Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110506

Financial Crisis
»Greece: Back Home With Mum
»McRecovery Continues to Erode American Middle Class
»Portugal: Bailout Will Lead to 2 Years of Recession
»CAIR Helps Shia Imam Nabi Raza Mir Return to US
»Communist University of NY (CUNY) Denies Honor to Israel-Bashing Playwright Tony Kushner
»Fla. Mosque Bombing Suspect Fatally Shot in Okla.
»Jeronimo’s Great Grandson is “Outraged” For the Namesake
»Muslim Leaders Say U.S. Pilot Refused to Fly With Them Onboard
Europe and the EU
»Hungary: 97 Year Old Goes on Trial for WWII Nazi Crimes
»Italy: Berlusconi’s Eldest Daughter Marina Denies Interest in Entering Politics
»Italy: Clooney Squeeze Canalis Goes Naked for Animals
»Italy: Army to Tackle Naples Trash Again
»Libya: Gaddafi’s Ex Nurse Seeks Asylum in Norway
»SNP Wins Majority in Scottish Elections
»UK: Cut Loose: Dave, And Let the Nation Decide
»UK: On This Day of All Days! Hundreds of Militant Muslims Stage Mock Funeral for Bin Laden Outside U.S. Embassy in London… As Relatives of 7/7 Terror Attack Victims Weep at Inquest Just Three Miles Away
»UK: Queen’s Guard Refused Entry to Bar After Doorman Spots Army ID and Brands Him ‘Troublemaker’
North Africa
»Bin Laden: Egypt: Thousands of Salafists March Against USA
»Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood: A Greater Danger Than Bin Laden
»Italy: US Hopes to Free Significant Sums of Libya’s Frozen Assets
»Libya: Special Aid Fund for Rebels, Frattini
»Libya: NTC: West Only Interested in Oil
»‘Realistic’ End to Libya Op in 3-4 Weeks Says Frattini
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: The PLO’s Desperate Defenders
Middle East
»A Gay Girl in Damascus Becomes a Heroine of the Syrian Revolt
»Massacre of the Martyrs: Syria ‘Washes Pools of Blood’ From the Streets as Army Arrests All Men Over 15 in Rebel City
»Syria: EU: Sanctions Hit 14 Leaders, Not President
»Syria: Protests: Web Sites: Thousands Rally in Daraa
»Syria: Thousands on Streets, Shots Fired at Protesters
»Tourism in Jordan Hit Hard by Regional Turmoil
South Asia
»Rocket Attack in Quetta, Pakistan, 8 Shiites Killed
»US Drone Attack ‘Kills Eight’ In Pakistan
Far East
»Hong Kong: Minimum Wage Legislation Approved
Australia — Pacific
»Council Pays for Muslim Swim Screen
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Sectarian Clashes Claim 16 Lives in Nigeria’s Kano Region
Latin America
»Terrorist Group Setting Up Operations Near Border
»500 Refugees From Libya Make Landfall in Lampedusa
»Barroso Wants Schengen Rules Assessed Case by Case
»EU Moots New Schengen Rules
»Frattini Speaks of Common Interest With Malta Over Migrants
»Lampedusa Witnesses Arrival of 831 Migrants in 12 Hours
»More Than 800 Arrived Last Night in Lampedusa

Financial Crisis

Greece: Back Home With Mum

De Volkskrant Amsterdam

Confronted by unemployment and the economic crisis, young Greeks are being forced to give up their nascent independence and return home to live with their parents, where they benefit from the same ethos of familial support whose excesses have contributed much to the crisis. Excerpts.

Arjen van der Ziel

Haris crosses the roof terrace of his mother’s house to show the fire escape that he sometimes uses when smuggling girlfriends into his bedroom.

With a smile he points to the iron door on one of the landings halfway up the structure. “The problem is that the door is very noisy. It only took a second for the old lady to stick her head out and say, ‘Hey there, who are you? I am his grandmother’“.

Haris Giannoulopoulos looks at your reporter and chuckles: “I don’t really have a private life.” This is the kind of story you would expect to hear from a teenager, but Giannoulopoulos is 31 years old.

He is one of the many adult Greeks who have returned to home to live with their parents amid the ongoing economic crisis. “For a few years, I had my own small flat,” he says. “It wasn’t very big, but it was there. I had my freedom. Now I am back in the bedroom where I slept as a child.”

In Greece, families still play a much greater role than they do in the Netherlands. Many Greek parents like to keep their children at home for as long possible, at least until they are married. With the increase in prosperity, attitudes changed somewhat. Young people started moving out on their own earlier and individualism became the norm. But in recent times, the old traditions have come back with a vengeance.

Greece has been struck by a severe recession: GDP fell by 4.5 percent last year and wages have been subject to stringent cuts. With unemployment at approximately 15 percent, many Greeks are turning to their families for support — a situation which they clearly do not experience as a personal defeat. “Families play a very important role as a safety net in this country” explains Dr Panayis Panagiotopoulos, a sociologist at the University of Athens. “There is enormous amount of solidarity in Greek families.”

For Panagiotopoulos, the fact that Greek families are now serving as a safety net is to some degree ironic, because close familial ties also contributed to the emergence of the crisis. Greek politics and the Greek economy are dominated by families: and politicians and administrators who distributed jobs, contracts and other favours to their family networks, share the blame for the bad management of the country. “Greeks are wary of people from outside their families,” he remarks. “That gives an enormous boost to corruption.”

Panagiotopoulos believes that if they want to effectively reduce corruption and nepotism, Greeks are going to have to change the way families behave. But that is not likely to happen overnight. “The Greek family does not change.”

Courrier Ioannis Koutsiari is unperturbed by this kind of theoretical speculation. As he sees it, blood ties are a blessing. He is happy that his parents took him back, even if it means sharing the one-room basement which is the family home. “That is not the way you want to live when you are 31, but I had no choice. I wasn’t able to pay my bills.”

“The crisis has been a major setback,” he says. “I am back living with my parents and I am earning what I was paid ten years ago.”

He does not think he will leave his parents’ home until he gets married and has children. But although he has a long-standing girlfriend, this is not likely to happen anytime soon. “To get married you need a huge amount of money. I don’t see how I could manage in this economic crisis. Marriage is a long-term dream.”

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

McRecovery Continues to Erode American Middle Class

The Federal Reserve designed 2008 economic takedown is now claiming millions of victims. It is eroding the middle class and slowly turning the United States into a second rank country working its way toward third world status.

In June of 2009, the government announced the economy had entered a recovery after a historical looting by a cartel of international banksters led by the Fed and the Treasury.

It’s turns out to be a McRecovery.

The Labor Department announced today the private sector has created jobs at the fastest pace since 2006. “Nonfarm payrolls rose 244,000 last month, the most in 11 months, the Labor Department said on Friday. The private sector accounted for all of the job gains last month, with payrolls rising 268,000, the largest rise since February 2006,” reports CNBC.

According to the data, McDonald’s was responsible for the modest gain. “McDonald’s and its franchisees hired 62,000 people in the United States after receiving more than 1 million applications,” the Star Tribune reports.

Employment at service-providers rose 200,000 in April after a 184,000 gain the prior month, according to Bloomberg.

Service providers like McDonald’s, not decent paying factory or even office jobs. Factory jobs were long ago exported to slave labor gulags in China and Asia. India now absorbs everything from programming and engineering jobs to telemarketing and customer service.

Burger flipping represents economic growth for Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. “The labor market is improving gradually,” Bernanke told reporters during the first-ever press conference following a Federal Open Market Committee meeting. “We would like to make sure that that is sustainable. The longer it goes on, the more confident we are.”

[Return to headlines]

Portugal: Bailout Will Lead to 2 Years of Recession

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, MAY 5 — The measures that have been imposed by the IMF and the EU on Portugal in exchange for a financial bailout will lead the country’s economy into a recession. The Portuguese government in fact expects to see a deep recession in the coming two years. This statement was made by acting Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira Dos Santos, quoted today by the media. Dos Santos pointed out that the 78 billion euro support programme negotiated with the IMF and European Commission will cause the GDP to shrink by around 2% in 2011 and 2012, followed by a recovery in 2013. The economic recession, the Minister added, is caused by a further rise of taxes and the cuts that are part of the package of imposed measures.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


CAIR Helps Shia Imam Nabi Raza Mir Return to US

By Lee Kaplan

Federal Judge allows California Imam with suspected links to Hezbollah back into US despite Homeland Security objections.

Nabi Raza Mir (a.k.a. Nabi Raza Abidi) is the Imam of The Shia Association of the Bay Area (SABA) Mosque, an Islamic center located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, in San Jose, California. SABA’s leadership has been known to endorse the anti-American Khomeinist regime in Iran and the activities of the Lebanon-based international terrorist group Hezbollah.

