Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20100906

»Analysts: White House Panicking Over Elections
»Chuck Norris: Obama: Muslim Missionary? Part 4
»Mosque Building Owners Nixed $18m Offer Before Taking $4.8m One
»New York Rooftop ‘Sniper’ Shoots Dead Bread Deliveryman in Random Attack
»The Making of a Dependent Electorate
Europe and the EU
»Germany: Why Sarrazin’s Integration Demagoguery Has Many Followers
»Greek Daily Distributes Turkish Film to Mark Sept. 6-7 Pogrom
»Hamburg Islamist Speaks of Threat of Attacks in Germany
»Italy: Minister is ‘Not a Mosque Builder’
»Italy Mobilized to Save Iranian Stoning Woman
»Love Church ‘Despite Sins of Priests’
»Religion Related to Poverty, Except in US
»‘Ssweden Discriminates Against Roma’
»Steady Job ‘Isn’t Everything, ‘ Pope Tells Youth
»Sweden: Student Wearing Niqab Begins Teacher Training
»Sweden: Vilks Arsonists Face Appeals Court Trial
»The Ungovernable Low Countries
Middle East
»Barack Hearts Bibi
»Palestinian Leader Blasts Ahmadinejad Over Mideast Peace Comments
South Asia
»India: More Than 4,000 Christians Victims of Abuses and Forced Conversions in Orissa
»Petraeus: Burn a Quran Day ‘Could Endanger Troops’
»US Man Nabbed for Blasphemy in Indonesia
Latin America
»Venezuela’s Jews Turn to Chavez Over State Media’s Anti-Semitism
»‘Machete’ Producers Lied About Racist Bloodbath
»UK: Vicar Jailed Over Sham Marriages
»UK: What About My Human Rights, Asks Woman Beaten Unconscious by Asylum-Seeker Ex-Lover Freed by Immigration Judge
Culture Wars
»Colorado High School Tells Student to Remove US Flag From Truck… It’s Offensive
»Sweden: Left Party’s Ohly Rebuked for ‘Breast Pump’ Advice
»Locust Brains Could Thwart Superbug Plagues


Analysts: White House Panicking Over Elections

With many polls indicating the Republicans may win back control of the House of Representatives (and possibly the Senate as well) in the upcoming mid-term elections, Jim VandeHei, the executive editor of Politico, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the Obama administration is in a horrible position.

“Does the White House understand this?” asked guest host Harry Smith. “Do you feel any sense of panic or concern” on the part of the administration?

“They get it. There’s panic. There’s concern,” VandeHei said. “The reality for this administration stinks, politically and practically, when it comes to the economy. You’re not going to be able to change that 9.6-percent unemployment figure. You can’t get anything from Congress in the next couple of months.”

CBS Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes said the Democrats are distancing themselves from President Obama.

“Not only are they running away from President Obama, they’re running away from being Democrats in some cases. In some races you actually see the Democratic candidates not really mentioning that they’re a Democrat in their campaign ads,” Cordes said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Chuck Norris: Obama: Muslim Missionary? Part 4

In Part 3, I explained how Obama categorically has been prejudicial in his treatment against Christians and Christianity in comparison to Muslims and Islam.

In Part 4 here, I will not only expand on that case but show how the Obama administration has changed course in just this last year regarding passing anti-First Amendment defamation of religion resolutions, exclusively benefitting Islam and its proliferation while again abandoning the principles in the U.S. Constitution.


…While the president announced to the nation from the Oval Office that, on Aug. 31, 2010, the combat mission in Iraq ended, on the same day, unbeknownst to the most of the country and world, the Obama administration held a special workshop for 25-30 Muslim leaders from 20 national Islamic groups (under the leadership of the “Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations”) to provide the groups “funding, government assistance and resources.”

And as a cherry on top of the Obama Islamic financial sundae, while most Americans would have to prove they have medical insurance or face a fine under Obamacare, many believe the stage is set so that Muslims could be exempt in the future from that financial penalty, due to a loophole in the law for conscientious religious objection, specifically created for those like the Amish, who believe their community cares for their own. Many Muslims are already rejoicing over this exemption based upon their belief that mandated universal health care is haraam or forbidden like other types of commercial insurance, because it is based on future speculation like gambling or the charging of interest.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mosque Building Owners Nixed $18m Offer Before Taking $4.8m One

The original owners of the Ground Zero mosque site mysteriously spurned dozens of higher bids before selling the prime downtown real estate at a bargain-basement price.

The Pomerantz family, which had owned the building since the late 1960s and fielded offers after the patriarch died in 2006, rejected at least one bid that was nearly four times what prospective mosque builder Sharif El-Gamal eventually paid, The Post has learned.

El-Gamal did offer what could be viewed as a sweetener to his $4.8 million bid in July 2009 — a job as a property manager for a son of the family, Sethian Pomerantz.

New York developer Kevin Glodek was livid when he found out the building sold for a fraction of what he offered in 2007 — $18 million cash — and wondered whether money changed hands under the table, according to sources close to the deal.

Glodek and his partners wanted to build a 60-story condo tower with retail space on the Park Place site, had inked a purchase agreement and even had keys to the existing building, according to sources and documents obtained by The Post.

But Kukiko Mitani — whose late husband, Stephen Pomerantz, owned the property — and her brother-in-law, Melvin Pomerantz, a trustee to the estate, went silent at the end of 2007 and Glodek’s deal disappeared, sources said.


The attraction in this hot market was buying real estate that could be demolished, the source said. A second downtown mosque, not affiliated with El-Gamal, considered spending $18 million for 45-47 Park Place in early 2008.

But the Pomerantz family — for reasons that remain unclear — rejected the offers.

They took 70 percent less from El-Gamal than what Glodek offered.

This was a considerable drop even given the 30 percent decline in market values at the time, said Michael Falsetta, executive vice president of Miller Cicero, a real-estate appraisal firm not involved in the deals.

“That makes us suspicious,” he said.

According to Falsetta, property in the area hovered between $250 to $290 a square foot. El-Gamal purchased the 45-47 Park Place property for the rock-bottom price of just over $100 per square foot.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

New York Rooftop ‘Sniper’ Shoots Dead Bread Deliveryman in Random Attack

The devastated children of a bread deliveryman who was senselessly shot dead in a Brooklyn street by a suspected rooftop sniper have described him as ‘the best dad ever’.

Jorge Martinez, 38, died instantly when he was hit in the head by a bullet in his van as he carried out his round.

