Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/28/2008

USA
$700 Billion is Just a Drop in the Derivative Bucket.
Churches to Defy IRS on Sermons
Fannie Mae CEO Calling Obama and the Dems the “Family”…
Larry King, MSM Icon, Gave Ahmadinejad a Public Forum in the US
Rescuing ACORN
Saddest Thing About This Mess: Congress Had Chance to Stop It
Soviet-Style Collapse in America’s Future?
This is Lots of Fun! Oh, Uhhh, I Mean It’s a Serious Crisis!
 
Canada
Canada’s Fertility Rate at 10-Year High: Statscan
Police Charge Man, 19, in Early-Morning Ottawa Bus Stabbing
 
Europe and the EU
America as the Last Man Standing
Austria, in a First, Allows Children to Vote
Austria Swings to the Right in Snap Elections
Devout Muslim Sues Tesco for Religious Discrimination After He Was Made to Carry Crates of Alcohol
Extremist Cleric Omar Bakri’s Daughter Leaves Home After Pole Dancing Revelations
Ireland: Data Shows Economy is Officially in Recession
Syria-UK: Assad Visits London in Early 2009, Media
The End of Austrian-Israeli Relations?
The Final, Final Solution
 
North Africa
Muslim Brotherhood Hits Out at TV Show
 
Israel and the Palestinians
“Time is on My Side, Yes it is!”
Forward to the Past: the Fall and Rise of the ‘One-State Solution
Music: Paul McCartney Conciliates Israelis
 
Middle East
Expats Fed Up With Turkish Problems, Survey
Lebanon: Police Resume Patrolling of Hezbollah Stronghold
Turkey: Trial of Anti Militarist Transsexual Singer Begins
Turkey: 50% of Women Do Not Need Economic Indipendence, Poll
 
Russia
FSB and Its Patron Saint
 
South Asia
In India, Surrogacy Has Become a Global Business
Kandhamal (Orissa): Man Killed, Dozens of Christians’ Homes Burned
Pakistan: Taliban War Now Threatens to Reach Beyond Tribal Areas
Revealed: Secret Taliban Peace Bid
 
Australia — Pacific
One in Ten Aussies Racial Supremacists: Survey
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
US Destroyer Monitoring Hijacked Ship Off Somalia
 
Culture Wars
Abortion: Spain; Bishops, Catholics Oppose With All Means
BBC Investigated After Peer Says Climate Change Programme Was Biased ‘One-Sided Polemic’
 
General
Iran Escapes Further Sanctions in New UN Security Council Resolution
Re-Emergence of Fujian H5N1 in Southeastern Russia
The Muslim v. Christian Battle for the Mediterranean

Thanks to Abu Elvis, Amil Imani, Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Carl in Jerusalem, Dymphna, Insubria, JD, JEH, Larry Houle, Prairie Pundit, Queen, Rick, Steen, TB, turn, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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USA

$700 Billion is Just a Drop in the Derivative Bucket.

NO To The Paulson-Bernanke Derivatives Scam Bailout

by Wenster Tarpley

These derivatives now amount to a total worldwide notional value that can be estimated between 1 quadrillion and two quadrillion US dollars. This sum is so large that it dwarfs the total value of the entire planet earth and all those who live here. Compared to the cancerous, bloated, and fictitious mass of derivatives which is at the root of this crisis, the $700 billion demanded by politicians, large as this may seem, is nothing but a drop in the bucket. And a drop in the bailout bucket is what it will be. The mass of world derivatives between $1 and $2 quadrillion represents an insatiable black hole which is capable of putting an end, not just to civilization, but the human life itself. The moral choice could not be clearer: humanity will either destroy the derivatives bubble in our time, or the derivatives bubble will surely destroy humanity. Those are the stakes in the current exercise.

Paulson and Bernanke, both lawyers for the Wall Street jackals, lampreys, vultures and hyenas, argue that the public interest demands a bailout of their cronies at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia, and the other large money center institutions. Before the American public antes up $700 billion just for openers in the game of genocidal poker which run by the infernal croupiers Paulson and Bernanke, we would be very well advised to examine the veracity of this premise.

COMMERCIAL BANKS ARE INDISPENSABLE

It is of course true that the healthy functioning of the United States economy requires a viable and flexible system of commercial banks. No one should doubt the necessity of commercial banks. Andrew Jackson was clinically insane on this point, and he still has not a few followers around today. But it ought to be clear that without the services of a well developed commercial banking system, it is impossible to organize business activities as essential as payments, deposits, checking, payrolls, and the discounting of short-term commercial paper, bills of exchange, bills of lading, and all the credit instruments that are intimately connected with real productive activity. Without a functioning commercial banking system, the economic heart of the United States would stop beating, as it briefly did at the end of the Hoover administration in March of 1933. Without commercial banks, no wheel of a factory or railroad can turn, and no commodities can move to show up in supermarkets.

JPM, CITI, BoA ARE DERIVATIVES MONSTERS, NOT COMMERCIAL BANKS

But when we look at institutions like J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America, we become aware that these large money center institutions have become detached from any conceivable connection to the world of production, wages, transportation, and all other useful and productive activities. These institutions are not commercial banks any more in any meaningful sense of the term. Ten years ago, in the midst of the Asian financial crisis and the aftermath of the Russian GKO state bankruptcy collapse, the boss of JP Morgan Chase went on television to announce that his bank was specialized in the “risk business.” The risk business meant that JP Morgan Chase, had simply given up on the traditional activity of commercial banks, which was primarily to provide loans to corporations for productive investment in plant and equipment that would also create well-paid industrial jobs. J.P. Morgan Chase decided long ago that that activity was nowhere near profitable enough to be cont inued.

Instead, J.P. Morgan Chase devoted itself more and more to the issuance, sale, and purchase of derivatives. As early as 1992, the best definition of J.P. Morgan Chase was that it was no longer a commercial bank but rather a derivatives monster. In 2002, the J.P. Morgan Chase derivatives monster came very close to imploding, collapsing in on itself like the hopeless black hole that it still remains to the present day. According to the most recent report of the Comptroller of the Curreny of the US Treasury dated September 30, 2007, JP Morgan Chase today has between $90 trillion and $100 trillion of derivatives. In reality this is a very low-ball estimate, and the real derivatives exposure is some multiple of this figure ­ perhaps $300 or $400 trillion, especially now that Bear Stearns, a smaller black hole of derivatives has been absorbed. But even a mere $90 trillion is already six times the US GDP (currently estimated between $14 and $15 trillion).

[Return to headlines]


Churches to Defy IRS on Sermons

Thirty-three preachers across the country say they will defy tax laws Sunday by endorsing specific political candidates from the pulpit and preaching about their moral qualifications.

They are part of a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, organized by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a group of Christian lawyers who work for socially conservative causes.

The Pulpit Freedom Campaign has amassed the pastors to cooperate in a mass violation of a 1954 law that bars religious organizations and nonprofit groups that accept tax-deductible contributions from endorsing specific candidates. The ADF thinks the law is unconstitutional and lined up churches earlier this year willing to commit civil disobedience for a test case headed for the Supreme Court.

“This is something we’ve committed the resources to,” said ADF senior legal counsel Erik Stanley. “What we want to do is have a reasonable constitutional addressing of the issues. For 54 years, the Internal Revenue Service has studiously avoided any court confrontation over their ability to regulate a pastor’s sermon.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said his organization will monitor who takes part.

“Taking part in this reckless stunt is a one-way ticket to loss of tax exemption,” he said “Pastors who violate the law can expect their churches to be reported to the IRS the first thing Monday morning.”

           — Hat tip: turn[Return to headlines]


Fannie Mae CEO Calling Obama and the Dems the “Family”…

…and “Conscience” of Fannie Mae

[Video]

           — Hat tip: turn[Return to headlines]


Larry King, MSM Icon, Gave Ahmadinejad a Public Forum in the US

By Amil Imani for the American Thinker

…As the old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” However, in the minds of many Iranians as well as many non-Iranians, there is such a thing, and Mr. King lost huge points with his line of questioning. Yet, valid questions remain about media performance and the role of public communication practitioners in shaping perception. The role of media is not to impose self-censorship and avoid critical questions.

It is hard to digest how the liberal media has single-handedly, in a matter of three short days, managed to make Ahmadinejad look statesmanlike. Mr. Ahmadinejad was given a forum to reiterate his deception, repeatedly. Larry King would not even say that he himself is Jewish and that he supports Israel. He looked very mesmerized by the presence of this evil man who is responsible for the death and misery that exists in Iran. He did not contradict Ahmadinejad, did not show him up. He allowed him to make points to undermine the existence of the friendship between Israel and the United States…

[for imbedded links, see original post]

From the comments:

“To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox

           — Hat tip: Amil Imani[Return to headlines]


President Would Review ‘Hate Crimes’ Plan

Reports say legislation expected to be resurrected

The White House would have to review any “hate crimes” plan that would arrive on the president’s desk from Congress, a spokeswoman said today.

WND earlier reported on the expectation the plan, which was defeated a year ago when President Bush indicated it was not needed and he would veto it, would be returned to the agenda.

“Here’s ultimately what we expect,” Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of the Liberty University School of Law, told WND at the time. “The hate crimes plan is to be offered as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Department of Defense reauthorization bill. That’s what the word is, that it’s going to be offered as an amendment.”

Pro-homosexual advocates long have sought such a law, but opponents fear it would be used to crack down on those who maintain a biblical perspective that condemns homosexuality as sin. Observers note it would criminalize speech and thought, since other criminal actions already are addressed with current statutes.

Canada already has an aggressive “hate crimes” law, and there authorities have gone so far as to tell a Christian pastor he must recant his faith because of the legislation that bans statements that can be “perceived” as condemning another person.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Raked Over Coal

Climate Change: Al Gore has rightly been scolded for encouraging civil disobedience to stop global warming. But his little-noticed follow-up statement might be even more foolish — and dangerous.

When it comes to sheer crackpottery on environmental issues, no national figure can measure up to the lofty standard set by the former Tennessee senator and vice president. This is a man who is leading a caravan of humming hybrid drivers to nowhere and is willing to criminalize those who disagree with him to get there.

