Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110529

Financial Crisis
»Congressman Warns: “Those Who Can, Should Move Their Families Out of the City”
»Christian Pastor’s Free Speech Victory Against City of Dearborn
»Congressman Questions Patriot Act “Autopen” Signature
»Dearborn Loses Court Appeal on 1st Amendment Rights at Arab Fest
»Obama Hails “Milestone” As Chrysler Pays Back Loan Six Years Early
»Obama Cheats and Frauds — Now Wants to Cut Troops Pay
»Sustainable Development or Sustainable Freedom
»White House Pushing Churches to be ‘Green’?
»Who Defines “Truth” When Politicians Re-Write the Dictionary?
»I Hereby Take Back All Canada Jokes
Europe and the EU
»Cyprus: Elections: Number of Women Deputies Drops to 10%
»France: Minister Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Accusations
»Germany: From Serbia to Germany — And Back
»Germany’s WWII Occupation of Poland: ‘When We Finish, Nobody is Left Alive’
»How Scotland is Taking the Catalonia Road
»IAI-Mantica: Italy’s Priorities Are Southstream and Itgi
»Italian Parliament Approves Nuclear Power Moratorium
»Italy-Turkey: New Association Pushing for EU Access
»Italy: Gelato University Offers Foreigners ‘Sweet Success’
»Italy: Berlusconi Claims Media Cartel Opposes Him
»Italy: Berlusconi Rants Over ‘Leftist’ Judges to Obama at G8 Summit
»Italy: Marone Asks Malta Respect for Sea Rescue Duties
»Pentagon Poised for Transfer of Aviano F16s to Poland
»Spain: Condemnation From Strasbourg Over Saharawi Child Case
»UK: ‘Father’ Ordered to Pay £100k for Children He Never Knew He Had After Ex-Wife Tricked Ivf Clinic Into Using His Frozen Sperm
»UK: Passengers Stage ‘Lord of the Flies’ Mutiny on Delayed Plane
»UK: Twitter Forced to Hand Over Personal Information After Council Launches Legal Action Using Taxpayers’ Money
»UK: Wish You Waziristan: The Bizarre Foreign Office Video Designed to Stop Young Muslims Becoming Extremists
North Africa
»Egypt: In Imbaba: Army Restores Coptic Church Torched by Salafis
»Libya: Trouble in Tunisia Refugee Camp, Deaths Reported
»Pentagon is Providing Bombs and Spare Parts to Allies
»Tunisia: Survey: Country Islamic But Deeply Secular
Israel and the Palestinians
»By Peace They Will Deceive the World
»Flotilla to Go Ahead Despite Open Crossing
Middle East
»Al-Qa’ida ‘Winning War Against West’
»Hezbollah: West Hypocrites, for Years Regime Friends
»Qatar: No Holidays for Imams This Year
»Syria: Al Jazeera Shows Bodies of Young Men Tortured to Death
»Turkey: Family Counsellor, Better to Legalise Polygamy
»Turkey: Agusta Willing to Pursue Light Helicopter Deal
South Asia
»Pakistan: UAE Was Upset Over Leak About Balochistan Airstrip
Far East
»China: This is a City Built for a Million People — But No One Lives Here
»Australia: Inverbrackie Staff Hospitalised After Violent Brawl
»Australia: Heroin a Hit in Migrant Centres
»UK: Illegal Immigrant, 19, Who Posed as 15-Year-Old Schoolboy Exposed After Stabbing Two Teenagers With a Broken Bottle
Culture Wars
»Pro-Life Groups Call for Pepsi Boycott Over Aborted Fetal Cell Lines

Financial Crisis

Congressman Warns: “Those Who Can, Should Move Their Families Out of the City”

There are a whole host of events that can bring the world as we know it today to its knees. From a hyperinflationary economic collapse to an electro magnetic pulse originating from the sun or a nuclear weapon , there exists a real and present danger that our system may, in the near future, experience unrecoverable shocks to the power grid and clean water infrastructure, a halt to just-in-time agricultural transportation systems and a collapse of the currency exchange mechanisms that make the economy function.

US Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), lived through the great depression, so he’s seen how bad things can get. In a new documentary, Mr. Bartlett and others discuss the dangers posed to those living in cities and ways that your family can survive if the worst were to ever happen.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Christian Pastor’s Free Speech Victory Against City of Dearborn

The U. S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that Sudanese Christian Pastor George Saieg has a free speech right to distribute religious literature on public sidewalks and evangelize Muslims during the Annual Arab International Festival held each year in Dearborn, Michigan.

For five years Saieg, who specifically ministers to Muslims, had been discussing his Christian faith and passing out literature on Dearborn’s sidewalks during the Festival without encountering any problems. Nevertheless, in 2009 police officials informed him he had to remain in a booth, prohibiting him from distributing his literature on the nearby sidewalks and public streets.

Dearborn is one of the most densely populated Muslim communities in the United States. It has the largest Mosque in North America. In the past few years Dearborn has gained national attention for taking a pro-Muslim stance and for the arrest and intimidation of Christian evangelists for engaging in protected speech activity.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national conservative Christian public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Pastor Saieg in 2009, naming the City of Dearborn and its police chief, Ronald Haddad, as defendants. The case was handled by TMLC Senior Trial Counsel Rob Muise.

In ruling for Saieg, the court recognized the problem Saieg had with booth-based evangelizing: “the penalty of leaving Islam according to Islamic books is death,” which makes Muslims reluctant to approach a booth that is publically “labeled as … Christian.”

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Congressman Questions Patriot Act “Autopen” Signature

Republican Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia sent President Obama a letter today questioning the constitutionality of the president’s use of a device called an autopen to sign into law an extension of the Patriot Act.

Congress passed the bill Thursday night, shortly before certain provisions of the Patriot Act were set to expire. However, Mr. Obama could not sign the bill right away in person, since he was in Europe for the G8 Summit. In order to sign the bill before the measures expired, he authorized the use of the autopen machine, which holds a pen and signs his actual signature.

The White House said Mr. Obama reviewed and approved the bill before authorizing the use of the autopen. The White House also highlighted the fact that the White House Office of Legal Counsel in 2005 determined that the use of the autopen was constitutional.

“Any number of circumstances could arise in the future where the public could question whether or not the president authorized the use of an autopen,” he said. “For example, if the president is hospitalized and not fully alert, can a group of aggressive Cabinet members interpret a wink or a squeeze of the hand as approval of an autopen signing?”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dearborn Loses Court Appeal on 1st Amendment Rights at Arab Fest

CINCINATTI — Dearborn’s restrictions on leafleting at the Arab International Festival are unconstitutional and the city could have to pay damages for it, a group of federal judges ruled today.

In a split decision, a three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the city infringed on Christian Pastor George Saieg’s right to free speech by instituting in 2009 a policy prohibiting pamphleteering during the three-day June street festival.

The court further ruled Saieg could seek nominal damages against the city. Nominal damages are small sums intended to show the harm suffered by a plaintiff is technical rather than actual.

Saieg, a California native, attended Arab Fest from 2004-08 with anywhere between 90 and 120 volunteers to distribute leaflets along Warren Avenue sidewalks. Police Chief Ronald Haddad instituted the leaflet ban shortly after he was hired, citing concerns over crowd control and traffic movement. Saieg filed suit against the city in 2009 when he was made aware of the policy.

A federal judge in Detroit denied a temporary restraining order that year for Saieg, and instead of walking the festival grounds Saieg was given a booth at the festival free of charge. But it was “poorly lit” and located by carnival rides, “which attracted mostly children,” the order noted.

In 2010, the same judge who denied the temporary restraining order denied a motion for summary judgment by Saieg and instead awarded it to the city, ruling that the city’s leaflet ban was constitutional. Saieg appealed the decision to the 6th Circuit Court and was granted a temporary injunction, “to distribute his religious literature in the streets contained within . . . the ‘outer perimeter’ or ‘buffer zone,’“ of the festival but not “within the festival itself,” at the 2010 festival.

Today’s ruling was a final decision on that temporary injunction.

“Absent an injunction, Saieg will continue to suffer irreparable injury for which there is no adequate remedy at law,” wrote Judge Karen Moore on behalf of the majority.

The court remanded the case to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for further proceedings, which could include further injunctions in favor of Saieg in advance of this year’s Arab Fest, scheduled for June 17-19.

“We’re very pleased and we think it’s the correct ruling,” said Saieg’s attorney, Robert Muise. “It’s what we’ve been arguing since 2009.”

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Obama Hails “Milestone” As Chrysler Pays Back Loan Six Years Early

White House’s satisfaction. CEO Marchionne: “promise made good”. Fiat’s holding in US automaker rises to 46%

MILAN — Six years ahead of schedule, Chrysler has paid back with interest all of the $7.6 billion borrowed from the US and Canadian governments. The announcement came from the Detroit-based car manufacturer. Chrysler’s debt comprised a $5.9 billion-dollar loan from the US government and $1.7 billion from Canada…

English translation by Giles Watson

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

Obama Cheats and Frauds — Now Wants to Cut Troops Pay

Just a couple of days ago Canada Free Press published an article by Move America Forward, May 27, 2011, “Obama Admin Wants to Cut Troop Pay” that highlights what this crooked double-dealing imposter in our White House wants to do to our loyal, brave and sacrificing military personnel. One has to wonder how that narcissistic usurper can look at himself in the obviously much-used mirrors in OUR White House without regurgitating.

Cutting the pay of the same people that HE sends out of this country with no guarantees that they will return in one undamaged piece or if they will return at all has got to be the lowest and most despicable, dishonorable and depraved act possible for a human being.

