Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20100926

Financial Crisis
»Czech President Tells UN to Stay Out of Economics
»Obama Health Care Reform Imposes 3.8% Tax on All Income From Home Sales and Home Rental Income
»Vatican Defends Execs in Money-Laundering Probe
»Citizens’ Group Helps Uncover Alleged Rampant Voter Fraud in Houston
»Crime & Punishment in Islamic Law
»Four Missionaries Acquitted of Inciting Crowd
»Hawaii Dems Button-Lipped on Obama Eligibility Status
»Sarah Palin Leading the Conservative Charge
»Surprise! 1/3 of Blacks Back Tea Party Movement
»Your Insane U.S. Energy Department
Europe and the EU
»Italy: Muslims Appeal to President Over ‘Discrimination’ In North
»Italy: Fini Rebels Say Still Key to Majority
»Italy: ‘Crazy’ To Think Berlusconi Behind Anti-Fini ‘Dossiers’
»Scotland: ‘Security Breach’ Probed at Edinburgh Airport
»UK Men Wearing Guyliner
»UK: ‘Red’ Ed Miliband Says New Labour is Dead But Vows to Stand Up for the ‘Squeezed Middle’
»UK: Aliens ‘Hit Our Nukes’: They Even Landed at a Suffolk Base, Claim Airmen
»UK: Councils Use Satellite Data to Decide School Applications as Families Miss Out of Places by Just 4 Inches
»UK: Doctor Sues His Old University for £300k After Flunking Exams
»UK: Mandelson is Still Being Paid £8,000-a-Month by EU Two Years After Quitting Brussels
»UK: One Enlightened Policeman Isn’t Going to Scare the Bad People
»UK: Police Chief Who Urged ‘Reclaim Our Streets From Yobs’ Was Forced Out of His Home… By Drunken Yobs
»UK: Top Supermarkets Secretly Sell Halal: Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, And M&S Don’t Tell US Meat is Ritually Slaughtered
»UK: Three People Charged Over ‘Baby Sale Plot’ In London
North Africa
»Nine Members of Banned Muslim Brotherhood Arrested in Egypt
Israel and the Palestinians
»Four Left Wing Myths About Israel
»Israel Reduced to the Size of a Jail Cell
Middle East
»BBC: Stuxnet Worm ‘Targeted High-Value Iranian Assets’
»Timothy of Baghdad’s Lost Christian Empire
South Asia
»British Woman Kidnapped in Afghanistan After Insurgents Ambush Convoy
»Pakistan: British Film-Maker Tells of Jihadist Kidnap Ordeal
Latin America
»Billionaire Aga Khan Seeks Permission to Develop Inside Marine Park in Bahamas
»Spain / Morocco: Melilla Overflows Again
Culture Wars
»Meet the Muslim Superheroes Who Are Ready to Indoctrinate American Kids
»Muslim Nations Call for U.N. To Track ‘Islamophobia’
»UN to Appoint Earth Contact for Aliens
»United Nations to Appoint Space Ambassador to Act as First Contact for Aliens Visiting Earth

Financial Crisis

Czech President Tells UN to Stay Out of Economics

Klaus opposes calls for increased UN role in economics

Says more regulation is wrong way out of crisis

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 25 (Reuters) — Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Saturday criticized U.N. calls for increased “global governance” of the world’s economy, saying the world body should leave that role to national governments.

The solution to dealing with the global economic crisis, Klaus told the U.N. General Assembly, did not lie in “creating new governmental and supranational agencies, or in aiming at global governance of the world economy.”

“On the contrary, this is the time for international organizations, including the United Nations, to reduce their expenditures, make their administrations thinner, and leave the solutions to the governments of member states,” he said.

Klaus appeared to be responding to the address of the Swiss president of the General Assembly, Joseph Deiss, who said on Thursday at the opening of the annual gathering of world leaders in New York that it was time for the United Nations to “comprehensively fulfill its global governance role.”

Deiss suggested the world body should get more involved in economic and financial issues and not leave them solely in the hands of forums like the Group of 20 club of key developed and developing nations.

Klaus, a free-market economist who oversaw a wave of privatization in the 1990s after communism collapsed in his homeland, also said the world was “moving in the wrong direction” in combating the economic crisis.

“The anti-crisis measures that have been proposed and already partly implemented follow from the assumption that the crisis was a failure of markets and that the right way out is more regulation of markets,” he said.

Klaus said that was a “mistaken assumption” and it was impossible to prevent future crises through regulatory interventions and similar actions by governments.

That will only “destroy the markets and together with them the chances for economic growth and prosperity in both developed and developing countries,” he said.

The Czech president, a vocal skeptic of global warming, said the United Nations should also keep out of science, including climate change. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made fighting climate change one of his top priorities.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Obama Health Care Reform Imposes 3.8% Tax on All Income From Home Sales and Home Rental Income

(NaturalNews) The news about Obama’s health care reform just keeps getting worse — and we only find these things long after the bill has passed, of course. The newest revelation concerns a 3.8% tax on income from home sales and home rentals which will go into effect in 2013. (Note: This story has been updated to clarify who the 3.8% tax impacts, see below.)

Depending on your income level, this could end up costing you thousands of dollars from the sale of a home (even if you’re a middle-class income earner). It would also place a tax burden on all rental income from any home you might rent out to others.

How could this be? Because the new health care bill imposes a 3.8% tax on “unearned income” above a certain threshold (see below), which includes income from any source that you aren’t directly working for. This includes interest you receive on a savings account, dividends from stocks, rental income from a property you own, social security income, unemployment checks, child support and of course income from home sales.

While this tax is supposed to be targeted to “the rich” with a threshold of $250,000 in unearned income, it can very easily hit middle-class income families who sell a house with a gain, forcing them to pay the 3.8% on a portion of their gain.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Vatican Defends Execs in Money-Laundering Probe

IOR chief ‘working to ensure complete transparency’

(ANSA) — Rome, September 23 — The Vatican on Thursday defended the Vatican Bank’s top two executives after they were implicated in a money-laundering probe, saying the case was the result of a “misunderstanding”.

In a letter to the Financial Times, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he was keen to avoid “the spread of inaccurate information” about the probe, in which IOR President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and General Manager Paolo Cipriani are under investigation for suspected failure to observe Italy’s money-laundering laws.

Lombardi said that since he was appointed last year, Gotti Tedeschi had been working to “ensure the absolute transparency of the IOR’s activities and its compliance with the norms and procedures which will allow the Holy See to be included in (the international anti-money-laundering bodies’) ‘White List’“.

The spokesman reiterated the Vatican’s “perplexity and amazement” at the “surprise” probe and said “the nature and aims” of two allegedly suspicious transactions “could have been clarified with great simplicity, being cash transactions the beneficiary of which is the (IOR) itself”.

“The Holy See reiterates its complete confidence in the managers of IOR”, Father Lombardi added. On Tuesday Italian currency police impounded, as a precautionary measure, some 23 million euros the IOR transferred to the Credito Artigiano SpA, a private bank that is part of the Credito Valtellinese group.

It was the first time such action had been taken against the IOR, which, as the Bank of Italy recalled Tuesday, is to be considered a non-European Union bank.

The probe was opened by Rome magistrates to determine whether a 2007 Italian law on transparency in regard to the identity of account holders was violated.

The possibility that the Vatican accounts violated this law was raised by the Bank of Italy’s financial intelligence unit which on September 15 suspended the two transactions ordered by the IOR because they looked suspicious.