While speaking Wednesday in New York at the Clinton Global Initiative, Gore told young people “looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now” that “it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration.”

After fomenting crimes against property and obstruction of commerce through “rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants,” a strategy he advocated last year, Gore encouraged law enforcement officials to investigate a group of energy companies that he has singled out for punishment.

“I believe for a carbon company to spend money convincing the stock-buying public that the risk from the global climate crisis is not that great represents a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting a material fact,” said Gore, who failed upward into a Nobel Prize.

“I hope these state attorneys general around the country will take some action on that.”

What kind of economy would we have if attorneys general investigated every company that Gore and the environmental movement believe contributes to a “global climate crisis,” the definition of which the eco-warriors are reserving for themselves? We would become sclerotic, as the flow of capital needed for energy development is choked off and energy supplies grow scarcer.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Rescuing ACORN

Election ‘08: Democrats want to use profits from the bailout as a slush fund for liberal activist groups, even those involved in vote fraud to help elect Barack Obama.

Prior financial bailouts, or “rescues,” such as those involving savings and loan failures, and Chrysler, have over time actually made money for the government. It may be the case here as well, as assets bought by the government at bargain prices return to marketable values and are auctioned off.

One of the sticking points in resolving the crisis was a poison pill in the Dodd/Paulson compromise that would move 20% of profits from the bailout into the Housing Trust Fund, a slush fund for political action groups such as ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and the National Council of La Raza.

Sen. Lindsey Graham told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News that Democrats had other priorities than just solving this crisis: “And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.”

Groups such as ACORN and La Raza lobby to secure government-funded services for their members and seek to move them to the voting booth. The housing bill President Bush signed in July contained a similar funding mechanism for the HTF — a tax on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The tax was designed to channel upwards of $600 million annually in grants for developing and restoring housing, mostly as low-income rentals, available to ACORN and other groups. ACORN gets 40% of its revenues from the American taxpayers and not all of it finds its way into housing.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Saddest Thing About This Mess: Congress Had Chance to Stop It

Could the crisis at Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac and the subprime meltdown have been avoided? The answer is yes.

As early as 1992, alarm bells were going off on the threat Fannie and Freddie posed to our financial system and our economy. Intervention at any point could have staved off today’s crisis. But Democrats in Congress stood in the way.

As the president recently said, Democrats have been “resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me . . . to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

No, it wasn’t President Bush who said that; it was President Clinton, Democrat, speaking just last week.

Interesting, because it was his administration’s relentless focus on multiculturalism that led to looser lending standards and regulatory pressure on banks to make mortgage loans to shaky borrowers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Soviet-Style Collapse in America’s Future?

By Henry Lamb

The meltdown in the financial markets has caused the finger of blame to spin like a weathervane in a hurricane. The underlying cause of the debacle, however, has been largely ignored. Driven by “progressive” Democrats and Republicans, the cause is the relentless shift from a free market economy to a socialist economy.

Until the Roosevelt era, the responsibility and privilege of having a home was left solely to the individual. Few people realize that Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) was created in 1938 by FDR, to provide a federal guarantee for home loans extended by local banks.

Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) was created in 1970, during Nixon’s reign. Both were designed to buy mortgages from local lenders as a way to insure an adequate supply of money for local lenders. These “secondary” mortgages were packaged into “bundles” of securities that were traded among an array of financial institutions.

During the 1960s, the United Nations produced the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Article V(e)(iii) proclaimed that all people had a “right” to housing. Both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations supported the treaty, but it was not ratified until the Clinton administration, Nov. 20, 1994. No one noticed or connected the dots to the emerging socialist, communitarian concept called “sustainable development.” Grass-roots organizations across the nation were deeply involved in preventing ratification of another U.N. treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was also under consideration at the time.

(Column continues below)

To meet its obligations under the U.N.’s Racial Discrimination Treaty, the Clinton administration instructed Fannie Mae to expand loans to low-income borrowers, according to Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s chairman. Thus, the “sub-prime” market was born, and government guaranteed-loans were extended to millions of families who could not qualify for a mortgage in a free market economy, but easily qualified under the new socialist scheme.

In 2005, Republican senators saw the danger and tried to reform these institutions with the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulator Reform Act (S.190), but Democrats blocked the bill.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


This is Lots of Fun! Oh, Uhhh, I Mean It’s a Serious Crisis!

The blogger, Cartago Delenda Est, shows before and after pictures from the New York Times as it cleans up behind itself. Wouldn’t do to let the truth get out, would it?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these two pictures are worth a Congressional bailout.

Tipster: Rick

           — Hat tip: Rick[Return to headlines]

Canada

Canada’s Fertility Rate at 10-Year High: Statscan

Quebec and Alberta accounted for 70 per cent of the total increase in births

Canada’s fertility rate reached a 10-year high in 2006, when women aged 30 to 34 had more babies than women aged 25 to 29 for the first time, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The total fertility rate — the average number of children per women — rose to 1.59 in 2006, up from 1.54 in 2005, the agency’s health statistic division said in its report on births.

The replacement level fertility, or the level of fertility the population needs to replace itself from one generation to the next, is 2.1 in Canada.

“The recent increase in births could be explained partly by the fact that many women from the echo generation had entered their childbearing years and their fertility rates edged up,” the report said.

Members of the echo generation were born between 1988 and 1995, when baby boomers gave birth in large numbers, according to the report. An earlier baby boom echo occurred in 1974 and 1975.

In 2006, 354,617 births were registered, an increase of 12,441 newborns from the year before. The number of births was up 3.6 per cent, the largest annual increase since 1989.

           — Hat tip: Queen[Return to headlines]


Police Charge Man, 19, in Early-Morning Ottawa Bus Stabbing

OTTAWA — A 19-year-old man faces multiple charges after a stabbing on an Ottawa city bus early Friday morning.

Police arrested two men after a man was stabbed in the chest during a fight aboard the bus involving the victim.

The two men fled the scene but police caught them a short distance away.

The male victim was taken to hospital.

Aden Ahmed will appear in court Saturday on charges of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and weapons dangerous.

Police say the other suspect has been released without charge.

           — Hat tip: JEH[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

America as the Last Man Standing

“In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe?”

Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, chairman Party for Freedom, the Netherlands, at the Four Seasons, New York, introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem (which I hope to be attending).

The speech was sponsored by the Hudson Institute on September 25.

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for inviting me. Great to be at the Four Seasons. I come from a country that has one season only: a rainy season that starts January 1st and ends December 31st. When we have three sunny days in a row, the government declares a national emergency. So Four Seasons, that’s new to me.

It’s great to be in New York. When I see the skyscrapers and office buildings, I think of what Ayn Rand said: “The sky over New York and the will of man made visible.” Of course. Without the Dutch you would have been nowhere, still figuring out how to buy this island from the Indians. But we are glad we did it for you. And, frankly, you did a far better job than we possibly could have done.

I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The danger I see looming is the scenario of America as the last man standing. The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe. In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe? Patriots from around Europe risk their lives every day to prevent precisely this scenario form becoming a reality…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]


Austria, in a First, Allows Children to Vote

VIENNA: For her birthday, Nina Stanke gets 16 candles — and one vote.

Austria will make history in the European Union on Sunday by becoming the first member of the 27-nation bloc to give 16-year-olds a voice in national elections.

And Stanke, one of up to 200,000 eligible Austrian teenagers, is not about to pass up this opportunity.

“Yes, I’m going to vote,” Stanke, who turned 16 this week, said on a recent afternoon as she chatted with friends outside her school in central Vienna.

Stanke has a slew of choices.

Following the collapse in July of the governing coalition between the center-left Social Democrats and the center-right People’s Party, 10 parties have said they want to govern the Alpine republic. But only about half have a realistic chance of making it into Parliament, where 183 seats are up for grabs.

[Return to headlines]


Austria Swings to the Right in Snap Elections

VIENNA (AFP) — Austria’s two ruling parties, the Social Democrats and conservatives, received a severe drubbing in a snap general election here Sunday, which was marked by a resurgence of the far-right.

As of 7:00 pm (1700 GMT), two hours after the polls closed, the interior ministry calculated that the Social Democrat SPOe managed to hold on to first place, garnering 29.9 percent of votes.

But the reading represented a drop of 5.4 percentage points from the previous election in October 2006 and was the SPOe’s lowest score since the end of World War II.

The conservative OeVP’s losses were even more dramatic, plummeting 8.3 percentage points to 26.0 percent.

Both parties lost votes to the far-right FPOe and BZOe parties, with the Freedom Party (FPOe) under Heinz-Christian Strache seeing its vote-share surge by 7.1 percent to 18.1 percent while Joerg Haider’s Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZOe) saw its score more than double to 9.8 percent.

The Greens slipped slightly to 9.9 percent.

           — Hat tip: Queen[Return to headlines]


Devout Muslim Sues Tesco for Religious Discrimination After He Was Made to Carry Crates of Alcohol

A muslim is suing Tesco for religious discrimination after having to carry crates of alcohol as part of his job. Forklift truck driver Mohammed Ahmed, 32, worked in one of the supermarket giant’s warehouses for eight months before quitting ‘in protest’, an employment tribunal heard.

He claims he was forced to leave because handling beer, spirits and wine is against his strict Islamic beliefs and that he was victimised when he asked the company to give him another role.

Mr Ahmed, who was raised in Saudi Arabia, told the tribunal he had no idea his job entailed handling alcohol when he started work at the distribution depot in Lichfield, Staffordshire, last September. When he realised it did, he asked to be found different work but alleges that one of his supervisors told him: ‘You do the job or go home.’

Mr Ahmed also claimed his line manager was ‘aggressive’ towards him and another supervisor angrily told him: ‘Do not take the p***.’ […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Expert: Election Outcome Won’t Hurt Bavaria’s CSU

Bavaria’s ruling Christian Social Union has dropped in the polls ever since 2003.. But the party’s fear of losing political clout after Sunday’s election is unfounded, says a leading German political scientist.

Ahead of Sunday’s state elections in Bavaria that could have implications for the strength of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), DW-WORLD.DE spoke to Heinrich Oberreuter, a political scientist at the University of Passau and director of the Academy for Civic Education in Tutzing, who is close to the Christian Social Union (CSU).