The Northern California mosque’s previous imam, a man named Rafic Labboun, is currently in US prison for credit card fraud that may be linked to fund-raising activities by Hezbollah for money raised in the United States for use abroad as a part of the terrorist group’s activities. Nabi Raza Mir, who has been Labboun’s replacement since 2002, but is not yet a US citizen, left the US temporarily with his family late December, 2010 allegedly to visit his sick mother, but was denied admittance back into the US for his return by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The United States Government did this ostensibly because of his open ties and support of the Khomeini regime in Iran.

So, does Nabi Raza Mir really pose a threat to national security?

It is important to understand where this mullah comes from and the movement he and his relatives spouse from the SABA Islamic Center. Mir’s first permanent residence petition (an I-360 document in U.S. Immigration parlance) was filed by the Shia Association of the Bay Area in 2004 and was repeatedly denied up to as late as December 2006 under the Bush administration. A second I-360 petition to grant him permanent US residence was applied for by SABA back in June of 2007, one year before President Obama took office and was denied in November of that same year. An appeal was filed by SABA and after wending its way through the US courts for three years (Mir was still practicing as the imam and running his business in the Silicon Valley Mosque during this whole time) it was denied in 2011 under the new Obama Administration. If the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Obama Administration also felt he was a security risk, there must have been more to this cleric than meets the eye. In fact, part of this denial was based on new anti-terrorism laws designed to keep individuals with potential terrorism links out of the United States.

Needless to say, Attorney General Eric Holder’s passion for wanting to get the Gitmo detainees released should suggest that if even he also wants Mir kept out of the country there must be a good reason for it. As mentioned, Mir comes from a remote village in India called Alipur that is a Khomeinist stronghold with strong allegiances to the Iranian regime. He has been staying there pending his legal appeals along with his wife, Gulshan Zahera, and their three younger sons who were also named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the US government. Judge Jeremy Fogel handed down a stipulation agreed to by Mir’s lawyers and US Attorney Melissa S. Liebman just a few days ago that will allow the Khomeinist mullah and his family to come back to California.

The Shia Association of the Bay Area is also working hard behind the scenes to try to get Rafic Labboun released early from prison. That the Shiite Mosque would seek to import another impassioned Hezbollah activist and supporter of the Iranian regime should be alarming enough, but their attempts to release a convicted man, a criminal, with links to a terrorist organization reveal motives that go against the security of every American. Members of the Mosque even distributed a music video calling for Labboun’s release with an image of an armed Malcolm X in the visuals that is very disturbing.

The original lawsuit seeking to allow Nabi Raza Mir back into the United States was filed by the Mosque with the help of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), according to the Mosque’s website. CAIR has been accused of being a Hamas front by members of Congress and is mainly Sunni Moslem inspired. Sunnis and Shiites, as two different sects of Islam do not normally agree, but have been cooperating together in this case because of their mutual animus toward Israel and against the United States.

The legal case was filed as a writ of mandamus, a specific lawsuit that seeks to have government ministers or officials adhere to strict interpretations of the law to fulfill specific functions. In this case, Nabi Raza Mir and his family, it was alleged, were being prevented from returning to the US based on new anti-terrorism laws that Homeland Security sought to use to keep the imam out of the US as a security threat. However, the lawyers for Mir successfully argued that this clergyman should be subject to laws as they were written at the time Mir applied for residency in the United States. Federal Judge Jeremy Fogel agreed with San Francisco attorneys Christine Brigagliano and Marc Vanderhout, both immigration attorneys from the firm representing SABA Mosque, that such was the case.

It should come as no surprise that Mr. Vanderhout and Ms. Brigagliano, Nabi Raza Mir’s attorneys, are both members, and Vanderhout has even been a past president of, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), a radical legal organization some historians have stated was originally started in the 1930’s by Josef Stalin to shield the American communist party from investigations by the US government. The NLG has in the past been described as a subversive organization by authorities within the US government and the organization currently throws its support behind Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas and is an integral part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a communist-anarchist front for the Palestinian revolution. The legal organization is even mentioned in ISM training manuals as a resource to be used to help bring down Israel…

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Communist University of NY (CUNY) Denies Honor to Israel-Bashing Playwright Tony Kushner

by Phyllis Chesler

Incredibly, miraculously, my old university, where once I labored for nearly thirty years, has just snatched back an honor from one of the Left’s most beloved sons. This is really quite a Big Deal.

I am talking about the City University of New York (CUNY) aka the Communist University of New York, which has just decided to rescind its promised honorary degree to none other than playwright Tony Kushner. The Communist University of New York—alright, I exaggerate a bit, there are many exceptions, but my description is essentially true.

Here’s the thing I hate most about “hate speech.”

It is this: When those who engage in it view themselves—and are also viewed—as glamorized victims, brave non-conformists, public sacrifices of the “Zionist Lobby” or the “Military Industrial Complex.”

Once, I moved in circles in which Kushner was, as yet, unknown; circles that swiftly grew to adore him as his star rose. These were the kind of leftists (there are no other kind) who love Broadway and Hollywood celebrities. They especially love all the Jewish theatre people who stand against Israel on nothing other than their own naked ignorance. If a playwright is not known to be properly anti-Israel, his or her work will not be produced. It is as simple as that.

To be sure: mourning all the dead Jews murdered in the European Holocaust remains a theatrical favorite but only as long as the somber themes include happy little touches (think about the misuse of Anne Frank) or when the destruction of the Jews is universalized by bringing in every other genocide to prove that there was nothing unique about the Shoah, and that Jews will not mourn other Jews only, that Jews will mourn all victims equally.

However, when one of these anointed Broadway and Hollywood darlings, like Kushner, is actually called on his brand of anti-Semitism, something which happens very rarely, the celebrity who is used to naught but praise, is shocked—shocked!—and righteously, mightily, offended.

Indeed, Kushner was so shocked that he wrote a three page letter to the CUNY Trustees accusing them of “defaming” him by deciding not to award him an honorary degree. In the letter, Kushner insists that his view that Israel engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians in order to create a Jewish state is not an anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic view. He also claims that the “brunt” of the “ongoing horror in the Middle East” has been “borne by the Palestinian people.”

And then Kushner trots out his credentials, which include his proud board membership in Jewish Voice for Peace, a radically left anti-Zionist organization which supports the effort to boycott, divest from, and isolate Israel (BDS). He also notes that he “has a long and happy affiliation with such organizations as the 92nd St Y, The Jewish Museum and the Upper West Side JCC.”

I remember when Kushner’s anti-Zionist anthology, which he co-edited with Alisa Solomon, first came out in 2003. I knew many of his contributors. They include profoundly anti-Zionist Jews such as Henry Siegman, Chris Hedges (about Siegman), Naomi Klein (about Rachel Corrie), Blanche Wiesen Cook (who was or still is associated with John Jay College/the CUNY Graduate Center—the college which nominated Kushner for the honorary degree), Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Daniel Boyarin, Ella Habiba Shohat, Judith Butler, Marge Piercy, Susan Sontag, etc.

I was not invited to contribute anything to this volume (there is a God after all!), which came out in 2003, the same year I published my book about the new anti-Semitism. I may have been the first to write that anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism and that the alliance of the leftist politically correct western intelligentsia, including feminists and gay liberationists, with Jew-hating Islamists was upon us and that a second Shoah was indeed possible.

However, Kushner and Solomon were semi-clever. They reprinted historical documents and articles by Judah Magnes, Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, and I.F. Stone, which questioned the nature of a Jewish state or of a religiously affiliated state. The editors also printed a handful of articles that were slightly friendlier to the Jewish state which, as I recall, was at the time under the most profound siege.

I remember underlining a good deal. I was going to review it but chose not to do so. Frankly, the volume sickened me. I was heartbroken that so many educated and influential Jews were so happy, felt so righteous about attacking the Jewish state, and in the name of Jewish ethics. If Kushner prefers a separation of religion and state as more conducive to democracy, as he claims, I might agree with him; however, I would start with criticizing Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, and Afghanistan before tackling Israel with single-minded scapegoating fury.

I once labored at the City University of New York (CUNY). I am amazed but thrilled that enough (five) members on their twelve member Board of Trustees actually viewed Kushner’s views on Israel as “racist.”

I once taught a graduate course at the very branch of CUNY which proposed Kushner. Once, I was friendly with some of the professorial union thugs who literally occupy positions to the left of Stalin.

Yes, many are gay, many are feminists. Some are also homophobic and sexist. Life is complicated over there at Communist U because I am describing the same people as well as their opponents.

God bless CUNY Trustee Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, who was the first to speak against Kushner. He said that Kushner had tied the founding of the state of Israel to a policy of “ethnic cleansing.” He was surprised that he got the votes necessary to knock Kushner’s honorary degree off the table.

In his defense, Kushner claimed that his views were shared by many Jews. That’s like saying that many American Jews did not effectively concern themselves with what was happening to Europe’s Jews during the Holocaust. That’s like saying that many German Jews preferred Germany to Judaism.

Today, naturally, the New York Times published their second article on this brouhaha. This time, they tried to challenge Wiesenfeld’s political past, especially the fact that he had been appointed by a Republican Governor (George Pataki). Wiesenfeld is described as a “political fixer” and as at “the center of a scandal (having to do with paroles and for which) he was never charged.”

