Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/12/2008

Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/12/2008Some headlines to look at:

“Muslim Killed Catholic Girl in Love With Flatmate”
“London Fundraisers Linked to Stoning of 13-Year-Old”
“Possibly Tens of Thousands of Somalis in the US Illegally”
“New Anti-Christian Attack in Mosul, Two Sisters Killed”

But then there’s this:

“Denmark: Ready to Ban Headscarves for Judges”

So it’s not all bad news.

Thanks to Abu Elvis, C. Cantoni, Cimmerian, EM, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, LN, Paul Belien, RRW, TB, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
- - - - - - - - -
USA
$2 Million and a Snowmobile for Palin-Porn
Audit of Obama Fundraising Unlikely
Michigan’s First Muslim Woman State Lawmaker
NOI: America’s New Beginning; President-Elect Barack Obama
Obama-Google Connection Scares Competitors
The Catholic Connection to Barack Obama
Treasury Submits to Shariah
War in the Gop & John McCain’s Blame Game
 
Canada
Canada: Mosque Fights for Rights, But Slurs Jews and West
Vancouver: Gift Bag Bomb Explodes at Christian Missionary’s Home
 
Europe and the EU
British City to Reward People for Keeping Fit
City Firm Pays Millions to Muslim Twins Over Sensational Racism and Drug Abuse Claims
Danish PM: I Plan to Run Again
Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Returns With New Work
Iceland: Denmark Has Turned Its Back
Irish MEP: Increasingly Influential EU a Threat to Rights of Unborn Children, Families
London Fundraisers Linked to Stoning of 13-Year-Old
Muslim Killed Catholic Girl in Love With Flatmate
On Saturday Night Police in Brussels Staged a Major Operation.
Sweden: Migration Board to Blacklist Ineffectual Asylum Lawyers
 
Balkans
Bosnia-EU: Commission, Nationalism Blocking Integration
Bosnia-EU: Federation’s Presidency Ratifies Accord
 
Mediterranean Union
EU-Jordan: Amman Asks Brussels for Advanced Relations
Med Union: Jordan Wants Deputy Secretary General Post
 
North Africa
Denmark: Egyptian Activist Awarded Freedom Prize
Egypt: Bedouin Protests, Two Killed and Officer Injured
 
Israel and the Palestinians
Gaza: Israel Continues to Block Fuel Delivery
Israel: Schifani Links Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism
Middle East: Hamas Stops Arafat Marches in Gaza
 
Middle East
Cyprus: Tajani Says Turkey to Join EU if Its Follows Rules
Iran: Iranian-American Woman Released From Prison
Iraqi Christians Are Not Second-Class Citizens, Says Mgr Warduni
Italy Remembers Nassiriya Victims
New Anti-Christian Attack in Mosul, Two Sisters Killed
Saudi Religious Police to Monitor Own Activities
Turkey: Entrepreneurs, Erdogan Should Close IMF Agreement
When Barbie Went to Beirut
 
Far East
Burmese Blogger Sentenced to 20 Years for “Mocking” General Than Shwe
 
Immigration
Immigration: Dini, Italy Will Help Malta to Repatriate
Immigration: a Third Canary Island Migrant Dies
Italy-Malta: Dini in La Valletta, Talks on Immigration
State Department: Possibly Tens of Thousands of Somalis in the US Illegally
Sweden Approves New Labour Immigration Law
 
Culture Wars
Lesbians, Condoms Go Wild in Attack on Christian Church
 
General
Hezbollah and Drug Lords: a Dangerous Alliance
US Teacher in Trouble Over Comments in Swedish Film

USA

$2 Million and a Snowmobile for Palin-Porn

Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin has received a different kind of job offer after she failed to beat Joe Biden in the U.S. vice-presidential race.

Notorious Florida-based porn director Cezar Capone has offered to pay Sarah Palin $2 million to appear in an adult film production, Denmark’s TV2 reported Tuesday.

Capone, who calls himself “the king of all MILF films,” promised in an open letter on his website that the film would be distributed internationally, shot in high definition, and feature a “beautiful mother recognized by all of America … as the most desirable woman over 40.

Palin is the mother of five and a former beauty pageant contestant.

Sarah Palin’s husband Todd Palin was offered a co-star role in the production, for which Capone said he would be “prepared to kick in an extra $100,000” for and a new snowmobile.

Palin’s Alaska office did not respond to Capone’s offer made on November 5th, the day after John McCain and Sarah Palin lost the election to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, according to the paper.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Audit of Obama Fundraising Unlikely

That’s the disclosure from Politico.com, which reports that Obama will probably escape scrutiny in large part because unlike John McCain, he declined to accept $84 million in public financing.

Accepting that money automatically triggers an audit, meaning that the FEC is obligated to thoroughly audit the McCain campaign’s coffers, which will take months and cost McCain millions to defend.

[…]

One of the first to focus on the Obama campaign’s questionable fundraising tactics was Newsmax correspondent Kenneth R. Timmerman.

As long ago as Sept. 29, Timmerman first disclosed that more than half of the $426.9 million Obama had raised at that point came from small donors whose names the Obama campaign would not disclose — making it impossible to verify that donors were not surpassing the $2,300 an individual can contribute to a candidate for the general election.

[…]

Timmerman also disclosed at the time that the FEC compiled a database of potentially questionable overseas donations totaling $3.38 million. The funds came from such places as Abu Dhabi, Beijing, and Ethiopia.

[…]

He followed up with a new report on Oct. 19, disclosing that more than 37,000 Obama donations appeared to be conversions of foreign currency, totaling as much as $63 million.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Michigan’s First Muslim Woman State Lawmaker

WASHINGTON — Rashida Tlaib, 32, has made history by grabbing a seat in the Michigan legislature, becoming the first Muslim woman ever to serve in the state legislature.

“Allah had chosen me for this job which I did not know before,” Tlaib, the eldest daughter of Palestinian immigrant parents, told IslamOnline.net in an exclusive interview.

Tlaib, a lawyer and community activist who had never thought of coming into politics, easily won a seat in Michigan House of representatives on November 4, the day of the historic White House elections.

She defeated her Republican opponent by a 9 to 1 margin in her southwest Detroit district, largely populated by blacks and Hispanics…

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


NOI: America’s New Beginning; President-Elect Barack Obama

Address by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan [video]

The Nation of Islam Online Ministry

Join us every Sunday morning at 10:00am Central Time!

For a limited time, yesterday’s webcast is available below…

           — Hat tip: LN[Return to headlines]


Obama-Google Connection Scares Competitors

‘We look forward to working with the new administration and congressional leaders’

Google CEO Eric Schmidt didn’t say anything as he flanked President-elect Barack Obama during his first post-election press conference. He didn’t have to.

The image alone of Schmidt standing elbow-to-elbow with Obama’s top economic thinkers was enough to send shivers up the spine of Google’s competitors.

“This terrifies Microsoft,” said a Democratic lobbyist familiar with the industry. “There’s a reason why people are scared to death of Google.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Obama Victory Took Root in Kennedy-Inspired Immigration Act

By Peter S. Canellos

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s victory last week triggered an immediate accounting of debts to be paid off in constructing his new administration. There were those who speculated that Obama would be building a White House staff of loyal old Chicago hands. Others foresaw a bevy of Clintonistas. And still others had a vision of a kind of Kennedy redux that wags quickly dubbed “Obamalot.”

After all, Caroline Kennedy had emerged from her shell of shyness to head Obama’s vice-presidential search team, after joining her Uncle Ted on a national barnstorming tour with Obama in the days leading up to Super Tuesday. Her exertion not only signaled her enthusiasm for Obama, but also her willingness to be a greater presence in public life: Some now envision her as a possible UN ambassador.

Her cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has spent decades developing credibility as a global environmental activist, and some people close to the Kennedy family feel he, too, is ready to emerge on the national stage, having overcome a troubled youth. They see him as a possible Environmental Protection Agency chief.

There is no question that Obama owes a debt to the Kennedys — but it may be far greater than he or they realize. Yes, Senator Edward M. Kennedy offered a crucial early endorsement, comparing the Obama of 2008 to the Jack Kennedy of 1960. And certainly Caroline and others in the Kennedy family worked hard on the campaign trail. But the greatest Kennedy legacy to Obama isn’t Ted or Caroline or Bobby Jr., but rather the Immigration Act of 1965, which created the diverse country that is already being called Obama’s America.