As the CFP article states, “It’s the classic game that the liberals play whenever they are in power — they are always quick to claim they support the troops, but the military is always first on the chopping block.” Then as if trying to make the pay cuts sound minimal, Defense Secretary Robert Gates added, “the strategic review could require politicians to look at other uncomfortable choices, including pay levels for service members, new approaches for retirement and pensions, or higher healthcare costs for working-age retirees.” — (David Alexander, Reuters 24 MAY 2011)

While this Obama Administration abomination was being aired in the not mainstream media AKA ‘lamestream media’, but Canada Free Press, other derogatory reports were surfacing online in a Judicial Watch publication on online on May 28, 2011, titled, “Tax Cheats That Owe Millions Get Obama Stimulus Cash”

The opening paragraph of this latest White House scandal, for which impeachment might be in order, began “In the latest outrage involving President Obama’s disastrous stimulus, a federal probe has determined that thousands of companies that got cash under the fraud-infested program have cheated the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.


And how about foreign aid to Islamic countries, Obama’s favorite charities? According to Vision to America on May 27, 2011, “Of proposed U.S. assistance for 2012, almost two-thirds is earmarked for Muslim nations and one-third goes to Arab countries. Yet, despite those billions in aid, most Muslim nations routinely vote against U.S. interests in the United Nations.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sustainable Development or Sustainable Freedom

In the United States, sustainable development is delivered to local communities in the form of a comprehensive land use plan, with little or no mention of Agenda 21.

Sustainable development is based on a set of principles found in Our Common Future, the report of the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development.

Sustainable freedom is based on a set of principles found in the Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Continental Congress July 4, 1776. Sustainable development is based on this belief:

“From space, we see a small and fragile ball dominated not by human activity and edifice but by a pattern of clouds, oceans, greenery, and soils. Humanity’s inability to fit its activities into that pattern is changing planetary systems, fundamentally. This new reality, from which there is no escape, must be recognized — and managed.” (Chapter 4.1)

Sustainable freedom is based on this belief:

“…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Sustainable development is achieved when the recommendations contained in Agenda 21 are fully implemented.

Sustainable freedom is achieved when the U.S. Constitution is obeyed.

Sustainable development and sustainable freedom are mutually exclusive. Sustainable development produces a society managed by government to insure environmental protection, social equity, and equal economic opportunity. Sustainable freedom produces a government managed by society to protect individual freedom, private property, and the unalienable rights identified in the Declaration of Independence.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

White House Pushing Churches to be ‘Green’?

See what else Obama’s faith adviser is nudging

The “greenest” church on the planet? Scripture as it relates to the Palestinians? Fighting American “racial injustice”?

Meet the latest addition to President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a White House group already replete with advocates for using religion to advance “social justice.”

In January, Obama named to his faith council Lynne Hybels, a leader of Willow Creek Church, an inter-denominational, multi-generational megachurch located in a Chicago suburb.

The church is led by Hybels’ husband, Bill, a social justice advocate who created the Global Leadership Summit, an international Christian group.

Lynne Hybels’ official title at Willow Creek Church is Advocate for Global Engagement. She is also a regular contributor to the progressive Sojourners magazine, the publication of a ministry by the same name professing a devotion to the pursuit of “social justice.”


One year earlier, she signed a letter to Obama, entitled, “Christians Support Bold Action for Holy Land Peace Campaign” calling for an immediate deal to create a Palestinian state.

The letter demanded an immediate end to the Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Israel has said the blockade is necessary to ensure Hamas cannot rearm itself.

A review of Hybels’ Sojourners magazine articles finds a focus on issues of race and the Middle East. Titles include, “An Apology to My Muslim Friends,” and “Racial Reconciliation: A Necessary Conversion.”

In the latter article, Hybels wrote against what she deemed the “reality” of ongoing “racial injustice” in the U.S.

In one article, Hybels argued the church should be used to fight so-called global warming.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Who Defines “Truth” When Politicians Re-Write the Dictionary?

Pervasive Unreality Invades America as All Answers Become Political.

The very notion of truth itself has been tied, stretched out and crucified for political advantage in America. This is why we are in a dreary swamp, a national malaise. Our current struggles are all the more remarkable considering most result from wrong ideas. A simple attitude adjustment, ie a “reality check” — would eliminate most of our seemingly permanent issues fairly quickly. Our troubles occur because disreputable political doctrines are raised over common sense. For example, huge deficits undermine America’s ability to continue its military and humanitarian roles, home and abroad. And yet, the notion of serious spending cuts is regarded by liberals as more horrible than an offer to barbecue holy cows in downtown Bombay.

The problem in America today is our “official” national narrative is based upon a torrent of false, leftist ideas, directed by political theory towards relentless failure on every front. In other words, the elites uphold the tenets of Marxism. A key example is Political Correctness. This devilish doctrine claims no action is bad, in itself — as long as fostered by an ideologically acceptable group. This is actually a leftist stalking-horse for a myriad of debilitating socialist ideas. It will bring down the might of America — and great will be its fall.

But the main concession laying a foundation for the rest — is the Death of Truth. Americans, for decades marinated in contradictory leftist ideology, are losing the feel and taste for accuracy. Let’s not forget politics is meant as a receptacle for truth, not vice versa. Marxism is totalitarian, including controlling what topics can be discussed. This article regards exposing and repudiating the diabolical attack on the idea of Truth by soulless leftism.

I. Current Sickly Situation

Among many present problems bedeviling America, consider: Giant deficits; mass unemployment; expanding foreign wars; welfare mentality; huge budget shortfalls; mothballing important programs like NASA; illegal immigration; international instability; growing red tape and bureaucracy; roaring inflation; spiking fuel prices; chronic education failure; growing resistance to classic American values; US global leadership flaccidity; burgeoning socialist programs; federal resistance to state self-defense measures; rampant family dysfunction; indifference and opportunism during national disasters; claiming American exceptionalism is a problem; Hobbling US industry with carbon legislation; taking over American industry to “save” it; Demonizing US business; nationalizing healthcare in the name of the poor; attacking the wealthy; etc. And how many of these would not be quickly addressed and dispensed with by the Founders?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


I Hereby Take Back All Canada Jokes

In a draft statement the G-8 nations were set to echo Obama’s call for negotiations based on the 1967 borders, the same framework which caused outrage in the U.S. Congress:

Group of Eight leaders will give “strong support” to U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal to be based on the 1967 borders, the French Press Agency AFP reported on Friday.

But since G-8 statements must be unanimous, Canada insisted on taking out the reference to the 1967 borders in a bold move of support for Israel:

Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Canada had insisted that no mention of Israel’s pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders’ final communique, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.

“The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week,” one European diplomat said.

Canada’s strong backing for Israel was cited by diplomats last year as one reason why Canada failed to win a rotating two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council.

[Stephen] Harper has made is position on Israel very clear, saying last year: “When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.”

Can you imagine. Harper disrespected my President. Waiting for outrage and indignation in the Salons of The Atlantic.

Am I now not patriotic for taking back prior Canada jokes?

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Cyprus: Elections: Number of Women Deputies Drops to 10%

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, MAY 25 — The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) yesterday voiced its disappointment over the small number of women elected in parliament in Sunday’s elections, as Cyprus Mail reports. Just six women out of 98 female candidates succeeded in winning a seat in the 56-member legislature, two fewer than the previous parliamentary election held in 2006. The total number of candidates was 412.

Three of the new female MPs come from AKEL while DISY, DIKO and EDEK elected one each. EDEK MP Roula Mavronicola’s election has been challenged by two other — male — candidates from her party who have asked for a recount of the votes. It had been Sunday’s tightest battle, with just a few votes separating the three. “The fact that the six elected women MPs make up 10% is very disappointing compared with the previous election,” MIGS said.

MIGS also stressed that throughout the campaign, serious issues affecting people’s lives like equal pay, violence against women and reconciling family and professional life, were drowned by the Cyprus problem, the economy and migration.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

France: Minister Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Accusations

(AGI) Paris- Junior minister for civil service George Tron, accused of sexual harassment by two young women, has resigned.

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

Germany: From Serbia to Germany — And Back

Wave of Roma Rejected as Asylum Seekers

Ever since European visa requirements were dropped for travelers from Serbia and Macedonia, an increasing number of Roma asylum seekers from the two countries have been making their way to Germany. They have all been rejected — and Roma rights groups are furious.

By most European standards, the Marienfelde Refugee Center on the southern edge of Berlin is not luxurious accommodation. But the three-story buildings that house asylum seekers do feature heating, hot water and ceiling lights — things that for 33-year-old Sashko Tomovski and his family are lavish amenities.

“This for us is Las Vegas,” Tomovski, an asylum seeker from the Republic of Macedonia, said as he stood outside his modest apartment building at the center. Until recently, he said, he and his wife and their three young daughters lived in a flimsy shelter with no electricity, heat, or running water in a Roma settlement in eastern Macedonia he called “hell.”

Asylum seekers from the Western Balkans like Tomovski have recently been arriving in Germany and other European nations in steeply rising numbers. While Afghans and Iraqis have comprised the top two groups seeking asylum in Germany for the last two years, applicants from Serbia and Macedonia were unexpectedly third and fourth on the list in 2010, accounting together for 7,444 applications — and most of them are Roma or members of other minority groups.

A year earlier, just 690 applicants came from the two countries. Belgium and Sweden have reported similar increases.

Easier for Asylum Seekers

The development is attributed not to worsening trends of oppression or conflict in Serbia or Macedonia, but to the lifting of visa requirements for travelers from these two countries to the 25 European nations within the Schengen border-free travel zone. That change, which went into effect at the end of 2009, was seen as a step toward integrating Southeastern European countries into the European Union.

But the move also made it far easier for potential asylum seekers from the two nations to travel within Europe. Last December, visa restrictions for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania were also lifted, raising concerns among European Union officials that even more asylum seekers may be on the way.