DW-WORLD.DE: Bavaria is the wealthiest state in Germany, home to giants like BMW, Siemens and other high tech industries. Its school system is regarded as Germany’s best. Since the 1960s, the CSU has governed Bavaria by an absolute majority. In the last elections, the party got over 60 percent of the vote, but the polls indicate that state premier Guenther Beckstein is slightly below the 50 percent threshold required for his party to maintain sole leadership. What accounts for this drop?

Heinrich Oberreuter: First of all, the new leadership hasn’t succeeded in getting across the message to voters that they really do have it good. Voters take that for granted, they see it as normal that they have it so good.

Since the last elections, there was a turbulent period when the CSU lost some of its voter base, because of budget cuts or policies such as introducing university fees at public institutions or cutting the number of years devoted to secondary education (from 9 years to 8 years) without involving the public in a real public debate over the matter.

Those who felt short changed are distancing themselves from the party, which was also hurt by the crisis in confidence caused by the Edmund Stoiber affair (in which the former premier mishandled allegations that an aide had snooped into the private affairs of another CSU politician).

Stoiber however is a dynamic politician with magnetic appeal as was (late former Bavarian Premier Franz Josef) Strauss, a titan on the national and world stage. Their successors Beckstein and (CSU pary leader) Erwin Huber lack that kind of charisma and together they have not been able to excite voters or bring them together to support a fresh vision.

Under the CSU leadership, Bavaria has become very modern in the high-tech sense, but the party still struggles with an image problem. It is perceived as clinging to traditional social values and Catholic Church doctrine in a Europe that has become increasingly secular. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Extremist Cleric Omar Bakri’s Daughter Leaves Home After Pole Dancing Revelations

The daughter of the radical Islamic cleric Omar Bakri has left her home in London amid fears for her safety after it was disclosed that she was a pole dancer.

Police were called to escort Yasmin Fostok, 27, away from her flat in the south of the capital to take her an undisclosed location on Saturday.

It emerged last week that Ms Fostok regularly performs in bars and nightclubs. There was also a report that her father — leader of the now outlawed al-Muhajiroun group — had paid for a £4,000 breast enlargement operation for her.

Ms Fostok, one of Bakri’s three daughter’s has dyed her hair blonde, changed her name from Youssra to Yasmin and separated from her Turkish-born husband.

Last week she admitted being was a dancer with a troupe called Ibiza Untouched and was quoted in The Sun as saying that she had been known to perform topless “if the venue is right”.

But the reports of her activities angered her father and led to fears that she could make her a target for extremists.

Police have refused to confirm or deny reports that she has received security advice.

           — Hat tip: Queen[Return to headlines]


Firebomb Attack on Home of Publisher Behind ‘Soft Porn’ Mohammed Novel

The boss of a publishing company that is to release a novel about the private life of the Prophet Mohammed was under police guard last night after a fire-bomb attack on his £4million London home.

The book, The Jewel Of Medina, is a fictional account of the Prophet’s relationship with his nine-year-old bride Aisha but has been described as ‘pornographic’.

The attack on Gibson Square Books’ boss Martin Rynja’s Islington home in the early hours of yesterday drew parallels with the threats on Salman Rushdie’s life after he wrote The Satanic Verses.

Three men dressed in black and from East London were seized by waiting, armed police after petrol was poured through 44-year-old Mr Rynja’s letter box and set alight. Two of the men were held at the scene. A third was arrested in a car outside the nearby Angel Tube station. The blaze was quickly controlled by the fire brigade.

Mr Rynja, who is thought to live alone, had apparently fled the house a few hours earlier after police tipped him off about a possible attack. A neighbour said: ‘We woke up and the square was full of unmarked police cars and a huge number of anti-terrorist police running around carrying sub-machine guns.’

Former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, whose teenage brother Ben was killed in a knife attack earlier this year, lives with her family near to Mr Rynja. His decision to publish The Jewel Of Medina was seen as a high-risk move by his friends and rivals in the publishing world.

The novel by US journalist Sherry Jones was scheduled for publication by Random House earlier this year but cancelled after an Islamic scholar attacked its contents. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Ireland: Data Shows Economy is Officially in Recession

With less than three weeks until the Budget, the pressure on the Government increased today after data published by the Central Statistics Office showed the economy has technically entered recession.

Figures from the CSO showed that gross domestic product (GDP) — which measures the value of all the goods and services produced in the State — fell 0.8 per cent in the second three months of this year compared to the same quarter of 2007.

This is the second successive quarter of contraction and means the economy is technically in recession. Gross national product (GNP), which also includes profits earned by multi-nationals, fell by 2.1 per cent, compared to a 0.9 per cent rise in the first quarter.

According Davy economist Rossa White, if the measure of economic activity is based on GNP, Ireland was not yet in recession.

“[However] the question of whether Ireland was in recession or not in the second quarter is nitpicking and almost inconsequential because we are there now in the third quarter”, he said. White added that the data showed the domestic-owned economy was performing a lot worse than the multinational sector.

The main factors dragging the Republic into recession are the construction slump and weak consumer spending.

[…]

Earlier this month, the Economic and Social Research Institute predicted the economy would contract by 0.4 per cent this year after growing by 6 per cent last year. It is the first time Ireland has experienced recession since 1983…

[Return to headlines]


Islam: Wears Headscarf, Adores Queen, Sends Daughters to Nuns

(By Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 26 — She wears a headscarf, adores Queen and sends her two daughters to study at the school of the Orsoline nuns. She is Sumaya Abdel Qader and is one of the “new Italian women” who are growing: that is she is member of the so called second generation of Muslims in Italy. Her story finds an effective summary on the very cover of the book she has just published with Sonzogno (‘Porto il velo, adoro i Queen’, ‘I Wear Headscarf, Adore Queen’), with the image of a smiling young woman who adjusts the headscarf on the background of the spires of the Duomo in Milan, her adoptive city. She was born 30 years ago in Perugia to Palestinian parents (her father, a doctor, is also imam in the city), and although she has not managed to obtain citizenship yet, she says she feels Italian from head to toe. To the point that she enrolled her two daughters to attend school at the Orsoline nuns, under agreement with her husband who is also a ‘second generation’ and one of the founders of the Young Italian Muslims. “Why the nuns? Because they give us security in education,” she explains. More than the state school, “the one with the crucifixes and the photos of the popes on the walls which do not bother me (like the majority of the Muslims), on the contrary, but they contradict a little to its secular declaration. “How many telling-offs I have put up with, but not by the Muslims, no!” she adds. The choice of the Catholic school is made also because the two parents hope there will be no room for “pagan rites or a commercial imposing” for religious holidays such as Christmas. But it is her two “little innocent creatures” who soon put their mother in crisis. Like when they make the sign of the cross before eating (“I pretend nothing has happened and continue with the dinner,” Sumaya narrates. “For us Muslims, Jesus is a simple prophet, God is not a man, that is why the cross cannot symbolize the divine. On the contrary, believing in the Holy Trinity is a sin for us.” And she decides to suggest to the teacher not to ask the girls to make the cross sign. “And it happened that way.” However, the most critical, and emblematic, moment comes when the girls go with their parents in the mosque for the end of the Ramadan and innocently asked her: “Why is it disgusting here, while the church is so beautiful?”. On the other hand, Sumaya also attended the nuns’ nursery school in Perugia. Calm years, she remembers: “We were children. No one saw anything different in me; among the nuns no one noticed the fact that my mother was veiled.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Politicians Warn of Increased Terror Threat in Germany

Politicians in Germany warned Saturday of the dangers posed by Islamists, following the arrest of two terrorist suspects and a police search for two others. The arrests took place in Cologne on Friday when a Somali [Abdirazak B.] and a German of Somali descent [Omar D].were escorted off a plane bound for the Dutch city Amsterdam.

German prosecutors on Saturday were granted arrest warrants for the two men by a local court. Chief prosecutor Fred Apostel said evidence provided by police showed the pair “were planning to carry out an attack in the near future.”

Security sources said the pair had been under observation for months and were planning to travel via the Netherlands to a training camp for militants on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

A search of their apartment had turned up letters in which the two men, who are in their 20s, had declared their readiness to die in a jihad or holy war, the sources said. Police apparently stepped in to prevent them from joining their comrades in the Islamic Jihad Union, (IJU), often described as a successor to the terrorist network al Qaeda.

Planning terrorist attacks?

German police are currently searching for two other militants who underwent training in the use of firearms and explosives at an IJU camp and are now believed to be back in Germany.

Police fear Eric Breininger, a 21-year-old German convert to Islam, and Houssain al-Malla, a 23-year-old Lebanese, might be planning terrorist attacks in Germany. Breininger [alias Abdul Gaffar El Almani], who is from Saarland state in the west of the country, is reported to have recorded an Internet video in which he spoke of carrying out a suicide attack and supported jihad.

The two men were also believed to have been in contact with one of the three IJU adherents who were arrested in the Sauerland region in September 2007 on suspicion of plotting attacks against US targets. […]

Some experts believe there are up to 100 home-grown militants who have attended training camps aboard and returned to Germany to recruit new adherents.. […]

Pop phenomenon?

Earlier this week, three teenagers of Turkish descent were arrested in Cologne after luring two police officers into an ambush and firing blanks at them. The trio told prosecutors they planned to steal the officers’ firearms and use them in attacks on Americans and other targets as part of a holy war for which they were prepared to die.

The group, aged 15-17, had apparently been watching Islamist hate videos before their assault on the police. “The jihad has now become a pop phenomenon,” the Tagesspiegel newspaper quoted one security source as saying. Dying as a martyr in the name of Allah could soon become the ultimate symbol of provocation for rebellious youth, he added. […]

—- Adding:

http://www.serbianna.com/news/2008/03100.shtml

Terror attack planed in Bosnian Muslim town

Bosnian Muslim intelligence agency OSA has confirmed that it is on a hunt for two Islamic terrorists [Erik Brayninger and Hussein al Mali] after German security agency informed them that they are preparing a terror attack.

Erik Brayninger and Hussein al Mali have been seen in a Bosnian Muslim town of Zenica.. “We have certain knowledge that these two individuals have probably moved into Bosnia. We are checking these facts, trying to locate them and see if they are still in Bosnia,” said the statement by OSA.

