Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110617

Financial Crisis
»America a Greek Tragedy
»Belgian Minister Warns of Lehman-Like Greece Domino Effect
»Berlin and Paris Call for Urgent Greece Bailout
»Brussels Scolds Greek Political Class Amid Fresh Turmoil
»Eroding Franco-German Bonds: Tensions Flare Ahead of Merkel-Sarkozy Meeting
»EU President Issues ‘Plea for Euroland’
»EU Recovery From Debt Crisis ‘Vital’ To Chinese Interests
»EU Woes Could Derail World Recovery: IMF
»Europe Bids for Time in Greek Bailout ‘Quarrel’
»Greece’s Ace Card: Help Us or We’ll Take You All Down
»Greek Politics in Turmoil Over Austerity Measures
»Income Inequality Costing Americans Their Happiness
»Merkel: Sarkozy Back ‘Voluntary’ Private-Sector Involvement in Greek Rescue
»Paul Ryan: Obama’s Economic Experiment Has Failed — Time to Get Back to What Works
»Rare Earth Metal Prices Go Parabolic
»Spanish Public Debt Hits 13-Year High
»‘We Need to Find a Solution Quickly’: Germany and France Move Closer on Euro Issue
»Arrests Made as Quran-Burning Pastor Walks From Deaborn City Hall to Arab International Festival
»Demonizing America’s Silent Conservative Majority From Canada
»Florida: Commission Approves Proposed Mosque
»Guantanamo Captives ‘Weaponize’ Bodily Fluids
»How to Fix Public Education: Get Rid of it
»New Jersey: Mosque Hearing Ends Without a Vote
»Oklahoma: New Mosque in the Works
»Parents of Jessie Bender, 13, Lied About Daughter, Cops Say; Was Trying to Escape Arranged Marriage
»President Obama Shreds the Constitution Over the Shores of Tripoli
»Prosecutor: Store Owner Accused of Massive Food-Stamp Fraud Also Had Government Assistance for His Family
»Suspicious Vehicle Shuts Down Roads to Pentagon
»Tennessee: Mosque Foes Seek Officials’ Emails
»The Gloves Must Come Off Between Now and 2012
»Who Checked Out Leon Panetta?
»Wisconsin: Madison Muslims Continue Search for New Mosque Site, After Sun Prairie Flap
»Canada Gives the Bum’s Rush to Bill Ayers, Terrorist, Obama Pal, And ACORN Conspirator
Europe and the EU
»‘At Least 15 Countries’ Spying on Sweden: Report
»Belgium Plans 30 Pct Quota of Women on Management Boards
»Berlusconi-Sarkozy Discuss Draghi Leadership of ECB
»Danish Government Locked in Dispute Over Borders
»EU Lifts Asset Freeze on Austrian Kadhafi Associate
»EU Steps Up Legal Threats Over Sweden’s Wolf Hunt
»Explosive Find: Excavated Bomb Suggests Early Start for Artillery
»First Women to Appear in French Court for Wearing Banned Burkas Are Refused Entry… For Wearing a Burka
»France: A Mayor Calls for the Army
»French Fetishist Held for ‘Pleasuring Self on Foreign Feet’
»Gothenburg Mosque Opened on Thursday
»Greek Athenians Take Syntagma Square
»Ikea Beefs Up Store Security Following Blasts
»Italy: Ex-Brazilian President Lula ‘Cancels Rome Visit’ Amid Diplomatic Row
»Italy: Berlusconi Associate Arrested
»Italy: Exasperated Neapolitans Protest Uncollected Garbage
»‘Nepotism’ Scandal in Bulgaria’s Judiciary Escalates
»Netherlands: Multiculturalism Must Go: Donner
»Police Probe Ikea Bombing Blackmail
»Spain: Catalan MPs Helicopter Into Parliament
»Sweden: New Threats Keep Terror Alert ‘Elevated’: Säpo
»Traditional German Student Organization Debates Race-Based Entry Rules
»UK: Shopkeeper Who Frogmarched Teenage Thief Home to the Boy’s Father Endures Ten-Month Court Ordeal After Police Charge Him With False Imprisonment
North Africa
»Egypt’s Al-Karama Party Wants to Cancel Peace Treaty With Israel
»Juppé: Gaddafi Must Go, No Matter the UN Resolution
»Libya: More Bombs on Tripoli. Msgr Martinelli: Hopes for an End to the Conflict
»Stalemate in Libya Amid Italian Indifference
Middle East
»Caroline Glick: A Do or Die Moment
»Gender-Spotting Tool Could Have Rumbled Fake Blogger
»Iran Politics: Video Interview With Maziar Bahari
»Seeking Safety in Turkey: Syrian Refugees Describe Horrors of Assad Crackdown
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Worst Place for Women
»Muslim Mothers in India Charged in ‘Honor Killings’ For Strangling Daughters Who Married Hindu Men
»Pakistan: Punjab: Christian Families Flee False Accusation of Blasphemy
Far East
»China: Corrupt Chinese Communists Flee With 800 Billion Yuan (Over 20 Years)
»China’s “Born in the USA” Frenzy
»Prada Raised ‘More Than $2 Bln’ In Hong Kong IPO
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Did Internet Brides Murder Up to a Dozen Belgian Husbands?
Latin America
»Brazil: Italy Calls for Formal Talks Over Release of Convicted Terrorist
»Cuba Embraces Dutch-Style Sex Education
»“Why Aren’t You Speaking English?
»Italy Signs Migration Agreement With Libyan TNC
»Italy Signs Migration Accord With Libya Rebels
»Libya: Italy to Ask NATO to ‘Stop Migrant Boats’
»Maroni: NATO Ships Could Stop Libyan Migrant Flood
Culture Wars
»‘Gay’ Indoctrination a Reality
»Huge Heat Shield Has Huge Task: Protecting NASA’s Next Mars Rover
»Sluggish Sun May ‘Sit Out’ Next Solar Cycle
»Threats From All Sides: Bernie Ecclestone Fights to Save His Formula One Empire

