists” in Europe, said Berlusconi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Grillo Says Monti ‘Morally Retarded’ And Doesn’t Know it

Leader of Five Star Movement lashes out at opponent

(ANSA) — Rome, January 16 — Outgoing Premier Mario Monti is “morally retarded” and does not even realize his faults, Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), charged Wednesday.

Grillo, on what he calls his “tsunami” political tour for the February elections, posted the criticism of Monti on his Twitter feed.

“Monti is morally retarded,” tweeted Grillo, a former comedian turned politician.

“He does immoral things, but does not recognize it”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Bergamo Prosecutor’s Comments Spark Controversy

Advised women to seek escorts at night, after rape case

(ANSA) — Bergamo, January 16 — A prosecutor in the northern Italian city of Bergamo who said a rape highlighted the dangers of women going out alone after dark ignited controversy and a rain of criticism from local politicians on Wednesday. “I say this with all bitterness, but it would be better if women did not go out alone in the evening,” Prosecutor Francesco Dettori told L’Eco di Bergamo after the rape of a 24-year-old woman which led to the house arrest of a 32-year-old Kosovar. “The duty of someone in charge of public management is not to surrender to criminality but to furnish better security to citizens,” said Matteo Oriani, a provincial councilman and member of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) Party. A centre-left Democratic Party (PD) candidate from Bergamo for the regional elections, Elisabetta Olivari, said, “Is he suggesting we stay at home? To give up evening appointments because we’re women? I will continue to circulate my ideas even after (afternoon) cocktail hours”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: UN Invites Milan Soccer Player to Anti-Racism Event

Kevin Prince Boateng’s walk-off gained headlines worldwide

(ANSA) — Milan, January 16 — Soccer star Kevin Prince Boateng, the victim of racial abuse by fans earlier this month, was invited Wednesday by the United Nations to join a formal commemoration of the International Day For the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The event will be held on March 21 in Geneva, says Boateng’s team, AC Milan.

The theme of this year’s event, Sports and Racism, was announced amid controversy, and worldwide headlines, over the Ghanaian midfielder’s decision to walk off the field during a friendly match on January 3 where fans of the opposing fourth-tier team Pro Patria shouted racial slurs.

The UN invitation comes one day after a sporting judge upheld the walk-off, saying it was an acceptable action in the face of unacceptable fan behaviour at the match at Busto Arsizio, north of Milan.

Italian football has been battling racism in the stands for a number of years after several shameful high-profile incidents.

Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has said the team would also walk out of official games if there were racist chanting, including matches in the European Champions League.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Monti Chides Berlusconi Failure to Raise Italy’s Profile

Suggests Italy’s foreign presence hurt under predecessor

(ANSA) — Rome, January 16 — Outgoing premier Mario Monti says if he is returned to office he will enjoy a higher profile and be a far more respected international face for Italy than has been his predecessor and current opponent Silvio Berlusconi.

Monti, the technocrat who resigned as caretaker premier to stand for election next month, took some aggressive shots against the former premier Wednesday.

He suggested that Berlusconi was so poor at his job representing Italy to the world that other international leaders rarely called him or thought about Italy.

“Often, when we have been abroad we’ve heard: ‘it has been years since we saw a premier,” of Italy, claimed Monti, who is leading a centrist coalition for election on February 24 and 25.

All that has improved, Monti added, since he became premier in November 2011. Since then, Italy’s global reputation has become “trusted financially and, more generally, has been restored”, he added during comments at a forum organized by the Italian trade institute ICE.

As Monti spoke, organizers of the prestigious World Economic Forum announced that Monti will take part in the opening of the 43rd edition of the event that begins January 23 in Davos, Switzerland. The blue-chip conference attracts leading international figures in finance, central banking, and key politicians. Monti will share the stage with Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Opinion polls suggest Monti could hold the balance of power in the next parliament, where the centre-left Democratic Party may not achieve a majority in the Senate

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Over-50s Are the Main Victims of Internet Dating Fraud

People over the age of 50 are most likely to be the targets of dating site-based cyber criminals, RTL news reports on Wednesday.

A special police website set up to help victims of on and off-line fraud reports up to 90% of victims are older than 50. Women make up the bulk of the victims, especially those who are ‘rather desperate’, the broadcaster said.

Criminals target women seeking a new relationship by putting together photos and a profile using information gleaned from social media sites such as Facebook. Once a prospective victim has been hooked, they are asked for cash. This often first occurs following a cancelled visit. The fraudster then asks for larger and larger sums.

The police estimate dating site fraudsters netted at least €8m last year. ‘But this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg because many victims are too embarrassed to say they have been conned,’ the police say.

People from all walks of life have fallen victim to dating fraud. In one case, an accountant killed himself after handing over €165,000 to a woman who did not exist, RTL said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: The Twitter Character Assassination of Ulf Nilson

Ulf Nilson is known for his controversial opinion pieces in the Swedish daily Expressen, and his participation in Dispatch International was expected to cause a stir; that was understood by editor-in-chief Ingrid Carlqvist. But she did not expect the unrestrained landslide of outrage and anger caused by the participation of Nilson in the premiere issue of the newspaper, in particular on Twitter.

“The reactions were divided. Many were happy and wrote in appreciation of Ulf Nilson, that he was showing himself to be fearless and not would let himself be intimidated by the establishment. But his journalist colleagues acted as hungry predators against him. They attacked Ulf Nilson and tore him to pieces,” says Carlqvist.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Cleaning Lady Steals Train and Crashes Into House

Officials remain baffled as to why a cleaning lady commandeered a train in the upscale Stockholm suburb of Saltsjöbaden early Tuesday morning and crashed it into a house, where it remains while crews work out how to safely remove the wreckage.

“The woman started driving the train from the Neglinge train station, which is two stops from Saltsjöbaden, and usually a three-minute ride,” SL spokesman Jesper Pettersson told The Local.

“The train usually goes at about 10 kilometres an hour in this area, but we estimate that she was going at about 70 kilometres per hour.”

When the train reached the final stop on the line at around 3am, it careened off the tracks and into the first-floor kitchen of one of the house’s three flats, causing severe damage.

No passengers were on the train at the time, but a woman was trapped in the wreckage for two hours before rescue crews managed to get her out.

“We still don’t know why she was in the driver’s seat or whether the incident was an accident. There’s a police investigation underway and we’re waiting for them for clarification.”

The cleaner, who is in her twenties, was flown by helicopter to the Karolinska University Hospital for treatment of what emergency workers described as “serious” injuries.

She has since been ordered detained on suspicion of public devastation (allmänfarlig ödeläggelse).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Caring’ Student, 18, Stabbed to Death as He Walked Home in ‘Bungled Mugging for His Mobile Phone’

A ‘caring’ gap year student who was stabbed to death as he walked home in broad daylight may have been the innocent victim of a bungled mugging.

Kieran Crump-Raiswell’s killer is thought to be as young as 16. He ran up to him armed and plunged a knife into his torso yesterday afternoon.

Murder squad detectives were baffled as to a motive for the stabbing in the Whalley Range district of south Manchester, but have ruled out gang related violence.

Police are investigating whether the teenager, who was said to be so polite he swore only once in 11 years, fell victim to an attempted robbery for his mobile phone — allthough officers do not believe anything was actually stolen.

The knifeman is described as a white teenager aged between 16 and 18.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Asda Withdraws Nine Burger Ranges Over Horse Meat Fears as It’s Revealed Tests Found Equine DNA in Other Supermarket Products Last Year

Suppliers in Holland and Spain blamed for contaminated ingredients

Asda has started clearing its shelves of frozen beefburgers after it emerged they use the same supplier that sold Tesco products containing up to 29 per cent horse meat.

The supermarket giant was not one of the four retailers found to be selling contaminated food but says it has pulled nine of its ranges as a ‘precautionary measure’.