These involved 20 million euros sent to the German bank J.P.Morgan Frankfurt, and three million sent to a central-Italian bank, Banca del Fucino.

The IOR, or Institute for Religious Works, has been in the headlines before, most notably in connection with the 1982 fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano, then Italy’s largest bank, run by Roberto ‘God’s Banker’ Calvi, whose body was subsequently found hanged under London’s Blackfriars Bridge.

Italian prosecutors say Calvi was killed for failing to repay Mafia money and his murder was staged to make it look like suicide.

The IOR was also named in kickbacks probes stemming from the 1990 collapse of public-private colossus Enimont, part of the Clean Hands investigations that swept away Italy’s old political establishment.

Gotti Tedeschi, 65, is a close adviser to Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti, serves on the board of several Italian banks, and heads an Italian branch of Spain’s Banco Santander.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Citizens’ Group Helps Uncover Alleged Rampant Voter Fraud in Houston

“Vacant lots had several voters registered on them. An eight-bed halfway house had more than 40 voters registered at its address,” Engelbrecht said. “We then decided to look at who was registering the voters.”

Their work paid off. Two weeks ago the Harris County voter registrar took their work and the findings of his own investigation and handed them over to both the Texas secretary of state’s office and the Harris County district attorney.

Most of the findings focused on a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Steve Caddle, who also works for the Service Employees International Union. Among the findings were that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid. The other registrations included one of a woman who registered six times in the same day; registrations of non-citizens; so many applications from one Houston Voters collector in one day that it was deemed to be beyond human capability; and 1,597 registrations that named the same person multiple times, often with different signatures.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Crime & Punishment in Islamic Law

Is American Law Really the Same as Muslim Shari’ah, As Ground Zero Mosque Imam Rauf Boasts?

This article examines classic Islamic law, the “Shari’ah,” regarding crime and punishment. Recently, the “Ground Zero Imam” Egyptian Feisal Abdul Rauf claimed Muslim and American law were essentially the same. He said, “What’s right with America and what’s right with Islam are, in fact, very much in sync…I call America a Sharia compliant state.” But what would being a “Shari’ah compliant state” really mean? To understand this, we need to study the details of Shari’ah law.

One way to better understand Muslim Shari’ah law, is by taking a particular sub-category, such as crime and punishment, to see how Islam treats these topics. While analyzing this issue, the reader will undoubtedly begin to realize Shari’ah and American law are not so similar, and that perhaps Rauf is wildly bluffing (or something else). He claims American law is similar to Muslim because they are both “from God,” while ignoring the fact mankind has created many Gods over millenniums, each mostly opposed to the rest.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Four Missionaries Acquitted of Inciting Crowd

They proselytized at Dearborn Arab festival

Nabeel Qureshi of Virginia, Negeen Mayel of California and Paul Rezkalla and David Wood, both of New York, were acquitted of breach of peace, 19th District Court officials in Dearborn said after the verdict. Mayel was found guilty of failure to obey a police officer’s order.

The four are members of a Christian group called Acts 17 Apologetics, who, according to the group’s Web site, “refute the arguments of those who oppose the true gospel, most commonly the arguments of Muslims and atheists.” They maintain that Islam is a false religion and inherently violent.

They were charged in July with disorderly conduct after police said they received a complaint from a Christian volunteer working at the festival who said he was harassed by the group.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr. said Friday night that he respects the decision, but the missionaries were anti-Muslim bigots pulling a publicity stunt to gain attention on YouTube in order to raise money.

A video the group posted last year about their encounters at the festival has had almost 2 million views. The group solicits money on its Web site when it travels to Dearborn, claiming the city is a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.

“It’s really about a hatred of Muslims,” O’Reilly said. “That is what the whole heart of this is. … Their idea is that there is no place for Muslims in America. They fail to understand the Constitution.”

O’Reilly said people of diverse religious beliefs get along fine in Dearborn. He said several other Christian groups at the festival this year and in years past have never had problems. Other evangelical Christians have criticized the group for their tactics.

“They engaged in a misrepresentation of what Dearborn really is,” O’Reilly said of the four missionaries arrested.

But Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni, who supported the missionaries and helped represent them earlier, said “these charges should never have been brought.”

Moughni said that “freedom of speech is important. Everyone should be free to come to Dearborn to express themselves.”

Robert Muise, an attorney for the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center who defended the missionaries, could not be reached for comment. During the trial, he contended his clients’ First Amendment right to free speech was violated and said they did not harass anyone.

Qureshi did not return a phone call seeking comment. The other three defendants could not be reached.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Hawaii Dems Button-Lipped on Obama Eligibility Status

Doc missing statement candidate ‘qualified’ under U.S. Constitution

It long has been documented that when Barack Obama was picked by the Democratic Party to be its 2008 presidential candidate, only one state — Hawaii — was sent a document from Nancy Pelosi certifying that he was qualified under the requirements of the U.S. Constitution.

Now a series of blogs reports are heating up the issue again, this time revealing documents that showed it apparently was Hawaii’s local Democratic Party that refused to include that certification on its paperwork naming Obama as its candidate.

Even today, the Hawaii Democratic Party was staying mum, declining attempts by WND to obtain a comment on why it handled the 2008 presidential race paperwork as it did.

The original report came from a commentator at Canada Free Press who revealed the Democrats failed to certify their candidate’s eligibility in 49 of the 50 states.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sarah Palin Leading the Conservative Charge

Her endorsement of common sense conservatives will heighten activism among the Palinistas and conservatives. Today, Palin launched “Take Back The 20? endorsing 20 conservatives up against 20 democrats who voted for Obamacare. She tells us:


While promoting these candidates, she is not letting the liberals slide with their agenda or letting everyone forget about the the details of Obamacare. She takes to Facebook:

“Remember when the president said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? Not true. In Texas alone a record number of doctors are leaving the Medicare system because of the cuts in reimbursements forced on them by Obamacare. The president of the Texas Medical Association, Dr. Susan Bailey, warns that “the Medicare system is beginning to implode.”

Remember the Obama administration’s promise that Obamacare would cut a typical family’s premium “by up to $2500 a year”? Not true. In fact, fueled by reports that insurers expect premiums to rise by as much as 25 percent as a result of Obamacare, Senate Democrats are contemplating the introduction of price controls.”


Palin’s “Take Back the 20”:

[Return to headlines]

Surprise! 1/3 of Blacks Back Tea Party Movement

A new poll released this week soundly contradicts critics’ claims that the tea-party movement is “fringe,” “white” and “racist.”

PJTV’s Tea Party Tracking Poll has monitored nationwide sentiments toward the tea party on a weekly basis since Aug. 2. The poll’s most recent reports reveal the following results:

  • The number of people who identify as “members” of the tea party has more than tripled over the last month alone, up to 21 percent of likely voters;
  • Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they support the tea parties based on the movement’s positions on the issues;
  • Among the likely voters who are black, 32 percent said they would vote for a candidate backed by the tea parties.

The last statistic caught the attention of PJTV.


“Democrats and leftists have attempted to define the tea-party movement as a collection of angry white bigots,” he said. “However, the PJTV poll of black voters shows the wheels on the race-card bus are beginning to fall off.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Your Insane U.S. Energy Department

I have a great idea how to save billions. Shut down the Department of Energy.

In mid-September, Cathy Zoi, an Assistant Secretary of Energy, said that the U.S. Department of Energy has a “mandate” to issue regulations about what household appliances should be available to Americans in the future.

