Friday, January 10, 2003

News Feed 20101012

Financial Crisis
»Chinese Foreign-Exchange Reserves Hit Record US$ 2.5 Trillion
»Ireland: Thousands of Workers ‘Imported’ Despite Job Crisis
»“The Combine: “ Illinois, Alaska, New Jersey, Nevada — Where Else?
»Council on American-Islamic Relations Launches ‘Islamophobia’ Division
»Dearborn Mayor to Sharron Angle: No ‘Sharia Law’ Here
»Frank Gaffney: Is it Time for More Attacks?
»Meet the Man North Korean Tyrant Hates
»More Evidence Congresswoman Was in Socialist Group
»Muslim Brotherhood ‘Declares War’ On U.S.
»The Marxist Roots of Obama’s Rage
»Under Construction — the Other 9/11 Mosque
»White House to Lift Ban on Deep-Water Drilling
Europe and the EU
»Anti-Semitism in Holland
»Chinese Reporter Tells Story of ‘EU Censorship’
»Commission Preparing Pan-European Smoking Ban
»Contemporary Jihadism and Remembrance of Bulgaria’s Islamic Past — Lessons From Bistra Tsvetkova
»Danish PM: Are Ghettos Really Denmark?
»EU Opposition to Turkish Accession is ‘Racist, ‘ Chomsky Says
»Germany: Shot of Finances From Turkey for Mosque?
»Ghettos Are Not Denmark
»How ‘Merchant of Death’ Alfred Nobel Became a Champion of Peace
»Italy: Police Search Berlusconi-Linked Newspaper
»Italy: Political Symbol to be Removed From School
»Italy: Four Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Honoured in State Funeral
»Lawyers Query Wilders’s ‘Facts’
»Radical Imam Takes Wilders to Court for Damaging His Good Name
»Second Court Case Against Dutch Anti-Islam MP
»Sweden: Man Held in Malmö After Toddler Hostage Drama
»Too Blond for Multi-Culti
»Turkish EU Affairs Minister Tells Turkish Germans to Integrate
»UK: A Jacket for One Tourniquet, A Belt for Another: How Heroic Survivors of July 7 Bombings Tried to Help Victims
»UK: Mothers Forced to Give Birth in Hospital Waiting Room Where There Was ‘Insufficient Space to Care for Them’
»UK: The 6/7 Bombers: Revealed, How Terror Attacks Were Delayed a Day as Ringleader Took Pregnant Wife to Hospital
»UK: Thousands of Prisoners Jailed Indefinitely for the Public’s Protection ‘Should be Freed Immediately’
North Africa
»Egypt Islamists Accuse Police of New Crackdown
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: Rise of the Suicide Protests
Middle East
»Chilling Tips in Al-Qaeda Magazine
»Fourteen Centuries of Hatred
»‘I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America’: U.S. Citizen Mocks His Homeland in ‘Al Qaeda Magazine’
»Another Religious Sect Targeted by the Russian Police
South Asia
»Adam Lambert to Play it Safe for Malaysia Concert
»Pakistan: British Mother Forced to Phone Husband and Beg for Life Before She and Parents Were Killed in ‘Arranged Marriage Row’
»The Smile That Defies the Taliban: Afghan Teenager Whose Mutilated Face Shocked the World Unveils Her New Image
Far East
»Obama Loosens Sanctions on C-130s to China
»U.S. Alarmed by Harsh Tone of China’s Military
Latin America
»First of 33 Trapped Miners is Rescued in Chile
»92 Million: The Population of Crowded Britain After a Century of Mass Migration
»Immigration and Economy Fuel Spanish Anxiety
»Ireland Must Take Action to Stop Sham Marriages
»Italy: Immigrants Reach 7% of the Population
»Swedes Cite Integration Issues as a ‘Problem’
Culture Wars
»Italy: Lesbian MP to Get Married in Germany
»Italy: Assisted Fertility Law Up for Review
»Rediscovering the First Miracle Drug

Financial Crisis

Chinese Foreign-Exchange Reserves Hit Record US$ 2.5 Trillion

Currency holdings rise by US$ 48 billion in third quarter. The US and EU want major yuan revaluation, but Beijing is only willing to tinker with rate, gradually, to prevent inflation and unemployment.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — China’s foreign-exchange reserves, the world’s largest, have reached a record US$ 2.5 trillion, adding fuel to complaints that the nation’s currency policy is undermining the global economic recovery because of Beijing’s refusal to revalue the yuan, deemed undervalued by many.

China’s currency holdings rose by about US$ 48 billion in the third quarter, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. In a few days, the People’s Bank of China is expected to release the actual figure.

Beijing’s refusal to revalue its currency to correspond to its actual market value is generating more and more criticism. For years, Beijing has maintained a low yuan against other currencies to keep the cost of its exports low, and accumulate a large foreign trade surplus.

For US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a stronger yuan would stimulate domestic demand in China and compensate for fewer exports.

Conversely, inflows of cash threaten to worsen inflation and increase asset-bubble risks in the Chinese economy, central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said 8 October at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. >From his point of view, China must avoid the “shock therapy” of excessive appreciation.

Indeed, Beijing has rejected calls for structural changes fearing the effects of a rising inflation (3.5 per cent in August). Risks of asset-bubbles in key sectors and estimated domestic unemployment rate of more than 9 per cent must be considered.

Nevertheless, the yuan has gained slightly more than 2 per cent since August. However, a much faster, 7-plus per cent depreciation of the US dollar in the same period has dwarfed yuan appreciation.

China wants cut its trade surplus gradually to less than 4 per cent of gross domestic product within five years, from 11 per cent in 2007 and 5.8 per cent in 2009, said Deputy Governor Yi Gang. He did not however specify how this would be done. In any event, few countries are likely to wait a lot of time.

Premier Wen Jiabao said 22 September that excessive gains by the yuan could lead to “major social upheaval” in China as factories go bankrupt and migrant workers return to the countryside.

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

Ireland: Thousands of Workers ‘Imported’ Despite Job Crisis

EMPLOYERS are importing thousands of workers for ordinary jobs from outside the EU, despite record unemployment levels here.

The number of non-EU workers being hired has surged to more than 6,600 so far this year, new figures show.

Workers from outside Ireland and the EU are being hired for jobs on farms, in hotels, restaurants, bars, nursing homes, takeaways, insurance companies, pharmacies and leisure centres.

A large number of the workers are also employed in nursing homes, with permits also issued for workers in guesthouses.

The surge in numbers comes despite rules that insist companies can only hire overseas if they can’t get the staff at home or in the EU. The number of people signing on the dole here is just under 450,000.

The figures will raise serious questions about why companies are so desperate for foreign workers — and whether it is because they are often cheaper and non-unionised.

There are also restrictions on hiring lower-paid workers. But they do not seem to be preventing employers hiring staff in industries where wages are relatively low.

This time last year, only 5,822 work permits had been issued for the first time or renewed, but by September this year, the figure had risen to 6,621, a 14pc increase.

While the numbers are well down on the Celtic Tiger era, in one month alone this year the number of permits granted almost touched 1,200.

In recent years, Irish workers have been rejecting the lowest-paid jobs, although this may change as the labour market continues to worsen.

The rules from the Department of Enterprise are very blunt: permits can only be granted when an employer has “made every effort to recruit an Irish or European Economic Area national for the post”.

Recruitment specialists said yesterday that specific language skills were needed for some of the roles, and these were not available in Ireland or the EU.


But they could not explain the large number of overseas workers needed in areas like catering, education, agriculture/fisheries and various service industries.

The Department of Enterprise figures showed that while healthcare and medicine were key areas for recruiting foreign workers, service industries, which cover everything from hairdressing to insurance, also appeared central to the high demand.

For example, in June 1,194 permits were issued, with the largest demand coming from services industries, considerably ahead of healthcare.

The geographical background of those getting permits was highly concentrated, with Indians awarded 1,780 permits, followed by citizens of the Philippines with 1,101 permits and China with 288 permits.

Those awarded permits can only work for the employer sponsoring them initially, but there are ways to change to another employer later on.

The original application can be made by the employee or the employer.

The system was established under the Employment Permits Act of 2003 and 2006.

There have been complaints in recent months by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) that some unnamed employers were exploiting workers.

The Minister of State in charge of labour affairs, Dara Calleary, recently condemned “any practices by employers that may result in non-compliance with employment rights, entitlements or any other mistreatment of employees”.

Mr Calleary pointed out that those employers who contravene employment permits legislation may be liable for fines ranging from €5,000 up to €50,000.

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


“The Combine: “ Illinois, Alaska, New Jersey, Nevada — Where Else?

“The way it works is this. The Democrat party is the senior member of the Combine. The GOP is the junior member of the Combine. The game is exactly the same, and whoever is up, or whoever is down, based on the random behavior of those rubes, the voters, does not matter. The game is always exactly the same, and the people who are in on the game, from either party, have a shared stake in defending the game. The Combine is a term that should be more widely used in Illinois. It is also a word that should be more widely used in the USA in general. Lisa Murkowski’s family, and her career, exist because of the Combine.”


Our continuing concern is that Tea Partiers and grass-roots conservatives — battered by the last two years of the Obama Administration and rejoicing in a possible major November election victory — will after November 2 focus most of their energies on the various personalities competing for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

It seems to us, however, that the first job of Tea Partiers and their grass-roots allies will be holding any Republican-led House of Representatives to the conservative promises they have made…


[Return to headlines]

Council on American-Islamic Relations Launches ‘Islamophobia’ Division

( — Spurred by the controversies over Quran-burning and the planned Ground Zero mosque, the most visible Islamic advocacy organization in the United States says it is launching a department to deal with “Islamophobia.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dearborn Mayor to Sharron Angle: No ‘Sharia Law’ Here

The mayor of Dearborn, Mich., rejected assertions by Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle that Islamic religious law, or “sharia,” had taken hold of the Detroit suburb. Angle made the claim after saying a “militant terrorist situation” exists in parts of the United States.