Flowers, messages and lit candles have been left at the scene of the attack in Gravesend and police have launched a manhunt.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Making of a Dependent Electorate

Everything the Obama Administration has done, was for the purpose of creating a dependent electorate. A people that would have no choice but let them wield as much power as they want, without a word of protest.

The dependent electorate represents the hijacking of America. It aims for a major power shift that takes power from the people and gives it to the government. Traditionally the people were dependent on the government.

The American Experiment reversed the locus of control by making the government dependent on the people instead. This served as a natural hedge against tyranny by devaluing government as a means of controlling the population. And that has been the basic grievance of the progressives against America, that our system makes it possible to monopolize commercial power, but not political power. Yet for all the left’s revisionist histories of America… of the two, a monopoly on political power is far more dangerous than commercial monopolies are.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Germany: Why Sarrazin’s Integration Demagoguery Has Many Followers

Thilo Sarrazin’s controversial new book on Muslims in Germany has not only generated opprobrium from the political elite, it has also generated a mass following from the population at large. The tome may be full of inaccuracies, but it has struck a nerve. By SPIEGEL Staff

The man who is has cleaved Germany in two isn’t sleeping well at night. Thilo Sarrazin normally needs five to six hours of sleep, but these days he’s getting only two or three. He describes his frame of mind as that of someone whose adrenalin levels are constantly elevated and who has trouble finding peace of mind.

It’s a Friday afternoon and Sarrazin, the German central bank board member whose controversial book about integration and Muslim immigration in Germany has dominated the headlines for the last 10 days, is back home in Berlin. On the previous evening in Frankfurt, Sarrazin met with his attorney to discuss his challenge against the Bundesbank, which is currently seeking to oust him.

He also made a brief appearance in his office, but his secretary tells anyone who asks that he isn’t in. All the calls, letters and e-mails Sarrazin has been receiving at the Bundesbank are simply too much to process. “It’s 99 percent support and letters of congratulation,” he says proudly.

Following two recent appearances on German talk shows, Sarrazin has decided to keep a lower profile for awhile. He still communicates with friends and acquaintances — and had a technician come by to fix a problem with his Internet at home — but aside from that he has imposed a “media blackout” on himself.

Many people would like to speak to him and offer their support. He claims that he has yet to have a negative encounter as a result of his book. He was even greeted with smiles and nods in the elevator at the Bundesbank as he was on his way to discuss the crisis with his fellow board members on the 13th floor. “Naturally, I hoped that my book would attract attention. But the intensity surprised me,” he says.

Bordering on Revulsion

Rarely has a man influenced the German public discourse as much as Sarrazin has done with his book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (“Germany Does Itself In”). In just two weeks, Germany has been hit by three waves of debate stemming from the tome.

Criticism bordering on revulsion dominated the first wave of the reaction. Politicians and opinion leaders condemned Sarrazin almost unanimously.

But then it slowly became apparent that many citizens agreed with Sarrazin. The publisher announced that, due to high demand, it was going to increase the book’s initial printing to 250,000 copies. Furthermore, Internet forums and political events made it clear that Sarrazin — a member of the center-left Social Democrats, which has initiated proceedings to throw him out of the party — had broad public support. Many are saying he is right; or, even if he does make a mistake here and there, he isn’t being treated fairly.

The following e-mail, for example, was received at Social Democratic Party (SPD) headquarters: “Sometimes I’m frustrated and even furious about the fact that, in today’s Germany, it’s no longer possible to speak your mind and call a spade a spade! This is the sort of thing I’m used to seeing in totalitarian countries.” Suddenly Sarrazin seemed like a popular hero.

The third wave arrived in the middle of last week. Politicians have begun demanding that the political elite cease ignoring the fact that many in Germany support Sarrazin. Peter Hauk, head of the Christian Democratic Union’s parliamentary group in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, says: “Even if I don’t share some of his views, he does address issues that our citizens are concerned about.”

Out of Control

The procedure to dismiss Sarrazin from the Bundesbank board is taking place in parallel with the public debate. The Bundesbank has officially requested that German President Christian Wulff remove Sarrazin from his position. Wulff will hardly be able to deny the request, even if it turns Sarrazin into a martyr for some. Indeed, the case is making it clear that German political leaders will have their hands full this autumn reconciling Germans with integration.

To be sure, the subject of immigration should be up for discussion, but the current debate has gotten out of control. From the very beginning, Sarrazin’s choice of language has been unfortunate. He described problems with integration, which are indeed deplorable, but he introduced an element of biological determinism. He reflected on the inheritability of intelligence and speculated over a “specific gene” that “all Jews share.”

This placed him squarely in the disgusting realm of race theory — and has called forth uncomfortable memories of the Nazi scourge. Sarrazin, too, sensed that he had gone too far and apologized for his statement about the Jewish gene. But he almost certainly has enjoyed the provocative nature of his statements, as have, no doubt, some of his supporters.

It would seem, in short, that Germany has been cleaved in two, between those horrified by Sarrazin’s choice of words and those who support such a forthright assessment of integration. That, in fact, is the first of three big questions the book has raised: In what country are we living? After the 2006 World Cup, it seemed that Germany had become cheerful and cosmopolitan. But the popular approval of Sarrazin leads us to question whether there isn’t an underlying xenophobia after all. “There are many Sarrazins,” says Aylin Selçuk, a university student and co-founder of a group called “Deukische Generation” (or “German-Turkish Generation”).

The second question the debate raises concerns the current state of affairs. Is Sarrazin right when he claims that the integration of Turks and Arabs has largely been a failure?…

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

Greek Daily Distributes Turkish Film to Mark Sept. 6-7 Pogrom

On the 55th anniversary of a pogrom that precipitated the exodus of thousands of Istanbul’s ethnic Greek minority, the best-selling newspaper here has marked the date with the distribution of a movie on the events — one made by a Turkish director.

“We — filmmakers — should work more for the two peoples’ wounds to be healed. For this [to be achieved], four films were made in the scope of Turkish cinema, of which two are mine. Unfortunately we do not see such examples from Greek Cinema. I expect similar works from Greek colleagues who share my artist sensitivity,” said Tomris Giritlioglu, director of the film “Pains of Autumn,” which is being distributed by one of Greece’s top-selling dailies, Ta Nea.

The pogrom, which occurred on Sept. 6-7, 1955, was directed at the non-Muslim residents of Istanbul and resulted in many deaths, huge property damage an exodus by a huge proportion of Turkey’s remaining Greek population.

Ta Nea devoted four pages to covering the pogrom, in which it featured memories from Greece’s top-selling crime fiction novelist and screenwriter, Petros Markaris.