It came as it was revealed horse-tainted beefburgers could have been on the shelves for almost two months after it was first discovered they contained horse meat.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Astonishing Good Luck of Crane Driver Who Had Been Climbing 500ft Tower When Helicopter Struck After Arriving Late for Work

A crane operator only survived the Vauxhall helicopter crash because he was running late and had not reached his cabin when the aircraft came down, it was revealed today.

Lorry driver Paul Robinson, 42, who witnessed the terrifying collision, said the man would have been ‘wiped out’ if he had been on time this morning.

Instead, the operator was still climbing up the crane’s shaft when the helicopter struck its boom and cab.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Al-Majali: Upskirt Pervert Banned From Carrying Camera in Public

Battersea, Victoria, Central London An engineer who secretly filmed up the skirts of hundreds of women was today (Weds) banned from carrying a camera in public. Salem Al-Majali, 52, bought cameras and camcorders specifically to make the recordings of his unsuspecting victims at shops and railway stations. He was caught with 200 indecent pictures of women stashed on his computer, taken between 2010 and last year across London.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Bungling Doctors Miss Dentures Stuck in Pensioner’s Throat Four Times Leaving Them Lodged Inside for Nine Weeks

A pensioner is lucky to be alive after blundering doctors failed to notice four times she had dentures stuck in her throat, leaving them lodged there for an amazing nine weeks.

Umit Maddock, 46, of Braintree, Essex, has claimed it is a ‘miracle’ that her mother, Nermin Keating, survived after she swallowed her false teeth.

Despite checking her over on four occasions doctors failed to spot the obstructing top set of 11 teeth.

When the dentures first disappeared in early November 2012, science teacher Mrs Maddock assumed they had fallen out somewhere in the house that she shares with her mother.

But when Nermin started feeling unwell, Mrs Maddock feared the worst and took her to St Michael’s Hospital, Braintree the following day where doctors assured her there was no way that the teeth had been swallowed.

They instead diagnosed her with a lung infection and prescribed her with antibiotics.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Could Crash Pilot See Warning Light on Top of Tower? The Questions for Air Investigators as London Mayor Boris Johnson Announces Safety Review

Weather conditions will be central to an inquiry into today’s helicopter crash by accident investigators, amid reports the top of the crane which the aircraft crashed into could not be seen.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said tonight lighting of cranes and tall buildings will be reviewed, but that it would be ‘premature’ to second guess the investigation into today’s helicopter smash.

Pilot Pete Barnes, who died in the accident, had requested to divert and land at London Heliport at Battersea due to bad weather, according to the owners of the heliport.

It is thought extreme fog and mist shrouded the top of the tower and the crane — including its red safety lights — making it impossible for the pilot to see and avoid.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Father of EastEnders Actress Gemma McCluskie Walks Out of Court as Jury Hears How Her Brother ‘Cut Her Body Into Six Pieces and Put Them in Suitcase and Plastic Bags’

The father of former EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie walked out of court today as details were given about how her body was hacked up by her brother.

Tony McCluskie senior had sat through most of the evidence but decided to leave as further details were given about how she was cut into six pieces.

Son Tony McCluskie, 35, admits killing the 29-year-old in March last year but claims he has no memory of it.

The prosecution said pot-smoking McCluskie bludgeoned his sister to death in the flat they shared after a row about an overflowing sink.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Ipswich: Teen Girl Was Plied With Drugs and Forced to Become Sex Slave, Court Told

A GANG of four men abducted a 13-year-old girl, plied her with drugs and alcohol and forced her to become their sex slave in Ipswich, a court has heard.

The girl, from a “troubled” family, was subjected to a string of assaults over four days, after being trafficked from her home in London to Ipswich, prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones told Norwich Crown Court.

Abdul Hammed, 46, Surin Uddin, 28, Hamza Ali, 38, and Mohamed Sheikh, 31, all deny offences including trafficking and raping the girl.

Miss Karmy-Jones told jurors: “They enticed her to travel with them in order to set her up as a sex slave and to use her for their pleasure.

“In order to do so, they plied her with drugs and alcohol and made promises that they would take care of her and give her anything she wanted.”

The alleged attacks took place in a house in Chevallier Street, Ipswich, which had been rented three days before the girl disappeared.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Man Denies Making Threats to Kill With Bottle of Acid

A MAN has appeared in court charged with making threats to kill after a bottle of acid was found on a train.

Ismail Abudllah Alahmadi handed himself into police as the result of a media appeal by the British Transport Police to trace a man after Middlesbrough Railway Station was closed for several hours on Sunday as the bottle of hydrochloric acid was made safe.

The 27-year-old Iranian pleaded not guilty to making threats to kill, being in possession of a weapon designed or adapted for the discharge of a noxious liquid and causing a public nuisance by releasing a noxious liquid on a train when he appeared in Teesside Magistrates’ Court today.

Mr Alahmadi, formerly of Diamond Street, Middlesbrough, spoken only to confirm his name and enter not guilty pleas to the three charges.

The defendant was remanded in custody by District Judge Kristina Harrison and will appear via video link next week to be committed to Teesside Crown Court.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

UK: Newmarket: Kitchen Worker Jailed for Alleyway Attack

A KITCHEN worker who tripped a young woman to the ground as she walked home alone along a town centre alleyway in the early hours of the morning and tried to sexually assault her has been jailed for 14 months.

Jakir Hussain grabbed hold of the terrified woman’s arms during the attack — which happened near a graveyard — and tried to pull down her trousers, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

She later told police she thought she was going to be killed and had suffered nightmares since the attack in August last year.

Hussain, 27, of Bahram Close, Newmarket admitted committing battery with intent to commit a sexual offence and was jailed for 14 months and ordered to sign the Sex Offencers’ Register for ten years.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Paedophile Car Salesman Locked Up Thanks to ‘Courage of Little Girls’

A dangerous predatory paedophile who cruised Bradford’s streets hunting for young girls to abduct has been locked up indefinitely.

Qamar Malik yesterday became one of the last high-risk criminals to be locked up without limit of time by a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection.

Judge Peter Benson said Malik, a car salesman who preyed on children in his vehicles, posed a significant danger to girls.

Malik, 28, of Parsonage Road, West Bowling, Bradford, was convicted in November of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl and twice attempting to abduct a girl aged 12 off the street.

A jury at Bradford Crown Court found him guilty of all four charges ten days before the option of a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) was abolished.

Malik must spend at least two and a half years behind bars before he can even be considered for parole.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Serial Fraudster Known as the Don Who Posed as Property Tycoon to Mastermind Britain’s Biggest Ever Mortgage Con Worth £750million is Jailed for Seven Years

A serial fraudster who convinced bankers he was a super-rich Mayfair property baron has been jailed after being found guilty of orchestrating Britain’s biggest ever mortgage con worth £750million.

Achilleas Kallakis, 44, teamed up with university friend and ‘prolific forger’ Alexander Williams, also 44, to fool the Allied Irish Bank, Barclays and the Bank of Scotland among others.

The pair operated out of a Mayfair office as the Pacific Group of Companies and duped lenders into advancing enormous loans on the back of forged or false documents…

When the scam collapsed the banks lost a total of nearly £60m.

Following a retrial lasting almost four months both men were found guilty of two charges of conspiracy to defraud.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Serial Criminals Who Avoid Jail Outnumber the Prison Population: 90,000 With Ten or More Convictions Escape With Slap on Wrist

More than 90,000 burglars, muggers and other serious criminals with ten or more convictions escaped with a slap on the wrist when they committed another offence last year.

Incredibly, the number of serial law-breakers who avoided a jail sentence in this way is greater than the 83,000 inmates currently behind bars.

The hardened criminals instead received fines, community service or a fully suspended sentence for crimes such as violence against the person, theft and sexual offences.

