Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20100418

»Black Rev. Calls Accusations the Tea Party is Racist an “Out-and-Out Lie”
»Family Massacre in Chicago a Muslim “Honor Killing”
»US: Bishops Track Foreign Priests for Sex Abuse
Europe and the EU
»Denmark: New Mosque Approved for Copenhagen
»Europe Struggles With Muslim Dress Code
»Filipino Nurses Anticipate Seeing Serious But Not Angry Finns
»France: Tahar Ben Jelloun Sees a Black Cloud Over the Banlieues
»Germany: Bishop Mixa Admits Cuffing Kids as Wine and Art Bills Come to Light
»Germany: Priest Says He Was Bullied Into Taking Fall for Pope in Abuse Scandal
»Greece to Allow Hunt for Nazi Criminals
»Italy Joins French Calls for EU Carbon Tariff
»Muslims ‘Laughing’ At EU Woes, Islamic Finance Chief Says
»Nearly Half of Germans Say Nuclear Power Stations Should Run Longer
»Netherlands: Bishop Reports Priest to Police for Suspected Child Abuse
»Opinion: Iceland Could Pay Off Debt With Geo-Power
»Paolo Flores D’Arcais: “Ratzinger and Wojtyla Are Responsible for the Paedophile Plague”.
»Sweden: Man Shot in Malmö as Gang War Intensifies
»Swiss Army Marches Forward But Not Sure Where
»UK: Cat Stranded Up a Tree for 7 Days… Because the Fire Brigade’s Ladder Came Up Short
»UK: Cancer Survivor Barred From NHS Treatment for Paying Private Doctor to Ease Her Spinal Pain
»UK: Scrap Car Tax and Introduce Tolls for All Motorways and Major a Roads, Says Thinktank
»Winning the Battle of the Israeli Image in Europe
Israel and the Palestinians
»NYT Journalist: Israelis Dislike Obama Due to Racism
Middle East
»Ex-President Khatami ‘Banned From Leaving Iran’
»Extramarital Sex Fuels Earthquakes, Warns Iran Cleric
»Iran Leader Khamenei Brands US “Nuclear Criminal”
»Turkey is Positive Shelter From Sexual Discrimination, Academic Says
»Two Photos That Express Obama Middle East Policy? Well, Yes and No
South Asia
»Malaysia — Iran: Kuala Lumpur, Petronas Cuts Petrol Supplies to Iran
»Usama Bin Laden Had a Facebook Page
Far East
»Philippines: Military Says 50 Foreign Terrorists in South
Sub-Saharan Africa
»ANC Youth Leader Malema ‘To Face Disciplinary Hearing’
»Australian-Born Familes Will be Minority in 15 Years, Claims Macroplan Australia
»Australian-Born Families to be a Minority by 2025
»USA: Another “Inconvenient Truth” About Illegal Immigration… Disease
Culture Wars
»Let’s Accept Jamaican Homophobia: It’s Part of the Culture
»Even 9-Month-Olds Choose ‘Gender-Specific’ Toys
»Why Muslims Are So Inclined to Seduce, Rape and Marry Non-Muslim Girls?


Black Rev. Calls Accusations the Tea Party is Racist an “Out-and-Out Lie”

If you listen to Chris Matthews and MSNBC, you’d think the Tea Party movement is strictly white and teaming with racists.

The corporate media pushes this fallacy because it is the only card they have to play and because racism is such a divisive issue. If the establishment can portray the Tea Party movement as racist, they believe they can shut it down and marginalize its message.

Rev. C.L. Bryant, from Shreveport, Louisiana — who is black American — put this vicious propaganda to rest last year, not that we can expect Matthews and crew — who are obsessed with race and playing the race card — to cite Bryant is an example that black Americans support and are members of the Tea Party movement.

“A Louisiana minister says he hopes more pastors join him in the Tea Party movement,” the Associated Press reports today.

The Rev. C.L. Bryant has been addressing Tea Party rallies around the country. On Thursday’s federal tax filing deadline, he spoke at rallies in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.

Bryant, who is African-American, says allegations that Tea Party activists are racists and haters are “an out-and-out lie.”

But he says, “This country, I believe, was given to us divinely, and Americans are not the type of people by nature to be ruled over.”

Here is a video of Rev. Bryant’s speech on September 12, 2009:…

[Return to headlines]

Family Massacre in Chicago a Muslim “Honor Killing”

Responding early Wednesday morning to the scene of a multiple shooting inside a bungalow located in the 7200 block of South Mozart Street, Chicago, IL were the bloodied and lifeless bodies of Tawanda Thompson, 19, who was in the late stages of pregnancy with a girl; Keyshai Fields, 16, also four-months pregnant; 3 year-old Keleasha Larry, and 7 month-old Jihad Larry. There were all methodically murdered in an early morning shooting spree allegedly at the hand of 32 year-old James A. LARRY, Tawanda Thompson’s husband. They were married less than a month. In addition to the dead, 57 year-old Leona Larry, the suspect’s mother and his 13 year-old nephew, Demond Larry were critically wounded.

Considering the unborn children, six lives were shortened by murder and two more lie in the balance. The act was particularly brutal, according to the homicide detective, who provided this author with the details of the murder scene on the condition his name not be used.He confirmed some of the published and unpublished police reports and sources, stating that the suspect shot his wife first, the bullet entering her throat. He then methodically executed the others in the house, shooting each victim in the head or face. When he realized that his pregnant wife was still alive, he turned and shot her in the head, killing her and her unborn child —a girl.

And one 12 year-old girl witnessed nearly the entire event, herself narrowly escaping death by running in her pajamas to a nearby gas station for help as the suspect shot at her. At the gas station, the traumatized young girl telephoned her mother, saying that her uncle “killed everyone.” The suspect, James LARRY, was apprehended by police a short time later. He was charged yesterday with four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of intentional homicide of an unborn child.

When arrested, the suspect expressed remorse. He reportedly told arresting officers that he was sorry, but not for the murders. “He was sorry that he ran out of bullets,” confirmed the detective. The motive? His wife and family would not submit to Islamic doctrine.

As he described the scene inside the house and the suspect’s apprehension to me last night, this hardened police detective who I’ve known for the last eight years was more upset than I’ve even known him to be. Upset over the deaths, upset over the motive, and upset at the legal system. “This didn’t have to happen,” he said. “But it did, and it will probably happen again in another community, to another family,” he stated. “The reason it happened here and the reason it will happen again is that we’ve allowed our prisons to become recruiting grounds for Islamic fundamentalism that teaches this twisted [expletive deleted]. And our system has become too lenient, too ‘PC,’ and too afraid to confront this problem, so now we have nearly an entire family murdered by a guy quoting Allah and the Qu’ran.”

James A. LARRY converted to Islam while serving time in prison. Having a number of prior convictions, LARRY was most recently sentenced in 2002 to 5 1/2 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon. He was paroled in April of 2007, but spent three months in a halfway house after he admitted smoking marijuana while on probation.

It was during his time in prison that he began receiving visits by prison imams through the Islamic prison outreach program. “He became increasingly radicalized with orthodox Islamic beliefs, ultimately demanding compliance to fundamentalist Islam by his wife and family,” stated the detective. “He [allegedly] killed his wife because she would not wear Muslim attire, and would not follow his beliefs,” he stated. “It was an honor killing, pure and simple, but don’t count on hearing that in the media.”

[Return to headlines]

US: Bishops Track Foreign Priests for Sex Abuse

Washington, 16 April (AKI/Washington Post) — For the first time, American Catholic bishops have begun tracking complaints of sexual abuse against foreign-trained priests working in the United States. In the US bishops’ most recent annual survey, church officials reported that of the 21 clergy sex abuse complaints made in 2009 by minors, nine involved priests sent by overseas dioceses.

The information was released as the Catholic Church in the US is importing hundreds of priests and is facing intense scrutiny for its handling of sex abuse cases, including the movement of abusers from one country to another.

Although it’s only one year of data and does not include details about any of the cases, the number of accusations involving foreign-trained priests has prompted debate within the church and among advocates for victims.

American bishops are paying more attention to the subject, and for the past two years have asked dioceses to detail their screening procedures.

“It started popping up, so we started to zero in on international priests,” said Mary Jane Doerr, associate director of the office of child and youth protection at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“It’s a murky issue, so we’re trying to do the best we can.”

Screening varies widely. The diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas which last year reported that it had 91 foreign priests only requires a letter of recommendation and liability from the bishop in the priest’s home country.

The diocese of Brooklyn in New York also had 91 overseas priests. It requires the bishop in the priest’s home country to send an affidavit that the priest has never been charged criminally, has no behavioural problems “that would indicate he might deal with minors in an inappropriate manner”.

The Washington archdiocese, which has 16 foreign priests, requires fingerprints and child protection training in their home diocese.

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

Europe and the EU

Denmark: New Mosque Approved for Copenhagen

Vibevej Street will feature a mosque complete with minarets following city council approval

Copenhagen City Council has approved the planning permission for the city’s first mosque, which will feature traditional minarets.

The council approved the Shia Muslim mosque which will be built in the city’s North West district on Vibevej Street. According to the local plans, the building will contain a prayer room, amphitheatre, conference room, library and accommodation for visiting imams.

The mosque will also feature two 32m-tall minarets and a blue dome.

It had previously come under fire for alleged funding from the Iranian government. But the project’s architect Bijan Eskandani has previously assured that the funding is coming from private wealthy Iranian donors and not state funds.

The mosque is one of two planned for Copenhagen, the other being a Sunni Muslim mosque on Amager, near the University of Copenhagen.

           — Hat tip: DC[Return to headlines]

Europe Struggles With Muslim Dress Code

Anxieties that visible signs of Islam erode national identity are merging with complaints that immigrants are stealing jobs amid the worst economic slump in decades and deepen a sense of unease in many European countries, small and large alike, over the role of Muslims in society

Chances of seeing a burqa in Belgium are only a little better than spotting a liquor shop in Saudi Arabia. Yet Belgium soon may be the first European nation to outlaw the burqa and other Islamic garb that completely hides a woman’s body and face.

Neighboring France and the Netherlands may also outlaw attire that is viewed by many in western European societies as demeaning to women. It also is considered a gateway to radical Islam, a fear that is stoking rightwing sentiment across the continent.

“There is all-party public support for this,” says Leen Dierick, a conservative member of the Belgian parliament’s Interior Affairs committee that unanimously backed the proposed ban March 31. The initiative is expected become law in July and would apply to all public places, including streets.

Threats against cartoonists and artists over depictions of the prophet Muhammad have also raised fears that Islam is not compatible with Western values of freedom of speech.

Swiss voters recently voted to ban the construction of new minarets. In recent years, both mosque and minaret construction projects in many European countries, including Sweden, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Germany and Slovenia have generated protests, some of them violent.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy favors a burqa ban, saying the veils compromise women’s dignity. Unlike the Belgians or the Dutch — who see a clear and straightforward public security issue — the French are struggling with the constitutionality of outlawing a religious dress code.

