Friday, October 23, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/23/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/23/2009According to a UNICEF study, Jordanian parents approve of children being beaten in school. This is in stark contrast to the UK, when employees can be sacked for touching a pupil even slightly.

In other news, a man in Springfield, Virginia was charged with indecent exposure for being naked in his own kitchen. It was 5:30 a.m. when he came downstairs in the buff to make coffee, not realizing that a woman and her daughter could see him through the kitchen window.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Furor Teutonicus, Insubria, JD, JP, LN, Nilk, Sean O’Brian, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
China Bidding Dollar Good-Bye?
Spain: 20% Population Below Relative Poverty Threshold
 
USA
Audio: White House ‘Infiltrated’ By Radical Muslims
Blackburn: Net Neutrality is ‘Fairness Doctrine for the Internet’
CAIR Coverage Ignores Terror Ties
Ex-Muslim Employee: Cair’s the Real ‘Anti-Muslim Bigot’
FCC Votes to Begin Crafting ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules
GOP Lawmakers Submit Request to Probe CAIR
Man Naked in Own Home Charged With Indecent Exposure
White House Faith Adviser Defends Shariah Remarks
 
Canada
Canada: Teachers Promoting Environmental Biases in Classrooms
Plants Can Recognize Rivals and Fight, Study Says
Pro-Life Student Forced Into Isolation on Day of Silent Witness by School
 
Europe and the EU
Brit UN Nuclear Expert May Have Been Murdered, Police Say
Czech President Nearly Ready to Sign Lisbon Treaty as His Opt-Out Conditions Are Met
Defence: Italy Atends Sedm Meeting in Sofia
EU Designates Maultaschen a Protected Regional Food
EU-Cyprus: Brussels, No Block on 42mln in Planned Aid
Islamic Scholar Gets Oxford Job
Italy: Cops in Governor Video ‘Plot’
Spain: Somali Boy Pirate in Juvenile Detention Centre
Spain: Heavy Fines for Films Not Dubbed Into Catalan
UK: ‘Must be Able to Speak Polish’: Factory Could Face Prosecution for Breaching Equality Laws
UK: BNP Leader Nick Griffin in Fresh Storm After Claiming London Has Been ‘Ethnically Cleansed’ As He Defends Question Time Debut
UK: Child Killer Launches Court Battle Giving Him Right to Vote as Current Rules ‘Breach His Human Rights’
UK: Caught on Camera: Shocking Moment Teenagers Launch Racist Attack on Asian Shopkeeper
UK: Fears Confirmed After Racist Leader Spouts Anti-Islam Hate on BBC
UK: Islamic Scholar Gets Oxford Job
UK: Muslim Student, 18, Banned From College Because She Refuses to Remove Her Burka
UK: Nine-Month Nightmare for School Helper Hauled to Court After Marching Yob From Class
UK: Not Too Late to Get Our Own Way on EU Treaty
UK: Schoolboy Banned From Buying Pack of Wine Gums… For Being Too Young to Drink
 
Balkans
Kosovo: Medvedev, No Comparison With Caucasus Events
 
North Africa
Algeria: Minister, 110 Mln Euros Spent on Terrorism Victims
Lower Commission Rates for Remittances
Terrorism: Algeria; Attack in the Kabyles, Victims
Terrorism: Algeria; Minister Zerhouni, 6 Killed in Attack
 
Israel and the Palestinians
Goldstone Report: Lieberman Asks Ban Ki-Moon’s Support
Israeli Air Strike After Rocket Launching in Negev
Likud Growing: Labour Plummeting in Poll
Solana: Revise Rules of War Against Terrorism
Yishai: I Won’t Rest Till They’re Evicted
 
Middle East
Berlusconi-Putin: Ankara Crossroad for Gas Agreements
Goldstone Report: UAE Urges UN to Go Forward
Israeli and Iranian Nuclear Officials Met for First Time in 30 Years
Jordanian Parents Approve Beating Children in School, Study
Will Turkey Lead a Revived Islamic Empire?
Yemen Rebels ‘Fight Saudi Forces’
 
Russia
Russians Violating Treaty, Developing Missile
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
 
Caucasus
Turkey-Armenia: Accords Signed Are a Mistake, Altounian
 
Far East
The Chinese Economy Grows by 8.9%
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
Two Women Sentenced to 20 Lashes for ‘Indecently’ Wearing Trousers in Sudan
Uganda Rebukes Somali Islamists
 
Immigration
Australia: Immigrants ‘Who Can’t Adapt Should Leave’
Boat With 200 Migrants Sends SOS
EU: Stop to Differences Among 27 for Refugees
Europe Criticised on Iraqi Asylum
Italy: Frattini: Soon Asylum and Refugees Agency
Labour Wanted Mass Immigration to Make UK More Multicultural, Says Former Adviser
 
Culture Wars
Catholic League: Why Does Obama Like ‘Christian Basher’?
Critics Attack Unread Book on Culture War
Sunstein Urges: Abolish Marriage

Financial Crisis

China Bidding Dollar Good-Bye?

Harvard economist says currency dying ‘slow death’

With the dollar falling rapidly to test — once again — the $1.50/euro benchmark, Harvard University professor Niall Ferguson, the author of “The Ascent of Money,” is warning China has begun “dumping the dollar” by buying gold and commodities including oil rights around the world.

With China holding approximately $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, the largest amount ever held by an country in the history of international trade, the conventional wisdom in Washington is that China would be committing economic suicide to dump the dollar since approximately 80 percent of China’s foreign exchange reserves are held in dollar denominated assets.

But Ferguson called this view “slightly naïve,” arguing that the Obama administration is refusing to acknowledge the dollar is “dying a slow death.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Spain: 20% Population Below Relative Poverty Threshold

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — In Spain 19.6% of its population lives below the relative poverty threshold due to the deep economic recession, according to the ‘Living conditions survey’ published today by the national statistics institute. This percentage is much higher in the poorest regions in the south, like Estremadura (38.4%) and Andalusia (28.9%). According to the report, in 2008 9 million Spaniards had an income that was 60% lower than the national average. The gap between the northern and southern part of the country is clear: in Navarra and the Basque Country only 6.5% and 8.5% of the population lives below the relative poverty threshold, against the 38.4% in Estremadura. In the middle are regions like Madrid (14.5%), Valencia (20.2%) and Catalonia (12.8%). Of all people older than 65 years, 27.6% live below the poverty threshold. The middle classes are getting poorer as well. The survey shows in fact that households had an average income of 26,000 euros in 2008. Though this average is 0.6% higher than in 2007, a third of households were unable to go on vacation in 2008 and 30% were not able to deal with unexpected expenses. And 5.3% cannot even afford to heat their houses in winter.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

USA

Audio: White House ‘Infiltrated’ By Radical Muslims

Brigitte Gabriel: Homegrown jihadists enjoy ‘carte blanche’ under Obama

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Blackburn: Net Neutrality is ‘Fairness Doctrine for the Internet’

Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke against net neutrality regulations today at an event put on by the Safe Internet Alliance. Representing the songwriters, singers, actors, producers and other entertainers in Memphis and Nashville, she said the creative community does not want the federal government to interfere with how they are able to get content to consumers via the Internet.

“Net neutrality, as I see it, is the fairness doctrine for the Internet,” she said. The creators “fully understand what the Fairness Doctrine would be when it applies to TV or radio. What they do not want is the federal government policing how they deploy their content over the Internet and they want the ISPs to manage their networks and deploy the content however they have agreed on with ISP. They do not want a czar of the Internet to determine when they can deploy their creativity over the Internet. “They do not want a czar to determine what speeds will be available…We are watching the FCC very closely as it relates to that issue.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


CAIR Coverage Ignores Terror Ties

Accusations by lawmakers mocked as attack on Muslims

Is the Council on American-Islamic Relations merely a civil rights organization exercising its constitutional right to lobby on Capitol Hill like hundreds of other non-profit organizations?

That’s the way Politico and other mainstream news outlets have portrayed CAIR — despite the FBI’s decision this year to cut off ties to the Muslim group after its designation by the Department of Justice as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the largest terrorist-finance case in U.S. history.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Ex-Muslim Employee: Cair’s the Real ‘Anti-Muslim Bigot’

Shiite complains CAIR’s Sunni honchos regularly discriminate

A Shiite Muslim, Haddadi says she was “completely dishonored and mistreated” by senior CAIR managers because of her religious background while working in the membership department at CAIR’s national office in Washington, located just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

“I have been a victim of both gender and religious discrimination,” she wrote in a blistering four-page letter to Awad and then-CAIR Chairman Omar Ahmad, who recently stepped down from CAIR’s board after the Justice Department named him an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in the largest terror finance case in U.S. history.

“At first glance,” Haddadi added, “it may appear unusual to claim discrimination while working for a civil-rights organization. It may seem even more unusual that I am a Muslim claiming religious discrimination while working for a Muslim organization.”

But, Haddadi continued, “I have struggled for two years — along with others — with frustration and acts of discrimination.”