That act is rarely mentioned when recounting the high points of 1960s liberalism, but its impact arguably rivals the Voting Rights Act, the creation of Medicare, or other legislative landmarks of the era. It transformed a nation 85 percent white in 1965 into one that’s one-third minority today, and on track for a nonwhite majority by 2042…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


RINO Careerists: Nothing More Than Traitors

The anonymous, treacherous lies McCain’s advisers have been launching against former VP candidate Sarah Palin since the clothing allowance story was leaked several weeks ago is truly reprehensible, but not unexpected. Whenever liberal Republicans and their allies in the Old Media stumble into a true conservative believer, they go right to their Saul Alinsky socialist playbook — conservatives are stupid, naïve, Christian fanatics, sexist, homophobes, racists, hypocrites, etc.

Some of the more memorable slanders and libels include:

  • Palin thought that Africa was a country, not a continent;
  • Palin didn’t know the countries that signed the NAFTA treaty;
  • Palin went overboard in her shopping spree.

What is that sound you hear? No, not a strong denunciation by John McCain in support of Palin — it’s crickets chirping. McCain by his silence is tacitly supporting the hateful slander against Palin. In my opinion, McCain is a bitter, jealous political hack whose days in the spotlight have long past (i.e., his defeat by Bush in 2000). Nevertheless, like Goethe’s “Faust,” McCain made a deal with the devil (RINOs) for one last run. He only made one mistake that would have sealed his immortality with liberals — he picked a conservative running mate.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Catholic Connection to Barack Obama

Phyllis Schlafly exposes millions church organization gave to ACORN

Do you wonder why 2008 election data shows that the majority of Catholics voted for Barack Obama even though his record as Illinois state senator proves him the most pro-abortion candidate who ever ran for president?

Perhaps one answer is that on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, millions of Catholics will again be putting in their church’s collection plate their annual donation to what the pre-printed envelope calls “Campaign for Human Development: The Catholic Church working to end poverty and injustice in America; We’ll turn your dollars into hope for the poor of our nation.”

The generous Catholics who respond to that well-phrased appeal probably think they are making a Good Samaritan gift to provide necessaries to the down-and-out. Most would probably be shocked to learn that the money donated to the Campaign for Human Development, or CHD, does not go for charity but for radical Obama-style community organizing.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Treasury Submits to Shariah

by Frank Gaffney

The U.S. Treasury Department is submitting to Shariah — the seditious religio-political-legal code authoritative Islam seeks to impose worldwide under a global theocracy.

As reported in this space last week, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert Kimmitt set the stage with his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf states. His stated purpose was to promote the recycling of petrodollars in the form of foreign investment here.

Evidently, the price demanded by his hosts is that the U.S. government get with the Islamist financial program. While in Riyadh, Mr. Kimmitt announced: “The U.S. government is currently studying the salient features of Islamic banking to ascertain how far it could be useful in fighting the ongoing world economic crisis.”

“Islamic banking” is a euphemism for a practice better known as “Shariah-Compliant Finance (SFC).” And it turns out that this week the Treasury will be taking officials from various federal agencies literally to school on SFC.

The department is hosting a half-day course entitled “Islamic Finance 101” on Thursday at its headquarters building. Treasury’s self-described “seminar for the policy community” is co-sponsored with the leading academic promoters of Shariah and SCF in the United States: Harvard University Law School’s Project on Islamic Finance. At the very least, the U.S. government evidently hopes to emulate Harvard’s success in securing immense amounts of Wahhabi money in exchange for conforming to the Islamists’ agenda. Like Harvard, Treasury seems utterly disinterested in what Shariah actually is, and portends.

Unfortunately, such submission — the literal meaning of “Islam” — is not likely to remain confined long to the Treasury or its sister agencies. Thanks to the extraordinary authority conferred on Treasury since September, backed by the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the department is now in a position to impose its embrace of Shariah on the U.S. financial sector. The nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Treasury’s purchase of — at last count — 17 banks and the ability to provide, or withhold, funds from its new slush-fund can translate into unprecedented coercive power.

Concerns in this regard are only heightened by the prominent role Assistant Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari will be playing in “Islamic Finance 101.” Mr. Kashkari, the official charged with administering the TARP fund, will provide welcoming remarks to participants. Presumably, in the process, he will convey the enthusiasm about Shariah-Compliant Finance that appears to be the current party line at Treasury…

           — Hat tip: EM[Return to headlines]


War in the Gop & John McCain’s Blame Game

The top brass in the Republican Party that the public blames the most for perpetual wars, the next Great Depression, and trying to give Amnesty to millions of illegal aliens that they let into the country in the first place are circling the wheel of the GOP ship with their rapiers out!

Blue collar and middle class Republicans are advancing on the once proud captains of the GOP hoping to see Bush, McCain, and their most ardent supporters walk the political plank, in an effort to save the party from decades of fallout. Let’s face the truth. Bush, McCain, Senators Graham and Martinez have not only led the GOP to destruction, they have run the great ship called America upon the rocks, with their brand of ‘leadership’ in the US Senate and the White House.

The GOP lost any real chance of retaining the White House the day John McCain won the primary. Due to election dynamics, a Ted Kennedy loving, Amnesty pushing, Free Trade pushing, Globalist, Democrat in Republican clothing named John McCain won. On election day, the resounding message and historical example became “You can’t screw over the conservative base and still win as President!”

[Return to headlines]

Canada

Canada: Mosque Fights for Rights, But Slurs Jews and West

Teachings Warn of ‘Wickedness of Western Ideology’; Centre backs women in UPS dress case, while other faiths are smeared online

A mosque asking that Canadian workplaces respect a strict Muslim dress code is at the same time disseminating slurs against Jews and Western societies, and warning members against social integration.

The Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque near Kipling Ave. and Rexdale Blvd. serves as the religious authority for eight Somali women complaining to the Canadian Human Rights Commission that UPS Canada Ltd. violated their religious rights at a sorting plant. The mosque, founded in 1990 and serving upwards of 10,000 people, preaches strict adherence to sharia, or Islamic law, and no compromise with the West.

Teachings on the mosque’s website, khalidmosque.com, refer to non-Muslim Westerners as “wicked,” “corrupt” and “our clear enemies.”

Sometimes Jews are singled out.

“Is it permissible for women to wear high-heeled shoes?” begins one posting in question-and-answer format. “That is not permissible,” comes the reply. “It involves resembling the Disbelieving Women or the wicked women. It has its origin among the Jewish women.”

Modern pastimes are condemned.

“What is the ruling on subscribing to sports channels?” another question begins. “Watching some of the female spectators, when the camera focuses on them time after time” stirs “evil inclinations,” the lesson reads. “Some (players) may not even believe in Allaah.”

Mosque leaders refused repeated requests for an interview…

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]


Vancouver: Gift Bag Bomb Explodes at Christian Missionary’s Home

Neighbors fear pink-wrapped package may have targeted daughters

Christian missionary Gary Stevenson thought the pink, gift-wrapped bag he found on his doorstep was a present left for one of his toddler daughters, but when he brought it inside his home, the bomb within the bag exploded.

Stevenson suffered multiple lacerations and burns, deep cuts on his head and chest, and underwent surgery to remove shrapnel from his liver. But he is expected to make a full recovery.

His daughters, age 1 and 3, were away with their grandmother at the time, the Vancouver Province reports about the attack in Langley, British Columbia, but his wife and three others who were helping the family in the process of moving to a new home were in the house. Only Gary was injured in the blast, which scattered pink tissue paper throughout the residence and punched shrapnel holes in the walls.

“What’s really terrifying is who would put a bomb in a gift bag that was in pink?” Miles Forrest, a friend of the Stevensons told the Province.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

British City to Reward People for Keeping Fit

Earn points for buying fruits and vegetables, using swimming pool, working out with trainer

LONDON (AP) — The English city of Manchester has come up with a simple formula it hopes will help keep its citizens trim: eat right, get stuff. Exercise, get more stuff.

Manchester is hoping to fight fat with a reward system that works like a retail loyalty card. But instead of earning credit for opening their wallets, residents will be rewarded for keeping their feet on the treadmill and their fridge stocked with healthy food.

Starting next fall, Manchester residents will be able to swipe their rewards cards and earn points every time they buy fruits and vegetables, use a community swimming pool, attend a medical screening or work out with a personal trainer. Points can be redeemed for athletic equipment, donations to school athletic departments and personal training sessions with local athletes.

The money is coming from the government’s health service and from local authorities.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


City Firm Pays Millions to Muslim Twins Over Sensational Racism and Drug Abuse Claims

Two Muslim sisters have won a multi-million pound settlement on the verge of an explosive tribunal which threatened to make public claims of widespread drug abuse and racial bigotry in the City.

Samira and Hanan Fariad, 31, had made sensational claims that top brokers used cocaine, and subjected them to unbearable levels of race and religious discrimination.