“There’s no sharia law in Dearborn, Mich. … It isn’t even talked about in Dearborn,” Mayor Jack O’Reilly told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night. “This is an invention of some people who have, as their goal, they believe that Muslim faith is a false faith, it’s dishonest. And they really believe at the heart of it … that if Muslims won’t convert, they should be removed from America.”

O’Reilly, who is not a Muslim, said he sent a letter to Angle on Monday, inviting her to visit the city of nearly 100,000 residents, about 30 percent of whom are Arab-American.

“I wanted to give her some background, so she’d be better informed,” O’Reilly said. “I’d like her to take it up, but I know she is a little distracted right now. She has a lot on her plate, but I still would like to have her come out and really see for herself what our community is like, because it’s very diverse.

“It’s really a microcosm of American society,” he added.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Is it Time for More Attacks?

Republicans are gleeful at the prospect that — with just three weeks to go to the November 2nd mid-term elections — they are poised to make significant gains in both the House and Senate. All other things being equal, the GOP is thought likely to secure a majority in the former; some prognosticators think it may even take control of the latter.

But what if all other things aren’t equal? What if the highly disciplined, basically one-issue campaign Republicans and their Tea Party allies have so assiduously run — namely, the promise to do a better job than the Democrats of creating jobs, keeping down spending and curbing the bloat in government — is up-ended by one or more terrorist attacks?

In such an event, there would, of course, be many other factors that would come into play before the electoral repercussions are considered. These include: the death and destruction wrought by the perpetrators — especially if they are not merely jihadists operating commando-style in the mold of the perpetrators of the Mombai massacre, but attackers wielding weapons of mass destruction; the possibly widespread disruption of infrastructure and services, both governmental and those of the private sector; and the planning and execution of appropriate retaliation against the perpetrators and those who may have abetted the attacks, quite possibly at home as well as abroad.

Still, it is predictable that terrorists who undertake mass murder on the eve of an election in a democratic polity like ours both seek and will surely have an impact on the polls. The question is: With what effect?

Assuming the balloting could and would go forward across the country as scheduled, voters might be reinforced in their expected turn to the Republicans. After all, the GOP has been seen as more robust on national security than the Democrats for a generation and much of the blame for our present vulnerability could rightly be laid at the feet of the Obama administration…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Meet the Man North Korean Tyrant Hates

In his own words, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton is a neoconservative who was bored at Yale and says aggressors such as Saddam Hussein need not to be just stopped but punished.


Prelutsky, a humor columnist and TV screenwriter, has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, “Dragnet,” “MASH,” “Mary Tyler Moore,” Bob Newhart” and “Dr. Quinn. He also has written or co-authored nine books.

Here is Burt Prelutsky’s interview with John Bolton:

Q. What did your father do for a living?

A. He was a firefighter for the city of Baltimore.

Q. Did he want you to grow up to be one, too?

A. Both he and my mother thought it was important to get an education and to go on from there.

Q. Have you always been a Republican?

A. Always. That’s why I resent being called a neo-conservative. I was working on Barry Goldwater’s campaign in 1964 while I was still a high school student.

Q. Was your father a Republican?

A. He had tried to register as a Republican, but when the city clerk saw that he was a firefighter, he told my dad he had to register as a Democrat because he worked for the city. After a long argument, they reached a compromise, and he let my dad register as an Independent. That was life in a big Democratic city.


           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

More Evidence Congresswoman Was in Socialist Group

Democrat edited radical newspaper that declared ‘Capitalism is the enemy’

Yet more evidence has emerged showing Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Ohio, was a member of a U.S.-based Marxist-oriented organization.

The Oakland, Calif.-based Marxist journal Cross Roads reported in its October 1992 edition that Kilroy is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. The author of the article, Bob Fitrakis, is himself a member of the DSA.

WND previously reported Kilroy is deeply tied to the DSA. She is listed as a member in the socialist group’s own literature.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Muslim Brotherhood ‘Declares War’ On U.S.

Analyst compares leader’s sermon to bin Laden’s pre-9/11 warning

Five years before the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaida declared war on America, the West, Christians and Jews — and virtually no one noticed.

Now, a longtime observer of Islam is warning that a “war declaration” of potentially much greater significance has been made.

The Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Badi, who was elected only months ago, has “endorsed anti-American Jihad and pretty much every element in the al-Qaida ideology book,” writes Barry Rubin, author and director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal.


He calls the sermon “one of those obscure Middle East events of the utmost significance that is ignored by the Western mass media, especially because they happen in Arabic, not English; by Western governments, because they don’t fit their policies; and by experts, because they don’t mesh with their preconceptions.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Marxist Roots of Obama’s Rage

In his powerful new book, Paul Kengor notes that “The Communists could not succeed without the dupes.” His book is titled, Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century. But the key question, never completely answered in his book, is whether Barack Obama is a dupe—or something else.

Kengor, a professor at Grove City College and the executive director of its Center for Vision and Values, is the author of the best-selling book, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. He understands the communist problem that Reagan fought in Hollywood and in his own foreign policy as President of the United States.

Although the cover of Dupes features a photo of then-Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev planting a kiss on the cheek of then-President Carter, it is the current U.S. president, Barack Hussein Obama, who generates the most controversy, based on a careful analysis of his associates and Communist Party USA mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. Those who read Kengor’s book will wonder why they were not given this information during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Examining Obama’s run for president, Kengor says, in regard to the group, “Progressives for Obama,” that it reads “like a Who’s Who of the ‘60s radicals called to testify before the House Committee on Internal Security.” That committee, Kengor notes, was the new version of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, started by Democrats with Republican support. That was a time when there was bipartisan agreement that communism was a threat to the American way of life. The committee was abolished by Congressional liberals.

With the hiring of communist Van Jones by the White House, and his return to the Soros-funded Center for American Progress after his firing, it is clear that anti-communism is no longer a sentiment shared by the modern-day progressive movement. Jones was fired by the White House not for his communist beliefs but because questions about how he was hired—and by whom—were beginning to reach Obama and his advisor, Valerie Jarrett. That is when the media let the matter drop. It was getting too close for comfort to the White House.

Revolutionary Islam

It is easy to forget about the communist threat, considering that we are faced with what appears, at first glance, to be a separate and different enemy—the global Islamic jihad. But it is significant that terrorist Carlos the Jackal, raised by a Marxist father, has converted to Islam in prison in France and now embraces “revolutionary Islam.” Marxist lawyer Lynne Stewart got 10 years in prison for providing illegal support to her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and praised Islamic fundamentalists as “basically forces of national liberation.”

Hence, it is no surprise that the recent FBI raids on Marxist groups in various U.S. cities were designed not only to find evidence of material support for foreign terrorist groups like the Communist FARC in Colombia, but the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hezbollah in the Middle East. The FARC operates with the support of the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela, which in turn acts on behalf of Iranian interests in Latin America. Marxism and radical Islam have found a common enemy—the United States and its allies, especially Israel.

If anything should come out of Kengor’s well-documented new book, Dupes, it should be a determination by the new Congress to re-establish the House Committee on Internal Security, so that all of the facts about radical subversion and communist networks in America should be exposed to public view. His book makes extensive use of the investigations from that and other congressional committees, as well as FBI files on prominent personalities. What is needed is up-to-date information from witnesses provided under oath.

[Return to headlines]

Under Construction — the Other 9/11 Mosque

With eyes on New York, it’s easy to overlook the other ground-zero mosque that is presently being built in Shanksville Pennsylvania at the Flight 93 crash site. That 9/11 site is home to what will soon be the world’s largest open-air mosque disguised as a memorial, contends author Alec Rawls. After five years of insignificant media coverage and minimal public awareness, construction of the Flight 93 Memorial centerpiece is already in progress.

The giant half-mile wide Islamic-shaped red crescent of maple trees is slated for completion next year on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when the autumn leaves of the crescent’s trees turn a brilliant flaming red. The 40 brave American heroes who seized control of the plane from Islamic terrorists and averted what would have been another 9/11 terror attack, are going to be honored with a design that features the major symbol of their murderers — a red Islamic crescent large enough to be seen from aircraft flying overhead.

According to Rawls, this crescent is one of many mosque features embedded in architect Paul Murdoch’s winning “Crescent of Embrace” design, later changed mainly in name only, to “Circle of Embrace”. Another important and mandatory mosque feature is Mecca orientation for prayer. For this memorial to be a proper mosque, it must face Mecca. And Rawls proves it does, in his book “Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes”. Using math and geometry, Rawls calculates that the center of the crescent points almost exactly towards Mecca. That makes the Flight 93 Memorial a mosque.

Another feature of paramount significance is a colossal 93-foot minaret-like tower that Rawls argues indicates time for prayer by functioning as an Islamic sundial. The tower is shaped like a crescent with a crescent-shaped top. More crescents of trees surround the tower and together they too are oriented towards Mecca. The massive size of the tower and crescent displayed on over 2,000 acres of national park land, will undoubtedly convey a message of endorsement, proselytization, and aggrandizement of Islam that is not appropriate to the memory of the 40 American heroes. Not a peep from the ACLU — it is too busy purging the country of Christian symbols and remains silent as the huge religious symbol of Islam is being built according to plan.

The design was selected over five years ago from approximately 1,000 entries worldwide in a public design competition that was overseen by the National Park Service. Referring to the memorial as a “terrorist memorializing mosque”, Rawls claims it is replete with Islamic symbolism of monumental proportions to emphasize triumph, and pays tribute to the 9/11 terrorists. In fact, every single detail of the design is symbolic. A string of coincidences or a conscious slap in America’s face?

[Return to headlines]

White House to Lift Ban on Deep-Water Drilling

The Obama administration plans to announce on Tuesday that it is lifting the moratorium on deep-water oil drilling, after putting in place new rules intended to tighten safety.

President Obama imposed the moratorium after the blowout of a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 led to the largest offshore oil spill in American history. But the White House has come under intense pressure from the industry and from regional officials and businesses that have complained about the economic impact.