‘Public security’

Until now, it has been up to city governments in Belgium to crack down on burqa-style outfits. “Enforcement by local governments has been patchy,” says Dierick. “The point is public security, the need to show one’s face in public. Not religious freedom.”

The proposed Belgian ban partly underscores how populist politicians across Europe are making a big imprint on attitudes and policies toward immigrants and minorities, especially Muslims.

Belgian lawmaker Filip Dewinter says mainstream politicians back a ban on burqa-type attire for fear of losing more ground to his far-right Flemish Interest party — a fringe factor 15 years but who today hold 17 of the 150 parliamentary seats.

“We were the first to propose a burqa ban,” says Dewinter. “Now the parliament votes for a ban (drafted by a) traditional government party. Whatever! It’s the outcome that counts.”

Umar Mirza, a 22-year-old student and editor of the Dutch Muslim Web site “We’re Staying Here” says sentiment toward Muslims and immigrants began to harden in the Netherlands 10 years ago.

“People my age have not known anything else,” he says, adding the prevailing view of Muslims “has gotten much harder and sharper and less targeted at solutions.”

In the Netherlands, polls indicate that Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party could nearly triple its presence in parliament and win 25 or so seats in June elections, up from nine today.

Wilders and like-minded supporters of the far-right hold that Muslims threaten European values by wearing head scarves and more conservative dress that fully covers body and head, such as the burqa, the chador and the niqab.

Eurabia fears

Numbers put growing fears of Europe becoming “Eurabia” into perspective.

Although their ranks are growing, Muslims make up only small minorities in Western Europe. France has the largest Muslim population of an estimated 5 million, or 7.5 percent of the population, followed by the Netherlands with 6 percent, Germany with 5 percent, Austria with 4.2 percent, Belgium with 3 percent and Britain with 2.7 percent, according to a 2009 study of the Pew Research Center in Washington.

There is broad support in the Dutch parliament to ban face-obscuring clothing except if required by law for safety or health reasons. Talk of a ban is on hold, for now. Fewer than 500 women wear such outfits in the Netherlands, out of a population of 16.5 million.

“Banning the burqa in Belgium is easy. The vast majority of Muslim women here don’t wear one,” says Maryam H’madoun, an activist in Antwerp for Muslim women’s right to wear head scarves in public places.

Muslims say their Islamic dress expresses their freedom of religion.

The headscarves debate “shows we still aren’t able to accept the fact that the headscarves are part of our society,” says Mirza, the editor of the “We’re Staying Here” Web site. “In the UK they even made special police uniforms for women with headscarves. That shows willingness from the government and improves participation in society of these groups.”

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

Filipino Nurses Anticipate Seeing Serious But Not Angry Finns

The 20 nurses recruited from the Philippines by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa will arrive here today

The long-awaited group of 20 Filipino nurses is to arrive today — Thursday.

These nurses are only a small step on the way to improving the acute shortage of nursing professionals in Finland, but it is a major shift in the recruitment policy of Finnish hospitals.

This is the first time for the public health sector to look for labour force actively from outside of Europe. For the first time they will also be placed in the demanding special fields of nursing.

The new nurses are scheduled to start work at the Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) on April 19th.

They will be placed in pairs in the hospitals of Meilahti, Töölö, Herttoniemi, Jorvi, and Peijas, as well as in the Surgical Hospital in Helsinki.

All these Filipino nurses are experienced nursing professionals, who also have some work experience abroad. They will use Finnish as their working language.

“These nurses have been studying Finnish in the Philippines for nine months. Six hours every day, five days a week”, reports Mika Eskola, the Managing Director of the Finnish recruitment company Opteam.

The recruitment of the Filipino nurses is a joint project conducted by HUCH in cooperation with the Laurea University of Applied Sciences and Opteam.

In Finland, the Filipino nurses will be paid the same salaries as their Finnish colleagues get.

HUCH will sign a two-year contract with the foreign nurses. After that, the hospital will evaluate how well the nurses have adapted themselves to Finland, how the working community has accepted the arrivals, and whether or not HUCH should further expand its recruitment from abroad.

“We hope that our model would be good enough to be adopted even elsewhere in Finland. We really want this venture to succeed”, says Personnel Manager Kirsi Sillanpää from HUCH.

According to Sillanpää, Finnish hospitals will really have to check all possible sources in order that they can secure the availability of nurses even in the future.

“Over the next decade, a total of aproximately 2,400 nurses will retire from the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa alone”, Sillanpää notes.

The working community is already looking forward to the arrival of their new colleagues, says HUCH nurse Tiina Salovaara, who took part in the job interviews of the nurses in the Philippines.

“It is true that some suspicions have also been expressed in the course of the recruitment process. However, today the atmosphere is different, and everyone is eagrly expecting the arrival of their Filipino colleagues”, Salovaara continues.

In the predominantly female workplace, future colleagues have been worried whether there is enough food in the fridge for the newcomers, when they arrive in the flats after their long flight.

Even the Filipino nurses themselves have some expectations concerning Finland.

When asked what they would imagine Finns to be like, the nurses answered that Finns are “serious but not angry”, Salovaara reports.

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

France: Tahar Ben Jelloun Sees a Black Cloud Over the Banlieues

Le Monde 10. 04. 2010 (France)

In a deeply pessimistic article about the French banlieues, Tahar Ben Jelloun describes the bleak prospects for the first generation of immigrants who are now approaching old age. “They live or survive and watch their lives collapse around them. They had children to feel less alone, to be like the others, and now realise that they have no control over anything. Neither over their offspring nor over the passing of time. They feel abandoned. Some have made their peace with the situation and are happy, others can only hope that fate will take care of them. Then, when they hear that their son has been killed in a fight or some crime, they fall silent. The sky falls on their heads.”

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

Germany: Bishop Mixa Admits Cuffing Kids as Wine and Art Bills Come to Light

A bishop accused of not treating claims that he beat children in his care seriously, has admitted to giving what he called clips round the ear — and has now been accused of misusing orphanage funds on wine, art and jewellery.

Walter Mixa, Bishop of Augsburg, denied ever using physical violence against children in the face of claims from eight people who lived at the Schrobenhausen children’s home during the 1970s and 1980s, that he beat them with his fists, a stick and even a carpet beater.

All eight are ready to repeat their accusations under oath to a court, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Saturday.

After weeks of denial, Mixa released a statement on Friday saying, “I will be completely honest and say that as a long-serving teacher and town priest with contact with very many young people; that I naturally cannot rule out one or the other cuff around the ear 20 years ago.”

The statement continued, “If it actually came to cuffs, I very much regret that today.”

A special investigation into activities at the orphanage and the charitable foundation which ran it has now been completed by lawyer Sebastian Knott, whose ten-page report highlights a number of seemingly incongruous purchases by the orphanage.

These include spending 15,000 Deutsche marks on a Mary icon, DM43,000 on a probably counterfeit Piransi engraving, and DM70,500 on a fancy crucifix. Thousands were also spent on wine.

Not only did Mixa either directly buy these things himself or approve their purchase, he was a poor judge of worth according to the report, which said that his successor had them valued in 1999, and was told they were worth just DM60,000 — less than half the DM128,500 Mixa paid.

When asked by Knott to justify the purchases using money dedicated to the care of the orphans at the home, he replied in a letter, “The children and young people were to develop a taste for art and beauty via the appropriate furnishing of the house.”

Knott’s report does not make any conclusions over whether Mixa, as head of the board of trustees of the Catholic Orphanage Foundation, or the actual head of the Schrobenhausen home, was responsible for the purchases. But he confirmed that many of the bills were signed by Mixa.

Knott said two attempts to meet personally with the bishop failed, and that he only received any kind of answer to his third attempt — and this was an instruction to contact a Munich lawyer.

“He told me that the bishop maintains his offer of discussion to those concerned, and will be helpful in the clarification of financial inconsistencies,” said Knott.

These inconsistencies include the delivery of wine worth DM5,386.51 to the home between 1993 and 1996. “Alcohol is forbidden in the home,” clarified Knott.

Nearly DM40,000 was also paid from orphanage funds for a bishop’s ring made of gold, the report said.

And in 1992, the foundation paid DM5,457 for parts for columns which were built in a private priests’ garden. There also remains the transfer of DM40,000 to Rudolf Koletzko, a controversial figure in the Vatican. The search for a reason behind this transfer is ongoing, said Knott.

Criticism of Mixa is increasing, with politicians from the Social Democratic Party and the Greens calling for him to resign.

Catholics within the bishopric are also raising their voices against him, with military deacon Anton Tischinger talking of a, “catastrophe which has broken over the church of Augsburg.” He called for Mixa, technically his boss, to finally think of the victims and apologise.

Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Robert Zollitsch, Archbishop of Freiburg, called on Saturday for Mixa to explain the facts, and said he had agreed to do so. “It simply has to happen,” he said.

Zollitsch said he planned further talks with Mixa and stressed that he trusted him to help clarify things.

Erfurt Bishop Joachim Wanke has apologised to and asked for forgiveness from victims of child sex abuse within the church in a letter which will be read out in all Catholic church services in his bishopric over the weekend.

He is deeply shamed by what he said was the, “particularly bitter fact that such things happened in our church,” the letter says.

An alleged case of sex abuse was reported more than a week ago in Erfurt, after which the bishop’s office brought charges against a priest who was accused of abusing four children between 1980 and 1996.

“I must admit that I have learned a lot in the recent time,” wrote the bishop in the letter. He said paedophilia was an addiction and that strong rules, understanding, remorse or even forensic medical statements could not guarantee safety from it.

In the future the bishopric would follow all claims of sexual abuse, he promised.

“A wrong image of the church must not be considered more important than the suffering of the victims,” wrote Wanke.

“Those who work in the name of the church are not exempt from statutory criminal law,” he added.

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

Germany: Priest Says He Was Bullied Into Taking Fall for Pope in Abuse Scandal

The church official who initially said it was his fault that a paedophile priest was given succour in Pope Benedict XVI’s former diocese has broken ranks, alleging he was bullied into taking responsibility to protect the pontiff.

Gerhard Gruber was Joseph Ratzinger’s general vicar in Munich during the 1980s, when Ratzinger, now Pope, was Archbishop.

Ratzinger chaired the meeting which decided to offer paedophile priest Peter H., a safe haven in Munich. The priest was also given further positions of trust in the church, and was later convicted of further child abuse.

Gruber’s friends have told Der Spiegel news magazine that when the story came to light last month, he was under immense pressure to take responsibility for the decision in order to shield the Pope from accusations of having helped a paedophile.

The magazine wrote that he was urgently “requested” to take full responsibility in order to take the Pope “out of the firing line.”

He wrote in a letter to a friend that he had been faxed a statement that he was to make, though he had been given the opportunity to suggest changes.