A CNSnews story reported that while speaking at the inaugural meeting of the recently reestablished Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, Ms. Zoi “pointed to four tactics the Obama administration intended to use to advance the ‘deployment of clean energy.’ The first three were government subsidies, special tax incentives, and low-interest government-backed loans for green energy projects.”

The likelihood that any of these “green energy” projects will yield any electrical power comparable to a single coal-fired or nuclear plant is negligible. Two recent huge wastes of taxpayer money involve a $57 million program that includes $11 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the failed “stimulus” plan — to support clean energy technology commercialization projects for 33 small businesses across the country.

Among the projects is “harvesting/dewatering technology for algal biofuels”, money devoted to algae as a source of power. Other projects include organic light-emitting diodes, and advanced materials and bio-fueled oxide fuel cells. Meanwhile, the moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico restricts the provision of an energy source on which the nation is dependent.

In September the DOE also awarded $37 million for “marine and hydrokinetic energy technology development.” The object of this is to “accelerate the technologies and commercial readiness of technologies “to generate renewable electricity from the nation’s oceans and free-flowing rivers and streams.”

Meanwhile the nation already generates six percent of its electricity from hydroelectric systems among which the Hoover Dam is one of the best known. The Department of Energy was created in the wake of the oil crisis of the 1970s and was signed into existence by President Jimmy Carter on August 4, 1977. Its responsibilities were the nation’s nuclear weapons program, a nuclear reactor for the U.S. Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Italy: Muslims Appeal to President Over ‘Discrimination’ In North

Rome, 24 Sept. (AKI) — Muslims in Italy have written to the country’s president Giorgio Napolitano claiming their constitutional rights are being violated by the anti-immigrant policies of the Northern League party.

A lack of mosques and halal food outlets in the north were especially serious problems, said the letter to Napolitano (photo), written by the union of Islamic communities in Italy (UCOII). Adnkronos International received a copy of the letter.

“I write to you as the custodian and guarantor of the Italian constitution the Italian’s Republic’s highest judge, to draw to your attention the day-to-day difficulties faced by Muslims in a large area of the country,” said the letter signed by UCOII’s president Ezzeddin Elzir.

Law-abiding Muslim immigrants and foreign residents who have strived to integrate in Italy’s northern regions and who do not present any real security threat, are being treated as second-class citizens, according to UCOII.

“Chiefly in the north of Italy, their religious freedom and personal dignity, upheld by the constitution and international conventions to which our country is a signatory, are gravely compromised,” the letter continued.

The letter did not specifically name the Northern League, which control several regions and most local councils in the north of Italy, but referred to “a certain political hostility made worse by the irresponsible action of certain local administrations.”

“Fundamental rights are being denied, such as places of worship and the availability of food prepared according to Muslim precepts,” the letter stated.

“There is barely a Muslim community in northern Italy that does not come up against outright bans on mosques arrogantly imposed by local councils who malevontly invoke petty local bylaws to deny a basic constitutional freedom.”

UCOII asked for specific intervention from Napolitano over a school in Adro, in the Lombardy province of Brescia that has said it will only exempts Muslim pupils from eating pork if they have an allergy to it or on other health grounds.

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

Italy: Fini Rebels Say Still Key to Majority

‘Irresponsible’ claims about muckraking dossiers says Berlusconi

(ANSA) — Rome, September 23 — A breakaway group from Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party said Thursday they are still crucial to the government getting a majority in Berlusconi’s make-or-break confidence vote next week.

House Speaker Gianfranco Fini’s Future and Freedom (FLI) group said the government would not have won a keenly watched test Wednesday if the vote had been open.

“If it hadn’t been a secret vote the government would have gone under,” said FLI whip Italo Bocchino.

The government won the vote, on refusing wiretap use in a mafia probe of an aide, by 308 votes to 285.

The PdL claimed this was evidence it was self-sufficient, saying it would have garnered “at least 320” if there had been no absentees. The majority in the 630-seat House is 316.

But, contrary to what Berlusconi has claimed after wooing centrist votes, Bocchino said the FLI would be “decisive” for the success of the confidence motion.

He reiterated the FLI will vote in favour of Berlusconi’s revamped five-point government platform on Wednesday, on judicial reform, tax reform, immigration and crime, federalism and help for the South.


But he repeated the FLI would no longer cooperate in drafting a bill to shield the premier from two trials, because of an alleged campaign of “character assassination” against Fini on the part of pro-Berlusconi dailies.

The FLI claimed Wednesday Il Giornale, owned by Berlusconi’s brother, was using ‘rogue’ secret service sources to put together allegedly defamatory dossiers about Fini and a real estate deal in Monte Carlo involving his brother-in-law, Giancarlo Tulliani.

“We had to stop cooperating on justice,” Bocchino said.

“There’s no chance of working with people who lend themselves to peddling false dossiers about the Speaker of the House”. Asked if dialogue on other points could continue, he said: “It’s certainly not up to us. It’s not us who poisoned the wells”.

Berlusconi has denied all prior knowledge of Il Giornale’s campaign, which claims the real-estate deal was fishy and possibly illegal.

On Thursday the premier’s office issued a statement saying it was “irresponsible” to speak of “dossier-mongering”.

The secret services and the tax police have already issued denials of their alleged involvement in muck-raking against Tulliani, who acquired a house that had belonged to Fini’s ex-party National Alliance.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Crazy’ To Think Berlusconi Behind Anti-Fini ‘Dossiers’

Fini to give his version Saturday

(ANSA) — Rome, September 24 — It is “crazy and laughable” to think that Premier Silvio Berlusconi could be behind a campaign of allegedly souped-up dossiers published by the pro-Berlusconi press against House Speaker and ally-turned-foe Gianfranco Fini, Berlusconi’s lawyer Niccolo’ Ghedini said Friday.

Ghedini said claims by Fini loyalists that the premier commissioned a dossier about a Monte Carlo real-estate deal Fini is accused of lying about were “unfounded and defamatory”.

But the lawyer admitted that a businessman and publisher close to Berlusconi, Walter Lavitola, may on his own initiative have uncovered alleged secrets about the deal, involving Fini’s brother-in-law Giancarlo Tulliani, in the Caribbean tax haven of Saint Lucia, “working in full autonomy”.

The results of Lavitola’s probing was splashed across the front page of Il Giornale, owned by Berlusconi’s brother, on Thursday: a document purporting to show that Tulliani was the owner of the Monte Carlo house and therefore Fini had lied about the property, which previously belonged to the Speaker’s old ‘post-fascist’ party, National Alliance.

On Friday Saint Lucia’s justice minister, Rudolph Francis, said that a letter published in a Santo Domingo newspaper confirming Tulliani owned the house was not a fabrication.

Francis was set to speak Friday evening on the deal.

Lavitola has denied any involvement in the case, as have the Italian secret services. The ‘Monte Carlo House’ affair has claimed headlines for almost two months, ever since Fini broke with Berlusconi and set up his own Future and Freedom for Italy (FLI) group which deprives the government of a House majority.


Fini has been spare in his comments on the case and insisted that a judicial probe will vindicate his statements, although there has been no suggestion he broke the law.

But on Friday he said he would give his version of events in a Web message Saturday.

The “truth” about the Monte Carlo house will be posted on the website of his ‘Generazione Italia’ thinktank and the site of party newspaper Il Secolo d’Italia.

Sources close to the Speaker said he would supply “all the answers” to what he saw as a campaign of character assassination.