[…]

The French twins, who both earned six figure sums, are believed to have secured a record payout after demanding up to £10million in compensation.

[…]

Although the final settlement has not been disclosed, it is believed they will walk away with the largest ever payout for an employment tribunal.

It will eclipse the record £2.8million awarded against bankers Abbey last month for race discrimination against employee Balbinder Chagger, 40, of Hayes, West London.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Danish PM: I Plan to Run Again

Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed over the weekend that he plans to run on the Liberal ticket again for the country’s highest office

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen quelled rumours that he would soon abandon his Liberal Party by announcing he would again run for office in the next national election, reported public broadcaster DR.

Rasmussen made the announcement at a party meeting during the weekend after several leading Liberals publicly questioned his commitment to the party and to Denmark. Those same party members said that the uncertainty that has surrounded the prime minister’s future may have been a reason for the Liberal Party’s sharp dip in the opinion polls.

The prime minister has been mentioned frequently as a popular candidate for international posts, such as European Union president and head of Nato.

Rasmussen did say, however, that if he was offered an international position he would not necessarily refuse.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Danish Muhammad Cartoonist Returns With New Work

One of the controversial Danish cartoonists who sparked riots in the Muslim world in 2005 by drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad is set to return soon with new works reflecting on the incident.

Kurt Westergaard, the Danish caricaturist forced into hiding after the publication of his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, is set to return with a new set of potentially controversial drawings.

According to a report in the Copenhagen Post, Westergaard is expected to have 26 illustrations in a new book that compiles the sardonic columns by Danish writer Lars Hedegaard for the Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Denmark: Criminal Immigrants to Come Under Lock and Key

Law ensures closer tabs will be kept on criminal immigrants unable to be deported

Criminal immigrants the state is unable to deport will no longer be allowed to roam about freely or live where they choose, after new rules toughening conditions for ‘tolerated stay’ were hammered out on Tuesday evening.

The minority Liberal-Conservative government is expected to be able to pass the proposal into law with the support of the Danish People’s Party, its key ally in parliament.

The issue grabbed headlines on Sunday, when budget negotiations were broken off to allow MPs to act on news that a Tunisian-born man who had been charged for plotting to kill Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard regularly travelled to the city of Århus, where Westergaard lives.

Immigrants who have been ordered deported for committing a crime or who are threat to national security may remain in Denmark on ‘tolerated stay’ status if they face persecution in their home country.

A total of 18 people in Denmark have tolerated stay status. The new law will require them to live at supervised residences, such as Sandholm Asylum Centre near Copenhagen, and personally report each morning to police.

Other revisions to the rules for tolerated stay include an increase of the maximum jail time for those violating the condition’s requirements from four months to one year. The new law also states that people with tolerated stay status deemed to be a threat to national security be monitored by domestic security and intelligence service PET. (rc)

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Denmark: Liberals Want PM’s Answer

Leading Liberals are asking for answers from the prime about his plans.

Leading Liberals say that insecurity about the prime minister’s future plans are affecting the popularity of the party and government, and are urging him to disclose whether or not he is a candidate for a job abroad, according to Jyllands-Posten.

The senior ruling coalition Liberal Party is to hold its congress this coming weekend.

“When people are unsure about the leadership, it is reflected in the opinion polls. It is an important issue, whether or not there is truth in it. Time and energy is spent on the issue which could be used on politics,” says Favrskov Mayor Anders G. Christensen.

Polls

Several mayors and executive board members say that speculation about the prime minister’s plans have contributed to a drop in popularity for the party.

“This may contribute to the shift in popularity we are currently seeing between the Liberal and Conservative parties,” says Gribskov Mayor Jannich Petersen.

“Basically I feel that these rumours have a negative effect on the Liberal Party and the government,” says Billund Mayor Ib Kristensen.

“One of the Liberal Party’s good slogans is that you know where you have us. We also need to know where we have Anders Fogh (Ed: Rasmussen) says Executive Board Member Bjarne Møller Bertelsen.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Denmark: Ready to Ban Headscarves for Judges

Justice Minister Brian Mikkelsen (Cons) is preparing to ban judges from wearing headscarves.

The Danish Justice Minister is preparing to introduce legislation preventing judges from wearing headscarves in court.

A Justice Ministry news release says that the proposal determines that: “during court hearings, judges must not, through behaviour or clothing, express religious or political affiliations or attitudes towards religious or political issues.”

In the news release, Justice MInister Brian Mikkelsen says that it is important to the governemnt that judges appear neutral in politics and religion. “The government wishes to anchor this principle in legislation with a further view to supporting the population’s general respect and faith in the courts as the judicial power.”

According to the release, a judge would be disqualified and would have to relinquish his or her seat if the rules are broken. The Bill also extends the current use of judges’ capes to also include the lower courts.

Board refuses

In December last year the Judicial Board determined that judges were permitted to wear headscarves in court. However, when politicians became aware of the new rules, the government came under pressure, with a majority demanding changes in the rules. The Board refused to do so.

The Judicial Board is an independent authority. Denying judges the right to bear a headscarf requires, therefore, a change in the law.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Iceland: Denmark Has Turned Its Back

Iceland’s president has severely criticised several countries and is threatening to find new allies to survive.

The Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has accused Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain of turning their backs on Iceland in its battle to survive the finance crisis.

During a luncheon with foreign diplomats in Reykjavik last week, Grimsson threatened to seek new allies as his country’s former allies have failed his crisis-ridden country.

According to the Norwegian news agency NTB, shocked diplomats could hardly believe their own ears, according to a memorandum from the Norwegian embassy.

“The President issued heavy criticism against several of the countries represented, including Sweden and Denmark. And the President delivered directly insulting assertions against the British,” the memorandum says.

New friends

“The North Atlantic is important for the Nordic region, the United States and Great Britain. That is a fact that these countries seem to be ignoring. So Iceland had better find itself some new friends,” Grimsson said, according to the memorandum.

The only countries to receive praise during the luncheon were Norway and the Faroe Islands, who according to Grimsson showed themselves to be true friends during the crisis.

According to the Financial Times, the International Monetary Fund is wavering on giving its support for a loan in connection with a six billion dollar rescue package for Iceland.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Irish MEP: Increasingly Influential EU a Threat to Rights of Unborn Children, Families

In Ireland 80 per cent of the laws that go through the Dail (the national parliament) originate from non-Irish MEPs in Brussels

ROME, November 11, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) — European Union member states are being ruled by an unelected body of elites in Brussels, without the right to reject or significantly modify 80 per cent of their laws, an EU parliamentarian said late last week. Mrs. Katherine Sinnott, the Member of the European Parliament for Ireland South, told a conference in Rome that the European Parliament has become a profoundly anti-democratic institution that threatens the rights of the unborn and the family.

Sinnott, a disability rights campaigner and MEP since 2004, told the 5th conference of Catholic Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, organized by MaterCare International (MCI) near the Vatican on Thursday, that in the Republic of Ireland, 80 per cent of the laws that go through the Dail (the national parliament) originate from non-Irish MEPs in Brussels. In Germany the estimate is 83 per cent.

In recent years, the EU has significantly shifted the process of lawmaking in Europe away from democratically elected individuals at the national level, to a small group of ideologically left-leaning elites who are fundamentally opposed to democratic principles, the sovereign rights of individual nations and to natural marriage and the right to life…

           — Hat tip: Paul Belien[Return to headlines]


London Fundraisers Linked to Stoning of 13-Year-Old

LONDON — Britain’s MI6 intelligence service has identified a group that raises funds with impunity in London as the organization whose militia members in Somalia imposed a death sentence on a 13-year-old rape victim, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Known as the Shabaab, the ruthless militia is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. The group’s leadership was targeted by missile strikes earlier this year.

However, MI6 has revealed that the group operates without restriction in London, funding the fierce guerrilla war against Somalia’s long-time enemy, Ethiopia, which invaded Somalia last year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Muslim Killed Catholic Girl in Love With Flatmate

A TEENAGER was brutally murdered by her boyfriend’s Muslim flatmate because he did not approve of him going out with a Catholic.

Lidia Motylska, 19, was strangled in an alleyway in Leeds by Iraqi immigrant Abobakir Jabari who objected to his Kurdish flatmate’s relationship with her.

Yesterday Jabari, 39, who was given British citizenship in 2005, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to murdering the petite Polish teenager.

The court heard he garrotted her from behind, using the cord from his tracksuit bottoms, before inflicting “gratuitous” wounds on her lifeless body. He stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and stomach and slit her throat.