The rise in asylum applications from Serbia and Macedonia “points to the extreme poverty and continued exclusion suffered in particular by Roma in these states,” the German refugee rights organization Pro Asyl said in a statement. Roma communities in the Balkans and much of Europe face inadequate housing conditions, with widespread discrimination leading to forced evictions, lack of access to social housing and underemployment, say human rights groups.

Such conditions, however, have not been deemed reason for giving Roma refugee status. Not a single applicant from Serbia or Macedonia was granted asylum in Germany last year, and European Union officials see the influx of applications from these nations as an abuse of asylum systems.

Changes Unlikely

“Such asylum applications were and will also henceforth be consistently and speedily rejected, so that the duration of the illegitimate residence in Germany and the associated burden on public finances is minimized as much as possible,” Thomas de Maizière, who was interior minister at the time, said in a statement earlier this year. De Maizière has since taken over the defense portfolio in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, but the sentiment is unlikely to change under his successor, Hans-Peter Friedrich.

Asylum seekers in Germany and other European nations are provided benefits such as housing, medical care and modest sums of money for food and clothing during the several months it may take to process an asylum claim.

Other countries have also sought to return the asylum seekers quickly. Last year, for instance, Belgium bussed hundreds of asylum seekers back to Serbia and Macedonia from Brussels.

European Commission officials have said that the influx of asylum seekers from the Balkans could jeopardize the ongoing process of visa liberalization for countries in the region. Last October, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström wrote a letter to the interior ministers of Serbia and Macedonia asking them to take measures to prevent the flow of the asylum seekers to EU member states. Around the same time, an expert mission organized by Belgian authorities and including European Commission members visited Skopje and Belgrade to express their concerns in person.

‘A Request to Break International Law’

Border patrol police in Serbia and Macedonia have since taken steps to strengthen controls, checking to see if travelers have return tickets, requesting evidence that travelers have enough money to stay in the Schengen area for their intended stay, and telling potential asylum applicants that their applications will be rejected.

Refugee and Roma rights groups in Germany have condemned the stepped-up border controls. The request to those nations to “keep their citizens from leaving their country is a request to break international law,” a coalition of European refugee and Roma rights groups said in a statement. “The idea that citizens would eventually be hindered from leaving their country on the grounds of their ethnic background is unbearable to us against the background of German and European history.”

By some estimates, as many as a half-million Roma and Sinti were killed by the Nazis during World War II in what has sometimes been referred to as the “forgotten Holocaust.” On Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this year, Zoni Weisz, a Sinti survivor whose parents and siblings were murdered by the Nazis when he was a boy, became the first representative of the Roma and Sinti people to speak to Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, on the occasion.

“We are Europeans, let me remind you, and must have the same rights as any other residents, with the same opportunities available to every European,” Weisz said to the parliament.

Issues involving Roma migration from Southeastern Europe to more affluent European nations have received much attention of late. Last year, France came under harsh criticism for its practice of targeting Roma migrants from Bulgaria and Romania for deportation. Germany has also drawn condemnation from human rights groups for deporting Roma and other ethnic minorities from Kosovo who have lived in Germany since fleeing war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s.

Bullied and Beaten Up

Despite increased controls, asylum seekers from Serbia and Macedonia continue to arrive in Germany. Near the end of last year, Tomovski and his family hitched a ride in a bus that delivered them to Hamburg, he said. There, he applied for asylum before being settled at the Marienfelde Center in Berlin.

The center was built nearly six-decades ago to accommodate refugees fleeing East Germany, and by the time of German reunification, 1.35 million East Germans had passed through the camp. Following the recent rise in the number of asylum seekers coming to Germany, the center is once again admitting refugees; it now houses about 270 people, but can potentially accommodate as many as 2,000.

At the Marienfelde Center on a recent afternoon, a group of Roma residents vehemently rejected the notion that their asylum claims were illegitimate. Many had spent several years of their childhood in Germany, having fled the Yugoslav wars in the 1990’s, and now wished to return because of what they said was rampant discrimination in their homelands.

One teenager from Serbia who called himself Dennis complained of having been bullied and beaten up in school because he is Roma. “They say, ‘this is not your land,’“ he said. “If you fight back, they’ll kill you.”

‘No One Wants to Help’

Dennis said he arrived in Germany several months ago with his parents and brother. The family had learned a few days earlier that their asylum request had been denied and they were given a few weeks to leave Germany.

“We want to stay,” he said. “We have nothing there. My father can’t find a job. We can’t earn anything.”

A 27-year-old man who also said he came from Serbia with his family insisted that the discrimination Roma face there justified their asylum requests. “The problem is we are not even accepted as people,” he said of life in Serbia.

He too had recently received word that he and his family would not be given asylum. It felt, he said, as if he had nowhere left to turn.

“Everyone knows how bad the Roma have it,” the man added. “But no one wants to help.”

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

Germany’s WWII Occupation of Poland: ‘When We Finish, Nobody is Left Alive’

Germany’s occupation of Poland is one of the darkest chapters of World War II. Some 6 million people, almost 18 percent of the Polish population, were killed during the Nazi reign of terror that saw mass executions, forced evictions and enslavement.

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Adolf Hitler left no doubt about his goal before he ordered the invasion of Poland. Addressing generals and commanders at a reception he gave at his Berchtesgaden retreat on August 22, 1939, Hitler said he was not interested “in reaching a specific line or a new border.” He wanted “the destruction of the enemy.”

On September 1, 1939, German soldiers marched across the border into neighboring Poland. The vastly superior Wehrmacht forces advanced so quickly that the Polish government was forced to flee to Romania just 16 days later. On September 27, the defenders of the Polish capital, Warsaw, gave up. Nine days later, the last remaining Polish troops laid down their weapons.

Thus begun a nightmarish occupation that would last more than five years. In Poland, the Nazis had more time than in any other occupied country to implement their policies against people they classified as “racially inferior.”

The task of implementing Hitler’s plan fell to Hans Frank, a 39-year-old lawyer, Nazi Party member and brutal champion of the Nazis’ vision of racial purity. Frank was named “Governor-General” of a large chunk of Poland, an area of about 95,000 square kilometers (36,680sq mi), with approximately 10 million inhabitants. This was the western part of Poland that had been annexed by the German Reich, while the eastern half of the country was occupied by the Red Army in accordance with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, the 1939 non-aggression treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

War Crimes Committed from the Outset

Frank was unashamedly proud of his ruthless regime, which contrasted with the comparatively lenient system of rule in the “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia,” as the Nazis called the majority ethnic-Czech region they had occupied. In 1940, Frank told a reporter for the Völkische Beobachter newspaper: “In Prague, for example, large red posters were hung up announcing that seven Czechs had been executed that day.” That had made him think: “If I had to hang up a poster every time we shot seven Poles, we’d have to cut down all the Polish forests, and we still wouldn’t be able to produce enough paper for all the posters I’d need.”

German soldiers committed war crimes in Poland from the very outset. One soldier in the 41st infantry division noted, “Polish civilians and soldiers are dragged out everywhere. When we finish our operation, the entire village is on fire. Nobody is left alive, also all the dogs were shot.”

Wehrmacht soldiers without battle experience thought they saw snipers everywhere, and ended up firing at anything that moved — often their own comrades. And if Polish soldiers merely shot at them, the Germans took revenge by setting entire villages ablaze or taking hostages and executing them.

Following a gun battle by Ciepielow, Colonel Walter Wessel of the 29th motorized infantry division had 300 captured Polish soldiers stripped of their uniform jackets and then shot as partisans.

Although Jews weren’t persecuted systematically during the “Polish campaign,” the anti-Semitism of the German troops surfaced time and again. The war diary of one machine gun battalion noted, “All the male inhabitants are standing under guard in a large square. The only exceptions are the Jews, who are not standing, but have been made to kneel and pray constantly.”

On the very day the last Polish soldiers gave themselves up, Hitler gave a speech to the German parliament, the Reichstag, promising to “reorganize the ethnographic conditions” in Europe. Hitler appointed SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler to carry out this project, whereupon Himmler was named Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood.

Plan for German Colonization up to the Urals

Himmler had his staff draw up an Eastern General Plan, a blueprint for the German colonization of all areas up to the Urals. After all, as Joseph Goebbels claimed, eastern Europe had always been Germany’s “destiny.” The propaganda minister predicted, “Tough peasant races will stand guard in the East.” SS leader Reinhard Heydrich said German settlers would act as a bulwark against the “raging tides of Asia.”

He wanted the annexed parts of western Poland to be “depolonized” and “germanized” as quickly as possible. To this end, some eight million Jews and Poles were to be moved into the General Government, the area of Poland under Nazi military control. Their places were to be taken by ethnic Germans “repatriated” from around the Baltic and from Volhynia and Galicia in western Ukraine.

An employee at the German Foreign Institute explained: “If, for example, a train-load of immigrants from the Baltic region contains 20 German master bakers, 20 Polish bakeries must be evacuated in Posen [Posnan] and the rest of the Warthegau [an administrative region of Poland].”

The people deported to the General Government were only permitted to carry one suitcase each, as well as “one blanket per Pole.” Beds had to be left behind. Securities and valuables could not be taken — “wedding rings excepted.”

Himmler ordered all those living in the annexed eastern zones to be classified by race. The list of alleged “Germanic peoples” divided ethnic Germans into four groups. These ranged from those who identified themselves as German and were thus naturalized immediately, to Poles considered “capable of germanization,” who were deported for so-called “training” in the Altreich (Old Empire), as the Nazis called the area under German control before 1939. Such Poles were thus given German citizenship on a probationary basis.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

How Scotland is Taking the Catalonia Road

El País Madrid

The victory of the Scottish nationalists in the May 5 elections has revived the debate over Scottish independence. But if the example of Catalonia and the Basque country is anything to go by, what looms on the horizon is a confederation of Europe, says El País.