Financial Crisis

America a Greek Tragedy

Our turn is coming soon: The looting of America has a tremendously high price. No one will ever know what didn’t happen because of the growth of unlimited government

After years of policies expanding the national government until it employed 1/3 of the workforce and expanding their social welfare net into a hammock for those who chose not to work the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded that Greece impose a budget that the unions saw as austere. For weeks riots raged, buildings burned and people died. Greece having cast their freedom into the wind is reaping the whirlwind. By seeking to make everyone equal and to ensure that no one failed they have placed their entire nation in risk of failing.

After massive bailouts from their EU partners and the United States the Greek problem seemed to go away. Now it’s back and our generous President has offered to borrow money from China to bail-out Greece once again. As all the Progressive Internationalists scurry to keep Greece from swirling down the drain we shouldn’t fall for the illusion. Systems like this don’t work no matter how hard people try to keep the house of cards from collapsing.

Our turn is coming soon.

Even though we are the largest single contributor to the IMF they have recently issued a stern rebuke to The United States. This rebuke stated that in order to meet goals previously promised we would have to implement austerity measures that would be tougher than any since records began in 1960. Yet instead of austerity or even fiscal sanity our leaders, the same ones who have led us into not only mortgaging the farm but mortgaging the kids and the grandkids are acting as the cheerleaders and hand-wringers for the ritualistic rise in the debt limit.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Belgian Minister Warns of Lehman-Like Greece Domino Effect

Belgian finance minister Didier Reynders warned on Friday that Greece must be bailed out again, otherwise Europe risks bigger problems from a domino effect. Reynders told Belgian RTL radio that the danger of contagion could be compared to the financial crisis that ensued after the collapse of US bank Lehman Brothers in the autumn of 2008, which triggered the world’s worst recession since the 1930s Depression. As euro currency partners and the International Monetary Fund try to assemble a second bailout worth almost as much as last year’s 110 billion euros ($156 billion), Reynders said that taxpayers, confused about why governments felt the need to repeat the exercise, had no choice.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Berlin and Paris Call for Urgent Greece Bailout

The leaders of France and Germany called Friday for a new Greece rescue package to be worked out as quickly as possible, but gave no details on how voluntary private involvement would work.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Brussels Scolds Greek Political Class Amid Fresh Turmoil

The European Commission reprimanded the Greek political class on Thursday for the governing and opposition parties’ failure to forge a national unity government.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Eroding Franco-German Bonds: Tensions Flare Ahead of Merkel-Sarkozy Meeting

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in Berlin on Friday for talks with Chancellor Merkel. And there is plenty to talk about. From the euro to North Africa and nuclear power, the list of differences between the two leaders is growing. Diplomats have sounded the alarm.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU President Issues ‘Plea for Euroland’

EU Council President Herman van Rompuy has issued an public appeal for people and markets not to be so “pessimistic” about the state of the European Union, urging that the current crisis be approached with “serenity” instead.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Recovery From Debt Crisis ‘Vital’ To Chinese Interests

Ahead of a visit to Europe by the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, Beijing declared Europe’s recovery from its debt woes to be in the country’s own interest.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Woes Could Derail World Recovery: IMF

Sovereign debt woes in Greece and other weak eurozone countries are putting the global economic recovery at risk, the IMF warned Friday as it called for a shoring up of financial systems.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe Bids for Time in Greek Bailout ‘Quarrel’

Europe on Thursday sought to buy time amid costly squabbling over a second bailout for Greece as Athens fought to stave off a bankruptcy that would place huge strain on the euro.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece’s Ace Card: Help Us or We’ll Take You All Down

Rarely have the goings on of the Greek parliament commanded so much international attention. Once a complete irrelevance, its machinations, and in particular its apparent refusal to accept austerity, have assumed centre stage.

There are only two ways this can end. Either the surplus core has to accept that it must continue to bail out the periphery on a virtually permanent basis — a transfer union — or the single currency must lose its outer fringe. Both solutions carry significant cost to the core, the first through gift aid, the second through the crystalisation of bad debt. It’s a stark choice, but markets seem determined to bring matters to a head.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Politics in Turmoil Over Austerity Measures

Greece faced an escalating political crisis Thursday, with critics in the governing Socialist party in open revolt over harsh austerity measures despite assurances from the European Union that Athens would a receive rescue loan money needed to avoid a summer default.

The party feud was the latest crisis to heighten worldwide concern that danger of a Greek financial collapse could trigger panic elsewhere in the 17-nation eurozone — a fear that saw borrowing costs in vulnerable EU countries surge and stock markets come under pressure.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was forced to delay a planned Cabinet reshuffle and convene an emergency party meeting Thursday after two Socialist deputies resigned and others openly questioned his leadership.

“The political system is rotting …. The country is not being governed the way it should be,” said Socialist deputy Nikos Salagianis. “A reshuffle will not resolve the country’s problems.”

Papandreou is trying to push through a five-year austerity program worth 28 billion euros ($39.5 billion) that has been demanded by international creditors. The new spending cuts and taxes have spurred violent street protests as well as the party rebellion.

The PM failed Wednesday to form a grand coalition with rival conservatives to guarantee that the austerity measures would be passed, despite even offering to quit his job to clinch a deal. He later announced he would form a new Cabinet and put it to a confidence vote in parliament.

A bad day for equities

Stocks Europe-wide were down sharply for the second day running and the euro hit a three-week low below $1.41, meaning it has fallen around 4 cents in just a couple of days.