German media has reported, based on police intelligence, that Erik Brayninger and Hussein al Mali have been trained in suicide attack strategies in Afghanistan and are planning a terror attack on Germany from a Bosnian town of Zenica.

“We have information that Brayninger and his friend Hussein al Mali and another individual are on the way to Germany,” said the spokesman for the German police as it issued an arrest warrant. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Spain: Economic Crisis Lowers Divorce Fever

(by Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 22 — Where the bishops did not succeed, with the public demonstration against the ‘divorce express’, which blocked the reform approved in 2005 by Zapateròs government, now the economic crisis is succeeding. The latter, in fact, is reportedly at the base of the decrease by 5.6% of separations, divorces and annulment law suits in 2007, compared to the previous year, thus reversing for the first time the increasing trend which had been constant in the past few years, according to a study by the National Statistic Institute (INE). In the first quarter of 2008, the number of divorces decreased by 18.1% compared to the same period of 2007. Less divorces in times of crisis, because of the economic difficulties which have repercussions at different levels on the decision of couples; on one hand, the number of married couples which decide to divorce decreases, due to the inability to afford the costs, especially of the real estate market; on the other hand, increases the number of hostile separations and requests of revision of separation agreements or agreements subscribed in the past by the former spouses before the judge. In terms of type of marriage break, according to INE’s study, in 2007 a total 11,583 separations were registered, with a drop by 38.4% compared to the previous year; 125,777 divorces, with a 0.9% decrease from the previous year; 150 annulments, with a drop by 13.8% compared to 2006. The modification of the civil code, introduced by the law of ‘quick divorce’, which allows to divorce without the need for a previous separation, resulted in 2006, the first year of its implementation, in almost the totality of marriage dissolutions being sorted out through divorce. The decrease of the ‘divorce fever’ is confirmed by the associations of specialised lawyers, who registered a drop “by up to 30% of the clients who consult law firms to start the separation process”, compensated, however, by the growth of the requests of modification of previous agreements and divorce rulings, “due to the economic and real estate crisis”. This was confirmed by Esther Perez, from the Association Ronda, in statements to the media. “There are more and more couples, especially young or with low incomes, who cannot divorce because they cannot afford it financially. This phenomenon has become more visible since January. It is difficult that couples with children, who earn 2,500 euro per month and pay a mortgage of 1,000 euro can afford to separate”, Perez added. Another of the effects registered by the divorce lawyers is that “more and more men are asking for the joint custody of under age children, in order not to pay alimonies”. The higher number of breaks, according to INE’s study, is registered in the age group between 40 and 49, 41.2 years old for women and 43.8 for men. And despite the general decrease in the number of divorces, the Institute points out an increase by 15% in 2007, compared to 2006, of the number of divorces of short-lived marriages, lasting less than one year. Out of the total number of breaks in 2007, 59 concerned homosexual marriages, of which 42 between men and 17 between women. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Syria-UK: Assad Visits London in Early 2009, Media

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 26 — After being welcomed with state honours in Paris last July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might go on an official visit to London at the beginning of next year, London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat said today. The newspaper specifies that the British government’s special representative for the Middle East, Michael Williams, said in London that “a meeting between British Foreign Minister David Miliband and his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallim will serve to decide the level of the visits that the two countries will exchange in the upcoming months”. Al-Hayat recalls that John Jenkins, director of the Middle East department of the British Foreign Office, visited Damascus last week, “in a first of a series of meetings that will come to a peak with the visit of Assad to London at the beginning of next year”. Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Paris and the following official visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Damascus earlier this month marked the end of the international isolation that Syria has experienced since 2004. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


The End of Austrian-Israeli Relations?

There are elections being held in Austria on Sunday, and Austria’s relations with Israel hang in the balance. The polls indicate that the Orwellian-named ‘Freedom party’ could garner as much as 20% of the vote and be a part of the ruling coalition. If that were to happen, Israel would likely break diplomatic relations with Austria.

Heinz-Christian Strache, who leads the Freedom Party, took part in paramilitary activities with neo-Nazis in the late 1980s and has been known to use the Nazi salute.



In 2000, the inclusion of the Freedom Party in the Austrian government prompted Israel to recall its ambassador to Vienna.

Then-prime minister Ehud Barak said the party’s presence in the government “should outrage every inhabitant of the world.”

“The Jewish people, wherever it may be, led by the State of Israel, will never allow the world to conduct business as usual in light of the events in Austria and their possible implications,” Barak said at the time.

In a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post last week, Dan Ashbel, Israel’s ambassador in Vienna, said, “We are very concerned about the situation and parties who are xenophobic and base their policies on xenophobia. It is a danger and it is a very sad fact that this repeats itself.”

The Freedom Party is campaigning using anti-immigrant slogans, such as “Asylum fraud means a flight home,” and is exploiting anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments to win votes.

But like all modern-day anti-Semites, the ‘Freedom Party’ claims that it isn’t anti-Semitic — it ‘just’ opposes Israel. And it has a useful idiot named ‘rabbi’ Moshe Aryeh Friedman who serves as its token Jew.

“The rabbi is a good friend of mine… Why, we’ve even had him over to the house!” said John Gudenus, a Freedom Party politician who has been convicted of denying the Holocaust. In Austria, it is unlawful to cast doubt on the extermination of European Jewry as a historical fact.

On Tuesday, the Freedom Party held a press conference to announce a parliamentary inquiry into the expulsion of Friedman’s children from Vienna’s oldest Jewish school. Raimund Fastenbauer, general secretary of the [Jewish] community, told the Post “the Freedom Party is giving assistance to Mr. Friedman.”

Does the name Moshe Aryeh Friedman ring a bell for any of you? Recall this picture…

           — Hat tip: Carl in Jerusalem[Return to headlines]


The Final, Final Solution

by Larry Houle

Before there was Hitler, Mein Kampf, the SS, concentration camps, Nazism and Aryan, the Nazi God; there was Muhammad, the Koran, the SS Jihadists, slavery, Islam, Muhammad’s fictional Anti-God Allah and the first, final solution of the Jewish question—the murder and forced exile of Jews/Christians from Arabia.

The City of Cologne, Germany—which just allowed the building of one of Europe ‘s largest mosques complete with sky-touching minarets, and viciously suppressed a peaceful anti-Islamization rally—has a long history of Jewish oppression.

The first pogrom of the Jews in Cologne was in 1349. In 1424, they were evicted from the city and had to wait nearly four centuries to be allowed back in 1798.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Jewish population of Cologne was about 20,000. By 1939, some 40% of the Jews had emigrated. The vast majority of those who remained were deported to concentration camps by 1941. The Jewish population used to be herded together at the trade-fair grounds next to the Deutz Train Station for deportation to death-camps and for the disposal of their household goods by public auction. On Kristallnacht in 1938, Cologne ‘s synagogues were set on fire.

Mr Erdogan, the current Prime Minister of Turkey cited a poem with the following text: “The minarets of mosques are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our soldiers.”

In the 1990s, as the mayor of Istanbul , Erdogan expressed his opposition to secularism in no uncertain terms:

“You cannot be both secular and a Muslim! You will either be a Muslim, or secular!… It is not possible for a person who says ‘I am a Muslim’ to go on and say ‘I am secular too.’ And why is that? Because Allah, the creator of the Muslim, has absolute power and rule!”

The City of Cologne has set in motion the completion of Hitler’s mission—the final, final solution of the Jewish, and also Christian, question of modern Germany . They have set in motion the destruction of Western civilization in Germany…

           — Hat tip: Larry Houle[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Muslim Brotherhood Hits Out at TV Show

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s strongest but banned opposition force, has reacted angrily to a TV serial dramatising the life of Jamal Abdul Nasser, an icon of modern Arab nationalism.

Supporters of the group, which has been outlawed in Egypt since 1954, accuse Nasser — the TV series being shown on several Arab channels — of misrepresenting the Brotherhood.

“The aim of the series is to tarnish the image of the Brotherhood in a stark contrast to history” said Saif Al Islam Hassan Al Banna, the son of the group’s founder. “I will not keep silent on the harm done to the history of my father or any other person in the Brotherhood,” Saif Al Islam told Gulf News. He plans to file a lawsuit against the show makers.

‘A fallacy’

The controversial series, banned on Egyptian state TV, presents the Brotherhood as fawning on King Farouk, who was later overthrown by Nasser and his comrades.

“This is a fallacy,” said Al Banna. “The Brothers were not friends of the King. They used to attend national occasions, including the Coronation Day, like other politicians at the time.”

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

“Time is on My Side, Yes it is!”

by Barry Rubin

So sang the Rolling Stones. But which side has time working in its favor? That’s one of the Middle East’s most intriguing and controversial questions.

Recently, Israeli leaders and well-wishers—sincere and hypocritical alike—have spoken in panicky terms that time isn’t on Israel side and it’s either peace in a few months or the Biblical flood.

Even U.S. government policy claims that agreement can and must be reached right away or else. Presidential candidate Barrack Obama has stated that Israel desperately needs peace and must make lots of concessions to get it real fast.

Well, it’s nonsense. But first let’s ask why has this idea become so big?

First, peace is good. Second, on the left, peace is considered both good and reachable if Israel gives up enough.

Somehow, no serious analysis is ever made on what the other side, the Palestinians and Syria, are, want, think, or do.