Walter Oppenheimer

The unexpected and resounding triumph of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the May 5 regional elections, which against all expectations saw the party win 69 of the 129 seats at stake, has opened the door to a referendum on Scottish independence.

Considered a chimera just 10 or 15 years ago, the possibility of independence is beginning to be taken seriously. Not so long ago, however, polls revealed the paradox that the English want the break more than the Scots.

The system of self-government for Scotland, the so-called devolution or transfer of powers, was launched by Labour in 1997. The idea behind that decentralisation was that the more autonomy the Scots had, the less desire they would have for independence. Many now believe that the opposite has come about, while others say the end of the road still lies ahead.

The SNP victory has caused a stir in Spain, where parallels are being drawn with the longing for independence among the Basque and Catalan populations. But the differences are worth considering. The United Kingdom was forged four centuries ago with the accession of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England, and it was sealed with the voluntary merger of their parliaments a century later, in 1707. Britain is not, unlike Spain, a complex map of 17 autonomous regions expressing varying degrees of ambition for self-government.

Among some Scots there is a feeling the union should be preserved

With Scotland it is a poor state, not a rich one, that wants to leave, unlike Spain, where the Basque Country and Catalonia are relatively well off. And the national identity of the Scots and the English is not in question.

For whatever reason, the possibility that Alex Salmond, the charismatic leader of the SNP, will call a referendum is not causing any political storm in Britain. “It’s a bit optimistic of the SNP if they think they can win a referendum on independence,” believes historian Sebastian Balfour, Professor Emeritus of Contemporary Spanish Studies at the London School of Economics.

“The SNP would suffer severely from the consequences of a negative outcome, because it would give rise to a very curious situation. It’s very different from Spain in that there are many more English than Scots that want Scottish independence, and there are fewer English against it than Scots.

“Among some Scots there is a strong feeling that the union with England should be preserved. It’s as if the English had leapt from a nationalist-imperialist identity to a post-national identity, a civic identity, we might say, at a more local or regional level, and so I honestly doubt that the SNP will raise the referendum issue for the time being. What they will have to do, and I think it’s a long-term strategy, is to demonstrate an ability to defend the interests of Scotland,” he says.

For Scotland, the language is not a problem

How can the overwhelming victory of the SNP affect Spain? “It may to some extent reinforce the pro-independence camp, but I don’t believe it will have a big impact,” Balfour says. “I don’t see it as all that important. There are big differences. Scotland is being compared to Catalonia and the Basque Country now that it has a nationalist party holding a majority in Parliament, but that’s nothing new in Spain,” he adds.

Scotland is nationalist “in the sense that people feel overwhelmingly Scottish; yet they are also British,” agrees David McCrone, co-director of the Institute of Governance at the University of Edinburgh. “In Catalonia this question has a five-point scale: to be Catalan but not Spanish; to be more Catalan than Spanish; to be as Catalan as Spanish; to be more Spanish than Catalan; and to be Spanish but not Catalan. In that sense, Scotland is much more Scottish than Catalonia is Catalan. The latter has a lot to do with immigration from the rest of Spain. And perhaps with the language issue too,” he says.

For Scotland, the language is not a problem. “The language has been eliminated as a toll that people have to pay to be Scottish,” he explains. “To be Scottish is a territorial issue, not a linguistic or ethnic issue. And that makes it easier for people who come to Scotland to feel Scottish. The language doesn’t become a reason for being, an essential element of national identity or a way to express differences, as happens with religion, or as happens with the French language in Quebec.”

Or in Wales, where nationalism is weaker than in Scotland but where almost one in four Welsh speaks the Welsh language. That gives the debate on independence in Scotland a more pragmatic tone than the debates around that same idea in the Basque Country or in Catalonia.

The Disunited Kingdom of Great Britain?

In McCrone’s judgement, what really lies behind the SNP victory is not so much independence from the Union as it is the degree of self-government that the Scots want. “In the past 20 years, some of us have focused less on distinguishing between independence and autonomy and more on studying the question of how self-government evolves. The debate really comes down to self-government and how to achieve more of it.”

McCrone laughs at the simplicity of the view from London of the Scottish question. “The view from there tends to espy two possibilities: that Scotland will never be independent, and that independence is inevitable. I think it’s much more complicated than that. We live in a world where independence can be a problem. In reality, we’re talking about degrees of self-government. If independence is understood to be the classic nineteenth-century independent state with borders and armies and all those things, well, of course that’s not going to happen. That’s not the world we live in,” he explains. “In the world today, self-government is shared at different levels. Both Spain and Britain are members of the European Union. And the EU has power too. It’s not a matter of absolute sovereignty, but of shared sovereignty.”

“My personal prediction is that Britain will follow a path to a confederation,” David McCrone continues. “In other words, when it will have to come, at some point in the future, there will be higher levels of self-government. Just as there are in Belgium, for very different reasons and in another context. Devolution of powers in Flanders and Wallonia is considerable. We are moving toward a world confederation, not a world of completely independent states. A world in which Scotland, Catalonia and of course the Basque Country will go further in self-government. Things change. And the way central governments respond is absolutely crucial. The UK Conservatives have learned a few lessons here. They are not as aggressive and stupid as they were when they were previously in power. We’ll see if it lasts,” he concludes.

Will we live to see the Disunited Kingdom of Great Britain? Alex Salmond: “They said they would never be a Scottish Parliament, and there is. They said we would never win the elections, and we won them in 2007. They said we would never have an absolute majority, and we have it. Now they’re saying we’ll never win a referendum on independence.” Who knows?

Translated from the Spanish by Anton Baer

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

IAI-Mantica: Italy’s Priorities Are Southstream and Itgi

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MAY 23 — The Southstream and ITGI gas pipeline are two priority energy corridors for Italy as part of the Adriatic macro-region. Speaking in Brussels today on the sidelines of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, Italy’s Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Mantica said, “Italy has opted for Southstream. It makes no difference to us whether it passes through Turkey and Greece or through Albania and Montenegro. The other priority project is ITGI (interconnection Turkey-Greece-Italy)”. According to Mr Mantica, “following events in Libya, we are all oriented to being better assured” and diversifying our sources of supply.

Energy is one of the priority common action areas for the eight countries of the area (Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Serbia and Montenegro), which are now aiming to launch a European strategy. “On June 23, during the Council of Europe, the official green light will be given for the Danube macro-region. We are working to have mention of the opening of other macro-regions in the final document, and would like ours to be indicated”. This will have an impact on community funding policy. Indeed, the EU Council “will charge the Commission with carrying this project through,” Mr Mantica concluded, “and we could count on financial planning starting from 2014, as part of the funds for political cohesion,” when the revolving EU presidencies are sure to be those of Greece first to be followed by Italy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italian Parliament Approves Nuclear Power Moratorium

(AGI) Rome — Parliament’s moratorium on nuclear power in Italy is law, after its publication on the Official Gazette yesterday. The Italian Constitutional Court will have to rule on whether the law will invalidate the nuclear power referendum scheduled June 12-13.

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

Italy-Turkey: New Association Pushing for EU Access

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 25 — The Turkish embassy in Rome says that this is a large country “yet to be discovered” in terms of Italy’s economic opportunities, but according to Italy’s former ambassador in Ankara, Carlo Marsili, it is also one that Europe “risks losing” by focussing on its neo-Ottoman orientations, if it does not decisively revive the process of talks for its entrance in the EU.

The country was the main topic of discussion at Italy’s launch of the Italy-Turkey Friendship and Cooperation Association, an initiative created by the Italian Institute for Asia and the Mediterranean (ISIAMED) and chaired by Gian Guido Folloni.

Marsili, who was ambassador to Turkey from 2004 to 2010, said that Turkey “is our neighbouring China”, with high growth rates, where Italy plays a key role in public work orders (40% in 2008) and where Italian SMEs “are happily settled in all sectors”. The country also has “a stabilising influence in the Middle East, the Balkans and Asia,” the former ambassador continued, saying that Turkey is vital if the Mediterranean is to become the centre of Europe. Marsili also called it “a model, where on June 12 there will be democratically held elections, even if there are fears over secularity and the equality between men and women has not yet been fully pushed through”.

Yet “France and Cyprus are blocking the main chapters” of talks launched with Brussels in 2004 and the country’s neo-Ottoman approach to foreign policy could prevail, Marsili warned, saying that he hoped EU policy would “boost” the country in a way Italy is also working for.

“We must work methodically and invite the EU to fix a precise timetable for Turkey’s entry,” said Senator Paolo Amato, the president of the Italy-Turkey parliamentary association, “and give signs of openness such as the abolition of visas, as has already been done with countries whose trade with Italy does not match Turkey’s”.

The association launched yesterday intends to set up bilateral relations with Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community on a political, economic and cultural level, and to incentivise the presence and the activity of Italian companies in Turkey. But the “spontaneous movement” of Italian SMEs already looking towards the country’s market “needs to be organised and strengthened with business networks and complete branches,” according to ISIAMED’s Alessandro Franchini, experimenting with the “cluster to cluster instrument, which can also involve specialised areas of the country”, and allow Italian technology and organisation to meet on an equal footing to Turkish productive capacities, allowing positions to be gained on the Asian, Middle Eastern, African and southern Mediterranean markets.

“The model of the Italian region is not exportable,” said the President of Simest, Giancarlo Lanna,” but horizontal and vertical branches can be taken abroad,” in order to face Chinese expansion not only in Africa but in the whole area with quality and high technology.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Gelato University Offers Foreigners ‘Sweet Success’

Scholarships for business pioneers

(ANSA) — Bologna, May 9 — A Bologna university dedicated to gelato has found a new way to export the much-loved Italian icecream to the world. Carpigiani Gelato University is offering scholarships to foreigners who take part in Gelato Pioneers, a course that teaches aspiring chefs how to make icecream as well as business skills.