The analysis was produced by the newly-established Centre for Crime Prevention. Peter Cuthbertson, the think-tank’s chief executive, said: ‘These figures show the appalling failure of soft sentencing.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Youngest Sex Gang Victim, 11, Was Branded With Her Own Hairpin by “Sick Sex Monsters” Who Plied Her With Drugs

An 11-year-old girl was branded with an ‘M’ for Mohammed on her buttocks to show she ‘belonged’ to a member of a child sex ring, the Old Bailey heard today.

The child was repeatedly subjected to ‘torture sex’ sessions where she was bound and gagged before being raped by members of the gang, a jury was told.

The girl is the youngest victim of nine men who allegedly hung around outside schools and care homes to recruit vulnerable victims they could use and abuse.

The court heard how the girl had been ‘sold’ by an unidentified man to an alleged member of the sex ring, Mohammed Karrar, in mid-2004.

After what she describes as a ‘nicey-nicey honeymoon period’ in which she was lavished with gifts including perfume, she was then plied with hard drugs.

It is alleged that Karrar then pimped her out, raping her in her own living room and inviting others to do the same.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Israeli Halt to Funds Unacceptable, PA Mayors

Salaries going unpaid, Israelis ‘must comply with agreement’

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JANUARY 16 — The Israeli halt to the payment of funds earmarked for the Palestinian Authority is “unacceptable”. This was stated in no uncertain terms today in Brussels by Hani Al-Hayak, the head of the Palestinian local authorities association, in his opening remarks at the sustainable development commission of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM).

In Al-Hayek’s words, “the occupation forces are using these resources as they see fit, in violation of international agreements”. As a consequence, local authorities find it difficult to “pay public officials, teachers and doctors. And we don’t have a way out of the problem, since we are occupied,” said the Beit Sahour mayor.

He then addressed European politicians in saying that “we are asking our Western friends to enable us to meet our obligations.” Al-Hayak said that “the settlements are being built in a systematic manner, jeopardising the two-state solution and the lives of the local population.

On this matter, the European Commission has recently decided to speed up the unfreezing of 100 million euros in aid for the Palestinian population, 60 million of which will go to the Palestinian Authority by way of the Pegase mechanism and 40 million to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Today in Brussels the Beit Sahour mayor also expressed the hope that an ARLEM (which gathers together representatives of local authorities from both the northern and the southern Mediterranean) meeting would soon be held in Bethlehem.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: 8 Foreigners Kidnapped at Gas Plant

Islamist militants from Mali attacked a natural gas field partly operated by BP in southern Algeria early on Wednesday, killing a security guard and kidnapping at least eight people, including English, Norwegian and Japanese nationals, an Algerian security official and local media said.

Algerian forces, however, caught up with and surrounded the kidnappers and negotiations for the release of the hostages are ongoing, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The Algerian state news agency said a security guard was killed in the attack and seven others wounded, including two foreigners.

The British Foreign Office confirmed “a terrorist incident is ongoing” near the facility in Ain Amenas, 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the Libyan border and 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from the capital in Algeria’s vast desert south. It could not confirm if any British nationals were involved in the incident.

BP, together with Norwegian company Statoil and the Algerian state oil company, Sonatrach, operate the gas field. A Japanese company, JGC Corp, provides services for the facility as well.

Statoil, for its part, confirmed an attack had taken place, adding that it has 20 employees in the facility.

In a statement Wednesday, BP confirmed there had been a “security incident this morning” at their Ain Amenas gas field in east central Algeria.

Al-Qaida’s North Africa branch has long been active in northern Algeria and occasionally in the desert south, but it has never before attacked the country’s many oil and gas facilities.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Algeria: Aqim Claims to Have Taken 41 Hostages

Two dead from France, UK. BP, armed men still in oil facilities

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — The Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb brigade, led by Moctar Belmoctar, claims it has taken 41 foreigners hostage in Algerian BP oil facilities in Tiguentourine. According to the spokesman of Belmoctar’s brigade quoted by Sahara Media, the kidnapping of the foreigners is in revenge for Algeria’s consent to French use of its airspace for flights headed to Mali.The group of hostages includie ‘seven Americans, two French nationals and a number of British and Japanese nationals, reportsAlgerian daily El Watan, which quoted unnamed security sources.

The Algerian Interior Ministry has said that an injured British national lost his life, raising the death toll to two (the first was a French national).

Further details have emerged on the incident. According to the Interior Ministry, shortly before the attack the terrorists had tried to take possession of a bus in which foreigners headed for the In Amenas airport were traveling. Having failed in the attempt, the terrorists then targeted the In Amenas oil facilties. The attack occurred near the Libyan border. A crisis unit has been set up by the French Foreign Ministry.

BP has reported that armed men are still at the scene of today’s attack on its oil facilities in Algeria, along the border with Libya. This could mean that the hostages are sil in the Algerian oil facilities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Algeria Hostage Crisis: Britons Die in Bungled Rescue

David Cameron has been warned to expect “multiple” Britons to be among up to 34 gas workers killed in the West’s worst hostage crisis in a generation.

A botched military attack on a BP gas plant in Algeria, where al-Qaeda kidnappers were holding 41 westerners, led to a bloodbath as helicopter gunships opened fire on the compound.

The attack was carried out against the wishes of Mr Cameron and other Western leaders, who had urged Algeria to negotiate with the kidnappers after the captives said bombs had been strapped to their bodies.

At least one Briton was reported to have died, following the death on Wednesday of another Briton when the hostages were taken.

Senior Downing Street sources said they were braced for “multiple British casualties”. Mr Cameron warned that the country “should be prepared for the possibility of further bad news”.

On Thursday night the hostage crisis appeared to be approaching a disastrous climax amid growing international anger over Algeria’s handling of the situation. According to one report, 34 hostages were dead, but conflicting accounts suggested six westerners had been killed.

Reports from Algerian state news agency APS claimed that the Algerian army was in control of just part of the natural gas complex.

Local officials in the southeastern region of Illizi had said the army’s raid was over late Thursday, but later clarified that only the residential area, where the majority of the hostages were being held, had been secured, saying the army was still surrounding the gas facility itself.

More than eight hours after the attack began, Downing Street was still unclear about precisely what had taken place. Mr Cameron said: “It’s a fluid situation, it’s ongoing, it’s very uncertain.”

In a statement Thursday night, Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, said: “Although details have yet to become final I am afraid we should be under no illusion that there will be some bad and distressing news to follow from this terrorist attack.”

At least one Briton, Stephen McFaul, 36, an engineer from Belfast, escaped from the In Amenas compound, but the fate of several others was unclear.

Another man from Northern Ireland and at least one Scot were thought to be among seven western hostages still inside the compound.

Western governments with citizens involved urged Algeria to exhaust all avenues of negotiation before considering a military solution. Some of the hostages themselves had called television stations on mobile phones to make their own pleas for talks to begin. They said they had been forced to wear explosive belts and urged the soldiers surrounding the plant to fall back so negotiations could start.

But the Algerians, who have a long track record of taking a hard-line approach to kidnappings, decided to launch a full-scale attack without consulting any Western leaders.

According to French government sources, the extremists started killing hostages “in an appalling fashion” after the assault began. Downing Street said the Algerians refused repeated requests to be consulted about a rescue mission, and only informed Britain about the operation after it had begun.

Mr Cameron’s spokesman openly admitted that Britain was unhappy with the Algerians’ actions.

A US military drone was said to be monitoring the gas compound, but the White House said President Barack Obama was still “seeking clarity” from the Algerians about the situation. Japan urged the Algerians to halt its military operations “immediately” amid “strong concerns” for the safety of Japanese citizens at the plant.

François Hollande, the French president, said he did not have “sufficient information” about the rescue attempt. French government sources suggested that the majority of the 41 Western hostages had died. The Norwegian government said it had no information about the nine Norwegians it believed were involved.