“The process is coming to its natural end,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Tuesday morning. “I believe the process will wrap up very soon.” The Interior Department later sent reporters an e-mail announcing that it would hold a telephone news conference at 1 p.m. to discuss the resumption of deep-water drilling.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Anti-Semitism in Holland

Holland prides itself on its religious tolerance. Indeed, it welcomed Portugese Jews and, although they forbade them to join guilds or own shops, the Jews nevertheless flourished in Holland as publishers, physicians, and diamond dealers.


In my mind, Holland represents tulips, legalized marijuana, women selling sex in windows, multi-cultural tolerance, a huge Islamic problem-and the murder of Anne Frank and of almost the entirety of Dutch Jewry.

I remember spending time in the mid-1970s with the late Meyer Levin in his home in Israel; we spent hours walking on the beach as he tried to persuade me that Broadway Jewish communists (Lillian Hellman in particular) had colluded with Otto Frank, Anne’s father…to present a far more “universal” and less specifically Jewish Anne…

Author Abigail R. Esman would have believed Levin. She would actually have a thing or two more to tell him. An expatriate Jewish-American, Abigail R. Esman, has written an important and powerful new book, “Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West”. It is set in Holland, where she has now lived for the last twenty years.

Esman is now planning to leave Holland. She no longer feels at home there. In addition to the “Muslim immigrant problem, or rather, both the far right and far left responses to it,” there is this: “Jews are not welcome in Holland. Foreigners are not welcome in Holland either.” …


(Book cited)

[Return to headlines]

Chinese Reporter Tells Story of ‘EU Censorship’

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS — One of the reporters temporarily excluded from the China-EU summit last week has talked to EUobserver about his “surprise” at facing Chinese-style censorship in the bosom of the European Union.

Lixin Yang, who has full press accreditation in the EU institutions in Brussels, was first denied entry when he and three colleagues arrived at the metal detectors at the summit venue, the EU Council’s Justus Lipsius building, at 2pm local time last Wednesday (6 October). He works for the government-critical media The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television, which have links to the repressed Falun Gong movement.

He returned at 4pm and was blocked again. Fellow reporters from Associated Press and Reuters interjected on his behalf. A senior Council security officer arrived and Mr Yang was allowed to proceed. The officer refused to say who had ordered him to be kept out.

An hour and a half later the Council announced that the post-summit press conference was cancelled.

“I asked the Council press person why I was being blocked and he told me it was for security reasons,” Mr Lixin recalled. “My colleagues had similar problems and one of them took camera footage of the Council’s press team talking to Chinese officials. It was very clear that the Council staff had been given a blacklist of names.”

“The Chinese impose media censorship everywhere they go. But what surprised me was that it was in the Council, an EU building, and that the Council staff wouldn’t admit it. It’s censorship imposed from authoritarian regimes on the EU. What does this mean for the EU-China ‘strategic’ relationship?”

The Brussels-based International Press Association (API) later reported that Council officials had initially excluded the reporters because China said they posed a security threat. It added that China cancelled the press conference when it learned that they had been let through. API criticised EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso for also canceling their press appearance in deference to the Chinese side.

The episode caused discomfort for European Commission officials at their regular press briefing on Friday.

A spokesman initially read out a statement that the China-EU press event was cancelled due to “scheduling problems.” Following a series of questions by API, commission officials then asked the cameras to be switched off and, in an off-the-record session, corroborated API’s account and admitted that the whole incident was “embarrassing” for the EU.

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

Commission Preparing Pan-European Smoking Ban

The European Commission is preparing to introduce legislation in 2011 to ban smoking in public places right across the union.

While partial or total smoking bans have been introduced in many European countries ending patrons’ ability to smoke in bars, cafes and other public venues, it is still relatively easy in some states to find a bolt-hole where smokers are welcome, whether due to exceptions to such laws or owners flouting the bans.

Health commissioner John Dalli has said he wants to put a stop to this. “We need a complete ban on smoking in all public spaces, transport and the workplace,” he said in an interview on Monday (11 October) with German daily Die Welt.

Announcing that Brussels is currently preparing a bill to be brought forward next year, he said that exceptions should no longer be tolerated, as the matter “is not only about the health of visitors, but also the employees.”

In Belgium for example, home to the EU executive, patrons can still light up in cafes so long as the establishment does not serve food, while the Greek health minister last Wednesday admitted the effective failure of its 2009 smoking ban, saying that undercover inspections revealed that eight out of 10 bars openly flouted the law.

The EU bill may also attempt to reduce the amount of nicotine and other toxic substances contained in the product.

The commission will furthermore try to win agreement on rules making tobacco products no longer visible to customers and make packaging as unattractive as possible. The packets are to be made identical in appearance and to bear colourful warning pictures, such as of diseased lungs, as well as more information on the toxins the product contains.

“The more uniform and bland packaging the cigarettes are, the better,” said the commissioner.

The addiction kills some 650,000 Europeans every year.

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

Contemporary Jihadism and Remembrance of Bulgaria’s Islamic Past — Lessons From Bistra Tsvetkova


Bistra Tsvetkova [Cvetkova] (1926-1982) was a Bulgarian-born scholar who studied in Sofia, Cairo, and Paris, before obtaining her PhD from Leningrad University in 1972. Her doctoral thesis analyzed the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans during the early fifteenth century. Dr. Tesvetkova became a member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 1952, and a professor at Sofia University, and concurrently, director of the Commission on Ottoman-Turkish source materials, in 1972. The Universite de Strasbourg conferred upon her an honorary degree in 1981. Tsvetkova’s major work, Les Institutions Ottomanes en Europe was published in 1978. Not long after a horrific traffic accident, during which her husband was instantly killed, and she was seriously injured, Dr. Tsvetkova committed suicide, August 16, 1982.

Here are the conclusions from her Russian essay, which translates, “Religious and ethnic discrimination in Bulgaria during the period of Turkish rule,”:

The Ottoman feudal aristocracy purposely encouraged the religious fanaticism of the Muslims, and the hatred of the Muslims towards the non-Muslim reaya [raya; “dhimmis”]. By these means the ruling class intended to distract the Turkish peasantry from the ever-increasing social antagonism within the state, and to prevent them from recognizing their true class enemies and originators of their oppression and exploitation.

Ethnic and religious discrimination, inexorably linked with the burdensome regime of feudal exploitation and political oppression, stalled the development of the Bulgarian people for centuries. This discrimination, which doomed the non-Muslim reaya to enduring insults and attacks on their dignity as human beings, their life, and their personal and familial honor, also limited religious freedom and threatened coercive Islamization, and tightened the yoke of Turkish feudal oppression. Yet, over centuries, the Bulgarian people stubbornly and courageously resisted this regime of discrimination and oppression, and despite attempts at enforced assimilation, managed to preserve its national identity and culture.

Tsvetkova’s analysis of the movement to liberate Bulgarians from Ottoman-imposed dhimmitude, the so-called haiduk movement [“The Bulgarian Haiduk Movement in the 15th-18th Centuries” in East Central European Society and War in the Pre-Revolutionary Eighteenth Century, edited by G.E. Rothenberg, B.K. Kiraly, and P.F. Sugar, 1982.], included these observations, from pp. 327-28:…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

Danish PM: Are Ghettos Really Denmark?

Getting tough on crime not enough in socially disadvantaged areas,

Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen responded strongly today to an opposition proposal to create ghetto police teams, saying that the problem goes much deeper than police intervention.

Recent unrest in Copenhagen’s Mjølnerparken and as well as in the Gellerup council housing estate in Aarhus has brought the issue to the political forefront.

The Social Democrats and Socialist People’s Party suggested this week that special task forces of up to 200 police officers be created to battle youth crime and violence in the socially disadvantaged areas.

But Rasmussen said the ghettos are so far removed from mainstream Danish society that it requires more than just a get-tough attitude on crime.

‘What it comes down to is that we have some areas where you can ask yourself the question whether it is Denmark at all,’ he said today during his weekly press conference. ‘Because Danish is only spoken by a minority in these places. Because children are allowed to play out in the street at night. Because Danish standards regarding security, equal rights, the legal system and respect for public authority don’t exist there.’

A government report last week indicated that the number of ghettos nationwide has increased from 25 to 45 in just one year. Rasmussen pointed out that the state had invested billions of kroner into the council housing areas over the past few years with little positive effect.

‘It’s going to require a comprehensive effort in the social, legal, educational and employment areas to solve the problem.’

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

EU Opposition to Turkish Accession is ‘Racist, ‘ Chomsky Says

The real reason for the EU rejecting Turkey’s membership is “racism,” US linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky has told a Turkish newspaper. Meanwhile, Germany’s anti-immigration debate escalated over the weekend with one of Angela Merkel’s key allies saying the country should ban more incoming Turkish and Arab workers.

“Europe can claim with some justification that Turkey has not satisfied all of the human rights conditions. On the other hand, I don’t really think this is the reason. … I think it is plain racism,” Mr Chomsky told Zaman, a right-leaning Turkish newspaper on Sunday (10 October).

The US philosopher and long-time critic of Western foreign policy singled out a recent statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Muslims in the country must accept that Germany’s culture is based on Christian and Jewish values and said it was “a pretty extreme and racist statement from a major political figure in Europe.”

Germany is only one of the European countries that is seeing a “right-wing backlash against Muslim immigrants,” he said, arguing this is the “background reason” why Turkey is unlikely to join the EU anytime soon, even if it were to meet all human rights standards.

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

Germany: Shot of Finances From Turkey for Mosque?

On September 30, the Munich city council had planned officially to bury the Sendlingen Mosque project. The opposition from the people was too great — and the financial possibilities for the builders of the Ditim Mosque Association. Just today, the Turkish “European Minister” Egemen Bagis (photo left with Angela Merkel during her visit to Turkey in March) presented lucrative help in his outlook.”A mosque in Munich would be an important message for world peace. I would like to support the project,” said Bagis to the Münchner Merkur newspaper. And furthermore, “The Muslim world will not abandon the Muslims in Munich.”

The Merkur writes:…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ghettos Are Not Denmark

The prime minister says that more than just police officers are needed to change the mentality in Denmark’s ghettos.

While Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Lib) is content that the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party are suggesting a lot more police in Denmark’s ghetto areas, he says that the problem is much more intense than a simple police effort can solve.

“Police can’t do it alone. I feel one has to understand that the challenges that we are facing in certain estates has taken on proportions we perhaps haven’t understood,” Løkke Rasmussen says.

“We have some urban areas in which one can ask whether they are Denmark at all,” the prime minister adds.

The Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party have today suggested that apart from more police in the areas, young problem children could be grounded and that troublemakers on parole could be moved to other areas.

The government is due to present its own so-called Ghetto Policy this autumn, and Løkke Rasmussen makes no bones of the fact that he sees the situation in ghettos, which he also sees as being separate from Denmark, as very serious..

“Because Danish is a language spoken by a minority; because children play in the streets in the evenings; because parents don’t have to get up the next day; because all satellite dishes point away from Danish news programmes and towards remote regions that people orient themselves towards,” the prime minister says.

“Because Danish norms of trust, equality, the rule of law and respect for public authority do not exist. If we fail to understand that these sorts of area are of a completely different nature than the rest of Denmark, then we are going wrong,” he adds.

The government recently said that 29 ghetto areas in Denmark needed special attention.

“We have invested billions in these areas, but painting the fronts of apartment bocks is not enough. Nor is it enough just to put more police on the streets. We need a combined effort from the social services, the legal system, the educational system and the labour system to address the problems out there,” he adds.

In his opening speech to Parliament last week, Løkke Rasmussen said that part of the solution would be to demolish some of the buildings, with several concrete suggestions due from the Liberals and Conservatives in two weeks.

“It’s no use just continuing to solve the problems as if it were one in (a provincial Danish town like) Hjørring or an area of detached housing in Hillerød,” Løkke Rasmussen says.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

How ‘Merchant of Death’ Alfred Nobel Became a Champion of Peace

The legacy of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who made a fortune off the destructive power of dynamite, has become synonymous with peace, in large part due to a small twist of fate, writes the AFP’s Marc Preel.

A personal ad and an erroneous obituary: just a few lines were all it took to alter the destiny of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite and went on to create the world’s most prestigious peace prize.

“A very wealthy, highly educated, elderly gentleman, living in Paris, seeks a lady, familiar with languages, also of mature years, as secretary and overseer of his household.”

This small personal ad in a French daily brought into Nobel’s life an Austrian pacifist named Bertha von Suttner, who would become his greatest inspiration in creating the peace prize and who herself would be the first woman to ever win the award.

The year was 1876, nearly 20 years before Nobel drew up his will stipulating the creation of his now famous prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace.

The bachelor millionaire, who contrary to the impression given in his ad was just 43, was living the high life in Paris off earnings from his inventions.

In private however, Nobel was uncomfortable with his looks and tormented by the possible deadly uses of his discoveries.

“He was a man full of self-hatred. He didn’t think he was worthy of a woman and he thought he was very ugly,” said Scott London, an American journalist and expert on the Nobel Peace Prize.

Bertha, a destitute Austrian countess 10 years his junior, only worked for him for a week before suddenly rushing back to marry.

But their strong friendship lasted until Nobel’s death in 1896.

“Many have wondered whether he was in love with her and whether that love, in turn, was the inspiration behind his conception of the peace prize,” London told AFP, pointing out “It is, after all, a thrilling liaison: a munitions tycoon and a peace champion.”

Most Nobel experts however consider the idea of a love affair “far-fetched,” he said, adding that it was also exaggerated to say the Swede had created the prize because of Bertha von Suttner.

“But she was certainly the key influence in helping Nobel understand what was emerging as a bona fide peace movement in Europe,” he said.

It was London’s grandfather, Irvin Abrams, who in 1962 first showed how important Bertha von Suttner was for Nobel through study of the correspondence between them.

“Inform me, convince me, and I’ll do something great for the movement,” Nobel writes to his Austrian friend, signing the letter: “Yours for ever and more than ever.”

Bertha, who herself became famous in 1889 with her best-selling pacifist book “Lay Down Your Arms!”, was also clearly fascinated by the complex figure of Alfred Nobel.

In an 1895 letter to Nobel, she described her first impression of him as “a thinker, a poet, a man bitter and good, unhappy and gay, given to superb flights of mind and to malicious suspicions, passionately in love with the far horizons of human thought and profoundly distrustful of the pettiness of human folly, understanding everything and hoping for nothing.”

“So you seemed to me. And 20 years have done nothing to efface this image,” she added.

In 1888, another coincidence also made a deep impression on Nobel.

A French newspaper mistook the death of his brother Ludvig for his, headlining his obituary “The merchant of death is dead.”

“Dr Alfred Nobel, who made his fortune by finding a way to kill the most people as ever before in the shortest time possible, died yesterday,” the newspaper wrote.

“Alfred was horrified when he read this and later became obsessed by his posthumous reputation,” London explained.

“He subsequently changed his will, bequeathing most of his fortune to the establishment of a series of prizes, so that no future obituary writer would have any doubt as to his yearning for peace and progress,” he added.

Eight years after his devastating obituary, Nobel died and his famous will was unveiled, laying the foundation for what today are considered some of the world’s most prestigious prizes.

Bertha, who won the Peace Prize in 1905, died in 1914, just three months before the First World War began.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Search Berlusconi-Linked Newspaper

Confindustria chief confirms being ‘threatened’ by daily

(ANSA) — Naples, October 7 — Police on Thursday searched the Milan headquarters of a newspaper owned by the brother of Premier Silvio Berlusconi in connection with a probe into alleged threats made against the head of the industrial employers association Confindustria.

Sources close to the investigation said that wiretap evidence and intercepted cellphone text messages had convinced magistrates that a slander campaign was being prepared against Emma Marcegaglia in retaliation for her recent criticism of the Berlusconi government.

Police are also reported to have searched the homes of Il Giornale’s Editor-in-Chief Alessandro Sallusti and Deputy Editor Nicola Porro, both of whom have been formally placed under investigation.

Il Giornale, owned by the premier’s brother Paolo, has in the past mounted intense, front-page attacks on the premier’s adversaries, including ex-Clean Hands prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro, who now heads the opposition Italy of Value (IdV) party, and, more recently, House Speaker Gianfranco Fini, who was ousted this summer from the People of Freedom (PdL) party he co-founded with Berlusconi for questioning the premier’s leadership.

When questioned by investigating magistrates on October 5, Marcegaglia said she felt both her name and image had been placed at risk by alleged threats made by Porro through her press officer Rinaldo Arpisella. The ‘threat’ was contained in a text message sent by Porro to Arpisella on September 16 and intercepted by investigators. In the message Porro wrote: “Hi, Rinaldo, tomorrow there will be a big judicial piece on the business dealings of the Marcegaglia family”. Several minutes later the two spoke by phone and in a recorded conversation Porro added “now we’re going to have some real fun and for the next 20 days giving Marcegaglia a hard time like she’s never seen before”. He then added that Il Giornale had moved its “bloodhounds” from “Montecarlo to Mantua”, the first being a reference to the newspaper’s ongoing campaign against Fini and the second the center of the business activities of Marcegaglia’s family”.

In her testimony to magistrates, Marcegaglia said “when Arpisella told me what had happened I felt for certain that I had been threatened and that there was a concrete risk to me as a person and to my position. This threat was so real that I personally contacted (Fedele) Confalonieri,” the chairman of Berlusconi’s media empire Mediaset. Calls were later recorded showing that Confalonieri had, in fact, contacted Il Giornale to stop the publication of the article and that the Confindustria chief had thanked him for this. Marcegaglia told magistrates that “Il Giornale and its journalist tried to force me to change my views. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before”.

These views are believed to include disputing the government’s claim that Italy weathered the global financial crisis and recession better than other countries did.

She also took a jab at current squabbles within the government majority and the campaign against Fini and said “what we are interested in is a policy which focuses on growth and employment, not what we have been reading recently in the press” The police operation was criticised by PdL House whip Fabrizio Cicchito who said “we see that magistrates in Naples are giving their contribution to the freedom of the press by having the offices if Il Giornale searched as well as the homes of some of its journalists”.

“We are very curious to see what the reaction will be by those who have railed against our bill curbing the use of wiretaps. We are even more interested to know the reasons and the consequences of this potentially devastating initiative,” he added.

Aside from politicians close to Berlusconi, the initiative by the Naples magistrates was also criticised by the national journalists union FNSI, whose chairman Franco Siddi said “what is taking place at the offices of Il Giornale, the examination and confiscation of work carried out by journalists, is very disturbing”. “With all due respect to the work of magistrates and in the hope that the matter will be cleared up as quickly as possible, it is our hope that what has taken place does not represent a preemptive control of the press. These are very difficult times for the media,” he added. Il Giornale’s editorial chief, Vittorio Feltri, who until recently was editor-in-chief, said the search of the newspaper’s offices “will give us a lot of publicity”. Magistrates in Naples justified their probe by stating that press freedom does not give journalists the right to try and coerce or blackmail individuals.

Sallustri has responded to the probe by announcing that he would sue the chief prosecutor in Naples, Giandomenico Lepore, for allegedly telling the Milan daily Corriere della Sera that he, too, has spoken to Marcegaglia’s press secretary.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Political Symbol to be Removed From School

Rome, 12 Oct. (AKI) — The northern Italian town of Adro’s school will remove from its building a symbol used by the separatist Northern League party, the school’s board of directors announced.

The move followed complaints by parents about the green ‘Alpine Sun’ symbol at the school and orders to Adro’s mayor to remove the symbol from Italy’s education minister Mariastella Gelmini and its president Giorgio Napolitano.

“We are are removing all political symbols and trying to get back to normal. Politics must always be kept out of the classroom,” an unnamed source at Italy’s education ministry told Adnkronos.

Adro’s school will also be renamed after two heroes of the unification of Italy, Enrico and Emilio Dandolo, the source said.