Markaris, who was 18 at the time, spoke about the events at Heybeliada Island, where he was on holiday.

“The commander of the Marine School on Heybeliada convinced the police chief not to let demonstrators set foot on the island. The police chief pulled his gun and halted the demonstrators when they arrived. I faced total devastation the following day when I went to the Beyoglu, Fener and Kurtulus [neighborhoods of Istanbul]. Wherever Greeks lived, that neighborhood’s school and church had been destroyed. It was impossible to walk in Beyoglu because of the broken glass from shop windows and the rolls of fabric that had been thrown onto the street,” he said.

“It is wrong to say that all Turks took part in or supported the events. There were Turks who helped their Greek neighbors, who protected and hid them,” he said.

Reminiscing over some of his friends at the Austrian High School, he remembers being told, “‘Tell your complaints to Greece.’“ Another student, however, said, “‘We do not approve of what has been done.’“

Markaris said he never forgot his literature teacher telling him, “‘Petro, I want you to know, I am ashamed in the name of my people. I am apologizing to you.’ What my then 27-year-old literature teacher said, Turkey repeated 50 years later.”

The atmosphere in Istanbul had been tense in the lead-up to the pogrom, especially because of Cyprus and demands from some for “Enosis,” or union, with Greece.

“The word ‘Enosis’ was perceived as a curse by the Turks. The Greeks sensed they would be the scapegoats in this matter. The slogan ‘Speak Turkish, Citizen’ was becoming popular in Istanbul,” he said.

“They blamed Adnan Menderes [first PM of Turkey in the multi-party era] for the Sep 6-7 events. However, we now understand years later that is not really an accurate reflection of what was happening. The Greek, Armenian and Jewish minorities who dominated trade in Istanbul had been living in fear since the start of World War II. There was an evil person who wanted to ‘reset’ those minorities: Ismet Inönü.”

Markaris said President Inönü was a fan of the Germans and accused him of intending to emulate the Nazis and cleanse Istanbul of religious minorities.

“The ‘20th Draw Safeguards’ in 1941, and the ‘Wealth Tax’ in 1942, were implemented in this scope,” Markaris said, in reference to various official policies essentially designed to economically impoverish non-Muslims.

Inönü, however, was forced to loosen the measures after the Nazis were defeated at Stalingrad, giving religious minorities some time to recover, he said.

As for Menderes, Markaris said he supported a liberal economy. “He let the minorities take initiative. The same Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, who the Istanbul Greeks saw as a ‘savior,’ left those people to the mercy of the mob.”

Whether Turkey’s then-prime minister was notified of the pogrom beforehand or not, or whether the attack was a conspiracy from the secret services remains unknown.

“The Greeks of Istanbul held Greece and Cyprus [responsible] for what happened to them. The generation that experienced those events has no sympathy for Greek Cypriots because of this,” he said.

           — Hat tip: DS[Return to headlines]

Hamburg Islamist Speaks of Threat of Attacks in Germany

German officials are investigating apparent statements by a Hamburg Islamist recently arrested by US forces in Afghanistan about attack scenarios for terror strikes in Germany and neighboring countries. Ahmad S. is one of a number of Germany-based Islamists thought to have traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2009.

Federal authorities in Germany are moving quickly to investigate claims by a German Islamist based in Afghanistan that militant jihadists may be planning attacks in Germany. American security forces detained Ahmad S. in Kabul at the beginning of July on suspicion of terrorism. The 36-year-old, who comes from Hamburg, Germany, has since been interrogated at the US military prison in Baghram.

He is reported to have spoken extensively about attack scenarios in Germany and neighboring European countries, according to information obtained by SPIEGEL. The Americans consider the prisoner to be an important source. S. is believed to be part of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IBU), a terror organization that has succeeded in attracting a number of recruits from Germany.

Since his arrest, Germany’s Foreign Ministry has also issued several requests calling for German diplomats in Afghanistan to be given access to S., who is a German of Afghan descent. The German Interior Ministry and security authorities are also interested in the prisoner. They believe that S. left Germany at the beginning of March 2009 together with his Indonesian wife, his brother Sulyman and another married couple from Hamburg. They are believed to have flown from Qatar to Peshawar in ordered to travel from there to the Afghan-Pakistani border region.

Homegrown Islamists

Within a short period of time in 2009, a total of around a dozen Hamburg-based Islamists disappeared. German security authorities believe some of them received training in terror camps in the use of weapons and explosives. The group moved in circles close to Hamburg’s Taiba mosque, which was recently closed by city officials and had also been visited by members of the terror cell responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York.

S. apparently also had good contacts within the conspirators’ circle. He often drove the father of Mounir el Motassadeq to jail visits with Motassadeq who was sentenced in 2007 to 15 years by a German court for his participation in the 9/11 attacks in the United States. In 2002, S. also went on vacation with Motassadeq’s family in Morocco.

Like Motassadeq, S. also worked at the Hamburg airport, where he did cleaning work on aircraft. A further Islamist from Hamburg, the German-Syrian Rami M., was extradited from Pakistan two months after his arrest to Germany in August and is now sitting in a jail in Germany. A judge had ordered him to be obtained on suspicion of membership in a foreign terrorist group and the German federal prosecutor is currently investigating S.…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Minister is ‘Not a Mosque Builder’

Milan, 6 Sept. (AKI) — Italy’s interior minister brushed off the possibility of his government helping Milan’s muslim community replace a mosque that was recently closed to keep the “public order.”

“I’m an interior minister, not a mosque builder,” Roberto Maroni (photo) told reporters on Sunday.

Following the recent closing of Milan’s biggest mosque, Milan’s archbishop Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi called for more tolerance from the city’s municipal government toward the Muslim community.

“Milan’s civic institutions must guarantee everybody the freedom of religion and the right to worship,” Tettamanzi told Italian newspaper La Repubblica in an interview published on Saturday.

Authorities in Milan couched the reason for recent closing of the city’s mosque as a security issue because its small size could not accommodate all the faithful during Friday prayers. Crowds every week would spill out on to the street.

“We’ve already solved the problem of the mosque,” Maroni said. “It was a problem of public order and we solved it.”

Maroni’s xenophobic Northern League party has been vocal in its opposition to mosques. Among its anti-Muslim moves was to parade a pig over land where a mosque was slated to be constructed.

Milan has 208,021 immigrants making up 16 percent of its population — more than double the national average of 6.5 percent, a Milan city council report said earlier this month.

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

Italy Mobilized to Save Iranian Stoning Woman

Initiatives throughout country calling for clemency

(ANSA) — Rome, September 2 — Italy is taking the lead in pressing for clemency for the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery with passionate appeals across the country.

