Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20100809

Financial Crisis
»Container Store, Whole Foods Aim for Conscious Capitalism
»Major U.S. Employment Shift Occurring, Study Finds
»Modern Irish Hippie!
»North Texas Home Sales Drop 29 Percent in July
»Frank Gaffney: Coming to Grips With Shariah
»Petition: Stop the 911 Mega Mosque at Ground Zero
Europe and the EU
»Britain’s New Export: Islamist Carnage
»Germany: Conflict Over Nuclear Power Rages On
»Invasion of the Bling-ionaires: Meet Britain’s Most Jaw-Droppingly Ostentatious Tourists Who Have Supercars Flown From the Middle East to UK by Private Jet
»Italian Lawmakers: Put IHH on EU Terrorist List
»Italy: Chinese Clothing Makers ‘Evaded €300 Mln in Taxes’
»Italy: Almost €5 Bln in Unpaid Taxes Recouped in 2010
»Males Wilt Under Danish Fascism
North Africa
»Trapani Virgin Mary Procession Called Off in Tunis
Middle East
»Dubai: Arabic Lessons (And Manners) For Foreigners During Ramadan
»Reciprocity Principle Used to Violate Minority Rights in Turkey, Greece
»Turkish Bridegroom Accidentally Kills Three Relatives After Firing AK-47 at His Wedding
»US Sells F15 Fighters to Saudis — Not Israel-Capable
South Asia
»British Couple Gunned Down in Pakistan in Suspected Honour Killing After Calling Off Marriage
»Indonesia: Firebrand Muslim Cleric in Terror Arrest
Far East
»Fury in China as Female Babies Grow Breasts After Drinking Milk Laced With Hormones
»Italy: Dozens of Migrants Land in South
»Muslim Migrants Want to Hide Behind a Veil
»Revealed: The UK Maternity Units in Which Only 1 in 10 Mothers is of White British Origin

Financial Crisis

Container Store, Whole Foods Aim for Conscious Capitalism

The first couple of times Rob Holmes met with Kip Tindell about putting the Container Store on the market in 2007 he couldn’t get away fast enough from the co-founder of the chain of 50 organization stores. That’s not how you might expect an investment banker to react to the prospect of offering what was considered an industry jewel to more than 100 interested buyers, an unusually high level of suitors.

But Tindell wanted Holmes, a J.P. Morgan managing director and co-head of the firm’s retail industry investment banking, to enlighten experienced investors about the quirky Coppell-based retailer, including “conscious capitalism and how Gumby is their mascot.”

It was Tindell’s way of telling would-be suitors they had to promise to preserve the corporate culture, keep the current management in control, offer stock to employees and pay a premium value without burdening the company with too much debt.

It was a tall order, Holmes said. And after four, five, six lunch meetings, he finally got the conscious capitalism part.

As a state that tops most best-places-for-business lists, Texas might seem like an unlikely place to birth a movement that challenges capitalism’s most basic tenet of putting profits first.

Yet that’s what co-founders of two of Texas’ most successful retail companies — Container Store and Austin-based Whole Foods Market — are pushing to their peers. They offer it as an approach that can mend today’s rampant mistrust of business.

Perhaps there was something in Austin’s drinking water in the 1970s. That’s when Tindell and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey shared a house with three roommates for a year while attending the University of Texas.

Decades later, the two reconnected and discovered they were using similar core values and foundation principles to lead companies that had developed and conquered two retail categories: organization and storage products, and organic groceries.

Simply put, they believe profits come from balancing the needs of all stakeholders — employees, suppliers, customers, community and investors. A business has to have a purpose other than profits in order to achieve profitability. Under conscious capitalism, the shareholder isn’t No. 1. (Sorry, Milton Friedman.)

In the case of the Container Store, the employee comes first. At Whole Foods, it’s the customer.

“Paradoxically, the best way to maximize profits over the long term is to not make them the primary goal of the business,” Mackey said.

Tindell quotes Andrew Carnegie: “Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim. Making money then becomes an easy proposition.”

Coining the concept

The phrase “conscious capitalism” was coined by Muhammad Yunus, the recipient of a 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his creation in 1983 of Bangladesh’s pioneering microlender, Grameen Bank.

Tindell and Mackey co-founded a nonprofit organization called Conscious Capitalism Alliance, which will hold its third annual summit in October in Lake Arrowhead, Calif. The first two were in Austin.

Another catalyst of the movement is Roy Spence, who started Austin-based advertising agency GSD&M in 1971 with his UT classmates. It has helped some of the world’s most successful brands grow, including Southwest Airlines, Chili’s, Wal-Mart and Dreamworks. GSD&M also created the “Don’t mess with Texas” slogan in 1986.

Other participants include former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch, who spent three decades with the chain as it grew from nine stores in Southern California to more than 325 in 26 states, and Houston native Marianne Williamson, a spiritual teacher and best-selling author.

Tindell is an unabashed evangelist.

For example, he called on Holmes and the Container Store’s management, employees and suppliers to spread the word during a full-day conference at the company’s headquarters last month. It attracted about 50 top officials from local companies such as GameStop, Brookshire’s Grocery, Sleep Experts and Studio Movie Grill.

Unique culture

With each testimonial about the concept of filling the other guy’s basket, a unique corporate culture took shape.

The Container Store helped Mike Gilliam start his company, Lovan Industries Inc., a decade ago by becoming one of his first customers. He initially repaired vacuum cleaners. Now, his small business provides multiple services and products to the chain.

Chet Keizer, president of Iris USA Inc., said he trusted the Container Store’s management enough to move a factory from California to Mesquite to make the Container Store’s signature clear plastic boxes in multiple sizes. That factory employs 130 people.

In 2007, after the field of potential suitors for the Container Store had narrowed, Holmes remembered how Tindell wanted management to make the final presentations. That’s usually an investment banker task.

Tindell and his crew started every meeting by explaining their foundation principles. “Those first 10 minutes in the room were really awkward,” Holmes said.

Imagine the Gumby explanation. The character symbolizes the company’s flexibility to take on any challenge and adjust when necessary. The Container Store believes retail is far too situational to have inflexible policies.

Suitors weren’t buying a company, “they were buying a soul of a corporate culture,” Tindell explained.

“We focused on everything you’re not supposed to — the people, vendor relationships, loyal customers, the brand’s guarded, slow new store growth,” he said.

The Container Store sold for a multiple of earnings before taxes in the midteens and set a retail industry record. Sale terms were never publicly disclosed…

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]

Major U.S. Employment Shift Occurring, Study Finds

WASHINGTON — The housing boom that helped fuel U.S. economic growth and employment from 2000 to 2007 was an unsustainable bubble, and when it burst it not only sent the economy into a tailspin but also left the U.S. economy struggling to create jobs.