Fini had decided to wait for a judicial probe to vindicate his assertion that he has always told the truth about the affair but the latest brouhaha has persuaded him to put an end to the affair, the sources said.

Fini voiced fresh support for the government Friday, saying Berlusconi had “the right to govern,” but stressed the premier was not entitled to impunity from criminal trials. Friday also saw a change at the top of Il Giornale as editor Vittorio Feltri moved upstairs to editorial director and was replaced by his former assistant Alessandro Sallusti.

Sallusti claimed the move had been in the pipeline and had nothing to do with the latest row.

Analysts have said the campaign was aimed at undermining Fini’s credibility and goading him into voting against Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party in a key House motion on a revamped government platform next Wednesday.

But while they have denounced the alleged ‘dossier’, the FLI are still insisting they will back the government, at least on the policy platform.

However, they have stopped working with the PdL on a new Constitutional shield for the premier against two trials, aimed at replacing a previous one struck down by the Constitutional Court. Berlusconi has meanwhile been busy, according to media reports, wooing enough centrists to his cause to do without the FLI.

The premier is said not to want an election now but his key ally, the Northern League, thinks a snap vote would be better than trying to struggle along with a wafer-thin majority.

If the government falls, the centre-left opposition would like to see a brief ‘technical’ government tasked with reforming the electoral law ahead of a general election next year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Scotland: ‘Security Breach’ Probed at Edinburgh Airport

An investigation has begun into a suspected security breach at Edinburgh Airport.

It follows an evacuation of the terminal building at about 1300 BST on Saturday.

A spokesman for the airport said a few hundred people had been caught up in the evacuation.

He added that some passengers had been re-screened for security reasons but that the incident was not having an impact on flight schedules.

The nature of the security breach has not been made public.

           — Hat tip: 4symbols[Return to headlines]

UK Men Wearing Guyliner

From ‘guyliner’ to ‘manscara’, more than three million men in Britain confess to regularly wearing make-up.

One in seven so-called metrosexual men use a variety of products traditionally aimed at women, such as eye-liner, fake tan and spot or blemish concealer, it has been revealed.

Of the men who use make-up, more than one in four do it at least once a week.

Long gone are the days when lipstick and eyeliner were reserved for women, as new findings show that 3.3 million men in the UK admit to wearing make-up or other cosmetic products.

The most popular products that male cosmetics-users use include hair dye, eye creams, anti-ageing products, eye liner and fake tan.

Other cosmetics used by men include spot concealer, face powder, nail varnish and even lipstick.


James Endersby, of Opinium Research, said: ‘There is an increasing trend that men are just as aware about their appearance as women and like to take care of the way they look.

‘We’re living in an age where male celebrities are seen wearing ‘manscara’ and ‘guyliner’ and everybody thinks it normal. It looks like metrosexual man is here to stay.’…

[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Red’ Ed Miliband Says New Labour is Dead But Vows to Stand Up for the ‘Squeezed Middle’

Ed Miliband today declared New Labour dead as he pledged to stand up for the ‘squeezed middle’ after inflicting a humiliating defeat on older brother David to win the race to succeed Gordon Brown.

The new Labour leader, dubbed ‘Red Ed’, vowed that the party should ‘never again lose touch with the mainstream of society’ in a tacit acknowledgment it had lost its way under his predecessor.

‘My aim is to show that our party is on the side of the squeezed middle in our country and everyone who has worked hard and wants to get on,’ he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.

He made the pledge to Middle Britain shortly after beating his brother by just 1.3 per cent in a result that was hailed as a ‘disaster’ by supporters of Tony Blair who had backed David.

They claimed Ed, 40, a former adviser to Mr Brown, will be controlled by the trade unions, whose votes proved decisive in securing his victory.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Aliens ‘Hit Our Nukes’: They Even Landed at a Suffolk Base, Claim Airmen

It may sound like a Spielberg movie plot, but if senior U.S. airmen are to be believed, this scenario is not science fiction.

They claim that since 1948, aliens have been hovering over UK and U.S. nuclear missile sites and deactivating the weapons— once even landing in a British base.

Furthermore, they warn, our governments are hushing the activity up.

Captain Robert Salas, who, along with six others is to break his silence on the subject, said: ‘We’re talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that.

‘They’re often known as UFOs, you could call them that.

‘The U.S. Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it,’ he said.

The former officer said he witnessed such an event first-hand on March 16, 1967, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

‘I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site.

‘The missiles shut down — ten Minuteman [nuclear] missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. There’s a strong interest in our missiles by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they’re not from planet Earth.’

Colonel Charles Halt claims to have seen a UFO at RAF Bentwaters, near Ipswich, one of the few bases in the UK to hold nuclear weapons.

The sighting is said to have taken place 30 years ago. First he saw the object firing beams of light into the base then heard on the military radio that aliens had landed inside the nuclear storage area, he said.

‘I believe that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted — both then and now — to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practised methods of disinformation.’

The six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man, are to present declassified information which they claim backs up their findings. They have witness testimony from 120 former or retired military personnel which points to alien intervention at nuclear sites in the U.S. as recently as 2003.

They will urge the authorities to confirm that alien beings have long been visiting Earth.

A press conference today in Washington will also highlight testimony from retired U.S. Air Force Captain Bruce Fenstermacher, whose security team saw a cigar-shaped UFO hovering above FE Warren nuclear base in Wyoming in 1976.

Researcher Robert Hastings, who has written on the subject, explained that so far the aliens appeared interested in ‘mere surveillance’ but warned they seemed to have gone further in some instances.

‘At long last, all of these witnesses are coming forward to say that, as unbelievable as it may seem to some, UFOs have long monitored and sometimes tampered with our nukes,’ he added.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Councils Use Satellite Data to Decide School Applications as Families Miss Out of Places by Just 4 Inches

Councils have come up with a controversial new way of deciding school places — GPS satellites.

The information means officials can calculate to four or more decimal places how far families live from their chosen school and whether they are entitled to be admitted.

Critics of the software, provided by Ordnance Survey, have slammed the sophisticated software which has resulted in some families missing out on a place because they live just 4 inches further away from the school gates than another applicant.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Doctor Sues His Old University for £300k After Flunking Exams

A doctor is suing his former university for more than £300,000 after failing his degree.

Dr Salah Chilab has accused King’s College London of negligence for marking an exam incorrectly and failing to let him take an oral exam. He also alleges it failed to follow its exam regulations.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Mandelson is Still Being Paid £8,000-a-Month by EU Two Years After Quitting Brussels

Lord Mandelson is still being paid more than £8,000 a month by the EU despite leaving his job in Brussels two years ago, it was revealed today.

The peer, who quit as European trade commissioner in 2008 to return to the Cabinet, has a ‘transitional allowance’ of £103,465-a-year funded by the taxpayer.

He receives £8,622-a-month because he is entitled to half the salary he received while in the plum EU job which was handed to him by Tony Blair.

Lord Mandelson, the former Business Secretary, will be able to claim the allowance until October 2011 — three years after he came back to UK politics.

A Brussels spokesman told the Telegraph: ‘The aim of this system is to ease their return to the labour market, to maintain their independence after their time as commissioner. We want to help them so they don’t have to jump on every job offer on the way.’

Brussels will only stop paying out before 2011 if the peer, 56, secures a job at a higher salary than his former rate at the EU.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: One Enlightened Policeman Isn’t Going to Scare the Bad People

Things will not get better. Just because Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary has suddenly realised that police officers should once again walk the beat, do not expect that anyone will pay any attention.