The government has hung a huge photo of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani from the front of the Equal Opportunities Ministry in central Rome as part of its efforts to persuade Iran to commute her sentence, which has sparked an international outcry.

“This unprecedented act aims to mobilize opinion and contribute to saving Sakineh from a brutal, unacceptable sentence,” explained Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna in a joint statement. The face of the 43-year-old mother-of-two is also on the front of Florence’s Palazzo Medici and Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno has ordered an image of her be hung from the walls of the capital’s city hall too. A protest has been organised Thursday outside the Iranian Embassy in Rome with representatives of Italy’s main centre-left opposition parties taking part, including the biggest group, the Democratic Party (PD).

“It’s unacceptable that women are sent to death in the cruellest of ways by governments that do not allow any civil or political rights in a globalised world,” said Stefano Pedica, a senator with another opposition party, Italy of Values (IDV). A minute’s silence, meanwhile, will be held at the PD’s national festival in Turin for Ashtiani, who appeared on Iranian television last month confessing to adultery and to being an accomplice in her husband’s murder.

Her lawyer said the television interview was recorded after she had been tortured.

“It’s absurd that a woman risks being stoned to death in an advanced country like Iran in 2010,” said Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo.

The Italian foreign ministry said it is doing its utmost via diplomatic channels to save Ashtiani.

“The case is being followed closely by the foreign ministry and personally by Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who has given instructions for close bilateral relations to be maintained with the Iranian authorities so that they consider clemency in this specific case,” a recent ministry statement said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Love Church ‘Despite Sins of Priests’

12th-century nun Hildegard of Bingen a model, pope says

(ANSA) — Castel Gandolfo, September 1 — Catholics should love the Church even though it has been “wounded by the sins of priests,” Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday in what was seen as his latest reference to child sex scandals.

The pope’s remarks came in a sermon devoted to a 12th-century German mystic nun and polymath who distinguished herself at a time, like today, when the Church was “suffering”.

Hildegard of Bingen, he said, was a model for the way Catholics should react to worldwide paedophile scandals.

The visionary nun, who preached to popes and condemned sins like paying money to obtain benefits after death, had “a courageous capacity to discern the signs of the times”.

The Church she loved, Benedict said, was “suffering also at that time, wounded by the sins of priests and the laity”.

Benedict’s public pronouncements on the child sex scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church have been sparing.

He has apologised to victims and vowed to root out sex abuse.

Critics say he has not gone far enough in punishing cover-ups.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Religion Related to Poverty, Except in US

A newly released study from the Gallup organization, based on surveys in 114 countries in 2009, shows globally 84 percent of people say religion is an important part of their daily lives. But what’s really interesting about the study is this:

“Each of the most religious countries is relatively poor, with a per-capita GDP below $5,000,” Gallup analysts state. “This reflects the strong relationship between a country’s socioeconomic status and the religiosity of its residents. In the world’s poorest countries — those with average per-capita incomes of $2,000 or lower — the median proportion who say religion is important in their daily lives is 95 percent. In contrast, the median for the richest countries — those with average per-capita incomes higher than $25,000 — is 47 percent.”

One theory about why this is the case is that religion plays a more functional role in the world’s poorest countries, helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families, the Gallup analysts say. And a previous Gallup analysis supports this idea, finding the relationship between religiosity and emotional wellbeing is stronger among poor countries. [See also: Why We Believe]

Anyway, here is what’s even more interesting in the new study:

“The United States is one of the rich countries that bucks the trend. About two-thirds of Americans — 65 percent — say religion is important in their daily lives.”

In other rich countries, the percent is much lower:

Sweden: 17 percent

Denmark: 19 percent

UK: 27 percent

France: 30 percent

Infographic artist and commentator Charles Blow a The New York Times put all this into intriguing graphic perspective.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Ssweden Discriminates Against Roma’

The Roma people are the most discriminated in Europe and Sweden is no exception, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights argued on Saturday.

Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, and archbishop Ander Wejryd argue in a debate article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Saturday that Sweden’s deportation of 50 Roma EU citizens is evidence that the country is complicit in the ongoing discrimination of the ethnic group.

The deportations have been defended by the migration minister Tobias Billström who has argued that the EU rules on the free movement of labour are not intended to encourage begging.

The deportations have been carried out despite the uncertain legal framework, Hammarberg and Wejryd argued.

“They are identified as a danger to society by politicians who seek to win political points on demands of a tough line against this already vulnerable group. They are subjected to arrest and collective deportations.”

Hammarberg and Wejryd wrote that the growing “anti-Romaism” has to be fought across the whole European continent. They maintain that the legal rights of the Roma has to be taken seriously and that their citizens’ rights within the EU have to be given the same importance as other EU citizens.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Steady Job ‘Isn’t Everything, ‘ Pope Tells Youth

Benedict also recalls days in Hitler Youth

(ANSA) — Vatican City, September 3 — A steady job isn’t everything in life and young people should look to God for more, Pope Benedict XVI says in his message for World Youth Day next summer.

In the message, part of which was released Friday, the pope says: “Seeking a job and having solid ground underneath one’s feet is a great and pressing problem…(but) the real solid points for youth are to be found in faith and the values underlying society”.

These values, the pope said, “come from the Gospels”.

Benedict also looks back to his days in the Hitler Youth and says “we were closed in by a dominant power, we wanted to get out and enjoy the fullness of the possibilities of being human”.

In 1941, the then Joseph Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth as required by law for all 14-year-olds.

But he was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings.

His father was an enemy of Nazism, believing it conflicted with the Catholic faith.

The XXVI World Youth Day will take place in Madrid on August 16-21, 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Student Wearing Niqab Begins Teacher Training

A student wearing the niqab has begun attending a teacher training course in Stockholm, more than one and a half years after another woman reported a school that would not allow her to wear the headscarf in class.

Employers and principals are still waiting for a guiding principle about the niqab in classrooms from the Equality Ombudsman (DO) following the woman’s notification last year, Dagens Nyheter (DN) reported on Monday.

Another Stockholm woman reported an adult education college in Spånga northwest of Stockholm to the DO in January 2009 after being told that she could not wear an Islamic headscarf in class.

The woman was told that she was no longer welcome at Västerort Vuxengymnasium, an adult education college, if she persisted in wearing her niqab. The niqab is part of a hijab headress and covers the entire face except for the eyes.

The woman reported the matter to the DO, alleging discrimination. In her report, the woman alleged that she was told that she could not wear her niqab in class or in contact with the school’s staff.