A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of employment data collected by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the jobs that are being created as the economy recovers often don’t replace the ones that were lost when the housing boom collapsed.

The analysis suggests, in fact, that the recovery is slow in part because many unemployed workers don’t have the skills to fill the jobs now available.

“That’s an astute observation, and I think it’s accurate. How to retool to meet those new skills?” said Martin Regalia, the chief economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s a longer-term issue. You are not going to retool someone who was a construction worker to handle motherboards. The skill matchup with the skill need is shifting as the economy recovers.”

A deep dive into the government’s monthly employment reports indicates that the sectors that benefited most from the housing boom, especially construction and housing-related manufacturing, are unlikely to return to bubble levels or even close to them. It also suggests that the road ahead will remain rocky for low-skilled laborers and skilled tradesmen.

“There has to be a reverse flow of those workers back into the other parts of the economy,” said Joel Prakken, the chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, a consulting firm in St. Louis that co-issues the monthly ADP National Employment Report on private-sector hiring.

The ADP reports show a continued bleed, month after month, in residential construction jobs that are unlikely to bounce back.

“In my judgment, some of that is gone forever. … We’re not going to need as many people as we had (in that sector) in 2006 and 2007. That adjustment and transition back is kind of painful,” Prakken said. “Sectors have been affected unequally.”

Housing and residential investment make up 2.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, the total value of domestically produced goods and services. Their impact is larger, however, because many manufacturing jobs are tied to housing.

These include jobs in companies that produce, install or repair kitchen cabinets, hardwood floors, carpets, heating and cooling equipment, appliances and other products. There also are jobs in hardware stores and home improvement centers, truckers who deliver stock to Home Depot and Lowe’s, and longshoremen who handle containers of Asian-made tools in West Coast ports.

A strong housing sector, one in which home prices rise, creates personal wealth. That, in turn, feeds consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

During the housing boom, employment in construction and manufacturing tied to the sector soared. Residential building accounted for about 800,000 direct jobs in January 2000, and peaked at 1.037 million in August 2006. It fell this February to 549,000 jobs. Hiring in this part of the construction sector has picked up only slightly since, adding about 45,600 jobs through July.

The plunge in construction employment is even starker in the specialty trades. Employment for drywall and insulation contractors has fallen from 329,000 in December 2007 to 214,000 this past May, far off the June 2006 peak of 380,600.

There’s a clear spillover to manufacturing.

When the recession began in December 2007, almost 13.8 million Americans were employed in manufacturing. Through this July, that number stood at 11.7 million.

So who’s hiring? Some of the strongest data this year come from the professional and business services sector, usually associated with white-collar employment.

Employers in this broad category had added jobs for eight consecutive months, before slipping by 13,000 in July. Still, the sector accounted for more than 16.8 million U.S. jobs in July and is up by 564,000 jobs since January.

The information technology sector outperforms most others. IT employment in computer systems design grew to 1,454,900 positions last month from 1,397,400 in December 2007.

Health care also continues to add jobs as the first wave of baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, hits the official retirement age at the end of this year. Health care employment, much like IT jobs, requires a degree of specialization. There were 13,814,400 health care jobs in July, up from 13,134,000 in December 2007.

Employment in hospitals rose in the same period to 4,726,200 jobs from 4,574,500. It’s grown every month but one since the recession began.

Despite the sector-by-sector differences, Larry Mishel, the president of the liberal Economic Policy Institute, warns against losing sight of the broader problem.

“It’s not about sectoral trends. We’re in a massive downturn. There’s never been, in the postwar era, a period where we lost as many jobs as this one,” said Mishel.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]

Modern Irish Hippie!

A Donegal man has founded a ‘freeconomy’ movement that seeks to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle, and he’s leading by example, managing to survive without any money

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

North Texas Home Sales Drop 29 Percent in July

North Texas home sales fell off a cliff in July.

Sales of preowned homes plunged 29 percent from a year earlier after the expiration of federal home buying incentives, which had brought out thousands of buyers.

Condominium and townhouse sales dropped by 37 percent.

July’s 5,143 single-family home sales were the lowest monthly total since February, according to the latest report from the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Even with the sharp fall off in home purchases, median sales prices managed to eke out a 1 percent gain from a year ago.

The number of homes listed for sale in the area last month rose by 15 percent to 42,629 listings.

Homes sales had been expected to drop after tax tax credits of up to $8,000 expired at the end of April.

But July’s big decline is more significant than expected.

Through the first seven months of 2010, real estate agents have sold just over 40,000 homes through their multiple listing service. That’s 3 percent more home purchases than in the same period of 2009.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]


Frank Gaffney: Coming to Grips With Shariah

Suddenly, it seems, everyone is talking about Shariah. In particular, growing controversies over proposed mosques at Ground Zero and other sites are becoming powerful “teaching moments” — raising awareness about the repressive theo-political-military-legal doctrine that animates the builders and that their fellow adherents seek to impose on the entire world.

This is a most welcome development in light of the grave and growing threat posed by this agenda and the concerted effort being made — here and elsewhere, through violent jihad and the stealthy kind — to realize that goal.

Unfortunately, too many Americans still remain unaware of the magnitude of the danger we face from Shariah. Worse yet, their ability to comprehend this threat, let alone respond appropriately to it, is being seriously disserved by people who know better — or should. Specifically, the public is being seriously misled by 1) some journalists and politicians who are obscuring the true nature of Shariah and 2) Shariah practitioners who engage in deliberate deception to facilitate the penetration of their doctrine into Western societies.

As an example of the former, consider the article that led the New York Times front page on Sunday entitled “Battles around Nation over Proposed Mosques.” It accurately reported that Americans from the Ground Zero neighborhood in Lower Manhattan to San Bernardino are expressing growing concern about Muslim mosques that “seek to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic Shariah law.”…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Petition: Stop the 911 Mega Mosque at Ground Zero

Target: Mayor Bloomberg and city council

Sponsored by: SIOA, FDI, Atlas Shrugs, Jihadwatch

The human rights group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) is hosting a rally at Ground Zero to protest the construction of a mosque at the site of the Islamic terror attack that brought down the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. SIOA is one of America’s foremost organizations defending human rights, religious liberty, and the freedom of speech against Islamic supremacist intimidation and attempts to bring elements of Sharia to the United States.

signature goal: 5,000

13,103 signatures !

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Britain’s New Export: Islamist Carnage

by Daniel Pipes

Britain’s largest and longest-running terrorist investigation ended last month with the conviction of three British Muslims. Their 2006 plot involved blowing up trans-Atlantic airliners with the hope of killing up to 10,000 people. That near-disaster offers a pungent reminder of the global danger poised by U.K.-based radical Islam.