She says the discrimination against her started several years ago when then-CAIR operations director Khalid Iqbal tasked her to update CAIR’s internship application form by adding a section asking applicants to identify which sect of Islam they belong to.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


FCC Votes to Begin Crafting ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules

Despite the concerns of telecommunications companies and the agency’s two Republicans, the Federal Communications Commission voted to begin writing so-called “network neutrality” regulations. Proponents say the rules would prevent phone and cable companies from abusing their control over the market for broadband access.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


GOP Lawmakers Submit Request to Probe CAIR

House members also ask attorney general to reveal FBI, DOJ evidence against group

One week after accusing the Council on American-Islamic Relations of conspiring to plant “spies” inside Congress targeting sensitive security-related committees, four Republican lawmakers have formally asked the House sergeant at arms to investigate whether the D.C.-based Muslim group has carried out its alleged plans.

In another letter, to Attorney General Eric Holder, the House members ask the Justice Department to reveal to Congress members why CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.

The lawmakers, referring to findings about CAIR’s association with terrorism in the Holy Land Foundation case in Texas, write in the letter to House Sergeant-at-Arms Wilson Livingood that they are concerned in light of revelations in the newly released book ““Muslim Mafia” that CAIR “has made it a strategic goal to influence Members of Congress on the Judiciary, Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Man Naked in Own Home Charged With Indecent Exposure

An American man who brewed coffee naked in his own kitchen is facing indecent exposure charges and could be jailed.

Eric Williamson, 29, from Virginia, insists he has done nothing wrong and any exposure of his private parts was purely accidental.

Williamson was making coffee in the buff at 5.30am when a woman and her seven-year-old son walked past his kitchen window in Springfield.

The woman then called the police.

Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings said the woman claimed Williamson then moved and exposed himself again through a large front window.

In his defence, Williamson said: “I’m by myself. So I come down here — the roommates are gone, and it’s my house.

“I never had a conversation with anyone, never saw anyone. Didn’t cross my mind, came and got coffee. I mean if I stood and seemed comfortable in my kitchen possibly it’s natural. It’s my kitchen.”

Williamson, who is the father of a five-year-old girl, continued: “I am a loving dad. Any of my friends… and anyone knows that.

“And there is not a chance on this planet that I would ever, ever do anything like that to a kid.”

Trial lawyer Dickson Young, who is not connected with the case, explained that “in order for it to be a crime, they have to prove — the state and police — have to prove that he knew those people were there when he was standing there.

“The statute requires an intentional display of your private parts. So if you are occasionally displaying them, accidentally displaying them, inadvertently displaying them it’s not a crime.”

Ms Jennings said the police would not pursue a case based on inadvertent exposure. The charge is a misdemeanour punishable by up to a year in jail.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]


White House Faith Adviser Defends Shariah Remarks

But expresses regret for appearing on TV show linked to extremist Muslim group

Now, in her first media interview about the episode, Mogahed says she regrets going on Muslimah Dilemma but stands by her remarks:

How did you get booked on the British program Muslimah Dilemma?

They called our office and asked if I was available. I saw I had been booked, and I had no idea that the show’s host or the other guest was affiliated with Hizb ut Tahrir. Had I known, I never would have appeared on the show. When we first got the request, we checked the show with a PR firm in Britain who told us there were no problems with it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Canada

Canada: Teachers Promoting Environmental Biases in Classrooms

My grandson is five years old. After his second week in school, he asked his father what he was doing about global warming.

Think about that for a moment. Does anyone believe that a five year old can even understand the controversy surrounding the science of global warming, let along question what he is being told?

Rather than teaching my grandson the knowledge he will need to succeed academically — analytical skills and open mindedness, among others — his teacher is spending time indoctrinating him with her beliefs on global warming.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Plants Can Recognize Rivals and Fight, Study Says

Greenery grows more roots to absorb resources when next to ‘strangers’

Plants can’t see or hear, but they can recognize their siblings, and now researchers have found out how: They use chemical signals secreted from their roots, according to a new study.

Back in 2007, Canadian researchers discovered that a common seashore plant, called a sea rocket, can recognize its siblings — plants grown from seeds from the same plant, or mother. They saw that when siblings are grown next to each other in the soil, they “play nice” and don’t send out more roots to compete with one another.

But as soon as one of the plants is thrown in with strangers, it begins competing with them by rapidly growing more roots to take up the water and mineral nutrients in the soil.

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Researchers from the University of Delaware wanted to find out how the plants were able to identify their kin.

“Plants have no visible sensory markers, and they can’t run away from where they are planted,” Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, said in a statement. “It then becomes a search for more complex patterns of recognition.”

Bais and doctoral student Meredith Biedrzycki set up a study with wild populations of Arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant that is often used as a model organism in plant research.

They wanted to use wild populations instead of laboratory-bred species, because the latter “always has cousins floating around in the lab,” Bais said.

In a series of experiments, young seedlings were exposed to liquid containing the root secretions, called “exudates,” from siblings, from strangers (non-siblings), or only their own exudates.

The length of the longest lateral root and of the hypocotyl, the first leaf-like structure that forms on the plant, were measured. A lateral root is a root that extends horizontally outward from the primary root, which grows downward.

Plants exposed to strangers had greater lateral root formation than the plants that were exposed to siblings.

Further, when sibling plants grow next to each other, their leaves will often touch and intertwine, while stranger plants near each other grow rigidly upright and avoid touching, the authors say.

In future studies, Bais hopes to examine questions such as: How might sibling plants grown in large monocultures, like corn, be affected? Are they more susceptible to pathogens? And how do they survive without competing?

“It’s possible that when kin are grown together, they may balance their nutrient uptake and not be greedy,” Bais speculates.

The research also may have implications for the home gardener.

“Often we’ll put plants in the ground next to each other and when they don’t do well, we blame the local garden center where we bought them, or we attribute their failure to a pathogen,” Bais said. “But maybe there’s more to it than that.”

The study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, will be published in the January/February 2010 issue of the journal Communicative & Integrative Biology.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Pro-Life Student Forced Into Isolation on Day of Silent Witness by School

Principal Principal says the right to free speech does not apply to school property

WIARTON, Ontario, October 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) — 16-year-old high school student Jennifer Rankin fully intended to unite her voicelessness with that of the unborn as part of the annual Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity when she arrived at school yesterday, reports Bill Henry of Sun Media.

She was impeded, however, by her school principal, who stated that the right to free speech does not apply on school property and who forced Rankin to remain in isolation for the entire day as long as she participated in the event.

[…]

David Cortman, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defence Fund, told LSN that “the school should be ashamed of its hypocrisy.”

“On the one hand, the school first of all is apparently picking and choosing which parts of the Charter that it wants to comply with,” he said. “It hides behind the Charter to justify its blatant promotion of the homosexual agenda, while at the same time it ignores the students’ rights to free expression under the Charter.”

“In my opinion, the policy and their actions, violate the Charter,” he continued. “If homosexual behaviour is a human right, even more so is life itself a human right. … I think it’s just another instance of government indoctrination that’s aimed at the suppression of religious speech.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Brit UN Nuclear Expert May Have Been Murdered, Police Say

A British nuclear energy expert who plunged 40 metres to his death at the United Nations’ (UN) building in Vienna may have been murdered, police said today (Thurs). Timothy Hampton died on the spot on Tuesday after falling from a 17th floor window at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) — one of the UN’s three headquarters. The UN confirmed the death of the 47-year-old — who was involved in disarmament negotiations with Iran as a member of the UN’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) — but refused to give any further information on the circumstances of the fatality.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Czech President Nearly Ready to Sign Lisbon Treaty as His Opt-Out Conditions Are Met

The final objection to the Lisbon Treaty was removed yesterday.

Czech president Vaclav Klaus had been demanding an opt-out from a charter of fundamental human rights to shield his countrymen from property claims from ethnic Germans who were expelled after the Second World War.

The Czech Republic is the only member state that has not ratified the treaty.

Klaus wants an opt-out from a charter of fundamental rights that is attached to the treaty, saying he wants to shield the Czech Republic from property claims from ethnic Germans who were expelled after World War Two.

After negotiations with Sweden, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year, it seemed that a solution had been found.

[…]

Klaus’s office did not say what the proposal was and the European Commission, the EU executive, declined immediate comment. But Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt made clear he was encouraged by Klaus’s comments.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Defence: Italy Atends Sedm Meeting in Sofia

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 21 — Italy’s Defence Undersecretary, Giuseppe Cossiga, has taken part in Sofia today in the annual ministerial meeting of the Southeastern Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM), a multilateral cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening security, defence and stability in the Balkans. The meeting, says a note from the Defence Ministry, formalised the full membership of Montenegro and Serbia in the organisation, who thereby join Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States, bringing the number of member states up to fourteen. During the meeting a protocol was signed to optimise the operative deployment of ‘Seebrig’ (South Eastern Europe Brigade) and an accord to facilitate the constitution and coordination of various projects.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


EU Designates Maultaschen a Protected Regional Food

The European Union will begin protecting Maultaschen, a Swabian dish similar to ravioli, as regional specialty next month, the state of Baden-Württemberg announced on Friday.

The traditional comfort food, which consists of a pasta dough casing full of minced meat, spinach, egg, breadcrumbs, onions and spices — served fried with potato salad or in soup broth — can no longer be legally imitated according to EU regulations.

It joins the ranks of other German food specialties to earn protected EU status such as the Spreewalder cucumbers, Thüringer Rostbratwurst and Allgäuer Emmentaler cheese.

Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) includes agricultural products and foods closely linked to a geographical area. At least one stage of production, processing or preparation must take place in the area. In this case, the region of Swabia encompasses much of Baden-Württemberg and parts of Bavaria.

“No other Swabian dish is as popular and as well-known as a speciality way beyond the borders of Swabia,” the application for PGI status submitted by the state in January 2006 said. “Maultaschen are mentioned in Swabian literature and associated with a large number of festivals and customs in Swabia.”

Tradition says that medieval Cistercian monks at the Maulbronn Abbey invented the hearty dish to conceal the fact that they were eating meat during lent. The monks are said to have believed God would not see the meat because of the doughy casing.

Most butcher shops and restaurants in the region produce the Maultaschen according to varying family tradition.

The food recently made German headlines when a nursing home worker in Radolfzell, Baden-Württemberg was fired for taking a few leftover Maultaschen worth €3.35 from the facility cafeteria. The case is the most recent in a series of controversial firings for incidents involving low-value items that have been characterised as theft by employers.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


EU-Cyprus: Brussels, No Block on 42mln in Planned Aid

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 22 — The payment of 42 million euros part of an aid package for Turkish-Cypriots by the European Commission has not been suspended, but only moved back, explained European Commission spokesperson, Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, responding to a journalist’s question on a possible block on the funds by Brussels. “Some of the payments for the Turkish-Cypriot aid programme,” said Altafajo, “will be made later with respect to what was originally planned due to some delays in signing the contracts, following the special circumstances in the north of Cyprus.” Furthermore, according to the EU Commission spokesperson, all of the contracts part of the aid package “will be signed by 2009”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Islamic Scholar Gets Oxford Job

Tariq Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood A prominent Islamic scholar who has been banned from the US is to teach at Oxford University.

Professor Tariq Ramadan, who lives in Geneva, was named as one of the 21st Century’s great innovators by Time Magazine last year for his work.

But he was unable to take up a position teaching at Notre Dame University in the US when the Dept of Homelands Security revoked his visa in July 2004.

St Antony’s College says he is due to begin a Visiting Fellowship in October.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Italy: Cops in Governor Video ‘Plot’

Carabinieri ‘planned to blackmail’ Lazio official

(ANSA) — Rome, October 22 — Four Carabinieri policemen were arrested in Rome Friday for allegedly planning to blackmail Lazio Governor Piero Marazzo with a video.

The four were apparently stopped before they could put their plan into action.

Governor Marazzo said the video was “bogus” and part of an alleged plan to smear him ahead of regional elections early next year.

“I was not aware of this plot. Now I demand the utmost respect,” the official said.

“It is not true,” he said when asked about the film. The four reportedly wanted the official to pay 80,000 euros ($120,000) for the video.

The contents were not disclosed but one source said it was “intimate”. Carabinieri General Vittorio Tomasone described the four as “bad apples who were isolated thanks to an internal investigation”.

According to Italian media, the four were already being investigated on other counts including drug trafficking.

The plot against Marazzo was said to have come to light thanks to wire taps initiated six months ago.

Marazzo, 51, a former TV journalist for state broadcasting corporation RAI, won the Lazio regional elections in 2005 for the centre-left Democratic Party. He is up for re-election in March.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Spain: Somali Boy Pirate in Juvenile Detention Centre

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 21 — The Juvenile court at the Audiencia Nacional in Spain has ordered the transfer to a juvenile detention centre of Abdu Willy, the Somali who was arrested with another Somali in the Indian ocean, accused of piracy over the seizing of Spanish fishing boat the Alakrana, to await a decision by the Juvenile judge. Appearing in front of prosecutors Ignacio Gordillo and Jesus Alonso, Willy claimed that he was not part of the group of pirates, who are still holding the Alakrana, and asked to be taken back to Somalia and for his personal effects to be returned to him, including his mobile phone, say judicial sources quoted by the Europa Press agency. The Somali boy will undergo further checks and a panoramic x-ray of his teeth to establish his exact age, and whether he is actually under 17 years old. Since his arrest by the Spanish military and arrival in Spain on October 13, along with his fellow-countryman, Willy had been held at the Alcalá Meco prison in Madrid, charged by Judge Baltazar Garzon of the Audiencia Nacional of delinquency and of taking part in the kidnap of the 36-man crew of the Alkatrana, as well as the illegal possession of weapons. However the head of section 1 of the Audiencia Nacional, Pedraz, ordered his release yesterday, due to the lack of proof of the boy’s being an adult in legal terms. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Spain: Heavy Fines for Films Not Dubbed Into Catalan

(by Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 22 — It has yet to be approved, but a hornet’s nest has already been stirred into action by the new cinema legislation under scrutiny by the Catalan government. It intends to impose films dubbed into Catalan on the local market. The sanctions will be “unlimited fines”, as today’s headline in El Pais runs. The bill provides that at least half of the copies of every film distributed in Catalonia be either subtitled or dubbed in Catalan. The only exceptions to this rule should be films in Spanish or those with fewer than 16 copies in circulation. Distributors who fail to comply with the law will become liable to super-fines, depending on the seriousness of the infringement. If the percentage in Catalan is below 5%, there will be a fine of 1,000 euros per copy; if the figure is above 15%, the amount due rises to 5,000 euros per copy. Take the case of a big box-office film, like Pirates of the Caribbean, which had a Spanish distribution of 100,000 copies: if only 40 these were to receive Catalan subtitles, the distributor could be forced to cough up 200,000 euros. To this, the second part of the fine would be added; this is calculated on the basis of average box-office sales on all of the copies. The intention is to ensure that it becomes cheaper for distributors to comply with the law than to try and dodge it. “The norm is completely in line with the constitution, and like others it includes a section on sanctions”, explained the councillor responsible for Culture at the Generalitat, Joan Manuel Tresserras, in a press release. Trasserras said that the sole objective is that of “safeguarding the right of Catalans to choose freely which dialect they would like to see the film in, thus promoting cultural diversity”. But controversy is raging. According to the companies that run the cinemas, the new law amounts to “meddling in the private sector”. The Catalan association for the sector has proposed an alternative to the Generalitat: that one cinema in each multiplex should be dedicated to showing films in Catalan, but the proposal was rebuffed out of hand, as it would have affected only 8% of the country’s cinemas. For its part, the federation of cinematic distributors (Fedicine) has held its fire. But the legal wars waged — and won — in some courts by the big distribution companies live on in the memory. The Generalitat intends to enact the law during its current administration — by June — counting on the support of the three majority parties: the PSOE, ICV and ERC; while the PP is against it and the CiU wants to see changes. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


UK: ‘Must be Able to Speak Polish’: Factory Could Face Prosecution for Breaching Equality Laws

A factory which advertised for Polish-speaking workers could face prosecution for breaching race relations laws.

The advert for pet food producer Supreme Nutrition Ltd read: ‘Factory operative required to work in busy manufacturing plant in Acton, near Sudbury. Must be Polish speaking.’

Details of the minimum wage £5.80-an-hour vacancies were displayed at a Jobcentre Plus but were taken down following a flood of complaints in the Suffolk town, where 1,500 are out of work.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it would be investigating whether the firm was guilty of discrimination.

Unemployed carpenter Adam Bull, 26, said: ‘It’s outrageous. The condition should be that people have to speak English, not Polish.

‘I have lived in this area my entire life, so where am I going to learn Polish? It’s totally discriminatory.’

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UK: BNP Leader Nick Griffin in Fresh Storm After Claiming London Has Been ‘Ethnically Cleansed’ As He Defends Question Time Debut

Nick Griffin today claimed London had been ‘ethnically cleansed’ of British people in a provocative interview just hours after he appeared on Question Time.

As the row over last night’s TV appearance grew, the BNP leader said he was the victim of an unfairly biased audience drawn from the multi-cultural capital.

‘That wasn’t Question Time. It was a lynch mob,’ he added after summoning reporters to a press conference in Thurrock, Essex.

He went on: ‘That audience was taken from a city that is no longer British…

‘That was not my country any more. Why not come down and do it in Thurrock, do it in Stoke, do it in Burnley?

‘Do it somewhere where there are still significant numbers of English and British people liv(ing), and they haven’t been ethnically cleansed from their own country.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Child Killer Launches Court Battle Giving Him Right to Vote as Current Rules ‘Breach His Human Rights’

A man who raped and strangled his niece launched a High Court battle yesterday for the right to vote in parliamentary and EU elections.

Convicted murderer Peter Chester, 54, is challenging the Government’s failure to grant him the right to vote, saying that it breaches his human rights.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Chester, which is being funded by the taxpayer, argued that Justice Secretary Jack Straw is breaching the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)) by continuing to deny him the vote.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Caught on Camera: Shocking Moment Teenagers Launch Racist Attack on Asian Shopkeeper

This is the sickening moment three teenage thugs launch a savage racist attack on a terrified Asian shopkeeper.

Twins Luke and Justin Lovedale and Nicholas Gardener, all 16 at the time, attacked four shopkeepers in a series of violent attacks while screaming a torrent of racist abuse.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Fears Confirmed After Racist Leader Spouts Anti-Islam Hate on BBC

The fears of many British Muslims and other Britons were confirmed last night as the BBC broadcasted to millions of viewers the extraordinary racist and offensive views of extremist far-right leader Nick Griffin. As predicted, he made it no secret in demonstrating his intense Islamophobia, firing malicious slanders against one of the world’s great religions. Many failed to answer the fact that the BNP’s rise can also be attributed to the fear of Muslims fanned by sections of the mainstream media which the BNP has sought to exploit in their rhetoric.