The college’s rector, Britt-Marie Johansson, defended the school’s right to exclude the student from classes, referring to the National Agency for Education’s (Skolverket) ruling banning the wearing of some Muslim headscarves at schools.

The student argued that freedom of religion is enshrined in law in Sweden and it should take precedence over the agency’s ruling.

The new student is studying at Stockholm University.

“Almost no municipality or school that I know of allows the niqab,” Stockholm University lawyer and equality coordinator Christian Edling told the newspaper. “It would be easier if we had guidance.”

The DO explained that there is the delay in the case because it is not a priority and that it requires careful treatment due to the complexities involved.

“I think it is deplorable that there such a long time has passed since this girl notified the city of Stockholm and nothing has happened,” city school commissioner Lotta Edholm told DN.

Edholm has previously reported the DO to the parliamentary ombudsman for the slow process. The DO did not offer a timeframe on when it can present a decision on new guidelines.

“In general terms, I can say that one should try to find a pragmatic solution, but the right to education is deeply rooted in law,” George Svéd, director of DO’s education division, told DN.

DN’s attempts to reach the new student were unsuccessful.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Vilks Arsonists Face Appeals Court Trial

Two brothers sentenced to prison for firebombing the home of Swedish artist Lars Vilks in mid-May will appear in court on Monday to appeal the ruling.

The brothers, previously identified by the tabloid Expressen as Mensur, 20, and Mentor Alija, 21, received two- and three-year prison sentences respectively for attempted arson from Helsingborg district court in July.

Throughout the proceedings, the Alijas, who are Swedish nationals of Kosovar origin, have continued to deny any involvement in the crime despite the evidence against them.

The attack resulted in a small fire at Vilks’ home in Nyhamnsläge, north of Höganäs on the west coast, that later went out by itself.

The Alijas, who are from Landskrona in southern Sweden, were arrested in May after two jackets with a driver’s license, bank account information and keys to the brothers’ home were found outside Vilks’ home.

Both brothers have denied their involvement, even though Mensur Alija reportedly suffered serious burns on the night of May 15th, when the attack occurred. He has claimed he was involved in a barbecue accident.

The attack occured three days after Vilks was attacked during a lecture at Uppsala University.

Vilks has faced numerous death threats and a suspected assassination plot since his drawing of the Muslim prophet with the body of a dog to illustrate an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.

The cartoon was first published by Swedish regional daily Nerikes Allehanda in 2007

The drawing’s publication prompted protests by Muslims in the town of Örebro, west of Stockholm, where the newspaper is based, while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints.

An Al-Qaeda front organisation then offered $100,000 to anyone who murdered Vilks — with a $50,000 bonus if his throat was slit — and $50,000 for the death of Nerikes Allehanda editor-in-chief Ulf Johansson.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Ungovernable Low Countries

Both Belgium and the Netherlands seem to be trapped in political limbo — drifting along without governments and unable to form a new coalition.

The political problems of the two neighbours are strikingly similar. Both held elections in the middle of June, within four days of each other. Both ended up with results that were so fragmented that it is proving all but impossible to form a new coalition. In the past couple of days, both the Dutch and the Belgian efforts at forming a new government have collapsed — landing the problem back in the laps of the two countries bewildered monarchs: Albert II of Belgium and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

The politics of both countries are very tortured and introverted, so naturally there are some factors that are highly specific to each nation. But, it seems to me, there are also some common threads. Chief among these is the way in which the rise of new parties — that do not share the consensus values of the traditional mainstream groups — has made it increasingly impossible to find the common ground necessary to form a coalition.

In Belgium the main divisive factor is the growing strength of Flemish nationalist parties whose ultimate goal is to break the country up, into its French and Dutch-speaking components. Even if parties like the N-VA are not demanding independence for Flanders now, their views make it harder and harder for them to form a compromise with the French-speaking parties — particularly when there are bitter linguistic issues to negotiate.

In Belgium, the strength of anti-immigration parties like the Vlaams Belang (formerly the Vlamms Blok) that are regarded as racist by many of the other parties, further narrows the room for agreement. And, across the border in the Netherlands, this is the main factor that has prevented the formation of a coalition.

The problem there is that the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders is too large to ignore and too hardline on the question of Muslim immigration to be easily incorporated into a new government. The antagonism between the Freedom Party and the Christian Democrats has just doomed the latest attempt to form a coalition.

It all sounds rather alarming. There are those who say that Belgium, in particular, with its very high debt-levels, can ill afford to drift along with a series of caretaker governments.

But maybe the Low countries are pointing the way to a new post-modern future, in which the citizenry gradually realise that they don’t need a government, after all.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Barack Hearts Bibi

By Barry Rubin

We have entered into a new period of U.S. policy toward Israel for the Obama Administration. Basically, President Barack Obama needs Israel, requires its cooperation, and is eager to get along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. How long this will last is unclear but it should characterize, barring unforeseen events, at least for the next year.

What is the basis of this new era? When it came to office, the Obama Administration was in radical mode, determined to distance itself from Israel as a key to winning over Arabs and Muslims, assuming that peace could be achieved with sufficient pressure on Israel as the only requirement, and hostile to Israel’s current government.

A measure of reality eventually set in, involving a large number of factors ranging from the lack of Arab cooperation, to Iran’s intransigence, the lack of progress in engaging Syria, and the tasks of dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration’s head-on charge over demanding a freeze of construction on settlements only produced a one-year-plus delay on Israel-Palestinian negotiations. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was uncooperative. American public opinion was unhappy with the policy toward Israel.

This is not to say that the situation is simple but by September 2010 things are very different. The Obama Administration is desperate for diplomatic successes, or at least the appearance of having them. What’s happening regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons’ drive cannot be concealed or ignored.

The U.S. government is also is aware of falling public support—including a sharp decline in Jewish backing though pro-Israel forces extend far more widely throughout American society—on the eve of American elections. In addition, it’s clear that Netanyahu’s government isn’t going away and there is no “dovish” alternative that will give Obama everything he wants for little or nothing in exchange.

So now Obama needs Netanyahu…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

Palestinian Leader Blasts Ahmadinejad Over Mideast Peace Comments

(CNN) — The administration of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lashed out at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday, a day after Ahmadinejad criticized Abbas for renewing direct peace talks with Israel.

“He who does not represent the Iranian people, who forged elections and who suppresses the Iranian people and stole the authority, is not entitled to talk about Palestine, or the President of Palestine,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, according to Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s news agency.