Maybe you’ll see a token patrol of two tiny, rotund PCSOs, chatting to each other as they tactfully ignore the anti-social behaviour raging all round them.

The yelling louts and the problem families will still rule the streets. The police will still regard you as a nuisance if you call them — assuming you can get through. And if they do respond to your call, they will shake their heads sadly and say there’s nothing they can do. Here, have a tissue, a crime number and some counselling.

In the unlikely event that anyone is ever arrested and charged for a crime, and then actually convicted and imprisoned, they will still be rapidly released after a few months mixing with their mates and taking drugs in warehouse jails.

What has already happened to burglary — now regarded by authority as a trivial and uncontrollable offence — is happening quietly to murder. The plans to introduce a charge of ‘second-degree murder’ will in the end enable many killers to get away with short sentences, and eventually (you read this here first) with fines and ‘community service’.

The result, as with burglary, is that it will become commonplace, like so many other crimes that are now dealt with (or rather, not dealt with) by fatuous cautions and unpaid on-the-spot penalties where the culprit isn’t even required to go to court.

Look at the two burglars, pictured happily awaiting arrest as they sat trapped on the roof of a home they had violated. Did they look like men afraid of the law, or dreading their punishment? Of course they didn’t. Bad people in our society are not afraid. This is why we must all be afraid instead.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Chief Who Urged ‘Reclaim Our Streets From Yobs’ Was Forced Out of His Home… By Drunken Yobs

The police chief who called for officers to ‘reclaim our streets’ from anti-social behaviour has admitted that he was forced to move home because of yobs.

Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Denis O’Connor said in a highly-praised report last week that police were failing to get to grips with neighbourhood louts because they did not consider them a serious enough problem.

But he has now told how he and his family were driven out of one area they had lived in by rowdy, drunken yobs and how the experience had remained with him for years.

He also acknowledged that many people were not in a position to move home, and that was why police had to act.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Top Supermarkets Secretly Sell Halal: Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, And M&S Don’t Tell US Meat is Ritually Slaughtered

Britain’s biggest supermarket chains are selling halal lamb and chicken without telling unsuspecting shoppers.

Those stocking meat slaughtered according to Islamic law include Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield and the Co-op.

And a Mail on Sunday investigation has found that fast-food chains including Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, KFC, Nando’s and Subway are also using halal meat without telling customers.

But the UK’s second-biggest supermarket, Asda, has refused to confirm or deny whether it sells halal meat.

The Mail on Sunday contacted Asda on Tuesday, but by yesterday it had failed to answer any of our questions.

Initially, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco were reluctant to admit they sold halal meat. But later they confessed to selling Islamically slaughtered lamb. Tesco also admitted selling some halal chicken without labelling it as such.

Most lamb imported from New Zealand by British supermarkets has been slaughtered according to Muslim law, but this is not mentioned on packaging. Some lamb from British abattoirs is also halal.

Last night, Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said: ‘People should know what they’re buying in the shops or when they’re eating out and I will be discussing with the food industry the role labelling can play in giving consumers a choice.’

The supermarkets and fast-food outlets said they did not feel the need to tell customers that meat is halal because the slaughter conformed to Western standards, with animals stunned before being killed.

But the RSPCA has raised concerns about the way chicken is killed in Islamic abattoirs because the birds are stunned with a weaker electric current, which does not guarantee unconsciousness during slaughter.

Our enquiries have found that Subway uses some Islamically slaughtered chicken that has not been stunned.

Non-Muslim religious leaders say that Christians, Hindus or Sikhs may find it offensive to eat meat slaughtered according to Islamic ritual. Jews are unlikely to be exposed to such meat because they eat kosher, or animals slaughtered according to Jewish law.

Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed how halal food was being served to unsuspecting people in hospitals, schools and pubs across the UK.

The country’s biggest hotel and restaurant group, Whitbread— which owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains — was also selling halal food, as were well-known sporting venues such as Ascot, Twicken­ham and Wembley.

Under Islamic law, an animal must be slaughtered by having its throat cut while it is conscious.

All its blood must drain out, otherwise Muslims regard it as impure. The person carrying out the killing has to recite an Arabic verse at the time.brings the practice in line with Western methods.

All Islamically slaughtered lamb and chicken sold in British supermarkets is stunned before being killed, but is not labelled as halal. Moderate Islamic groups allow animals to be stunned before slaughter, which brings the practice in line with Western methods.

Inayat Bunglawala, the chair of Muslims4UK, said: ‘Supermarkets should not be afraid of labelling their products as halal. Halal meat tastes just the same as non-halal meat.’

Initially, Tesco and Waitrose were reluctant to admit they sold any halal meat. Tesco said in a statement: ‘It is not the case that all the meat we sell is halal or that our suppliers only offer halal meat.’

But when quizzed further, a spokesman said: ‘All our New Zealand lamb is halal-slaughtered, as is 35 per cent of our UK lamb. Less than five per cent of our chicken is halal.’

A Waitrose spokeswoman said in her first statement: ‘I can confirm that Waitrose does not sell any halal meat.’

But a day later, another spokes­woman said: ‘You mentioned the [Islamic] prayer said at the point of slaughter. This applies to all our lamb but not to beef or poultry.’

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: ‘The abattoirs that supply us with lamb are licensed by the Muslim authorities and a prayer is said when the ­animals are killed.’

Sandwich chain Subway admitted that up to five per cent of its chicken is Islam­ically slaughtered without being stunned.

Subway said in a statement: ‘By mid-November there will be no halal meat in our non-halal stores. The meat served in halal Subway stores is not stunned before slaughter.’

Domino’s Pizza said it had served Islamically slaughtered chicken in most of its 580 outlets for ten years.

A spokeswoman said: ‘The majority of our chicken is halal slaughtered, but it is all stunned prior to slaughter.’

Pizza Hut and KFC, through their PR firm Freud Com­munications, said: ‘We use a number of international suppliers, some of whom provide halal chicken as standard practice.

‘Importantly, all of the chicken we source, halal or otherwise, is stunned before slaughter.’

Nando’s said: ‘All of our chickens are stunned first. A small proportion of all the chicken sold in our restaurants is halal.’

Even though I’ve seen it done thousands of times, you never really get used to watching animals being killed. But as long as we eat meat, it has to be done. And it is our duty as a society to ensure that the procedure is carried out humanely and with as much dignity as possible.

Society also has to respect religious freedom and rituals, and I don’t have a problem with that. I am, however, uneasy that the laws that require humane killing of animals for meat — particularly that they must be rendered insensible before being slaughtered — do not apply to Jews for their kosher meat and Muslims for halal foods.

It is a fudge we have all lived with, however uneasily, for years, feeling safe in the knowledge that this is very much a niche market. Only last week the Office for National Statistics reported that just four per cent of the British population was Muslim.

Surely, if you want halal or kosher meat, you go to a specialist butcher and everybody else can be confident their meat is produced to more humane standards?

Well, actually, no. That choice has been scandalously taken away from us. Not only are we deliberately not informed if our meat is produced according to religious ritual, many retailers do not even know.

And there is only one real reason: profit. The reality of modern meat production, both here and abroad, is that most animals are killed in vast, modern slaughterhouses.

Once there were small, specialist kosher and halal producers, but now the trade has been taken over by industrial concerns. To cover the increasing demand for halal meat, these corporate slaughterhouses have either had to introduce halal methods or buy in halal meat from specialist butchers.