Why don’t they deal with the issues rather than attempt to tarnish the reputation of the heroic Jeffrey Wiesenfeld? I guess they can’t since their views of Israel are the same as Tony Kushner’s.

Still, I wonder: Has the Gray Lady ever described Rahm Emanuel, the new mayor of Chicago, as a “political fixer?” Or Ted Kennedy as the “drunken and cowardly murderer” of Mary Jo Kopechne? Just asking.

Trust me. We have not heard the last of this. While Kushner has now vowed never to accept this award, his supporters, admirers, those for whom “he died on the cross of celebrity,” will never quit trying to resurrect his reputation and to destroy those who opposed his candidacy. Kushner may be persuaded to launch a lawsuit in order to further dignify and legalize his brand of anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism.

Hamas and Fatah, arch-fiend murderers of their own people, have just joined forces to demand the “right of return” which will, essentially, destroy the Jewish nature of the state and, shortly thereafter (God forbid!), the living Jews of Israel as well. Their hope will be to make Israel as “judenrein” as the rest of the Arab Muslim Middle East. Hamas-Fatah-the-Egyptian-Muslim-Brotherhood also want Jerusalem as their capital. Hamas is busy veiling their women and looking the other way when women are beaten and honor-murdered. They themselves are torturing and murdering Palestinian homosexuals.

Kushner and his supporters are cheering them on.

C’mon Tony: Consider writing a play about the Palestinians who are suffering because of their radically Islamic leaders. Do it because it’s true and right, do it as a form of atonement. My brother: You do not know what you are doing.

           — Hat tip: Phyllis Chesler[Return to headlines]

Fla. Mosque Bombing Suspect Fatally Shot in Okla.

ORIENTA, Okla. (AP) — A man wanted in the bombing of a Florida mosque was shot and killed Wednesday when he brandished a weapon as agents tried to serve an arrest warrant in northwest Oklahoma, FBI officials said.

Sandlin Matthews Smith, 46, of St. Johns County, Fla., pulled out a firearm as federal and state law enforcement officers approached him in a field at Glass Mountain State Park near Orienta and asked him to surrender, said FBI Special Agent Jeff Westcott of Jacksonville, Fla.

Westcott said agents learned late Tuesday that Smith was staying in a tent in the park, located in the rugged foothills of the Glass Mountains in northwest Oklahoma. An Oklahoma City FBI SWAT team and other law enforcement officers blocked off the area overnight, Westcott said.

Agent Clayton Simmonds at the FBI’s Oklahoma City office said Smith was taken to a hospital in Fairview, where he was pronounced dead.

Reporters were kept back about two miles from the scene of the shooting. Because of the nature of the bombing, agents were concerned that there may have been an explosive device in the area, Simmonds said. Officials wanted to keep reporters away while they were processing the scene, but so far no bombs have been found, he said.

Simmonds said he didn’t think there were any other campers at the park.

Smith was facing several federal charges, including damage to religious property and possession of a destructive device, in connection with the May 10, 2010, bombing of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville. No one was hurt in that explosion, but authorities found remnants of a crude pipe bomb at the scene, and shrapnel from the blast was found a hundred yards away.

A call to a telephone listing for Smith in St. John, Fla., seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday night.

The center issued a statement commending law enforcement officers’ diligence in finding the person responsible for the blast.

“The membership and constituents of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida join all citizens of goodwill in Jacksonville to express their relief that any threat posed by the person suspected in the bombing of the Islamic Center has ceased as well as convey their regret that any lives were lost,” the statement read.

The shooting occurred about 110 miles northwest of Oklahoma City in a sparsely populated area of Major County.

Levada Tharp, who lives about four miles from the park, said law enforcement officers came to her house about 8:30 a.m. and asked if she had seen anything suspicious. Tharp said she hadn’t seen anything unusual.

She said she and her husband have been scared in the past of encountering coyotes on their 40-acre property, but not another person. They’ve locked the motorhome they keep behind their house and she will take other precautions when she goes out on their land.

“I won’t do it now without my cell phone,” she said. “Now I’ll take the truck.”

Simmonds said it’s unclear why Smith was in Oklahoma. He said the shooting still was being investigated.

“I’m not at liberty to say who fired on him,” Simmonds said.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Jeronimo’s Great Grandson is “Outraged” For the Namesake

(AGI) Washington — Jeronimo’s great grandson protests for the use of the code name to identify Osama bin Laden in the recent raid. Referring to the military operation conducted by the US special forces to kill the founder of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, a great grandson of the legendary Indian chief labelled the use of his great grandfather’s name to refer to the deceased terrorist Sheik “an outrage”.

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

Muslim Leaders Say U.S. Pilot Refused to Fly With Them Onboard

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two Muslim religious leaders say they were removed from a commercial airliner in Memphis on Friday and were told it was because the pilot refused to fly with them aboard.

Rahman said he was dressed in traditional Indian clothing and his traveling companion was dressed in Arab garb, including traditional headgear.

The aircraft pulled away from the gate, but the pilot then announced the plane must return, Rahman said. When it did, the imams were asked to go back to the boarding gate where Rahman said they were told the pilot was refusing to accept them because some other passengers could be uncomfortable.

Rahman said Delta officials talked with the pilot for more than a half-hour, but he still refused.

           — Hat tip: RT[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Hungary: 97 Year Old Goes on Trial for WWII Nazi Crimes

Budapest, 5 May (AKI) — A 97-year old Hungarian went on trial in a Budapest court on Thursday for World War Two crimes in he is accused of committing in Serbia.

According to the indictment, Sandor Kepiro took part in the mass killings of some 1,200 Jewish, Serb and Roma civilians in Serbia’s northern city of Novi Sad in January 1942 by fascist Hungarian forces.

He is accused of “complicity in war crimes”. Prosecutors said he would be charged with having ordered the rounding up and execution of 36 people.

Kepiro was convicted in 1944 for killings in Hungary but his conviction was quashed by the fascist government and he later fled to Argentina.

He returned to Hungary in 1996 and was tracked down by the Simon Wiesenthal Center as the world’s most wanted Nazi war crimes suspect. Serbia had asked his extradition, but the request was turned down by Hungarian authorities.

Kepiro had sued the director of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff for defamation, but the case was turned down by a Hungarian court on Tuesday.

One of the survivors of the massacre, Lea Ljubibratic, said people were taken from their houses, shot in the streets and then thrown under the ice of the frozen Danube River.

Kepiro has admitted to being a part of pro-Nazi Hungarian forces which occupied northern Serbian province of Vojvodina in World War Two and carried out a massacre. But he told Hungarian television: I haven’t regretted anything, all I did was my duty.”

He walked into the court with a hand stick and later displayed a scribbling on a piece of paper reading: “Murderers of a 97-year old man!”

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

Italy: Berlusconi’s Eldest Daughter Marina Denies Interest in Entering Politics

Rome, 5 May (AKI) — Italian prime minister and billionaire media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi’s eldest daughter on Thursday dismissed reports that she is interested in following in her 74-year-old father into politics.

“Seriously, I have never contemplated entering politics. It wouldn’t be a role for me, I like my job and my position in the Fininvest group,” 44-year-old Marina Berlusconi told Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

“Obviously, political leadership is not something that is inherited or formally conferred. Each individual has to build this and win over supporters,” she said.

She is chairwoman of the Berlusconi family’s Fininvest media company and and the publishing house Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, whose authors include best-selling anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano.

Reports have circulated since last year that Marina was being groomed for a future leadership role in her father’s ruling conservative People of Freedom party, although Berlusconi has recently been given conflicting signals on when or if he intends to retire from politics.

Marina was being coached by “media commentators” and “political analysts” in the Milan area, weekly magazine L’Espresso reported in February 2010.

Marina ranked No. 33 on Forbes Magazine’s 2007 list of the world’s most powerful women.

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

Italy: Clooney Squeeze Canalis Goes Naked for Animals

Rome, 5 May (AKI) — Elisabetta Canalis, an Italian model and girlfriend of Hollywood superstar George Clooney, has taken off her clothes — for animals.

Canalis posed naked for photos to be used in an anti-fur awareness-raising campaign for animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Thee United States-based charity is commonly known as PETA.

In a PETA publicity video Canalis, 32, said she decided to get involved “when I learned how brutal the fur industry is for the sake of fashion.”

She described her experience as a child when she saw a documentary.

“And in the documentary, I saw how they killed little animals, like electrocuting them, drowning them, bludgeoning them.”

“This is the best reason I’ve decided to get naked in my life,” she said.

Canalis joins model and actress Alicia Silverstone actresses Pamela Anderson and Kim Basinger in stripping bare for PETA’s “Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign.

Canalis’ boyfriend Clooney is also known for activism, primarily for human rights.

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

Italy: Army to Tackle Naples Trash Again

Berlusconi blames local officials for new crisis

(ANSA) — Naples, May 5 — The army is to be sent back to Naples to help solve the city’s festering trash crisis, Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Thursday.