Gruber issued a statement in March which said, “The repeated employment of H. in priestly spiritual duties was a bad mistake. I assume all responsibility.”

The implication from the bishopric that Gruber had acted alone in offering help to the paedophile priest, and not turned him over to the police, has greatly upset him, the magazine wrote.

The Catholic church’s handling of repeated child abuse allegations in Germany and beyond has prompted repeated calls for bishops to resign for either not reporting claims to secular authorities, or for making light of charges made by victims.

The latest bishop under such pressure is Heinrich Mussinghoff, bishop of Aachen, whose handling of an abuse claim has been heavily criticised by a child protection group.

The Initiative Against Violence and Sexual Abuse of Children and Youths accuses Mussinghoff of ignoring claims made this January by a 19-year-old man that he was sexually abused as a child by the bishopric’s head of personnel.

Nothing has been done about the man’s claims, the initiative’s spokesman Johannes Heibel said.

“Those responsible should resign because the church has not met its own promises, despite a months-long debate over sexual abuse,” he said.

The accused priest, named only as Georg K., is said to have regularly abused the man and others, even making videos and photos of the abuse. The man’s family has not yet been contacted by anyone from the bishopric, having made the claims.

When Der Spiegel contacted the bishopric for a comment, it was told, “The boy should have contacted us, not us him.”

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

Greece to Allow Hunt for Nazi Criminals

Greece is to repeal a law that stops it from prosecuting Nazi war criminals, which could allow Jews from Thessaloniki to try to extradite a former SS soldier from Syria.

Sources said yesterday that an amendment to the current law — with which Greece in 1959 gave up its right to prosecute Nazis — will be attached to another bill being submitted to Parliament this week. “This is more of a moral victory, since most of the people in question have died,” said David Saltiel, the chairman of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS).

Saltiel said that when the amendment is voted through, the Jewish community will seek to extradite camp commander Alois Brunner from Syria, where he was confirmed to be living in the 1990s. Brunner was responsible for sending almost 50,000 Jews from Thessaloniki to their deaths but there is no recent evidence indicating he is still alive.

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

Italy Joins French Calls for EU Carbon Tariff

France and Italy urged the European Union on Thursday (15 April) to impose carbon tariffs on countries that are not part of a global agreement to curb greenhouse gases, an idea opposed by the European Commission and other EU members.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in a letter to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso that the Commission should include the measures in a report due in June on carbon-emitting sectors.

Some EU members are worried that their industries, which pay for permits to emit carbon dioxide, will lose out to cheaper imports from countries that impose no such charges.

“European law […] foresees the possibility of including importers in the European system for trading emission quotas,” Sarkozy and Berlusconi said in the joint letter.

“The Commission report should define the conditions in which such an adjustment mechanism should be applied to EU borders.”

Germany last year criticised the idea of carbon tariffs as “eco-imperialism”, saying they would be a direct violation of World Trade Organisation rules.

The European Commission is also against it, saying the measure could set off a trade war with countries like China that could easily spiral out of control.

Other EU members such as Sweden have also spoken out against the plan, while developing countries fear the measure would be a covert form of protectionism blocking out their products.

Sarkozy and Berlusconi said any mechanism should respect WTO rules. They said the measure would encourage more countries to curb emissions.

“Everyone would know that if they refused to take sufficient steps in the concerned sectors, compensation equivalent to the effort made by the EU would be applied to their products,” they said in the letter.

According to the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) think-tank, a carbon border tariff could help the EU regain the initiative in global climate talks after the failure of the Copenhagen conference last year.

A carbon tariff, it said in a paper, “would be a straightforward way to move towards a global ‘shadow’ carbon price” and would be beneficial from an environmental point of view because it would “always [lead to] lower global emissions.”

Moreover, it says compatibility with WTO rules and practical considerations are “not insurmountable” and that the proceeds could be used to finance clean tech deployment in developing countries.

The European Commission will in June present a study assessing the economic impact of raising Europe’s emission reduction targets to 30% by 2020, anticipating that the costs would be lower in the wake of the recession.

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

Muslims ‘Laughing’ At EU Woes, Islamic Finance Chief Says

Muslim nations are “laughing” at European efforts to grapple with a debilitating debt crisis in Greece, which has serious ramifications for the world’s biggest open market, the head of the World Islamic Economic Forum, or WIEF, has said.

Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam spoke to Agence France-Presse as European Union plans for a backstop bailout enabling Athens to refinance debt repayments.

“Seen from the east, from developing countries, we’re laughing because they’re not doing what they taught us,” Tun Musa said of the EU’s decision to protect Greece rather than sending Athens to the International Monetary Fund, or IMF.

“You find that a European nation has adopted anything but good practice, which has resulted in a disaster [and] now the name and the prestige of the European Union is at stake,” he said. “The normal way of resolving these issues is to go to the IMF. Developing countries do that, but not the EU.”

Tun Musa was speaking before eurozone finance ministers agreed last Sunday to pump some 30 billion euros ($41 billion) into Greece’s coffers this year if necessary — at below-market interest rates of around 5 percent.

But in the aftermath of the accord doubts have emerged as to the readiness and scale of the financial aid. Within no time, new nationwide strikes had pushed Greek borrowing rates back through the pain barrier.

Missing ingredients:

With parallel EU negotiations with the IMF under way on its involvement, and 15 billion euros of loans anticipated in 2010 from Washington, Tun Musa said the Western system where “anything goes in terms of lending and conduct” lay behind the Greek disaster.

The missing ingredients of “responsibility, transparency and accountability,” glaringly absent throughout fraudulent Greek reporting to the EU, were instead to be found in Islamic finance, he argued.

“The methodology of Islamic banking will become more acceptable, even without being in Islam,” he said.

Turkey’s long-stalled talks on EU accession represented the perfect test if Western and Islamic financial and economic models were to be successfully fused post-crisis, he added.

Europe was “going to lose a huge stabilizing community that is playing a very important role as a bridge between the Muslim and the Western world,” he warned of a move, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to pull back from full membership talks.

“There will come a time that the Turks say ‘enough is enough, we’re going our own way’,” and that will be to turn towards Islam, he said.

The march of Islamic finance will form a major plank of the WIEF’s sixth annual conference in Kuala Lumpur next month.

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

Nearly Half of Germans Say Nuclear Power Stations Should Run Longer

Nearly half of Germans support the idea of allowing nuclear power stations to operate longer than planned in order to provide electricity, according to a new survey.

The survey, carried out by the Forsa polling firm for Focus magazine, showed 44 percent of those questioned were in favour of extending the licenses for nuclear power stations past the current end slated for 2022.

The figures — from 2,500 people questioned — showed a stark difference in opinion depending on political affiliation.

Of those who said they were supporters of the Christian Democratic Union, CDU, 62 percent said they supported longer nuclear power station licenses. Of the Free Democratic Party, FDP, supporters, 60 percent were in favour.

Only 35 percent of those who said they were supporters of the Social Democratic Party, SPD, were in favour of extending nuclear power station operations, while the figures for Left Party supporters and Green Party supporters were 33 percent and 21 percent respectively.

Politicians are struggling to agree on whether to extend the licenses, which were limited in 2000 by the SPD-Green government.

Of those asked, 81 percent said they felt nuclear power would still be needed ‘for a while’ to cover energy demands. Only 15 percent said they believed Germany would ever be able to be completely nuclear free.

“The vast majority of citizens see the use of nuclear energy in a relaxed and pragmatic — and less emotional way,” said. Manfred Güllner, head of Forsa.

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

Netherlands: Bishop Reports Priest to Police for Suspected Child Abuse

The bishop of Rotterdam Ad van Luyn has made a formal complaint to the police about a priest working in Leidschendam and Voorburg who may have been involved in sexually abusing children while working in Sri Lanka.

The bishop told the Telegraaf he had suspended the priest and brought in the police after completing a preliminary investigation himself.

Van Luyn has been a central figure in the unfolding scandal about child abuse with the Catholic church.

In March he said he had dealt with several abusive priests in the 1970s while has was head of the Salesian order but declined to say what action he had taken.

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

Opinion: Iceland Could Pay Off Debt With Geo-Power

Iceland could repay the money it owes the UK and the Netherlands by supplying the two countries with free geothermal energy, argues Wouter van Dieren.

By Wouter van Dieren

In the ongoing negotiations over the settlement of Iceland’s debt, the best solution has yet to be discussed seriously: the country could repay the money it owes in cheap, emissions-free, electricity. Iceland has numerous geothermal springs it barely uses.

The nation debate about this in Iceland has showed its citizens are unreasonably protective of their springs. This is a matter of pride rather than reason, because it is unlike these natural resources will ever run out. Letters to the editor in Icelandic newspapers paint a picture of the British and the Dutch as greedy folk out to ruin the country’s economy. Public opinion is vehemently opposed to selling off natural resources to the likes of these people.

Still, it would be the best solution. Here is the scenario for the Netherlands: Dutch energy companies and the Dutch government would invest in power generation using the geothermal springs, while Dutch power-grid maintenance companies could pay for the power lines connecting Iceland to Scotland. Long-term contracts would guarantee the two creditors a number of kilowatt hours. The profits made from this deal could be used to pay off Iceland’s debt.

Three years of free power

How much are we talking about here? Iceland owes the UK and the Netherlands 3.8 billion euros. The country’s potential energy generation capacity, including hydroelectric power, amounts to 14.8 terawatt hours annually. At a price of eight eurocents per kilowatt hour, this means the country could repay its debt in just three years.

IceSave debt

Iceland incurred its 3.8 billion euro debt after the collapse of its IceSave consumer savings bank which had hundreds of thousands of customers in the Netherlands and the UK. The British and the Dutch government have since repaid the money lost by most consumers and are now seeking compensation from Iceland.

Is this feasible? In favourable locations, geothermic energy can compete with gas and coal as a power source. Fuel costs account for 30 to 50 percent of the total cost of electric power generated in a coal-fired power plant. For a gas-fired plant this can be as much as 70 percent. Geothermal power does not require any fuel. Heat can be drawn from a geothermal source free of charge for many decades.

A direct-current power cable, such as Norned, the one already linking Norway and the Netherlands, would be required to deliver the electricity generated to mainland Europe. A connection to Peterhead in Scotland would be enough. It can be hooked up to the entire European network there. Such an underwater cable would increase the cost of power by two eurocents per kilowatt hour, but that need not be a deal breaker. The proposal to construct a massive parabolic solar plant in the Sahara desert, Desertec, assumes electricity prices between 12 and 15 eurocents for instance.

The Icelandic option is cheaper, perhaps more secure and, as an added bonus, would solve a major political problem. The Icelandic project looks even more promising if one assumes the costs of fuel and carbon dioxide emissions will rise rapidly in coming decades.