“The Greek crisis is spinning out of control,” said Kit Juckes, an analyst at Societe Generale.

Germany’s vice chancellor on Thursday insisted that Greece’s private creditors must share the pain of a new long-term bailout for the debt-laden country. Economy Minister Philipp Roessler said Thursday a new bailout package will require parliamentary approval and can only be considered with a “substantial contribution by private creditors.”

EU officials say discussions over a longer-term bailout for Greece are likely to be delayed until July as policymakers are split over how to get private creditors to share the pain — a move some experts say would be considered a default.

The European Central Bank warns that forcing losses on private creditors could pummel banks in Greece and throughout Europe, triggering a financial chain reaction of unknown — yet possibly catastrophic — proportions.

Investors could become convinced, for example, that other bailout recipients like Ireland and Portugal will be next to default, and fear of contagion could make the situation worse.

A European Central Bank official warned that the EU’s crisis bailout fund would have to double to 1.5 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion) if Greece fails to pays its debts, potentially spreading financial turmoil. Nout Wellink told the Dutch paper Het Financieele Dagblad that “if you fall through the ice you better have a very large safety net.”

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

Income Inequality Costing Americans Their Happiness

Americans are happier in times when the gap between rich and poor is smaller, a new study finds. The reason, according to research to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, is that when the income gap is large, lower- and middle-income people feel less trusting of others and expect people to treat them less fairly. The study also provides a potential explanation for why American happiness hasn’t risen along with national wealth in the last 50 years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Merkel: Sarkozy Back ‘Voluntary’ Private-Sector Involvement in Greek Rescue

Germany and France have come to an accord over the role of private bondholders in a second round of financial assistance to Greece, with Berlin appearing to back down somewhat over its insistence that the private sector bear losses.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Paul Ryan: Obama’s Economic Experiment Has Failed — Time to Get Back to What Works

A flurry of recent economic news — especially the May jobs report — confirms what many have feared for some time: This president’s leadership deficit has caused a disastrous jobs deficit, and where he has led, his policies have made things worse.

The president clearly inherited a difficult fiscal and economic situation when he took office. But his response to the crisis has been woefully inadequate. The president and his party’s leaders have made it their mission to test the hypothesis that more government spending and greater government control over the economy can jump-start a recovery better than the private sector can.

That experiment has failed. The stimulus spending spree failed to create jobs. Massive overhauls of the financial sector and health-care sector are fueling uncertainty and hindering our recovery.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Rare Earth Metal Prices Go Parabolic

Back in October we asked readers if they have “Ever heard of the oxides of Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Praseodymium and/or Samarium?” We added that “With price surges between 250% and 600% in one quarter, you may wish you have.” As we further predicted, courtesy of Chinese attempts to corner the rare earth space, these oxides were due to explode much further, because as their name implies, these compounds are “rare”, and happen to be mostly contained in one country: that’s right China. Well, for those who decided to give it the good old speculative college try, you may now retire. As the chart below shows, the YTD moves in the oxides of Dysprosium, Europium, Neodymium, Lanthanum, and all the other ones, have not doubled, not tripled, but in same cases, seen their prices increase tenfold! And people ridicule the silver “bubble”…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spanish Public Debt Hits 13-Year High

Spanish public debt hit a 13-year high in the first quarter of 2011 and shattered a key European Union ceiling designed to ensure strong state finances, Bank of Spain figures showed on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘We Need to Find a Solution Quickly’: Germany and France Move Closer on Euro Issue

A deal isn’t yet in sight for the next Greek rescue package, but Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel sought to express unity during a Friday meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin. Both, however, now agree that bank participation should be voluntary.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Arrests Made as Quran-Burning Pastor Walks From Deaborn City Hall to Arab International Festival

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Police have arrested at least three people who tried to block Pastor Terry Jones from walking from Dearborn City Hall to the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn.

The Quran-burning Pastor held a rally outside Dearborn City Hall. He began his march to the festival as a mob of people jeered at him, some spitting in his face.

Jones was picked up by Police and put into a black Ford Explorer with officers. He was escorted back to City Hall, where he decided he would head back to his hotel.

Pastor Jones and those with “Standup America Now” had requested the assistance of the National Guard as they expected “thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people opposing our rally.”

City and Community leaders have urged people to ignore Jones.

In April, Jones held a protest outside Dearborn City Hall, after being told by the court that he could not protest outside the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in the country.

           — Hat tip: RE[Return to headlines]

Demonizing America’s Silent Conservative Majority From Canada

On May Day, the international holiday of communists, the Washington Post editorial used Jonathan Kay’s book, “Among the Truthers: A Journey through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground,” to further besmirch and demonize the silent conservative majority of America. The left’s constant ideological wars against the taxpaying middle class and the job creators continue.

Jonathan Kay, the managing editor of Canada’s National Post, claims that he has interviewed hundreds of conspiracy theorists in the past three years. He theorizes that they have a “twisted relationship with reality” and explains it through the taxonomy of “true fake believers.”

The first group is the “apocalyptic doomsayers,” those who fantasize about good vs. evil. The most prominent person Kay picks to exemplify this category is Joseph Farah and his popular WorldNet Daily website as an example. The entire monolithic readership, in Kay’s opinion, “thinks conservative American values must battle an Islamist, Afrocentric, socialist president bent on destroying the country.”