“Since the garbage mounds have formed again in the streets of Naples we have asked for the intervention of the army once more,” the premier said after a cabinet meeting.

“From Monday our men will be back in the field,” he said.

Berlusconi said 170 soldiers with more than 70 trucks will try to get the situation back under control and make Naples “a civilised city again”. Rejecting charges he had fallen short of his autumn pledge to clean up the city in three days, Berlusconi said local administration had let Naples down.

“I should like to say it isn’t true that the Italian government and in particular Premier Berlusconi did not work a miracle.

“The miracle was achieved, and we left Naples clean, telling local administrators what they should do.

“But they didn’t do it, as shown by the fact that a tender has not even been issued for the two incinerating plants”.

The long-running trash crisis has re-emerged with a vengeance over the last few weeks as the production of refuse outpaced disposal leaving up to 2,000 tonnes of uncollected rubbish in the streets.

Street piles have risen so high that disposal vehicles are unable to manage them comfortably and trucks were backed up at dumps, according to Hygiene Councillor Paolo Giacomelli.

“At least we haven’t had any more fires,” he added.

Garbage mounds have been regularly torched over the last few weeks as residents try to clear a way through the refuse.

Overworked fire-fighters have been called out to an average 15 blazes a night recently in the heart of Naples and the Chiaiano suburb where a contested dump is located.

Garbage has also been torched in various towns in the surrounding province.

The rubbish emergency has fuelled fears of health risks from rising temperatures and arson.

After the first fires were set ablaze in trash mounds, Giacomelli said: “I’m very worried because fires cause public-health risks because of the emission of dioxins into the air.

“I think that as temperatures rise we absolutely have to find a solution to reduce the quantity of refuse still in the streets”.

Giacomelli appealed to local authorities to greenlight disposal in new landfills.

The trash crisis has been largely caused by resistance to opening new disposal sites.

Weeks of clashes and rising trash piles brought Berlusconi to the city in early November.

It was then that the premier, who won plaudits by sorting out a similar emergency in 2008, made his vow to clear the streets in three days.

Thanks largely to the intervention of the army, Naples was briefly cleaned up but Berlusconi’s pledge ran into renewed opposition to landfills and a delay in the start-up of incineration plants.

The situation was subsequently brought under control around Christmas time with the help of other Italian regions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Libya: Gaddafi’s Ex Nurse Seeks Asylum in Norway

(AGI) Oslo — Ukrainian nurse Galyna Kolotnytska, former personal nurse of Gaddafi, is seeking asylum in Norway. She returned to Ukraine at the end of February, a few days after the revolt broke out in Libya, but only because she was pregnant for the second time. She would have wanted to return to Tripoli, albeit merely for financial reasons. In Kiev, the 38 year-old woman, described as a ‘voluptuous blonde’ by the press, was living with 70 euros a month, while in Tripoli she earned the equivalent of almost 2,500 euros monthly.

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

SNP Wins Majority in Scottish Elections

Alex Salmond says “Team Scotland has won” as the SNP takes control of the Scottish Parliament. It is a result Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, in Edinburgh, describes as “seismic”. The SNP has won 69 seats and outright control of Holyrood in a historic result, unseating many senior Labour politicians.

Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond has pledged to “make the nation proud” as Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said he would step down in the autumn following his party’s defeat.

A triumphant Mr Salmond said: “This party, the Scottish party, the national party, carries your hope. We shall carry it carefully and make the nation proud.”

And speaking to supporters in Kirkcaldy — where the winning 65th seat was confirmed — he said: “We have a majority of the seats, but no monopoly on wisdom and we’ll welcome support across parliament as we seek to pursue these people for the benefit of our people and to ensure jobs in our economy.”

He added: “I believe the Scottish National Party won this election because Scotland wants to travel in hope and to aim high. Scotland has chosen to believe in itself and a shared capacity to build a fair society. The nation wants to be better. We will govern fairly and wisely.”

“Team Scotland has won this election.”

The win could mean a referendum on Scottish independence within the next five years. The triumph is all the more surprising because the electoral system in Scotland, set up in 1999, was designed to prevent any party from achieving an overall majority.

Channel 4 News’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who is in Scotland, said: “What happened here is seismic… The defeat of Labour in Scotland is stunning in scale.”

Leader Alex Salmond, who won Aberdeenshire East with around 64 per cent of the vote, said wins across the country meant the SNP can now properly be described as the “national party”.

The SNP gained seats in traditional Labour strongholds including Glasgow and the west of Scotland. Candidates once thought of as potential Labour frontbenchers lost out, including former ministers Andy Kerr, Tom McCabe and Frank McAveety.

The SNP has 69 seats, with Labour trailing on 37 MSPs. The Conservatives had 15, the Lib Dems five and the Scottish Greens two. Independent MSP Margo MacDonald was also returned to parliament.

The win is further symbolic because Kirkcaldy, the seat which tipped the SNP into the majority, was considered a solid Labour area, with the overlapping Westminster constituency held by former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Labour leader Iain Gray said: “It is now clear that the SNP has won the election, so early this morning I spoke with Alex Salmond to congratulate him on his victory.

“Labour has lost many talented representatives and it seems very likely that Labour’s new and returning MSPs will play their part in the democratic process in the Scottish Parliament from opposition, but will do so with gusto. Labour’s MSPs will work constructively with the new Scottish Government to create jobs and tackle unemployment wherever we can.”

The Lib Dems saw their share of the vote in Scotland slump as it did across the rest of Britain. Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott held on to Shetland with a reduced share, but his party was beaten in areas where it had previously enjoyed a comfortable majority.

The SNP’s win means a referendum on independence could be held within the next five years.

Professor John Curtice from the University of Strathclyde told Channel 4 News that the referendum was a key question for Alex Salmond and his party.

“The SNP face a paradox — the more effective government they provide in Holyrood, the happier people in Scotland are with the union,” he said.

If a referendum is called and defeated, many feel that would kill off the question of Scottish independence for a generation.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Cut Loose: Dave, And Let the Nation Decide

The Liberal Democrats have have lost the confidence of the country; David Cameron should call a general election.

By Simon Heffer

Dishonesty and incompetence so often go together in politics because the one is used to attempt to conceal the other. So it was yesterday when Lord Ashdown, one of a long list of failed former leaders of the Liberal Democrats, decided to blame the Conservatives for his party’s atrocious performance in the local elections and, though he did not know the result at the time, by implication the defeat of the AV referendum.

It is a lie to say that the Lib Dems did so badly because they have been blamed for the so-called “cuts”. Nor has the referendum gone against them because the Conservatives scaremongered about the consequences of reform. The Lib Dems lost so heavily because during their year in government they have been shown to be inadequate. They are, or were, a purely rhetorical, as opposed to a practical, force. The public have seen through them and their crackpot ideas, and given them the kicking they so richly deserved.

Yet the lies, and confidence tricks, of these shabby people continue. The briefing yesterday was that Nick Clegg would now have to be allowed to “deliver” more constitutional reform, such as a largely elected House of Lords, in order to show that the Lib Dems have some validity. It is time to get real. The election and referendum results show clearly that there is about as much appetite for constitutional change as for a plate of arsenic. It has been rejected. The Lib Dems have been rejected. Their mandate has evaporated. And it is essential that the Prime Minister recognises this reality if he is not to be damaged by what is happening to his Coalition partners.

I believe more strongly than ever that Dave should call a general election. His partners have lost the confidence of the country. There is open dissent in his Cabinet. Collective responsibility is breaking down. The Lib Dems seem on the verge of civil war. The Tories would win many Lib Dem seats if they went to the country now. Ed Miliband is damaged by his support for AV. He lacks the wholehearted support of his party. Labour has been badly wounded in Scotland. There simply won’t be a better chance of a Conservative victory than now.

The Right of the Tory party must mobilise and assert itself now, for I fear Dave is more minded to make concessions to his partners than to follow the instincts of his own people. After all, he plainly dislikes most of his notional supporters, and the Lib Dems serve the useful purpose of protecting him from them. But he should learn from Nick Clegg what happens when a leader chooses to fall out of step with his party. Dave is on a perilous course if he does not work out why his party’s own vote held up so well, and seek to take his party further in that direction…

[Return to headlines]

UK: On This Day of All Days! Hundreds of Militant Muslims Stage Mock Funeral for Bin Laden Outside U.S. Embassy in London… As Relatives of 7/7 Terror Attack Victims Weep at Inquest Just Three Miles Away

A protest by hundreds of Osama Bin Laden supporters sparked fury outside the US Embassy in London today as they staged a mock ‘funeral service’ for the terror leader.

Police stepped in to separate the protesters and members of the English Defence League amid threats of violence from both sides.

Radicals carrying placards proclaiming ‘Islam will dominate the world’ branded US leaders ‘murderers’ and warned vengeance attacks were ‘guaranteed’.

The protest came shortly after the verdict into the 7/7 inquest was released by Lady Justice Heather Hallett.

She recorded that the 52 victims had been ‘unlawfully’ killed when four terrorists attacked three London Underground trains and a bus in 2005.