In a telephone call at around 11.30am yesterday, Abdelmalek Sellal, the Algerian prime minister, told Mr Cameron that his forces had no choice but to act “immediately”, No10 said…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Algerian Gas Field Siege is “Over”

Algerian military forces have ended an operation to rescue hostages from a gas plant controlled by militants, according to state-run media. The military move prompted international criticism.

Algerian special forces have completed an operation on Thursday aimed at freeing hostages from a gas complex besieged by Islamist gunmen, according to Algeria’s state-run news agency, APS.

APS cited Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said as saying both kidnappers and hostages died in the operation, though the agency said the minister did not specify how many.

Several countries, including Britain, France, Norway, Japan and the US, who reportedly have citizens involved in the hostage situation, have confirmed their awareness of the situation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had called his Algerian counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal at around 1130 UCT, Cameron’s spokesman said.

“The Algerians are aware that we would have preferred to have been consulted in advance,” he said of the military rescue attempt. The British government also confirmed that “several” British citizens were among the hostages.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Americans Among Hostages Seized by Islamists in Algeria, State Department Says

Islamist militants seized a foreign-operated gas field in Algeria early Wednesday and took at least 20 foreign hostages, including Americans, according to an Algerian government official and the country’s state-run news agency, in what the attackers called a retaliation for the French-led military intervention in neighboring Mali.

The Algerian agency said at least at least two people had been killed in the gas-field seizure, including one British national, and that the hostages included American, British, French, Norwegian and Japanese citizens.

Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters in Washington that, “the best information that we have at this time is that U.S. citizens are among the hostages.”

[Return to headlines]

Benghazi Set for Curfew After Bomb Kills Libyan Policeman

(AGI) Benghazi — The failed assassination attempt targeting Italian Consul Guido De Sanctis was followed up on Wednesday by the killing of a Libyan police officer in a car bomb attack .

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

Egypt: Islamic Extremists Demolish Coptic Church Property in Fayyum

The attack took place yesterday afternoon. The attackers destroyed a parish hall and community center. They were under construction. Spokesman for the Catholic Church: “By now attacks are on the agenda.”

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Hundreds of Islamists have demolished a building owned by the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George Taymah in the diocese of the Fayyum (central Egypt 133 km south of Cairo). According to the Egyptian news agency Middle East Christian News the incident occurred yesterday afternoon. The reasons for the assault are currently unknown. The two buildings, a meeting room and a center for parish events were under construction.

Fr. Rafic Greiche spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, points out that these facts have become commonplace in Egypt ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood. “This week — he says — another three buildings were attacked in other parts of Egypt.” The priest said these events happen in rural areas and are often linked to disputes between the Coptic and Muslim communities. Religious hatred is just an excuse. In addition, the climate of impunity and insecurity, which in recent years has allowed many families linked to crime to act unscathed.

After the fall of President Mubarak and the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, attacks against churches and Christian buildings have increased. In the poorest areas of the country, but also in the capital, cuts to public security and the army have left them powerless in the face of these attacks instigated by Salafis. With their money and their promises, the extremists urge residents to drive Christians out to take over their lands, taking advantage of the absence of a clear law that regulates the construction of religious buildings.

On 7 July 2011 a hundred extremists armed with sticks and iron bars occupied an area located a few meters from the church of St. Mina in Shubra al-Kheima in the heart of Cairo. As in the case of Taymah a new center for parish meetings was under construction. Amid police indifference, Islamists presided over the area for more than 24 hours and hoisted a banner reading “Mosque Ebad al-Rahman.” Another case is that which took place in May 2011 in Merinab (Aswan — Upper Egypt) where more than 3 thousand Muslims incited by the local imam set fire to the small Coptic church in the village accusing the Christians of building it without the permission of the authorities. (S.C.)

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

Egypt’s Sinister Proposal: A Call for Jews to Return

In the wake of Egypt’s newly ratified constitution embracing Islamic religious juridical law, Dr. Essam Al Eryian, the high ranking Egyptian political figure and Vice President of the Freedom and Justice Party, initiated a generous invitation to former Egyptian Jews now living in Israel. In an interview on December 28 with Al-Ahram, the state-controlled Arabic daily newspaper, Dr. Al Eryian justified his announcement as the need for Egypt “to place itself in the right international and regional status” as it undertakes “democratic change,” — “regional” referring to the Arab-Muslim Ummah (nation). However this backfired on him when Palestinian Authority head, Mahmoud Abbas, objected to reparations Egypt owed to Jews as part of Dr. Al Eryian’s offer. The destruction Abbas seeks entails no such recompense.

Just six days after Egypt accepted a constitution giving unprecedented authority to Islamic religious clerics and disappointing minorities seeking to achieve equality, Dr. Al Eryian’s attempt to draw Israeli Jews with Egyptian roots back to minority status in Egypt seems more like a trap than restitution. Compensation to Jews from an Egypt in dire financial straits would be impossible and is a ridiculous notion. No reasonable person would trust it—an absurd proposition agreeable only by those who likewise seek to ruin Israel.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

One British Expat Dead and Five British Workers Held Hostage by Islamic Militants in Mali Revenge Attack on BP Gas Field

A British worker has been killed and another five held hostage by Islamic militants who raided a BP gas complex in Algeria in revenge for French attacks on rebel groups in neighbouring Mali.

There are also seven Americans among the 41 people held hostage in a compound where the al-Qaeda-linked group is threatening to detonate explosives.

Algerian forces have surrounded the kidnappers and negotiations for the release of the hostages are ongoing, an Algerian security official based in the region said.

A British expatriate, a French security guard and an Algerian security guard are also reported to have been killed and several others injured when heavily armed terrorists from a group known as the ‘Blood Battalion’ stormed the In Amenas natural gas field in 4x4 cars.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Terrorist Attack in Algeria: Islamist: Hostages to be Killed One by One

Algiers refuses negotiations. Dozens of foreigners held in BP oil facilities

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Referring to the terrorist attack today at the BP oil facilities in Algeria, in which a French and Brithsh citizen died , the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) leader Omar Oud Hamaha has told the German daily Die Welt that “we have taken 41 British and French soldiers hostage and we will kill them one after another if the French attacks do not cease”. MOJWA is the group which Moctar Belmoctar joined after having fought with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). “More and more Islamists from across the entire region are coming to help us,” he added.

Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia said that the authorities “will not meet the demands of terrorists and refuse to engage in any sort of negotiations”, according to APS. Algeria has always maintained an intransigent stance as concerns terrorists.

Meanwhile, some of the hostages being held have been released. According to APS, the latter are Algerian workers. However, approximately 150 Algerian employees of the French company CIS Catering are still being held in the BP facilities after the attack conducted by “about 60” attacked from neighbouring countries, said the company’s managing director Régis Arnoux. “I have about 150 Algerian workers who have been left free (to move around) on the base, but who cannot yet get out”.

According to what was reported to French newspaper Le Figaro by one of the hostages, the terrorists claim to have mined the base. “They are holding about forty foreigners hostage, but we are not all in the same place,” said the hostage contacted via telephone. After a very violent phase in which a number of shots were fired, the situation now seems to be “calmer”. “They have asked for water and food for about 60 people, and have loaded vehicles belonging to British Petroleum,” he added, noting that the hostage takers are armed with rocket-launchers.

According to what has been reported to APS by Crisis Unit sources from Illizi, the foreigners taken hostage number about twenty and are for the most part Norwegian, British, American French and Japanese.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

U. S. Citizens Among Southern Algeria Hostages

(AGI) — Washington, Jan 16 — The U.S. State Department confirmed that Americans are among the 41 foreign nationals held hostage at a BP plant in southern Algeria’s Amenas plant.