I am looking at the economic destruction around me, the loss of homes, high inflation, high unemployment, high gas prices, schizophrenic foreign policies, excessive adulation of Islam, constant apologies to the world, endless cash for United Nations third world dictatorship, the war in Libya, Yemen, moratoriums on oil drilling, wasteful spending, TARP, stimulus 1, stimulus 2, confiscation of GM and Chrysler bondholder assets and redistribution to the unions, bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, school loan Fed takeover, debasing the dollar, cash for clunkers, cash for caulkers, driving up the price of coal on purpose, czars, global warming hoax, and I wonder, is this destruction on purpose or accidental due to incompetence? It is not that our national debt looms larger than it has ever been in the entire U.S. history; it is that we are “apocalyptic doomsayers.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Florida: Commission Approves Proposed Mosque

Anniston Road Residents Upset With City Planning Commission’s Decision

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Fear and emotion versus cold hard facts.

That’s how one person painted the sides of a dispute about building a mosque on Anniston Road on Jacksonville’s Southside.

But after all the talk at a meeting downtown Thursday to discuss the proposed mosque halfway between Atlantic and Beach boulevards, the city planning commission voted in favor of allowing a property owner to build a place of worship at the location.

People who live in the area said the building should not be allowed primarily because of traffic concerns.

A few dozen people attended Thursday’s meeting and got to speak if they wanted to. They also heard the agent for the property owner make a case saying traffic effects from a new 3,500-square-foot mosque would not be significant.

Still, homeowners on Anniston Road said it is not what they want in their community.

“We’ve seen people killed there,” resident Eddie Gibbs said. “As a matter of fact, the very property that they just approved, there’s been multiple cars run into those trees. The only reason they didn’t go onto the property is because the trees stopped them.”

“I had no intentions of saying anything today, but I thought, ‘You know, wait a minute. I need to make a stand. I’ve lived there all my life,’“ said resident Linda Hall, who has lived in the neighborhood for 56 years. “We don’t want it. We want a residential community with neighbors that help one another.”

Some of the residents who live in the neighborhood said they were heartbroken by the commission’s decision.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Guantanamo Captives ‘Weaponize’ Bodily Fluids

When a fiddle player and her band toured the prison camps at Guantánamo recently, guards told of a new devious and disturbing tactic confronting them.

A captive on a hunger strike had been jamming something foul up his nose to contaminate the pathway for medical staff who feed him a nutritional shake twice a day.

Political protest or mental illness?

The captive was jamming his own excrement up his nose. On the topic of bodily waste abuse, prison camp management “will not speculate on the motivations for this behavior,” said Navy Cmdr Tamsen Reese, who confirmed the account of country artist Natalie Stovall.

The guards see it as a tactic meant to demean those tasked with keeping the captive alive, wrote Stovall in a blog post. “It means the medic putting the tube up his nose and down his throat must clean out the feces first.’’ But Stovall wondered whether the prisoner was debasing himself as well.

Guantánamo guards have for years told visitors that their war on terror captives “weaponize” their body waste. They throw cups of urine and feces at troops in what soldiers and sailors call “a cocktail.”

But this latest tactic marks a new frontier at the remote prison camps the Pentagon set up nearly 10 years ago.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]

How to Fix Public Education: Get Rid of it

If you want to fix America, you have to fix America’s broken education system; and you must start by getting rid of the one we have.

I’ve been up in front of too many classrooms in too many different schools, and had lunch in too many different teachers’ lounges, to be wrong about this. I have also sat through more school board meetings, in more towns, and pored over more school budgets, than I care to remember.

Here are a few suggestions for getting out from under the costliest and least effective education establishment in human history.

De-certify the teachers’ unions, like Ronald Reagan de-certified the air traffic controllers’ union. The politics, admittedly, will be difficult, but there are two compelling reasons for doing this.

First, we have an education crisis. Or, to put it another way, the education provided by these unions stinks. And they oppose any reform that anyone has ever thought of. Second—we can’t afford it anymore! Teacher salaries, benefits, and pensions are driving states toward bankruptcy. (The other public employees’ unions are part of this financial crisis, too: but unlike teachers, they haven’t been able to convince anyone that their work is necessary. Nor does Hollywood ever make a movie about the superhuman achievements of a great clerk at the Division of Motor Vehicles. Teachers have always had great P.R.)

Democrat politicians sign sweetheart deals with teacher unions because a big chunk of that money gets kicked back into their political campaigns. So a lot of the money you pay in school taxes goes to elect people who always raise your taxes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

New Jersey: Mosque Hearing Ends Without a Vote

Board to decide on planned mosque July 7

The hearing on an application to open the Borough’s first mosque came to a close Thursday, though the Planning Board didn’t take a vote.

Given that only five Planning Board members were in attendance, some of whom hadn’t read every transcript of the application, which stretches back to September, Board Attorney John Ten Hoeve recommended that the Board take some time to look over the details of the case before voting.

At the meeting, the Board continued to hear from traffic engineer Hal Simoff, who concluded that the amount of parking at 28 Farview Terrace, 32 spaces, was inadequate for a house of worship. Based partly on observations at mosques in Teaneck and Boonton, Simoff concluded that the proposed mosque would require more than 100 spaces.

“The variance requested for parking is just too significant to justify an approval,” he said.

Simoff testified for Selma and Stanley Mitchel of Mitchel Realty on 22 Madison Avenue. Their building shares part of a border with the proposed mosque site, and the Mitchels object to the application over worries that spillover parking will end up on their lot.

The Planning Board also heard from a group of more than a dozen supporters of the proposed mosque, many of whom were Paramus residents. Azka Mohyuddin, a Prospect Street resident, said many Muslims already worshiped at the nearby Veterans of Foreign Wars Post without creating a parking problem.

The El-Zahra Foundation, the sponsor of the proposed mosque, has a lease agreement with the VFW to use their parking lot if the Farview Terrace lot isn’t sufficient.