But the mayor of Adro, Oscar Lancini, has threated to mount a legal challenge to the removal of the Alpine Sun symbol from the school.

“I have received no official communication of the decision to remove the symbol. And in any event, the school’s board of directors does not have the right to do this,” Lancini told Adnkronos.

Adro is located some 30 kilometres east of the city of Brescia in Italy’s Lombardy region, where the Northern League is the second largest party.

The Northern League’s newspaper La Padania patented the ‘Alpine Sun’ symbol in 2001 and the party has incorporated it in its logo.

Padania, meaning northern Italy, is the area of the country in which the party, whose full name is the Northern League for the Independence of Padania, has its roots as a separatist movement.

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

Italy: Four Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Honoured in State Funeral

Rome, 12 Oct. (AKI) — A state funeral was held in Rome on Tuesday for four Italian soldiers killed in western Afghanistan over the weekend when they were ambushed by Taliban insurgents.

The soldiers “were prophets of the common good who personally paid for what they believed and lived for,” said archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, who oversees the administration of Catholic rites for the Italian military.

Francesco Vannozzi, Gianmarco Manca, Sebastiano Ville and Marco Pedone of the Alpine regiment were killed on Saturday when the vehicle in which they were travelling was ambushed by militants in Farah province.

Another soldier was injured in the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban.

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, minister of defence Ignazio La Russa and other high-ranking government officials were present at the state funeral in the 16th century Basilica of St Mary of the Angels and Martyrs in Rome.

Firefighters, police, soldiers and other members of forces that risk their lived attended the funeral mass in the heart of the Italian capital.

Napolitano shook the hands of family members who sat in the first row of the basilicas’pews, next to the four coffins draped with Italian flags which rested in front of the altar.

Italy is considering withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan’s western province of Herat by the end of 2011, defence minister Ignazio La Russa told media on Monday. His comments followed the deaths of the four Italian soldiers which brought Italy’s death toll in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan since 2004 to 34.

Italy has around 3,300 soldiers in Afghanistan. That number is expected to rise to 4,000 by the end of 2010.

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

Lawyers Query Wilders’s ‘Facts’

Dutch prosecutors attacked populist politician Geert Wilders’s contention today that his hateful sermons on Islam are based on irrefutable facts.

Mr Wilders who has repeatedly branded the Islamic faith “retarded” and the Koran a “fascist book” told Amsterdam District Court — where he faces charges of inciting hatred — that his prejudices were supported by expert academic analysis.

He cast himself as a defender of “European culture” against Islam, which he characterised as “a violent ideology like communism and fascism that we should deal with.”

And Mr Wilders argued that the charges against him were an attack on freedom of speech.

But under Dutch law it is illegal to insult or incite hatred against a group of people on the basis of gender, religion, race or sexuality.

Prosecutor Birgit van Roessel said Mr Wilders’s populist rhetoric “is, and remains, his individual opinion” and stressed that there were limits to freedom of speech.

“You can expect a politician to be aware of the impact of his words and in any case, the legal limit may not be crossed, no matter how important it may be to address supposed problems and to contribute to matters of general interest,” she declared.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Radical Imam Takes Wilders to Court for Damaging His Good Name

Radical The Hague imam Fawaz Jneid is demanding €55,000 in damages from MP Geert Wilders for using video footage of him without permission in his anti-Islam film compliation Fitna.

The hearing will take place in The Hague next Wednesday. Wilders is also appearing in court in Amsterdam next week on charges of inciting hatred and discrimination.

Wilders had used part of an interview with Jneid recorded for tv current affairs show Network in 2008.

The imam claims his portrait rights have been infringed, that Wilders broke the law and that his good name has been damaged.

When the charges were first laid against Wilders in 2008, the MP said the imam ‘screamed louder than a pig’ and that he would not pay a penny.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Second Court Case Against Dutch Anti-Islam MP

Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who is on trial in Amsterdam for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims, has been summoned by a court in The Hague as well.

Local imam Fawaz Jneid is claiming 55,000 euros in damages from Mr Wilders because footage showing him was used by the MP in an anti-Qur’an propaganda movie. The case will be heard next Wednesday in The Hague, possibly coinciding with a session in the hate-mongering case before the Amsterdam court.

Terrorism Mr Wilders’ 2008 film Fitna paired images of terror attacks and of Islamic activists and preachers, of whom The Hague Imam Fawaz Jneid is one. He is preaching at the As-Soennah mosque, which has adopted the Salafi view of Islam. The footage showing Lebanese-born Mr Fawaz Jneid was copied from an interview shown on Dutch public TV and edited into Fitna. Dutch law does not allow the use of pictures and film of people without their explicit consent.

The imam’s damages claims date back to 2008, shortly after Fitna was released on the internet. At the time, Mr Wilders said he was not impressed, adding, “This hateful imam has cursed [former MP and Islam critic] Ayaan Hirsi Ali, [filmmaker and assassinated Islam critic] Theo van Gogh and [Iranian-born law professor] Afshin Ellian. And he has said the most terrible things. He shouts louder than a pig. I’m not going to pay him a single dime.”

           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Man Held in Malmö After Toddler Hostage Drama

A man who grabbed a 2-year-old boy from his mother at knifepoint in the southern Swedish city of Malmö was arrested after holding the toddler hostage for more than two hours on Monday afternoon.

“At around 4.15pm, a middle-aged man grabbed a two-year-old boy from his mother on Storgatan in central Malmö … At one point he was pointing a knife at the boy,” local police spokesman Calle Persson told AFP.

The man, who was not identified, was no relation of the boy and his motives remained unclear, Persson said, adding “he appears to be mentally unstable.”

Police blocked off a large area near Storgatan, and outside the building there were several police cars and ambulances. A large crowd also gathered as the drama unfolded.

According to a building worker involved in renovating a mall on the corner of Storgatan and Södra Förstadsgatan, the man took the child in a part the shopping centre still open for the public. He then tried to sneak out a back door, but ended up in a hallway that is being converted from shoppes to office space.

Several negotiators and as many as 25 police officers rushed to the scene, reportedly using stun grenades when they rushed the building and arrested the man.

The man was finally arrested at 6:18 pm and the boy was unharmed, Persson said.

“The child is being reunited with his mother as quickly as possible,” he said.

Criminology professor Jerzy Sarnecki told the TT news agency that children are usually only taken hostage as part of a family dispute. He considered Monday’s situation is Malmö as extremely rare.

“It’s hard to comment on, but this seems to be a person with serious psychiatric problems who has flipped out,” he said.

Sarnecki theorized that the man took a child rather than an adult simply because it was easier to get to a child.

“It’s something rational within the irrational,” said Sarnecki.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Too Blond for Multi-Culti

In Toulouse, a 16-year-old girl was attacked in the open street by her schoolmates because she was stupid enough not to dye her blond hair in a different color. Whether blond hair is part of the insults against the immigrants that the German Federal President was talking about, or whether we should interpret incidents like this one as cultural enrichment.

Die WELT reports:…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Tells Turkish Germans to Integrate

Days after the leaders of Germany and Turkey pledged to cooperate more on the integration of Germany’s substantial Turkish minority, a Turkish politician tells Turkish Germans integration is a responsibility.

Turkish European Union Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis has called on Turks in Germany to better integrate themselves into German culture, inserting himself into a fierce and ongoing debate on the integration of Germany’s Turkish minority.

“Learn German! Adjust to the customs of your host country,” he told daily newspaper Bild in an interview published on Tuesday. “You don’t have to give up the gift of your identity and culture, but rather think of yourselves as ambassadors for Turkey. Only then can you build bridges for a better friendship and partnership between our countries.”

Three days before his comments were published, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Berlin on the 50th anniversary of a guest worker pact between the two countries, pledging to cooperate more on integration of Turks living in Germany.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: A Jacket for One Tourniquet, A Belt for Another: How Heroic Survivors of July 7 Bombings Tried to Help Victims

Heroic survivors battled to save the lives of their fellow commuters after the July 7 terror attacks as paramedics struggled to cope, an inquest heard today.

As medical teams tried to work in the darkness of the London Underground, commuters attempted to comfort those who had borne the brunt of the blast. One woman at Aldgate used her corduroy jacket to make a tourniquet for a man who had lost both of his legs and then her belt to tie around another victim’s legs. ‘She held their hands and she gave them water and comforted them,’ Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquests, told the hearing. He hailed survivors’ ‘acts of remarkable heroism and human fortitude’ amid the ‘horrifying scene of mangled flesh, torn bodies, debris and metal’.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

UK: Mothers Forced to Give Birth in Hospital Waiting Room Where There Was ‘Insufficient Space to Care for Them’

Women are being forced to give birth in a hospital waiting room because there are not enough beds in overstretched maternity units.

Expectant mothers are going through one of the most agonising ordeals of their lives in a crowded seating area, while other patients look on.

Campaigners last night warned that such an appalling standard of care is putting the health of women and their babies at risk.

King’s College Hospital, in South London, has admitted that mothers ‘regularly’ go into labour in the maternity unit’s waiting room as there are not enough beds.

Managers said the department is often so full that some women have their babies in the seating area — with nothing more than a temporary screen to protect their privacy.

The hospital admits the unit is severely overstretched and there are not enough beds to cope with the increasing birth rate of the catchment area.

But critics warn that the dire situation will soon be commonplace up and down the country as increasing numbers of hospitals close their maternity units to save money.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: The 6/7 Bombers: Revealed, How Terror Attacks Were Delayed a Day as Ringleader Took Pregnant Wife to Hospital

Terrorists plotting the July 7 bomb attacks had planned to unleash their wave of carnage a day earlier, it was revealed yesterday.

The deadly attacks were delayed 24 hours because the plot’s ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan was forced to take his pregnant wife Hasina to hospital on July 5 where she later suffered a miscarriage, an inquest into the killings was told.