His ignorance on Islam and its history surpassed his arrogance. His particular slur, sadly unchallenged by any in the panel, that Islam ‘ordains as a religious duty the murder of Jews as well as other non-Muslims’ contravenes reality and is a recipe for further anti-Muslim hate. Far from persecuting other faiths, Muslim lands have been traditional safe havens. Faced with religious prosecution in Spain and Portugal, Jews sought sanctuary within the Ottoman Empire, and prospered for centuries in places like Salonica — till the Nazis drove them out. Christian churches and rights were honoured while Jerusalem was governed by Muslims. During the Rwanda tragedy of the 1990s, it was in mosques that both the Tutsis and Hutus sought refuge. It is important to set the record right for millions of

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UK: Islamic Scholar Gets Oxford Job

A prominent Islamic scholar who has been banned from the US is to teach at Oxford University.

Tariq Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood A prominent Islamic scholar who has been banned from the US is to teach at Oxford University.

Professor Tariq Ramadan, who lives in Geneva, was named as one of the 21st Century’s great innovators by Time Magazine last year for his work.

But he was unable to take up a position teaching at Notre Dame University in the US when the Dept of Homelands Security revoked his visa in July 2004.

St Antony’s College says he is due to begin a Visiting Fellowship in October.

           — Hat tip: LN[Return to headlines]


UK: Muslim Student, 18, Banned From College Because She Refuses to Remove Her Burka

A burka-wearing student has been banned from enrolling at a college after staff claimed the Muslim garment was a barrier to ‘safety and communication’.

Shawana Bilqes, 18, was forced to abandon her learning plans after she refused to remove the head-to-toe gown which reveals only her eyes.

She had been asked to show her face as a check to avoid identity fraud in case she was posing as someone else.

But when she explained she could not due to her religious belief she was forced off her Access course for an HE Diploma at Burnley College, Lancashire.

Today Miss Bilqes said: ‘It is my choice to wear the veil.

‘I live around the corner from the college in an area where there are so many practising Muslims.

‘I tried to compromise but they wouldn’t. The college sent me a latter to say I could continue with my course if I stopped wearing the veil.

‘We are in the 21st century and we get people from all walks of life. I’m in the police cadets as well and yet it’s not a problem wearing the veil there.’

Miss Bilqes was approached by a member of staff as she arrived at the college at the start of term to book in on her first day of study.

Now the school leaver is faced with looking elsewhere to gain her qualifications.

Burnley College is in a new £81million development that they describe as ‘the most ambitious development of its kind in the country’.

It boasts 7,500 sixth form students and a 100 per cent pass rate for the fourth year running.

Today College principle John Smith hit back at Miss Bilqes’s claims by saying all students and staff wear photo IDs for security — so common sense said they must see her face.

Mr Smith said: ‘We do require all students of Burnley College to have their faces visible when at the college.

‘There are three reasons for this requirement. We are determined to maintain the highest standards of teaching and learning in Burnley College.

‘To do this effectively requires unimpeded communication from the teacher to all students, from the students to the teacher and between student and student.

‘It is not possible to maintain this essential full communication of the face of any student is not fully visible.

‘We are committed also to maintain a fully inclusive college where students from all backgrounds integrate to the fullest possible extent.

‘This is essential to maintain a healthy college community. The basis of this inclusive and integrated community, where all play their part, is full communication.

‘We are also determined to provide a safe environment for all our students.

‘To do so, we have taken a range of measures — central to this is that all members of the college community should be identifiable at all times when in the college.

‘To this end we require students and staff to wear a security card which displays their photograph.

‘Where individuals are able to comply with these reasonable requirements, which apply to all students equally, we would be very pleased to admit them to Burnley College.

‘Where individuals decline to comply, then I am afraid that we cannot accommodate them.’

The role of the burka in Europe was highlighted in 2006 by Labour MP Jack Straw when the now Justice Secretary hit out at the rise of the garment in his Blackburn constituency — just 11 miles from Burnley.

In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out in June against the robe, claiming it reduced women to servitude and undermined their dignity.

He gave his backing to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to look at whether to ban the wearing of them in public.

In 2004, France banned the Islamic headscarves in its state schools.

Mr Sarkozy said: ‘We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity.

‘That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.

‘The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.’

           — Hat tip: Furor Teutonicus[Return to headlines]


UK: Nine-Month Nightmare for School Helper Hauled to Court After Marching Yob From Class

A classroom assistant accused of assaulting a pupil broke down in tears yesterday as he was cleared at the end of a nine-month nightmare.

Mark Ellwood was fingerprinted, held in a cell, and banned from living with his children during the ordeal, which began when he escorted a foulmouthed schoolboy out of a lesson.

The 46-year-old claims he was ‘hung out to dry’ by the authorities and warned that a climate of fear in schools means pupils are often beyond control and that teachers are too frightened to discipline them.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


UK: Not Too Late to Get Our Own Way on EU Treaty

WE ARE told on every hand that in Prague, President Vaclav Klaus will by the end of this month capitulate at last and sign the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. From that it is presumed that despite (according to the polls) enormous opposition from the street-level peoples right across Europe, disenfranchised, unconsulted, voiceless, the game is up. And most, especially for the British, from whom all resistance must now cease as being quite impossible.

Firstly, the facts. Our present government and Commons are both utterly discredited; that will not be so in seven months when we have a new government and almost new Commons with hundreds of new and unsullied MPs.

Second, jubilant claims that it will be impossible to “unpick” the Lisbon Treaty are perfectly true but equally perfectly irrelevant. We British do not seek to tell the Maltese and the Latvians, or anyone else, how to live, how and by whom they ought to be governed. But we still (just, before it is too late) have the right to decide for the British. So at least according to the constitutional scholar Lord Justice Laws.

Thus we do have the right to demand, even retroactively, opt-outs for us alone from the most offensive clauses by negotiated amendment. Unprecedented? Certainly not. The Czechs are still insisting on a massive amendment to protect them from land-claims by German Sudetens evicted in 1945 from a province they invaded in 1939.

The Slovaks have now said they also want an amendment. The Irish were falsely promised four to accommodate the anxieties that caused them to vote “No” the first time. But the biggest of all is the secret and silent German amendment passed on the insistence of their own Constitutional Court at Karlsruhe to protect German sovereignty in future. This drives a coach and four horses right through the text of Lisbon. But no one, least of all EU-fanatical Berlin, is mentioning it.

So we British have every right to go the German road and demand amendments and even repatriations that will keep us British for ever. And if we need a people’s referendum to say so, loud and clear, bring it on, David. You’ll win by a country mile.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


UK: Schoolboy Banned From Buying Pack of Wine Gums… For Being Too Young to Drink

While under-age drinking is rightly frowned upon, there is no law that says a teenager cannot satisfy his sweet tooth.

But when 15-year-old Jaz Bhogal left a discount store after buying a packet of wine gums, he was horrified to find a member of staff chasing him down the street.

Jaz was then ordered back to the premises where the 99p Haribo sweets were confiscated and he was given a full refund.

When he demanded an explanation, a member of staff at the 99p Stores outlet in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, explained that he needed to be 18 or over to buy anything containing alcohol.

Jaz, who was out shopping with a friend at the time, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it. He asked how old I was and, when I said I was 15, he said he couldn’t sell me the sweets.

‘He said they had wine in them and pointed to the word wine on the packet. I was absolutely speechless.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Balkans

Kosovo: Medvedev, No Comparison With Caucasus Events

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, OCTOBER 20 — Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said that Moscow is “categorically against any attempt to make mistaken comparisons” between the events in Kosovo and in the Caucasus. Speaking to Serbian Parliament in Belgrade, the leader of the Kremlin explained Russia’s position, which recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s independence from Georgia, while it refused to acknowledge Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence from Serbia in February of 2008. “In South Ossetia a true military aggression was being fought off, and this occurred in compliance with UN principles,” said Medvedev, stressing how Russia intends “to completely support the two young republics in the Caucasus, encouraging increased stability in the region.” Kosovo’s independence, he added, was a violation of the precepts of international law. Therefore, Moscow supports Serbia and supports the sovereignty and integrity of Serbia’s territory. The basis for the solution to the crisis, he underlined, must be international law, the decisions of the UN and the UN Security Council, starting with resolution 1244. “Russia is ready to support Serbia in standing up for its legitimate rights,” said the Russian President. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: Minister, 110 Mln Euros Spent on Terrorism Victims

(ANSAmed)- ALGIERS, OCTOBER 21 — Around 12 billion dinar, over 110 million euros, have been spent to date in Algeria on ‘victims of terrorism’, announced Minister for National Solidarity Djamel Ould Abbes, adding that “a total of 28.3 billion dinar have been spent on the ‘national tragedy’ (as the black decade of terrorism is known in Algeria, Ed)”, more than 260 million euros. The policy of Reconciliation promoted by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika provides for compensation for ‘the victims of terrorism’, a definition which includes families of members of Islamist-based armed groups who died, and fighters who lost their jobs because of their terrorist activities. The policy has also led to the release of thousands of terrorists since 1999, and includes amnesties for people who hand over their weapons. One of the most controversial elements is the ban on “using the wounds of the ‘national tragedy’ to harm the institutions of the Republic, to weaken the State, sully the honour of its forces who served devotedly, or tarnish the image of Algeria at the international level”, which is punishable by imprisonment. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Lower Commission Rates for Remittances