The State Department provided no indication as to the number of U.S. citizens held. It is understood that Hillary Clinton spoke to Algerian premier Abdelmalek Sellal. The site was attacked at dawn by a commando with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb affiliation. The commando is demanding an immediate end to French operations in northern Mali.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Egypt: Zionism Statements ‘Taken Out of Context’, Morsi

President, we respect all monotheistic religions

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, JANUARY 16 — The 2010 statements attributed to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi on Israel and Zionism “were taken out of context”, according to a presidential statement in reference to remarks criticised by the White House yesterday. The presidential statement — issued on the same day the Egyptian leader has met with Us republican senatore John MCCain — claims that Morsi was commenting on “the Israeli attack on Palestinians” in the Gaza Strip, and underscores the need to put the statements into “their proper context”. In that speech, Morsi (at the time a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement) urged Egyptians to “raise their children and grandchildren with hatred” for Jews and Zionists. In a later televised interview, he went on to describe Zionists as “bloodsuckers that attack Palestinians, warmongers and descendants of monkeys and pigs”. Today’s statement went on to say that Morsi reiterated “his firm commitment to respect monotheistic religions and freedom of worship,” underscoring that Egyptians had approved the new constitution, which “gives those belonging to monotheistic religions the right to citizenship and to make use of their own set of laws for personal matters”. Morsi reiterated the importance of creating strategic relations between Egypt and the US based on “reciprocal respect and shared interests.” Senator McCain, reported the statement, expressed his hope to receive Morsi at the US Congress during his visit to Washington.

The visit has long been planned but no date has yet been set.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck Show From Israel’s Gaza Border

On this week’s edition of the Stakelbeck on Terror show, we’re on the ground in southern Israel, along the Gaza border, where we were given a tour by the Israeli military just one week after Operation Pillar of Defense ended.

The dust is still settling from that operation against Hamas terrorists and we examine what’s next with one of Israel’s top military spokespeople, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, as well as fmr. Israeli ambassador Yoram Ettinger.

We also get an up close look at Israel’s groundbreaking Iron Dome missile defense system and pay a visit to the Israeli city of Sderot, just a few miles from Gaza’s border, for a personal look at the disastrous effects of Hamas’s rocket barrage.

All with some cool new blue-and-white graphics and opening credits added in.

Click the link above to watch.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

The Good News From Israel for 2013

Israel may be surrounded by Islamic fundamentalists on all of its land borders and face threats to its destruction from Iran. Meanwhile, President Obama is upset with Israel and the prospect of a possible rightward shift in next Tuesday’s Knesset elections. According to columnist Jeffrey Goldberg writing in, President Obama allegedly expressed the opinion privately “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation.” The President was referring to PM Netanyahu’s announcement to proceed with the construction of housing in the E-1 project in Judea, a rebuke of the UN vote granting the Palestinian Authority non-observer status. Given the looming January Knesset election, less than a week away, Israel’s electorate may be moving towards what Carolyn Gli ck has called the “ Second Zionist Revolution” She noted in a blog post: Next week we’re going to vote and it is already clear that Israel is in the midst of the Second Zionist Revolution. The first Zionist revolution was a socialist revolution. The second Zionist revolution is Jewish. Israel is coming into its own. Judaism is flourishing, changing, living and breathing here like it never has anywhere since the destruction of the Second Commonwealth. Perhaps Israel’s critics haven’t gotten the word of what is about to occur in the Jewish nation. Notwithstanding, 2013 could augur well for a good year in Israel. Here are four reasons why.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Hitler Honored in Upscale Istanbul Mall

People who have been paying attention know that relations between Israel and Turkey have been eroding, but not many realize that Turkey is now not only openly hostile to the Jewish State, but also to the Jewish people. On Friday, January 11, a Turkish citizen took a picture to show exactly how belligerent Turkey has become. The picture is of a huge poster with the words, “Who Would You Like to Meet if You Could?” and the last name, and only photograph, is of Adolf Hitler. The other choices include Suleiman I, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Napolean Bonaparte, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Vladimir Lenin, Boris Yeltsin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jackson. But only Hitler warranted a picture, a huge one at that. According to Ege Berk Korkut, an active Turkish writer and blogger, the sign was placed in the Sapphire Mall by the owners, a group of Turkish businessmen who are devoted to Erdogan. Korkut explained to The Jewish Press that the Sapphire is an ultra-upscale mall in Levent, the wealthiest neighborhood in Istanbul. The Sapphire building is one of the tallest buildings in Europe. Korkut said that while a few people have complained about the banner — and the management has refused to remove it — most shoppers just glance at it and continue shopping. Ho-hum, nothing startling or even mildly interesting. [. . .] With a huge flattering photograph of Hitler hanging in the fanciest mall in Istanbul, and Erdogan inching towards BFF status with Ahmadinejad, perhaps it is time for this administration to rethink putting daylight between the U.S. and Israel, and instead start putting it between the U.S. and Turkey.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Country Divided Over Women in Shura Council

Religious leaders protest, women demand full rights

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, JANUARY 17 — While the international community hailed Saudi King Abdullah’s January 11 decree appointing 30 women to the country’s previously all-male Shura Council, or parliament, it sparked differing responses from human rights and religious communities within the ultra-conservative oil kingdom. The king’s measure has catapulted Saudi Arabia from 184th to 80th country in the world in terms of female MPs, making it the sixth Arab country and the first in the Gulf in the ranking.

In an unauthorized but un-policed protest at the royal palace, a video of which is now circulating on YouTube, religious groups condemned “the dangerous changes taking place in the country”. They demanded a meeting with palace officials to “make them change their minds”, saying the female nominations “are not representative of society” and calling for similar parliamentary quotas for religious figures.

Women’s groups said having women MPs will provide positive role models and help the country come to terms with women in power, but much remains to be done in their country, where women are not allowed to travel, work, study or marry without male consent.

“It’s a good decision, but the issue of women’s rights is still 100% unresolved,” commented leading Saudi feminist Waheja al-Hawidar. “There are still a lot of laws and restrictions that need to be amended or repealed for women to finally be considered as adults in their day-to-day lives.” Social media commentators are mostly in favor of the royal decree, which nominated two princesses: Sarah al-Faisal, sister of the current foreign minister and daughter of King Faisal, who died in 1975, and Moodhi, daughter of King Khalid, who died in 1982. Of the 30 nominees, 27 have PhD’s.

Set up in 1993 as a non-elected council with no legislative powers, the Shura has on occasion been consulted by the kingdom’s highest religious authorities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Bloody Conflict Threatens Thailand’s Security

A civil war raging between Muslim separatists and the Thai military in the south of the country becomes a great challenge for Bangkok as the conflict escalates.

It happened last December — masked men stormed into a school in southern Thailand and shot three Buddhist teachers in front of their colleagues and students. That was the apex of a series of attacks carried out by Muslim separatists on schools in the region. Over 1,300 schools were shut down as a precautionary measure.

In Thailand’s southern most provinces Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, on the border to Malaysia, separatist groups have for years been fighting against state control for more autonomy. They have carried out attacks on police stations, used car bombs and fired machine guns at stores and public establishments. They have threatened shopkeepers who have their stores open on Muslim holidays. They behead people they suspect of sympathizing with the government in Bangkok. Such incidences take place nearly on a daily basis just a few hundred kilometers away from Phuket and the idyllic tourist destinations of the west coast.

In December, the International Crisis Group (ICG) published a study which said there was a bloody civil war going on in the south of Thailand which was becoming more violent and brutal by the day. Over 5,000 people have died since the wave of violence broke out in 2004.