Ray Griffith, a Farview Terrace resident, expressed his concern that the traffic generated by a mosque would exacerbate conditions on an already congested street. Griffith also worries that worshipers will occupy all the street parking on Farview Terrace, making it difficult for him to have guests over.

The Planning Board will have three weeks to decide before deliberations at its July 7 meeting.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Oklahoma: New Mosque in the Works

NORMAN — When Saddiq Karim, and the other founding members of The Islamic Society of North America, started the center in 1976 in Norman, they purchased one house.

That house was remodeled to serve as the main prayer hall. A second house was purchased in 1984 and added on as a separate space for the women of the church. Congregation members also purchased two other houses in the area.

But over the years, the space at 420 E. Lindsey St. just wasn’t enough. So, in February, the old mosque was demolished. A new one is in the process of being built at the same location.

“Our major problem wasn’t just that it was old and needed help, also because the women and children had very little space. In most Muslim countries, women do not attend mosques, not as much as they do in America. They have a right to do it, they are not forced to go to the mosque like in the church men and women are both supposed to go,” Karim, who also is serving as architect and construction manager of the new mosque, said. “Another concern we had, is our congregation, when it started, started with about 45 to 50 people. Steadily, it’s grown.”

The new mosque also will provide more parking, another problem the congregation faced.

According to Karim, the mosque — when completed in January or February — will be about 7,000 square foot and have two worship areas, one for women, one for men, and two separate entrances, even though it is not required by Islamic law.

“In Islam, to proper dress for a woman is like a nun. As long as she’s got loose dress on and covers her hair, that’s Islamic dress. If you do not want to have that kind of dress, women have to be with women. So what we will have is a separation with doors. If they want to have a joint function, they can open the doors and the mosque will become one,” Karim said.

Since the former building the mosque was in was a house built in the 1950s, the prayer area wasn’t facing Mecca, which is northeast 42 degrees.

“So the building is designed in such a way that we don’t waste a whole lot of space. That was one of the problems we had in the old mosque was that everything was facing north and south and east and west,” Karim said.

The exterior of the mosque will feature a 14-foot diameter copper dome and will be a wood frame construction.

“The anticipation is that this is going to serve us for a good amount of time,” Nouman Jan, vice president of the society, said.

According to Karim, 95 percent of the funds raised for the church have come from the congregation. Although the church has been raising funds since 2007, it is still in need of donations to reach the almost $800,000 price tag that the new mosque has. But Karim is confident that building a new mosque is the right decision.

“This is one of the things I’ve been wanting to do before I die. When we established in 1976, we didn’t think we would come this far. We don’t want to have a huge, huge center because we are in the neighborhood; we want to respect the neighbors,” Karim said.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Parents of Jessie Bender, 13, Lied About Daughter, Cops Say; Was Trying to Escape Arranged Marriage

A 13-year-old girl reported missing by her parents was really trying to escape an arranged marriage in Pakistan, police said Wednesday.

Jessie Bender’s folks told authorities last month their daughter ran off because she didn’t want to go on a two-month family trip to her step-father’s native country. They then falsely claimed she was abducted by someone she met on Facebook, officials said.

However, after weeks of investigating leads that wrangled the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Office and police departments nationwide, authorities say it was all a lie.

“Bender family members misled detectives and withheld critical information,” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Roxanne Walker said in a news release.

Police soon discovered that another family member had helped the young teen hide out in Apple Valley, about 30 miles from her hometown of Hesperia in Southern California, to avoid becoming a Pakistani man’s bride.

Bender, as well as her three siblings, were taken into child protective custody while authorities decide whether to recommend filing charges against her family, San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.

“All of the information that was obtained by investigators will be sent to the district attorney’s office for review,” she said.

The parents’ claim that she had been kidnapped sparked a nationwide investigation, involving both local and federal agencies. At one point, a person in Chicago was considered a suspect in her disappearance because the girl’s mother, Melissa, believed she had been communicating with him via Facebook.

“He was the last person she spoke to at 1:47 in the morning,” she told KTLA last month, speaking with her husband, Mohammad Khan. “I don’t know who he is … He claims that he doesn’t have her, but I don’t believe it.”

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

President Obama Shreds the Constitution Over the Shores of Tripoli

Says that congressional authorization is unnecessary — UN Security Council approval is sufficient

Things are heating up over Libya and I do not mean just NATO’s sustained aerial bombing campaign. President Obama is facing a challenge in Congress and in court to his failure to seek congressional authorization for U.S. military involvement in the Libyan war in accordance with the United States Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. And while the Obama administration seems to think that all it needs to do is to act within the authority granted by the United Nations Security Council, tempers are beginning to fray at the Security Council too as the war drags on.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent a letter to President Obama on June 14th warning the White House that its continued deployment of U.S. military troops in the North African country appeared to violate the law requiring any U.S. President, within 60 days of his first reporting the launching of a military engagement, to secure Congressional authority for doing so. The letter told President Obama that he was out of time and demanded a legal justification for passing the deadline.


The Obama administration makes much of the fact that the term “hostilities” is not specifically defined in the War Powers Resolution and then tries to put its own spin on the term by equating “hostilities” with direct combat operations, the use of ground troops and the likelihood of American casualties. This is important because the Resolution applies where United States Armed Forces are introduced “into hostilities or into situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances.” (Sec. 3)

The fundamental flaw in the Obama administration’s argument is that the authors of the War Powers Resolution apparently foresaw such a potential loophole and made it clear that our armed forces do not have to be involved in direct combat to be considered potentially engaged in hostilities. Section 8(c) defines the “introduction of United States Armed Forces” to include “the assignment of member of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities.” It is preposterous to argue that our close support of NATO sorties engaged in hostile bombing attacks in Libya does not inject our own armed forces into those hostilities. There is nothing in the War Powers Resolution that limits congressional authorization to situations where we are the singular leader of an ongoing military mission. When we deploy American armed forces to help one side engaged in hostilities in a foreign country, we too are necessarily engaged in those hostilities alongside our allies, albeit in a supporting role.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Prosecutor: Store Owner Accused of Massive Food-Stamp Fraud Also Had Government Assistance for His Family

GRAND RAPIDS — After reporting low income and virtually no assets, the government says, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed got help for food, housing, heating, medical treatment and college costs for his family.