Sentencing Jabari to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 19-and-a-half years, Mr Justice McKinnon said the murder involved an exceptional degree of violence…

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


On Saturday Night Police in Brussels Staged a Major Operation.

On Saturday night police in Brussels staged a major operation targeting “illegals” in the Belgian capital. Law enforcers carried out identity checks in cafés and restaurants.

They encountered scores of “illegals”.

Later in the night the operation switched to the roads where motorists were checked for alcohol abuse.

Christian De Coninck of the Brussels police told VRT that the police operation was aimed at people without the correct paperwork, people who were wanted by the police and members of the public in possession of drugs and illegal arms.

In all some one hundred people were led away for questioning. The police discovered 59 people living here illegally.

Thirty-six were ordered to leave the country forthwith. Thirteen have been taken to closed holding centres or are now at the airport awaiting their removal from the country.

Thirty-seven people were found in possession of banned substances.

           — Hat tip: Cimmerian[Return to headlines]


Sweden: Migration Board to Blacklist Ineffectual Asylum Lawyers

The Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has begun blacklisting attorneys the agency deems unfit for handling the cases of asylum seekers in Sweden.

The agency has received a great deal of criticism regarding shortcomings in legal support available for asylum seekers, including complaints that attorneys representing asylum seekers can’t always carry out their responsibilities.

“We are aware of the fact that there are problems, but we hope our new procedures will help increase legal protections for asylum seekers,” said Migration Board general counsel Mikael Ribbenvik to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

On Wednesday, the agency plans to introduce a new set of procedures, including the establishment of a contact list of attorneys and legal representatives which are judged to be competent to handle asylum cases.

In addition, the Migration Board has created a list of lawyers who do not pass muster with the agency and who won’t be offered any cases in the future.

Currently, the Migration Board has a database of around 1,000 approved lawyers, while a total of eight attorneys have been blacklisted.

Failings by attorneys representing asylum seekers not only hurt clients’ chances of gaining asylum, but also has a negative impact on staff at the Migration Board who are often forced to fill in gaps and rework parts of investigations to ensure asylum seekers receive all the legal guarantees to which they are entitled.

“It will also be better for us because we are dependent on the investigations that legal representatives are appointed to carry out. Inadequate representatives perform shabby investigations, which leads to more work for us,” said Ribbenvik.

The new procedures were developed in coordination with the Swedish Bar Association (Advokatsamfundet), the Swedish courts, the Swedish Refugee Advice Centre (Rådgivningsbyrån för asylsökande), and Swedish Refugee Aid.

Last year the Migration Board arranged lawyers for a total of 30,000 asylum cases.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Balkans

Bosnia-EU: Commission, Nationalism Blocking Integration

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 5 — Nationalist rhetoric is still prevalent in Bosnia Herzegovina and leaders have made no progress towards creating a trustworthy and functioning state structure which can support the process of European integration, was the EU Commission’s finding in a report published today. According to Brussels “the lack of resources, coordination, ethnic and internal tensions continue to hold back reforms”. But the real obstacle is “the fragmentation between the policies of the State and those of the entities” which Bosnia is divided into. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Bosnia-EU: Federation’s Presidency Ratifies Accord

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 7 — Following October’s approval by sections of Bosnia-Herzegovinàs Upper House and House of Representatives, the three-party Presidency of the Balkan country has also ratified the Association and Stabilisation Accord with the EU, according to an announcement made by a Bosnian member of the Presidency, Haris Silajdzic, cited by Informest. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the last of the countries to sign the treaty. The Accord, the first step on the road to becoming a part of the European Union, was signed on June 16 and was awaiting ratification by Parliament and the Presidency. The document will now have to be approved by the Parliaments of each member state of the European Union. Bosnia-Herzegovina started on the technical part of the negotiations with the European Union at the end of November 2005, concluding them at the end of 2006. Delays in the implementation of police reforms, realised in April, impeded a rapid conclusion to the Association and Stabilisation Accord. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

EU-Jordan: Amman Asks Brussels for Advanced Relations

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 11 — Jordan wants to intensify and extend its relations with the EU and has officially presented a request to Brussels for “advanced relations”, that is the label which would allow Amman to participate in many European Union programmes. “We want to become a closer partner of the EU, we want to be closer also from a political point of view and in recent years we have accelerated reforms to shorten our distance from the Union”, said the Jordan foreign minister, Salaheddin Al Bashir, who is in Brussels for the seventh EU-Jordan Association Council. Bashir explained that he had presented the EU Council with a document illustrating the sectors in which it would be possible to intensify relations immediately. These are the economy (experts in Jordan have identified areas in which investment could be increased), culture (the aim is to prepare future generations for a closer relationship with European counterparts) and human resources. For its part, the EU is open to the possibility of giving an advanced relations status, as recently happened to Morocco, but has not given a date. “The matter will be taken into consideration; we already have highly developed cooperation, in trade and also in politics”, said the French minister for European affairs, Jean Pierre Jouyet, stating that Jordan is a key country for stability in the Middle-East and an example of cooperation with the EU. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Med Union: Jordan Wants Deputy Secretary General Post

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 11 — Jordan is standing for the post of deputy secretary general of the Mediterranean Union (MU). This was said by Jordan’s minister for foreign affairs, Salaheddin Al Bashir, who is in Brussels for the seventh EU-Jordan association council. “In Marseilles (where the meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of the 43 MU countries took place, editor’s note) we officially stood as a candidate for the post of deputy secretary general of the Union”, said Al Bashir. But the European front is putting a brake on Jordan’s enthusiasm: “I do not want to go into too many arguments; the secretary general is still to be named, and then we will pass to the deputy secretary”, said the French minister for European affairs, Jean Pierre Jouyet. The minister pointed out that, in the sharing out of posts, “the balance between countries must be taken into account, such as between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority for example”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Denmark: Egyptian Activist Awarded Freedom Prize

The Herbert Pundik Freedom Award was presented to Saad Eddin Ibrahim

Exiled Egyptian human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim was this year’s recipient of the Herbert Pundik Freedom Award, which was presented by the daily newspaper Politiken.

The award is given out annually to leading international human rights and democracy advocates. Ibrahim was bestowed the 100,000 kroner award last night in recognition of his outstanding effort in the service of human rights and civil society in Egypt. He has been arrested a number of times for speaking out against the Egyptian authorities.

Ibrahim told Poitiken newspaper that Egyptian regime receives four billion dollars in support annually from the US and EU countries.

His advice to those living in the West was direct and candid: ‘Take your own worth seriously. Hold democracy high. Fail to support the Middle East’s authoritarian regimes which oppress their own populations.’

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Egypt: Police Held by Bedouins Released

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 11 — The 25 police who were being held on board a lorry on the road leading to one of the crossings between Egypt and Israel by Bedouins have been released. Other police — between ten and twenty — are in a police station surrounded by another group of Bedouins in the Al Madfuna area, not far from the border town of Rafah. A third episode concerns shooting between Bedouins and police in the Wadi al Azaraq area, wounding a police officer and a sub-officer and three Bedouins. Sources maintain that some have actually been killed, although this has not been confirmed. It is understood that the tensions erupted after a shooting last night and protests and actions against police by elements from three different tribes in Sinai who joined forces. Relations between the Sinai Bedouins — around fifteen people — and Egyptian police deteriorated after repressions by security forces after attacks (in Taba, Sharm El Sheikh and Nuweiba mainly) in which authorities blamed Bedouins for collaborating with terrorists. The inhabitants of Sinai have always rejected the accusations, accusing Government representatives of the same, whom they accuse of neglecting the problems of people living on the peninsula and of not giving them any kind of help. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Egypt: Bedouin-Police Tension, Israel Strengthens Border

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 11 — A few hundred soldiers were reportedly mobilised by the Israeli government — reported Egyptian sources in Sinai- towards the border with Egypt due to fears about disorders while tension and protest is ongoing from Bedouin tribes after a Bedouin was killed last night by police. There is no confirmation from official sources at the moment. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Egypt: Bedouin Protests, Two Killed and Officer Injured

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 11 — Another two Bedouins, Ahmed al Ergani, 28, of the Al Tarrabin tribe, and Marwan Abu Gamil, 30, of the Al Rayashat — have been killed by Egyptian police in the Nagge Shabana area, (close to Rafah), during a protest demonstration about fifteen kilometres from Madfuna police station, which was besieged by other Bedouins for several hours. In the same station is said to be Colonel Mohamed Sharawi, Commander of the ‘central security’ force for Northern Sinai, who has been injured by a gun fire. Both of these items of news appear on the El Youm el Sabee (seventh day) website, whose Sinai correspondent confirmed the news by telephone to Ansa. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Egypt: Police Officers and Commander Hostages of Bedouin