Lady Justice Hallett made a string of recommendations to both MI5 to prevent further atrocities and to 999 workers to react more effectively to major events.

Relatives of the victims wept openly as the judge announced her verdict and she paid tribute to their ‘quiet dignity’ before reading the name of each person who died.

However just three miles from the Royal Court of Justice, Muslim protester Abu Muaz, 28, from east London claimed ‘it is only a matter of time’ before another attack and that the ‘West is the enemy’.

The capital has seen heightened security in recent days over fears of a revenge attacks by Al-Qaeda members.

The protest against Bin Laden’s death was organised by controversial preacher Anjem Choudary — who praised both 7/7 and the September 11 attacks.

The former UK leader of the outlawed al-Muhajiroun and member of the ‘poppy-burning’ Muslims Against Crusades extremist group called on the U.S. to return bin Laden’s body to relatives.

He has already warned of another 7/7-style terror attack in the wake of Bin Laden’s death.

Britain has followed the US in placing its embassies, diplomatic missions and military bases around the world on heightened alert in recent days.

An EDL member did manage to slip through police lines to unveil an effigy of Bin Laden in the middle of the 300-strong group of extremist Muslims.

It prompted screams of ‘USA, burn in hell’ and ‘Obama, burn in hell’ from angry protesters.

The protests from both sides left onlookers in Grosvenor Square unimpressed.

Mary Smythe, 38, from Croydon, south London, said: ‘I think both sides are pathetic, quite frankly.

‘It’s disappointing and horrible to listen to the threats. They are all an embarrassment to this country.’

Bin Laden, who masterminded the attack in 2001 on the Twin Towers in New York, was killed on Monday by U.S. forces in Pakistan.

The CIA spied on Osama Bin Laden for months from its own top-secret safehouse in Abbottabad, it has since been revealed.

In one of the most intricate intelligence operations in CIA history, spies moved in to a property next door to Bin Laden’s fortified compound to establish his ‘pattern of life’.

President Barack Obama yesterday visited New York to place a wreath at Ground Zero.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Queen’s Guard Refused Entry to Bar After Doorman Spots Army ID and Brands Him ‘Troublemaker’

A soldier who works guarding The Queen has spoken of his ‘disgust’ after he was refused entry to a bar because he was a member of the armed forces.

Trooper Jack Little, 19, of the Household Cavalry Blues and Royals, protects the royal family, politicians and foreign leaders at Horse Guards Parade, London.

He also proudly serves in the same regiment as Prince Harry and is currently in combat training for deployment to fight in Afghanistan.

But Jack was left ‘shocked’ after he queued for one-and-a-half hours to enter Vodka Revolution in Cambridge and was refused entry when bouncers spotted his Army ID.

Over-zealous doorstaff told Jack the pub chain has a policy of refusing entry to members of the armed services because they cause too much ‘trouble’.

[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Bin Laden: Egypt: Thousands of Salafists March Against USA

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 6 — Thousands of Egyptian Salafists have today organised a march in protest against the United States over the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The march began at the Al Nur mosque in the Abbasiya area of Cairo and ended outside the American embassy.

This is according to the MENA news agency, which says that protesters chanted slogans against the American President Barack Obama, calling him the assassin responsible for Bin Laden’s death.

Dozens of Egyptian citizens in Tahrir Square today prayed for the soul of the Al Qaeda leader, who was killed last week in a raid in Pakistan by American special forces.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood: A Greater Danger Than Bin Laden

The fundamentalist group is gaining ground in the media and is threatening Christians and moderate Muslims, who back a secular state. Fear of an Islamist regime is pushing many Muslims to emigrate to the West.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — “Reactions in Egypt to Bin Laden’s killing have been mixed. Moderate Muslims are happy about it but the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis and Jihadist groups have called him a hero and a martyr for Islam. His death will not reduce the dangers Christians and secular-minded Muslims face since the fall of Mubarak,” said Fr Rafik Greiche, head of the press office of the Catholic Church of Egypt and spokesman for the country’s seven Catholic denominations. Speaking to AsiaNews, the Catholic clergyman went further, saying that many Muslims are emigrating for fear of Muslim fundamentalists who are gaining ground in newspapers, TV programmes and on the internet.

Many extremist Muslim groups came in from the cold after the Egyptian revolution and the collapse of the Mubarak regime. At present, they are hard at work across the country. For months, radical Muslim leaders have been engaged in anti-Christian propaganda, monopolising some TV stations, newspapers and websites, Fr Greiche said.

“Muslim leaders are calling Christians infidels who have no right to representation in parliament,” the clergyman said. “An atmosphere of psychological terrorism is causing fear in people who want democracy, driving many out of the country.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is the best-organised Muslim group in the country. It has created four political parties for elections in September. Each party is clearly fundamentalist, but in order to get around the law that bans confessional parties from running in elections, they have eliminated all references to Islam.

Sources have told AsiaNews that thanks to its great propaganda work, the Muslim Brotherhood will make a breakthrough in the upcoming elections.

For now, the young people of Tahrir Square are the only secular-oriented alternative. However, after the revolution, they have split into 16 groups, which are now trying to organise themselves as political parties.

In addition, many of them are still affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and could be influenced by their old leaders, Fr Greiche noted.

In his view, “it will take a year to understand the full implications of the revolution, good or bad.”

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

Italy: US Hopes to Free Significant Sums of Libya’s Frozen Assets

(AGI) Rome — The US hopes to free up “significant sums” of the Gaddafi government’s frozen assets for the Libyan people. The Obama administration wishes to arrive at an agreement with the US Congress in order to put them towards the ever more pressing humanitarian needs of the Libyan people. Sources in the American delegation taking part in the second meeting of the so-called “Libya Contact Group” reported the news unofficially.

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

Libya: Special Aid Fund for Rebels, Frattini

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 5 — The creation of a “special fund” to help fund Libyan rebels and the CNT (Libyan National Council) was announced today by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini during his opening speech for the Libya contact group which met at the Foreign Ministry. According to Frattini, the “temporary financing mechanism will provide the CNT with funding in an efficient and transparent fashion. The possibility for the CNT to request that the asset freeze be lifted for humanitarian reasons is a very serious issue which must be tackled as soon as possible. That money belongs to the people of Libya. Italy and France have already urged the relevant EU bodies to seek a solution.” Ahead of the meeting with the contact group, the Foreign Minister met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both underscored the importance of “finding a political solution” to the Libyan crisis and Frattini reiterated Italy’s commitment to international missions and specifically the one which is underway in Libya. Frattini and Hillary Clinton believe that “military pressure must be a tool with which to convince Gaddafi’s regime to cease attacks against civilians”. The U.S.

Secretary of State, in particular, highlighted the current need to “step up military, political and economic pressure on Gaddafi to put an end to violence against civilians and launch a democratic transition toward a better future.” She added that “Italy and the USA are working side by side” to this end. At present the international community’s goal in Libya should be the achievement of “a ceasefire”, followed by the withdrawal of Gaddafi’s troops and the beginning of a “political process” which will lead to “a democratic Libya”, Frattini stated in his opening speech. He further said that he supports the adoption of the “road map” prepared by the CNT with this aim in mind.

Today’s conference “is just one step in a long process which must end in a ceasefire and rebuilding the nation and which will include some very tricky challenges.” He also expressed hopes that “more countries will consider forging bilateral relations with the CNT. This will help strengthen our Benghazi partners and increase Gaddafi’s regime’s sense of isolation.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Libya: NTC: West Only Interested in Oil

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 6 — The Western countries who held a meeting yesterday in Rome are only interested in guaranteeing the supply of Libyan oil to Europe, said Ashraf Ghafeer, representative of the interim transitional national council (NTC). He criticised yesterday’s second meeting of the contact group on Libya in the Italian Foreign Ministry. Ghafeer is currently on an official visit to Kuwait and told Kuwaiti press agency KUNA that he believes the only solution to the Libyan crisis is to arm the rebels, allowing them to deal with Gaddafi’s troops. He urged all Arab countries to officially recognise the NTC, claiming that this recognition will strengthen the council’s position and will persuade the United States to do the same. Because of their interests, the international community and NATO are not making any progress, Ashraf Ghafeer continued, while the current situation in Libya is very critical. The rebels only have almost rusted weapons, he explained, while Gaddafi’s troops have powerful arms. Italy, he added, has promised us weapons, but we have so far only received a few light weapons which do not put us in a position to face Gaddafi’s troops.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

‘Realistic’ End to Libya Op in 3-4 Weeks Says Frattini

Tripoli calls fund for rebels ‘piracy’

(ANSA) — Rome, May 6 — A “realistic” end to military operations in Libya would be in “three-four” weeks, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Friday.

This could enable political moves to get underway to achieve a possible ceasefire and foster national reconciliation led by the anti-Gaddafi Libyan National Council (CNT), he said. The CNT was recognised at Thursday’s Libya Contact Group gathering in Rome by Netherlands and Denmark, who thus joined France, Italy, Qatar, Kuwait, Maldives and The Gambia in naming the Benghazi-based as the sole legitimate talking partner in Libya.