He didn’t disclose that his small Grand Rapids grocery store deposited $800,000 from 2006 to 2009. Or, that he made $60,000 annually in food-stamp fraud. Or, that he routinely moved cash in a business account to an account for personal spending, which included a $15,000 family vacation in Mecca, the government said.

“The principal goal of the conspiracy was to obtain money by defrauding federal programs intended to provide food, housing, medical care and underprivileged,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote recently in a court document.

The investigation, which led to charges against Mohamed and two others, was one of at least five in the last year in the Grand Rapids area targeting stores that trade electronic food stamps for cash and ineligible items. Enforcement action last year in Michigan convinced the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the benefit program, to provide a $3.3 million grant to fight fraud and abuse in the food-assistance program.

With many families struggling in Michigan, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Thursday: “It really is an outrage when people are cheating and defrauding a system” that is intended to help the poor.

Stabenow, D-Lansing, is chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She announced the award during a conference call with reporters.

She said Michigan showed the most improvement last fiscal year in cracking down on food-stamp fraud.

“That’s a great thing, but we have a lot more work to do,” she said. “I have absolutely no tolerance for people who are cheating the system.”

With the advent of electronic benefits, investigators can determine if stores are redeeming an inordinate amount of food stamps, factoring in the size of the store and its location and, during inspections, food on the shelves. In some cases, investigators said, stores offered little in the way of nutritional food.

The numbers of those requesting assistance nationwide has hit a high of 44 million in recent months. Last fiscal year, $64 billion in food stamps were redeemed, compared to $15 billion in 2000. The USDA reported fraud accounts for one percent of spending, which is down significantly from years ago.

The $3.3 million grant will not only be used to stop fraud and abuse, but help prosecute offenders and recoup losses. In the last six months, 80 people have been convicted in the country, and ordered to repay $80 million, she said.

Stabenow said that job losses in the state have put many in the position of accepting assistance — something they never imagined doing.

In the latest Grand Rapids case, the government alleged that Mohamed, his son, Mohamed Isse, and his nephew, Abdulrahman Hassan Mohamed, owned or operated Rayan Phone Cards and Grocery, a small store that catered to the Somali immigrant community, and conspired to defraud the government’s food-stamp program.

The defendants have all pleaded not guilty.

Kessler, the federal prosecutor, said the nephew became an authorized redeemer for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. The father, in applying for assistance, said he worked as a $7.50-an-hour meat cutter at the store, the government in court documents.

“This allowed Ahmed to conceal the substantial income he derived from the store, so he could fraudulently apply for and receive federal welfare, housing, medical and educational benefits for himself and various members of his family,” Kessler wrote, in an indictment.

The government alleged $474,000 in food-stamp fraud.

It also said Mohamed and his family wrong received $46,605 in SNAP benefits; $4,313 in Women, Infant and Children benefits; $44,873 in rent subsidies; $57,963 in Medicaid benefits; $300 in emergency heating assistance; and $24,678 in Pell Grants.

           — Hat tip: JBP[Return to headlines]

Suspicious Vehicle Shuts Down Roads to Pentagon

Breaking News — Roads Closed Near Pentagon

(Updated at 7:00 a.m.) Several major roads and on-ramps near the Pentagon have been shut down this morning due to a suspicious vehicle.

Police have blocked off Washington Boulevard between Columbia Pike and Route 110 and Route 110 between I-66 and I-395. Access to the north parking lot of the Pentagon has been limited, we’re told.

The road closure is remarkably similar to Monday night’s suspicious vehicle incident near the Pentagon.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Tennessee: Mosque Foes Seek Officials’ Emails

MURFREESBORO — Plaintiffs suing Rutherford County’s government for approving a mosque construction project want access to court-sealed emails from County Mayor Ernest Burgess and two planning officials, according to a motion filed Wednesday.

“It would be a miscarriage of justice to allow the county attorney’s office to sift the evidence and unilaterally determine what (the plaintiffs) are entitled to receive,” states the motion submitted by the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, Joe Brandon Jr. of Murfreesboro.

The plaintiffs contend the county failed to provide proper public notice prior to the county’s Regional Planning Commission’s approving site plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro mosque on May 24, 2010. The ICM is constructing a mosque on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike southeast of Murfreesboro city limits.

No trial date has been scheduled on the open meeting issue before Chancellor Robert Corlew III. He’s ruled that the 17 plaintiffs do have a right to due process on this issue.

Brandon earlier this year sought emails sent by Burgess, County Planning Director Doug Demosi and Assistant Planning Director Elizabeth Emslie since Dec. 31, 2009.

[more at link]

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

The Gloves Must Come Off Between Now and 2012

It is time for those running for office to stop thinking about sound bites, career moves, political expediency and money. We must stop speculating, if not planning for race wars, smears and a sea of Alynsky diversions if Obama is confronted. Know it all will happen and be ugly. It never has mattered what Obama’s race was. I’m thrilled we have a black man in the White House. I’m horrified and offended at his Un-American, illegal and evil behavior. Funny about evil behavior. It knows no color boundaries and plays with every color in the deck.

Let us look at all the layers of misrepresentation and horror with President Obama.