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 11 — Eleven junior police officers and the injured Colonel Mohamed Sharawi, Commander of Sinaìs ‘central security’ force have been seized from Madfuna police station, where they had been under siege for several hours, and have been taken in SUVs to the stronghold of the Al Tarrabin Bedouin tribe, in the Uadi El Omur area of the peninuslàs centre. The news was broken to Ansàs Cairo office by the correspondent of Internet site El Youm el Sabee, Abdel Halim Selem, who reports that the Uadi el Omur fort is “unassailable, as it can be reached on along a series of tracks which cross a scarcely accessible mountainous area and easily controlled by a few armed men”. The same source said that while a delegation under the direction of the Governor of northern Sinai and comprising MPs and heads of other tribes is trying to get negotiations under way with Tarrabin representatives, others have called on the Government to hand over policemen and officers who allegedly failed to prevent the killing of three Bedouins yesterday evening and today, so that they can be tried according to tribal custom. The have also asked for Defence Ministry forces to be sent to the area instead of Interior Ministry forces — the police — whom they accuse of being corrupt. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Gaza: Israel Continues to Block Fuel Delivery

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, NOVEMBER 10 — Israel decided today to continue to block fuel delivery to the Gaza Strip with the sole exception of supplies for the local electric power station, in a reaction to the Qassam rockets fired into its territory. The decision to stop fuel allocations, which seems to have the characteristics of temporary measures taken in the past, was announced by the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv. A spokesperson for the EU office for the West Bank and Gaza, however said they had been informed by Israel that the supply of a special type of diesel for the only electric power station would begin again tomorrow. The cost of this fuel is entirely born by the EU in order to insure electricity in Gaza. A spokesperson for the power station said that reserves are so low that this evening widespread blackouts are possible but local power shortages already began yesterday. The Israel Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai stated that the call for help and the threats of a black out from Hamas, the authorities in Gaza, are “pure propaganda” and ridiculous. Both Vilnai who is the former Defence Minister and the current Minister for Infrastructure Binyamin Ben Eliezer stated that Hamas had created along the Egyptian border “highways” of underground tunnels to receive, other than arms and ammunitions, a wide range of products for the population. Israel blocked fuel delivery after dozens of Qassam rockets were fired over the last few days, including today, falling in Israeli territory, without causing victims but in violation of the ceasefire agreed in June between Israel and Hamas. The Palestinians stated that the rockets were fired in reaction to an Israeli army raid inside Gaza on November 4 during which six militiamen were killed. Israel’s position is that the raid was to destroy an underground tunnel that was to be used in an immanent Palestinian raid on its territory to capture hostages. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Israel: Schifani Links Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 7 — The Speaker of the Senate, Renato Schifani, has claimed that “there are still too many ambiguous voices being heard, among intellectuals and in the media, over the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel”. Mr. Schifani grabbed the opportunity to renew support for Israel at the inauguration of a photographic exhibition named ‘Israel — 60 Years’ held at the Senate Library in Piazza della Minerva. During a recent visit to Auschwitz, Mr. Schifani said that “we are all Israelis”. Mr. Schifani made the point that behind the anti-Zionism which argues against the birth of the State of Israel are the seeds of the anti-Semitism which gave rise to the death camps. “My words”, said the Senate Speaker, referring to his visit to Auschwitz, “have looked to some people like an unnecessary confusion between the Holocaust-hit Jewish people and the State of Israel. “My intention, on the other hand”, continued Mr. Schifani, “was to link the two threads of this awful story, denouncing the trend of residual anti-Semitism, which still thrives in some — although luckily few — European societies, hiding behind a mask of anti-Zionism”. “Anti-Zionism does not apply to those who criticise single aspects of Israeli policy, but to the non-recognition of the right of Israel to exist”, he clarified, expressing appreciation for the fact that “the great majority of political forces agree on broad-based solidarity with Israel, the decided repudiation of all violence and extremism and maximum openness to dialogue and other diplomatic negotiations to definitively bring the painful chapter of Palestinian conflict to an end”. The exhibition opened by Mr. Schifani consists of over one hundred photographs by David Rubinger and Paul Goldman, who have documented the history of the young State of Israel, since its formation under British mandate up until the present day. The show is promoted by the Federation of Italo-Israeli Organisations and by the Italian Union of Jewish Communities, with the support of the Israeli Embassy in Italy. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Middle East: Israel, Livni Shuns Olmert’s Moves to Left

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 11 — There are red faces among the executive of the Kadima party after Israel’s out-going Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert released several statements which, according to one Haaretz commentator, “now place him de facto in the leftist Meretz party, if not further to the left”. During a ceremony in memory of Premier Yitzhak Rabin (assassinated in 1995 by a right-wing extremist), Olmert warned that “time is running short” and that Israel has to face painful decisions which would involve its “return to the kernel of territory which was Israel’s up to 1967”: in practice, a withdrawal from the Golan Heights, from almost all of the West Bank and from the Arab areas of East Jerusalem. Olmert also harshly denounced extremist colonists who have over recent weeks attacked Palestinians. Today, Ms Livni was forced to give several radio interviews to re-focus the political line of the centrist Kadima party, ahead of the political elections of February 10, 2009. “There are divergences of opinion between myself and the out-going Premier” came the admission. “Even when we were drawing up Kadima’s manifesto, Olmert spoke of unilateral withdrawal (from the territories ed.) which would be a mistake in my opinion as you can’t just throw them the key and hope for the best”. Ms Livni reaffirmed: “In the talks (with the Palestinians, ed) I shall not accept any definition of a border until I know with certainty what lies on the other side”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Middle East: Hamas Stops Arafat Marches in Gaza

Gaza City, 11 Nov. (AKI) — The Islamist Hamas movement on Tuesday stopped Fatah supporters from staging marches to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Hamas banned the marches by declaring a state of alert and thus effectively preventing Fatah supporters from commemorating his death.

Meanwhile in the Fatah-ruled West Bank, several thousand Palestinians were planning to march in memory of Arafat.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Arafat and other important Palestinian ‘martyrs’ should be remembered regardless of their faction.

“We must work with honesty to preserve all that Yasser Arafat and all Palestinian martyrs such as Ahmed Yassin have done, and we will remember them even though they do not want us to,” said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas referring to Hamas.

In March 2004, Hamas leader Abdelaziz al-Rantisi and Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin were assassinated by Israeli Air Forces.

Arafat, (photo) the former head of the Palestine Liberation Organization died in Paris on 11 November 2004 of unknown causes.

His tomb is located in the West Bank’s administrative capital of Ramallah, inside the Presidential compound known as the Muqata. The Palestinian Authority has held several memorial services in the West Bank for Arafat in the past few days.

In 2007, hundreds of thousands of supporters took to the streets of Gaza to commemorate Arafat’s death. Five people were killed and another 100 wounded after gunfire was exchanged between Fatah and Hamas supporters.

Since his death Palestinian politics has been divided with the most dramatic and often violent differences between the secular nationalist Fatah party and the radical Islamist group Hamas.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after violent armed clashes with the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

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

Middle East

Cyprus: Tajani Says Turkey to Join EU if Its Follows Rules

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, NOVEMBER 10 — Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport Antonio Tajani said on Saturday that Turkey could join the EU only if it respects the rules of the EU. Speaking at a press conference in Limassol, Tajani said he looked forward to the lifting of Turkish embargoes on Cyprus, through dialogue, not sanctions. Tajani noted that the EU has asked Turkey to lift all restrictions on the free movement of goods and products, including the restrictions regarding means of transport in Cyprus. He pointed out that the EU accession process for Turkey provided for the respect of certain rules, noting that the EU was asking Turkey to permit free movement and lift the restrictions. Regarding the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey, Tajani said efforts were being made to solve problems and not create more, noting that problems concerning Cyprus should be solved through dialogue and not sanctions, which would not lead to fair solutions. However, he pointed out that Turkey could only join the EU if it followed the rules, and expressed appreciation to the efforts made by the government of Cyprus to reach a solution of the political problem. Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Iran: Iranian-American Woman Released From Prison

Tehran, 11 Nov. (AKI) — Iranian-American feminist Esha Momeni who was arrested on security charges in Tehran in October was released from Evin prison on Tuesday. As she was released on bail, journalist and feminist Shahnza Gholami was jailed in Tabriz, the capital of Iranian Azerbaijan.

Momeni was reported to have been released from the notorious prison after paying bail of some two billion rials (196,000 dollars) and plans to return to the United States as soon as possible.