The Heritage Foundation calls British Islamism “a direct security threat” to the United States and The New Republic dubs it “the biggest threat to U.S. security.” Officialdom agrees. The British home secretary compiled a dossier in 2003 that acknowledged his country offered a “significant base” for terrorism. A CIA study in 2009 concluded that British-born nationals of Pakistani descent (who can freely enter the United States under a visa waiver program) constitute America’s most likely source of terrorism.

Confirming, updating, and documenting these reports, London’s Centre for Social Cohesion, run by the formidable Douglas Murray, has just published a 535-page opus, Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections, written by Robin Simcox, Hannah Stuart, and Houriya Ahmed. It consists mainly of detailed biographical information on two sorts of perpetrators of what it calls “Islamism related offences” or IROs — that is to say, incidents where evidence points to Islamist beliefs as the primary motivator.

One listing contains information on the 127 individuals convicted of IROs or suicides in IROs within Britain; the other provides biographies on 88 individuals with connections to Britain who engaged in IROs elsewhere in the world. The study covers eleven years 1999-2009.

Domestic British terrorists display a dismaying pattern of normality. They are predominantly young (mean age: 26) and male (96 percent). Nearly half come from a South Asian background. Of those whose educational backgrounds are known, most attended university. Of those whose occupations are known, most have jobs or study full time. Two-thirds of them are British nationals, two-thirds have no links to proscribed terrorist organizations, and two-thirds never went abroad to attend terrorist training camps.

Most IROs, in brief, are perpetrated by basically ordinary Muslims whose minds have been seized by the coherent and powerful ideology of Islamism. One wishes the terrorist’s numbers were limited to psychopaths, for that would render the problem less difficult to confront and eliminate.

Britain’s Security Service estimates that over 2,000 individuals residing today in Britain pose a terrorist threat, thereby implying not only that the “covenant of security” that once partially protected the U.K. from attack by its own Muslims is long defunct but that the United Kingdom may face the worst internal terrorist menace of any Western country other than Israel.

As for the second group — Islamists with ties to Great Britain who engage in attacks outside the country: the report’s authors modestly state that because their information constitutes a sampling, and not a comprehensive list, they do not provide statistical analyses. But their sample indicates the phenomenon’s reach, so I compiled a list of countries (and the number of British-linked perpetrators) in which British-linked IROs have occurred.

The centre’s list includes Afghanistan (12), Algeria (3), Australia (1), Azerbaijan (1), Belgium (2), Bosnia (4), Canada (1), France (7), Germany (3), India (3), Iraq (3), Israel (2), Italy (4), Jordan (1), Lebanon (1), Morocco (2), the Netherlands (1), Pakistan (5), Russia (4), Saudi Arabia (1), Somalia (1), Spain (2), the United States (14), and Yemen (10). I add to the centre’s list Albania, where an attack took place before 1999, and Bangladesh and Kenya, which seem to have been overlooked…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Germany: Conflict Over Nuclear Power Rages On

The internal government conflict over extending the lifespan of Germany’s nuclear power stations has sharpened, with a broad alliance calling for a longer extension than the one favoured by Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen.

Röttgen favours an extension of only eight years, but he is being defied by the parliamentary faction of his Christian Democratic Union, along with the Economy Ministry and the southern German states, who all want operational lifespans extended by an average of 14 years.

Economic policy spokesman Joachim Pfeiffer said, “Röttgen should recognize that a majority of the party think that a longer lifespan is absolutely necessary to guarantee a safe energy supply.”

Röttgen’s predecessor, and now head of the opposition Social Democratic Party Sigmar Gabriel, commented, “Either Röttgen is too weak to assert himself against the nuclear-fans in his party, or going back to a nuclear power economy is his personal goal, despite all his sermons.” Either way, Gabriel argued, he is not suited to be Environment Minister.

The SPD boss said that if the “hardliners in the parliamentary faction and the states” get their way, Röttgen will have failed completely.

Green party leader Claudia Roth forecast a “very hot autumn” for the coalition if they tried to extend nuclear power lifespans for 14 years. “If you sow atomic wind, then you will reap a people’s storm,” she said.

Roth predicted that tens of thousands would take to the streets in protest, and millions of voters in 2011 state elections would vote against this “madness.” The Green party also promised it would go to the Constitutional Court if the government attempted to bypass the Bundesrat in order to get the necessary legislation through.

The opposition remains confident that the lack of a majority in the Bundesrat, the upper house of the German parliament, will scupper any chance of an extension.

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

Invasion of the Bling-ionaires: Meet Britain’s Most Jaw-Droppingly Ostentatious Tourists Who Have Supercars Flown From the Middle East to UK by Private Jet

A sunny Thursday afternoon in August and the cars circling Harrods need to be seen to be believed. Million-pound Bugatti Veyrons — normally a rare sighting, even on the well-heeled streets of Central London — are, around here, about as common as Ford Fiestas.

Other cars, in a display that could rival anything in Monaco or Goodwood, drive round and round the block, pausing at the rear each time to see if their masters are ready for collection.

In the cafes surrounding the department store, every single table is taken by people from the Gulf states and the Middle East — Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Dubai.

Welcome to Knightsbridge — or, as it is better known to locals, ‘Little Kuwait’.

For British residents, the summer is all about anescape to the sun; a fortnight in the South of France, the Italian Riviera or Spain. We Brits want sand, sangria, heat and a swimming pool. Anywhere but the sticky, filthy city.

For the mega-wealthy billionaire families of the Gulf states over here this summer will tell you that they come to London because, unlike in the U.S. or France, they are made to feel welcome,’ says Hussam Baramo, the Syria-born features editor at Al Quds newspaper, a daily paper widely-read by Middle Eastern people in London. ‘They like London because they think it’s safe and friendly.’

And here, they can bring their cars with them. Around the corner from Harrods, I saw one Veyron with every inch of its bodywork coated in gold; another, chromed all over.

Behind it, I watched a Veyron in pearlised white with shiny chromium wings making a noise like a scalded Rottweiler.

The Saudi number plate on this car was ‘999’. I watched the driver get out. He was around 25 and dressed like an off-duty Lewis Hamilton. I complimented him on his car and asked how he got it over to London. ‘In my plane,’ he said, grinning.

The car was parked in a pay-and-display’ bay, but its driver did neither. The auto show continued with a Rolls-Royce Phantom customised with a stainless steel bonnet. The number plate on this car is simply ‘1’. Later that day I Googled this vehicle and discovered that a couple of years ago its Dubai-based owner paid £9 million for the registration number alone.

A long Maybach limousine, painted in distinct orange and matt black, purred through the melee. The letters ‘RRR’ are picked out on the vehicle’s boot in a diamond-studded font.