Unconstitutional Health care bill that must be destroyed

Obama, with his progressive controlled congress pushed for, lied about, then got passed over a trillion dollar Health care bill, that forces us all to have Government approved Health care. Just some of the things peppered through this bill, you know, the one rich Pelosi said she didn’t read but would later.

Morsels of Obama Health care

  • It does pay for illegal aliens to have health care (page 50 section 152) It will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents.
  • The IRS controls this monster and according to page 58 and 59, the Government will have access to your bank account and have all authority to make money transfers from it. Best not be late on any of your forced, insurance payments!
  • Doctors will be told what they will be paid. Yes, it doesn’t matter their specialty, the government decides on their charges. Welcome communism. (page 241 and 253)
  • There will be deadly rationing of health care for older patients. (Check out page 272). Cancer hospitals say they will ration care according to a patient’s age. Kiss it goodbye if you are 76 and get cancer. Have you ever thought of assisted suicide?
  • Related to the above horror, the Government really will mandate ‘advanced-care- planning-consultations. (death panels). If you are on social security, guess what, you will be forced to attend the ‘end-of-life’ planning seminar every five years. (Page 425, line 4-12)
  • The Government will make the decision and declare which Doctors can write an ‘end-of-life order. (page 429, line 13-25). This will become manipulated and planned mass murder of seniors if it stands. That is my strong opinion.
  • Finally, your last Health care snack for today is to remind you that like Congress being exempt from Social Security, instead given a massive retirement package, way above us commoners, they are also exempt from this health care bill. They are above that also. You wouldn’t want them fined, to not have the right care in time, or have money yanked out of their account would you? That would be awkward and rude.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Who Checked Out Leon Panetta?

In a new revelation in the Panettagate scandal, CIA Director Leon Panetta inserted a tribute in the April 11, 1984, Congressional Record to one of his constituents, Lucy Haessler, calling her a “woman of peace” for her work in the pro-Soviet Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). This is when Panetta was a California Congressman representing Santa Cruz.

Panetta declared that Haessler participated in “peace conferences” sponsored by the Women’s International Democratic Federation “in France, the Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany.” One has to wonder about the “peace conferences” being held in such places as the Soviet Union. But Panetta put the tribute in the record without displaying any indication of its Soviet sponsorship or casting doubt on the organization’s commitment to “peace.”

Panetta’s praise for Haessler got the attention at the time of Human Events, the national conservative weekly, which noted that WILPF “appears to take the Soviet line on virtually every issue that comes up, ranging from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and yellow rain [communist chemical warfare] to the issue of new U.S. missiles in Europe.” The Women’s International Democratic Federation was an outright Soviet front organization.

Panetta told Human Events that he was unaware of the extremist nature of the WILPF and other groups, but indicated it wouldn’t have mattered that much to him anyway. He said, “Let me tell you something. I don’t know if you know about Santa Cruz, but Santa Cruz is a center for people who’ve been real activists in all kinds of organizations. If I started doing those kinds of checks on people who help out…I’d never stop. It’s just that kind of place.”

But his tribute to identified Communist Party member Hugh DeLacy, inserted into the Congressional Record in 1983, suggests that Panetta did have keen knowledge of these “real activists,” by virtue of his praise for DeLacy’s stand against “McCarthyism.” Hence, it appears that Panetta did indeed “check” on these people, completely understood they had been accused of membership in the Communist Party or having communist sympathies, and found them totally acceptable and praiseworthy.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Wisconsin: Madison Muslims Continue Search for New Mosque Site, After Sun Prairie Flap

Yes, we have no bias

For weeks now, reporters have been trying to get Abdulla Champeon to say something he hasn’t believed. They want him to be angry, to be the victim. They want him to use that magic word that would vault into every headline and TV newscast: discrimination.

“I’ve done a bunch of interviews about this earlier, and the reporters — you could tell — they were just trying to lead into it,” says Champeon, a loud-voiced, barrel-chested Muslim who represents a recently controversial Islamic center on East Washington Avenue. “They said, ‘Do you think they hated you because you’re a Muslim?’ You could just tell that they really, really wanted me to come out and say it. But I just don’t see it.”

Early last month, the Sun Prairie City Council denied Champeon’s jamaat of roughly 120 Muslims from buying a squat, single-story building in an office park 10 miles north of Madison to use as their new mosque and prayer center. The ruling affirmed an earlier decision by the Sun Prairie Planning Commission, which contended that the Nature’s Preserve Office Park — an enclosure of dozens of businesses and hundreds of parking spaces — didn’t have enough parking to support the mosque’s Friday prayer services.

The decisions have extended the jamaat’s lengthy and uncertain search for a bigger, less-decrepit mosque than their current home at 2617 E. Washington Ave. They also aroused local suspicion of religious discrimination, as communities, reporters and broadcast pundits wonder whether Madison had its own Ground Zero Mosque controversy.

Last week, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin entered the drama, pledging assistance following a brief meeting with the jamaat’s imam, Salih Erschen. Soglin says he’ll soon dispatch city staff to help find a suitable mosque location on Madison’s east side for the Muslims in that area.

“This sort of thing has happened before [with other groups] and is not an unusual issue,” Soglin says. “They’re part of our community, and we’re going to try and give them some help.”

Erschen expresses a mixture of optimism and doubt, noting the obstacles that remain in the jamaat’s search. For one, some donors have rescinded as much as $10,000 because it has taken too long to find a new mosque. Also, Erschen says, the group can’t apply for an interest-rated loan because of religious reasons — another complication to an already convoluted quest.

But Erschen makes no claims that anti-Muslim bias is among the obstacles to overcome and seems bemused that this suspicion attended the Sun Prairie adventure: “It was almost like there was a hope in the people’s mind to have that kind of intrigue this close to home.”