Two-way street

Geothermal energy is clean, reliable and can easily be switched on and off, which means it could be used to compensate for the fickle delivery of North Sea wind turbines, especially if it includes the Iceland hydroelectric reservoirs. The cable could even be used in both directions: Icelandic power would flow this way, and the surpluses from our wind turbines could be stored in the island’s hydroelectric reservoirs.

Last month, Jonathan Stern, of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and the British energy market authority Ofgem, concluded that the liberalisation of the English energy market had been a failure. The UK looks set to develop a huge gap between supply and demand after 2015. The 200 billion pounds required for investments that would ensure sufficient capacity in 2020 cannot be raised in a privatised market. Iceland could easily provide an extra 2,000 megawatts.

The Netherlands hardly has a consistent sustainable energy policy to speak of anymore. Technology, affordable prices: both lie within our reach. The question is: who will reach out and grasp it?

Wouter van Dieren is managing director of IMSA, a consultancy firm specialised in sustainability and innovation.

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

Paolo Flores D’Arcais: “Ratzinger and Wojtyla Are Responsible for the Paedophile Plague”.

Micromega 10.04.2010 (Italy)

Paolo Flores d’Arcais, a doyen of Italian intellectuals, outlines in no uncertain terms “why Ratzinger and Wojtyla are responsible for the paedophile plague”. Instead of censuring the cases in their sermons, the only fitting path of action for the former pope and his cardinal, Flores d’Arcais argues, would have been to hand over each and every case to the courts. Instead they actively prevented this from happening — here he cites a number of documents from the Catholic church. “Not the Church itself, but its hierarchies have bound the bishops, priests, and lay personnel by solemn oath, exclusively to inform their superiors about cases of paedophiles within the clergy, but never to go to authorities of the state.”

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

Sweden: Man Shot in Malmö as Gang War Intensifies

A 24-year-old man with ties to Malmö’s criminal underworld was shot and injured in the southern part of the city on Saturday evening as police fear a fresh escalation of violence.

His condition was reported to be stable following an operation on Saturday night to treat injuries to his stomach and arm.

The known gangster was seriously injured after he was struck by two shots on a street in Söderkulla, an area that is home to members of two of Malmö’s most violent gangs, the so-called M-wing and K-wing (M-falangen, K-falangen).

“Seven or eight shots were fired. Two connected,” police spokesman Lennart Hornemark told news agency TT.

“We’re currently looking for a cyclist believed to have witnessed the incident.”

Police in Malmö believe the shooting is part of the city’s ongoing gang war. The 24-year-old was released from prison last month after serving time for weapons offences and issuing illegal threats.

Police interviewed witnesses and residents in the area after the attack but had not identified any suspects by Sunday morning.

Friends of the 24-year-old said the attacker or attackers had fled the scene in a dark hatchback car, which almost collided with a smaller vehicle immediately after the shooting. Police said they were seeking to establish contact with the driver of the smaller car.

The 24-year-old is believed to be a key member of the M-wing, a gang thought by police to be an independent cell within a larger international criminal network. Police intelligence has shown that the group’s leaders have strong ties to Serbia, where they own properties and businesses, south Sweden daily Sydsvenskan reports.

One of the two who headed the gang was shot dead in August last year in a killing linked to the rival K-wing. The victim was 23 years old.

The war between the gangs was ratcheted up another notch in late January when the older brother of the K-wing’s 22-year-old leader was shot dead on Stortorget in central Malmö. A number of members of the K-wing were involved in high profile disturbances in the city’s Rosengård district in 2008 and 2009, Sydsvenskan reports.

The leader of the M-wing was released from custody on Thursday in connection with the Stortorget killing.

His counterpart in the K-wing was released from prison in Västervik the previous day following a short sentence for weapons offences, Sydsvenskan reports.

Police had expressed fears prior to Saturday’s attack that a fresh bout of violence was likely after the release of the two leaders.

“We’ve spoken to people in both camps and they maintain there isn’t a risk of renewed fighting but we don’t believe that,” a police gang expert told Sydsvenskan.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Swiss Army Marches Forward But Not Sure Where

A report detailing Swiss security policy and the future of the country’s army is being hailed by the defence ministry as a compromise but lawmakers are not impressed.

The 78-page report attempts to tackle a controversial question: Should the Swiss army cooperate more closely with international peacekeeping efforts abroad or should it retreat to being a purely defensive force with a focus on infantry?

The answer in the report — which strives to find common ground between opposing forces — has met with little enthusiasm in the federal palace, where parliamentarians say the document leaves out key details.

Kurt Spillmann, an expert formerly at the Centre for Security Studies, says the issue is still as polarising as ever. The right is calling for isolation while the left wants more cooperation with international peacekeepers. In between lies a lot of ambiguity, he said.

“An army must be defined by its purpose,” he told “A military threat is simply not likely within the foreseeable future. This is what makes this an extremely difficult issue politically.”

Last autumn, the government rejected a draft of the security policy filed by the defence ministry and repeatedly sent it back for amending.

The document finally approved this week now faces hearings and consultations with interested parties, before being submitted to parliament this summer.

“Maybe this report is not spectacular, but it is a reasonable consensus by a collegial government,” Defence Minister Ueli Maurer told journalists.

International efforts

The document acknowledges that potential threats to the country have remained virtually unchanged over the past decade. It questions neither the need for compulsory service by all young Swiss men nor the idea of armed neutrality. Joining Nato is out of the question.

At home, the document places an emphasis on air security and more cooperation between federal and cantonal forces in case of a natural disaster.

But Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, a centre-left Social Democrat, has argued that today’s world would benefit from Swiss military forces being ready for deployment outside the country’s borders. Maurer, of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party, argues against it, remaining in step with his party.

The centre-right Radical Party security committee parliamentarian Peter Malama welcomed the draft as a compromise, while fellow committee member Evi Allemann of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, says the document is flawed. The Green Party has criticised the report, as has the Group for Switzerland without an Army (GSoA).

“The security report contains neither a realistic analysis of the threats nor does it offer a basis to deal with the crisis facing the army,” the GSoA said in a statement.

The document, as it is now, mentions only “an increase in Swiss participation in international security efforts”.

“Yes, we want to increase and qualitatively ramp up our commitment to peace-keeping,” Maurer said. “It’s about updating history and increasing deployments.”

But exactly how that would happen depends largely on parliament.


The report makes it clear that any such foray into the international peacekeeping realm would be carried out by such means as dispatching transport helicopters to crisis zones.

Missions would be made up of unarmed volunteers. That means it would not be possible to join anti-pirate forces patrolling waters off the coast of Somalia with the EU-Atalanta group.

Parliament would also have to approve any missions abroad. Maurer is doubtful that would happen based on the record of the past ten years, when parliament has shot down similar proposals.

“The general consent in the last few years has been the politest form of rejection,” Maurer said. “We’re still walking a tightrope.”

Spillmann, however, feels fundamental questions remain unanswered and that the army needs to adapt to be able to fight terrorism and cyber crime.

“All of this is possible to do within the framework of an army,” he said. “But it’s certainly not the basic strength of a militia army.”

But one thing remains certain: The army will shrink in the coming years. Maurer says that’s for demographic reasons as well as growing reluctance to take up arms and an increase in pressure to cut costs.

Swiss Army figures

Swiss are no longer convinced by the current military system. According to a survey, only 43.5% of respondents were in favour of compulsory military service.

The results were published on Thursday in the French-language news weekly, L’Hebdo. The poll showed 47% of those in German-speaking Switzerland are in favour of the system while less than one in three people in French-speaking Switzerland approves.

Only 40% of women surveyed are for the status quo for one. For men it is 46.6%. Only those older than 50 appear to support the existing system of compulsory service. Younger Swiss approve of it with 37.6 percent.

About 40% believe a professional army is the way to go. About 14.6% of people say Switzerland should have no army at all.

The survey was conducted in March 2010 by MIS Trend. It surveyed 604 Swiss citizens and has a margin of error of 4%.

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

UK: Cat Stranded Up a Tree for 7 Days… Because the Fire Brigade’s Ladder Came Up Short

A frightened cat spent seven days stuck 100ft up a giant redwood tree — because the fire brigade’s ladder was too short to reach her, it emerged yesterday.

Mischevious tabby Tiggs, one, shot up the huge tree after being scared by a dog in a neighbouring garden at her home in Buckden, near St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

Worried owners Natasha Moore, 22, and daughter Chloe, four, frantically hunted for the missing moggy but only heard Tiggs’ cries from the lofty branch five days later.

They called in the firebrigade and the RSPCA, but the 45ft ladder on the engine was still over 50ft short of reaching her in the tree.

Crews said it was not safe to clamber any further up the tree, and extra ladders were unsuitable.

After another two days trying to tempt her down, Natasha and Chloe were advised by the RSPCA to call in specialist tree surgeons.

They sent an employee to clamber up the tree using ropes and pulleys and rescued Tiggs in less than 15 minutes on Monday), seven days after she disappeared on April 5.

Part-time hospital worker Natasha, whose daughter Chloe, four, owns Tiggs, said they were all ‘delighted’ by the rescue.

She said: ‘We think she was stuck up there for near enough a week and her miaowing was getting weaker and weaker.

‘The fire brigade came out on Saturday and had two attempts at trying to position the ladder but because of health and safety and the height of the tree they could not do it.

‘On Monday the tree surgeon turned up, got his harnesses on, climbed up and got Tiggs down in 15 minutes.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Cancer Survivor Barred From NHS Treatment for Paying Private Doctor to Ease Her Spinal Pain

A pensioner with crippling back pain says she was removed from an NHS waiting list because she chose to have a private consultation.

Breast cancer survivor Jenny Whitehead, 64, now faces a £10,000 bill to have an operation at a private hospital next month.

If she does not pay she might have to wait until autumn to receive NHS treatment in Leeds as she has to start the NHS waiting process all over again.

She said: ‘If I have to pay for the surgery, and that is now the only means of relieving my constant pain, it will cost between £7,000 and £10,000.’

Mrs Whitehead, of Haworth, West Yorkshire, has been suffering from pain since 2008. She has a cyst on her spine pressing against her sciatic nerve.

Her GP referred her to a consultant as an NHS patient and she was given an injection in her back in November, 2009. It had no effect, so her GP referred her to an orthopaedic surgeon, but she took a private consultation to avoid having to wait months to be seen.

She said at that meeting she was informed she would be put on a waiting list for NHS surgery.

She added: ‘In February I phoned Airedale to ask if they had a date for my surgery but was told my name did not appear on the waiting list.’

Mrs Whitehead argued that her surgeon was convinced she had a May 12 slot booked as an NHS patient, but was shocked to hear the response: ‘I was told although I’d been treated for my condition by the NHS continually since June last year, my private consultation in December disqualified me from further treatment by the trust.’

She said even though she had paid full National Health Insurance contributions all her working life, she had fallen into a black hole.