A handsome young man and his friend, both dressed like aspirant R&B pop stars (faded jeans, Hermes belt, one of those Ralph Lauren polo shirts with the over-sized horse logo, pastel suede Hermes driving shoes, and bronze tint sunglasses) got out.

This is Crown Prince Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the incredibly glamorous and fun-loving son of the multi-billionaire HRH Sheikh Rashid Bin Humid Al Nuaimi of Ajman.

Ajman, in case you didn’t know, is the smallest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, but has grand plans to become a mini Dubai. RRR is the banner for the Crown Prince’s vast portfolio of orange and black super cars — the letters stand for Rich in Real Estate Resources.

‘How do you go about writing tickets to these guys?’ I asked a traffic warden in Basil Street. ‘It’s impossible,’ he shrugs, showing me the computerised ticket machine he wears around his neck.

‘My machine only has numbers and letters on it. Their number plates are just . . .’ He tailed off, struggling for the right word.

‘Squiggles?’ I suggested. ‘Yes. There are no keys on my machine for those.’

Last week, the wardens seemed to arrive at a solution to the problem of ticketing cars with squiggles for number plates; they started clamping them instead.

Early victims were a£1.2 million Koenigsegg CCXR (one of only six ever made) and a £350,000 Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce which were illegally parked outside Harrods.

But the traffic wardens aren’t the only ones ruffled by the fleet of supercars flooding the area.

Residents living near the Knightsbridge store say their night-time peace is being shattered by the owners racing their sports cars through the streets, describing it as being ‘like the starting grid at Le Mans’.

They have now forged a campaign group and aired their grievances to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, claiming that police and council have failed to act.

Some of the Middle Eastern visitors keep summer-houses in London — there are said to be more than 100 billionaire Saudi families with second homes in the Knightsbridge area alone— while others prefer out-of-town locations such as Bishops Avenue in North London (also known as ‘Millionaires Row’), Coombe Hill in Kingston and St George’s Hill in Weybridge, Surrey.

Next summer, many of them will take up residence at the new Knightsbridge development One Hyde Park that occupies a plum position opposite Harvey Nichols and next to the Mandarin Oriental hotel, where appartments cost up to £100 million.

Here, Arab summertime residents will be able to enjoy the super-luxe environment of heated floors and chilled ceilings, personalised entry systems that can include six levels of access, and a secure underground car park for their Rolls-Royces and Ferraris.

‘Our Middle Eastern customers are usually looking for flats with between three to five bedrooms and a 24-hour porter service, usually with a view of Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens,’ says Paul Hyman, sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Bayswater branch.

‘Properties of this type are hard to come by, but wealthy Arab businessmen can generally pay over the asking price.’

During August, whole floors of hotels around Hyde Park are block-booked for Middle Eastern oligarchs, while staff up their game by flying in topnotch Arabic entertainers for private shows in the biggest suites, adapting restaurant menus and parking the guests’ flashest cars out in front.

During the days, the men sleep in, while the women have their drivers drop them in Hyde Park where they walk in giggly groups, stopping to soak up the coolness and cloudy skies on the benches or lying on the grass in large circles with their friends.

To them, London is a welcome vacation from the restrictive, repetitive, stultifyingly predictable drudge of blandly luxurious life back home.

Many of the younger, more frustrated Saudi girls strip themselves free of the restrictive burka altogether, whooping and shrieking with delight as they change into tight jeans and vertiginous heels on the plane, as soon as Gulf state airspace is cleared.

Once in London, the girls go round either in large groups or chaperoned by Mum, who is normally clad in a headscarf and big shades — think Joan Collins does Jumierah Beach (one of the most exclusive resorts in Dubai).

The boys like to sit outside Knightsbridge cafes all gussied up in Arabpreppy finery, two or three mobile phones each, keys to Ferraris and Lamborghinis chucked down next to their napkins.

The young females from the more liberated countries, such as Bahrain and Dubai, are dolled up like big-eyed, honey-skinned Jennifer Lopez lookalikes.

The girls who choose to keep wearing their burkas — mostly Saudi Arabians — I am told often sport the kind of make-up that hasn’t been in fashion in the West since the end of the silent movie era. Bright red lipstick, generous helpings of cranberry rouge, eyes kohl-lined in the style of Dusty Springfield.

A spokesperson for luxury concierge service Quintessentially says: ‘About 20 per cent of our clients are from the Middle East. ‘One member requested Quintessentially Travel arrange a weekend break to Ibiza on a private jet, with a fully chartered yacht waiting for their use. Another wanted a personal shopping experience requesting that two designer stores be closed for their private viewing.’ Many others prefer to shop at home.

‘During August, we will often be asked to take a selection of our most expensive diamond necklaces, rings and bracelets to a suite at a hotel in Knightsbridge,’ says jeweller Stephen Webster, whose shop is on Mount Street, in nearby Mayfair.

‘Arab customers like to shop late, but our store isn’t permitted to have late-night opening . . . so we are happy to take the store to them.’

Another famous London jeweller, who would not be named, said: ‘They like big pieces and coloured stones. The sums they are prepared to pay for them are incredible. It is not unusual for Middle Eastern customers to spend £20 million in a single visit.’

When they are not shopping or tearing around in their cars, the Arab billionaires go to the Derby, Royal Ascot and the Berkshire Festival of Falconry, sponsored by the Abu Dhabibased Emirates Falconers’ Club and attended by His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan.

Of course, London — especially during these credit-crunched times — falls over itself to court Arab business.

Middle-Eastern shoppers are expected to spend £250 million in London this summer, an increase of 11 per cent on last year.

When the people at Harvey Nichols discovered that the amount of money Middle Eastern people in London were spending was rising so dramatically, the department store decided to start using Arabic advertisements in-store. Summer opening hours were extended to 9pm all week, and all cafe menus were modified to include Arabic translations and a Halal food offering.

Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor food hall now even offers a smoking terrace for customers that comes with the shisha pipes so beloved of Middle Eastern people. One Harvey Nichols advert showed a picture of a single Lanvin shoe. The words, written in Arabic, read, ‘The English are known for having bad teeth, that is why they need beautiful shoes’.

It doesn’t matter. Very few Londoners can read Arabic, and very few Middle Eastern people fraternise with British people anyway. They’re just here for August, then they disappear, like ghosts.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Italian Lawmakers: Put IHH on EU Terrorist List

July 28, 2010, The Jerusalem Post,

BERLIN — A group of lawmakers in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies are pushing for the Turkish IHH relief organization to be added to the European Union’s list of terrorist entities, Sharon Nizza, a spokeswoman for Italian legislator Fiamma Nirenstein, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“The Islamic fundamentalist nature of IHH has been documented by numerous declarations praising martyrdom and Israel’s destruction,” said Nirenstein, a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party who is spearheading the effort.