The choice is either to introduce a separate production line or to take the cost-cutting option of having just one production line. But in this one-size-fits-all world, it’s not the most humane and dignified method of slaughter — the one enshrined in British and EU law — that wins out.

The UK has draconian regulation, far more rigorous than in the rest of Europe. But this was supported by the large slaughterhouses which thought that closing down smaller competition would increase their market share and profit margins. In this country, the combined pressure of regulation and the greed of commercial producers have ensured local butchers are now rare, and local slaughterhouses even rarer. And it is the massive factory abattoir, hidden from sight, that perpetrate these practices.

Thus, commercial greed has found a way of circumventing a law that we, in our ignorance, expect to be obeyed and that we have a right to see obeyed.

We do not expect commercial interests to prevail, on a technicality, over something that many campaigned for — the humane slaughter of our animals.

This is not only commercially wrong, morally it is a disgrace.

           — Hat tip: SH[Return to headlines]

UK: Three People Charged Over ‘Baby Sale Plot’ In London

Two men and a woman have been charged after an investigation by the News of the World into the alleged sale of an 11-month-old girl.

Mohammad Javaid, 48, of Woodlands Road, Ilford, a 31-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman, both of Green Street, Forest Gate, east London, were charged with child neglect and abandonment.

The men were also charged with conspiracy to traffic for exploitation.

All three were remanded after appearing before Stratford Magistrates’ Court.

The woman, who appeared at the court on Friday, was remanded in custody until 1 October when she will appear before magistrates again.

The two men, who were in the same court on Saturday, will appear next at Inner London Crown Court on 24 November.

An 11-month-old girl has been taken into the care of Newham Social Services in east London.

           — Hat tip: 4symbols[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Nine Members of Banned Muslim Brotherhood Arrested in Egypt

Cairo — Nine members of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, were arrested within 24 hours of one another, media reports and the group said on Sunday.

Official state media said three members were arrested in the northern coastal city of Alexandria on Sunday for ‘their attempt to revive the group’s activities, promoting wrong ideas, and possession of publications containing beliefs that would endanger social peace.’

The group, which was founded in Egypt more than 80 years ago, said that another six members arrested Saturday were given 15 days of prison after being charged with belonging to a politically banned organisation.

Security forces raided members’ homes in different cities throughout the country, and seized some of their books and personal computers, the group said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned from participating in politics in Egypt, but its members ran as independents in 2005.

They won 88 seats, nearly a fifth of the seats in the People’s Assembly, making the group the largest opposition bloc in the legislature.

Egyptian security forces routinely arrest Muslim Brotherhood members, but rights groups have criticised the approach, saying that it is politically motivated.

The latest round of arrests occurred just weeks before the government, led by President Hosny Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, is expected to announce whether parliamentary elections will take place in October or November.

The country’s opposition is divided between groups that have urged a boycott of the parliamentary elections and those who plan to participate in them.

Some members of the Brotherhood have said that since the opposition parties are divided on the boycott, they will field independent candidates and encourage people to vote.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Four Left Wing Myths About Israel

Myth 1: “Israel was created because Europe felt guilty about the Holocaust.”

This left wing myth has been widely repeated, most recently by Desmond Tutu. While blatantly false on a level that even the most serious anti-Israel historian can recognize, it persists because its function is to delegitimize Israel as the product of post-war colonial guilt, rather than longstanding Israeli national aspirations.

Israel was not created in 1947. By 1947, Israel already was a functioning country with a language, culture, agriculture, universities, newspapers and military forces which proved capable of defending against the armies of several Arab nations. The only thing that happened after the Holocaust was a UN vote in 1947 for a partition plan that was never implemented because the Arab world instead chose to try and destroy Israel. Israel however would have declared independence and fought for its own survival, with the same exact outcome, regardless of UN Resolution 181. This vote is often described as creating Israel, but it was more accurately an attempt to settle the borders of Israel. An attempt that failed because of Arab genocidal hostility which expressed itself not only toward Israel, but toward the Jews living in Arab lands.

Nor did post-war European colonialism create Israel. Britain, which was the colonial power in the region, was against Israel’s independence and abstained in the UN vote. The majority of votes for Resolution 181 came from non-European countries, primarily in Latin America and Eastern Europe, such as Bolivia, Brazil, Panama, Peru and Poland, Ukraine and the Soviet Union. 7 European countries voted Yes, most of them Northern European states such as Sweden and Denmark, which experienced only a limited impact from the Holocaust. 12 Latin American countries voted Yes. Twice that number. And these were countries that had their own national aspirations and had successfully fought against colonialism.

Post-Holocaust guilt was not the reason Resolution 181 passed. Less than a third of the 33 votes came from countries where the Holocaust had taken place. Their reasons were varied and different. Some Latin American countries identified with Israel’s national aspirations and some sought economic ties. Truman was influenced by the desire for Jewish votes in an upcoming election. The Soviet Union wanted to sabotage Britain’s colonial program. The motives of different countries were more complex, than pity, let alone guilt. Iran for example voted against the resolution and yet became the second country to recognize the new State of Israel.

Left wing activists may insist that Resolution 181 was a racist act, but in fact half the countries who voted for it were non-white, and most of the countries who voted for it were non-European. Therefore the myth that Israel was created after the Holocaust by guilty Europeans, a myth that has been bandied about by everyone from Desmond Tutu to Wallace Shawn to Barack Obama is just that, a myth. Israel would have existed regardless of the Holocaust or UN Resolution 181, which was voted for primarily by non-European countries. Those who repeat the myth are therefore demonstrating either ignorance or a willingness to perpetuate a lie in order to undermine the legitimacy of Israel.

Myth 2: “European Nations Gave the Jews a Land Already Inhabited by a People.”

This is one of the more common myths that seeks to strike at the legitimacy of the creation of the modern state of Israel, and treats the Jews as a foreign body within the land. This is a continuation of the anti-semitic stereotypes of the Jews as eternal wanderers and eternal foreigners…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Israel Reduced to the Size of a Jail Cell

“I said, ‘Natan, what is the deal [about not supporting the peace deal. He said, ‘I can’t vote for this, I’m Russian… I come from one of the biggest countries in the world to one of the smallest. You want me to cut it in half. No, thank you.’“

I responded, “Don’t give me this, you came here from a jail cell. It’s a lot bigger than your jail cell.” — President Bill Clinton

It is truly astounding that Bill Clinton, who in the 1970’s was visiting Moscow and conducting Anti-American rallies on behalf of the Kremlin, had the gall to tell, Sharansky, who had risked his life as a political dissident during the 1970’s fighting the Kremlin, that he should be satisfied that his new country is bigger than the old jail cell where the Soviet authorities had stuck him.

Just be happy that we’re allowing you to keep half of the 8,500 square miles, instead of a few meters in a prison cell. That was the message from the red-faced leader of the free world. And under it, the subtext that if you don’t like it, a prison cell might still be waiting for you. Perhaps somewhere under the Hague by the diktat of the ICC.


According to Clinton, Russian Jews are the biggest obstacles to peace, followed by Mizrahi Jews who escaped Muslim rule. Naturally these are the groups in Israel who are the least naive about what happens when you surrender to tyrants. While many of the Israeli lefties, the grand-children and great-grandchildren of native Israelis whom Clinton interacts with, the cultural elite who live in Tel Aviv and rarely set foot outside it unless they’re paying a visit to Paris or Brussels, have forgotten the reality that lurks in the hills of the Shomron.