Ahmadinejad, speaking to thousands of people at Tehran University on Friday, said the Mideast peace talks would fail. He spoke on Quds Day, an annual holiday in Iran that marks the country’s solidarity with Palestinians and calls for the end of Israeli occupation.

Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for direct talks in Washington this week, pledging to move the peace process forward. After two days of meetings, they deadlocked over the contentious issue of Israeli settlements.

Video: Abbas: We recognize challenges ahead



Mahmoud Abbas

Middle East Conflict

Benjamin Netanyahu

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

“The fate of Palestine will be determined on the ground in Palestine,” Ahmadinejad said Friday. “Not in Washington, not in Paris, and not in London.”

“These talks are death,” he said. “There is no reason to hold talks.”

Rudeineh, the Palestinian Authority spokesperson, defended the Abbas administration’s legitimacy among Palestinians.

“We have fought for Palestine and Jerusalem and the Palestinian leadership has provided thousands of martyrs and tens of thousands wounded and prisoners (and) did not repress their people, as did the system of Iran led by Ahmadinejad,” he said, according to Wafa.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India: More Than 4,000 Christians Victims of Abuses and Forced Conversions in Orissa

In 20 villages in Kandhamal District hit by anti-Christian pogroms in 2008, Hindus continue to prevent Christians from participating in social life, including the use of public fountains and cutting wood in the forest. “they need to live a dignified life. The Orissa State government has an obligation to do something about it and protect Christians from this inhuman treatment,” the archbishop Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said.

Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) — Two years after anti-Christian pogroms broke out in the Indian state of Orissa, Hindus in some 20 villages in Kandhamal District continue to treat more than 4,000 Christians as social outcaste, pressuring them with force to convert. Beside fears, threats and total banishment from the local economy, Christians are not allowed to use public fountains or collect wood in the forest.

“People are living in misery,” said Mgr Raphael Cheenath, SVD, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, at a press conference in Bhubaneswar last Monday. “They need to live a dignified life. The Orissa State government has an obligation to do something about it and protect Christians from this inhuman treatment,” he added.

The prelate urged local authorities to compensate those who suffered losses during the pogroms and now find themselves homeless. He slammed the puny sums given out so far, US$ 1,000 for destroyed homes and US$ 400 for damaged homes.

“The Orissa State Government must raise compensation, from Rs. 5 lakhs (US$ 1,000) to Rs. 20 lakhs (US$ 4,000) to rebuild damaged Churches, religious and public institutions, NGOs, including the furniture and other fixtures that were destroyed with the buildings in the violence,” Archbishop Cheenath said.

At the start, the government made an “arbitrary” assessment to determine victims’ compensation, and did so without consulting them to find out their needs. Thus, “About 12,500 people have been resettled in their houses;” however, “About 17,500 people are still displaced and have a right to be resettled by the state government,” the archbishop added.

Between December 2007 and August 2008, Hindu extremists killed 93 people, sacked and torched more than 6,500 homes, destroyed 350 churches and 45 schools. The pogroms displaced more than 50,000 people.

So far, most of the perpetrators of these crimes are free. Many witnesses scheduled to appear at trials taking place at the Kandhamal courthouse have been silenced through threats and acts of discrimination.

Between 22 and 24 August, victims, human rights activists and religious leaders organised a people’s court in New Delhi to shed light on what happened and push India’s central government to intervene.

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

Petraeus: Burn a Quran Day ‘Could Endanger Troops’

‘Burn a Quran Day’ Sparks Protests in Afghanistan

A Florida pastor’s plan to burn Qurans at his church on Sept. 11 ignited a protest today by hundreds of Afghans, who burned American flags and shouted “Death to America,” and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the preacher could be increasing the threat to his troops.

The crowd in downtown Kabul reached nearly 500 today, with Afghan protesters chanting “Long live Islam “ and “Long live the Quran,” and burning an effigy of Terry Jones, senior pastor from the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida who is planning the event.

The protesters were well aware of the pastor’s inflammatory comments, such as the “Islam is an evil religion,” since they have been spread wide on the Internet. Jones has also authored a book, “Islam Is of the Devil.”

The protesters’ anger wasn’t limited to Jones, however. Chants of “Death to America” echoed through the crowd, and U.S. flags were set ablaze alongside the effigy of Jones.

America cannot eliminate Muslims from the world,” one Afghan man told ABC News.

The angry crowd pelted a passing U.S. military convoy with rocks.

Gen. David Petraeus said he is outraged by the pastor’s decision to burn the Quran, which he said could “endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort here.”

Former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Jack Keane, an adviser to Petraeus, called it “outrageous” and “insulting to Muslims.”

“It’s also insulting to our soldiers in terms of what they stand for and what their commitment is to this country and to the Muslims in this country,” Keane told ABC News.

But late today, Jones vowed he would go ahead with the Quran burning, even knowing the concerns of Petraeus and Keane for the safety of U.S. troops.

“What we are doing is long overdue. We are revealing the violence of Islam that is much, much deeper than we’d like to admit,” Jones said in an interview with ABC News.

A Facebook page dedicated to the day, entitled “International Burn A Koran Day” has more than 8,000 fans.

“On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm — 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!” the page declares…

[Return to headlines]

US Man Nabbed for Blasphemy in Indonesia

Indonesian authorities have arrested an American man for blasphemy after he pulled the plug on a loudspeaker at a mosque because it woke him up, police say.

Luke Gregory Lloyd, 64, was taken into custody after he disrupted a nightly Koran reading session near his home on Lombok island which was being broadcast over the mosque’s loudspeaker during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The incident happened on August 22 and Lloyd has been under police guard at a hotel ever since, pending further investigations.

“He got angry as the Koranic reading woke him up. He scolded people in the mosque before pulling out the loudspeaker’s cable,” police officer Lalu Mahsun told reporters.

He could face five years in jail under the mainly Muslim country’s blasphemy laws.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Venezuela’s Jews Turn to Chavez Over State Media’s Anti-Semitism

Verbal, written attacks in Venezuelan media include hints that Jews are damaging the country’s economy, along the lines of the ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’

COSTA RICA — The increasingly anti-Semitic commentary in Venezuela’s state-sponsored media in recent days prompted the heads of the country’s Jewish community to request an urgent meeting with President Hugo Chavez last week. The presidential palace responded that their request would be granted.

The verbal and written attacks have included hints that the Jews are damaging the country’s economy and are following the notorious anti-Semitic fabrication “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” It is likely related to the rising tensions ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, which are set for later this month.