At 4.35am on July 6, he sent a hurried text message to fellow conspirator Shehzad Tanweer, 22. A major problem: 7/7 ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan delayed the attacks after he took his wife to hospital two days before the atrocity

The text, which strongly suggests July 6 was the day for the outrage, said: ‘Having major problem. Cannot make time. Will ring you when I get it sorted. Wait at home.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Thousands of Prisoners Jailed Indefinitely for the Public’s Protection ‘Should be Freed Immediately’

Prison governors were set to court controversy today by calling for the immediate release of 2,500 prisoner jailed indefinitely for the public’s protection.

Eoin McLennan-Murray, president of the Prison Governors Association, will describe the sentences as a ‘blatant injustice’ and urge Government to set free convicts who had served more than their minimum tariff.

Prison governors should have a duty to speak out, he will say, and will urge the Government to ‘urgently review those cases with a view to immediate release, unless there is clear evidence that they still present an unacceptably high risk of harm to the public’.

[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt Islamists Accuse Police of New Crackdown

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday accused the government of cracking down ahead of November’s parliamentary election, as police arrested at least 28 members of the Islamist group. The Brotherhood, which fields independent candidates to skirt a ban on religious parties, said on its website that police arrested 11 members of the group in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on Monday. It also said police arrested 10 members in dawn raids in the province of Daqhiliya the previous day. “There has been an escalation in arrests ahead of the elections,” politburo member Essam al-Erian told AFP, adding that the security services had warned Brotherhood activists against contesting the election. The Brotherhood, which has 88 seats in parliament, confirmed last week it would contest 30 percent of 518 seats in the election, rejecting boycott calls by Egyptian dissident and former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei. A security official said seven university students affiliated with the Brotherhood were arrested this week after they allegedly scuffled with security guards in Al-Azhar University’s branch in the Nile Delta city of Zaqaziq.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: Rise of the Suicide Protests

David Be’eri is either much admired or much hated, depending on how you feel about Israel and Jewish heritage. Be’eri is the founder and head of the Ir David Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to excavating, preserving and developing biblical Jerusalem, the City of David.

When Be’eri began his project in 1986, the City of David, located just opposite the Old City, was in shambles. Former excavations were hidden beneath heaps of garbage and debris.

Owing to his efforts, today the City of David is one of Israel’s most beloved tourist attractions. Some 500,000 tourists visit the site each year. Seventeen archaeological excavations have been undertaken there or are currently ongoing. Annual archaeological conferences at the site attract leading scholars from all over the world.

One of the keys to Be’eri’s success has been the close relations he has cultivated with the local Arabs. Hundreds of local Arabs have worked in the City of David on the various excavations…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Chilling Tips in Al-Qaeda Magazine

Al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen has launched the second edition of its online, English-language magazine, with chilling tips to would-be fighters on how to kill Americans.

The article is just one of many in the 74-page October issue of Inspire magazine by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to the US-based private monitoring SITE Intelligence Group.

“A random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington, DC, at lunch … might end up knocking out a few government employees,” writes one of the magazine’s authors.

The first edition of the magazine was launched in July in time for the 10th anniversary of the USS Cole bombing, with articles including “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom”.

The second edition, released this week, includes “The Ultimate Mowing Machine”, which describes how to use a pickup truck “as a mowing machine, not to mow grass, but mow down the enemies of God”.

“To achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can while still retaining good control … to strike as many people as possible in your first run,” it says.

Al-Awlaki articles

The magazine also includes two articles by Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born religious scholar who is on a US government kill-or-capture list for his alleged role in several al-Qaeda plots, including the failed Christmas Day bombing of an airplane bound for Detroit.

The US government calls Al-Awlaki a “key leader” of AQAP. In 2006, he was imprisoned in Yemen on charges of kidnapping, but was released from jail in December 2007. He subsequently went into hiding and is believed to be in Yemen.

Another piece, by Samir Khan, an American from the US-state of North Carolina, is entitled “I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America” and follows his travels to Yemen and his experiences with the fighters.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Fourteen Centuries of Hatred

by Jonathan Kay

When Israeli planes smashed Egyptian airfields in the opening hours of the Six-Day War, announcers on Radio Cairo took to the airwaves, calling on Arabs in neighbouring countries to attack any Jews they could find. In the Libyan capital of Tripoli, then home to about 5,000 Jews, rioters responded with an orgy of murder, arson and looting that lasted three days. Even after the survivors had fled to Israel and the West, leaving Libya effectively judenrein, the anti-Semitic bloodlust remained unquenched. It was “the unavoidable duty of the city councils,” opined one Libyan newspaper, “to remove [Jewish] cemeteries immediately, and throw the bodies of the dead, which even in their eternal rest soil our country, into the depths of the sea … Only then can the hatred of the Libyan people toward the Jews be satiated.”


           — Hat tip: AK[Return to headlines]

‘I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America’: U.S. Citizen Mocks His Homeland in ‘Al Qaeda Magazine’

An American citizen has written about his pride at leaving the U.S. and joining Al Qaeda in Yemen.

In Inspire — an English-language magazine produced by Al Qaeda supporters on the Arabian Peninsula — Samir Khan mocks the U.S. intelligence agencies and pledges his support to the terrorist group.

U.S. officials believe the 24-year-old from from North Carolina is the driving force behind the magazine, which includes articles on conducting attacks and features messages from terrorist leaders.

In an article entitled ‘I am Proud To Be a Traitor to America’, Mr Khan describes his decision to leave the U.S.

‘I praise Allah and laugh at the intelligence agencies that were watching me for all those years. Back in North Carolina, the FBI dispatched a spy on me who pretended to convert to Islam,’ he writes.

‘I am a traitor to America because my religion requires me to be one.

‘We pledge to wage jihad for the rest of our lives until either we implant Islam all over the world or meet our Lord as bearers of Islam.’

Mr Khan claims to be ‘Al Qaeda to the core’ and said he could ‘no longer reside in America as a compliant citizen.’

The 24-year-old also attacks the U.S. for ‘kill[ing] millions of Muslims around the world’ and ‘get[ting] away with it wearing a tuxedo.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]


Another Religious Sect Targeted by the Russian Police

Guru of “Ashram Shambala” arrested, a group which according to investigators, practice sexual and psychological violence. But behind the fight against dangerous sects cases of persecution are still hidden.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — Security forces in the province of Novosibirsk have put an end to the activities of the “Ashram Shambala” sect and arrested its leader, Konstantin Rudnev. Investigators accuse him of penal crimes such as creating a religious association without a permit, rape and sexual assault. At present, investigations are ongoing throughout the sect activities in the province.

According to the authorities reconstructions, the ‘Ashram Shambala “is based on the practice of secret rites of oriental origin. The cult members, mostly young people between 17 and 30, are psychologically manipulated and forced to live in apartment blocks, cutting ties with their families. Among the “rites” of the ideology of the sect, according to investigators, are sexual orgies practiced under the influence of drugs.

The sect has been targeted by the secret services and police since 2008, when the investigations in case of a missing woman from Bredsk led to two cottages belonging to the “Ashram Shambala.” On that occasion, religious books were seized, 23 laptops, but no criminal proceedings were ever opened.

According to 1999 estimates by the Directorate of Internal Affairs, the sect has 10 thousand members in the territory of Novosibirsk.

The Russian authorities are obsessed with the danger of religious sects in the country. Often, however, persecution is hidden behind the battle against the proliferation of the phenomenon, as in the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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

South Asia

Adam Lambert to Play it Safe for Malaysia Concert

Adam Lambert pledged Tuesday to obey Malaysian government rules that forbid the flamboyant, openly gay glam rocker from kissing anyone onstage at a planned concert this week, but called it “a tough decision.”


Lambert has agreed to heed restrictions against stripping, jumping and kissing onstage, said Yuen-See Cho, a representative for concert co-organizer Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia.

“It’s something I’m doing out of respect,” Lambert said in an interview with the AP ahead of his Hong Kong concert. “It’s just one little thing. Man kissing another man is something that government really doesn’t appreciate.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: British Mother Forced to Phone Husband and Beg for Life Before She and Parents Were Killed in ‘Arranged Marriage Row’

A British mother was callously shot dead as she prayed at the graveside of a relative in Pakistan, her brothers said today.

Tania Yousaf, 22, was forced by her killers to beg for her life in a phone call to her husband before she was gunned down with her parents Mohammed, 51, and Pervaz, 49, in May.

The mother-of-two was shot in the legs, but managed to run for cover as the trio from Nelson, in Lancashire, were ambushed by a gang of up to eight men with machine guns.

They tracked her down after killing Mr and Mrs Yousaf and then pulled out a mobile phone and ordered her to speak to her husband.

Her brother, Asad, 25, said today: ‘They made her beg for her life and then they just shot her.

‘She begged for her children and said she needed her two little boys.’

Asad will tonight attend a parliamentary debate on the case along with his two brothers, two sisters and other family members and supporters.

They are demanding justice over the killings which took place days after the family travelled to the Gujrat district of north-east Pakistan for Asad’s wedding.

Taxi driver Mr Yousaf and his wife and daughter stayed on as the rest of the family returned to the UK and were paying their respects at the graveyard in the village of Marain when the raiders struck.

Two of the wanted men, brothers Shiraz and Naveed Arif, were granted pre-arrest bail soon after the murders but then failed to attend court and went on the run.

Their mother, Rahmat Bibi, has also been arrested and since bailed.

According to the Yousafs, she has openly told Pakistani media that her family was responsible and that ‘only half the job has been done and the other half will be done soon’.

The killings were prompted by the marriage breakdown between Mrs Bibi’s daughter, Nabeela, to Kamar, the eldest Yousaf brother.

They lived in Nelson and had been married for 10 years before they separated last year.

The couple, who have two children, were attempting a reconciliation at the time of the shootings.

The Yousaf family has criticised the Pakistani police and government, together with British authorities, for their lack of action in attempting to apprehend the two brothers and the other gang members.

Tory MP for Pendle Andrew Stephenson will outline the case in an adjournment debate to fellow MPs and Foreign Office officials.

In August, Birmingham couple Begum and Gul Wazir were shot dead in a village in the remote Nowshera province of north-west Pakistan.