And what of the country that Clinton and his successors have tried to reduce until it is hardly more than a jail cell.

Israel is already tiny. At 8500 square miles, it is smaller than all but 3 US states, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island. Compared to its Muslim neighbors, it’s even smaller than that. It’s barely 2 percent of Egypt, which it nevertheless defeated in several wars. It’s 1/4th the size of Jordan and 1/8th the size of Syria. Compared to Turkey or Iran, it hardly even appears on the map.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

BBC: Stuxnet Worm ‘Targeted High-Value Iranian Assets’

Some have speculated the intended target was Iran’s nuclear power plant

One of the most sophisticated pieces of malware ever detected was probably targeting “high value” infrastructure in Iran, experts have told the BBC.

Stuxnet’s complexity suggests it could only have been written by a “nation state”, some researchers have claimed.

It is believed to be the first-known worm designed to target real-world infrastructure such as power stations, water plants and industrial units.

It was first detected in June and has been intensely studied ever since.

“The fact that we see so many more infections in Iran than anywhere else in the world makes us think this threat was targeted at Iran and that there was something in Iran that was of very, very high value to whomever wrote it,” Liam O’Murchu of security firm Symantec, who has tracked the worm since it was first detected, told BBC News.

Some have speculated that it could have been aimed at disrupting Iran’s delayed Bushehr nuclear power plant or the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.

However, Mr O’Murchu and others, such as security expert Bruce Schneier, have said that there was currently not enough evidence to draw conclusions about what its intended target was or who had written it.

Initial research by Symantec showed that nearly 60% of all infections were in Iran. That figure still stands, said Mr O’Murchu, although India and Indonesia have also seen relatively high infection rates.

           — Hat tip: Freedom Fighter[Return to headlines]

Timothy of Baghdad’s Lost Christian Empire

“In terms of the number and splendor of its churches and monasteries, its vast scholarship and dazzling spirituality, Iraq was through the late Middle Ages at least as much a cultural and spiritual heartland of Christianity as was France or Germany, or indeed Ireland.”

Philip Jenkins from “The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia — and How It Died” The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia — and How It Died

Centuries before Islam was a gleam in Muhammad’s eye, much of the Middle East was part of a vast Christian empire. In fact, this Christian empire continued for centuries after the Muslims took over the region.

As Philip Jenkins points out in “The Lost History of Christianity,” like Christian Egypt, the conquered Middle Eastern lands were “still effectively a Christian society under a Muslim military elite.” It wasn’t until the 1300s that the axe finally fell — more about that in a bit.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

British Woman Kidnapped in Afghanistan After Insurgents Ambush Convoy

A British woman was kidnapped today in Afghanistan after insurgents ambushed her vehicle.

The Foreign Office are investigating after the woman, who has not been named, was taken along with her guard, driver and another aid worker this morning.

Afghan media say the kidnap victim was working for the American firm Development Alternatives Inc, an aid contracting firm.

The ambush took place as the group were driving in two cars through Kunar province to Jalalabad.

They were stopped in the Spin Jumaat area of Sawakai district at around 11am local time.

General Abdus Saboor Allahyar, the provincial police chief, said the workers had not told police about their trip.

It is thought they had been on their way to the opening of a canal renovation project in the Narang area of the province.

They were taken away by foot and a major search operation is now under way with the assistance of local tribal elders, BBC News 24 reported.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that a British national is missing in Afghanistan. We are working with other international agencies to urgently investigate these reports.’

The apparent abduction comes just weeks after British doctor Dr Karen Woo, 36, was killed by gunmen in the country

Dr Woo was on a medical expedition to the dangerous northern region when she and her team were ambushed as they returned to Kabul.

Each member of the group was executed one by one in the worst attack on aid workers in the region for 30 years.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: British Film-Maker Tells of Jihadist Kidnap Ordeal

Asad Qureshi, the British film-maker freed after six months as a hostage in Pakistan’s remote North Waziristan region, has spoken about his ordeal.

A British film-maker freed by militants after being held prisoner in the mountains of Pakistan for six months feared he would be murdered along with his fellow hostages.

Asad Qureshi has told of his ordeal at the hands of the armed gang who shot one of their prisoners and subjected another to a mock execution during his months of captivity.

He was kept in isolation in a six by six foot cell, barely able to move, and subjected to physical and mental torture. All the time he feared he would never be freed.

In the end the intervention of relatives in Pakistan managed to secure his release.

He said: “I was terrified. I was beaten and whipped. One of my colleagues was killed. I feared for my own life and I am lucky to be alive.”

Mr Qureshi was dramatically released earlier this month after being held in the remote region of North Waziristan.

He had been kidnapped while researching a film for Channel 4 on the Islamic militants and tribal groups who control much of the area and are bitterly hostile to outsiders.

With Mr Qureshi was his driver, Rustam Khan, and two former Pakistani intelligence officers, Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja and Colonel Sultan Ameer Tarar, who were acting as guides.

Both Squadron Leader Khawaja and Colonel Tarar, also known as Colonel Iman, had worked with the mujahideen resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan during the 1980s and had links with the Taliban.

Mr Qureshi and his team were captured on March 26 by the Asian Tigers, a little known militant faction thought to be a front for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a fiercely violent group that has developed strong ties to the Taliban in recent years.

After being stopped at gunpoint Mr Qureshi and the others were taken to an isolated location deep in the Waziristan mountain range.

They were told by their kidnappers that they had crossed over into Afghanistan, but it has now emerged that this was not the case and in fact the group had remained in Pakistan throughout their ordeal.

Mr Qureshi, 53, was fed scraps of food and kept in a small cell where he was barely able to move, losing a significant amount of his body weight as a result and emerging gaunt and emaciated.

At one stage Colonel Tarar was dragged out of his cell, blindfolded and subjected to a mock execution — to the terror of his fellow hostages.

Three weeks after the kidnapping Squadron Leader Khawaja was forced to appear in a video in which he claimed to have continued links to the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, and the CIA and to have betrayed extremist militants during the siege of the Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007.

Days later his body was found in a ditch near the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan with a note warning other “American spies” they would meet the same fate.

Sources said Mr Qureshi’s release had been directly brokered during long and painstaking negotiations by his relatives in Pakistan, with the help of the British Consul. His driver was freed at the same time.

The kidnappers had demanded $10 million (£6.3 million) and the release of several Taliban prisoners in return for Mr Qureshi’s freedom, but it is not clear whether any of their demands were met.

Mr Qureshi, who grew up in Bradford but had been based in the Pakistani capital Islamabad for the past few years, returned to Britain within days of his release for a joyful reunion with his family.

He is still undergoing medical treatment, including trauma counselling, following his long ordeal.

He told his family that the kidnapping and subsequent long imprisonment was the most terrifying experience of his life and that he feared he would never see them again.

Mr Qureshi’s brother Farrukh, who flew back with him from Pakistan, told The Sunday Telegraph: “It was such a relief to hear that he had been released after such a long time.

“We had no idea what was happening to him during his capture and we feared we might never see him again. He was weak and tired and has lost a lot of weight but it is so good to have him back.”

A friend of the family said: “Asad was frequently whipped and beaten, as were the others. He was kept in a tiny room, unable to move properly. It was traumatising. Then they killed Squadron Leader Khawaja. Asad really feared for his life. He was convinced the militants were going to do the same to him.

“You can imagine his relief when he heard he was set free and was brought to safety. But he is still very traumatised by the entire event.”