Citing the EU’s definition of terrorism as “participation in the activities of a terrorist group, including by funding its activities or supplying material resources,” Nirenstein said in a statement that the IHH sponsors terrorism, according to the EU’s criteria.

Nirenstein is vice president of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Chamber of Deputies and chairs its committee for inquiry into anti-Semitism.

“Several investigations and reports testify to the involvement of IHH in global terrorism, and many videos and documents attest to its jihadist attitude… the Turkish organization IHH (Insani Yardim Vafki) [is] one of the main promoters of the Mavi Marmara and responsible for its violent implications.”

The Turkish-sponsored vessel, whose passengers included radical Islamists, attempted along with five other ships to break the blockade of Gaza on May 31. Israel Navy commandos seized the ships. Activists on the Mavi Marmara attacked the commandos and nine Turkish men were killed.

People of Freedom deputies Nirenstein, Enrico Pianetta, Guglielmo Picchi, Antonio Martino and Gennaro Malgieri last week submitted their parliamentary question to outlaw IHH within the EU to the Italian Foreign Ministry.

A sixth deputy, Massimo Polledri from the Northern League, also supported the parliamentary initiative. The Northern League is part of the governing coalition along with the People of Freedom party.

Nizza, the spokeswoman for Nirenstein, told the Post the ministry could provide an answer to the inquiry on Thursday or next week.

According to the text of the parliamentary initiative, IHH has ties to Hamas and the Union of Good, an organization that is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and supports Hamas. The US Treasury has designated the Union of Good a financial supporter of terrorism.

“Germany has recently banned IHH, and in the USA, a bipartisan group of senators appealed to President Obama with a request to enter the IHH in the US list of terrorist organizations,” the legislative query states.

Meanwhile, the Coordinating Council of German Nongovernmental Organizations against Anti-Semitism called on the Merkel government and Bundestag lawmakers to move to place IHH on the EU list of terrorist organizations, because “like Hamas the IHH is an anti- Semitic organization that promotes terrorism.”

In a separate statement earlier this month, the Coordinating Council slammed the Bundestag for its “one-sided motion” singling out Israel for blame because of its seizure of the Gaza flotilla on May 31, which “fails to mention Hamas anti-Semitic agitation, their anti-democratic rule in Gaza and the connections between Turkish entities and the Hamas terrorist organization.”

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

Italy: Chinese Clothing Makers ‘Evaded €300 Mln in Taxes’

Ferrara, 4 Aug. (AKI) — Italy’s finance police on Wednesday announced that they uncovered an alleged fraud that had permitted Chinese clothing manufactures to evade 300 million euros in taxes. The suspected operation was perpetrated with the help of Chinese accountants holding who learned their trade in Italian universities.

Ten Chinese companies assembling clothes in 1,200 locations throughout Italy were aided by accountant offices owned by the children of Chinese immigrants, according to police.

Thousands of legal and illegal Chinese labourers earn their living in workshops sewing clothing and accessories. The centre of the textile industry is in Prato, around 16 kilometres northwest of Florence in Tuscany. According to an 2008 article by the Los Angeles Times, Chinese who are legal residents make up about 12 percent of the population (and probably close to 25 percent when illegal Chinese are counted, police say).

A report released last year by Catholic charity Caritas said that there are 170,000 legal Chinese immigrants in Italy.

“We’re talking about outright fraud,” said Lt. Fulvio Bernabei, of the finance police in Ferrara, in the northern region of Emilia Romagna, referring to his police force’s Wednesday announcement.

Involved in the scheme were some “very important fashion companies,” Bernabei told Adnkronos in an interview.

Two businessmen were arrested.

Bernabei said the evasion was uncovered thanks to the filing of false receipts.

In the operation, police say they also discovered a number of illegal immigrant workers.

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

Italy: Almost €5 Bln in Unpaid Taxes Recouped in 2010

Rome, 5 Aug. (AKI) — Italy recovered 4.9 billion euros of unpaid taxes in its battle against tax evaders during the first seven months of 2010, a 9 percent increase over the same period last year, the country’s Rome-based tax collection agency said on Thursday.

The country has pledged to crackdown on Europe’s second-worst rate of tax evasion following Greece as a way to reduce its budget deficit, which this year totals 78 billion euros.

Italy’s undeclared economy was worth 275 billion euros in 2008, or about 18 percent of all economic output for that year, the government has said. That denied Europe’s fourth-richest country of 100 billion euros in taxes, according to Bloomberg News.

Italy’s tax collectors say they will surpass 2009’s more than 9 billion euros of recouped tax revenue by the end of this year and will beat the official goal of 8 billion euros.

“Last year we took in 9.1 billion euros. This is a great sum but this year we’re on track to beating that result,” said Attilio Befera, who heads the tax-collecting agency, said on Thursday during a Rome press conference.

Italy’s tax-collection agency expects to collect 9 billion euros of recoup taxes by the end of the year.

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

Males Wilt Under Danish Fascism

How were the progeny of ‘The Vikings’ so reduced in stature?

Scandinavia is the home of Social Democracy, which in reality is nothing more than ‘Cultural Marxism’.

The whole social ethos of these Northern lands is Marxist to the bone. But there is more to this than first meets the eye. In fact, Danish society can appear to be something of a paradox, with its flourishing consumerism (somewhat curtailed of late by the world economic downturn) and unashamed materialism on the one hand, neatly wed to a deeply embedded Marxist Socialist spirit on the other.

Yet in reality, there is no paradox. What do you get when a Socialist State gets in bed with Monopoly Capitalist Corporatism ? You get as Mussolini said, ‘Corporatism’ or rather ‘Fascism’. That’s right, I’m saying that Denmark is a Fascist State.

A place whereby even the most minute details of a persons life are regulated and micromanaged by a vast State Bureaucracy. A Totalitarian Regime, elected by an deliberately uninformed populace.

[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Trapani Virgin Mary Procession Called Off in Tunis

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, AUGUST 9 — The procession of the Virgin Mary of Trapani, held in the parish church of La Goulette (Tunis), could not be held as scheduled yesterday afternoon due to a lack of authorisation. The procession, which had not been held since August 15 1960, was announced during the meeting on “Tunisia, land of religious encounters and tourism”, organised over the last few days by the Association for the Protection and Renovation of La Goulette, in collaboration with the Catholic diocese of Tunis and the Grand Rabbinate of Tunisia.