An NHS Bradford and Airedale spokesman said: ‘We would like to apologise to Mrs Whitehead for any distress and inconvenience caused.

‘She has raised a number of issues with us and we are looking into these as a matter of urgency so we can advise her how to get the NHS treatment she needs.

‘Anyone who chooses to pay for a private outpatient consultation cannot receive NHS treatment unless they are then referred on to an NHS pathway by their consultant. This should be fully explained to patients at their consultation so there is no confusion or delay to treatment at a later stage.’

But Mrs Whitehead’s son Tim said: ‘If she’d been told a single private consultation would result in her being struck from the NHS waiting list she would never have taken it. Lately I’ve often found her in tears, racked with crippling pain.

‘My mother has lived her entire life in the Bradford area and has always paid her full NHI contributions.’

[Return to headlines]

UK: Scrap Car Tax and Introduce Tolls for All Motorways and Major a Roads, Says Thinktank

A revolutionary plan to scrap car tax and give all citizens tradeable shares in England’s major road network was unveiled by a think-tank today.

The plan from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) would see all England’s motorways and major A roads becoming toll roads, with drivers paying around 10p a mile to use them.

Rather than be owned by the Government, the roads would be owned by the UK citizens, each of whom would be given a voucher representing their share of the network.

They, rather than the Treasury, would then benefit from the profits of road charging, with their voucher, estimated to be worth around £1,500, tradeable on the Stock Market.

Under the scheme, each vehicle owner would no longer have to pay the annual vehicle excise duty car tax. Also, foreign drivers would have to pay to use the toll roads.

[Return to headlines]

Winning the Battle of the Israeli Image in Europe

Organized by Cukierman Investment House Ltd. and Catalyst Fund, Go4Europe is one of the most prestigious conferences in Israel bringing together more than 700 people & organizations coming from the business and investment community focusing on Europe.

Traditionally, Go4Europe is addressing the current issues of establishing strategic alliances and raising funds in Europe.

In previous years, our conference has welcomed several Political figures including Mr. Ariel Sharon, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Ehud Olmert and President Nicolas Sarkozy.

We have already received confirmation for the next conference of 80 Key European Decision makers and Parliamentarians and 100 investors of International Family Offices.

How to close M&A transactions in an economic crisis? How raising funds in a crisis environment? How early stage deal making can bridge the gap between access to innovation for Pharma and access to finance in Biotech? Looking at the Secondary Market?

These are some of the many crucial questions that will be addressed at the 8th Go4Europe Business Conference.

Attendees gain the benefit of real experiences, case studies and war stories of leading European and Israeli figures that have recently done it.

Some panels items from our next agenda:

Becoming a market leader in an economic downturn — M&A opportunities in an economic crisis.

Raising funds in Europe in a crisis environment.

Growing an innovative Medical Technology Business through Financing, M&A and Strategic Partnerships.

IT M&A in a downturn period.

Real Estate investment opportunities in Europe.

Environmental and Energy companies — Investments as driving engines of local and global economy.

Democracy Policy for a closed partnership

A preliminary agenda will be announced soon on our website.

Let’s make no mistake: we face a serious problem, a deep one but controversial and with contradictions that are not made of misunderstandings but of the core of the nature itself of the two objects of our analysis, Israel and Europe.

When I try to describe to myself how I see Israel perceived in Europe, two completely contradictory images come to mind.

On one hand, I see the huge square table where I attended the Conference of Coordination and Development of Italy and Israel relations at the end of November, in preparation for our bilateral meetings from the 1st to the 3rd of February. That was when Berlusconi visited Israel and when we signed many bi-lateral agreements.

The Italian delegation included many representatives of ministers, regional representatives, and senior members of Italy’s economic and financial establishment. The Italian delegation was deeply impressed by willingness of the Israelis to collaborate in so much areas of mutual interest. The Israelis included important members of the Israeli scientific and technological facilities, ENEA new relationships with MATIMOP (renewable energies),CNR with Tel Avi University collaboration on neuroscience, Lens with Weitzmann, on spectroscopy.

In the discussions, the Italian representatives of the businessmen reported that they decided to establish a fixed platform that will work with the help of banks on agricultural, business, and environmental issues.

Let me turn to the impressions the Israelis made on the Italians. A member of Italy’s Space Organization that builds satellites with Israel, explained to me that Israel has a unique problem in launching space satellites: Given how the world turns on its axis, we naturally launch satellites towards the east. But Israel cannot do this because the Arab countries — i.e., Israel’s neighbors to the east — don’t want Israel to use its skies. So Israel had to figure out a way to launch satellites backwards — no easy task. The Italian woman then smiled and added that Israelis see problems as challenges and march full speed ahead. It is such a pleasure to work with the Israeli because of their skill and enthusiasm, she said.

On the other hand, I see myself at the Council of Europe Assembly listening to Greeks, French, British, and Turkish representatives spewing forth hate and prejudice regarding Israel’s actions during the Gaza war. They call the Jewish state apartheid state, they said the attack to Gaza was “collective punishment” conducted with unrelenting and willing ferociousness toward women and children, they spoke of war crimes.

Now, though it seems impossible to believe, I hear that the European Union has endorsed the Goldstone report, and that the Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the EU meeting in Finland has blamed Israel for almost everything imaginable. (For example, the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that it’s now up for Israel to demonstrate its desire for peace, but that at the moment he is very pessimist about it.) Moreover, the visit of the new Foreign Minsiter Minister of the EU Mrs Ashton starting on Wednesday is already a rebuke in itself, and even a threat, if Israel doesn’t comply with the international expectations.

There is a huge gap between these two attitudes towards Israel. Unfortunately the latter negative one is the one which permeates the European media and declarations by politicians. Their view is shared by important clerics, trade union leaders, university professors, journalists, commentators, Nobel laureates like Saramago and Dario Fo, and by representatives of the world of culture and art.

European politicians have gone out of their way to parade their “anti-Israeliness.” For example, during Israel’s war in Lebanon in 2006, Italy’s then Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema marched in solidarity with Hezbollah in the streets of Beirut. Afterwords, during the war of Gaza, he kept up his anti-Israel diatribe, talking about Israel’s so-called “massacre of children,” Israel’s “punitive expedition,” etc. etc.. But he is no longer Italy’s Foreign Minister and our country has abandoned that unjust approach to Israel.

Other European countries have unfortunately continued D’Alema’s anti-Israel policies. Belgium, for example, enacted a law regarding universal jurisdiction aimed primarily at Israel. The law covers the so-called war crimes, the targeting of civilians, the wall Israel built to keep its population safe, extra judicial killings, and Israel’s policy regarding settlements… Some time ago with a You Tube video widely circulated (the net is one of the most effective antisraeli media) Hermann Diekers the chairman of the Left Party in Duisburg a city in North Westfalia with 500thousand inhabitants termed Israel right to exist as petty, justified Palestinians attacks against civilians and played down the severity of the Holocaust. I quote him because its’ quite common in Europe to hear this kind of statements in local councils, trade unions, and connecting the right of Israel to exist with doubts about the Shoah. It became fashionable after Ahmadinejad made it a public discourse through the UN assemblies where he spoke and was applauded.

The basis of general condemn is the refusal of putting each the antisraeli issues in their historical contest. The European have refused to recognize that most of the contemporary problems in the conflict are born in the Arab culture of hatred that generated so many wars, in the violent attacks against the Jewish state, the Arab willingness to use civilians — especially little children — as human shields. The Europeans refuse to recognize that this is an asymmetric war, the same that puts terrible questions to all the armies of the western world ..

A powerful media campaign to deny the legitimate existence of the state of Israel takes place everyday in Europe, and because it’s sponsored by the most important subject, the VIP, in Europe and world wide, it’s extremely influent.

But the last “apartheid week” in the universities would not have mattered to me so much had I not met personally with Mrs. Pillay, the High Commissioner of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. She told me that the reason 27 of the HRC’s 31 resolutions condemned Israel since it started its work in 2006, is clear: “We had two main problems, she said, South Africa used to be an Apartheid State. Israel is an Occupier State.

South Africa abandoned apartheid, is therefore no longer is condemned by the “International Council.” When Israel stops being an “Occupier State,” it too will no longer be condemned.

Implicit here, is that, with a patently false analogy, she identifies the sins of apartheid South Africa with those of Israel, a patently false analogy. They bare no relationship to the reality on the ground.

Here we came to the main point: reality is what identifies the relations inside the scientific and business community, ideology is the trade mark of the political and cultural community.

The malevolent statements have become mantras. These European use words such as “disproportionate, apartheid, and apartheid wall, have become favorite jabs. They enter the mind of simple people just because of the authority of their origin.

A few days ago I heard someone of the radio say that he didn’t understand why there was such a fuss about Iran, because we do not know for sure that Iran is building an atomic bomb, and that the Iranian government threats to wipe Israel off the maps are only meaningless words. What we do know, he said, is that the Israelis kill a huge number of Palestinians, particularly children.

All of these baseless accusations share a common intention — delegitimization of the state of Israel. No other country is talked about in such terms that delegitimize its mere existence. But this happens only in Europe and in the third world, not in the US. This is because the aggressive anti-Israel discourse resonates in the mainstream in the western European media. It does not, for the most part, resonate in the US or in the former Communist eastern European countries.

Why does Europe dislike Israel so much? Because Europe has a sense of guilt vis-à-vis the Jews because of the Holocaust. So by finding reasons to blame Israel, it believes it can assuage its guilt. After all, if Israel is an occupier that wants to dominate its neighbors, if it kills Palestinians, then it is no better than those forces which were part of us which inflicted the worst evil on the Jews 60-65 years ago.

Also, we Europeans have a sense of guilt because of European colonialism. By helping the poor Palestinians, so the logic goes, we rid ourselves of that guilt as well.

Moreover, we Europeans have difficulty accepting war as a means of defending western values. Are we even prepared to defend Western values against those forces hostile to us? For example, Europeans were asked whether there was ever a good reason to wage war: In France only, 33% said yes; in Spain 25%, Italy 35%, Britain 69%. Contrast this with the US — 82%.

In European eyes, all this makes Israel an unnecessary danger to Europe’s well-being. As a former French ambassador to the UK said at a dinner party in London, “This shitty little country — i.e., Israel — will bring us all to war.”

Ignorance is a shield against responsability. On another front, we have seen both Prodi and Solana trying to stop the diffusion of European studies and polls about anti-Semitism. And as it doesn’t want to know about antisemitism, that is nowadays again a very serious danger in Europe, Europe doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know about the reality, the context and the development of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. It does not what to hear about the Arab refusal, since 1948, to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, or to accept any type of territorial solution.

European political and intellectuals refuse to recognize reality when it comes to Israel, and this brings to a series of prejudices that become common discourse day after day.

Compare this is with the actual experiences that the above-mentioned Italian “Table of coordination” had with their Israeli counterparts and you get a completely different picture.