However, Spain did not decide to recognise the rebels.

In Tripoli on Friday, the Gaddafi regime reacted strongly to the creation of a special fund for rebels, fuelled by frozen Gaddafi assets, decided by the Contact Group in Rome Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said it was “like piracy on the high seas”.

Summing up the outcome of the Group’s meeting, Frattini said it had aimed to “up the pressure on the Gaddafi regime so that a political initiative can start”.

ASked about possible terrorist attacks after the death of Osama Bin Laden, Frattini said “we must not be alarmist but that doesn’t mean being imprudent”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: The PLO’s Desperate Defenders

By most accounts, the Fatah-Hamas unity deal signing ceremony Wednesday was a grand affair. Hamas terror-chief Khaled Mashaal jetted in from Damascus. PLO/Fatah/Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas flew in from Ramallah.

The ceremony was held under the auspices of the newly Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Egyptian intelligence services. UN representatives and Israeli Arab members of Knesset were on hand to witness the “historic” accord which officially put the PLO in bed with Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and a terrorist organization dedicated to the annihilation of Israel and the establishment of a global caliphate…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Middle East

A Gay Girl in Damascus Becomes a Heroine of the Syrian Revolt

Blog by half-American ‘ultimate outsider’ describes dangers of political and sexual dissent

Katherine Marsh in Damascus

She is perhaps an unlikely hero of revolt in a conservative country. Female, gay and half-American, Amina Abdullah is capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition with a blog that has shot to prominence as the protest movement struggles in the face of a brutal government crackdown.

Abdullah’s blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus, is brutally honest, poking at subjects long considered taboo in Arab culture. “Blogging is, for me, a way of being fearless,” she says. “I believe that if I can be ‘out’ in so many ways, others can take my example and join the movement.”

Her blog really took off two weeks ago with a post entitled My Father the Hero, a moving account of how her father faced down two security agents who came to arrest her, accusing her of being a Salafist and a foreign agent.

Abdullah’s family is well-connected — she has relatives in the government and the Muslim Brotherhood whom she prefers not to name — and she says being politically active was a “natural thing”. “Unfortunately, for most of my life being aware of Syrian politics means simply observing and only commenting privately.”

That changed when protests broke out and Abdullah joined them, blogging about her experiences. “Teargas was lobbed at us. I saw people vomiting from the gas as I covered my own mouth and nose and my eyes burned,” she wrote after one demonstration. “I am sure I wasn’t the only one to note that, if this becomes standard practice, a niqab is a very practical thing to wear in future.”

The blend of humour and frankness, frivolity and political nous comes from an upbringing that straddles Syria and the US. “I’m the ultimate outsider,” she says. “My views are heavily informed by being both a member of a small marginal minority as an Arab Muslim in America and as a part of a majority as a Sunni in Syria, and of course as a woman and as a sexual minority.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Syria and a strict taboo, although the state largely turns a blind eye. “It’s tough being a lesbian in Syria, but it’s certainly easier to be a sexual than a political dissident,” she says. “There are a lot more LGBT people here than one might think, even if we are less flamboyant than elsewhere.”

Writing in her blog, she said was terrified when she realised at 15 that she was gay, becoming a devout Muslim and getting married. She came out aged 26 and returned to Syria, where she taught English until the uprising closed classes.

Her posts vividly describe falling for other women, finding a Damascene hair salon full of gay women and having a frank conversation with her father about her sexuality. “For my family it is a preferable outcome than a promiscuous heterosexual daughter,” she jokes.

Born in Virginia to an American southerner mother and a father from an old Damascene family, Abdullah moved to Syria at six months and grew up between the two countries. She spent a long period in the US after 1982, when an Islamist uprising in Syria was being brutally quashed.

Despite facing prejudice— in both the US and Syria — Abdullah sees no conflict in being both gay and Muslim. “I consider myself a believer and a Muslim: I pray five times a day, fast at Ramadan and even covered for a decade,” she says. “I believe God made me as I am and I refuse to believe God makes mistakes.”

Having family members in high places and dual nationality has, as some blog comments have pointed out, made her more able to speak. But on Wednesday Abdullah and her elderly father went into hiding in separate places after the security forces came round again. She has refused to go to Beirut with her mother, and is blogging when she can, moving from house to house with a bag of belongings.

Abdullah is also writing a book, in the hope that a revolution will bring more freedoms, both sexual and political. “The Syria I always hoped was there, but was sleeping, has woken up,” she says. “I have to believe that, sooner or later, we will prevail.”

Katherine Marsh is a pseudonym for a journalist who lives in Damascus

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

Massacre of the Martyrs: Syria ‘Washes Pools of Blood’ From the Streets as Army Arrests All Men Over 15 in Rebel City

Syrian security forces have carried out another wave of arrests in Daraa and have been detaining all men over 15, residents said today.

Authorities moved into central Syria and coastal areas before Friday prayers in a test of will for demonstrators determined to maintain protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a show of force, tanks have taken up positions near the urban centres of Homs, Rastan and Banias in the past two days.

Further protests across the country were expected today as part of the nation’s Martyr’s Day.

Last week, Assad ordered the army into Daraa, the centre of the uprising that began with demands for greater freedom and an end to corruption and is now pressing for his removal.

Estimates have suggested that more than 500 Syrians have been killed and a further 2,500 detained during the protests.

Reports have also claimed Syrian security forces have been washing blood from the streets ahead of a planned visit by a UN human rights delegation.

An ultra-loyalist division led by President al-Assad’s brother Maher shelled and machinegunned Deraa’s old quarter on Saturday, residents said.

Syrian authorities said on Thursday the army had begun to leave Daraa, but residents described a city still under siege.

Troops were also deployed in the Damascus suburbs of Erbin, Saqba, Douma and in the town of Tel, north of the capital.

One prominent lawyer, speaking anonymously, told the Jerusalem Post: ‘They are arresting all males above 15 years. They only have old security tactics and they are acting on revenge.’

A Deraa witness who identified himself as Adnan Hourani told Al-Jazeera television that security forces had divided the southern Syrian city into four sections — each cut off from the others — and had gathered all the detainees in schools and were preparing to transfer them.

A senior diplomat said demonstrations after Friday prayers, the only chance Syrians have to gather legally, were expected to increase ‘incrementally, not massively’ in numbers compared with a week ago when tens of thousands took to the streets.

Human rights campaigners say security forces killed at least 62 civilians, including 17 in Rastan alone, during those protests.

A doctor who planned to take part in Friday’s demonstrations said: ‘Indiscriminate killings and inhumane arrests have generated total disgust among the average Syrian’.

‘Soldiers with rifles no longer deter people. The propaganda that this regime is the only guarantor of stability no longer washes,’ he said.

The United States, which had joined a European drive to improve ties with Assad under the Obama administration, called the attack on Daraa ‘barbaric’.

Aid workers from the Red Cross and Red Crescent delivered their first emergency relief supplies to Daraa on Thursday, bringing drinking water, food and first aid materials.

They had no immediate information on casualties in the city.

On Saturday, tanks shelled Daraa’s old quarter, and security forces stormed the Omari mosque, a focal point for protests.

Abu Haytham, a government employee, said on Sunday: ‘It is a ghost city this morning. At dawn we heard machine gun bursts that scared birds. But it’s mostly quiet now.’

Residents said dozens of corpses stored in two refrigerator trucks parked near the mosque — where snipers were seen standing by the minaret — started to decompose after the trucks ran out of diesel.

Human Rights Watch cited figures from Syrian rights groups saying 350 people had been killed in Daraa. It urged authorities on Friday to ‘lift the siege’ on the city and to halt what it called a nationwide campaign of arbitrary arrests.

‘Syria’s authorities think that they can beat and kill their way out of the crisis,’ said HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson.

‘But with every illegal arrest, every killing of a protester, they are precipitating a larger crisis.’

Diplomats said the European Union could reach a preliminary agreement on imposing sanctions on Syria’s ruling hierarchy on Friday, but had yet to decide whether Assad should be included.

Iran, which the United States accused of helping Assad in his efforts to crush the demonstrators, said Syria’s rulers were aware of plots by the United States and Israel to destabilise its only Arab ally.

Human rights campaigners say army, security forces and gunmen loyal to Assad had killed at least 560 civilians during seven weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations.

Thousands of people had been arrested and beaten, including the elderly, women and children, they said.

The authorities blame ‘armed terrorist groups’ for the violence, including the killings of civilians and members of the security forces.

Syrian television showed what it said were confessions of terrorists arrested in Daraa and caches of weapons it said were seized.