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]


Forward to the Past: the Fall and Rise of the ‘One-State Solution

by Jonathan Spyer

Deeply embedded in Palestinian nationalism is the notion that Israeli Jewish identity is analogous to that of communities born of European colonialism, which are not seen as having legitimate claim to self-determination. No reconsidering of this characterization took place during the period of the peace process of the 1990s. Hence, the short period of acceptance of the “two-state solution,” was a departure by Palestinian nationalism from its more natural stance, and the current trend of return to the “one-state” option is a return to a position more in keeping with the deep view of the conflict held throughout by this trend…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]


Music: Paul McCartney Conciliates Israelis

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, SEPTEMBER 26 — With a delay of almost two generations, Israel reconciled with a myth, the Beatles, of which 43 years ago it was probably not able to understand the far-ranging importance: the country hugged in a warm embrace Paul McCartney who in Yarkon park, the biggest in Tel Aviv, held last night a concert which will remain in the history of the Jewish state, which at the time of David Ben Gurion had prohibited the concert of the four boys from Liverpool, in fear that their songs might have a destabilising effect and lead the young people astray. To break the ice at the beginning of the concert, McCartney — holding his loyal bass guitar Hofner — greeted the audience with “Shalom”, followed by a sentence in Hebrew. The sentence actually was incomprehensible, not so much because of the foreign accent of the singer, but because of the roaring of the crowd, which overpowered also the hundreds of thousands watts of the loudspeakers. The former Beatle did not show off airs of being a living legend. Though strongly limited by the security, he joked and made fun of the well-known metropolitan legend according to which he is actually the lookalike of McCartney himself, victim of an accident in 1966 and immediately replaced, not to compromise the success of the band, which was rocketing at the time. “A newspaper here reminded me of that story but I want to reassure you, I really am Paul McCartney in the flesh”, he said in an interview. The boy Paul’, as somebody said, commenting his youthful appearance despite being 66 years of age, with disarming simplicity managed to respond to the Arab fundamentalists (including some Palestinian groups), which accused him of doing propaganda for Israel and warned him not to come. The first song selected by him was, meaningfully, Hello Goodbyé, one of the Beatles’ evergreens. Then he continued by alternating his own songs with others from the nostalgic times, a nostalgia which Israel was able to feel only through the records of the well-known quartet. Maybe a concert is not enough to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, even if on the stage there is Paul McCartney singing Give Peace a Chancé. The former Beatle, though, managed to perform a small miracle, in a country renowned also for its internal conflicts: he established unanimity among the Israelis, whom from now on, it will be possible to greet with a warm Hey Jews’. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Expats Fed Up With Turkish Problems, Survey

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 22 — Expats who are in search of a peaceful and tranquil life in Turkey are overwhelmed by a host of problems, including traffic jams, discrimination and bureaucracy, a comprehensive study on expats living in Turkey conducted by the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK) has found. The results of the study, titled ‘Integration of Expats in Turkish Society: Problems and Opportunities,’ were announced at a press conference in Ankara by ISRO/USAK head Sedat Laciner. The study, as Today’s Zaman reports, focused on a variety of issues, such as problems faced by expats, the problems they cause and the reasons they choose to live in Turkey. The problems of living in Turkey that expats cite most are traffic congestion, discrimination and bureaucracy. According to the study, expats have difficulty adapting themselves to the complexity of Turkish bureaucracy, as it is often quite different from what they face in their own countries. Most of them complain about the problems they encounter when purchasing real estate. Expatriates from European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Britain, Germany and Ireland say they have great difficulty settling in Turkey due to problems stemming from the Turkish bureaucracy. Another problem expats face in Turkey is traffic jams and a lack of enforcement of traffic regulations. They complain that even traffic police don’t respect the rules. (ANSAmed).

2008-09-22 14:25

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Lebanon: Saudi Arabia Covers Public School Costs

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 22 — Saudi Arabia has offered an aid package worth USD 44 million to cover tuition fees and books for all students registered in public schools for the 2008-2009 academic year. The amount would be divided in three ways: USD 20 million would cover public school tuition fees from kindergarten to grade nine students; USD 20 million to purchase textbooks; and USD 4 million would be transferred to the National Committee to Support Public Schools. Premier Fuad Siniora said that Saudi support had intensified following the 2006 war with Israel, and that it had contributed in the subsequent reconstruction process. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Lebanon: Police Resume Patrolling of Hezbollah Stronghold

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 26 — For the first time after 20 years, agents of the Lebanese police force resumed patrolling the southern suburbs of Beirut, traditional stronghold of Hezbollah, under a “security plan” decided by the local government in agreement with the Shiite movement, it was reported by the Lebanese news website ‘NowLebanon’. The online daily, quoting an anonymous source from the leadership of the Forces of Internal Security (police), specified that the “security plan has already entered into force with the activation of the first patrols in the district”, known also as Dahiye (suburbs), since the end of the ‘80 under the full control of the security system of the Party of God. The police source added that ‘‘the agreement between Hezbollah and the Interior Ministry was reached as part of the efforts, carried out in the entire country, towards the detente between the Shiite movement and the authorities of Beirut”, after the violent clashes which took place in May in the capital, between the supporters of the Party of God, backed by Syria and Iran, and the anti-Syrian Sunni followers. “The target of the security plan is to fight ordinary crime, on the rise in Dahiye, while police agents will not have authority over the armed men of Hezbollah, who will instead be able to facilitate the task of the police forces”, the source concluded. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Trial of Anti Militarist Transsexual Singer Begins

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 24 — The trial of popular Turkish transsexual singer Bulent Ersoy, who in the end of May was charged with trying to turn the public against military service following her comments made in a popular television talk show, started this morning in Istanbul. On that occasion Ersoy, referring to the increasing number of Turkish military dying in combats with Kurdish separatists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said that if she had a son she would never let him fight “the wars of other peoples”. In these words the investigating judge Ali Chakir saw an attempt at “dissuading people from military service”, a crime punished under article 318 of the Penal Code, and wrote on the indictment that the Turkish people attaches great importance to the military service so that it can even be said that “every Turk is born a soldier”. Military service is obligatory in Turkey — for a period of between six and 15 months according to the decree of education — at age 18 and the right to conscientious objection is not recognised. The singer, who is aged 56, did not turn up for the first hearing of the trial, on June 18, since she was on a tour and the judge threatened to have her brought to court in case she fails to appear today. Today in court Ersoy admitted she had made the statements in question and repeated her position while claiming her innocence. “I spoke in the name of humanity and even if I am condemned to death, I will repeat the same: we have to find a solution instead of killing each other,” she said. Bulent Ersoy risks three years in prison if found guilty. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Retired General Tolon Hospitalized

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 24 — Retired Turkish General Hursit Tolon, who was placed in prison as part of the ‘Ergenekon’ case, has been hospitalized on Wednesday, Turkish Ntv said. No statement has been released on Tolon’s medical condition. Tolon is currently at the Kocaeli State Hospital where security measures are very high. An alleged criminal network that came to be known as ‘Ergenekon’ was revealed after police seized hand grenades, TNT explosives and fuses in a shanty house in Istanbul on June 12th, 2007. Several Turkish figures, including retired senior army officers, were detained and sent to prison within the scope of the investigation. The indictment regarding Operation Ergenekon’ was filed at an Istanbul court, indicting 86 people on charges of attempting to overthrow Turkish government. The 2,455-page indictment includes 86 suspects, most of whom are in prison. An Istanbul court will hold the first hearing of the case on October 20th. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Turkey: 50% of Women Do Not Need Economic Indipendence, Poll

(ANSmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 24 — Almost half of urban Turkish women believe economic independence is unnecessary and younger generations seem to share this view more than the older ones, as local press reports. Under the framework of a series of research into women and entrepreneurship in Turkey this first poll by the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey, Kagider, measures the attitude of women in Turkey toward entrepreneurship and their perceptions. The poll asked whether they would agree with the statement that women should have economic independence and 45% of them said they did not agree, while 45% said they agreed with the statement. Another significant finding from the research was that almost 50% of women between 15 and 19 believed the woman’s place was at home near the children. “The new generation is scared as they see the costs paid by those women who said business is first and they don’t want to experience the same difficulties”, psycologist Leyla Navaro, said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Russia

FSB and Its Patron Saint

A Russian religious group called Union of Russian Orthodox Citizens proposed promoting teh Saint Alexander Nevsky to the role of the patron saint of FSB — the Russian federal security service, the main successor of KGB. Here is Alexander:

When you stop laughing at the mere idea of a saint overlooking the essentially dirty business of the (not so) august organ, consider the following:

Alexander Nevsky is the person to whom the inspirational slogan “Whoever will come to us with a sword, from a sword will perish” is ascribed. This text inspired, between other things, the famous KGB shield and sword emblem. So the hereditary lines are easy to trace.

The second reason why the good folks of the Union proposed Alexander as a patron is to prevent implementation of another brilliant idea, offered by a member of the Duma (the Russian parliament): to return the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the bloody founder of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, to its original location on Lubyanka Square. The historic haunts of the Cheka, NKVD, KGB and now FSB. It is not that the Union minds Derzhinsky’s blood thirst, it is rather that he was a raving atheist and invested quite an effort in elimination of the church and its clerics.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: NATO Commander Calls for More to Fight Drug Trade

Kabul, 24 Sept. (AKI) — By Giovanni Del Re — Afghanistan’s drugs trade has become a key obstacle in international efforts to stabilise the country, according to NATO’s top European commander, General John Craddock.

“I requested additional authorisation to permit ISAF to directly go after drug bosses and drug traffic facilities,” Craddock told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Craddock was on a visit to the Afghan capital, Kabul, for meetings with commanders from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

“Afghanistan is gaining in capability and size but is it adequate to the task?” Craddock asked.

“The authorisations for ISAF in the operation plan are to provide assistance to Afghan anti-narcotics forces, but these authorisations are not enough,” Craddock added.

“The UN estimates a total of 60 to 100 million dollars go to the insurgency,” he said. “They buy the explosives (and) the bomb makers pay the soldiers who pull the triggers who kill our soldiers. We cannot let this go on, we must do this to reduce risks for ISAF soldiers.”

“The issue is still controversial. Some countries are dragging their feet. I am very engaged on the issue and will speak with every single ally until they understand what is at stake.”

Italy, France and Germany are reportedly among the main objectors to ISAF targeting the Afghan drug lords, according to unnamed AKI sources.

ISAF currently has 53,000 troops from 40 countries in Afghanistan, NATO’s largest ground operation outside Europe.

Around 100 million dollars from the drugs trade have been poured into the insurgency, especially the Taliban, strengthening them as a fighting force against the international troops.

The United Nations estimates that revenues from Afghanistan’s drugs trade amounted to 5 billion dollars in 2007, equivalent to half the country’s national income.

A massive 90 percent of the heroin that reaches Europe comes from Afghanistan.

One positive trend is that the number of provinces free from opium has increased from 13 to 18 out of 34, according a recent UN report on the drugs trade.