According to the Iranian judiciary, Momeni is accused of security offences and her case is under preliminary investigation.

Momeni’s lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told the media she was arrested on 15 October because of her involvement with a women’s rights equality campaign. She was arrested while filming a video documentary with feminists in Iran.

Dadkhah added that Momeni, a graduate student from California, had travelled to Iran to conduct research for her thesis on women’s rights. She holds both Iranian and US citizenship.

The Italian government had made an official protest to Tehran about the arrest and detention of Momeni.

Shahnaz Gholami is known for her human rights activities on behalf of Azeri minority groups. She was imprisoned for five years from 1989 to 1994 and recently sentenced to six months in prison for publishing propaganda against the regime.

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


Iraqi Christians Are Not Second-Class Citizens, Says Mgr Warduni

The patriarch’s vicar slams the “marginalisation of the Christian community” and the “violation of rights” guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution. Parliament pledges a census for the population and a new law that would take into account the need for minority representation.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) — Mgr Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, expressed regret and concern after a new electoral law was sanctioned by Iraq’s Presidency Council. Under the rules adopted by parliament on 3 November and signed into law by President Jalal Talabani last Saturday the Christian minority gets three seats and Yezidis, Shabak and Sabians get one. They will apply to upcoming provincial elections The United Nations had recommended a higher number.

“The government had promised that it would put art. 50 back into the election law (which guaranteed 15 seats to minorities, 13 for Christians, out of 440); instead parliament adopted the law without any change,” Monsignor Warduni complained.

Christian leaders were preparing a “press released to express their dissent” with it when we got “the news that the Presidency Council had sanctioned the law. This decision surprised and pained us.”

The bishop said that the current law, according to government and President Talabani, would be used “only to renew provincial councils.” After that “a census of the population will be carried out to determine new quotas.”

However the prelate said he “did not believe change would come,” or “greater minority protection”, sometimes that is always mentioned but never implemented.

“It is meaningless to deny representation today whilst pledging equality for later,” he said. For the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad this is all “a political game”.

He also slammed the United Nations and the international community for their indifference on the matter. In his view they “ought to take a stronger position when it comes to minority rights and the protection of the Christian community.”

The future is “bleak” for there is “no peace, security or equal rights,” he said

Yet he said he will not let the matter drop but will continue “to raise his voice to push the Christian case” on constitutional matters.

“It is not about fighting a war because we are for peace,” he said, “but we cannot accept marginalisation. We are not second-class citizens; we are like everybody else with equal rights and equal duties and want to play our part in rebuilding our beloved homeland.” (DS)

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


Italy Remembers Nassiriya Victims

Attack on base in Iraq five years ago left 19 Italians dead

(ANSA) — Rome, November 12 — Italy on Wednesday remembered the 19 victims of a terrorist attack five years ago against an Italian military base in Nassiriya, Iraq.

In a letter to Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa, President Giorgio Napolitano said that the massacre ‘‘unites in memory all those who have given their lives while performing missions of peace’’.

La Russa laid a wreath in remembrance of the victims at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier here and later attended a special memorial mass. Speaking to the press, La Russia said November 12 ‘‘should be marked every year to remember all those who have died in peace missions’’.

Minutes of silence were observed in both the House and Senate and Senate speaker Renato Schifani later dedicated a Senate hall to the memory of the 19 Nassiriya victims.

Foreign minister Franco Frattini issued a statement to say that ‘‘the best way to honor the memory of those who have fallen and to truly participate in the grief of their loved ones is to continue in our determined effort for international peace and stability, battling every and all forms of terrorism and violence’’. The Italian base hosting the bulk of the Italian contingent in Iraq was hit by two vehicles loaded with explosives on November 12, 2003.

A total of 27 people were killed in the Nassiriya attack, 19 of them Italians and eight Iraqi. The Italians were 12 Carabinieri military police, five army soldiers and two civilians, including documentary filmmaker Stefano Rolla.

An Italian probe carried out by a special Carabinieri police investigative squad determined last year that ten people were responsible for the 2003 attack.

Of the ten only one was ever taken into custody, Abu Omar al Kurdi, and he was hanged in November of last year after being found guilty by an Iraqi court for taking part in the Nassiriya attack and 30 other terrorist actions.

Al Kurdi, a lieutenant to the then al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musan al Zarqawi, admitted after his arrest in January 2005 that he had masterminded the Nassiriya attack for al Qaeda. Al Zarqawi was killed in an American air raid in June 2006.

In May 2007 a military prosecutor asked that three Italian officers be indicted for negligence in connection with the Nassiriya attack.

Army Generals Vincenzo Lops and Bruno Stano, together with Carabinieri Colonel Georg Di Pauli, were accused of failure to adopt adequate security at the base.

Colonel Di Pauli was responsible for security at the main gate of the base, while the two generals were responsible for overall security, including following up possible threats.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


New Anti-Christian Attack in Mosul, Two Sisters Killed

Eyewitnesses say the gang that carried out the attack was made up of men ranging in age from 16 to 18. Attackers killed the young women in cold blood then placed a bomb at the entrance of their house, killing two policemen when it went off. Sources tell AsiaNews that the violence is tied to an ongoing “power struggle” ahead of upcoming provincial council elections.

Mosul (AsiaNews) — Mosul Christians have been attacked again today. A group of armed men stormed a house in the Alqahira neighbourhood where they killed two sisters in what amounts to targeting killing. After entering the building the gunmen shot the two young women in cold blood and wounded their mother with a knife. At present she is in hospital but her conditions are not serious. The husband and the son were able to escape at the start of the attack.

The victims are Lamia Sobhy Salloha and Walàa Sobhy Salloha, both from the Syro-Catholic Church of Mosul. The two young women were employed by the Office of the Treasurer of the Municipality of Wala.

According to eyewitnesses the attack was carried out by a gang of 16-to18-year olds who after attacking the residents of the house placed a bomb at the entrance and detonated it when a group of police agents came to the scene, killing two and wounding others.

A source told AsiaNews that “youth gangs from poor families” were involved in the incident but that behind them there is “a criminal organisation” that is doing everything to drive Christians out of the city.

“It is over power and the next election to provincial councils and minority representation, which might be decisive for the balance between Arabs and Kurds,” said the source.

Urged by the United Nations, the government had promised to put art. 50 back into a draft law to guarantee minorities 15 seats out of 440 (13 for Christians). But on 3 November parliament passed the bill without doing so, which later received the necessary sanction by the Presidency Council to become law with only one seat set aside for Mosul Christians. The parliament’s decision has embittered the leaders of the Iraqi Church who slammed the blatant violation of the constitution which should ensure equal rights for all citizens.

“We don’t trust anyone. Both Arabs and Kurds promised to help us but so far we have not seen anything concrete,’ the source told AsiaNews. Today’s attack was “another warning by those who want to force Christians into the Niniwa Plains.”

In recent days more than 700 families had decided to come back to Mosul after local authorities promised to provide them with greater protection. This targeted killing “will push Christians to flee again” and threats of new attacks and violence will continue to hang over the few who remain.

“It is all a political game but it is Christians who are the losers,” said the source.

Today’s attack is but the last in a series of acts of violence against Mosul’s Christian community which has been targeted by Islamic fundamentalists and armed gangs alike.

Since the start of October, 16 people have died and 2,000 families (about 12,000 people) have left the city.

Matters had begun to get better in recent days, hence the decision of 700 families to come back; however, today’s attack will cast an even greater shadow on the fate of Iraq’s Christian community. (DS)

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


Saudi Religious Police to Monitor Own Activities

Religious police in Saudi Arabia announced the creation of a new council to monitor its activities after recent criticism that they had overstepped their authority, in a move that was greeted with mixed reactions.

The Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice announced Monday that it was forming a Presidency Council charged with monitoring the activities of the religious police, president of the commission Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Abdullah al-Ghaith said in a press conference Monday.

The council, whose members will come from the top leadership, will review the policies and strategies of the commission’s presidency as well as monitor its activities.

“The council will also develop the commission’s financial, administrative, technical and field matters and will set the proper mechanisms to facilitate the work,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Ghaith as saying.

The commission has fallen under harsh criticism recently in the wake of flagrant violations committed by its officers, including illegal detentions, beating and car chases.

Some viewed the formation of the watchdog council as a positive step intended to address criticism.

“This shows the Commission is a dynamic body that redresses its mistakes. We are happy about these decisions since they mean more accuracy and efficiency in the Commission’s performance,” Saudi journalist Khaled al-Moshawah told AlArabiya.net.

He added that this step will have a positive impact on the Saudi society, especially since the majority of Saudis support the commission’s goals and consider it as the community’s “safety valve.”