It is understood their deaths were caused by a family dispute when they rejected marriage proposals for their two daughters.

More than 100 family members and supporters of the Yousafs travelled from Lancashire to the House of Commons.

The whereabouts of the Arif brothers are still unknown despite the Gujrat head of police reportedly stating in May it would be a matter of days before they were caught.

One of their own brothers, Khorsheed, was said to have been accidentally killed in the spray of machine gun fire as he stood to the fore of the gang which encircled their targets.

Asad said: ‘We do not understand how they got bail. How can you get bail in a murder case?’

His brother, Imran, 21, added: ‘The police had their house surrendered but they managed to get away. We think corruption has played a part here.

‘The senior officer in charge of the investigation from the start was replaced and has been followed by a number of different officers.

‘We haven’t had any hardly contact from the Pakistani police or government and we are concerned that not enough has been done.’

Asad said: ‘We have heard the brothers went back to the village a few months ago for Eid.

‘They threatened the villagers about speaking out and told them they were not scared and would rather die than give themselves up.

‘We have to watch our backs now. We cannot go back to Pakistan.’

The brothers said there was no forewarning of the carnage that was to follow on May 20 amid the marriage problems of Kamar and Nabeela.

It is understood neither were interested in reuniting but that the two families were at odds, with the Yousafs wanting the marriage to work.

Sources close to the family dismissed newspaper reports that Kamar, 28, had a secret love child by a white girlfriend as untrue.

Imran said: ‘It is hard to wake up in the morning knowing that your mum and dad and sister are not there.

‘Tania has missed the first birthday of her youngest son. Her three-year-old son is always saying “where is my mother?”‘

The family hope tonight’s presentation will lead to closer co-operation between government officials from both countries and the investigating authorities in the bid to catch the killers.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

The Smile That Defies the Taliban: Afghan Teenager Whose Mutilated Face Shocked the World Unveils Her New Image

An Afghan teenager who was horribly mutilated by her husband under Taliban rule was all smiles as she unveiled her new prosthetic nose for the first time.

Aisha, 19, shocked the world when she appeared on the cover of Time Magazine to lift the veil on the plight of many women in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, she bravely faced the public wearing a prosthetic nose — one that gives her some idea of how she will look after having reconstructive surgery.

She went before the TV cameras to receive the Enduring Heart award at a benefit for the Grossman Burn Foundation — the Los Angeles-based organisation that paid for her surgery.

She was given the award by California first lady Maria Shriver.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife told the audience: ‘This is the first Enduring Heart award given to a woman whose heart endures and who shows us all what it means to have love and to be the enduring heart.’

Aisha, whose surname has not been revealed, replied: ‘Thank you so much.’

When Aisha was 12, her father promised her in marriage to a Taliban fighter to pay a debt. She was handed over to his family who abused her and forced her to sleep in the stable with the animals.

When she attempted to flee, she was caught and her nose and ears were hacked off by her husband as punishment.

‘When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out. In the middle of the night it felt like there was cold water in my nose.

‘I opened my eyes and I couldn’t even see because of all the blood,’ she told CNN reporter Atia Abawi.

Left for dead in the mountains, she crawled to her grandfather’s house and her father managed to get her to an American medical facility, where medics cared for her for ten weeks.

They then transported Aisha to a secret shelter in Kabul and in August she was flown to the U.S. by the Grossman Burn Foundation to stay with a host family.

This month, she had a prosthetic nose fitted at the non-profit humanitarian Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital in California as part of her eight-month rehabilitation.

Dr Peter H Grossman said they hoped to give Aisha a more ‘permanent solution’.

This could mean reconstructing her nose and ears using bone, tissue and cartilage from other parts of her body.

Dr Grossman’s wife Rebecca, the chair of the Grossman Burn Foundation, said Aisha was just one of the thousands of women who are treated with appalling harshness.

She said: ‘Aisha is reminded of that enslavement every time she looks in the mirror. But there are still times she can laugh. And at that moment you see her teenage spirit escaping a body that has seen a lifetime of injustice.’

The UN estimates that nearly 90 per cent of Afghanistan’s women suffer from some sort of domestic abuse.

However, the Taliban have released a statement rejecting this.

‘The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan rejects this fabrication by the Americans, who are publishing these lies to divert attention of the people from their clear and disgraceful defeat,’ said a spokesman.

‘In sacred Islamic law, cutting off human ears and noses whether the human is alive or dead is illegal and prohibited.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Far East

Obama Loosens Sanctions on C-130s to China

President Obama issued a waiver loosening Tiananmen arms sanctions for C-130 military transports for China a day after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an imprisoned Chinese dissident who dedicated the prize this past weekend to the victims of the 1989 crackdown.

Chinese state-run news media on Monday hailed the White House waiver announcement as a sign Washington is moving to lift the 11-year-old arms embargo.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. Alarmed by Harsh Tone of China’s Military

Many younger officers have known only an anti-American ideology

BEIJING — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, in Vietnam on Monday for the first time since the two militaries suspended talks with each other last winter, calling for the two countries to prevent “mistrust, miscalculations and mistakes.”

His message seemed directed mainly at officers like Lt. Cmdr. Tony Cao of the Chinese Navy.

Days before Mr. Gates arrived in Asia, Commander Cao was aboard a frigate in the Yellow Sea, conducting China’s first war games with the Australian Navy, exercises to which, he noted pointedly, the Americans were not invited.

Nor are they likely to be, he told Australian journalists in slightly bent English, until “the United States stops selling the weapons to Taiwan and stopping spying us with the air or the surface.”


“All militaries need a straw man, a perceived enemy, for solidarity,” said Huang Jing, a scholar of China’s military and leadership at the National University of Singapore. “And as a young officer or soldier, you always take the strongest of straw men to maximize the effect. Chinese military men, from the soldiers and platoon captains all the way up to the army commanders, were always taught that America would be their enemy.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Latin America

First of 33 Trapped Miners is Rescued in Chile

The first of 33 miners who had been trapped underground in Chile for two months ascended to the surface late Tuesday night, the beginning of the end of a rescue operation that has inspired the nation and riveted the world.

The first miner, said to be Florencio Ávalos, 31, traveled up a narrow, nearly half-mile rescue shaft in a specially designed capsule that officials had been testing for much of Tuesday. When he emerged, rescue crews broke out into huge rounds of applause.

If all continues to go well, the capsule is to lift the 32 other miners, one at a time, to the surface.

[Return to headlines]


92 Million: The Population of Crowded Britain After a Century of Mass Migration

Britain’s population will rise to 92.5million over the next century, according to official forecasts yesterday.

The country will have to find room for another 30million people by 2108, half as many as already live here.

According to the forecasts, almost all of the growth in numbers will come in England, where the strong economy in the South and the East is expected to continue to pull in immigrants.

The projections were published by the Office for National Statistics, which warned that estimates of the population so far in the future ‘should be treated with great caution’.

But they raised fears of intolerable overcrowding in future if high immigration — expected to provide most of the increase — goes on unchecked.

An additional 30million people is equivalent to three new cities bigger than London, or 30 the size of Birmingham.

The increases envisaged in the ONS projections would mean that the same growth in numbers Britain has experienced in the past 140 years will be squeezed into the next 100. Since 1871 the population has risen from 32million to the current 62million.

The figures, which stem from estimates made on the basis of 2008 population figures, were given to MPs in response to requests for the ONS to release its most distant projections.

Until now, only forecasts for the next three decades have been made public.

Tory MP James Clappison said: ‘These numbers are absolutely staggering. They are a reflection of the wave of immigration we have seen in recent years. Past population projections have turned out to be accurate. There needs to be redoubled action from the Coalition to avoid nightmarish difficulties in the future.’

England has become the most crowded country in Europe in recent years, almost entirely because of the growth brought about by high net migration.


           — Hat tip: DF[Return to headlines]

Immigration and Economy Fuel Spanish Anxiety

The economic downturn has hit Spain hard, especially its immigrant workers, among whom unemployment is 10% higher than the national average. But are calls for them to return to their native countries caused by financial worries or by fears about how Spain is changing following unprecedented immigration to the country in recent years?

“Immigrants who can’t find work should go home now,” Jose Luis Roberto tells me.

He is the president of the political party Espana 2000. But I wonder if it is not the lack of jobs, but what he says next that is the real reason he wants immigrants to leave.

“We don’t want Muslims here who don’t integrate and whose religion is incompatible with Spanish culture.”

Espana 2000 may be a small party, with only three members elected to council level and only 3,000 members nationwide, but its views cannot be dismissed.

The rate of immigration into Spain over the last few years has been extreme, not just for the numbers — during the boom 500,000 migrants were arriving every year — but because it has been so sudden.

‘All suffering together’

In 1999, Spain was a country with barely any immigrants at all. Today they make up 12% of the population.

Moroccans form the second largest immigrant group here. Many of them are young men who have come to Spain alone.

They are under-schooled and under-skilled, so they stand little chance of finding employment in the current downturn.

“I’m not saying Spain is racist,” says Mustafa Assan.

He has worked here for 14 years. He has married and had children in Spain and, even though he has not been able to find work for a year now, he says he cannot even consider going back to Morocco.

Spain is his country and I can hear it in the easy, colloquial way he speaks the language. His every gesture utterly Spanish.

“Sufrimos juntos,” he says — “We’re all suffering together.” (Spanish people cannot find work either.)

I met Mustafa in a bar in El Ejido in the south. He was having coffee, waiting for his number to come up in the unemployment queue…

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Ireland Must Take Action to Stop Sham Marriages

OPINION: Money may not buy you love but it can buy you a marriage in Ireland between Latvian women and Pakistani men

IRELAND HAS become the main destination for young and vulnerable Latvian women, lured by the promise of just one or two thousand euro to marry a Pakistani or an Indian man, also poor and wanting to relocate to an English-speaking European Union state. A Latvian bride brings with her the tantalising prospect of EU citizenship.

Why Ireland? The key to this “cash ‘n’ marry” problem is a lack of laws or serious checks against such disingenuous weddings.