Assad said the protesters were part of a foreign conspiracy to cause sectarian strife.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Syria: EU: Sanctions Hit 14 Leaders, Not President

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MAY 6 — The 27 EU nations have approved a package of sanctions against Syria, which includes restrictions on the freedom of movement of 14 figures in the circle of Bachar Al Assad, although not at present including the Syrian President. As diplomatic sources have told ANSA, the approved text should come into force “without delay” with fresh “additional measures” against those responsible for the violence, including “the very highest levels of leadership”. The compromise resolution agreed is ‘balanced” one diplomat said. France and the United Kingdom had been pressing for Syrian President to be included straight away among those affected by measures against individuals, such as the cancellation of visas and the freezing of personal assets held on EU territory Ñ including Italy. But other EU members, such as Italy and Germany, pressed for a more gradual approach in order to send a strong message to Damascus which left some doors open.

The agreed text calls for the commencement of a new round of negotiations between the 27 nations, which should come “without delay” in order to start work on drafting “fresh additional measures for all those responsible for violence against demonstrators, especially against the highest levels of leadership”. While this formulation does not actually name names, it clearly includes President Bashar Al Assad.

The package of measures foresees an embargo on the supply of arms and equipment which may be used in the repressive actions conducted by the country’s security forces against against the demonstrators as well as individual measures against 14 persons within Al Assad’s circle, who are held responsible for the wave of violence against the protestors.

This first package of measures comes on top of the EU’s decision to consider talks about an agreement of association with Syria suspended and frozen until further notice. The EU also intends to proceed with its revision of bilateral cooperation, which stood to benefit Syria around 130 million euros over the period 2011-2013 (as well as a comparable figure for the period 2007-2010).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Protests: Web Sites: Thousands Rally in Daraa

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, MAY 6 — Activists and monitoring web sites, citing eyewitnesses, report that thousands of Syrians are headed towards a southern town near Daraa, the epicentre of anti-regime protests and repression at the hand of authorities which began in March.

According to the Rassd web site, which is also linked to Twitter and cites eyewitnesses as its sources, thousands of people are headed Tafas, which is not far from Daraa, from the towns of Jassem and Nemer, two other southern towns on the border with Jordan. Despite the regime announcing the army’s withdrawal from Daraa yesterday, residents claim the city is in fact still under siege, surrounded by armoured vehicles and security forces.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Thousands on Streets, Shots Fired at Protesters

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT — Syrian security forces have opened fire on protesters north of Damascus and near the central city of Homs, where thousands of people have today taken to the streets after activists from the “Syrian.Revolution” website called for widespread demonstrations in the country. The violence was reported by Syrian activists on Twitter, who quoted witnesses.

Human rights activists say that forces opened fire on protesters in Harasta, a northern suburb of Damascus, and in Latakia, the country’s main port city north-west of the capital.

Meanwhile, army tanks moved into the centre of Homs this morning. According to eyewitness accounts reported on Twitter by SyrianJasmine, the pseudonym of a leading Syrian activist, security forces opened fire on protesters near the Nuri mosque in Homs, while another activist writing under the name ZaynSyria said that other protesters had been shot at in Tall, a suburb to the north of Damascus.

The pan-Arab television station Al Jazeera says that protests are also going on in Banias, a coastal city north-west of Damascus, where thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the regime, and in the centre of the capital itself, where an unspecified number of protesters chanted “The people want the regime to fall”. Al Jazeera is also showing amateur video footage recorded “a short time ago” of a march by dozens of Syrian protesters in the Midan area of the capital, a mainly Sunni district, chanting the slogan that has now become common to all Arab uprisings, before running away, perhaps because of a charge by security forces. Protesters met immediately after traditional Friday prayers. There have also been protests in the north-east of the country, where thousands of Syrian Curds are demonstrating against the regime, according to witnesses quoted on Twitter by the human rights activist Wissam Tarif. Sources say that thousands of Syrian Curds gathered in Qamishli, Amuda and Ayn Arab, towns near the north-eastern border with Turkey. Sources quoted by Tarif say that the protesters are calling for “the fall of the regime”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tourism in Jordan Hit Hard by Regional Turmoil

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, MAY 5 — Tourism in Jordan has received a major blow since popular uprisings swept the region, leading to a staggering 40 percent drop in number of visitors during April, official figures showed today.

The Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) Deputy Chief Commissioner Mohammad Abu Ghanam said 61,584 tourists visited Petra in April a disappointing figure compared to the past few years. In 2010 the number reached 102,636 after the government adopted an aggressive promotion campaign to tap on the kingdom’s beauty and stability compared to neighbouring countries. Tourism revenues at the site also declined by 32 per cent, from JD2.2 million in April 2010 to JD1.35 million last month.

Tourism is considered the second main source of revenues to aid dependent Jordan after international assistant. Jordan has been witnessing a spat of protests since more than three months in demand for economic and political reform. Most protests have been peaceful, with minor incidents in Amman and other cities, while protests in neighbouring countries took a violent twist including Egypt and Syria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Rocket Attack in Quetta, Pakistan, 8 Shiites Killed

(AGI) Islamabad — A rocket attack killed at least eight and injured ten others in Quetta, southwestern Pakistan. The target was a Shiite group gathered in a Birori area cemetery. The victims were attacked from a nearby hill, first with three rockets and then with small arm fire. The Shiites, a minority in Pakistan, have been frequently victimized in that country by Sunni extremist groups.

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

US Drone Attack ‘Kills Eight’ In Pakistan

US drones fired a salvo of missiles into a compound in Pakistan’s tribal district of North Waziristan on Friday, killing eight suspected militants including Al-Qaeda members, officials said.

The attack came just four days after US Special Forces commandos shot dead Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad, hundreds of kilometres from the tribal belt and just two hours’ drive from the capital.

The discovery of the world’s most-wanted man living in relative comfort has stunned terror experts and American officials who had previously thought North Waziristan or elsewhere in Pakistan’s tribal belt his most likely hideout.

“A compound and a vehicle were targeted by US drones in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan killing eight militants,” a senior Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Eight missiles were fired on the targets located close to each other,” he said, adding that four other suspected militants were wounded.

Datta Khel lies 35 kilometres (21 miles) west of Miranshah and about 450 kilometres by road from the town where bin Laden was found and killed.

The area has been targeted by several drone strikes and is a stronghold of militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar, considered close to the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network with whom US officials have accused Pakistani spies of ties.

“We are trying to ascertain the identities of the militants killed in the strike, but initial reports indicate that there are both local and foreign militants who had been killed in the missile attack,” the official said.

Pakistani officials refer to Al-Qaeda militants as foreigners.

Local intelligence officials said that the compound also had a madrassa and the vehicle was parked in front of a nearby restaurant.

A drone attack in March in the same area saw Pakistan lodge a particularly forceful public protest over the deaths of civilians, although the campaign is believed to operate with the tacit consent of the government.

The strikes inflame anti-US feeling, which has soared this year since a CIA contractor shot dead two Pakistani men in a busy Lahore street in January.

He was detained for seven weeks and eventually released in exchange for $2 million in blood money.

Under US President Barack Obama missile attacks doubled last year, with more than 100 drone strikes killing over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009, according to an AFP tally.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Far East

Hong Kong: Minimum Wage Legislation Approved

Trade union leader and LegCo member Lee Cheuk-yan tells AsiaNews that “the era of worker exploitation is over.” The new law, which is opposed by business groups, will immediately benefit 270,000 workers.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — “The era that employers could squeeze blood and tears out of the lowest paid sectors of society is now over,” Lee Cheuk-yan, a long time union leader and Member of the Hong Kong Legislature, told AsiaNews as he spoke about the new revolutionary law imposing a minimum hourly wage.

“A lot of work remains to be done, but we are happy for this first step. Now we must work to ensure that it is extended as far as possible and be vigilant that businesses do not use any contract tricks,” added Lee, who heads one of the oldest unions on Chinese soil.

After a fight involving workers, union, business groups and Hong Kong authorities, the local government adopted legislation that sets a minimum hourly wage.

The new law will benefit 270,000 low-paid workers, or around 10 per cent of the working population of the former British crown colony who will now earn HK$ 28 (US$ 3.60) per hour.

Most Asian nations, except Singapore, in principle have minimum wages.

In Hong Kong, the struggle was won thanks to pressures from civil society groups.

For business groups, the decision is a mistake that will raise costs. Critics add that the law will undermine the territory’s traditional free market spirit.

However, the situation had become unbearable. Many employers had been able to force changes to contracts so as not to pay for lunch breaks and holidays. Now sanitation workers, security guards and restaurant employees (the groups covered by the law) will be guaranteed minimum government standards.

The legislation does not cover the territory’s almost 300,000 domestic helpers, who are not protected because their wages are regulated by private contracts with employers.

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

Australia — Pacific

Council Pays for Muslim Swim Screen

RATEPAYERS will finance a $45,000 screen at a public pool so Muslim women can have privacy at female-only swim sessions.

The City of Monash has approved the financing despite dissent from a female councillor.

Cr Denise McGill said the issue had been divisive.

An Islamic women’s group agreed the screen was unnecessary, Cr McGill said.

“There are sharia swim suits and other modest forms like three-piece swim suits that are generally acceptable for the Muslim community,” she said.

Cr McGill said she supported women-only swim sessions at Clayton pool but said the $45,000 earmarked for curtains could be better spent.