Saudi academic and author Dr. Ali Saad al-Moussa expressed concern that the council would expand the authority of the commission and overlook its mistakes.

He noted that the newly formed council’s expanded powers would effectively turn it into a legislative and executive authority that can arrest and try people.

“This means if the Commission finds out that a problem in one of the ministries requires its intervention, they will have the right to summon top officials,” Moussa told AlArabiya.net, adding that he objected to the name “Presidency Council”.

“The name reminds me of the authority of Arab revolutionary councils,” he said.

In response to criticism of the religious police overextending their authority, the Saudi Ministry of Interior earlier this year banned commission officers from detaining offenders at their headquarters and confined their role to transferring them to police stations.

The head of the Commission for Investigation and General Prosecution circulated a copy of the new regulations and said that surprise visits to commission officers will be made to ensure there are no illegal detentions.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Turkey: Entrepreneurs, Erdogan Should Close IMF Agreement

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, NOVEMBER 11 — As the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyp Erdogan accuses the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of “holding Turkey with its back to the wall”, and as he refuses to close the agreement with the fund, the biggest entrepreneurs in the country could not object more strongly. This was reported today by the newspaper Hurriyet Daily. The government needs to sign an agreement as soon as possible or it will be too late: the economic potentates caution Erdogan when he maintains that his economy, which has a GDP of 700 billion dollars, does not need the help of the International Monetary Fund to combat the credit crisis. On the contrary, it does need it, say business men. “‘We absolutely must sign an agreement’’, said Tuncay Ozilhan, president of the Anadolu Group, the main drinks producer in the country with headquarters in Istanbul. “If only we had done it earlier”, he added. Any new agreement would probably require Erdogan to reduce government spending at the very time that his party for Justice and Progress (AKP), in view of the upcoming local elections, is planning to increase spending on free grants by 17% for 2009. The budget plans an economic increase of 4% next year, a figure that is not easy to achieve with the credit squeeze which is preventing growth, said the governor of the Turkish Central Bank on 31 October. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


When Barbie Went to Beirut

Beirut does not feel like a conservative place. The girls wear shorts up to here and hair down to there. Cocktails are consumed by the gallon, and there is a rumbustious, if incestuous, arts scene. But this week, the limits of Lebanon’s liberal attitude to art were tested by images of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militant Shia group Hezbollah, and a smiling Barbie doll.

Some photographs, featuring Barbie dolls and a garish Middle Eastern mishmash of political and religious iconography, were removed from a high-profile exhibition of work by the Lebanese artist Jocelyne Saab by the gallery over fears that they could “create sectarian strife”, according to Nasri N. Sayegh, the artist’s spokesperson. The Sense, Icons and Sensitivity show is about what Saab calls “the other side of Orientalism”, exploring the way that the East views Western women. Saab says she sought to do this with populism and humour, with “neo pop art” images of Barbie representing the Western woman, all uncovered hair and matching accessories.

But for the Planet Discovery gallery in Beirut, pictures of Barbie cavorting wearing only Iraqi bank notes, with a crucified Ken doll, and with Christ and Nasrallah memorabilia, were too much. The gallery is part of the huge project to rebuild Beirut after the civil war. It is run by Solidere, the huge regeneration company founded by Rafik Hariri, the Prime Minister, who was assassinated in 2005. “Politics and religion are two very sensitive issues that we don’t want to undermine,” a gallery representative said…

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Far East

Burmese Blogger Sentenced to 20 Years for “Mocking” General Than Shwe

According to the accusation, Nay Phone Latt offended the leader of the junta. He was a valuable source of information during the weeks of oppression against the protagonists of the “saffron revolution,” in September of 2007. A poet has also been sentenced to two years in prison.

Yangon (AsiaNews) — A young Burmese blogger, a valuable source of information during the bloody repression of monks in September of 2007, has been sentenced to 20 years and six months in prison. According to the official charges, he is guilty of slandering a high state official.

28-year-old Nay Phone Latt (in the photo) was arrested on January 29, 2008, and found guilty by a tribunal set up in the prison of Insein, in Yangon, where he is currently detained; he is accused of publishing a cartoon considered “offensive” toward the head of the military junta, General Than Shwe, on his blog. The newspaper The Irrawaddy reports that Nay’s colleague and friend, Thin July Kyaw, has been sentenced to two years in prison. The latest episode of repression by the ruling dictatorship has been denounced by Nay Phone Latt’s mother, Aye Than.

In September of 2007, on the pages of his website, the young man recounted the massacres carried out by the junta against Burmese monks, becoming a valuable source of information for the international media. On September 26, 2007, the decision of military leaders to attack the protagonists of the “saffron revolution” left 31 dead — according to official estimates, although many more were killed — including a Japanese journalist, who was shot to death. Another 74 people are still “officially disappeared,” in addition to thousands of arrests among monks and activists.

Sources in Yangon also reveal that the military regime has sentenced the dissident poet Saw Wai to two years in prison: he was accused of publishing a poem mocking Than Shwe in the weekly Love Journal. At the beginning of each stanza was the line “General Than Shwe is mad with power.”

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

Immigration

Immigration: Lombardo Asks Maroni for Funds for Children

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 10 — The region of Sicily has asked the government for “access to 18 million euro” to meet the costs that it is faces if it is to guarantee assistance to non-EU immigrant children. The opportunity arose at today’s meeting in Palermo between the president of the Sicily region, Raffaele Lombardo, and the Interior minister, Roberto Maroni. A statement explains that Lombardo’s request is for the funds that the ministry reserves for reception policies. Sicilian municipalities are currently charged with around 3,500 non-EU immigrant children who are looked after in nurseries and who mayors must protect by law. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Immigration: Dini, Italy Will Help Malta to Repatriate

(ANSAmed) — VALLETTA, NOVEMBER 11 — Italy has committed itself to helping Malta to establish agreements to repatriate illegal immigrants in their country of origin, using all the diplomatic channels available to it. This was said by the president of the Senate’s foreign affairs committee, Lamberto Dini, in an interview with the Maltese newspaper ‘The Times’. Dini, who today concludes an official visit to Malta during which he has had meetings with the president of the Republic of Malta Edward Fenech Adami and the prime minister Lawrence Gonzi, stressed the fact that the problem of illegal immigration that Malta is facing is also an Italian problem. Following the approval of the immigration treaty by the 27 European partners, “Malta and Italy must now be committed to putting pressure on all European institutions to put this treaty into action”, said Dini. The EU, stressed the president of the Senate’s foreign affairs committee, must take responsibility for the problems of illegal immigration that Mediterranean countries are facing. “This treaty should come into force today, not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow”, added Dini, “it needs to be implemented more rapidly”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Immigration: a Third Canary Island Migrant Dies

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, NOVEMBER 11 — A third sub-Saharan migrant has died, of the 123 who yesterday arrived on the island of El Hierro, one of the Canary Isles. The person died today in Tenerife Hospital, where they had been admitted in a serious condition. The news comes from sources in the delegation of the regional Canary government. The bodies of another two immigrants were recovered from the boat carrying 123 persons, which reached El Hierro’s port of La Restinga after a lengthy crossing from Guinea-Conakry, lasting more than two weeks. According to the survivors, the migrants had spent the final three days without food or water. Given their precarious condition, 22 of the Africans, of whom at least a third are minors, have been admitted to hospital. Three of them are in a grave condition. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Immigration: Algeria, Another 25 Immigrants Stopped in Sea

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, NOVEMBER 11 — Another 25 illegal emigrants, including two children and a woman with her five-year-old child, were arrested by the Algerian coastguard off the coast of Annaba (600 km east of Algiers). This was reported by the regional headquarters of the coastguard, as quoted by the APS agency. Yesterday, 65 migrants on board three boats were stopped, again off the eastern coast of Algeria. According to Algerian naval sources, 718 Algerians were intercepted in the first six-months of 2008 as they attempted to reach Europe. Around 53 people were stopped in the first half of October close to Annaba, where boats depart for Italy. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Italy-Malta: Dini in La Valletta, Talks on Immigration

(ANSAmed) — LA VALLETTA (MALTA), NOVEMBER 10 — Greater cooperation between Italy and Malta, and between their respective Parliaments in tackling the phenomenon of illegal immigration in the Mediterranean. This was one of the main themes discussed during the meetings today at La Valletta between President of the Senatés Foreign Commission, Lamberto Dini, and Maltese Government representatives. Accompanied by the Italian Ambassador in Malta, Paolo Trabalza, Dini was welcomed this morning by Parliamentary President of the Foreign Commission for Malta, Michael Frendo, and tomorrow morning he will meet President of the Maltese Republic Edward, Fenech Adami and Foreign Minister Tonio Borg. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


State Department: Possibly Tens of Thousands of Somalis in the US Illegally

Unbelievable! Take note citizens of welcoming towns like Ft. Morgan and Greeley, CO, or not so thrilled towns like Postville, IA, Shelbyville, TN, and Grand Island, NE, the US State Department has confirmed that tens of thousands of Somalis have entered the US illegally through the US Refugee Admissions (P-3 family reunification) Program, possibly for as long as 20 years.