(by Angela Virdò) (ANSAmed) — TUNIS, OCTOBER 23 — Forty million dollars is the amount that every year 33 million Africans who have emigrated to wealthier countries send to their families, but the total could be even higher: 44-48 billion if money transfer commission rates were not so high — as much as 25%, compared with 7-10% in Asia and Latin America. The cost of remittances for emigrants is at the centre of the 2009 Global Forum on Remittances held yesterday in Tunis thanks to the African Development Bank (ADB) and the International Fund for Agricultural development (IFAD). At an international level, emigrant remittances amounted to more than three hundred billion dollars annually — more than foreign direct investments and official development aid put together. Over 80% of the money is used for primary needs such as food, housing, clothing, healthcare and education, and is often the main form of livelihood for many families. Over the past ten years the money of those who have left has been a decisive part of lifting millions of people in the world out of abject misery, if not poverty. Such as Ana and Julio Cortez, who live in a rural area in El Salvador. Before three of their children left for the United States their house had an earthen floor, whereas now it boasts tiles, electricity, running water, a telephone and even a television. International statistics show that in many countries remittances make up 5 to 10% of GDP and in the last G8 meeting in L’Aquila, world leaders acknowledged the impact that remittances have on development and set themselves the objective of reducing as much as possible the cost of money transfers, especially in Africa where the two largest companies — Western Union and Money Gram — control 65% of the market. “In times of recession,” said IFAD assistant chairman Kevin Cleaver, “facilitating remittances especially in rural areas is more vital than ever, and action must be taken as concerns the costs involved.” The average annual amount each African emigrant sends home is 1,180 dollars: with 25% going to commission the cost of transferring the money totals 295 dollars, a huge burden which should be reduced without delay. In the report “Sending Money Home to Africa”, IFAD reported that the entire continent had the same number of pick-up points as Mexico. The proposal made by IFAD and ADB is to create alternative structures such as microfinance institutes and post offices which would cut costs and make picking up the money easier, especially in rural areas of Africa where families are forced to cover long distances to get the money sent by their loved ones. The example of Algeria is cited, where 95% of the 5.399 billion dollars is picked up in post offices with low commission rates — which then also remain within the country’s finances. Microfinance and posts offer an additional advantage of financial services such as savings accounts, mortgages and insurances which could foster savings, since even the poorest sector of the populace put away money when they can, subsequently often investing in the development of their community. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Terrorism: Algeria; Attack in the Kabyles, Victims

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, OCTOBER 22 — A terrorist attack occurred this morning in Algeria in the Tizi Ouzou region, the capital of the Kabyles, 100km east of Algiers. According to sources at the site, there are at least six victims due to an attack against a group of security officers monitoring a construction site for Canadian company, SNC Lavalin, between Tizi Ouzou and Bouira. Sources close to the company confirmed the news with ANSA, specifying that the victims were all security officers and that “no worker for the company was involved in the ambush”. The attack has yet to be confirmed by the authorities, while local sources are saying that at least six officers were killed and three injured, one of them badly. The patrol came under attack at around 8am C.E.T. while it was heading towards the site in the mountains between Tizi Ouzou and Bouira, one of the regions of Algeria where, despite the permanent presence of the army, strikes continue by armed groups with links to Al Qaeda for an Islamic Maghreb (formerly the Salafite group for Preaching and Combat). SNC Lavalin is engaged in constructing a water network in Kabyles between Bouira and Tizi Ouzou. The same area saw the deaths of twelve Algerian workers belonging to the same company in a suicide attack in August 2008. The Algerian army has launched a vast anti-terrorism operation in Kabyles itself over the past three weeks, killing at least four members of the armed groups. Today’s attack is one of the bloodiest to be carried out in Algeria in recent months. In July, eleven security personnel were killed close to Tipasa, 60 km west of the capital. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Terrorism: Algeria; Minister Zerhouni, 6 Killed in Attack

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, OCTOBER 22 — Today’s terrorist attack in Algeria killed six and wounded one of the agents of a company in charge of security on a work yard set up by Canadian company SNC Lavalin between Tizi Ouzou and Bouira. The APS agency reported that the statement was made by minister of the Interior Yazid Zerhouni. Zerhouni explained that “Six patriots (self defence group, ed’s note) were killed and another was wounded”, and added that “they were part of a team in charge of security on a work yard set up to build a water pumping station for those living in the region”. At approximately 8am Italian time an Islamic armed group comprising some 20 men opened fire against the patrol that was returning to the yard located in the mountains between Tizi Ouzou and Bouira. Kabylie remains one of Algeria’s regions where, despite a constant army presence, armed groups linked to the Al Qaeda organisation for Islamic Maghreb (previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat). Today’s was one of the bloodiest attacks in recent months. In July 11 soldiers were killed near Tipasa, 60 km west of the capital city. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Goldstone Report: Lieberman Asks Ban Ki-Moon’s Support

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, OCTOBER 23 — Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has called UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last night to ask him not to hand the report on operation ‘Cast Lead’, drafted by judge Richard Goldstone, over to the General Assembly or the Security Council, military radio reports. Israel claims that the report — which documents a series of possible war crimes attributed to both the Israeli army and to Hamas during last winter’s conflict in Gaza — is “biased” and baseless. Lieberman has told Ban that the UN must find a way to deal with countries that continue to accuse Israel of breaking human rights, but, he argued, ignore these rights themselves. He mentioned Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others. Israel is often attacked from international forums based on, according to Lieberman, biased ideas and “hypocrisy”. “We must find a way to resolve this situation” the minister concluded. In the coming days deputy premier Silvan Shalom (Likud) will reportedly visit New York to discuss these issues with Ban Ki-moon. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Israeli Air Strike After Rocket Launching in Negev

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, OCTOBER 22 — Last night the Israeli air force carried out an air strike on objectives in the Gaza Strip after rocket launching by Palestinians against southern Israel, reported a military spokesman. The spokesman said that the target of the attack was “a building in the northern part of the Gaza Strip in which weapons were manufactured and two tunnels going under the border with Egypt and used for smuggling weapons. The raid was carried out after rocket launching by Palestinians in the eastern part of the Negev desert which did not result in victims or material damage.”(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Likud Growing: Labour Plummeting in Poll

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV — More than six years after the constitution of the government of Benyamin Netanyahu, the popularity of the Likud party is rising while the Labour party of Defence Minister Ehud Barak is falling. According to a poll published today by Yediot Ahronot, Likud would now receive 33 seats (on a total of 120), six more than in last February’s election. The centrist Kadima party stays level at 28 seats and the Labour party falls from 13 to 7 MPs to become the country’s fifth party, even after the orthodox Shas and the far-right Israel Beitenu (Avigdor Lieberman). The poor results for Labour may have been caused by the criticism on Barak for spending substantial sums of public funds during a working visit to Paris and the political criticism on him from the side of Daniel Ben Simon, the head of the electoral list of the Labour party who recently resigned. In general terms the Israeli support the Netanyahu government. Sixty percent agree with the government’s foreign policies and its defence capabilities. Forty-one percent think that Netanyahu is currently the most suitable figure to be Israel’s premier, while 31% would like to see Kadima leader Tzipi Livni in his place against only 7% for Barak. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Solana: Revise Rules of War Against Terrorism

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, OCTOBER 23 -Haaretz reports that EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana shares — at least in part — the vision of Israeli premier Benyamin Netanyahu according to which in an age characterised by the rapid growth of armed conflicts between nations and terrorist groups it is necessary to revise the rules of war. “In past times,” said Solana in a long interview with the newspaper, “wars were between one army and another, and there were laws and conventions for how to conduct them. Now we are seeing a changing situation in which there is no longer symmetry between the two parts, a situation in which it is difficult to apply the rules of classic warfare.” Solana immediately added that “until new rules are drawn up, we must abide by the existing ones.” He also rejected Israeli leaders’ criticism of the judge Richard Goldstone for his report on Operation Cast Lead. “I know Goldstone very well,” he said. “He has greatly helped us with his legal work in the former Yugoslavia, and I have no doubts over his fairness and honesty. It is obvious that he has no intention of trying to harm either of the two sides involved. He is certainly not trying to hurt Israel.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Yishai: I Won’t Rest Till They’re Evicted

(IsraelNN.com) Shas Chairman Eli Yishai vowed Thursday that he “will not rest” until illegal migrant workers and their children are evicted from Israel. In an interview with Arutz Sheva he attacked the decision by several Knesset Members to bring several migrant workers’ children into the committee room where the matter was being debated.

“Our faction whip has already complained to the Ethics Committee in the claim that there was an illegal action here. There was an attempt to put on a show. They are using children and it is a very ugly thing. There are all sorts of organizations and politicians that are trying to turn the Knesset into a theater.”