Around two million people live in the southern provinces. The majority of them — 80 percent — are Muslim of Malayan decent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: East Java: Six Catholic Schools Could be Shut Down for Not Teaching Islam

The authorities threaten to close the schools by 19 January. Until now Christian schools have never been required to offer courses and seminars on the Qur’an. Given the sensitive nature of the matter, school administrators are not making any public statement.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Municipal authorities in Blitar, a town in East Java province, are threatening to shut down six Catholic schools “by 19 January” if the latter do not provide Islamic courses and readings of the Qur’an to their Muslim students, in accordance with regional bylaw n. 8 of 2012, which requires all Muslim students to receive Islamic courses in school. The latter is based on a national law, the National Education Act n. 55 of 2007.

The six Catholic schools at risk are the Diponegoro Catholic High School, the Catholic Vocational Training High School, Saint Mary KG, Saint Mary Elementary School, and Yos Sudarso Catholic Elementary and Yos Sudarso Catholic Junior High School.

The schools received the municipal injunction in the final days of 2012, but their administrators have refused to comply with the directive by 19 January, this according to the head of the local department of the Religious Affairs Ministry.

So far, school administrators have not released any official statement on the matter because of the sensitive nature of the issue. Before expressing any opinion, they are set to take part in meetings with Catholic leaders.

Sources within the schools note however that Muslim students and their families had accepted their teaching programmes “without complaining.” No one has ever “objected on religious grounds”.

In fact, it has been a long established practice that Indonesia’s private Christian schools, including those run by the Catholic Church, are not required to offer courses on Islam or readings of the Qur’an as in public schools. Instead, they provide courses and seminars on Christianity and catechism.

Muslim students who attend these schools can for their part take courses on Islam sponsored by their respective Muslim group.

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

Malaysia Rated Most Muslim-Friendly Destination

AFP — Malaysia has been rated the world’s top Muslim-friendly holiday destination in a survey that listed Egypt, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Singapore as runners-up.

The study by Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy Crescentrating ranked countries on how well they cater to the growing number of Muslim holidaymakers seeking halal — or Islam-compliant — food and services.

It used criteria including the level of safety in a country, the ease of access to halal food and prayer facilities, and whether hotels cater to the needs of Muslim guests.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Unrest and Political Uncertainty: Pakistan Tumbles Into Chaos

A self-proclaimed revolutionary is attracting mass protests, while the highest court has ordered the prime minister’s arrest and the military waits in the wings. Pakistan is in the grips of a major political upheaval.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

‘China Plant Could Make 100,000 Jeeps a Year’ Says Fiat CEO

Fiat-Chrysler factory ‘maybe up and running by mid-2014’

(ANSA) — Milan, January 17 — Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said Thursday that plants in China could be putting out 100,000 vehicles a year under the iconic American Jeep brand by mid-2014 through a partnership with Chinese carmaker GAC.

“In China, with GAC, 100,000 vehicles could be produced every year,” he said at an automotive event in Milan. “The plant is ready and could potentially start production within 18 months”.

The deal with GAC (Guangzhou Automobile Group) was announced Tuesday. In a statement, the automakers said that “production in China” was limited to vehicles for the “Chinese market only”.

Building Jeeps in China made international headlines during the 2011 American election season when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney falsely suggested that Chrysler would transfer all Jeep production from Ohio to China. The Chinese automaker already builds the Fiat Viaggio and distributes in China imported models such as the trendy Fiat 500, Freemont and Bravo. The plant, located in the Changsha, south-central China, will eventually produce up to 300,000 vehicles under Fiat and Chrysler brands.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

China Defends Export Data After Economists’ Skepticism

China’s customs administration said every dollar of trade is documented, defending the quality of export data that analysts at UBS AG and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) said may fail to capture the true picture.

“Customs import and export statistics are based upon actual customs declarations,” the General Administration of Customs said in an e-mailed statement yesterday, responding to questions submitted by Bloomberg News on Jan. 11. “In our published export and import data, every dollar has a corresponding customs declaration document to back it.”

China’s unexpected 14.1 percent export gain in December from a year earlier spurred skepticism from economists at banks including UBS, which cited discrepancies with other nations’ trade data. The Ministry of Commerce said today that exporters hurried shipments before a waiver of inspection fees expired at the end of the month and it was wrong to speculate that the data was false.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Japanese Airlines Suspend All Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flights

Japan’s two major airlines have grounded all Dreamliner models after a Boeing 787 was forced to make an emergency landing due to a malfunction. The announcement came after a week of technical problems for Boeing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Stability Counts for China’s Middle Class

China’s Communist Party aims at strengthening the middle class to maintain stability in the country. But contrary to what many in the West might take this to mean, a turn towards democracy is not likely.

When thousands of demonstrators took to the street on multiple occasions at the end of October in the wealthy eastern Chinese port city of Ningbo and successfully stopped the construction of an oil refinery, it soon became clear: the protesters were all middle class citizens. That was easy to see on the many pictures taken with smartphones that circulated. Their concern: the refinery would pose health risks. The Communist Party, which had placed so much emphasis on stability ahead of its 18th Party Congress, yielded to the demands as soon as it became clear the protests would not be easy to quell.

Is this a sign that Ningbo is a turning point for the development of China’s middle class? Could it even be a sign that the middle class is demanding more participation in politics as was the case in South Korea and Taiwan in the course of economic development?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tokyo Prepares for Long-Overdue ‘Big One’

As the two-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake approaches, people who live and work in Tokyo are taking precautions for when the long-overdue earthquake that everyone refers to as the “Big One” strikes.

In August 2011, five months after large parts of northeast Japan were devastated by a magnitude-9 tremor and the tsunami that it triggered, scientists at the Tokyo Earthquake Research Institute released the results of a deeply worrying study.

Their research showed that the March 11, 2011, quake had exerted tremendous pressures in the tectonic plates that meet directly beneath Tokyo, significantly raising the possibility of two or more focal points on the plate boundaries shifting simultaneously. That, they estimate, could result in an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3.

And while that is smaller than the quake that struck the Tohoku region, the impact on a densely populated and built-up area could be catastrophic. “We estimate that 10,000 people would die and the economic loss would be around 1 trillion US dollars,” said Naoshi Hirata, a researcher at the institute.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tokyo Suspends All Boeing 787 for Safety Concerns

The ANA stops the flights of 17 Dreamliners, Japan Airlines stops all flights for today. A Boeing 787 was in danger of catching fire. A long series of incidents hampers new plane, built with carbon compounds to consume less fuel. But there are many problems. The dilemma for the airlines.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Japan’s two major airlines have decided today to ground all Boeing 787s after an emergency landing of Dremliner jet carrying passengers.

The Boeing 787 is the leader in commercial flights, but a series of accidents has highlighted growing concerns about its safety.

All Nippon Airways Co (ANA) today decided to ground 17 of its 787s, Japan Airlines has suspended all its flights for today. Both companies use half of the 50 Dreamliners previously supplied by Boeing.

According to an ANA report this morning, flight 692 from Yamaguchi (west) to Haneda (near Tokyo), at one point showed a problem with the battery forcing an emergency landing. The battery is the same type that last week caused a fire on a Dremliner in the United States.

The pilots have confirmed to ANA they smelled smoke in the cabin, followed by an electronic warning. All 129 passengers were evacuated through the emergency slides.

Today’s incident is the latest in a long series of problems to hit the new Dreamliner. The sophisticated aircraft — the world’s first built with carbon compounds to use less fuel — has suffered fuel leaks, fires, battery malfunctions, electrical problems, breakdowns of the on-board computer, cracked cabin windshields, etc..

Marc Birtel, spokesman for Boeing, told Reuters that the company is aware of what has happened and is working with its customers.

Different airlines that have bought the Boeing 787 so far are studying what to do. The Australian company Qantas said it would continue to purchase 15 Dreamliners. India, which already has five of them, said it will study the problems of aircraft safety.

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

Australia — Pacific

Australian Amateur Prospector Finds Massive Gold Nugget

An amateur prospector in the Australian state of Victoria has astonished experts by unearthing a gold nugget weighing 5.5kg (177 ounces).