At the end of the four-week course, the ten most talented and motivated students will be reimbursed for the course and have seven days’ experience in a gelato shop, as well as business mentoring and machinery discounts.

The university was founded in 2003 as a training division of the Carpigiani Group, which produces around 70% of the world’s icecream machines. It offers 9,000 courses around the world.

Company managing director Andrea Cocchi said the project had so far been aimed at Italians but the company wanted to do more to promote one of Italy’s favourite foods around the world.

“In 2012 we will launch Gelato Pioneers for foreigners to bring the artisanal gelato culture abroad and develop a start-up model at a time when the recession has shown you have to invest in yourself and your values,” Cocchi said on Friday.

The university is based in Bologna in northern Italy and has large cooking laboratories equipped with 40 of the latest machines. It offers courses in 10 languages.

Praxi, an international consultancy and training company with over 40 years’ experience, is also involved in the project and will help graduates who want to open their own gelato shop anywhere in the world.

“The project involves a double challenge,” said Cocchi.

“First, spreading the culture of home-made gelato around the world and secondly, accomplishing what so many Italians dream of doing by developing a start-up model”.

The university has 20 experts with expertise as icecream makers or pastry chefs and students travel from the United States, Australia, China, Lebanon and Africa to take part in its programmes.

While student numbers fell during the global financial crisis, enrolments for the current academic year have increased by 60% compared to last year. “Carpigiani has decided to invest in people with the talent and motivation to win this challenge and is willing to place the strength of the international network that distinguishes it worldwide at their disposal,” Cocchi said.

Carpigiani estimates there are more than 2,500 Italian gelato shops in Germany and the immigration of Italians has led to a growing passion for home-made Italian icecream in Brazil, the US and Argentina.

The university runs six courses, from beginner to advanced, and says producing the perfect gelato is a “delicate balancing act” between the fat found in milk and cream, which hardens as it freezes, and the sugar in fruit.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Claims Media Cartel Opposes Him

Premier says: “We are not satisfied by the vote but Moratti’s defeat is down to disinformation”

MILAN — To a large extent, results at the administrative elections depended on the choice of candidates. Sources close to Silvio Berlusconi report that this was the prime minister’s analysis of the vote at the People of Freedom’s (PDL) president’s office. Mr Berlusconi then added that no political significance should be read into the administrative election results. Whatever the case, he added, “we are on the field” and intend to play, not least because “it would be folly to hand the city to the far Left”. The excitement stirred by leaks from Palazzo Grazioli, which were picked up by most of the news agencies quoting an anonymous source present at the meeting, forced the PM’s spokesman Paolo Bonaiuti to issue a denial: “I was there and the remarks about the second round ascribed to Berlusconi are not true”. Nevertheless, the prime minister himself returned to the topic on the Porta a Porta talk show: “Administrative elections are special, influenced by the choice of candidate, the candidate’s personality and the confrontation with another candidate”.

“WE ARE NOT SATISFIED”— Mr Berlusconi went over the administrative elections results again on Bruno Vespa’s talk show, admitting that as far as the PDL was concerned, “we are not satisfied”. Mr Berlusconi said: “We are on 26.42%. Obviously, we are not satisfied but you have to remember the very special voting system. When I went into the booth to vote, they gave me a tablecloth voting paper. I had a hard time finding the PDL among the avalanche of other symbols”. The PM went on: “We in the PDL have no more to complain about than all the other parties that have had setbacks of major proportions. The Democratic Party (PD) has slipped back to 21.86%. It has literally slumped in regions like Campania, Lazio and Calabria whereas it did better in the north”.

“MEDIA CARTEL AGAINST ME” — Mr Berlusconi said he did not regard the Milan result as a vote against the government he represents and accused what he called a “terrifying media cartel”. “Major newspapers, starting with the Corriere della Sera, the privately owned SKY and La7 television channels and the RAI everybody pays for, are all with the Left”. He added: “Ms Moratti’s defeat is down to media disinformation”.

“ANYONE VOTING FOR DE MAGISTRIS HAS NO BRAIN” — Mr Berlusconi pulled no punches attacking the Centre-left’s second-round challengers. “De Magistris [in Naples — Trans.] is good-looking but totally incompetent. He has no political substance. No one who has a head on his or her shoulders could possibly vote for him. Anyone who votes for him should take a look in the mirror and say ‘I have no brain’“. On [Ms Moratti’s second-round opponent in Milan, Giuliano — Trans.] Pisapia, the PM observed: “He has tabled bills in Parliament to protect terrorists and subversives, and in favour of euthanasia”. According to the prime minister, Mr Pisapia is incapable of running Milan “because has never run so much as a newsstand” while “Moratti, and Lettieri in Naples, have both managed companies with outstanding ability”…

English translation by Giles Watson

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

Italy: Berlusconi Rants Over ‘Leftist’ Judges to Obama at G8 Summit

Rome, 27 May (AKI) — Italy’s embattled prime minister Silvio Berlusconi took his claims that a ‘leftist’ magistrates are out to get him to a new level in a rant to US president Barack Obama during the G-8 summit in Deauville, France.

“We have presented a justice reform that is fundamental to us, in Italy we have almost a dictatorship of leftist judges,” Berlusconi told the startled US leader through an interpreter after approaching Obama during a summit pause.

Obama got up from his seat and listened silently to Berlusconi’s tirade, in an apparent snub.

The comments were broacast by Italian TV news channels and drew sharp criticism on Friday from members of Italy’s judiciary and from centre-left opposition leaders.

“It is very serious that this has happened abroad and that a fundamental state institution should be denigrated even before one of the most powerful heads of state in the world,” said the president of Italy’s national magistrates association, Luca Palamara.

Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon turned politician is currently facing four criminal trials, three related to his business interests and one to charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office.

He denies wrongdoing in all cases and claims he has long been the victim of persecution by leftwing judges who want to bring him down.

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

Italy: Marone Asks Malta Respect for Sea Rescue Duties

(AGI) Rome — Italy has notified the EU of Malta’s failure to aid a boatload of immigrants in distress. The Interior Ministry made the announcement which states, “The Italian Coast Guard intervened to come to the aid last night in the SAR area Malta is responsible for, of a vessel in distress with 209 persons aboard who were accompanied to Lampedusa.” Italy, “in light of the failure of Malta to intervene has avoided another potential tragedy.” Through the Italian diplomatic representative to the EU, Maroni reported the incident to the European Commissioner, Malmstrom.

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

Pentagon Poised for Transfer of Aviano F16s to Poland

(AGI) Washington — The US are preparing to dismantle Air Force facilities at Friuli’s Aviano air base. The base has hosted 2 US squadrons since 1954, currently comprising F-16, the 31st Combat Group is due up for transfer to Poland. News to that effect was reported by the Wall Street Journal, according to which the announcement will be made by Barack Obama in person during his upcoming visit to Warsaw. The move is likely to ruffle Russian feathers.

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

Spain: Condemnation From Strasbourg Over Saharawi Child Case

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, MAY 24 — The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has condemned Spain for violating the rights of Knana Saleck Bardi, a Saharawi woman whose daughter failed to return to the Tinduf camp in Algeria after a summer trip to Spain. The news comes courtesy of high court sources quoted by the EFE agency. The Court says that there was a breach of article 8 of the Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees all persons the respect of their private and family lives. As a result, Spain will have to pay 30,000 in moral damages. The young girl in question, Saltana, was 9 when she arrived in Cartagena (Murcia) in southern Spain in 2002, where she spent time with a local family as part of the holiday programme of the Association of Friends of the Saharawi People. However, the girl extended her stay, as she was suffering from an illness of the liver and needed treatment. Two years later, her mother called for her return, but the local government of the region of Murcia took guardianship of the underage girl, considering her to have been abandoned. In 2007, after a lengthy legal case, Murcia’s Youth Court awarded custody of Saltana to the host family, with whom she had lived since 2002. The European Court in Strasbourg has ruled that “the passing of time, a consequence of the inertia of administration and the lack of coordination with the competent services, was a decisive factor in the girl’s integration in her host family and in daily life in Murcia. The woman’s mother, who had initially demanded her return, also recognised that Saltana was “perfectly integrated” in Spain and that her repatriation would mean separating her from her current environment “to make her live in very difficult conditions” in the Tinduf camp. The girl’s mother had asked for moral damages of 150 million euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Father’ Ordered to Pay £100k for Children He Never Knew He Had After Ex-Wife Tricked Ivf Clinic Into Using His Frozen Sperm

A man whose ex-wife gave birth twice without his consent by tricking an IVF clinic into fertilising her with his frozen sperm had to pay £100,000 to provide for their children.

The 57-year-old man, who cannot be named, stored his sperm at Bourn Hall Clinic, Cambridge, after being told a drug treatment for arthritis could make him infertile.

But just two months after he and his wife separated she forged his signature and persuaded doctors at the IVF clinic to fertilise one of her eggs.

The 51-year-old woman gave birth to a daughter and a son after visiting the clinic twice — but did not inform their father on either occasion.

The man, who by this time had a child and pregnant second wife, only found out about his kids when his ex-wife’s sister phoned to tell him his son was critically ill in hospital.

Since the shock discovery, he has had limited access to his two children and spent almost £200,000 on legal battles, which have lasted 10 years.

He has also been ordered to pay out a staggering £100,000 so that his ex-wife can look after the children he never wanted.