“This anti-Semitism is troubling us all and it needs to cease immediately,” said David Bittan Obadia, deputy chairman of the Jewish community of Venezuela Friday. “We are not saying this is the government policy; however, [the government] is capable of putting a stop to the phenomenon. It has the tools. We will be very direct and adamant in the things we will tell President Chavez.”

Bittan Obadia said the attacks had come from the media, but the community’s real concern was that the phenomenon would spread.

He said the president’s staff had promised a meeting with Chavez in about 10 days.

A member of Caracas’ Jewish community told Haaretz yesterday, “Chavez and his supporters will not give up power, irrespective of the election result, and many members of our community are concerned that if there are disturbances, we will be targeted. When there is anarchy, there are always people who use it to attack Jews.”

She added, “When the mood intensifies, like during the current election campaign, there are politicians who immediately bring out the incitement against the Jews. Is this by order of the president? I don’t know, but the president sees and hears everything in the government-controlled area. Many Jewish families in my area have left or are leaving.”

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]


‘Machete’ Producers Lied About Racist Bloodbath

Reviewers like ‘Big Hollywood’ panned the film as ‘Dull, Convoluted, Racist and Anti-American,’ criticizing that: “‘Machete’ offers no middle ground, no reasonable, non-racist position against wide open borders for those fleeing from what one character describes as the “personal hell” that is Mexico.”

Who the illegals fight against on screen is one thing. What their words mean is altogether something else. That’s the shell game Rodriguez plays and his racially divisive messaging goes way beyond the normal cinematic political posturing and button-pushing. And you will never see a more stereotypically racist portrayal of Southerners, who, in an obvious reference to the border Minute Men, are not only played for cheap laughs but portrayed as sub-human animals who hunt and murder illegals — kill a helpless pregnant woman and say “Welcome to America.”

Rodriguez & crew played everyone as fools, knowing full well what the film would contain. Does Texas want to subsidize the films of Robert Rodriguez and continue to give him a platform to spew divisive racially-tinted trash oriented at Hispanics and attempting to radicalize their views? Rodriguez is the face of the Texas Film Commission’s tax incentives program, and has been virtually guaranteed up to $60 million in rebate funding for a package of films.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Vicar Jailed Over Sham Marriages

A Church of England vicar who oversaw hundreds of sham marriages to help migrants settle illegally in Britain was jailed for four years today.

The Reverend Alex Brown, 61, presided over 360 bogus ceremonies over four years at his small parish church on the South Coast of England.

Over that period, the scam, thought to be the biggest of its kind in Britain, involved East European women being paid up to £3,000 a time to help the men, mostly Nigerians, by-pass UK immigration laws and settle in Britain.

At his Victorian parish church in the seaside town of St Leonards, East Sussex, Brown married up to eight couples a day between 2005 and 2009.

Over a four-year period, the ‘massive and cynical scam’ involved women being paid up to £3,000 to wed to help migrants gain permanent residency in Britain.

He presided over 383 marriages at the Church of St Peter and St Paul in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, between July 2005 and July 2009, a 30-fold rise in marriages held over the previous four years.

During the trial at Lewes Crown Court jurors were shown photocopies of the marriage register at the church which showed that 360 out of the 383 weddings involved Eastern Europeans marrying Africans.

Brown was sentenced to four years in jail after being found guilty in July of conspiring to facilitate the commission of breaches of immigration laws, alongside solicitor Michael Adelasoye, 50, and ‘recruiter’ Vladymyr Buchak, 33.

Judge Richard Hayward also handed Brown a five-month sentence after he pleaded guilty to solemnising a marriage according to the rites of the Church of England without banns being properly read. The two sentences will run concurrently.

Buchak and Adelasoye were also sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy charge, while Buchak received a nine-month prison sentence for using a false passport, to run concrrently.

The judge told them: ‘None of you have pleaded guilty. You have expressed no remorse. I must confess I was hoping to hear from counsel for Adelasoye and Buchak that you were helping for altruistic reasons.

‘I have heard no such mitigation.’

He added that Brown’s role was pivotal to the conspiracy. He told him: ‘Your role was vital. Without you this conspiracy would never have been able to come into effect.

‘The couples involved beat a path to St Peter’s because both they knew and you knew what was going on, and you were happy to play your part.’

The judge said Brown persisted with presiding over sham marriages despite questions being raised by both the Archdeacon and rural dean about the high number of weddings involving foreign nationals.

‘Although you were helped by two retired priests, you never asked them to officiate any of these weddings and when you were arrested they stopped,’ Judge Hayward said.

He went on: ‘The participants were perfectly willing but this conspiracy involved the exploitation of two vulnerable groups. The Eastern Europeans had come to the UK for a better life but found themselves in poor accommodation and in hard and low paid jobs.

‘They were vulnerable to being exploited and they agreed to marry for money, although evidence suggests none of them received the full amount promised.’

He added that the Africans were desperate to stay in the UK and avoid being sent back to their respective countries to an uncertain future.

Andy Cummins, in charge of immigration crime team investigations in the South East for the UK Border Agency, said the three men were ‘involved in the biggest criminal conspiracy of its type ever seen in Britain’.

‘These sentences show just how seriously the courts take these kinds of offences,’ he said.

‘Reverend Brown knowingly abused the trust put in him by the Church, his congregation and his community.

‘His role was crucial in this scam. His co-conspirators took advantage of and exploited the desperation of others for their own ends.

‘As this case shows, illegal immigration can be big business. We are committed to tackling the criminal groups behind it, putting the ringleaders before the courts, and, ultimately, behind bars.’

The Immigration Minister added that illegal immigration was ‘highly organised’.

‘At home and abroad, we are tackling highly organised crime groups who make their living by trying to exploit the immigration system and breach our border security,’ he said.

‘Some of these hide people in lorries in an attempt to cross our borders illegally; some provide them with fake identity documents; others set up bogus colleges or arrange sham marriages.

‘Worst of all — some force women and children to work against their will in the sex industry.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: What About My Human Rights, Asks Woman Beaten Unconscious by Asylum-Seeker Ex-Lover Freed by Immigration Judge

A dangerous criminal who has no legal right to be in Britain has gone on the run after a judge ruled that to detain him would violate his human rights.

Failed asylum seeker Kawa ali Azad, who carries knives and is described by his ex-partner as ‘completely unbalanced,’ was granted his freedom from an immigration centre in March.

Azad, an Iraqi Kurd, who has six convictions for violence, immediately breached the bail terms of the release by failing to appear at a police station to have an electronic tag fitted.

He then breached a lifetime restraining order by making threats against his ex-partner. Police have had to move her and their son and give them a new identity because of his repeated harassment.