The unidentified man, using a handheld metal detector, found the nugget on Wednesday, lying 60cm underground near the town of Ballarat. Its value has been estimated at more than A$300,000 ($315,000: £197,000).

Local gold experts say gold has been prospected in the area for decades, but no such discovery had been made before. “I have been a prospector and dealer for two decades, and cannot remember the last time a nugget over 100 ounces (2.8kg) has been found locally,” said Cordell Kent, owner of the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop.

“It’s extremely significant as a mineral specimen. We are 162 years into a gold rush and Ballarat is still producing nuggets — it’s unheard of.”

A video of the Y-shaped nugget was posted on YouTube on Wednesday by user TroyAurum.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Italy Ready to Give Logistical Support to France in Mali

‘Quick solution’ needed, says Foreign Minister Terzi

(ANSA) — Rome, January 16 — Italy is ready to give logistical support to the French military intervention in Mali, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi told the Senate on Wednesday. On Friday French President Francois Hollande said the French armed forces had started a operation to help the Mali government combat Islamic rebels.

Terzi said Wednesday that had discussed supporting France’s operation with Premier Mario Monti and Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola.

“It is important to seek a quick solution to this crisis and avoid the endemic presence of terrorist forces in the country,” said Terzi.

Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola told the Senate that Italy is ready to grant logistical support ‘through air connections also for French forces’ operating in Mali. Di Paola added the support would be logistical and not “on the ground”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy to Send Up to 24 to EU Training Mission in Mali

EU foreign ministers agree to send 250 personnel

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Brussels, January 17 — Italy will send as many as 24 people to a European training mission for government military forces in conflict-torn Mali, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Thursday.

An initial total of 250 European trainers could be increased to 500, if required, Terzi added after taking part in an emergency meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels on Mali.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mali Islamists Much Stronger Than Expected: France

French forces in Mali have been taken by surprise by the fighting strength of the Islamist radicals they are attempting to drive out of the centre of the country, it emerged on Sunday.

Aides to President Francois Hollande admitted the militants were better equipped, armed and trained than they had expected.

“What has struck us markedly is how modern their equipment is and their ability to use it,” one said in a reference to the rebels’ hit on a French Gazelle helicopter.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mali: EU Greenlights 450-Personnel, 12.3 Mln Euro Mission

Up to 24 Italians to participate in EUMT, Terzi

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, JANUARY 17 — European Union states agreed to send up to 450 military personnel to train Mali government forces in fighting Islamist rebels, EU foreign ministers made known on Thursday.

The so-called European Union Training Mission (EUTM) will include 200 instructors for an initial 15-month mandate at a cost of 12.3 million euros. The mission will be headquartered in the capital, Bamako, and training will take place in the southern part of the country. EUTM will also provide consulting on operations, logistics, and civilian protection, but will not take part in military actions directly.

Italy will send “up to 24 personnel”, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said, adding that it “gives a positive overall evaluation of the international community’s action, as sanctioned by UN Security Council Resolution 2085 and reinforced by a unanimous Security Council declaration, including Russia and China, calling on everyone to support the Mali government in combating terrorist forces.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South African President Praises French Actions in Africa

(AGI) Luanda — South African President Zuma praised French actions in Mali and Hollande’s consulting with African leaders .

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

Two Tonnes of Black-Market Ivory Worth £700,000 Seized in Kenya in Biggest Seizure the Country Has Ever Made

Police in Kenya have seized two tonnes of ivory worth more than £700,000 in the biggest haul the country has ever seen.

Kenya’s Revenue Authority said customs officers had impounded 638 pieces of elephant tusk in a shipping container purporting to be carrying ‘decoration stones’.

The seizure comes over a week after 11 elephants were killed in a Kenyan park and their tusks chopped off.

‘The ivory was originating from Rwanda and Tanzania and was to be exported to Indonesia.’

Elephant poaching deaths are on the rise across Africa because of increased demand from Asia — and particularly from China — for ivory trinkets.

[Return to headlines]


250,000 Bulgarians and Romanians ‘To Head to UK’

The Government has refused to issue an estimate of the number of foreign workers who are expected move to the UK from the two countries after getting the right to work in Britain.

But an analysis of the numbers who flooded into the country from Poland and other Eastern European countries in 2004 showed around 50,000 migrants a year for the next five years could head to the UK, the campaign group Migration Watch UK said.

The influx of foreign workers is expected to be lower than nine years ago as temporary restrictions on workers from Bulgaria and Romania have been in place and other European countries will be lifting their controls at the same time.

But Britain remains one of the most attractive destinations for migrants, “partly because of its flexible labour market and partly because of the ease of access to its benefits system”, Migration Watch said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Canada to Resettle Up to 5,000 Iranian and Iraqi Refugees by 2018

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced plans to resettle up to 5,000 Iranian and Iraqi refugees, presently in Turkey, by 2018. Citing “escalating violence in the region,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney outlined his government’s intention to “help Turkey deal with this growing pressure.” He also commended the government of Turkey “for keeping her borders open to those fleeing the ongoing conflict in the region.”

It is expected that this undertaking will help ease the existing burden on Turkey, freeing up the Turkish government’s resources to deal with the current influx of Syrians seeking protection in the country.

Minister Kenney reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to its 2009 and 2010 pledges of resettling 20,000 Iraqi refugees. To date, it has resettled 12,000, most of them from Syria.

Most of the refugees will be referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for resettlement.

Canada is one of a few countries operating a resettlement program out of Turkey, and is second only to the United States as a destination for refugees from the region.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Gauck: Refugees Offer Hope for German Future

President Joachim Gauck has called on Germans to see refugees and immigrants as a chance for the country’s future, saying they should be welcomed with open arms as they could help maintain living standards for coming generations.

He spoke as the Interior Ministry released figures showing that the number of applications for asylum had risen by 41 percent during 2012, with more people fleeing Syria and the Balkans than previously.

“We need open doors for the persecuted, and not only due to our constitution and our history but also for economic reasons,” said Gauck on Tuesday.

“Immigrants can help us to keep the living standards from today into the next generation — they should be greeted by the people with open hearts or at least be accepted gladly.” It was time for a new welcoming culture, he said.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said that last year 6,201 people from Syria applied for asylum in Germany — an increase of 135 percent on the previous year. Syrians fleeing the civil war at home formed the third largest group applying for asylum in Germany after Serbians and Afghans.

More than two thirds of those who escaped Syria were granted protection from extradition.

Last year just over 64,500 people applied for asylum in Germany, just over 14 percent of whom were granted refugee status. A further 13.5 percent were given protection from extradition, while 49.7 percent saw their application rejected.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Bern Braces for Influx of Asylum Seekers

Swiss authorities are bracing for an increase in asylum seekers this year beyond what the federal government has budgeted for, according to a report from SRF, the German-language public broadcaster.

Last year the government budgeted for 23,000 asylum applications for 2013 but that figure is forecast to hit 30,000.

Karl Schwaar told SRF that costs to deal with political refugees are expected to rise to 1.43 billion francs, 100 million francs more than has been budgeted through a three-year plan.

That spending level would be the highest since 1999, marking an increase of half a billion francs in five years.

The federal government will be forced to seek a supplementary credit in the autumn just to deal with extra expenditures for this year, the result of increased asylum applications.

The government did not specifically pinpoint the cause of the increase, occurring despite tightened immigration regulations.

But the UN Refugee Agency, based in Geneva, last week identified one potential source — refugees from the conflict in Syria.

The number of Syrian refugees registered in neighbouring countries and North Africa jumped by 100,000 to 600,000 in the past month, the UNHCR said.