The woman who forged her ex-husband’s signature so she could have his children by IVF has refused to apologise and revealed she would ‘do it again.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Passengers Stage ‘Lord of the Flies’ Mutiny on Delayed Plane

Nothing is as frustrating as being cooped up on an airplane that is stuck on the runway amid never-ending delays. But something holds people back from taking it out on the plane crew, namely, the live-preserving instinct not to aggravate those responsible for keeping the plane in the air after take-off. But passengers aboard a Middle East Airlines flight at Heathrow had no such concerns, and staged a mutiny that one passenger compared to the “Lord of the Flies,” the Daily Mail reports.

The Beirut-bound flight, with 230 passengers aboard, had to abort a 5pm takeoff on Thursday from Heathrow Airport after already missing its original 1pm departure due to a thunderstorm. As waiting time approached seven hours, the passengers started to crack. One passenger told the Daily Mail that “the atmosphere was very tense and a middle-aged man told the crew member he was an idiot… and that was when the pushing and shoving began. The captain came out once and I told him he had failed in his duty, to which he replied I should fly the plane.”

Things turned to chaos from there. “Disgruntled passengers argued with crew, raided the galleys and started ‘pushing and shoving,’ name-calling, and engaging in ‘fisticuffs,’“ another witness said. “People are hysterical.” Meals were stolen from the galleys. A Lebanese woman passenger was said to have suffered “heart palpitations,” and a 50-year-old male passenger became “so worked up” he needed to be given oxygen.

Up to eight police officers boarded the plane at 5.50pm, but there were no arrests. The (amazingly dedicated) airline said it did not disembark the passengers because it was hopeful of getting a take-off slot and did not want to miss it. Eventually the flight took off for Lebanon, apparently with all passengers still on board and no further incidents.

It’s almost impossible to imagine that happening in the United States, aboard a Middle East Airlines plane no less. Two Muslim men were recently ordered off a U.S. flight by the pilot solely because he thought their clothing intimidated the passengers. Celebrity Josh Duhamel was kicked off a flight for refusing to turn off his blackberry. But at Heathrow, turns out they are far, far more lenient. Middle East Airlines’ UK and Ireland manager Naima Kassir gave this inexplicably sympathetic comment: “Some passengers were in transit from Canada and must have been tired. They got abusive and intimidated the crew.” But that’s no reason not to fly them internationally, apparently.

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

UK: Twitter Forced to Hand Over Personal Information After Council Launches Legal Action Using Taxpayers’ Money

Twitter has been forced to hand over personal information belonging to a British politician after council leaders launched an international court case.

It is believed to be the first time the American social networking site has bowed to a court action brought by a British group complaining that they were libelled in messages.

The ruling by a court in California has prompted a row over privacy and freedom of speech.

South Tyneside Council is believed to have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the case in the hope of unmasking the secret author of a blog who goes by the name of Mr Monkey.

Independent Councillor Ahmed Khan is suspected by council leaders as being the author, which has made a series of unfounded allegations against council leaders.

Mr Khan fiercely denies the accusations and said he was horrified when Twitter sent him an e-mail telling him they had handed over private information, including personal messages, he had sent from the social networking site.

‘This is Orwellian. It is like something out of 1984,’ said Mr Khan, ‘If a council can take this kind of action against one of its own councillors simply because they don’t like what I say, what hope is there for freedom of speech or privacy?’

Mr Khan, who has been sent details of the information handed over by Twitter, said: ‘Really, it’s just a great long list of numbers. I don’t fully understand it but it all relates to my Twitter account and it not only breaches my human rights, but it potentially breaches the human rights of anyone who has ever sent me a message on Twitter.

‘A number of whistle-blowers have sent me private messages, exposing any wrongdoing in the council, and the authority knows this,’ said Mr Khan.

‘I was never even told they were taking this case to court in California. The first I heard was when Twitter contacted me.’ ‘I had just 14 days to defend the case and I was expected to fly 6,000 miles to hire my own lawyer — all at my expense,’ said Mr Khan.


South Tyneside Council is facing cuts of B£32 million and around 1,200 employees could lose their jobs.

Independent councillor Jane Branley said: ‘This is a scandal. Frankly, these councillors should be big enough and daft enough to ride above all of this. Why should the taxpayers have to pay simply to protect their reputations?

‘I’ve had all sorts of ludicrous allegations made against me and my family on another blog and I have learned to just ride above them,’ said Ms Branley, ‘this council will go to any lengths to crush anyone who dares challenge them.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Wish You Waziristan: The Bizarre Foreign Office Video Designed to Stop Young Muslims Becoming Extremists

The Foreign Office has been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money on an animated film designed to stop Muslim teenagers from becoming Islamic extremists.

Officials have spent about £33,000 on Wish You Waziristan, a cautionary tale of two young British Muslim brothers who decide to join a group of Islamic fighters on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

But critics, including members of the Muslim community, have questioned the wisdom of the film, which has been branded naive and simplistic.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: In Imbaba: Army Restores Coptic Church Torched by Salafis

The authorities hope to complete the restoration work in three months. Those who carried out the attack are however still at large. Sources tell AsiaNews that the military are playing both sides, helping the actions of Muslim extremists.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Egypt’s ruling military council is paying for the reconstruction of St Mary’s Coptic Church in Imbaba (Cairo), which was destroyed during clashes between Salafis and Christians on 8 May. Eight people died and 116 were wounded during the incident. However, sources told AsiaNews that the army was itself involved in the original violence. In fact, soldiers tend to do nothing to prevent clashes and allow the culprits to go free.

In the past few days, artisans have been working on the Church roof. The original structure was destroyed by fire. They are also trying to repair damaged frescoes and paintings. Everything should be completed within three months.

Church sources told AsiaNews that what the military is doing is a positive sign that can help avoid more sectarian clashes. However, there are still lingering doubts about the army’s good faith.

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is acting like Pontius Pilate,” other Christian sources said. “On the one hand, they are giving a free rein to Muslim extremists; on the other, they are promoting reconciliation by rebuilding destroyed buildings.”

A call for another ‘day of rage’ today in Tahrir Square is raising more suspicions. Small secular groups issue the announcement in order to demand a new constitution and more security in the streets.

For their part, many Christians are afraid that they might suffer more discrimination and restrictions at the hands of Muslims.

“Inside the government, no one is strong enough to oppose the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups,” one said.

For instance, in Ain Sheim, a neighbourhood in southern Cairo, Muslims reiterated their opposition to the reopening of the St Abraham Coptic Church, scene of sectarian violence on 19 May.

Muslim leaders took the decision during a meeting with the local Christian community that was deserted by the military.

On their own initiative, local Muslim authorities signed a decree that imposes the indefinite closure of the church and bans Copts from conducting any religious celebration.

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

Libya: Trouble in Tunisia Refugee Camp, Deaths Reported

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, MAY 24 — A protest staged today by Libyan refugees in the Choucha camp in Ras Jdir has been dispersed by soldiers. The protesters, who were from Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan, as they had done yesterday, were demanding the speeding up of repatriations. This morning, a large group of them travelled to the nearby town of Ben Guerdane, across the Tunisian border, where there were clashes with locals. Intervention by the military, who fired a number of warning shots, convinced the protesters to retreat. However, unconfirmed reports suggest that two or three protesters were killed in the incidents. Four Eritreans were killed in the same camp in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a fire, perhaps started deliberately, tore through around twenty tents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Pentagon is Providing Bombs and Spare Parts to Allies

(AGI) Washington — The USA is providing bombs and military spare parts to its Nato allies in Libya fighting the Gaddafi regime.

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

Tunisia: Survey: Country Islamic But Deeply Secular

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, MAY 23 — A survey carried out in Tunisia by Sigma Conseil, designed to determine what role religion should have in the forthcoming Constitution, has shown that the country is proud to be Arab, fervently Islamic but very keen to retain the secularity of the state and of its institutions.

The results of the survey, which were quoted today by the Business News website, show that 65% believe that the future choices of the law-making executive should be based on popular will in some areas and sharia law in others. However, 87% of those interviewed (out of sample of 948 people aged 18 and above and residing in all of the governorates of the country and from all social, economic and educational groups) believe that religious practices should be based on personal convictions and should not be imposed from above. A firm stance on mosques also emerged, with 70.6% of those asked stating that they should remain only places of worship and not be used for political activities or proselytism. Almost all Tunisians (92%) firmly believe that the country needs to strengthen its belonging to the Arab Muslim world. This sense of belonging, says Business News, is more to do with civilization than with religion, with 40% saying that they have never been to a mosque to pray, a figure that rises significantly (to 52.89%) among 18-25 year olds of both sexes.

One of the issues examined by the survey is polygamy, which today is banned in the country. In the sample of interviewees, 25% said that they would adapt to the practice (16.7% of women, 32.3% of men). The percentage is much greater among interviewees residing in the south and in central western areas of the country (in particular those more affluent), while the idea is completely rejected in the north-east of the country.

The issue, however, is not connected to judgement of women. Indeed, conversely, almost half of Tunisians say that they would be in favour of a female head of government.

In terms of the country’s priorities, there is little room for doubt in the Tunisian collective imagination. 90% believe that intervention is urgently needed to revive the economy as well as to guarantee a higher level of medical care, increase pensions and help low-income families. But there is also particular focus on reducing the rate of corruption within the government, while great significance is given to education, which it is hoped can be easily accessible to all. The protection of the rights of citizens is also considered vital.

The survey also showed that a sense of disappointment regarding the revolution is beginning to take hold, with the number of potential abstentions on the rise and now standing at around 12.5%. The percentage of undecided voters, however, has fallen (from 65% to 50%).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

By Peace They Will Deceive the World

While the lovers and supporters of Israel both on the right and the left celebrate the diplomatic victory of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu over President Barack Obama, the prospects for Israel in regards to its security and standing in the world is very daunting with many threats that are obvious still remain evident, however there are even more serious threats that are not so obvious and are quickly coming to the surface.