The head of the UN’s anti-drugs agency UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, has called on NATO to give more concrete assistance in eradicating opium cultivation in Afghanistan.

Costa suggested that ISAF consider expanding its anti-drug support to destroying heroin processing facilities and to intercepting drug convoys, as well as identifying and disrupting major traffickers.

He also said international forces in Afghanistan needed to regain military control of the provinces where opium is still being cultivated on a large scale.

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


In India, Surrogacy Has Become a Global Business

They come from Europe, Asia and America. Couples unable to have their own children are finding a booming market for surrogate motherhood in India. But what happens when a baby is born that suddenly belongs to no one?

Manji has six mothers. She’s a healthy baby girl, weighing in at three kilograms (6 lbs. 10 oz.), with dark, downy hair on her head. She was brought into the world by Caesarean section at 2:41 p.m. on July 25, 2008. She is a pretty baby, with a perfectly round face and slightly protruding ears.

Manji’s first mother is a Japanese woman. Last fall, she and her husband traveled to India to make the arrangements for Manji at Kaival Hospital in Anand, a city in the state of Gujarat. Mothers two and three were waiting at the clinic, which specializes in the treatment of infertility. Manji’s second mother donated her egg cell, the father gave his sperm and her third mother provided the use of her womb. On Nov. 22, 2007, Manji, now an embryo, was transferred into the body of an Indian woman, where she began to grow. But just one month before her birth, the people who had planned her procreation got divorced. Suddenly Manji was motherless.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Kandhamal (Orissa): Man Killed, Dozens of Christians’ Homes Burned

The police have sent an additional 700 officers, but the violence continues. Interior minister: the attacks against the Christians are “systematic”. It is feared that the violence is also motivated by the upcoming elections, and could last until May of 2009.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) — A man was killed, and dozens of homes belonging to Christians were burned yesterday in a new flareup of violence against Christians in Orissa.

Various incidents took place in Raikia, Tikabati, and G. Udaygiri, in the district of Kandhamal, the epicenter of the attacks that began a month ago. Groups of Hindu radicals have blocked dozens of streets with felled trees, to make it harder for police to reach the area and to continue the pogrom against the Christians. Yesterday, in the village of Sirsipanga, Hindu fundamentalists set fire to dozens of homes belonging to Christians. One group of Christians reacted and there were clashes, without any intervention by the police. Two people were wounded, one seriously, who later died at the hospital. According to the newspaper The Hindu, the dead man was one of the fundamentalists, while the other man wounded was a Christian. But the Times of India reports the statement from a policeman according to whom the dead man was a Christian. Later in the day AsiaNews sources have confermed that the man killed was one of the Hindu mob who wanted to destroy the Christian village.

The Christians of India continue to hold demonstrations, calling for intervention by the authorities of Orissa and of the national government, to put an end to the destruction and killing (see photo). The government of Orissa (dominated by the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party) is suspected of complicity with the violence. The police sometimes seem to be supporting the attacks, or at least incapable of stopping them.

After yesterday’s destruction, the inspector general of the police in Orissa said that he has sent 700 more paramilitary troops to the district of Kandhamal, in addition to the 3,000 already deployed. But the violence continues.

M L Kumawat, a representative of the national interior ministry, says that the attacks against Christians in Orissa are “very systematic”, and describes the state as a place where “lawlessness” is rampant.

The All India Christian Council (AICC), which includes thousands of Christian groups and associations, in a statement released today, says that the Christians of India are “disillusioned” at seeing that a month after the violence began, there has been no “significant action” on the part of the central government and of Orissa. The AICC is afraid that “premeditated” violence could last until the general elections next year, which are supposed to be held by May of 2009.

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


Pakistan: Taliban War Now Threatens to Reach Beyond Tribal Areas

(AKI) — By Syed Saleem Shahzad — The Taliban rebellion which has gripped Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan is gaining strength and threatening to escalate in other parts of the country.

The tribal areas of the NWFP that border Afghanistan are steadily falling to a creeping Taliban-led militancy. Military operations have proved ineffective and the militants have rejected offers of any ceasefire while government offices, the Chief Minister’s house and military camps are now under attack in the area as well.

More than 100 Pakistani soldiers have been captured during operations to control militants in the Bajaur agency and the armed forces do not know about how to handle operations in the tribal areas. If security forces use jet fighters, militants slip into the thick forests of Kunar in Afghanistan through the maze of mountains on the border and if they advance overland, they immediately come under attack.

On Wednesday, all exit and entry routes leading to the Chief Minister’s House and the Governor’s House were closed, after the provincial capital of Peshawar came under intense attack this week,

Four rockets were fired on the airport on Monday and again Tuesday. The main oil depot of the city which provides the city’s fuel supplies and power generating stations, came under attack on Sunday but fortunately the target missed or the city would have been plunged into darkness for two weeks.

The Kohot Tunnel, the main trade route of the province has been closed for the last sixteen days due to military operations in the Dara Adam Khail.

On Tuesday, the impartial Taliban commander Abdul Wali declared war on the security forces in the adjacent Mohmand Agency, immediately to the south of Bajaur, and sent hundreds of new militants to attack security forces there.

The region around Peshawar, capital of the North-West Frontier Province, including Shabqadar, Charsada, Matni has been a battle ground between the security forces and the Taliban.

In the Swat Valley, the Taliban have once again reinforced their position by renewing attacks on security forces. In the strategic Khyber Agency which is a main NATO route for the supplies to Afghanistan, a jirga (or tribal council) announced the closure of offices belonging to all religious and social organisations in the tribal agency.

The Taliban seized four containers there this week and militants told Adnkronos International (AKI) that the containers were carrying food items and water for NATO troops.

“As our national defence strategy appears to have collapsed, our own proxies — the Taliban and the Jihadis — are now waging a war on Pakistan itself and have killed 10,267 Pakistanis in five years, which is 6,000 more deaths than the total number of Pakistani lives lost in the Pakistan-India War of 1965, “ wrote Farrukh Saleem, Executive Director of Center for Research and Security Studies, a regional security think tank recently. “It’s neither about religion nor about tribal traditions.

“Our national defence strategy has long been dependent on the use of the Taliban in the West and the Jihadis pinning down elements of India’s 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16 Corps in the north-east.” Saleem said.

After the devastating suicide attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killed more than 80 people and injured 260 others on Saturday the sense of vulnerability to the militants has deepened in Pakistan.

“As a military officer who served for 40 years I can tell that we can defeat any army of the world but cannot motivate our men to fight against our own people,” said Retired Major General Jamshed Ayaz in a local TV talk show. Jamshed is the head of a national think-tank called the Institute of Regional Studies.

According to the senior government sources, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari talked to US officials about establishing a joint force comprising Americans, Afghans and Pakistanis to hunt down the Taliban.

The prime minister advisor on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik tried to approach Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud, in South Wazirsitan and Tehreek-e-Taliban leader, Maulana Faqir Muhammed, in Bajaur to solicit a ceasefire agreement. But militant sources told AKI that the government offer was rejected by the militants.

“After 9/11, we have lost at least two legs of our national defence strategy. As if losing two legs wasn’t enough, our Jihadis and our Taliban, the very tools of our foreign policy, are on the loose,” said Saleem.

“Our ex-proxies are hitting back at the very soul of Pakistan. It’s neither about religion nor about tribal traditions. This is an active insurgency whereby our ex-proxies are struggling to suck the soul out of the nation-state called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and then hold physical terrain from where they can affect their agenda.

“Our one-time proxies have challenged the state for control of a portion of its territory. The outside world, meanwhile, is out to contain us and stop our violence from spreading. Our national defence strategy has long been due for a major makeover. But, we have long been in a state of denial. Pakistan is truly under siege; under siege because of the proxies we keep.”

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


Revealed: Secret Taliban Peace Bid

Saudis are sponsoring a peace dialogue involving a former senior member of the hardline group The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging ‘peace process’ sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer can reveal.

The unprecedented negotiations involve a senior former member of the hardline Islamist movement travelling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Britain has provided logistic and diplomatic support for the talks — despite official statements that negotiations can be held only with Taliban who are ready to renounce, or have renounced, violence.

Sources in Afghanistan confirmed the controversial talks, though they said that in recent weeks they had ‘lost momentum’. According to Afghan government officials in Kabul, the intensity of the fighting this summer has been one factor. Another is the inconsistency of the Taliban’s demands.

‘They keep changing what they are asking for. One day it is one thing, the next another,’ one Afghan government adviser with knowledge of the negotiations said. One aim of the initiative is to drive a wedge between Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Last week the French Prime Minister, François Fillon, referred indirectly to the talks during a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. ‘We must explore ways of separating the international jihadists from those who are acting more for nationalist or tribal motives. Efforts in this direction are being led by Sunni [Muslim] countries such as Saudi Arabia,’ he said..

This summer’s fighting season in Afghanistan has been the most violent since the invasion of 2001. The deterioration of the situation has provoked a major review of strategy among the 40-nation international coalition pitted against an increasingly confident and effective insurgency.

Although there have been low-level contacts with individual Taliban commanders at district level before, the Saudi initiative is the first attempt to talk to the Taliban leadership council based in or around the south-west Pakistan city of Quetta, known as the ‘Quetta Shura’.

The talks started in the summer and have been brokered by Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Afghan government. The go-between has spent weeks ferrying lists of demands and counter-demands between the Afghan capital, Riyadh and Quetta. He has also visited London to speak to Foreign Office and MI6 personnel. A delegation from Saudi intelligence has also visited Kabul..

The Taliban are understood to have submitted a list of 11 conditions for ending hostilities, which include demands to be allowed to run key ministries and a programmed withdrawal of western troops. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

One in Ten Aussies Racial Supremacists: Survey

One in ten Australians believe some races are superior to others and Muslims are the most unpopular group in the country, the lead author of a new study said Sunday.

Professor Kevin Dunn from the University of Western Sydney said a 10-year study of 12,500 people found that Australians were generally tolerant, with more than 80 percent viewing cultural diversity as beneficial.

But about 10 percent of the population was racial supremacists.

“Only about one in ten people across the various states would hold those views nowadays,” Dunn told AFP.