That number is expected to rise to 1.1 million by next June if the war in Syria continues, the agency said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Up to 70,000 Romanian and Bulgarian Migrants a Year ‘Will Come to Britain’ When Controls on EU Migrants Expire

Up to 70,000 Bulgarians and Romanians will travel to Britain each year when they finally gain open access to the jobs market, a report claims today.

Almost 29million people from the two countries will be free to work in Britain from the end of this year when temporary controls on new EU migrants expire.

But although ministers have their own estimate of the scale of the influx, they refuse to reveal it.

The figure is likely to be the crucial factor in deciding whether the Government will hit the Prime Minister’s goal of cutting net migration — the difference between those arriving and leaving each year — to ‘tens of thousands’

But it warns the figure could soar if Roma gipsies or the nearly 1million Romanians already in other EU countries also come.

Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, but the number who could take jobs here was capped at 25,000 for low-skilled workers. That limit expires this year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

HBO’s ‘Girls’ Celebrates Dysfunction

“Girls,” which won “Best Comedy” at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night, is spreading worldwide like a virus. Its writer, producer and star, Lena Dunham, 26, who won “Best Actress,” has used her wit and chutzpah to market her dysfunctional life as emblematic of her generation.

While most people squirm at the many nauseous sex scenes and the general vacuity of these girls, many in the worldwide audience will miss the intended irony. They will accept Dunham as a role model.

Lena Dunham is rich and famous. How bad could her lifestyle be?

In the bad old days, men had to court and marry a woman to get sex. He had to love her. Now, thanks to feminism, women give their bodies first and hope someone eventually will love them afterward. Feminists call this “empowerment.”

[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Opposes Same-Sex Marriage, Offending Some Activists

Stand on marriage and adoption ‘too general’

(ANSA) — Rome, January 17 — Outgoing premier Mario Monti sparked criticism from gay groups Thursday after stating his opposition to same-sex marriage and adoption.

Groups representing gays in Italy said that they were disappointed by the statement made one day earlier by Mont, who is campaigning for election next month at the head of a centrist coalition.

“The statement is a bit too general for a leader who is inspired by Europe and aims to continue to lead the government of the country,” said Fabrizio Marrazzo, spokesman for Rome’s Gay Centre.

Monti should be more specific about what kinds of unions and rights he would protect, said Marrazzo.

“It seems that many politicians, including Monti, are more inclined to say ‘no’ to marriage and reaffirm that the family is only based on a heterosexual couple,” he added. “In short, it is a way to discriminate against gay couples”.

It is also out of step with the progressive elements of Europe, said Andrea Maccarrone, president of the Circolo Mario Mieli.

With his remarks, Monti “blows away any remaining illusions of…being considered a leader of European calibre”.

Monti told a television interview Wednesday night, “The family should be made up of one man and one woman, and I consider it necessary that children should grow up with a mother and a father”.

Puglia’s left-wing, gay governor, Nichi Vendola, also chimed in with a remark recalling Monti’s characterisation of him as a “conservative” opposed to the outgoing premier’s market-boosting reform agenda.

Vendola, the chief ally of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said ironically, “thank goodness he was the progressive, and me the conservative”. None of the main contenders in the elections has come out in favour of gay marriage or gay adoption rights, although PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani is in favour of bringing in Germany-style civil unions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Obama the Children Savior Champion of Partial Birth Abortion

The White House spokesman Jay Carney-identified “little kids”, filling in as props at Barack Hussein Obama’s gun proposal presser today, have more respect for human life than the president does.

Young as they are, those with baby brothers and sisters at home, would be absolutely traumatized to know that as a senator Obama championed partial birth abortion, the brutal slaughter of babies who make it through abortion.

“President Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act four times, horrifyingly voting against protecting babies who survived abortion and voting in favor of leaving them to die. (LifeNews).

While the children props of today would never have known, it was the same Obama standing among them, eliciting chuckles and laugher when reading out some of their letters in what must be the most hypocritical bid of all time to champion the lives of children.

How many of the children surrounding Obama today know that Planned Parenthood’s funding jumped from 33% to nearly 50%—over $487 million in taxpayer funding now goes to the abortion giant (under Obama and his administration)? This is almost half a billion dollars that American families are forced to pay in tax dollars—no matter how hard they struggle in the current economy—to the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Public Schools Are Teaching What?

Obama has again added to his long train of abuses against We the People, this time in the education of American school children.

Obama has illegally implemented an extensive overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, bypassing Congress (again), the voice of the American people, and inducing states to agree to major changes that none of his predecessors attempted.

Apparently Barack Hussein Obama, the self-proclaimed “Constitutional Scholar” hasn’t taken the time to read Article 10 of the Bill of Rights. The federal government has no business whatsoever in the education of American schoolchildren.

This is through something called the Common Core Standards, which has been implemented in 46 states and D.C., drowning students with mostly “informational text” and historical documents.

Some of the non-fiction texts that will be implemented into school curriculum are “FedViews,” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2009) and “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” published by the General Services Administration.


In recent years, American public schools have also been indoctrinated with the Muslim religion. Studies have shown over 500 historical errors in public school textbooks, giving an Islamic slant to our youth.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

School Teaches That Whites Are ‘Oppressors’

If someone ever needed evidence that the agenda of the public school system has been completely taken over by radical, left-wing thinking, just look at what’s being taugh at one Wisconsin school. Under the banner of “diversity,” high school students are being taught that whites are the bad guys and everyone else is a victim.

As reported by Fox News, the “American Diversity” class at Delavan-Darien High School is under fire for a curriculm focused on “white guilt.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Teachers Shouldn’t Use Red Coloured Pens to Mark Homework ‘Because it’s Like Shouting and Upsets Pupils’

Sociologists Richard Dukes and Heather Albanesi from the University of Colorado told the Journal of Social Science: ‘The red grading pen can upset students and weaken teacher-student relations and perhaps learning.’

In 2008, hundreds of schools banned teachers from using red ink to correct work because they considered it ‘confrontational’ and ‘threatening’.

But Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, slammed the findings saying: ‘In my own experience of 35 years in teaching is that children actually prefer teachers to use red ink because they can read comments more easily.

‘I think this research is misguided. The problem with using a colour like green or blue is that it’s not clear.

‘A lot of schools seem to have a culture where they don’t like critcising children but actually this helps them.

‘It’s not intimidating children want to see where they’ve made a mistake. I think it’s a rather silly idea.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Two 6-Year-Olds Suspended for Playing Cops and Robbers — ‘Finger Guns’ To Blame

Last week, two six-year-old students from White Marsh Elementary School in Maryland, were hauled into the principal’s office. Their crime was one for the record books. The boys had committed the unforgivable sin of pointing imaginary “finger guns” at each other.

Since we live in a zero-tolerance world, where adults are incapable of discerning imaginary violence from the real thing, Principal Marcia Sprankle suspended the children immediately.

You read that right. They were suspended for the illegal use of “finger guns.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Tiny Solar Activity Changes Affect Earth’s Climate

Even small changes in solar activity can impact Earth’s climate in significant and surprisingly complex ways, researchers say.

The sun is a constant star when compared with many others in the galaxy. Some stars pulsate dramatically, varying wildly in size and brightness and even exploding. In comparison, the sun varies in the amount of light it emits by only 0.1 percent over the course of a relatively stable 11-year-long pattern known as the solar cycle.

Still, “the light reaching the top of the Earth’s atmosphere provides about 2,500 times as much energy as the total of all other sources combined,” solar physicist Greg Kopp at the University of Colorado told As such, even 0.1 percent of the amount of light the sun emits exceeds all other energy sources the Earth’s atmosphere sees combined, such as the radioactivity naturally emitted from Earth’s core, Kopp explained.

To learn more about how such tiny variations in solar energy might impact terrestrial climate, the National Research Council (NRC) convened dozens of experts in many fields, such as plasma physics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry, fluid dynamics and energetic particle physics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]