Ireland is a particular draw for men from the Indian sub-continent who speak English. The women are generally from Latvia, one of the poorest members of the EU, and a significant number are destitute.


The Asian groom, once in possession of a valid EU marriage certificate, is free to work in Europe under the free movement directive and apply for Irish citizenship in five years.

Behind all this is something more sinister — the sham marriage brokers who form part of an organised criminal network.

And something yet more menacing may also be at work: the use of sham marriages to enable criminals or even extremist Islamic terrorists to infiltrate first Ireland and then the EU.

For my book on this issue, I posed as a fake bride and in a short time, I managed to get access to around a dozen organised crime gangs procuring false marriages in Ireland.

I made contact with numerous potential “grooms” of Pakistani or Indian origin, offering money in exchange for marriage to me.

To address this problem a change to the law is needed, in Ireland and the EU.

It is not illegal in Ireland to enter into a “sham” marriage or even to organise one for financial gain.

New proposed immigration legislation sadly avoids tackling the issue.


Irrespective of the solution chosen, the EU-wide binding law must require member states to introduce sanctions for “husbands”, “wives” and organisers.

A wedding ceremony just to gain residency status makes a mockery of marriage and immigration laws. In the long term, the problem may diminish as the standard of living in Latvia and other member states increases.

In the short term, however, urgent action is needed to close the legal loophole. That can only mean two things: a change in the law and much more careful monitoring by our enforcement agencies.

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

Italy: Immigrants Reach 7% of the Population

Rome, 12 Oct. (AKI) — The number of foreign citizens legally residing in Italy reached over 4.2 million, or 7 percent of the population in January, but immigration to the country has slowed over the past three years national statistics agency Istat said on Tuesday.

There were 4,235,059 foreigners who had legal residence in Italy in January compared with 3,891,295 in January 2009 or 6.5 percent of the population, Istat said in a report.

The number of foreigner residents in Italy increased by 343,764 (8.8 percent) in 2009, a smaller rise that the 459,000 in 2008 and 494,000 recorded in 2007, Istat noted.

The main reason for the slower increase in legally resident foreigners in 2009 was a drop in the number of Romanians coming to Italy, Istat said.

A total of 932,675 or 22 percent foreign residents were children, and 573,00 of these were born in Italy, Istat noted.

Almost half of foreign residents were from eastern European countries, and of these, one quarter come from new European Union members notably Romania (888,000). A further quarter of eastern European residents were from non-EU countries like Ukraine.

The number of foreign residents from eastern Europe climbed 181,000 in 2009, an increase of 9.5 percent on the previous year. Of these, 105,000 were from the new EU member states, Istat said.

The number of Asian residents in Italy increased 71,000 in 2009 compared with the previous year — an 11.6 percent jump.

Over 60 percent of foreign residents were living in northern Italy, 25.3 percent in its central regions and 13.1 percent in the south.

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

Swedes Cite Integration Issues as a ‘Problem’

Three of four Swedes consider issues which address integration and immigration to be a contemporary Swedish problem, with four in ten sceptical of the experts on the issue, a new survey published on Tuesday shows.

“Xenophobia and democracy issues have come into focus with the Sweden Democrats’ (SD) entry into Sweden’s Riksdag. Some commentators argue that SD’s success is a result of journalists and politicians concealing facts and problems with immigration. Others argue that a perceived ‘taboo’ in the immigration debate is little but a cherished myth,” wrote Camilla Modéer, secretary-general of Public & Science (Vetenskap & Allmänhet — VA), with Arne Modig from Novus Opinion, in an opinion article in the Dagens Nyheter daily on Tuesday.

Camilla Modéer told The Local on Tuesday that the survey is part of a wider study, with Gothenburg’s SOM institute and Novus, looking into the connection between scientific knowledge and views held by the general public.

“We know from the previous studies that many Swedes are in a form of ‘knowledge-exclusion’, making it harder to make important choices and less able to participate in the public discourse,” Modéer said, explaining that VA decided to apply what had been learned on a current topic.

The survey shows that while 74 percent of the 1,000 Swedes interviewed believe that experts and scholars hold the necessary knowledge to handle the issues of immigration and integration “in a positive way”, four in ten reported feeling scepticism towards their presentation.

While Modéer argued that a healthy scepticism to what is written in the media and elsewhere is positive, she expressed concern over this result, arguing that knowledge was key to making informed decisions about issues affecting society.

“If you don’t know, you become frightened and suspicious. It is important that people are given access to knowledge; they can then think what they like of course, but it is important to have the information.”

The survey confirmed that only 35 percent of respondents felt that they personally possessed sufficient knowledge to address the issues in question, and Modéer is clear where the responsibility lies to address this situation.

“Researchers have to reach out and conduct a dialogue with the general public,” she told The Local.

In response to a question on whether Sweden is existing in something of an “age of ideological austerity” when it comes to the respect for learning, Modéer said:

“Our fundamental idea is that knowledge is becoming increasingly important to our society — we are becoming more dependent on knowledge and it is crucial that the general public has an influence and can gain access to learning.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Italy: Lesbian MP to Get Married in Germany

Paolo Concia to wed German criminologist next spring

(ANSA) — Rome, October 7 — Italy’s first openly lesbian MP, Paola Concia, is to get married next year in Germany.

Concia, gay spokesperson for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said the marriage would have been “sooner” but a “pile” of documents from her previous marriage, to a man, had been buried in last year’s devastating earthquake in L’Aquila.

“I’m going to get married in Germany, next spring,” Concia told Italian radio. “It’ll be very beautiful”.

Concia has been going out for two years with German psychologist and criminologist Ricarda Trautmann.

The couple became engaged a year ago. According to media reports, they are to wed in a castle outside Frankfurt.

“Unlike others I want to get married. And we must work in parliament to win rights equivalent to marriage in Italy too,” the PD MP said.

Concia came out in 2002 after working for the PD for several years.

She became an MP in 2008 and has become a prominent activist for equal rights for gays and hate-crime laws against gay-bashing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Assisted Fertility Law Up for Review

Supreme court asked to rule on constitutionality

(ANSA) — Rome, October 6 — A court in Florence is reported to have petitioned Italy’s supreme Constitutional Court to rule on Italy’s 2003 law on assisted fertility, one of the most restrictive in Europe.

The bill was passed by a bipartisan alliance of Catholics in a battle which also pitted male MPs again female MPs.

At the time, liberal parliamentarians and most female lawmakers accused Catholic politicians of bowing to the Church by adopting a highly restrictive bill which they said placed women’s health at risk and would deny sterile couples many of the options that are standard treatment in other European countries.

Supporters of the bill said it respected the rights of the human embryo, preserved the family as the fundamental social unit and ended decades of unregulated practices which have led to notorious cases of ‘granny births’.

Under the 2003 law, single parents, same-sex couples and women beyond child-bearing age are banned from using assisted fertility techniques, which is now limited to sterile heterosexual couples who are married or live together.

The law bans the use of donor sperm or eggs and forbids embryos from being frozen or used for scientific research.

It allows a maximum of three eggs to be fertilised at one time and would require them all to be transferred to the womb simultaneously.

It also forbids the screening of embryos for abnormalities or genetic disorders, even for couples with a history of genetic disease, and women would be denied the right to refuse implantation once their eggs have been fertilised.

The law slaps down heavy fines for doctors and patients caught breaking the law. Doctors caught using donated sperms or eggs face fines of up to 600,000 euros and those found treating same-sex couples or singles can be fined up to 400,000 euros.

Stiffer fines and jail terms of up to 20 years are envisaged for human cloning and manipulation of human embryos.

The Constitutional Court is one of Italy’s two supreme courts and deals exclusively with issues of constitutionality, while the Court of Cassation hears all other cases.


The possibility that the Constitutional Court could overturn the assisted fertility law sparked an immediate and heated political debate between supporters and critics of the law.

Supporters of the law in government warned of a risk that ‘once again’ the supreme court could overturn a law passed by the center right.

Both the Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation, have overturned laws passed by the government of Premier Silvio Berlusconi, first among them those shielding the premier from prosecution.

Carlo Giovanardi, an undersecretary at the premier’s office who holds the portfolio for the family, warned of a “democratic emergency” because “judicial initiatives seek to overturn the will of the people as expressed in parliament and through a popular referendum”.

A referendum on the assisted fertility law was held in 2005 and although more people voted in favor of repealing the measure, a quorum was not reached and the vote was not valid.

Ignazio Marino, an MP in the opposition Democratic Party (PD) and chairman of a parliamentary commission reviewing the national health sector, said “the law was passed six years ago for purely ideological reasons, without taking into account the needs of unfertile couples, women’s health and possible advances in medicine”.

“If the world of politics insists on being deaf and blind, or even in bad faith, it’s obvious citizens will turn to the courts for justice,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Rediscovering the First Miracle Drug

Every few months some miracle drug or other is rolled out with bells and confetti, but only once or twice in a generation does the real thing come along.

These are the blockbuster medications that can virtually raise the dead, and while the debuts of some, like the AIDS drugs, are still fresh in memory, the birth of the first one is almost forgotten. It was injectable insulin, long sought by researchers all over the world and finally isolated in 1921 by a team of squabbling Canadians. With insulin, dying children laughed and played again, as parents wept and doctors spoke of biblical resurrections.

Visitors to a new exhibition opening Tuesday at the New-York Historical Society will find a story made particularly vivid by dramatic visuals, for insulin’s miracle was more than a matter of better blood tests. As in Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones, it actually put flesh on living skeletons.

But the miracle went only so far: insulin was not a cure. In 1921, New York City’s death rate from diabetes was estimated to be the highest in the country, and today the health department lists diabetes among the city’s top five killers. Now though, it is adults who die, not children. What insulin did was turn a brief, deadly illness into a long, chronic struggle, and both the exhibit and the book, “Breakthrough,” by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, on which it is based highlight the complicated questions that inevitably follow medical miracles: Who will get the drug first? Who will pay for it? Who will make enough for everyone? And, of course, who will reward its developers as they feel they deserve?…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]