How do you “square the circle” here? How do you bridge the gap between the completely different approaches? Reality is the answer: when the European elite understands the contest of the Israeli questions, that could be a starting point for winning the battle of public opinion, at least among people of good will.

First of all Israelis should not mince words when talking about the peace process or about Israel’s enemies. European expectations regarding the peace process including the ability of Israel to solve the Arab-Israeli dispute by giving up territory territories are the source of the constant blame Israel suffers. Israel should also not be shy about mentioned the Islamist demonization of Israel.

Look at the present story of apartments in Jerusalem, in Givat Shlomo. Would the Palestinians accept a partition of Jerusalem if the 1600 units were not built? Would it really change their perception of Jerusalem as an occupied city? History (Arafat with Barak, Abu Mazen with Olmert) teaches us that the solution is at much in Palestinian hands as in Israeli hands. But Europe refuses to accept this. And Israel tries to get away from the painful task of explaining how difficult it is to live in this region. It hesitates talking about the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; it refuses to deal with the Palestinian media which calls on its people to die as martyrs for Jerusalem, and indoctrinates its children to hate Jews.

Israel must not be afraid of speaking the truth; It must not fear describing its hateful and uncompromising enemies as they are. Israelis must be more explicit on the existential threats it faces from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

Until now, the Italian parliament has been an oasis of good work: We have been undertaken a lot of initiatives, a list of which I will distribute to all of you. What we have attempted to do is to help propagate acceptance of the legitimacy of the State of Israel, and to explain the context of its policies.

It is no coincidence that we in Italy started our work with a conference on the legitimacy of the State of Israel. We continued with a big pro-Israel demonstration with Israeli flags in front of the Italian Parliament, which included the Italian President and a completely bipartisan parliamentary presence. We created institutions, organized conferences and produced days of study inside the parliament to explain and discuss the situation and the different issues. These resulted in the government of Italy both not attending the Durban II conference and voting against the Goldstone report. All the culminated in the marvelous visit of Berlusconi here.

All has been accompanied by an unrelenting work about Iran.

My experience today says that where there is knowledge and good sense, there can be advancement, that there are people from all the political sides that mostly since Iran has practically demonstrates that hate and threat against Israel conjugates with danger and threat for the all the world, there are people that are willing to join Israel, to understand that good relations with Israel is first all good relations with ourselves. I think basically that the ability of Europe to come closer to Israel is its possibility, that is there if we help it to develop, to overcome, as Pope Benedictus the XVI said, its “strange lack of desire for the future” its “ideological exhaustion that Europe is suffering of”.

Europe, either it will admit it or not (doesn’t admit it of course) is the cradle of a hard to die and even growing anti-Semitism…and last but certainly not least is certainly very sensitive by an extremely controversial relationship with a growing muslim presence: this presence, if you look at England, on the Netherland, or Sweden, becomes more and more identified with an extremist Islamist discourse in which the Jewish state is the object of unremitting demonology.

We can also briefly notice that Europe is here and there finally understanding and fighting with lows the return to middle age of the European banlieus, where you can find more and more jihab and burka, sexual mutilation, polygamy and family violence against girls and women, and where shaaria tribunals are raising.

You all know that many other particulars add to the European landscape of harsh reality for Israel and the Jews, far from the ideal world of science, art, music, finance business where you can enjoy and imagine how good the relationshisp with Israel can be if they are simply created on reality an not on ideology.

Overcoming this gap is therefore our task, your task. People that work in the world of reality must come together with the one striving for Israel’s image in the world of ideology. Leave the golden castle, tha Gan Eden and let’s join together. This is for our sake, the sake of Europe, for your sake, the sake of practical relationship, the sake of Israel, and in general, for the sake of a modern and peaceful world.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

NYT Journalist: Israelis Dislike Obama Due to Racism

by Maayana Miskin

The pro-Israel website Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) are combatting the virulently anti-Israel views that they revealed are held by staff members of the New Israel Fund and the New York Times.

CAMERA drew attention to an interview given by Eitan (Ethan) Bronner, the New York Times’s bureau chief in Jerusalem. In an interview with the American television station MSNBC, Bronner suggested that Israelis dislike United States President Barack Obama because Obama is black.

Bronner told interviewer Chris Matthews that Israelis prefer other senior US officials, such as Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to Obama. According to Bronner, one reason for this is that “there is some level of prejudice about the fact that [Obama] had some Islamic background through his father.”

Obama’s policy of putting distance between the US and Israel in order to draw closer to the Muslim world is another factor in Israelis’ dislike of the president, Bronner said.

A third factor is “some degree of racism, to be perfectly honest,” he added.

Matthews seemed to support Bronner’s claim, saying, “Yes. They — because they see it as a black man, you know…”

Bronner recently aroused anger by comparing the Palestinian Authority’s decision to name streets after terrorists to Israel’s use of the names of past political leaders such as former Prime Minister Menachem Begin on streets. The PA named streets and public buildings after terrorists such as Yahya Ayash and Dalal Mughrabi, each of whom was responsible for the murder of dozens of civilians; Bronner implied that the gesture was similar to the use of the name ‘Begin’ in Israel. Begin served as head of the Etzel underground group in pre state Israel that fought to free the country from British rule.

CAMERA asked for protest letters to be sent to the New York Times.

NIF Staffer: Israel Guilty of Terrorism

JIDF revealed that a blogger who accused Israel of state terrorism is apparently a staffer for the New Israel Fund (NIF). The blogger, who goes by the name “kung fu jew,” wrote that Israel is “just at fault as Hamas” for the deaths of Gaza civilians used by terrorists as human shields.

“Israel never has the moral high ground when it uses civilian suffering as a tool of statecraft. It’s stooping to moral terrorism,” the writer accused. He also slammed analysts who use the term “global Jihad,” saying, “Spreading belief in a ‘global jihad’ is the same as spreading belief in the Elders of Zion.”

According to JIDF, the writer’s handle is identical to a handle used by NIF staffer Ben Murane.

The sentences were deleted from the blog after the Five Towns Jewish Newspaper in New York publicized the blog’s contents and the name and position of the staffer they claimed is the writer.

The NIF has come under fire recently in Israel for taking money from foreign governments and giving funds to radical anti-Zionist organizations. Several of the organizations funded by the NIF, among them Adalah and B’Tzelem, gave testimony to the United Nations-backed Goldstone team that led the team to accuse Israel of war crimes. (

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

Middle East

Ex-President Khatami ‘Banned From Leaving Iran’

Iran’s former president has been barred from leaving the country, reports say.

Mohammad Khatami was expected to attend a nuclear disarmament conference in Japan, but his aides say he was banned from travelling.

Organisers of the meeting in Hiroshima have confirmed that he cancelled his appearance at the last minute.

Mr Khatami has been under steady pressure from the Iranian government following the disputed presidential election in June last year.

The Iranian opposition, including Mr Khatami and the defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, said the election was rigged.

Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets after it was announced that the incumbent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had won by a landslide. More than 80 people are believed to have died in the clashes with the security forces.

The BBC’s Iran correspondent Jon Leyne, reporting from London, says that since the election, President Ahmadinejad’s government has put severe restrictions on the opposition leadership.

He says that when they have tried to attend demonstrations they have faced intimidation from members of the government’s Basij militia, and many of their senior aides are in prison.

But so far the government has been wary of going further and arresting the leaders themselves, our correspondent adds.

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

Extramarital Sex Fuels Earthquakes, Warns Iran Cleric

A SENIOR Iranian cleric has claimed that dolled-up women incite extramarital sex, causing more earthquakes in Iran, a country that straddles several fault lines, newspapers reported today.

“Many women who dress inappropriately … cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes,” Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi told worshippers at overnight prayers in Tehran.

“Calamities are the result of people’s deeds,” he was quoted as saying by reformist Aftab-e Yazd newspaper.

“We have no way but conform to Islam to ward off dangers.”

The Islamic dress code is mandatory in Iran, which has been under clerical rule for more than three decades.

Every post-pubescent woman regardless of her religion or nationality must cover her hair and bodily contours in public. Offenders face punishment and fine.

But this has not stopped urban women from appearing in the streets wearing tight coats and flimsy headscarves and layers of skilfully applied makeup.

Iran is prone to frequent quakes, many of which have been devastating.

The worst in recent times hit the southern city of Bam in December 2003, killing 31,000 people — about a quarter of the population — and destroying its ancient mud-built citadel.

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

Iran Leader Khamenei Brands US “Nuclear Criminal”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has labelled the US an “atomic criminal” at a conference on nuclear disarmament in Tehran.

He also said that the use of nuclear weapons was prohibited by religion.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said an independent body should be set up to oversee nuclear disarmament.

Iran has been angered by a recent US review of nuclear policy, which Tehran sees as a threat to use nuclear weapons against it, a BBC correspondent says.

Iran’s leadership has used this conference on nuclear disarmament to underline what it says is its moral opposition to nuclear weapons, says our Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne, reporting from London.

He says it is clearly meant as an answer to those who fear Iran is itself trying to develop its own nuclear arsenal.

Nuclear arms ‘prohibited’

Ayatollah Khamenei said in a message read out at the conference: “Only the US government has committed an atomic crime.

“The world’s only atomic criminal lies and presents itself as being against nuclear weapons proliferation, while it has not taken any serious measures in this regard,” he said.

He also told the conference that the use of nuclear weapons was “haram” — prohibited under Islam.

President Ahmadinejad called for the US and all countries who possessed nuclear weapons to be suspended from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He said there should be an independent international body set up to oversee nuclear disarmament.

Our correspondent says the debate will no doubt intensify as a conference approaches that will review the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, just at a time when Washington rallies support for new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

The US hosted a big international conference of 47 nations last week to discuss nuclear security.

Iran was not invited as the US fears Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes.

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

Turkey is Positive Shelter From Sexual Discrimination, Academic Says

After bad experiences of sexism at higher-level education institutions in the United States, Derin Ural now holds the title of vice president for Istanbul Technical University. Her experience suggests that sexist discrimination is not as bad in Turkey as it appears in recent studies

Despite lagging behind the U.N.’s millennium development goals for gender equality, the vice president of Istanbul Technical University, or ITU, has said Turkey provided for her an escape from sexual discrimination in the United States.

Professor Derin Ural said she was subjected to sexual discrimination from the start of her higher education career in the U.S. when a professor refused to share with the class that Ural had received the highest grade of the year. This, she said, merely because he was not expecting a woman to succeed so highly.

Ural, who was studying to be a civil engineer, said her gender was used to judge her performance as much as her academic potential.

“At the beginning of the year, my professor told the class that whoever received the highest grade of the year would be exempt from taking an examination, but when I won he refused to tell the class. When I asked why he said he did not expect a female student to have done so well,” Ural told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Ural said her professor had become so accustomed to teaching male students he did not see men and women as equals in the civil engineering industry.