In February, Monash won an exemption from equal opportunity laws to offer fortnightly classes.

But the Victorian Multicultural Commission rejected the council’s application to help meet the cost of privacy curtains.

Council agreed to offer the female-only sessions for “cultural reasons” after being approached by Muslim women from various backgrounds.

Monash mayor Greg Male said community consultations had found support for improved privacy at pools.

A plan to offer pensioners a $50 rate subsidy was voted down by council.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sectarian Clashes Claim 16 Lives in Nigeria’s Kano Region

(AGI) Kano — At least 16 are reported killed in a majority Christian village in Nigeria’s majority Muslim northern Kano region. The events were reported by Nigerian police sources.

The killings are just the last in line, and follow years of inter-religious violence in Nigeria.

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

Latin America

Terrorist Group Setting Up Operations Near Border

Hezbollah Considered To Be More Advanced Than Al-Qaida

SAN DIEGO — A terrorist organization whose home base is in the Middle East has established another home base across the border in Mexico.

“They are recognized by many experts as the ‘A’ team of Muslim terrorist organizations,” a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.

The former agent, referring to Shi’a Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah, added, “They certainly have had successes in big-ticket bombings.”

Some of the group’s bombings include the U.S. embassy in Beirut and Israeli embassy in Argentina.

However, the group is now active much closer to San Diego.

“We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico,” the agent told 10News.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. policy has focused on al-Qaida and its offshoots.

“They are more shooters than thinkers … it’s a lot of muscles, courage, desire but not a lot of training,” the agent said, referring to al-Qaida.

Hezbollah, he said, is far more advanced.

“Their operators are far more skilled … they are the equals of Russians, Chinese or Cubans,” he said. “I consider Hezbollah much more dangerous in that sense because of strategic thinking; they think more long-term.”

Hezbolah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.

Now, the group is blending into Shi’a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana. Other pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade.

“They have had clandestine training in how to live in foreign hostile territories,” the agent said.

The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.

He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.

“From money laundering to firearms training and explosives training,” the agent said.

For example, he tracked, along with Mexican intelligence, two Hezbollah operatives in safe houses in Tijuana and Durango

“I confirmed the participation of cartel members as well as other Hezbollah individuals living and operating out of there,” he said.

Tunnels the cartels have built that cross from Mexico into the U.S. have grown increasingly sophisticated. It is a learned skill, the agent said points to Hezbollah’s involvement.

“Where are the knowledgeable tunnel builders? Certainly in the Middle East,” he said.

Why have Americans not heard more about Hezbollah’s activities happening so close to the border?

“If they really wanted to start blowing stuff up, they could do it,” the agent said.

According to the agent, the organization sees the U.S. as their “cash cow,” with illegal drug and immigration operations. Many senior Hezbollah leaders are wealthy businessmen, the agent said.

“The money they are sending back to Lebanon is too important right now to jeopardize those operations,” he said.

The agent said the real concern is the group’s long-term goal of radicalizing Muslim communities.

“They’re focusing on developing … infiltrating communities within North America,” the agent told 10News.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]


500 Refugees From Libya Make Landfall in Lampedusa

(AGI) Palermo — Two boats that sailed from Libya with 500 refugees made landfall on the island of Lampedusa this evening.

The boats were sighted this afternoon by an aircraft of the Coast Guard. The disembarkment operations were concluded slightly before 10 pm this evening at the Favaloro dock, where a total of 500 migrants came on shore, including approximatey thirty women and children, all of who originated from Sub-Saharan Countries.

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

Barroso Wants Schengen Rules Assessed Case by Case

(AGI) Palermo — At a press conference that followed the final day of the PPE study conference in Palermo, the president of the European Commission, Jose’ Barroso, has said “We will not abolish the Schengen Treaty” but apply the rules on a case by case basis as happened recently between Italy and France.

Barrosos said he would immediately return to Brussels and had no plans to visit Lampedusa.

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

EU Moots New Schengen Rules

The European Commission has put forward new proposals to ensure the “better management of migration” in the wake of an influx of immigrants from North Africa.

The Commission has been pressed by Italy and France, who say reform is needed to “restore the faith of citizens in free movement”.

The proposals, outlined on Wednesday, are being submitted to European Union interior ministers and to the three non-EU Schengen member states, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

The 25-member Schengen area has scrapped systematic border controls between its members, allowing for passport free travel within the zone.

The Commission has now said the “temporary reintroduction” of limited border controls could sometimes be necessary “under very exceptional circumstances, such as where a part of the external border comes under heavy unexpected pressure”.

But the EU commissioner for home affairs, Cecilia Malmström, has stressed that any such measures must be temporary and geographically limited.

Switzerland, which has been a full member of the Schengen area since March 2009, will take part in the discussions of the new measures, but not have a vote.

The Swiss government will decide whether to apply any new rules on immigration and border controls.


Many of the proposals are in fact updates of previous ideas which had been somewhat coolly received in EU capitals. But the row between France and Italy over the arrival of 25,000 migrants from Tunisia in the Schengen area has led to a rethink in many countries.

For example, France is currently exercising strict border controls at Ventimiglia (on its border with Italy) because of the influx of North Africans via the Italian island of Lampedusa, many of whom have said they want to go to France.

Until now, the only situation in which border controls can be reintroduced is when there is a serious threat to public order.

Any requests for the reestablishment of controls are assessed by the Commission. So far — about a dozen cases — it has always agreed.

Who decides?

The question is now whether the Commission should also be the one to decide if either of the new criteria is applicable. It believes that it should, on the grounds that its decisions will be impartial.

Commission officials plead that otherwise the articles of the Schengen agreement will have to be changed through a legal process which would involve the European parliament , and they do not believe that that is in the interest of the member states.

This does not convince everyone.

“The answer to migration flows should not be a reintroduction of border controls or a change in the Schengen rules,” wrote former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt on the website of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, which he chairs.

“What we need is transparency and accountability: The Commission and parliament should be involved in the evaluation of the concepts of ‘public order’ inside the Schengen area to prevent unilateral decisions of re-introducing border controls.”

External borders

Both France and the European Union say that they do not intend to put these measures into action, but that they are regarded as a “deterrent weapon to force states to respect their obligations”.

But this is no easy matter for those who have large maritime frontiers. Greece, for example, has a problem controlling its long sea border with Turkey. The Commission says it should be given more help, in particular by increasing the funding for Frontex, the EU agency for external border security.

At the moment Frontex has an annual budget of €90 million (SFr 115 million); it needs another €20 million.

Another possibility is to set up a system of European border guards.

“The aim is not to have an ad hoc arrangement where you might have three Swiss and ten Poles who don’t speak each other’s language, but to mould a common culture,” say Commission officials.

This does not go down well in many capitals, especially those in northern Europe, but the Commission is adamant that it will not budge on internal borders if it doesn’t receive more funds to control the external ones.

Malmström is clear that there should be no going back on Schengen.

“The free movement of people across European borders is a major achievement which must not be reversed, but rather strengthened,” says a press release from the European Commission.

The proposals will be now be discussed by the Schengen interior ministers. A decision will be taken by EU leaders at the end of June.

Alain Franco in Brussels,

(Adapted from French by Julia Slater)

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

Frattini Speaks of Common Interest With Malta Over Migrants

(AGI) Palermo — Franco Frattini said that Italy and Malta have a common interest in the EU taking strong action over immigration. The foreign minister was speaking to journalists in Palermo. Following last Monday’s formal protest to Malta over a boat with 416 migrants on board that the Maltese didn’t assist after it sent an SOS when in Maltese waters, he assured, “It is an interest on which we will never be divided.” .

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

Lampedusa Witnesses Arrival of 831 Migrants in 12 Hours

(AGI) Palermo — Last night, Lampedusa witnessed the arrival of a 5th migrant boat in just over 12 hours. Last night’s’ landings raised the arrivals total to 831. A bout of bad weather had put a temporary halt to migrant flows from Libya, now in full swing. Docking at Favaloro quay, of yesterday’s 5 landings, two boats alone accounted for some 500 migrants; two other boats accounted for 216 Libyans and 50 Tunisians. Nine other Tunisians are reported to have landed on the island of Linosa.

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

More Than 800 Arrived Last Night in Lampedusa

(ANSAmed) — LAMPEDUSA (AGRIGENTO), MAY 6 — Immigrants are arriving on Lampedusa in high numbers again: more than 800 in a single day. Another boat, the fifth in a few hours time, arrived last night just before midnight after it was intercepted by a patrol boat of the Italian Finance Police, 19 miles west of the island. The barge had 60 non-EU citizens on board, including one woman, almost certainly departed from Tunisia.

Seven more immigrants were detained last night by the police in Linosa, the smallest of the Pelagie islands, immediately after they landed. Most migrants who arrived yesterday in Lampedusa, and have been taken to the first reception centre, are refugees from countries in the sub-Saharan area, who had departed from Libya.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

"The US hopes to free up “significant sums” of the Gaddafi government’s frozen assets for the Libyan people."

We should send the money to Italy and Malta....