In order to understand the not so obvious we must know and understand the mindset and character of the Middle East. Our organization being made up of former Muslims from that very part of the world who understand far better the mindset, strategies, and tactics used by the Islamic world as well as the culture and religion of Arabs both Christian and Muslim.

The Arab world has just witnessed a reinvigoration of the alliance of Israel and the people of the United States despite the hostility of the executive office in the White House. The key factor for peace in the Middle East from the Western perspective, especially the US, is the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state living side by side in peace with Palestine.” The smart Muslim leaders who understand this, will play right into this ideal and will provide the “Hudna” which will recognize Israel as Jewish state. The evidence for such a policy is in full view if you know where to look and you understand the Islamic mindset.

It is Turkey that is recognized by the Muslim Brotherhood and all fundamentalist Sunni Muslims as the head the Caliphate. It is prophesized in the Muslim holy books that the Ottoman Empire will come again and prior to the coming of the Mahdi. According to the Hadith, on the day of Judgement the Mahdi will lead all the Muslims to march on Jerusalem and destroy all the Jews. As the Muslim Brotherhood will dominate the Middle East over the next two years, they will look to Turkey to lead the Muslim world. If you study the Muslim Brotherhood ideals and its interpretation of Islam, they state this very clearly and repeat it over and over again in their rhetoric. The standard text for the day of Judgement: come o slave of Allah, the trees will cry out that there are Jews hiding behind them, so Muslims should come and kill them (the Jews).

In 2002 The AKP party was the first Islamist political party to gain power since Turkey became a secular country in 1920, and they have held power continuously up to the present. This is significant in the rejuvenation of the Ottoman Empire and if one is paying attention, Turkey is increasing its influence and forming alliances both in the Sunni and Shia countries in the Middle East. The Islamist revolution in Turkey is not quite complete as the Islamist needs to wrestle control of the military, which is still secular, but once the Islamists complete the military take over, Israel as well as the West will be in mortal peril. Turkey poses a much larger potential threat than Iran with its massive army with only the USA and Russia being larger. Turkey has already changed its stance on Israel from friend to a cold peace with a strong political animus against Israel. We just need to look at the flotilla incident last year to understand this change.

The USA government is well aware of this threat as was pointed out by the Wiki Leaks revelations of late last year. Wiki Leaks showed that the state department was frustrated over Turkey being Islamist, but publicly makes no issue of this problem.

On May 21st the president of Turkey Abdullah Gul (name means slave of Allah the beast) was reported by Reuters to have urged Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. As Turkey’s influence grows they will be in position to finalize and arrange a peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel with Hamas recognizing Israel. However in order to understand the reality this will not bring peace but will be the famous Islamic “Hudna” which according to the Bible is the “covenant of death” mentioned in Isaiah 28 that will cause the war in order to attempt to destroy Israel in the end.

The objective of the Muslim world will be to use peace in order to deceive Israel and the West. We have always seen in the past our desire for peace especially from the Jewish people. This treaty will be based on a full recognition of Israel and fool them into signing and agreeing to this false peace, which at best will last less than four years. The world will celebrate peace in our time once again, but in the end will bring about the greatest war this world will ever witness.

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Flotilla to Go Ahead Despite Open Crossing

Organizers of the Turkish flotilla to Gaza are adamant about going ahead with their plans to challenge Israel’s blockade next month despite official reports that the Rafah border crossing will be opened to Palestinians as of Saturday.

“We shall set sail, we have many surprises in store,” IHH spokesman Ömer Faruk said. “If there really is no blockade then there shouldn’t be a problem with us going there. Everything will become clearer next month.”

Faruk claims that had the previous flotilla not departed, the Rafah border would not have been opened. “That’s the language people understand, it’s the only way they will pay attention to Palestinian suffering. If there will be a more convenient way, we’ll take it, but right now our attention is focused on the population in Gaza.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Al-Qa’ida ‘Winning War Against West’

AL-QA’IDA is as formidable as it was on 9/11, if not more so, the man who led the hunt for Osama bin Laden has warned.

Michael Scheuer, a former CIA agent who directed the “Alec Station” dedicated bin Laden CIA team during the 1990s, said that far from winning the war, the West was losing and did not understand the conflict.

“In 2001, (al-Qa’ida) was overwhelmingly based in Afghanistan. It still has a part of Afghanistan. It now has a big slice of Pakistan, (and is) firmly established in Yemen and recovering in Iraq.”

He said it had influence in Somalia and “worrisome” strength in the Maghreb that would probably grow given events in Libya. “We have not yet seen the extent of Salafism (from which al-Qa’ida derives much of its ideology) coming into Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan because of taking out Saddam. How can growth geographically and apparently in numbers translate into a weaker organisation?”

Mr Scheuer said the killing of bin Laden was “very important” but that information learned since suggested that al-Qa’ida remained more connected than many assumed. He said the leadership would probably pass to Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan ideologue who has been groomed for the position since escaping a US prison in Afghanistan in 2006.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Hezbollah: West Hypocrites, for Years Regime Friends

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 25 — Spontaneous movements against illegitimate regimes imposed from above that have long repressed the freedom and dignity of their peoples. These are the words used by Sayed Ibrahim Al Moussawi, a member of the political council and head of the press office of Hezbollah, to illustrate the “total backing” given by the party to the Arab uprisings, from Libya and Yemen to Egypt and Bahrain. Al Moussawi, who is Rome for celebrations marking the eleventh anniversary of the liberation of southern Lebanon from Israeli troops, also underlined the “hypocrisy” of the West, which “for 30 years has been a friend of dictators like Mubarak, Gaddafi and Ben Ali”.

Speaking first on RadioRadicale and later at a meeting organised by the Italian-Arab centre “Assadakah”, the official from the Lebanese party began by recalling the “repression” carried out by the regime in Bahrain and “forgotten” by the western media. He also commented on the differences between the protest in Syria and the uprisings in North Africa.

“Syrian society is not homogenous. In Damascus and Aleppo there have not been widespread protests and the middle classes have not stopped supporting Assad’s governments, which is in favour of reforms”, said Al Moussawi, adding that a deterioration of the Syrian crisis could lead “to civil war”, with consequences for the whole of the Middle East.

Regarding the Palestinian question, “the shame of the West”, Al Moussawi called on “Italy and the EU to distance itself from the US, and not to accept all decisions taken by Washington,” which “sees and hears with Israeli eyes and ears”. He added that the “applause in the US Congress for Netanyahu’s speech were a slap in the face for Obama” and commented that “the international community has done nothing for the Palestinians in the last 50 years”. Responsibility for the situation, Al Moussawi believes, now lies at the feet of the people, as shown by the resistance of Hezbollah. The liberation of the south of the country “was the victory not for Hezbollah, but for those who want freedom and independence”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Qatar: No Holidays for Imams This Year

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, MAY 25 — Qatar’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs has decided that Imams will not go on holiday this year.

The Ministry said that the decision was taken because Ramadan this year falls in August.

The presence of Imams will therefore be needed during the period for prayers and rituals in mosques in the country. A number of Imams are dismayed by the news, which was reported by the Qatari newspaper The Peninsula. Some of them have complained, saying that August is the only month in which they can go on holidays, as the period coincides with the school vacation of their children. Other Imams claimed that they had already booked flights to leave the Emirate during the hottest period of the year, when temperatures can exceed 50 degrees. Others still said that they had not taken holidays for years due to the high costs, but were planning to do so this year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Al Jazeera Shows Bodies of Young Men Tortured to Death

(ANSA) — BEIRUT, MAY 27 — The English-language service of the pan-Arab television station Al Jazeera this morning broadcast harrowing pictures of the bodies of young Syrian men it said had been “tortured to death”.

The channel showed the footage for less than a minute, saying that the pictures were recorded in Deraa, the city in the south of the country that has been the epicentre of protests and of the repression by the Damascus authorities since March.

Al Jazeera International could show similar images later in the day.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Family Counsellor, Better to Legalise Polygamy

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, MAY 24 — The Turkish media have given significant coverage to the comments by a family counsellor in Istanbul, who claims that polygamy should be legalised in Turkey because 85% of men in the country are thought to have lovers.

The expert, Sibel Uresin, who holds conferences in several areas of Istanbul, uses both Islamic and secular arguments to back up her point. Observing that “traditionalists have Islamic weddings and others have lovers”, Sibel Uresin told the daily newspaper Haberturk that Islamic women would be better protected if men were formally allowed to have up to four wives, the limit imposed by Islam. “In a woman, a man looks for friendship, sexuality, maternity and good housekeeping. If you do not have these qualities, you must be prepared to be betrayed,” the expert says, adding that “an affluent woman considering what would happen in the case of divorce should, in my opinion, consider polygamy to be a saving grace”.

In Turkey, 99% of the population are practicing Muslims but the secular constitution imposed by the father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is guarded by large sectors of society.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Agusta Willing to Pursue Light Helicopter Deal

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, MAY 26 — A leading Italian military aviation firm that recently lost Turkey’s USD 3.5 billion utility helicopter competition is willing to pursue a similar deal for light utility helicopters against the same U.S. rival, daily Hurriyet reports quoting a company executive. “We will be available for Turkey if Turkey wants to work with us,” the AgustaWestland executive told the daily. AgustaWestland lost the Turkish utility helicopter deal to the U.S. firm Sikorsky Aircraft. The official’s remarks were in line with advice from Italian Deputy Defense Minister Guido Crosetto, who on May 10 asked the Italian company to seek to win the new Turkish contest for a partner to make light utility helicopters.