“I did not let this incident shatter my confidence. I knew I wanted to be a civil engineer and so I went on to apply to some of the best schools in the country for my PhD, but unfortunately I faced the same issues there, too,” Ural said.

Ural received an offer from MIT but turned it down after visiting the school, fearing she would not have a social life because of the intensity of the courses.

Eventually she took an offer from Princeton University. But there, she said she encountered even greater sexual discrimination than before.

“Half the students in my class at Princeton were female and the other half were male. However, in our first set of exams, every single girl in the class received a fail[ing grade],” Ural told the Daily News.

Ural said the event caused a scandal at the school that was picked up by local newspapers. “Even the male members of the class were uncomfortable. Everyone knew what the issue was: We had no female members among our faculty staff.”

Despite the set backs, Ural completed her PHD and decided to pursue her career as an earthquake engineer. “I initially decided to move back to Turkey because of my family and friends, but it also became a great career move,” Ural said.

Ural said in Turkey she was given opportunities to utilize all the skills she had acquired abroad. “I became an earthquake engineer at the Middle East Technical University and was given the opportunity to train local officials in disaster management. No one acted any differently with me because I am a woman,” she said.

The day Ural became a professor at ITU in Istanbul she was summoned by the university’s rector and asked if she wanted to become the vice president. “I was shocked because after three years I had only just become a professor, and as a single mother of two children I realized it would be a difficult position,” Ural Said.

Ural said when women come to a certain position in their careers, they are often made to choose between work and family. Ural said she had to explain to the rector that she would have to think about it because she had two young children and needed to be home as early as 5 p.m.

“Following this conversation I went home to find a stream of emails from faculty members wishing their congratulations on my new position. I was shocked and so appreciative that the rector believed in me so much to give me the flexibility I needed,” Ural said.

Turkey has recently been criticized for falling short of meeting targets in the area of gender equality under the U.N.’s millennium development goals. Ural recently participated in an international females rectors’ conference to discuss strategies to diminish gender inequality and promote and empower women in higher education.

The focus of the “Beyond the Glass Ceiling” conference was women and leadership in higher learning and overcoming barriers that prevent women from reaching their goals. The conference was held at ITU and hosted 42 rectors from across Europe.

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

Two Photos That Express Obama Middle East Policy? Well, Yes and No

by Barry Rubin

Let’s begin with what’s most important. This may be the most important single point about the world’s most important issue and, consequently, the most important thing I write during this decade. In fact, it’s so important that I’m going to put it in bold. Read this even if you don’t read the rest of the article:

Consider the Obama Administration’s concept of how it will cope with a nuclear Iran.

The plan is to contain Iran by scaring it. The rulers of Iran must think the American president is a man of immense power and daring who will smash them if they try any funny business. At the same time, the relatively moderate Arabs must feel secure, like Lois Lane standing behind Superman as the bullets bounce off him.

So clear must this be that someone like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who thinks the deity is on his side and is not easily intimidated, can be deterred from firing missiles, attacking neighbors, sponsoring massive terrorism, transferring nuclear weapons, or subverting other countries because he fears American strength and believes with near-certainty that the United States is ready to go to war and crush his regime if necessary.

Clear so far?

But wait a minute! How can the current U.S. government do that when its whole theme has been proving itself a nice easy-going fellow, eager to get along with enemies, reluctant to use force, and obsessed with popularity?

What does it signal when a president acts ashamed of past American willingness to impose its will? How does this match up with the necessary posture of a fearless giant ready to face down the most ideologically intoxicated, risk-taking, prone-to-miscalculating, ruthless regime America has confronted since Berlin fell in 1945? (Sure, the USSR was far more powerful than is Islamist Iran, but it was also far more reliably rational and cynical as well.)

You cannot have it both ways. The U.S. government will not be able to have it both ways. Is that clear? Your enemies either tremble with fear, at your scary power, or with laughter, at your diffident desire not to offend anyone.

How you can bow down, disclaim your leadership role, and let everyone push you around one day, but then face down a nuclear Iran the next day? Answer: You can’t.

What does that mean? Iran acts aggressively and then either you don’t deter it—which means strategic disaster—or you surprise it by doing what you’ve threatened after the failure of a low-credibility deterrence effort—which means war.

Now for the background to demonstrate why the above is true…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Malaysia — Iran: Kuala Lumpur, Petronas Cuts Petrol Supplies to Iran

Move announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, following a one on one meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. Unconfirmed sources explain that the suspension dates back mid March. Kuala Lumpur calls on the regime of the ayatollahs to review its nuclear program and follow the UN directive.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) — Malaysian energy giant Petronas has suspended petrol supplies to Iran. The move was announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has also invited Tehran to review its nuclear program at the centre of an International controversy.

According to some sources the halt began in mid-March. Nevertheless, the formalization of the news and only happened on 15 April, following face to face talks between President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, that took place earlier this week on the sidelines of the Nuclear Summit in Washington.

“What we want Iran — said the Malaysian prime minister — to comply with UN Security Council resolutions,” while emphasizing that Tehran “has a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” The regime of the ayatollahs, however, must earn “the trust of the International Community”. The only way to do so is to “be transparent in its actions” and allow “International Atomic Energy Agency inspections”.

Yesterday, the group of “5 + 1”, the five countries of the UN Security Council — the U.S., Russia, China, France, Great Britain, with veto power — plus Germany, who determine the global policy on Iran’s nuclear program, met for the second consecutive day. Comments filtering from the Summit speak of “constructive” dialogue between the leaders.

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

Usama Bin Laden Had a Facebook Page

The al Qaeda leader, or someone posing as him, is using the social networking site as a platform to show videos and speeches to Islamic militants.

The al Qaeda leader, or someone posing as him, was using the social-networking site as a platform to show videos and speeches to Islamic militants — until Facebook shut him down, that is.

His address was given as “the mountains of the world.”

On Thursday, a security expert urged Facebook’s U.S. owners to shut down the profile page, named “The leader of the Mujahideen, Osama bin Laden.” The profile became active on March 25 and had already attracted nearly 1,000 extremists. Access was via the Taliban’s own Facebook presence, according to U.K. publication The Sun.

Although the language used is Arabic, messages in English were beginning to appear, the Sun reported.

“Bin Laden, via his supporters, is clearly taunting his pursuers,” Internet terror expert and author Neil Doyle said.

Doyle notes on his blog that the site contained numerous images, dozens of video clips of bin Laden and scenes from films issued by terrorist groups worldwide. One showed a group of al-Qaeda fighters undergoing training in Afghanistan, which was produced by the terror network’s official media arm As-Sahab Media.

Another showed a clip of bin Laden lecturing his followers in Afghanistan just before the 9/11 attacks.

Facebook does not have an explicit anti-terrorism policy, although the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities notes that “you will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.”

The statement also demands that “you will not post content that is hateful, threatening” or in other ways inappropriate.

“People often attempt to register fake accounts under the name of famous or infamous people, and we have a number of technical measures designed to prevent this behavior,” explained Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes.

“Sometimes these fakes do get through but there is no evidence to suggest that the account in question or the other dozens of people who have tried to present themselves as Osama Bin Laden have any relation to the terrorist. As is our standard practice, we have disabled the account.”

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

Far East

Philippines: Military Says 50 Foreign Terrorists in South

Manila, 16 April (AKI) — More than half the foreign terrorists based in the Philippines’s southern province of Mindanao had links to the Islamist terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, according to military intelligence. Documents obtained by Adnkronos International (AKI) show that 50 foreign militants have joined local Muslim rebels in their struggle for self-determination in Mindanao.

The documents, updated in February 2010, said 28 of the militants had links to Jemaah Islamiyah, the Asian-based Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda.

Many of them were believed to have been integrated in the Islamic community in the central west of the island in the autonomous Muslim region of Mindanao.

The military intelligence document said many of these terrorists live under the protection of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (photo), in particular in the so called SKP training camp in Liguasan Marsh.

In peace talks conducted with the government in 1997, the group denied any involvement with terrorists.

However, the report found more than 24 individuals are suspected of links to other Islamist terrorist groups such as KOMPAK, Darul Islam, Laskar Jundullah, and Indonesian Laskar Jihad — which has been linked to violent attacks on Christians — and Kumpulan Mujahidin, which is committed to the creation of an Islamic state in Malaysia.

At least 18 members of this group were reported to be in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, while the others were in Sulu, the island in the south of Mindanao, considered the stronghold of another Muslim separatist group, Abu Sayyaf.

The MILF is the largest of four Muslim separatist groups in Mindanao, and Abu Sayyaf is understood to have links with Al-Qaeda.

Jemaah Islamiyah is held responsible for Indonesia’s deadliest terror attack, the 2002 Bali bombings, and was added the United Nations’ list of terrorist organisations linked to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban the same year.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

ANC Youth Leader Malema ‘To Face Disciplinary Hearing’

The youth leader of South Africa’s ruling ANC, Julius Malema, will face a disciplinary hearing for bringing the party into disrepute, reports say.

The reports in South African media say the charges are believed to include promoting racism and intolerance.

Mr Malema recently embarrassed the ANC by ejecting a BBC reporter from a news briefing.

He has also defied a party order to stop singing a song inciting hatred against white farmers.

Mr Malema has also ignored ANC policy by publicly supporting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

‘Colourful insults’

Reports in South African media say the ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe, has already written to Mr Malema informing him about the charges.

A disciplinary action against the youth leader is expected to be discussed at an ANC meeting on Monday and measures could reportedly range from a reprimand to expulsion.

Last month, a judge convicted Julius Malema of hate speech for his comments about the woman who had accused President Jacob Zuma of rape.

The Equality Court judge ordered him to make an unconditional apology and pay 50,000 rand ($6,700; £4,500) to a centre for abused women.

The ANC Youth League leader had said the woman must have had a “nice time”. Mr Zuma was acquitted of rape.

Mr Malema, a close ally of Mr Zuma, is a controversial figure known for using colourful insults against anyone who crosses him.

He recently said he was the victim of a smear campaign after he was accused of living a lavish lifestyle while posing as a champion of the poor.

           — Hat tip: mriggs[Return to headlines]


Australian-Born Familes Will be Minority in 15 Years, Claims Macroplan Australia

THE Australian-born family will be a minority social group within 15 years, according to new research.

Rising immigration and an ageing population mean migrant families will outnumber Australian-born residents by 2025, says demographic consultancy Macroplan Australia.

According to 2006 census data, 40 per cent of Australia’s population were either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born overseas.

But if immigration continues at current levels, that will jump to more than 50 per cent by 2025.

The news comes days after the appointment of Tony Burke as Australia’s first population minister, given the task of managing the influx of migrants expected to help swell the population to 36 million by 2050 — up from 22 million today.

As he was sworn in, a survey of 3,000 people revealed that 70 per cent of Australians do not want a bigger population, and less than a quarter favoured immigration as the main conributor.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Australian-Born Families to be a Minority by 2025

HE Australian-born family will be a minority social group in 15 years, according to new research by demographic consultants Macroplan Australia.