“ There’s stronger levels of social distance or fear of Islam or concern about Islam than of any other group at the moment “

“It’s better than in many other parts of the world, certainly in parts of western Europe where three in ten people would hold those views,” he said.

“But one in ten is a lot. It means one person in every lunch room, one person in every locker room, five or ten people on a train,” Dunn added.

Dunn, a professor of human geography and urban studies, said

Muslims were most often seen as the group that did not “fit in” to Australian life.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Pirates Die Strangely After Taking Iranian Ship

A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates. Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill “within days” of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died.

Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: “We don’t know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship.”

The vessel’s declared cargo consists of “minerals” and “industrial products”. But officials involved in negotiations over the ship are convinced that it was sailing for Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist rebels.

The drama over the Iran Deyanat comes as speculation grew this week about whether the South African Navy would send a vessel to join the growing multinational force in the region.

A naval spokesman, Lieutenant-Commander Greyling van den Berg, told the Sunday Times that the navy had not been ordered by the government to become involved in “the Somali pirate issue”.

About 22000 ships a year pass through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden, where regional instability and “no-questions-asked” ransom payments have led to a dramatic rise in attacks on vessels by heavily armed Somali raiders in speedboats.

The Iran Deyanat was sailing in those waters on August 21, past the Horn of Africa and about 80 nautical miles southeast of Yemen, when it was boarded by about 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. They were alleged members of a crime syndicate said to be based at Eyl, a small fishing village in northern Somalia.

The ship is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, or IRISL, a state-owned company run by the Iranian military.

According to the US Treasury Department, the IRISL regularly falsifies shipping documents to hide the identity of end users, uses generic terms to describe shipments and operates under various covers to circumvent United Nations sanctions.

The ship set sail from Nanjing, China, at the end of July. According to its manifest, it was heading for Rotterdam where it would unload 42500 tons of iron ore and “industrial products” purchased by a German client.

At Eyl, the ship was secured by more pirates — about 50 on board, and another 50 on shore. But within days those who had boarded the ship developed mysterious health trouble. This was also confirmed by Hassan Allore Osman, minister of minerals and oil in Puntland, an autonomous region of Somalia.

He headed a delegation sent to Eyl when news of the toxic cargo and illnesses surfaced.

He told one news publication, The Long War Journal, that during the six days he had negotiated with the pirates, a number of them had become sick and died. “That ship is unusual,” he was quoted as saying. “It is not carrying a normal shipment.” The pirates did reveal that they had tried to inspect the ship’s cargo containers when some of them fell sick — but the containers were locked.

Osman’s delegation spoke to the ship’s captain and its engineer by cellphone, demanding to know more about the cargo. Initially it was claimed the cargo contained “crude oil”; later it was said to be “minerals”.

And Mwangura has added: “Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals.” But IRISL has denied that — and threatened legal action against Mwangura. The company has reportedly paid the pirates 200000 — the first of several “ransom instalments”, but that, too, has been denied.

—- Caption: “Empire Strikes Back: The Russian frigate Neustrashimy, which was sent to the coast of Somalia this week after a Ukrainian ship carrying arms, including 33 T-72 tanks, was also hijacked by Somali pirates”

“Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals”

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


US Destroyer Monitoring Hijacked Ship Off Somalia

A heavily armed U.S. destroyer was stationed off the coast of Somalia on Sunday, making sure that pirates there don’t remove tanks, ammunition and other heavy weapons from a hijacked Ukrainian cargo ship.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for the pirates says they want US$35 million to free the cargo ship Faina and warned of dire consequences if any military action was taken to try to free the ship. […]

In a rare gesture of cooperation, the Americans appeared to be keeping an eye on the Faina until the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, reaches the area. The Russian ship was still somewhere in the Atlantic on Sunday, the Russian navy reported.

U.S. Navy Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the United States’ 5th Fleet, said the San Diego-based USS Howard had the Faina in sight Sunday but “cannot hear what is going on” aboard the hijacked ship. Christensen said the Navy has tried to communicate with the Faina’s crew but so far hasn’t gotten a response.

The Navy remains “deeply concerned” over the fate of 21-member crew and the ship’s cargo, he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “What’s on board is of concern to us as much as the criminal activity,” Christensen said, adding that the Navy does not want the tanks and other weapons to end up “in the wrong hands.”

Another U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Howard was within a few thousand yards of the Faina, which was anchored a few miles off the Somalia coast.

Pirate attacks worldwide have surged this year and Africa remains the world’s top piracy hotspot, with 24 reported attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center. […]

The USS Howard’s Web site says it has surface-to-air missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, anti-submarine rockets, torpedoes, and a five-inch rapid-fire deck gun. […]

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Former Head of Canadian Immigration Service Tells Politicians Involved in This Election to Tell the Truth : Our Immigration Levels Are Too High

The bulletin is an OP-ED which was written by James Bissett, former Head of Canada’s Immigration Service, and published last week in The Ottawa Citizen and The Montreal Gazette. In The Globe and Mail today, September 22, Columnist Lawrence Martin elaborates on Mr. Bissett’s views and asks why such an important issue is not receiving the critical attention it deserves in this election.

In his OP-ED, Mr. Bissett criticizes what the leaders of all of Canada’s political parties are doing in this election campaign: “climbing over each other promising to increase the number of immigrants”. He says that immigration levels are already far too high and that all the parties have to acknowledge this now.

James Bissett is not just one more commentator on the immigration issue. He helped develop Canada’s point system in the 1960’s. For five years, he was the head of the entire Canadian immigration service. He has written much thoughtful and articulate criticism of Canada’s immigration policies.


He knows more about immigration than any of the current leaders of Canada’s political parties and their immigration critics. His expertise obviously far exceeds that of Canada’s immigration industry and the municipal, provincial and federal politicians who have cheerled high immigration levels—-and who have received so much attention in doing so.

Mr. Bissett has also been a Canadian ambassador for many years. He has considerable stature on the Canadian stage.

—————-

Truth and immigration

Rather than climbing over each other promising to increase the number of immigrants to Canada, party leaders should acknowledge that levels are already too high

James Bissett

The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We sometimes complain about politicians who don’t do what they promise to do after they get elected. Ironically, it is sometimes much better for the country when some of these promises are broken.

Let’s hope, for example, that the promises made by our political leaders to raise immigration levels and provide more money for immigrant organizations are not kept.

Either our political leaders do not know that Canada is facing an immigration crisis or they care more about gaining a few more so-called “ethnic voters” than they do about telling the truth about immigration.

Canada is taking far too many immigrants and the leaders of all the parties are promising to take even more.

There are already close to a million immigrants waiting in the backlog to come here. They have all met the requirements and by law must be admitted. There is also a backlog of 62,000 asylum seekers before the refugee board and even if these are not found to be genuine refugees most will be allowed to stay. In addition, there are between 150,000 and 200,000 temporary workers now in the country and here again it is unlikely many of them will ever go home.

Despite these extraordinary numbers, the Harper government wants to raise the immigration intake next year to 265,000. The Liberals and the New Democrats have said they want even more, as much as one per cent of our population, or 333,000 each year.

These are enormous numbers and even in the best of times would place a serious burden on the economy and on the already strained infrastructure of the three major urban centres where most of them would end up.

Let’s face the facts — when there is a turndown in the world economy and dire predictions of serious recession or worse this is not the time to be bringing thousands of newcomers to Canada. In July of this year, Ontario alone lost 55,000 jobs — so what is the rationale for more immigration? The fact is there is no valid rationale. There is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party. This is not only irresponsible; it borders on culpable negligence.

There are few economists today who argue that immigration helps the economy in any significant way. Studies in Canada since the mid-1980s have pointed out that immigration has little impact on the economic welfare of the receiving country and similar studies in the United States and Britain have reached the same conclusion. Comprehensive studies by George Borjas, the world’s most renowned immigration economist at Harvard have shown that immigration’s only significant impact is to reduce the wages of native workers.

Our politicians justify their desire for more immigrants by raising the spectre of an aging population and tell us immigration is the only answer to this dilemma, and yet there is not a shred of truth to this argument. Immigration does not provide the answer to population aging and there is a multiplicity of studies done in Canada and elsewhere that proves this.

Moreover, there is no evidence that a larger labour force necessarily leads to economic progress. Many countries whose labour forces are shrinking are still enjoying economic buoyancy. Finland, Switzerland and Japan are only a few examples of countries that do not rely on massive immigration to succeed.

Productivity is the answer to economic success, not a larger population.

Most Canadians assume that our immigrants are selected because they have skills, training and education that will enable them to enhance our labour force but only about 18 to 20 per cent of our immigrants are selected for economic factors. By far the bulk of the immigrants we receive come here because they are sponsored by relatives or because of so-called humanitarian reasons and none of these have to meet the “points system” of selection.

This is why over 50 per cent of recent immigrants are living below the poverty line and why they are not earning nearly the wages paid to equivalent Canadian workers.

It also explains why a study published this year by professor Herbert Grubel of Simon Fraser University revealed that the 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 received $18.3 billion more in government services and benefits in 2002 than they paid in taxes. As Prof. Grubel points out, this amount is more than the federal government spent on health care and twice what was spent on defence in the fiscal year of 2000/2001. Isn’t it time our party leaders were made aware of this study?

In the discussions about immigration we never hear from our political leaders about the serious environmental problems caused by the addition of over a quarter of a million immigrants each year. Most of our immigrants are coming from developing countries of Asia where their “ecological footprint” is tiny compared to the average Canadian but within months of arrival here the immigrant’s footprint has increased to our giant size.

We have already experienced the impact mass migration has had on the health, education, traffic, social services and crime rates of our three major urban centres. It may be that cutting the immigration flow in half would do more than any gas tax to help reduce our environmental pollution.

If immigration is to be an issue in the election campaign then let us insist that the real issues be discussed and that our politicians contribute more to the debate than promising higher levels and more money to immigrant groups. Canadians and immigrants deserve better.