“AgustaWestland needs to pursue all opportunities and chances in the helicopter field,” Crosetto said. “They will have to fight in this tight market.” Turkey last month selected the T-70, the Turkish version of Sikorsky Aircraft’s S-70i Black Hawk International, over the TUHP 149, the Turkish version of AgustaWestland’s AW149. Sikorsky and its Turkish partners plan to build a first batch of 109 utility helicopters, mainly for Turkey’s military and security forces. With follow-on orders, the number of helicopters manufactured is expected to reach 600. The utility helicopters weigh about 10,000 kilograms. The light utility helicopters will weigh between 4,500 and 5,500 kilograms. Turkey plans to build hundreds of such military and civilian helicopters with a foreign partner.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Pakistan: UAE Was Upset Over Leak About Balochistan Airstrip

Islamabad, 26 May (AKI/Dawn) — The UAE government was extremely concerned, as far back as 2005, that details about its military cooperation with the Americans at a Pakistani airstrip had been leaked. Speaking to a US diplomat in Abu Dhabi, an official from the UAE government “expressed his displeasure…that some details of the UAE’s cooperation with the US military in Pakistan have become public,” a confidential US diplomatic cable obtained by Dawn reveals.

The May 11, 2005 conversation between Ahmed Al Musally, Director of the Asian and African Affairs Department at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the US Deputy Chief of Mission in the UAE was reported in a cable dated May 14, 2005 and written by then Ambassador to the UAE Michele J. Sison.

Mr Al Musally complained that retired Gen Tommy Franks, former commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), in his memoir “American Soldier” had mentioned that “US forces had made use of Sheikh Zayed’s private airstrip in Balochistan.” Mr Al Musally said that this “leak” was brought to his attention by the then UAE ambassador in Pakistan who sent him an article published in a Pakistani newspaper on April 27, 2005 which “criticises the Pakistani government for keeping secrets, and… applauds General Frank’s openness in his book about the cooperation between Pakistan, the US, and other allies.”

It should be noted that on May 13, 2011, days after the Abbottabad operation, Pakistan’s deputy chief of air staff in an in-camera briefing reportedly revealed to the parliament that the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan — alleged to be a base for American drones — had been under the control of the UAE — and not the Pakistan Air Force — since the 1990s. Moreover, press reports in the past have also referred to the Shamsi airbase as being in use by US forces.

Mr Al Musally further specified that “the UAEG [UAE government] desires to keep details of the UAE cooperation with the US military in Afghanistan and Pakistan confidential, because the [UAE] government is concerned that public acknowledgement of this assistance could pose risks” to the security of UAE officials within the UAE or in Pakistan.

Mr Musally moreover noted that “members of the UAE’s ruling families frequently visit Pakistan for hunting,” and the information may compromise their security. “He noted that there are 500,000 to 600,000 Pakistanis residing in the UAE…‘Maybe they can’t do anything here [in the UAE], but they might try there (i.e. Pakistan), especially when our leaders travel there.’”

The complaint moreover led to a meeting between the American envoy to the UAE and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Abdullah Rashid Al Noaimi on May 14, 2005. In that meeting, Ambassador Sison assured the Emirati official that “the Embassy would relay the UAEG’s concerns regarding this matter to Washington.”

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

Far East

China: This is a City Built for a Million People — But No One Lives Here

Someone has obviously decided that Inner Mongolia is to be thrust into the 21st Century in a storm of steel and concrete. This will need people, who have previously been fairly rare in the violent climate and never-resting winds. And so they have built a great new city to draw them in. What would happen if nobody came to live in it? We may soon find out.

Seen from space, Kangbashi is a metropolis fit to hold a million busy, prosperous people, with sweeping boulevards, a spacious central square, homes, factories and offices spread over 12 square miles and a wide river running through it.

In its publicity, Kangbashi is a super-modern megalomaniac’s dream. There is a sculpture park containing dozens of abstract figures in faintly obscene embraces, standing for the unity of the people and the Chinese armed forces.

The whims of modern architects have been indulged, with a drum-shaped concert hall that looks much like a sawn-off cooling tower, and a leaning library built to resemble a shelf of books — next to a sort of giant cowpat coated in reflective bronze, perhaps symbolising Inner Mongolia’s dairy industry.

Seen from the new expressway which leads to it, it is a majestic line of towers in the haze. But at ground level there is something severely wrong. Traffic is slowed because a huge advertising hoarding has fallen from a bridge on to the carriageway. Like so much of modern China, sparkling at a distance, grubby and cracked close to, the reality does not quite live up to the appearance.

There is far worse to come. One approach road leads past what was until recently a 30,000-seater stadium, costing £100 million and rushed to completion in nine months for last year’s Mongolian Games — horse-racing, archery and wrestling. When it was opened, it looked rather like Concorde about to take off. But soon after New Year’s Day, a whole white wing, plus the central peak, collapsed during the night.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Australia: Inverbrackie Staff Hospitalised After Violent Brawl

STAFF at Inverbrackie have been hospitalised after a violent brawl broke out among inmates.

The staff were involved in a domestic dispute that broke out among inmates at the detention centre.

Immigration officials gave a limited insight into problems at the facility — including an eight-year-old child assaulting a guard resulting in police being called — during Senate estimates hearings in Canberra this week.

Officials however were unable to answer a series of questions on how centre manager Serco was handling confrontations, taking a long lists of questions “on notice” to be answered later.

These included whether any staff had received death threats, and whether any staff were receiving workers compensation payments.

The hearing was not told the number of staff sent to hospital, their gender, their injuries or their condition.

The brawl at the centre erupted in front of children after an argument among three men turned into a fight; staff were injured when they attempted to separate the brawling men.

The assault by the child occurred outside Inverbrackie while the child was waiting for a school bus.

The child kicked the guard and police were called, but they declined to take action due to the age of the child.

Immigration department deputy secretary John Moorhouse asked the hearing to keep the incident in perspective.

“Without wanting to in any way downplay the impact of the assault on the officer, at the end of the day it’s an eight-year-old child,” he told the hearing.

Liberal MP for the federal seat of Mayo, Jamie Briggs, called for an inquiry into management of the detention scheme. “The disturbing evidence revealed at the Senate Estimates hearings is further proof that we need a fully blown parliamentary inquiry into this network,” he said.

“In recent weeks we have seen several reports in the media of violence in the Inverbrackie detention facility.

“Unfortunately these incidents are a consequence of Labor’s failed border protection policies. The Labor Government should lift the cloak of secrecy surrounding the detention network before the situation gets worse.”

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Australia: Heroin a Hit in Migrant Centres

HEROIN addicts are being held in immigration detention centres and provided with methadone.

But immigration officials — and the private contractors who provide medical services in detention centres — have refused to reveal how many detainees are serious drug addicts.

Immigration insists the addicts brought their drug habit into detention.

But The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the health bill inside our detention centres — which includes the methadone program — has blown out to $273 million over the past two years.

Each detainee is racking up a medical bill on average of almost $8000 during their stay.

The methadone replacement program, in operation at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre and Victoria’s Maribyrnong facility, is available to any detainee who is addicted to heroin when they arrive.

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The Immigration Department spokesman told The Sunday Telegraph it was a “long-standing practice” but would not disclose, because of “privacy” reasons, how many detainees were currently receiving methadone.

The department also refused to comment on the cost of the methadone program.

Last year there were 18 instances of illegal substances found in detention centres, ranging from “home brew” alcohol, prescription medication, marijuana and “various powders”.

A Senate estimates committee heard that routine drug searches are not done, and when drugs are found, they are confiscated and destroyed but not laboratory tested to determine what they are.

The spokesman maintained drug use in detention centres was low.

“The department is not aware of any individual developing a drug dependency while in detention,” he said.

The federal government last year quietly approved an extra $202 million in funding to the company contracted to provide health care in detention centres.

The Immigration Department said the number of detainees had ballooned since 2009, from 324 to 7000. The Sunday Telegraph can reveal when the Sydney-based company International Health and Medical Services — part of the global company International SOS — was awarded the five-year contract in January 2009 it was valued at just under $71 million. But details of the agreement show that just 18 months later, in July 2010, the contract’s value was increased to $273 million.

An Immigration Department spokesman said the blowout was because of a 20-fold increase in the number of detainees in the nation’s nine detentions centres from 324 people to 7000 since early 2009.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

UK: Illegal Immigrant, 19, Who Posed as 15-Year-Old Schoolboy Exposed After Stabbing Two Teenagers With a Broken Bottle

[WARNING: Graphic content.]

A 19-year-old illegal immigrant who tricked a school into believing he was 15 was only exposed after he was arrested for stabbing two youngsters with a broken bottle.

Violent thug Niamat Miah even dated a 15-year-old girl while he attended South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton, Devon, on false identity papers.

Youngster Chloe Wood, now 16, started dating Miah — who pupils and staff knew as Sabbir Ahmed — after he began at the school early last year.

His ruse was only exposed after an attack outside a nightclub in nearby Torquay, where he slashed two teenagers in the face and neck with a broken bottle.

During their investigations, detectives found out Miah was actually a foreign national living here illegally — and was four years older than claimed on his false Home Office papers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Pro-Life Groups Call for Pepsi Boycott Over Aborted Fetal Cell Lines

Scores of prolife groups are calling for a public boycott of food giant, PepsiCo, due to its partnership with Senomyx, a biotech company that uses aborted fetal cells in the research and development of artificial flavor enhancers.

LifeSiteNews previously reported on Senomyx’s partnership with major food corporations, most notably PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Nestlé.

Pro-life watchdog group, Children of God for Life (CGL), is now joined by major pro-life organizations calling upon the public to target PepsiCo in a boycott.

Pepsi is funding the research and development, and paying royalties to Senomyx, which uses HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney cells) to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]