Mr Qureshi and his team were to be accompanied on the trip by Ahmed Jamal, a freelance television producer who commissioned the planned documentary, but at the last minute he remained in Britain.

Mr Jamal said: “Asad went through a terrible ordeal and we are all grateful he was released unharmed. I would have been with him had it not been for a late change of plan.”

News organisations did not report the kidnapping at the request of Channel 4, who feared any coverage might jeopardise negotiations to obtain the men’s release.

Mr Qureshi, who went to Bradford College before becoming a cameraman and film producer, had worked on Hollywood feature films before turning to documentary.

He had previously made films about an attempt by Pakistani mountaineers to climb Mount Everest — during which he nearly lost his life — and the kidnap and murder of the US reporter Daniel Pearl by Islamist militants in Pakistan in 2002.

On one social networking site Mr Qureshi says of his political views: “No matter what I say nothing will change.”

Following his release a Facebook group was set up called Asad Qureshi Is a Legend.

At one stage Mr Qureshi used the services of a militant leader, Usman Punjabi, as an intermediary. He promised the kidnappers access to the main Tehrik-i-Taliban group and its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.

The US government, which accuses Mehsud of masterminding a suicide attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan that killed seven spies last December, added him to its list of “specially designated global terrorists” on 1 September.

Since Mr Qureshi’s release there has been no word of Colonel Tarar, who was last seen pleading for his life on a video released in July.

His daughter in Rawalpindi said the family had “no idea” about his location or condition.

“We still don’t know. We have no contact with them,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Billionaire Aga Khan Seeks Permission to Develop Inside Marine Park in Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas — Environmentalists are angry that the Bahamas government is leaning toward approving a request by a billionaire philanthropist and Muslim spiritual leader to develop his private island inside a marine park.

The Aga Khan wants to dredge two channels around Bell Island within the Exuma Cays to accommodate mega yachts, service barges and up to 20 boats in an inland marina.

The project would require the dredging of nine acres (four hectares) of seabed in the Bahamas’ oldest state park, as well as the excavation of five acres (two hectares) on land.

The park is known for its pristine environment, and police fine locals and tourists and confiscate their boats if they are found fishing, camping or anchoring in protected areas.

However, the wealthy owners of 11 private islands within the park — among them actor Johnny Depp — can seek permission to develop their islands. Most construction has taken place on the islands themselves.

The Aga Khan’s plans call for one 14-foot-deep (four-meter) channel that would be 80 feet (24 metres) across and another channel 12 feet deep (3.6 metres) and 100 feet (31 metres) wide.

Environmental Minister Earl Deveaux has said he probably will approve the plan unless concerns are raised by the Bahamas National Trust, a non-profit organization that oversees 25 parks and protected areas and receives generous donations from residents within the Exuma park.

The trust issued a statement at mid-month saying it had conditionally accepted what it calls a “relatively low-impact” development.

“Our view was to permit reasonable access for the owner under strict environmental protocols,” it said, but added that a final decision awaits additional environmental studies, including an independent survey of all dredging areas and possible relocation of marine resources.

The favourable comments have riled up environmental activists and others.

Sam Duncombe, who leads the Bahamian environmentalist group reEarth, said he would call for the resignation of the environmental minister and trust officials if they approve the plan.

“It’s a sad day in the Bahamas when we have to protect the environment from its so-called protectors,” he said.

Opposition political leaders also are calling for the resignation of Deveaux.

The Aga Khan is a spiritual leader of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, a branch of Shia Islam with some 20 million followers. His Aga Khan Development Network, a group of private, non-denominational development agencies, focus on social, cultural and economic development. It is one of the world’s largest private aid organizations.

His lawyers did not immediately respond to an email Saturday seeking comment.

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]


Spain / Morocco: Melilla Overflows Again

El Periódico de Catalunya, 21 September 2010

“Morocco is flooding Melilla with illegal immigrants,” signals El Periódico de Catalunya. Since the start of the year, over 400 illegal aliens have entered the Spanish enclave in Morocco. Relations between the two countries have soured since Moroccans clashed with Spanish police last August, explains the Catalonian daily, adding that Morocco now no longer cooperates in patrolling the sea border. El Periódico warns that this situation could have a knock-on effect, drawing immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa as well. On the sidelines of the UN summit on 20 September, prime minister Zapatero asked King Mohammed VI of Morocco to do a better job of curbing immigration.

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

Culture Wars

Meet the Muslim Superheroes Who Are Ready to Indoctrinate American Kids

Some cartoons had wholesome morals, but these were never forced. Wile E. Coyote never got to catch the irritating Road Runner, and his evil designs usually led to him plummeting off a cliff or being scrunched by the same rocks he intended to use as weapons.

In the Islamic world, cartoons have a more sinister purpose. In Iran, on Al-Quds Day, Iranian TV schedules are filled with cartoons about evil Israelis with red eyes, shooting and murdering innocent doe-eyed Palestinians. For older kids, the heroes fight back, and even get martyred in the cause of Allah. Al-Quds day, named after the Arab term for Jerusalem and initiated by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1983, is a time for Iranian media to reinforce Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic propaganda.

Muslims comprise only one and a half percent of the American population, but be prepared for the latest exercise in Muslim propaganda and toy promotion — “The Ninety-Nine”. This began life as a series of printed comic “super-hero” characters, each one representing one of the Ninety-Nine names of Allah.


In such a climate, where adults in America and the West cannot be allowed to see Islam’s main character in cartoon form, it seems to be in decidedly poor taste to have superhero avatars of Allah depicted for children. It seems like indoctrination, an indoctrination made more blatant by Obama’s totally inappropriate promotion of The Ninety-Nine.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Muslim Nations Call for U.N. To Track ‘Islamophobia’

( — The Quran-burning controversy in the United States has prompted the Islamic bloc at the United Nations to revive its call for the U.N. to set up an “international monitoring mechanism” to track incidents of “Islamophobia.”

Five years after establishing an “Islamophobia Observatory” of its own, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is now calling on the U.N.’s top human rights official to set up a comparable body at her Geneva office. According to the OIC, human rights commissioner Navanethem Pillay has agreed to consider the proposal.

At the U.N. Human Rights Council this week, OIC members are also seeking support for a resolution condemning Florida pastor Terry Jones’ abortive call to burn copies of the Quran on September 11.

Introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, the text condemns “the recent call by an extremist group to organize a ‘Burn a Koran Day’“ and says it was among “instances of intolerance, discrimination, profiling and acts of violence against Muslims occurring in many parts of the world.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UN to Appoint Earth Contact for Aliens

THE United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth?s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.

She is scheduled to tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before — and that means the UN must be ready to coordinate humanity’s response to any “first contact”.

During a talk Othman gave recently to fellow scientists, she said: “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials.

“When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination.”

Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law and governance at the UK Space Agency and who leads British delegations to the UN on such matters, said: “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person.”…

[Return to headlines]

United Nations to Appoint Space Ambassador to Act as First Contact for Aliens Visiting Earth

If aliens ever land on Earth there will no longer be any confusion over who will greet them with the news the United Nations is set to appoint an astrophysicist to be their first human contact.

Mazlan Othman is expected to be tasked with coordinating humanity’s response to an extraterrestrial visit, if ever required.

The 58-year-old Malaysian will tell a conference next week that with the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting around other stars, the detection of alien life is becoming more and more likely.

Ms Othman, currently the head of the UN’s Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), recently told fellow scientists that mankind needed to be ready to deal with alien contact.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]