“Those children understand nothing about this issue. On the contrary — if someone really explained things to them, they too would agree to go home to their mother and father, their grandfather and grandmother. Just as we came to Israel and left Morocco and Yemen in order to return to our roots, so they need to return to their roots, to their country of origin, but instead of that those MKs and groups make cynical use of them.”

Zionism threatened The problem is a threat to the State of Israel, Yishai said. “The Finance Minister has already said that this is a phenomenon that is a threat to the entire Zionist endeavor and we must not let this situation continue. Even former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to evict the foreign workers from here. They are flooding us and I want to remind you that there are also thousands of illegal migrants that come here from Sudan. This is a grave phenomenon that we must not put up with. Anyone whose visa for staying here runs out must be evicted.”

If Israel shows determination the phenomenon will disappear, Yishai said. “Once we tell every foreign worker whose visa has expired that we will evict him, even if the wife is pregnant, then they will not test us. They try to infiltrate here just because they see that the State of Israel supports them.”

Yishai warned that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not meet his demands, he will remove the Immigration Authority from his responsibility. “Ministers of Interior did not deal with the matter of foreign workers because it was unpopular,” he said. “I do it today despite the fact that it is unpopular, but I demand that the Prime Minister give me backing. The foreign workers are a serious problem for the State of Israel and they also use up a lot of funds, in employment, education and welfare, at the expense of the residents of the State of Israel.”

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Berlusconi-Putin: Ankara Crossroad for Gas Agreements

(by Furio Morroni) (ANSAmed) — ANKARA, OCTOBER 22 — Rivalry to build new gas pipelines between Russia and Europe again turned to Turkey, which to date has acted wisely by joining both the European ‘Nabucco’ pipeline project and the Eni/Gazprom South Stream project. This policy, which is only apparently ambiguous, is part of Turkey’s geopolitical policy, which tends to exploit its central position to gain political weight in the region, which is the crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Turkey as a country is very dependent on energy, so much so that it imports more than 60% of its energy from abroad, and 30% of oil resources from Russia, which helps to explain the excellent relations between Moscow and Ankara. But Turkey’s government, as shown by today’s teleconference between Turkish premier Tayyp Erdogan, Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin, and even more by Putin’s visit to Ankara on August 6 to sign a cooperation agreement on the South Stream pipeline project, is considering new supply methods. Turkey’s energy policy is articulated to protect national interests, but is also in tune with the EU’s diversification requirements and with the anything but secret will of the USA to counter the Russian monopoly of the energy market, including through pipeline projects such as ITGI (which connects Italy/Edison with Greece and Turkey, which is already partly operational), and Nabucco, which is still in planning stages. It is for this reason that Turkey, when negotiating the many upcoming projects, is increasingly prone to request the role of energy hub instead of a simple point of transit, and also aims to sell part of the oil and gas supplies that pass through the country on its domestic market. The aspiration is quite legitimate, but western experts believe that it is already posing several problems to the conclusion of a number of agreements aimed at setting gas prices with producer countries. According to the latest demographic projections, in 20 years Turkey (which currently has 72 million inhabitants) should increase its population to 90 million souls, with a 7% yearly increase in the demand for energy. Consequently the country, which lacks energy resources, must secure a safe and reliable supply network for itself. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Goldstone Report: UAE Urges UN to Go Forward

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, OCTOBER 22 — The United Arab Emirates have urged the UN to send the Goldstone report on Israel and Hamas’ alleged violations during operation Cast Lead to the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and the International Criminal Court so that “appropriate measures are taken against Israeli war crimes outlined in the reports”, reports Gulf News. The speech made by the country’s UN representative, in the sixth committee of the General Assembly, also requested that “those responsible for the atrocious crimes be tried in court” and expressed “worries due to Israel’s dangerous policy, security, and humanitarian violations in the Arab and Palestinian Territories”.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Israeli and Iranian Nuclear Officials Met for First Time in 30 Years

In Breakthrough Meeting, Opposing Countries Discussed Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

Israeli and Iranian nuclear officials have met for the first time since Iran’s shah was deposed in 1979 to discuss non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, officials confirmed to ABC News today.

The meeting was organized by the International Commission on Nuclear Non Proliferation and Disarmament. Both the Arab League and the U.S. sent representatives. It took place in Cairo’s Four Seasons Hotel on Sept. 29 and 30.

[Commenter ‘ConstantXI’s response:]

Obama ordered this to make it appear his negotiations are a “success”. Any meeting, or “agreement”, nomatter how unenforceable will be viewed as a “success” by the fawning Obama media(such as ABC) because propping up Obama is one of the fawning media’s primary objectives. That Iran continues unabated with its nuclear program, that Iran is just playing for time, that Hezbollah and Hamas will have nukes(as Iran’s proxies) once Iran gets nukes, and that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria all have fledgling nuclear programs as a response to Iran’s nuclear program does not matter to the fawning media.Remember, we went through this same baloney with North Korea with the “successful” agreement Carter and Clinton reached with North Korea in the 1990’s. What happened there was that North Korea used the technology the Clintons stupidly gave North Korea and built nukes anyway. Same thing will happen here folks. Moreover, Obama is proposing giving Iran advanced U.S. nuclear technology, yes you read that correctly folks, Obama is proposing giving Iran advanced U.S. nuclear technology. I repeat, Obama is proposing giving advanced U.S. nuclear technology to Iran. This is the height of folly. If we are prepared to accept Iran having nuclear weapons(a mistake I believe), then at the very least let’s not be enablers and let’s not let Iran enhance it’s nuclear capabilities. And, no President Obama, Iran(having denied the Holocaust exists and supporting Islamic supremacism) has no right to “peaceful” nuclear energy because they simply can’t be trusted to use such “peaceful” nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Jordanian Parents Approve Beating Children in School, Study

(ANSAmed) AMMAN, OCTOBER 21 — Jordanian parents approve beating their children in schools as a form of discipline, a study showed today. According to a survey conducted by UNICEF, in cooperation with the national council for family, cases of physical and psychological abuse have increased in the past period in Jordan. The study showed that at least 70 percent of school students are subjected to some form of physical or physiological abuse by parents or teachers in schools. “Beating a child leads him to feel insecure and force him to run away from school.” said the study, which called for implementing reform measures in schools. “Beating can also turn children to become violent and negatively influence the education system,” said the study. Meanwhile, ministry of education is working to on a national initiative under the title: “Towards a safe school environment,” in cooperation with UNICEF, which aims at reducing case of abuse in schools around the kingdom. The initiative is expected to be launched under the patronage of Queen Rania, a renowned champion of children rights. (ANSAmed)

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Will Turkey Lead a Revived Islamic Empire?

Far more likely, we will see the use of a far less threatening term, such as the title championed by Adnan Oktar, a Turkish Muslim intellectual who has been calling for a “Turkish-led Islamic Union.” Oktar, although a controversial figure, is highly respected in many circles and is the most published author in the Islamic world, with over 65 million of his works in circulation. I recently travelled to Istanbul to speak with Mr. Oktar about his vision for a Turkish-led Islamic Union. According to Oktar, the revival of a Turkish led-Islamic empire will be the defining development that will bring peace not only to the Middle East, but to the world: .

[…]

In recent times, the world has been shocked to see Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reveal his true feelings toward Israel. In a fit or rage, in Davos, Switzerland, Erdogan shouted at the Israeli president: “You are old and your voice is loud out of a guilty conscience. When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill! I know well how you hit and kill children on beaches!” This is the same Erdogan who actually spent time in jail for the writing the following overtly radical poem:…

[…]

And recently another very significant event took place that entirely escaped notice in the Western press. During a visit to Istanbul, Iranian President Ahmadinejad stood inside the Sultanahmet Mosque and prayed behind a Turkish Sunni imam. Ahmadinejad then stated, “The political meaning of this act is immense.” Many within Turkey and the broader Islamic world took notice. According to Oktar, this was a sign that Ahmadinejad and the Iranian government are supporting the emerging Turkish-led Islamic Union. In an interview with the Iranian Press, Mr. Oktar said:

This act of Mr. Ahmadinejad, performing his prayers behind a Sunni imam, is very, very meaningful. Above all it means “if a Turkish-Islamic Union is to be formed, I will abide a Sunni imam, I will accept him as an imam.” … This is what it means. … I mean it has a highly important significance.

[Comments from JD: See article for map of Oktar’s vision.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Yemen Rebels ‘Fight Saudi Forces’

Rebels in northern Yemen say they have clashed with Saudi forces at the site of building work for a fence along the border between the two countries.

A statement on the rebels’ website said there were a number of deaths and injuries on both sides.

There was no immediate response from Saudi authorities.

The rebels, known as Houthis, say they are fighting discrimination in Yemen and accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting the Yemeni government.

The group accused Saudi forces of firing on them in the same area on Monday in support of a Yemeni government offensive.

A Yemeni government official told AP news agency that the claim of Saudi involvement in the ongoing conflict was a lie.

The rebels condemned the building of the barrier on the Saudi border: “Residents of the area reject any fence which would have a negative economic impact on them and cut them off from their brethren on the other side,” the statement said.

New wave

Yemeni officials accuse the rebels in the north of the country of wanting to re-establish Shia clerical rule, and of receiving support from Iran.

Houthi rebels say they want greater autonomy and a greater role for their version of Shia Islam. They complain that their community is discriminated against.