We had reported in August that random DNA testing demonstrated that 80% of those seeking entry into the US from African countries (mostly Somalis) were not related to those they claimed as relatives. In light of that shocking revelation, the program was temporarily suspended. A fact sheet, published today by the State Department, fills us in further on details of this outrage.

95% of immigrants using this program are from Africa. 36,000 alone came in the years since 2003 and as high (or higher!) than 80% of those are most likely here illegally. So much for all the volag administrators telling the folks in these towns being swamped by Somalis that their new neighbors have been thoroughly screened by Homeland Security! How do you screen someone when you don’t even know who they are?

Rumor has it that many of these illegal aliens bought their way into the US by purchasing Affidavits of Relationship on the streets of Nairobi. (see the fact sheet for more on AOR’s)

So what I would like to know now is, are we going to prosecute (and deport) the tens of thousands who have come to the US illegally for the LAST 20 YEARS? According to this fact sheet, the next step is up to the Department of Homeland Security (in the Obama administration).

Convenient huh, the State Department has known about this fraud for months but only reports the details now when it is too late for the Bush Administration to do anything about it. Just pass this African hot potato to the next President—The One with African roots.

Here are selected portions of the State Department’s bombshell fact sheet…

           — Hat tip: RRW[Return to headlines]


Sweden Approves New Labour Immigration Law

Sweden’s parliament has pushed through legislation that will make it easier for non-EU citizens to come to the country to work.

New rules set to come into force on December 15th stipulate that individual employers rather than the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) will decide whether there is a need to recruit foreign workers.

The terms of employment must be equal to or better than those set out in Swedish collective bargaining agreements or what passes for standard practice in a particular industry.

“The need for a workforce is central to migration politics, both in periods of strong and economic growth and in times of financial concern. It is possible for there to be a labour shortage and unemployment at the same time,” said Migration Minister Tobias Billström.

The law was passed by the four parties of the governing Alliance and the opposition Green Party.

But the Social Democrats, the Left Party and trade union confederation LO all expressed fears that the new law would lead to wage dumping, exploitation of vulnerable employees and a dilution of the right to asylum.

Social Democrat Göte Wahlström said he accepted the need for labour force immigration if Sweden was to safeguard the “general welfare” of an ageing population.

“But this requires a structure that does not impoverish, create social dumping or disorganization in an otherwise well-functioning labour market,” he said during Wednesday’s parliamentary debate.

Citizens from the EU, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland are to be given preference for open positions. The Swedish Migration Board is to be charged with ensuring that employers respect this basic principle.

Under the new rules, immigrants will also be able to receive an extended work permit for a maximum of four years, after which they can qualify for a permanent residence permit.

There will also be certain exceptions to the rule that work permit applications from non-EU citizens must be filed in a prospective immigrant’s home country.

For example, asylum seekers who have their applications rejected will be granted residence permits if they apply for a work permit within two weeks of the decision being reached.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Lesbians, Condoms Go Wild in Attack on Christian Church

Worshippers at a Bible-teaching church in Lansing, Mich., were stunned Sunday when members of a pro-homosexual, pro-anarchy organization named Bash Back interrupted their service to fling propaganda and condoms around the sanctuary, drape a profane banner from the balcony and feature two lesbians making out at the pulpit.

According to a blog posting by Nick De Leeuw on Right Michigan, the Bash Back organization orchestrated a protest in front of Mount Hope Church to draw the church’s security staff away from the sanctuary.

Then Bash Backers who had dressed up and mixed in with church worshippers took action.

According to De Leeuw, “Prayer had just finished when men and women stood up in pockets across the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony.

“‘Jesus was gay,’ they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss,” he wrote.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

General

Hezbollah and Drug Lords: a Dangerous Alliance

Traffickers are frighteningly able to help their new partners smuggle deadly weapons.

by Annie Jacobsen


In the early days of the War on Terror, back when the United States was only fighting one war, in Afghanistan, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage made a bold statement: “Hezbollah may be the ‘A-Team of terrorists,’“ Armitage said, referring to the Lebanese-based, Iranian-controlled organization, “and maybe al-Qaeda is actually the ‘B’-Team.”

Hezbollah has certainly been killing Americans for longer than al-Qaeda has — beginning in 1983 with the truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 Marines. As recently as June 2006, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield told reporters that Hezbollah teams were involved in attacking U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq.

Now, in an alarming new development, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has broken apart an international drug smuggling and money laundering ring which links Hezbollah to the Colombian cocaine cartels though a Lebanese operative named Shukri Mahmud Harb.

This is the first time the U.S. has tied a terrorist organization to a major cocaine cartel. “The profits from the sale of drugs went to finance Hezbollah,” says Gladys Sanchez, the chief investigator for the special prosecutor’s office in Bogotá. The DEA took the lead on the investigation, which went by the code name Operation Titan…

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis[Return to headlines]


US Teacher in Trouble Over Comments in Swedish Film

A Swedish television documentary has landed a North Carolina school teacher in hot water for politically-biased comments she made to her students.

Fifth grade teacher Diantha Harris was one of several Americans interviewed for the Sveriges Television documentary Från Bill till Barack (‘From Bill to Barack’), which aired on Swedish public television just days before the election.

The film was made by Swedish journalists Folke Rydén and Bengt Norborg, who travelled to the United States last autumn to film a documentary on US politics.

The trip including visits with several families the journalists had met while filming an earlier documentary ahead of the 1992 presidential election.

In a sequence during which Harris discusses the 2008 US presidential campaign with her class, she asks a girl who has expressed her support for Republican-nominee John McCain to speak out because the girl’s father serves in the military.

When the girl offers no response, Harris chimes in.

“It’s a senseless war,” she says.

“And by the way, Kathy, the person you are picking for president said that our troops will stay in Iraq for another 100 years if they need to.”

After being posted on the YouTube video-sharing website, the sequence caught the attention of conservative bloggers, who criticized the teacher’s statements.

A blog about Islamic extremism, The Tundra Tabloids, said Harris “willingly browbeat and belittled a student in class for her choice of a presidential candidate.”

Harris’s boss, Cumberland County Schools’ superintendent William Harrison also expressed his concern over the exchange she had with her student.

“I was shocked when I saw the clip of an interaction between a Cumberland County Schools teacher and her students as posted on YouTube. While neutral discussion of the political process is appropriate, at no time, particularly with elementary students, should a teacher infuse his/her political views into the discussion,” he said in a statement, adding that he has launched an investigation into the matter.

“Personnel laws prevent me from releasing information regarding individual employees and personnel action taken. I can assure you that upon completion of the investigation, I will take appropriate action,” he added.

According to the Citizen-Times newspaper, Harris said the sequence was heavily edited.

She added that she didn’t mean to advocate for one candidate or the other, but was merely responding to a request from Rydén and Norborg to discuss politics in the classroom.

Rydén said the sequence hadn’t required much editing, but also defended Harris’s comments, believing they had been “exaggerated” by McCain supporters who are frustrated at the results of the election.

“They have kind of interpreted the situation in a very evil way,” he told the Citizen-Times.

“Our feeling on Mrs. Harris is that she had a very special relationship with her students.”

Rydén said the exchange about keeping troops in Iraq for 100 years was simply an ploy used to provoke debate which “everyone knows is a joke”.

“I think her students know that as well. But if you want to, of course you can interpret the situation in a way that is not favourable for her, for the teacher, and I think that is what you are seeing,” said Rydén.

Rydén nevertheless believes that Harris, while being an excellent teacher, was somewhat caught up in the excitement generated by Obama’s candidacy and couldn’t help getting “carried away with the extraordinary feeling that Barack Obama is so important to the country”.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

1 comments:

Michelle said...

Howdy. Love your work, etc.

Here are videos of the London Islamic conference that Robert Spencer wrote about today...

http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/spip.php?article695

http://www.islam4uk.com/current-affairs/uk-news/46-uk/209%E2%80%94conference-rise-to-defend-the-honour-of-the-muslims-021108

They are long but maybe someone can edit them down.

Cheers.