Soaring immigration and an ageing population mean that migrant families will outnumber Australian-born residents by 2025.

According to 2006 census data, 40 per cent of Australia’s population were born overseas, or have at least one parent who was born overseas. But if immigration continues at current levels, that will jump to more than 50 per cent by 2025.

The news comes days after Tony Burke’s appointment as Australia’s first population minister, tasked with managing the huge influx of migrants expected to help swell the population to 36 million by 2050, up from 22 million today.

A survey of 3000 people has revealed 70 per cent of Australians do not want a bigger population and less than a quarter favoured immigration as the main contributor.

However, experts say the migrant majority will be a healthy development for Australian culture and attitudes.

“It is all adding to the cosmopolitan nature of modern Australia,” said Bernard Salt, a demographic expert at KPMG.

“It means our views become less blinkered and we become more tolerant, confident, engaged, opportunistic and optimistic because we are open to new ideas and not obsessed with keeping things the same.”

Brian Haratsis, chief executive of Macroplan, said Australia’s current population tends to “stare at our shoes and say we’re the best in the world” instead of embracing new ideas.

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

USA: Another “Inconvenient Truth” About Illegal Immigration… Disease

Last month, 50 students and teachers at Lilburn Middle School in Gwinnett County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta , tested positive for tuberculosis exposure, and four have been confirmed to have an active case of TB. While that news may be shocking to most, it is nothing new. In October 2009, about 200 students at the county’s Norcross High School underwent testing, after TB was discovered at the school.

Of course, Atlanta is a known ‘sanctuary city’ for illegal aliens.

It is often said that the flood of illegal immigrants into this country is reaching ‘epidemic proportions.’ While that statement is true, it is just as true that the illegal immigrants pouring over the U.S./Mexican border are endangering this country with actual epidemics. Tuberculosis, hepatitis, dengue fever, chagas, and even leprosy are being imported into the U.S. inside the bodies of illegal aliens.

A virtual ‘hot-zone’ of disease can be found in this nations border states. Illegal immigrants have set up so-called ;colonias’ just inside the states of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. The shanty towns are comprised mostly of cardboard shacks and huts made with cast-off building materials. They have no sanitation, and are surrounded by mounds of garbage. The estimated 185,000 illegals share their makeshift towns with armies of rats. Of course, diseases only common to Central and South America run rampant in these places.

One of the imports to this country is chagas disease. It is caused by a parasite known as trypanosome. It is a blood-borne disease and is spread by triatomine insects. The parasite burrows into human tissue (usually in the face), where it then begins to multiply. In addition to being spread by insects, it can also be contracted through blood transfusions.

After cases of chagas were reportedly discovered to have been spread by transfusions in Canada, that nation began testing all blood donations for the disease.

Once thought to be nearly eradicated in this country, TB is now making a strong comeback, thanks to unchecked immigration.

In a 2005 interview with Mother Jones Magazine, Dr. Reichman of The New Jersey TB Clinic said: “In the 1990’s, cases among foreign born Americans rose from 29 percent to 41.6 percent. Antibiotic resistant strains from Mexico have migrated to Texas. Since three years ago, 16,000 new cases of TB were discovered in the United States. Half were foreign born. Strains of TB once only found in Mexico have migrated to the border states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. It will move north as illegal aliens work in restaurants as cooks, dishwashers, and food handlers. We sit on the edge of a potential catastrophe.”

In 2001, New York’s Tuberculosis Control Program discovered that 81 percent of that city’s new cases of TB were attributed to foreign nationals.

As in Atlanta, cases of TB are now being found where there are high concentrations of illegal aliens. In March of 2002, The Washington Post reported that Virginia’s Prince William County experienced a 188 percent increase of TB infections over the previous year. Of course, the streets of Prince William County are over-run with illegal aliens seeking day-laborer jobs.

In May 2009, another outbreak of TB was feared, this time in Chicago, as an infected doctor possibly spread the virus throughout area hospitals. The unidentified physician worked at Evanston Hospital, Children’s Memorial and Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital. Chicago has a ‘sanctuary’ policy for illegal aliens, and consequently has a very large illegal population.

According to the CDC, the following countries accounted for the largest number of TB cases among legal, U.S. resident aliens in 2004:

  • Mexico (1,976)
  • Philippines (829)
  • Vietnam (619)
  • India (557)
  • China (352)
  • Haiti (248)
  • South Korea (219)
  • Guatemala (190)
  • Ethiopia (169)
  • Peru (159)

Of course, the preceding numbers do not include the millions of illegal aliens currently living in this country.

It costs between $250K to $1million to treat a patient with TB.

Despite the dangers presented by swine flu and the fact that the World Health Organization raised their threat level to the highest in that group’s history, the U.S. government refused to close our border with Mexico, where the flu actually originated and where the highest number of deaths occurred.

During an April 27, 2009 press conference, DHS Janet Napolitano said: “Well, as I said yesterday, we’re already doing passive surveillance at the border. And with respect to closing the border, again, you would close the border if you thought you could contain disease, the spread of disease. But the disease already is in a number of states within the United States, so the containment issue doesn’t really play out. This particular flu, you can actually have it for a couple of days before you show any symptoms, and so even if—people could be coming through now, even under passive surveillance, who actually have the flu. So that’s a very difficult judgment to make.”

Then on NBC’s Today Show Napolitano gave the real reason behind this administration’s unwillingness to close the border.

Napolitano told viewers: “You have to look at what the costs of that are. We literally have thousands of trucks and lots of commerce that cross that border. We have food products and other things that go across that border. So that would be a very, very heavy cost.”


As usual, business interest were put ahead of the safety and health of the American public.

It seems that every nation except the United States, took the outbreak seriously. Take a look at the following headlines from around the world:

“Swine flu prompts EU warning on travel to U.S.” “ British holiday companies suspend flights to Mexico” “ Air Canada and Westjet are suspending flights and vacation tours to Mexico” “ Argentina suspends flights from Mexico” “ Cuba halts flights to Mexico as flu virus spreads” “ Cruise lines cancel Mexico stops over flu fear “

The threats posed to our country by illegal immigration are many. However, our political leaders will undoubtedly continue to ignore them. Our own president is willing to place all Americans at risk, in exchange for securing the Latino vote for the Democratic Party.

If left unchecked, illegal immigration will destroy this nation one way or another.

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

Culture Wars

Let’s Accept Jamaican Homophobia: It’s Part of the Culture

Die Welt 12.04.2010

The German reggae star Gentleman (aka Tilman Otto) said it in the taz and he says it again in Die Welt: gay is not okay in Jamaica. “I cannot expect other cultures to be like my own. I do not have to go around handing out condoms in the Vatican City or tearing headscarves off women’s heads in Iran. I cannot condemn homophobia in Jamaica. There are things that just do not fit with the Rastaman’s religion, and you have to accept that.”

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


Even 9-Month-Olds Choose ‘Gender-Specific’ Toys

Parents may want their girls to grow up to be astronauts and their boys to one day do their fair share of child care and housework duties, but a new study suggests certain stereotypical gender preferences take root even before most kids can crawl.

When presented with seven different toys, boys as young as 9 months old went for the car, digger and soccer ball, while ignoring the teddy bears, doll and cooking set.

And the girls? You guessed it. At the same age, they were most interested in the doll, teddy bear and miniature pot, spoon and plastic vegetables.

“The boys always preferred the toys that go or move, and the girls preferred toys that promote nurturing and facial features,” said study author Sara Amalie O’Toole Thommessen, an undergraduate at City University in London.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Why Muslims Are So Inclined to Seduce, Rape and Marry Non-Muslim Girls?

Most of us have seen a video, titled “The Demographic Problem”. It says that the minimum fertility rate (FR) for a culture, to sustain for coming 25 years, must be 2.11 children per family and a FR less than that, the culture would decline. In a country, where the present FR is 1.3, it would take 80 to 100 years to correct itself. The Table below shows the Fertility Rates of Some countries of Europe in 2007: …

But, in spite of such low FR, the population in Europe is not declining, and that is due, to a greater part, to influx of Muslim immigrants. These immigrant Muslims have FR as high as 8.1 children per family. As a result nearly 30% of the children in France today are Muslims. And it is predicted that within 2027, 20% of the population in France would be Muslims and within next 39 years, it will be an Islamic country.

Thirty years ago, there were 28,000 Muslims in GB and at present; the figure has gone up to 2.5 million, i.e. a 90 fold increase in 30 years. In The Netherland, 50% of the population will be Muslims within next 15 years. In today’s Belgium, Muslims constitute 25% of the population, but 50% of the newborns are Muslims, and Germany will turn into an Islamic country within 2050. So, Muammar al-Gaddafi, the Libyan President, rightly predicted: “There are signs that Allah will grant victory to Islam in Europe without swords, without guns, without conquest. We don’t need terrorists, we don’t need homicide bombs. The 50+ million Muslims in Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”

A study by the German Government forecasted: “Present 52+ million Muslims in Europe will be doubled and grow into 104 million within next 20 years.” It also says that a similar fate is awaiting the USA and Canada.

>From the above discussions, it becomes evident that Muslims are planning to conquer Europe and America, or the entire world for that matter, through rapid breeding of their kind, and in this demographic aggression, the wombs of the Muslim women is the vital weapon. So, in reality, seducing a Hindu or non-Muslim girl for converting her to Islam and marry her means converting a Hindu or non-Muslim womb into a Muslim womb. Hence, it is of vital importance in the Muslim scheme of demographic transformation of the globe. It is, indeed, a part of jihad. Muslims in the southern Indian state of Kerala have adopted a well-planned strategy, and set up a meticulously planned program, called “Love Jihad”, to achieve this goal. It is also to be noted here that, a study by the government of Maharastra, another Indian state, has revealed that, in almost all the cases of interreligious marriages in that state, the boys were Muslims while the girls were Hindus or Christians.

So says an observer: “This is the most effective of all jihads and is bringing European non-Muslims to their knees through explosion in Muslim population. Muslims, who had repeatedly failed to capture Europe in the battlefield, are finally winning through “achievements” in their bedrooms. Many of the Mujahids in European countries have four wives and over 20 children. Many of these wives are acquired from non-Muslim ranks and converted to Islam for extra blessings from Allah. The best part of this Jihad is that the ignorant white infidel imbeciles themselves are paying for it by providing welfare cheques to them, thus freeing the Mujahids from the worry of earning a livelihood, and allowing them to devote all their time to their reproductive jihad”.

Muslims all over the world are playing their part of this Reproductive Jihad. For example, a study in the district of Mewat, in the state of Haryana, India, revealed that, average Muslim birth-rates are 12-15 children per household. The fertility rate of Mohammed Ishaq’s family is astonishing: he has produced 23 kids out of his only wife, Bismillah.

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