Earlier in the week, 10 rebels captured in 2008 were sentenced to death.

The Zaidi Shia community are a minority in Yemen but make up the majority in the north of the country.

The insurgents first took up arms against the government in 2004.

The government launched a fresh offensive in August 2009 which has precipitated a new wave of intense fighting.

Aid agencies say tens of thousands of people have been displaced.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Russia

Russians Violating Treaty, Developing Missile

GOP concerned by Obama’s rush to conclude new agreement with Moscow

Republicans in the Senate are gearing up to battle the Obama administration over the high-priority plan to finish a new arms-control treaty with Russia before the end of the year.

Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican and No. 2 Republican Senate leader, recently identified a key issue that is likely to complicate the administration’s plan: Russia for years has been violating the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is set to expire Dec. 5.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

‘I Physically Felt the Radioactivity’

The Chernobyl disaster happened over two decades ago, but its effects continue to be as present as ever. German photographer Rüdiger Lubricht spent months documenting what has been left behind in the exclusion zone which now surrounds the stricken reactor. In an interview with seen.by, he talks about his experiences.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Caucasus

Turkey-Armenia: Accords Signed Are a Mistake, Altounian

(by Cristiana Missori) (ANSAmed) — ROME — “I have signed a petition against the Turkish-Armenian protocols made in Zurich on October 10. No treaty can be signed with a Turkey which even today denies that the Armenian genocide occurred,” said essayist Janine Altounian firmly — daughter of deported Armenians who sought refugee status in France after 1915 — in stressing the pointlessness of a normalisation of diplomatic and economic relations with Turkey after over a century of hostility and 16 years of total severance of ties. “Despite my disappointment, however, I do not deny that — as some have pointed out — these accords may lead to a change in the conscience of Turkish civil society,” Janine Altounian told ANSAmed on the fringes of a presentation yesterday in Rome at the Casa Internazionale delle Donne of ‘Memoires du Genocide Armenien’ (Puf, 2009), in which we find the French translation of the diary that her father, Vahram Altounian, wrote in 1921, immediately after his arrival in France. “These memories — already published in Italy by Donzelli (2007) — make use of the contribution of several psychoanalysts who conducted in-depth studies on profound traumas linked to genocide and the Holocaust,” said the writer, who is today one of the most important French scholars on the subject of psychoanalysis and who has been translating Freud since 1970. She said that “the work to which I have dedicated my life is that of preventing what happened to about a million and a half people from simply disappearing from history.” It is a fear shared, she said, by the vast majority of Armenians living outside their home country and who opposed the protocol: from the 500,000 in France to the over a million in the United States and two million in Russia, as well as those living in Georgia, Lebanon and Iran. In all of these years, Altounian said, “I have never considered moving back to Armenia. Going home for me means going to Turkey, to Bursa, not to Armenia, where I went for the first time last year. It is a land that for too long was subjugated to the Soviet Union and that I am not very interested in.” She is not alone in this feeling: many others with Armenian origins do not recognise Armenia as their home. “Initially,” she said, “for the survivors of the massacre who chose to live in France it was a very hard life. They were treated as ‘dirty foreigners’, and for a long time forced to live in miserable conditions before managing to integrate into French society.” Even today, she continued, there is much discrimination in the world against those with Armenian origins. “The approximately two and a half million Armenians living in Russia are not having an easy time of it. They are still treated as ‘blacks’ — meaning those coming from the Caucasus.” She also harshly criticises the warm welcome Turkey is receiving as part of the Season of Turkey in France, with 400 events between July 2009 and March 2010, and over the past few days Janine Altounian, along with thousands of Armenians living in France, has signed a letter to the mayor of Paris to prevent the Eiffel Tower from being lit with Turkey’s national colours. The scholar spoke of the hypocrisy of diplomatic relations, asking “how can Bertrand Delanoe welcome both Turkish authorities and Orhan Pamuk — who due to his writings on the Armenian genocide has received death threats in Turkey — in the same week?”. With a tone of regret, she ended by saying that “words no longer mean anything at all.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Far East

The Chinese Economy Grows by 8.9%

In one year it has grown by 7.7%. But there are fears that the growth is mainly due to the stimulus package launched by the government. World Bank: 80% of the growth is due to the loans distributed by the state. Strong inflation and high unemployment takes its toll on the population while wages continue to shrink.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The gross domestic product (GDP) of the third quarter grew in China, by 8, 9%, the highest in the year, according to data published today by the Bureau of Statistics. Last quarter it was at 7.9%. In one year, growth was 7.7%, confirming China as the country in the best position emerging from the global economic crisis.

The figures, which also show a growth in industrial output (+12.4%), are leading to hopes that by the end of 2009 the GDP will rise to 8%. Vice-premier Li Keqiang states that there is “a very good possibility” that China can achieve the goal of 8% growth in a year, a level considered necessary to provide employment and reduce social tensions.

According to several economists, the recovery is the result of the anti-crisis package that Beijing launched earlier this year with strong emissions of capital onto the market and indiscriminate granting of bank loans. According to the World Bank, more than 80% of growth this year is the product of State support.

At the grassroots level, the population is struggling with increasingly high consumer prices. At the same time, tens of millions of migrant workers who were laid off (due to a fall in exports), are now being re-employed but with wages even lower than before. Experts say the real challenge that Beijing currently faces is to withdraw the stimulus without bringing down the economy. Last August, a reduction of loans led to a drop of 20% in the Shanghai stock exchange.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Two Women Sentenced to 20 Lashes for ‘Indecently’ Wearing Trousers in Sudan

Two Sudanese women were sentenced yesterday to 20 lashes for ‘indecently’ wearing trousers.

The case came weeks after a similar case sparked worldwide controversy.

The two women were arrested at the same party as Lubna Hussein, a former journalist who was also charged with wearing trousers and who publicised her case as part of a campaign against Sudan’s public order laws.

Judge Hassan Mohamed Ali sentenced each woman to 20 lashes and a fine of 250 Sudanese pounds (£66) in Khartoum East court on Thursday afternoon.

The women’s supporters told journalists the punishment, often carried out immediately after a conviction, was postponed after the women launched an appeal.

Hussein, who was at the court on Thursday said the latest sentencing showed her campaign still had a long way to go.

‘The campaign has succeeded in showing the world that there are unfair laws against women in Sudan. But we will keep on fighting,’ she said.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Uganda Rebukes Somali Islamists

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said Somali Islamists will “pay” if they attack Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

He spoke after a commander of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it would target Uganda and Burundi, which have peacekeepers in Somalia.

The commander said al-Shabab wanted to retaliate after at least 20 civilians were killed as peacekeepers shelled insurgent strongholds in Mogadishu.

A spokesman for the peacekeepers said militants had caused the deaths.

The peacekeepers, who are part of the African Union force Amisom, were responding to an insurgent attack on the airport that occurred as Somalia’s president was leaving for a conference in Uganda.

After heavy shelling left at least 20 dead and more than 50 injured, al-Shabab commander Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein said militants would attack Kampala and Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.

“We shall make their people cry,” he said. “We will move our fighting to those two cities and we shall destroy them.”

Peacekeeper denial

Mr Museveni rebutted the threat.

“Those terrorists, I would advise them to concentrate on solving their problems,” he said.

“If they try to attack Uganda, then they will pay because we know how to attack those who attack us.”

A spokesman for the Amisom peacekeeping force, Maj Barigye Ba-hoku, said peacekeepers were not responsible for Thursday’s civilian casualties, including those in Mogadishu’s main market, Bakara.

“Al-Shabab wants to drag us into their war,” he told Reuters news agency.

“They shell us and then they also shell Bakara, then they tell people there it was Amisom who killed civilians.”

Somalia has been plagued by conflict since 1991.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Immigration

Australia: Immigrants ‘Who Can’t Adapt Should Leave’

A MAN harassed by anti-war mail after his son was killed in Afghanistan says immigrants who can’t adapt to Australian life and values should live elsewhere.

Private Gregory Michael Sher, 30, was killed in a rocket attack in Oruzgan Province, in southern Afghanistan, in January.

He was the eighth Australian Defence Force soldier to be killed in Afghanistan since 2002, but the first to die as a result of indirect fire.

Mr Sher’s father Felix received a phone call and letters, allegedly from self-styled Muslim cleric Sheikh Haron, just before his son’s funeral.

“I feel bad that you have lost your son but I don’t feel bad that a murderer of innocent civilians has lost his life,” a line in one of the letters reportedly said.

Other Australian families of men killed in Afghanistan have allegedly received similar letters in the past two years.

On Tuesday Sheikh Haron was charged with seven counts of “using a postal service or similar service to menace, harass, or cause offence”. He was granted bail to appear in court on November 10.

Mr Sher says he’s now waiting for justice to take its course.

“There is no point in getting angry or upset, nothing is going to be achieved by it,” he told Fairfax Radio Network today.

Asked if he had something to say to Sheikh Haron, Mr Sher called on immigrants whose values were not in line with the general community to live elsewhere.

“What I would like to say (is) that when people immigrate to Australia, when they actually do so with the intention of integrating with the general community and living in peace and harmony, rather than confronting it, and causing tension and conflict, and irrespective of what one’s religious beliefs are, one can still live happily with the community but not dissolve,” he said.