The event had been eagerly awaited by many believers who had gathered in the parish church where the archbishop of Tunisia, Maroun Laham, said mass. The suspension caught all unaware but, according to Kapitalis, the parish priest said that the non-authorisation by Tunisian authorities was a consequence of the difficulty to “get round” a 1964 law regulating worship by the Catholic Church in Tunisia. In the eyes of Don Llambrich, wrote Kapitalis, it is important for Christians and foreigners to fully comply with “the rules established by the Tunisian Republic if we want to continue worshipping without restrictions.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Dubai: Arabic Lessons (And Manners) For Foreigners During Ramadan

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, AUGUST 9 — Forums, information campaigns and classes in good etiquette: this is how Dubai is preparing itself for Ramadan, attempting to imbue the non-native population resident in the Emirate, which numbers more than 80% of the total of people there, the meaning and values of the Moslem holy month, dedicated as it is to self-denial and acts of charity. Depending on when the moon appears in the sky, Ramadan should begin either on August 11 or 12. The Eaton language institute is offering free lessons in Arabic throughout the month, accompanied by fifteen minutes on “etiquette” to explain what is appropriate and inappropriate behaviour during this period, and to answer any queries that may arise from a lack of familiarity with the ways of the country, its traditions and those of the Moslem religion. “Ramadan is the month in which introspection and charity are celebrated. It is a time of year dedicated to learning, to deepening understanding and to polite conduct. Our free courses are a small offering to the community living in the United Arab Emirates, a gesture to strengthen the ties between locals and foreigners,” the Institute’s Director, Ali Abu Rashed, explains.

Knocking down the wall of ignorance that exists between the Moslem Arab population and the kaleidoscopic mixture of a further one hundred nationalities resident in the emirate, is an objective that has been set by the Ramadan Forum, organised by the country’s Tourism Department (DDTC). Seminars and meetings, conducted in English as well as in Tagal (acknowledging the enormous Philippine community present in the emirate) will be held between the 2nd and 18th day of Ramadan in a marquee capable of hosting up to 7,000 people — but which could well prove a little cramped given the attendance last year, when many followed the proceedings seated on the ground.

Nor is there any shortage of private initiatives. The Dubai Aluminium Company, better known as Dubal, one of the emirate’s leading companies, started its awareness-raising campaign yesterday among its workforce of 4,000 employees coming from 37 different countries. A ‘Majlis’, an area reserved for welcoming guests in the traditional houses here, has been set up in the company’s headquarters, dedicated to discussions of Ramadan-related themes. Informative screen-savers are also available, while daily email messages to staff remind their recipients of the times and the important values during each day. Even the medical centre has started its own campaign on nutritional needs and the risks associated with fasting.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Reciprocity Principle Used to Violate Minority Rights in Turkey, Greece

Both the Turkish and Greek governments have misused the reciprocity principle to violate the fundamental human rights, especially property rights, of minority foundations, a recent report by a Turkish research organization has found.

“The non-Muslim communities have long been treated unjustly,” Taylan Tanay, chair of the Contemporary Lawyers Association’s Istanbul Branch, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in a Thursday phone interview about the report.

He added that this was primarily due to the lack of proper related laws and practices, something also highlighted in the recent report by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, or TESEV.

The TESEV report, “A tale of reciprocity: minority foundations in Turkey and Greece,” looks at the principle of reciprocity, laid out in Article 45 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. It was prepared by Dilek Kurban, a law expert who also manages the TESEV Democratization Program in cooperation with Konstantinos Tsitselikis, a law expert working for the Minority Groups Research Center in Greece.

The report says the reciprocity principle does not apply to human-rights treaties.

Ibrahim Kaya, an international-law expert at the International Strategic Research Organization, or USAK, told the Daily News that the violation of the property rights of minority foundations was not only a concern for Turkey and Greece, but also for southern Cyprus and the Muslim minorities in Bulgaria.

Kaya said a Turkish high court ruling in 1974 had categorized non-Muslim foundations as foreign ones. “They are not so, as they serve Turkish citizens who are not Muslim, not people who are not Turkish,” he said, adding that the 2008 law on foundations had aimed to address this issue.

Another concern coming from prior applications of the principle is that most such foundations had not declared all their property in the past, as they would have had to pay very high taxes had they done so. “Thus, the non-declared property’s ownership was then transferred to the state,” Kaya said.

According to Tanay, all-inclusive laws and regulations are necessary for Turkey. “The 2008 law on foundations is not sufficient,” he said, adding that the Turkish state had to return to the foundations all the property it had confiscated since the 1960s and compensate those whose confiscated properties were sold to third parties and cannot be returned. He encouraged all entities to apply to the European Court of Human Rights if domestic laws were insufficient to cover their cases.

“It is not only a matter of government, the judiciary’s perception is also wrong in Turkey,” Tanay said, adding that Turkish high courts have also generally disregarded property rights of non-Muslim foundations in their decisions.

“We need to change our perceptions as well, that is the real problem,” he said, adding that the roots of the problem went deeper than state structures because there were discriminatory attitudes in Turkish society as well.

One of the main conclusions of the report is that in both Turkey and Greece, “the media has played a destructive role through antagonistic, nationalist and discriminatory coverage portraying minorities as untrustworthy, potential traitors.”

“From a point of view of perception-building, the media is as responsible as the government,” Tanay said, adding that whenever minorities asked for their property rights to be met, the media depicted them as “an enemy” that would take away Turkish people’s properties or make Turkey pay large amounts in compensation. He said the media had to be kept accountable on this issue.

Regarding possible solutions to the discriminatory practices against minority foundations in Turkey and Greece, the report urged an immediate reform in the existing legal frameworks and practices, to which both Kaya and Tanay also agreed.

“The establishment of a special ‘property committee’ could be an alternative solution,” Kaya said, adding that such a model had been successfully implemented in northern Cyprus. Although this might not be a sufficient tool in itself, such an intermediary mechanism would still be a step forward and help solve issues that both the executive and judiciary have been reluctant to address.

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

Turkish Bridegroom Accidentally Kills Three Relatives After Firing AK-47 at His Wedding

A Turkish bridegroom accidentally killed three of his relatives after firing an AK-47 as he celebrated his wedding.

The groom was attempting to shoot bullets into the air at the ceremony in Akcagoze, in south-eastern Gaziantep province.

But instead he managed to hit a number of guests. His own father and two of his aunts were hit and later died in hospital.

At least eight other people including children were injured. The groom has been arrested.

Firing guns into the air is a common occurrence during celebrations both in Turkey and across the Middle East.

The Turkish authorities have tried to clamp down on the practice by imposing harsher penalties.

The custom has led to a number of deaths and injuries in the past.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

US Sells F15 Fighters to Saudis — Not Israel-Capable

(ANSAmed) — WASHINGTON, AUGUST 9 — The Obama administration has decided to sell 84 F15 jet fighters to Saudi Arabia, but without fitting them out with long-range weapons systems, which have been strongly opposed by the Israeli government, an article in today’s Wall Street Journal reports.