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Abortion: Spain; Bishops, Catholics Oppose With All Means

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 24 — “The principle of respect for the right to live cannot be subjected to the opinion of majorities or minorities” because “it is beyond the public opinion”, the president of the Spanish Episcopal conference, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, said today in Madrid, referring to a new abortion bill announced by the government. At a meeting organised by Europa Press, the archbishop of Madrid said he would approve if Spanish Catholics, as well as other citizens, “use all instruments offered by the state of right to open an intellectual discussion”. Among these the president of the Spanish Episcopal conference cited the rights “to rallies, expression or meeting” in order to “support our vision of the right to live”. Asked whether the Church would be willing to take to the streets, like it did in the past when it rallied against same sex marriages and quick divorce procedures, Ruoco Varela said he “does not exclude” the possibility but insisted that “when the time comes for that secularists will do it”. As for the mandatory civic education, to which the ecclesiastic hierarchy has opposed, the archbishop of Madrid said that Spanish bishops still “hope and believe” that they would be able to reach an agreement with the government on the contents of the subject, underlining that “the normal thing” would be “to focus on the rights of the citizens, without referring to moral values”. He defended the right of parents to use “all legitimate means”, including conscientious objection, to make decisions about their children’s education. Finally, Rouco Varela defined as “unnecessary” the Historical Memory Law because it deals with “an issue which is reconciled, appeased and resolved”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


BBC Investigated After Peer Says Climate Change Programme Was Biased ‘One-Sided Polemic’

The BBC is being investigated by television watchdogs after a leading climate change sceptic claimed his views were deliberately misrepresented.

Lord Monckton, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, says he was made to look like a ‘potty peer’ on a TV programme that ‘was a one-sided polemic for the new religion of global warming’.

Earth: The Climate Wars, which was broadcast on BBC 2, was billed as a definitive guide to the history of global warming, including arguments for and against.

During the series, Dr Iain Stewart, a geologist, interviewed leading climate change sceptics, including Lord Monckton. But the peer complained to Ofcom that the broadcast had been unfairly edited.

‘I very much hope Ofcom will do something about this,’ he said yesterday.

‘The BBC very gravely misrepresented me and several others, as well as the science behind our argument. It is a breach of its code of conduct.

‘I was interviewed for 90 minutes and all my views were backed up by sound scientific data, but this was all omitted. They made it sound as if these were just my personal views, as if I was some potty peer. It was caddish of them.’

Ofcom confirmed it was looking into a ‘fairness complaint’ about the documentary.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We stand by the programme.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

General

Iran Escapes Further Sanctions in New UN Security Council Resolution

Iran will not face any new sanctions proposed by the United States and its allies, but must halt any nuclear enrichment work, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on Saturday.

The new resolution calls for Iran to “comply fully and without delay” with previous motions to halt enrichment. The agreement was made on Friday by the five permanent Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and Germany on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

It also urges Iran to meet the requirements of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, which has said that Iran is not cooperating.

Iran, which insists that all nuclear work is for civilian purposes, denounced the move, saying: “Such moves are unwarranted and unconstructive.”

The statement by Iran’s UN mission added that all council moves on Tehran’s nuclear program “lack not only fairness and objectivity, but also relevance and lawfulness.”

           — Hat tip: VH[Return to headlines]


Re-Emergence of Fujian H5N1 in Southeastern Russia

The above translation [see translation at the URL] describes new bird flu outbreaks in southeastern Russia. The translations do not identify the infected birds or provide direct comments on the identity of the bird flu, but the comparison to outbreaks in southeast Asia and comments on the earlier outbreak in the spring, strongly suggest the Fujian strain of H5N1 has re-emerged in Russia at locations along the coast in areas adjacent to China and North Korea (see satellite map).

Full sequences from an isolate from the outbreak in the spring have been released. The HA is clade 2.3.2, while the remaining seven gene segments are clade 2.3.4. These sequences are virtually identical to multiple isolates from northern Japan from Akita, Hokkaido, and Aomori. Although South Korea has not released sequences, media reports indicate the H5N1 from the spring Korean outbreak are also closely related to the published sequences.

The spring outbreaks in the whooper swans in Japan were linked to migration to the north. Although Russia reported excessive poultry deaths in Kamchatka over the summer, H5N1 outbreaks were denied… [see original for the many links to maps and sequences]

           — Hat tip: Dymphna[Return to headlines]


The Muslim v. Christian Battle for the Mediterranean

Roger Crowley has written a fascinating account of the war for the Mediterranean that the Turks called the White Sea. Empires of the Sea, The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World is an important book that covers a roughly 50 year period from 1521 when Suleiman the “Magnificent” of the Ottoman Turk empire began his conquest of Rhodes.

It ends with the Christian naval victory at Lepanto in one of the largest sea battles in history. In between both sides attempted to control the sea and both had their pirates, but none were more brutal that the Muslims Barbarossa. Christians were kidnapped and turned into galley slaves whose conditions made the trans Atlantic slave trade look like a vacation cruise. The number of Christians taken as slaves far exceeded the African slave trade of the same period.

The slaves were chained to their oars and were never permitted to leave them until their death which was usually within two years of capture. They had to eat sleep and relieve themselves while chained to the oars. They were regularly beaten to get them to work harder in battles with Christian ships that were being attacked.

After the Christians were driven off the Island of Rhodes both sides drifted in to raiding strategies with the Muslims doing most of the damage. The Spanish used some of the wealth they took from the new world to build fleets to take on the Turk challenge but often these fleets incurred expensive disasters.

It was not until Don Juan, the illegitimate half brother of King Phillip of Spain, was given command of the Christian fleet and with the urging of a new Pope that the Christians had a credible threat. The Christians had just survived a brutal siege of Malta. BTW, the book discloses the story behind the Maltese Falcon.

           — Hat tip: Prairie Pundit[Return to headlines]

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Ottowa bus stabbing by someone named Aden Ahmad is quite interesting, because it seems similar to another incident in Canada in which a suspected Chinese Muslim decapitated a passenger on a bus.

Anonymous said...

I read the comments on the Austrian election at the Jerusalem Post, and some people reasonably pointed out that it is hypocritical for Israel to threaten to break off diplomatic relations w/ Austria over a democratic election. Also that the far right parties are not neo nazi, and didn't make antisemitic comments during the campaign. And that the Israeli govt.'s objections are a smokescreen to distract the public from the real danger of the Israeli govt.'s arming the Palestinians. I'd like to hear from Austrians here, because I'm suspicious of what I've read so far...who knows, maybe the far right parties are the good guys? I don't know, and it's hard to find out. Here is one of the most interesting comments from the J. Post. The most interesting point is why, if the Austrian far right parties are against Islamisation, they also appear to support Iran?
"Yaakov, unfortunately, is right. Israel is going on the razzmatazz while IL is (and will be) being burnt down by Livni and co. The biggest danger to Israel's very survival is not "some" Austria, but Il's illegitimate government. Isn't this something the average Israeli should feel dismayed and shamed by? Not the Freedom Party and/or Strache are the one pulling the strings in the background parleying with unrecostructed terrorists/jihadists. (1 thing is unclear btw. How is Strache so vehemently opposed to the "Islamisation" of Europe (see Cologne!) yet at the same time a firm friend of Iran???) "
Gabor Frankl - (09/28/2008 23:04)

Anonymous said...

The Europeans lost Europe. Too many of us believe in what the media tells them. Too many are victims of 60 years of brainwashing that our own culture is bad, evil and whatever else.

As for Austria's elections: the basic idea to lower the age for voting was so that the leftist parties could get more votes. Especially the Greens (neo-communists and dhimmis) were hoping for many many votes from the kids. However, that plan totally bombed. The "evil nazis" won the majority of those votes, while the rest was split up between the leftists (Socialists and Greens) and the traitors (people's party).

Homophobic Horse said...

"(1 thing is unclear btw. How is Strache so vehemently opposed to the "Islamisation" of Europe (see Cologne!) yet at the same time a firm friend of Iran???) "

Because he is an enemy, in bed with the enemy. Anathema. I much prefer Vlaams Belang.

Western Initiatives said...

Don't be silly. Strache is a friend of the West (indeed, far right patriots like Strache are the West) and it is absurd to base one's assessment of him on the hysteria of old Jews in Tel Aviv or the Upper East Side or wherever.

Furthermore, it is possible, actually, to both oppose the Islamification of your own country and maintain cordial relations with Islamic regimes.

Zenster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pasta said...

To everybody who wants to take a closer look at the Austrian Freedom party's positin concerning Islam and the Islamic world, they have laid them out in a 5-page document here. I put an automated, yet readable translation into English by Google online here.

There is a lot in it that I don't like. Yet, if I were Austrian, I would not hesitate to vote for them as they are clearly opposed to Islamization of their country.

Henrik R Clausen said...

I just posted the madman's UN speech at EuropeNews.

Oh. It looks like the latest extortion scheme (yeah, I know. 'Rescue plan' is the official title) of the US Congress has failed. What a shame... They had pulled every trick in the book, declaring it a 'necessity', urging for utmost speed, and denouncing those who'd resist it. Michelle Malkin and others were undeterred.

Capitalism lives to see another day. *Phew*

heroyalwhyness said...

Regarding the link to Churches to Defy IRS on Sermons

"They are part of a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, organized by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a group of Christian lawyers who work for socially conservative causes. "

Want to bet the IRS isn't equally determined to pursue any religious group voting for Obama - like Rabbis for Obama

or Reverends Pfleger, Wright, etc. for their endorsements of Obama?

NJArtist said...

Curious, you posted that article by Wenster Tarpley but did not include its grande finale: a call to totally socialize our economy. He may have correctly written against the derivatives/investment banks; but his socialist nationalization of the economy is unacceptable.

Baron Bodissey said...

NJArtist,

I try to include a wide variety of items in the news feed. Almost everything people send gets used. Some I agree with, some I disagree with, and some I have no opinion about.

I generally clip the articles to keep the post from becoming too long. That's why I include a link to the original.

I don't read most of them thoroughly. I skim them, and if they're interesting, informative, and not completely insane I usually include them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Pasta for the very informative link. Apparently, they are okay with pandering a bit to Islam and throwing Israel under the bus, but OTOH, they have a good plan for preventing further Islamisation of their society. I hope another party comes along to offer an alternative to the naive (or false naive) backing of the Palestinians, but I see it as a hopeful sign that Austrians support an anti-multiculti party.