“If people don’t like what’s happening in Australia, live elsewhere.”

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


Boat With 200 Migrants Sends SOS

(ANSAmed) — PALERMO, OCTOBER 23 — A boat from Libya, heading for the Sicilian coast with about 200 migrants, sent out an SOS with a satellite phone due to difficult sea conditions. The request for help was received by some Eritrean residents in Italy, relatives of the immigrants. The signal was routed through the port authorities’ operations centre, and according to them the boat would still be in the Gulf of Sidra, a great distance from Italian waters. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


EU: Stop to Differences Among 27 for Refugees

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 21 — All of the EU states should apply the same procedure for those claiming asylum from persecution in their country of origin. The wide differences still existing between the 27 must, says Brussels, end by 2012 at the latest, thanks to the application of a package of measures launched today by the EU government. A Somali landing on the Greek coast at present does not benefit from the same opportunities as his country-fellow who makes it to Malta, and it is by no means the same thing for Chechen to get to Austria as it is to make it to Slovakia. “Those claiming asylum should be given the same opportunities of being accepted or refused in all EU countries” said EU Justice, Liberty and Security Commissioner, Jacques Barrot. With policies considered as less than generous, asylum represents a black mark on the EU’s copybook. Of the 121 thousand claims made in 2008 by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, European countries took on a mere 4,378 people compared to the 60 thousand welcomed in the USA. Thanks to the new EU norms, a six-month period is to be introduced as the maximum time that an asylum procedure should last, with a three-year transit period to allow member states to get into line. Procedures will be simplified and those concerning more vulnerable people, such as torture victims or unaccompanied minors, improved. The harmonisation of the rules aim to assist refugees in accessing social support, healthcare and access to the job market. According to Eurostat, 240 thousand requests for asylum were received in the EU in 2008, with Iraqis in first place, followed by Russians. Improving and clarifying the rules for welcoming them, says Barrot, will serve “to offer them protection but at the same time to combat abuse of the system”, blocking the way to free-loaders as “it is unacceptable that people should risk their lives on flimsy craft at sea in order to get the status of political refugee”. Improving the regulations could lead to a more equitable sharing out of refugees between the various EU countries, helping those countries whose geographical position — Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta — means that they have the highest net figure for applications.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Europe Criticised on Iraqi Asylum

The United Nations refugee agency has criticised European countries for sending asylum seekers back to central Iraq, an area it considers unsafe.

It said people fleeing the region needed international protection because of security concerns and what it called “serious human rights abuses”.

The call from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees came after Britain tried to deport 44 men to Baghdad.

Denmark and Sweden were also cited as having forced Iraqi refugees to return.

Of the asylum seekers sent back by the UK government on 16 October 2009, 10 were admitted but the rest were refused re-entry and flown back to Britain.

They are being held in immigration centres near Gatwick airport.

The UNHCR was set up in 1950 to oversee the protection of refugees and to try to address causal problems.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


Italy: Frattini: Soon Asylum and Refugees Agency

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 22 — Italy has proposed the creation of a European asylum and refugees agency “which would preferably be situated in a European Mediterranean country”. The proposal, which will soon be approved by the EU, was presented by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini to the presidency of the synod of African bishops in this morning’s meeting in the Italian Foreign Ministry. Frattini explained that “uniform European assessment criteria” are needed to create an objective and common framework for the management of flows of migrants. The agency, the minister added, will have “a monitoring network” in other countries to collect information and data. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Labour Wanted Mass Immigration to Make UK More Multicultural, Says Former Adviser

Labour threw open Britain’s borders to mass immigration to help socially engineer a more multicultural country, a former Government adviser has revealed.

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”.

As a result, the public argument for immigration concentrated instead on the economic benefits and need for more migrants.

Critics said the revelations showed a “conspiracy” within Government to impose mass immigration for “cynical” political reasons.

Mr Neather was a speech writer who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, in the early 2000s.

Writing in the Evening Standard, he revealed the “major shift” in immigration policy came after the publication of a policy paper from the Performance and Innovation Unit, a Downing Street think tank based in the Cabinet Office, in 2001.

He wrote a major speech for Barbara Roche, the then immigration minister, in 2000, which was largely based on drafts of the report.

He said the final published version of the report promoted the labour market case for immigration but unpublished versions contained additional reasons, he said.

He wrote: “Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

“I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended — even if this wasn’t its main purpose — to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.”

The “deliberate policy”, from late 2000 until “at least February last year”, when the new points based system was introduced, was to open up the UK to mass migration, he said.

Some 2.3 million migrants have been added to the population since then, according to Whitehall estimates quietly slipped out last month.

On Question Time on Thursday, Mr Straw was repeatedly quizzed about whether Labour’s immigration policies had left the door open for the BNP.

In his column, Mr Neather said that as well as bringing in hundreds of thousands more migrants to plug labour market gaps, there was also a “driving political purpose” behind immigration policy.

He defended the policy, saying mass immigration has “enriched” Britain, and made London a more attractive and cosmopolitan place.

But he acknowledged that “nervous” ministers made no mention of the policy at the time for fear of alienating Labour voters.

“Part by accident, part by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom.

“But ministers wouldn’t talk about it. In part they probably realised the conservatism of their core voters: while ministers might have been passionately in favour of a more diverse society, it wasn’t necessarily a debate they wanted to have in working men’s clubs in Sheffield or Sunderland.”

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch think tank, said: “Now at least the truth is out, and it’s dynamite.

“Many have long suspected that mass immigration under Labour was not just a cock up but also a conspiracy. They were right.

“This Government has admitted three million immigrants for cynical political reasons concealed by dodgy economic camouflage.”

The chairmen of the cross-party Group for Balanced Migration, MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, said: “We welcome this statement by an ex-adviser, which the whole country knows to be true.

“It is the first beam of truth that has officially been shone on the immigration issue in Britain.”

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Catholic League: Why Does Obama Like ‘Christian Basher’?

‘Remember … Jennings was chosen to instruct youth on moral matters’

The president of the Catholic League is questioning why President Obama would select Kevin Jennings, known as a “Christian basher” in addition to his homosexual activism, to instruct public school children on “moral matters.”

WND has reported multiple times on the background of Jennings, who founded the “Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network,” which promotes homosexuality in public schools across the nation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Critics Attack Unread Book on Culture War

Publisher confirms critical comments written without access to text

A new book by pro-family activist and attorney Matt Barber, who famously was fired from Allstate for writing — on his own time and on his own computer — about his beliefs about marriage, has been attracting all sorts of negative attention on Amazon.com.

But his publisher says the critics are writing their comments without having access to the book, since he’s kept tight control of the select few advance copies made available to reviewers and no one else has seen it.

“The Right Hook: From the Ring to the Culture War” by Barber, a pro boxer, insurance investigator, lawyer and pro-family activist, is available to the public for the first time when Barber is the keynote speaker Saturday at a banquet for Americans for Truth, an Illinois-based pro-family group. Its general release is Nov. 3 .

But on Amazon, more than a dozen “reviewers” had blasted the book…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Sunstein Urges: Abolish Marriage

Adviser compares institution to country club membership

The U.S. government should abolish its sanctioning of marriage, argued Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar.

Sunstein proposed that the concept of marriage should become privatized, with the state only granting civil union contracts to couples wishing to enter into an agreement.

Sunstein explained marriage licensing is unnecessary, pointing out people stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations without any government interference.

“Under our proposal, the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government,” wrote Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler in their 2008 book, “Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

3 comments:

Robert Marchenoir said...

Re : Jordanian parents' approval of children being beaten in school.

Such informal opinion is emerging up all the time in France.

It's a well-known fact that African boys, here, are mostly left to their own devices, wreaking havoc upon the neighbourhood. Plenty of children seem free to roam unattended, at an age where their French counterparts are closely watched after by their parents.

African families import their culture, where children do not really belong to their biological parents, as much as they are watched upon by all the adults in the village. Of course, the African village does not exist in France, at least not in the same shape, so what might be working in Africa is a miserable failure here.

On the other hand, immigrant fathers routinely complain that physical punishment, which is standard in their culture, is so frowned upon in France that it can land them in legal trouble.

School teachers, social workers and the like seem on the lookout for anything which may be deemed as bad treatment to children. Immigrant children understand that very well, and use the surrounding Western culture as a blackmail tool against their parents.

Fadela Amara, the Secretary of State for city estates, has just lauched a program designed to promote the immigrant fathers's authority. One of them told her that his child, after an attempt at punishment, called the official helpline for battered children.

First we sabotage whatever authority they might have, then we humiliate them publicly for not having enough of it. While one part of the government promotes lofty initiatives to prevent "violence against children", another part is busy undoing the damage inflicted among immigrant families (and others). We end up paying twice, for exactly zilch.

Message to politicians : stop toying with cultures. Stop trying to impose upon us peoples whose culture is so far apart from ours that they might as well come from a thousand years ago.

That crazy experiment will never work.

Robert Marchenoir said...

Re : Obama's buddy asking for abolition of marriage.

This is a grave deviation from proper Leftist ideology. If we abolish marriage, how can we have homosexual marriage ?

WAKE UP said...

The naked man story reminds me: a little old lady calls the police to complain that she can see a naked man from her bedroom window. The police arrive and can see nothing. She says, "stand on this wardrobe".