This is a ten-year military supply deal, worth 30 billion dollars: one of the largest contracts of its kind. During the negotiations, Israel confidentially pressed to have its concerns taken into consideration, noting that in selling such advanced technology, the United States was risking the loss of its military supremacy. These concerns were met by the US administration to the extent that the deal excludes weapons systems capable of striking at Tel Aviv. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

British Couple Gunned Down in Pakistan in Suspected Honour Killing After Calling Off Marriage

A British couple who flew to Pakistan to settle a row over their daughter’s arranged marriage have been shot dead in a suspected ‘honour killing’.

The spurned groom is thought to have gunned down Gul Wazir and wife Bagum alongside their son who had also travelled to the remote Nowshera province, one of the areas devastated by the flooding in the country.

The son survived the attack and is in a stable condition in hospital. It was reported the gunman was a nephew of the couple, and was named locally as Rehman Wazir.

He had been due to marry his cousin until her parents decided against the arrangement. Local police said the Wazirs had travelled from their home in Alum Rock, Birmingham, to the village of Saleh Khan to explain their reasons to the groom.

The aborted marriage was discussed in a grand jirga, or assembly of the village, which ended with an order for the Wazirs to pay the equivalent of £18,800 to their nephew in compensation.

But although both parties agreed with the decision, two days later, Rehman Wazir allegedly shot his uncle and aunt at the house they were staying at. Police were last night searching for him.

A family friend said: ‘Gul and his wife went to Pakistan to try to sort it out. It is a tragedy. They were honest, decent people.’

‘The husband and wife had already promised their daughter to a man. When that arrangement ended he was not happy,’ the friend said.

The killings happened on Monday, but details only emerged last night as the country is still in chaos after being hit by deadly floods.

Another of Mr and Mrs Wazir’s son’s, Umar, was organising a memorial for them at an Islamic centre in Bordesley Green, Birmingham yesterday.

He said it was too early for his family to speak about the tragedy.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed the deaths. She said: ‘We have been informed of the murder of two people from Birmingham in Pakistan.

‘The murder inquiry is being carried out by the authorities in Pakistan and we will support their investigation as and when required.’

The family friend described Mr Wazir as a peaceful man, who loved his family.

‘Gul was quiet, a humble, good man,’ his friend said. ‘He got on with his work, loved his children and was a regular at weddings and funerals and all community events. We all respected him, he will be sadly missed.’

The north western province of Pakistan where the couple were murdered is less than 100 miles from the Afghan border.

Honour killings have become a regular feature in the region, where a strict Islamic code is enforced.

‘This is not a one-off incident,’ the taxi driver’s friend revealed. ‘Less than 18 months ago, a man from Bordesley Green was murdered in the same village for very similar reasons. His daughter did not want to marry a man who believed he was entitled to her.

‘It’s a very sad situation, it is hard to accept that this sort of killing still goes on. The parents often don’t have a say in Birmingham.

‘If the daughter has been raised here and she doesn’t want to marry a man, she won’t be forced to do it.

‘Back in Pakistan they still blame the parents if this happens. They don’t understand that the culture is different.’

Muslim Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood said he was appalled at the double murder.

‘This is shocking news,’ he said. ‘If it is discovered that this couple were killed as a result of a feud over an arranged marriage then it’s truly disgraceful.

‘This sort of thing should not be happening in this day and age.

‘The area in question is in the north western province, where honour killings tend to happen quite regularly. These killings need to be clamped down on.’

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it could not reveal any further details.

‘We would not get involved unless the family concerned had approached us for consular assistance,’ a spokesman said.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Firebrand Muslim Cleric in Terror Arrest

Jakarta, 9 August (AKI) — Indonesian police on Monday in West Java arrested firebrand Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Baasyir on suspicion of setting up an Islamist militant training camp in Aceh. Police claim the camp, uncovered in February, was Al-Qaeda’s regional base.

National police spokesman Edward Aritonang said Baasyir was arrested along with his five bodyguards. He has not yet been formally charged.

“Five bodyguards were also captured because they tried to stop police officers from arresting Baasyir,” Indonesia’s Jakarta Post daily quoted Aritonang as telling a media conference.

He said Baasyir played an active role in preparing the extremist training camp in Indonesia’s Muslim-devout province of Aceh.

“Baasyir was very active in preparing the camp which was used as Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia,” he stated.

Indonesian national anti-terrorism police arrested Baasyir in Ciamis, West Java on his way home to Solo, Central Java.

Baasyir had also appointed late militant Dulmatin as the field operator, Edward said.

“Baasyir regularly received reports from Aceh,” he added.

Dulmatin was shot dead during a raid in Pamulang, Tangerang, Banten, earlier this year. The raid followed the discovery of the camp in Aceh Besar, Aceh, in February.

Baasyir claimed on Monday his arrest was engineered by the United States.

“Allah bless me. This can reduce my sin. This [arrest] is engineered by the US,” Baasyir said as quoted by on arriving at Indonesian national police headquarters in Jakarta.

He was escorted there by dozens of police officers.

Baasyir was previously accused of providing spiritual leadership to Al-Qaeda. He served 26 months in jail before being cleared of involvement with Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the group behind the 2002 Bali attacks, in which 202 people died.

He was released in 2006 after his conviction was overturned, and denies any link to Al-Qaeda.

Security officials and experts believe Baasyir is the leader of the hardline Islamist group Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), which was created in 2008.

Officials believe JAT had plans to launch an attack at Indonesia’s independence day celebrations on 17 August, which are attended by the president.

The planned assault was said to be similar to that seen in Mumbai, India, in November 2008, when Islamist militants killed 166 people.

JAT has denied it has any connection to extremism and insists it is a legitimate Islamic organisation.

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

Far East

Fury in China as Female Babies Grow Breasts After Drinking Milk Laced With Hormones

Female babies in China have grown breasts after they were given milk laced with hormones.

The horrifying scenes have caused uproar among parents in central China, who fear that the milk powder they used had led to the premature developments.

The official China Daily newspaper reported today that medical tests indicated that the level of hormones in three ‘test case’ girls, ranging in age from four months to 15 months, exceeded those found in the average adult woman.

All the babies who showed symptoms of the phenomenon were fed the same baby formula.

[Return to headlines]


Italy: Dozens of Migrants Land in South

Palermo, 9 August (AKI) — Forty illegal immigrants landed overnight on Italy’s southwestern Mediterranean island of Linosa. All were male and claimed to be Iraqi, coastguard said. The people smugglers who transported the migrants from North Africa managed to escape aboard their vessel, according to coastguard.

The migrants were due on Monday to be transferred to Porto Empedocle in southern Sicily.