Azad, 34, has now been on the run for more than five months — and police admit they have no idea where he is.

They are so concerned about the risk he poses to his ex-partner Tania Doherty that she has been ordered not to visit family and friends and to carry an ‘abduction pack’ with the details and DNA of her son of four, in case he is snatched.

Miss Doherty, whose new name cannot be disclosed, says she is terrified he will return to kidnap their son or hurt her family — both of which he has threatened.

‘I just cannot believe he was released,’ she says. ‘I am disgusted.

‘He has attacked me in broad daylight and threatened to kill me and members of my family. I really fear for my son.’

Azad has been convicted of a string of violent offences, as well as dangerous driving, since he arrived in Britain.

When Miss Doherty ended their relationship in 2006, he battered, harassed and assaulted her for two years. This culminated in an attack in which he beat her unconscious as she sat on a beach in Eastbourne with their son before attempting to snatch the boy.

Azad was jailed for 12 months after the attack. Following his release from prison the Border Agency tried to deport him and he was flown to Baghdad airport.

But Iraqi authorities refused to accept him and he was sent back to Colnbrook immigration removal centre near Heathrow.

He was detained because he no longer had any legal right to stay in the country. When he was at first refused bail from the centre he flew into a rage, damaging a courtroom and having to be restrained by staff.

But in March this year an immigration judge decided to release him against the advice of police and the Home Office — on the grounds that detaining him was violating his human rights.

As soon as he was freed, Azad breached his bail by not turning up to be tagged and began leaving threatening messages on a phone belonging to his ex-partner, thus violating the lifetime restraining order preventing him from contacting her.

Miss Doherty says she is furious that, while Azad enjoys his freedom, she and her son are forced to live in fear.

‘Human rights are a joke as far as I’m concerned,’

Miss Doherty said. ‘Having to give my son a new name was the most upsetting part — it was like I lost a part of him.

‘I have had to move away from all my friends and family so I feel totally isolated — all because of him.’

Was body of MI6 spy submerged in mystery fluid to speed up decay?

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said the Home Office had ‘strongly opposed’ the decision to release Azad.

‘We removed Mr Azad in October 2009, but the Iraqi authorities refused to accept him,’ the spokesman said.

‘Following his return to the UK Mr Azad was released on bail by an immigration judge. He has since absconded and we have shared his details with the police.’

Sussex Police said it had been searching for Kawa ali Azad ‘who we seek to arrest and interview on suspicion he breached a Restraining Order’.

The Immigration and Asylum Tribunal refused to discuss why one of its judges had released Azad.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Colorado High School Tells Student to Remove US Flag From Truck… It’s Offensive

A high school student in Northglenn is upset that campus security told him to remove the large American flags flying from his pickup truck because it might make others uncomfortable.


“She said I should take my flags down. She said this is a school that focuses on diversity and she doesn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable,” Stoppel said. “How do you suppose anyone would feel uncomfortable in America with an American flag? That’s where I’m confused.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Left Party’s Ohly Rebuked for ‘Breast Pump’ Advice

Left Party leader Lars Ohly has been slammed by breastfeeding experts and Red-Green coalition colleagues for advising nursing mothers to pump milk out of their breast so that they can go back to work earlier.

Young girl raped by stranger in Stockholm (27 Jul 10)

Dream home for families close to schools: survey (27 Jul 10)

The Left Party stands for a policy of dividing parental leave equally between parents — meaning around seven months of paid leave each. Currently couples have 60 allocated days each with the remaining 270 days divided freely.

The party has not managed to impose the requirement on its Red-Green coalition partners, the Social Democrats and Green Party — despite their respective party members also being in favour — as it was deemed to lack support among parents and the wider electorate.

But despite the fact that the centre-left trio’s joint election manifesto does not include the demand, Ohly took the opportunity of Sunday evening’s party leader cross-examination on Sveriges Television (SVT) to push the case for the introduction of legally stipulated quotas.

Ohly recommended the use of a breast milk pump to address any problems of the mother not having finished breastfeeding the child prior to handing over the parental ropes to her partner.

“I was home with each of my children for eight months. My ex-wife used a breast pump, one of those modern tools that exist which… meant that it worked very well to enable me to continue to give my children breast milk. That still works today, as far as I understand,” Lars Ohly said.

Ohly’s comments raised ripples of laughter in the studio and became something of a talking point in the mainstream and social media on Monday. Green Party spokesperson and mother of two, Maria Wetterstrand, was not as amused.

“I am not going to have any opinions on whether people should use a breast pump or not. I don’t think it is of interest for voters,” she said to news agency TT.

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin rejected the assertion that Ohly’s comments should be interpreted as a political manoeuvre to raise the profile of the issue.

“It was no manoeuvre, it was a less clever way of answering a question,” Sahlin told TT.

Anna Herting at breastfeeding advice service Amningshjälpen told The Local on Monday that the proposal is hardly practical if the child is still breastfeeding full time.

“If the woman wants to go back to work, and the family want to carry on with breast milk, then it would require a flexible employer to allow the working mother to pump out her milk and transport it home during the day.”

When asked whether a mother could pump out sufficient milk in the evening to be used the following day, Herting replied:

“She would need that milk to feed the child in the evening, and using a breast pump can be problematic for many women.”

Lars Ohly on Monday morning also seemed to distance himself from his breast pump comments.

“I think that most women are okay with finishing breastfeeding after five or six months,” Ohly said on SVT’s God morgon programme, a comment which has drawn further criticism.

“It is not for a politician, but for every family, to decide how long to breastfeed. It has to depend on the family’s situation,” Anna Herting told The Local.

Herting explained that Swedish recommendations are for full-time breastfeeding for six months and then part-time for the remainder of the year, but that the choice has to belong to the families themselves on what is best for all parties

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Locust Brains Could Thwart Superbug Plagues

Extracts from the brains of locusts and cockroaches can kill hospital superbugs. Work is under way to identify the active ingredients, which could ultimately result in the first antibiotics originating from insects.

Nine distinct chemical extracts from the locust brain killed Escherichia coli, which can cause food poisoning, and seven killed Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the problematic superbug sweeping hospitals and communities throughout the western world.

Researchers screened brains, along with other tissues, for antibacterial activity on the grounds that the brain is the most vital organ for locusts to protect. “Without [the brain] they die, whereas they can survive losing limbs such as legs,” says Simon Lee of the University of Nottingham, UK. “From the locust’s point of view, it’s important that the central nervous system is protected all the time against bacteria and other pathogens,” he says. As he expected, only brain extracts were active…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]