Italy’s controversial pact with Libya allowing coastguard to turn back people smuggling boats in the Mediterranean has curbed the number of migrants reaching Italy by sea since it entered into force in May last year.

But the summer has seen scores of migrants landing on the southern Sicilian coast and the Italian islands lying between Italy and Tunisia.

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

Muslim Migrants Want to Hide Behind a Veil

From the viewpoint of Kacem, the West offered Moroccan immigrants and Muslims in general privileges unavailable in their home countries, linking the escalating problems of integration to religious beliefs he says have no place within secular Western societies.

By Kacem El Ghazzali

Skin color, gender or belief cannot be a barrier to achieving integration within European or Western societies which are secular, democratic, multicultural and allow for a richness and diversity of races and backgrounds. Most of migrant communities within these societies have been able to melt into their host nations completely, adapt and grow without having to abandon their beliefs, languages, food or drink habits. Therefore they have been able to establish themselves within those societies and make important achievements. They were not barred from participating in politics and are involved in the decision-making processes. They have been allowed to assume high and sensitive responsibilities, something they probably wouldn’t have dreamed of in their countries of origin. They are athletes, artists, ministers and heads of parliaments, businessmen and academics.

Concerning the Moroccan and Muslim communities and the issue of integration, I think it is better to look at the arguments that irritate most European public opinions and that constantly try to depict Muslims as being persecuted and oppressed victims; -as a communist that does not enjoy individual freedoms, like the freedom to wear the burqa and other fashionable cloaks (probably to hide the bruises and wounds left by the husbands or brothers on the body of Muslim women). As long as they (Muslims) are the owners of the “absolute truth,” any encroachment that is susceptible to anger their one and only God may tomorrow lead to new demands asking for the closure of bars for example or for making kissing in public or making love unlawful, under the pretext that their beliefs, religious and moral senses have been hurt.

Despite all this, hostility directed against Muslim migrants is explained by things such as racism or xenophobia. We often forget (perhaps voluntarily) that the behavior and actions of these migrants are absolutely in opposition with the values of the host countries who paid heavy prices and long bloody years of struggle to consecrate human values and universal human rights and to ensure the continuity of the democratic system of governance.

One of these behaviors that are backward and the product of the Muslim migrant’s mindset are the activities of Islamist groups operating in many European countries such as France, Belgium and others. They are mostly active during election campaigns directing messages at all Muslims, urging them to boycott elections and ask for the Sharia Law to be implemented, considering that Europe’s democracy, which allows for the common citizen to run for the highest office for example, is blasphemous and contrary to the law of their Beautiful God.

Most of the Moroccan immigrants now settled abroad, did not migrate there initially for educational purposes and did not enroll directly into particular jobs. Most of them instead went there looking to sell hard labor for money and with little knowledge about the host countries’ language, belief, customs and traditions. They at best ended up cramped in huge neighborhoods with other migrants. They clung to a rigid lifestyle for years without integrating. They just kept answering their bodily desires while selling their labor. Their children do not seek to enter schools or if they do, drop out early, constituting a backlog for the work force. Some of them practice prostitution, theft and rioting. This serves as an incentive for parents to push their children towards religion, and therefore extremism and the rejection of the host country’s culture!

The Islamization of Europe is one of the problems that increases the size of hostility toward Moroccan and Muslim immigrants at large. It is such that we now hear and read on some websites belonging to the Arab community living in Europe terms like the “Islamic Republic of Europe,” and comments that announce the near death of the European civilization, citing the low birth rate among European families as opposed to the massive amount of Islamic migration into European nations! A number of ancient churches were transformed into mosques… How far will the patience of secular European citizens go?

Radical Islamic movements represent the true nature of Islam, given that they do not take into account the interests of any parties and rely instead on the interpretation of unambiguous religious texts from the Koran and the Sunna (the Prophet’s tradition). These movements do not act in the open and spread most of their messages through blogs and social networks, calling for a confrontation against other religions and beliefs and demanding the application of Sharia Law.

The demands of Muslims are incompatible with the European culture. These demands are based on an “absolute truth”. All those who differ shall be called kaafir (infidels) upon which the divine retribution and the contempt of the whole community shall fall. God bestowed knowledge and light upon Muslims, therefore their religious specificity is supposed to be respected, even if it contradicts the most basic human right principles, such as the right to life and to difference, otherwise the Islamic sword is ready to answer the call of Allah!

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

Revealed: The UK Maternity Units in Which Only 1 in 10 Mothers is of White British Origin

Just one in ten babies is born to a white British mother in some parts of the country, figures reveal.

The statistics — based on NHS monitoring of the ethnicity and nationality of patients — show a sharp contrast in the backgrounds of new mothers in urban and rural areas.

While white British mothers accounted for just 9.4 per cent of all births in one London health trust, the figure was 97.4 per cent of all births in Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

The birth statistics reflect how mothers described themselves, not the ethnicity of the fathers or the babies.

Across all of England’s 150 NHS Trusts there were 652,638 deliveries last year, around six out of ten of them to women who called themselves white British.


But in some trusts serving rural areas more than 95 per cent of mothers fell into that category.

These included Northern Devon with 97.4 per cent, Co Durham and Darlington with 97.1, and Northumbria with 96 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, in North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, which covers Harrow, just 9.4 per cent of mothers were white British. Another inner city trust — Sandwell and West Birmingham — had 16.5 per cent. And a little over one in four new mothers were white Britons at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in central London.

The proportion of mothers of white British origin at Bradford Teaching Hospitals trust was 34 per cent.

Even some NHS trusts in the home counties reported fewer than six in ten deliveries were to white British mothers.

In West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which covers St Albans, just 57 per cent of women giving birth were white British.

Across England 62 per cent of all births last year involved a white British mother.

The largest other single ethnic groups were ‘other white’ — including Eastern Europeans — which made up 7 per cent of births, black (5 per cent), Pakistani (4 per cent) and Indian (3 per cent).

Of the rest of the mothers 8 per cent described their ethnicity as ‘other’ (including mixed-race women) and the remainder were listed as ‘not known’.

Backbench Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘I think we have to face reality and that is if you continue to have mass immigration it’s going to have a very significant impact on the demography of our country — and it’s going to have a significant impact perhaps on the sort of country that we are.’

Last month it emerged that Britain’s population growth is outpacing every other country in Europe.

Immigration and rising birth rates driven in part by the children of new arrivals — the so- called ‘immigrant baby boom’ — meant the UK gained more people than anywhere else in the continent.

Ministers have proposed forcing non EU migrants to buy their own private health care for non-emergency treatment on the NHS.

David Cameron has pledged to reduce the level of net migration — the number of people arriving minus the number leaving — from the hundreds to the tens of thousands.

The Prime Minister has proposed putting a limit on the number of immigrants from outside the EU given work permits for the UK.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]