At the time of the initial rejection early last month, you could almost hear Madison’s formidable trumpets of tolerance gathering wind. Skepticism and consternation swirled.

The Wisconsin State Journal unleashed a series of dispatches and ran readers’ letters on the issue, some tinged with suggestions of religious profiling and foul play. TV reporters also raised the specter of discrimination in their newscasts.

And then John “Sly” Sylvester of WTDY radio took to the airwaves, hurling accusations of religious discrimination like Molotov cocktails.

“We have terrible, terrible parking issues,” Sylvester said, each word sodden with sarcasm. “The ways those Muslims park their cars? Constant disruption!”

His rant continued: “There’s no logical reason for Sun Prairie to act like Murfreesboro, Tenn.,” which exhibited anti-Islamic sentiment last year when area Muslims tried to build a mosque. “There’s no reason for Sun Prairie to behave in this way. As a citizen of Dane County, I don’t want this community to stain our tolerance.”

The people most directly involved in this issue — the east-side jamaat, the Sun Prairie City Council, the management of the office park — reject this analysis. They say the mosque was rejected because of one reason: parking.

Local Muslim leaders say the east-side Friday prayer services typically draw up to 120 people. But Erschen predicts that if recent trends continue — and a new mosque is found — the jamaat may eventually have as many as 500 Muslims flocking to its mosque on Fridays.

Though frequently half-empty, the office park in Sun Prairie couldn’t handle that much growth, says Sun Prairie Mayor John Murray. “This was a land-use issue, not a theological issue.”

But even among jamaat members, there is suspicion that other factors were in play. One gray-bearded man who declined to give his name for fear of retribution says with a quivering voice that the mosque wasn’t rejected over parking, it was discrimination.

“I’m sorry I’m so upset,” he says. “I’ve lived in Madison for longer than 40 years, and I don’t want to leave Madison because people need to know that there is discrimination, and other people are scared to say this.”

That such accusations would become central to this issue is no surprise. Robert Howard, the UW-Madison professor of communications and religious studies, sees it as an amalgam of disparate forces, including: Wisconsin’s current political polarization, U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast, and recent discriminatory spats over mosques in other places.

“In many ways, this controversy is a product of our times,” Howard says. “Certainly in the last years, there has been a lot of attention paid to Islam. In that sense, people are paying more attention to it now than they were before.

“And discrimination does happen, so it doesn’t surprise me that people would suspect this was discrimination.”

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]


Canada Gives the Bum’s Rush to Bill Ayers, Terrorist, Obama Pal, And ACORN Conspirator

Canada was absolutely right to deny entry to unrepentant American terrorist Bill Ayers.

Ayers, a self-described “small-c communist,” was barred Wednesday by the Canadian Border Services Agency. He had hoped to spread his visceral hatred of freedom and democracy at the Worldview Conference on Media and Higher Education on Thursday in Toronto. The conference was co-sponsored by the notorious Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. OISE is well known for its embrace of radical left-wing politics.

According to the National Post, conference organizers whined that Ayers was being denied his so-called academic freedom. A spokesperson said Ayers’s refused admission to the country “should raise red flags for citizens concerned with free and open debate.”

The spokesperson is absolutely right. Those flags should be red. Bright red.

The now-retired education professor was a leader of the communist Weather Underground, a terrorist group that bombed U.S. targets, including the Pentagon, throughout the late 1960s and ‘70s. He said he doesn’t regret the bombings and has never disavowed the use of violence to achieve political change.


When Ayers and Obama sat on the boards of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and the Woods Fund of Chicago they directed funds to ACORN.

Now ACORN has metastasized to Canada. It maintains offices in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Vancouver. (ACORN, incidentally, is also one of the evil groups New York Times bestselling author Ann Coulter writes about in her new book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America.)

Investigators on a U.S. congressional committee concluded that ACORN illegally spends taxpayer dollars on partisan activities, commits “systemic fraud,” and violates racketeering and election laws.

The investigators’ findings were included in “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured As a Criminal Enterprise?” a report issued in summer 2009. The report declares that “[t]he weight of evidence against ACORN and its affiliates is astounding.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

‘At Least 15 Countries’ Spying on Sweden: Report

Over fifteen countries are systematically conducting intelligence operations against Sweden, in Sweden or against Swedish interests overseas, according to security service Säpo.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Belgium Plans 30 Pct Quota of Women on Management Boards

Belgium’s parliament on Thursday adopted a plan to force state and public companies to give women 30 percent of seats on management boards, following in the footsteps of similar legislation in France and Norway. Still to be approved by the Senate, or upper house, the legislation provides for the quota system to come into force from next year in state-owned companies such as telecoms operator Belgacom, the postal service and the lottery.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Berlusconi-Sarkozy Discuss Draghi Leadership of ECB

(AGI)Rome- Leaders Berlusconi and Sarkozy shared a “cordial phone call” and agreed on the need for balance on the ECB board. The central topic in the conversation between the Italian Prime Minister and French President was Mario Draghi’s appointment as chairman of the European Central Bank. Premier Berlusconi concurred with today’s statements by president Sarkozy regarding the ECB’s composition and both leaders reiterated that there is an opportunity for even greater balance in the board within the parameters of the ECB’s autonomy.

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

Danish Government Locked in Dispute Over Borders

Government and DF win majority but lose composure over border control agreement

The government secured the majority it needs for its ‘permanent border control’ agreement last week by the narrowest of margins. In a vote of 90 for and 89 against, parliament cleared the way for the deployment of 98 additional border customs agents — more or less — and sent a strong message to the rest of the EU about how “open” Denmark wants to be. The razor-thin margin of approval — secured by the single mandate of Per Ørum Jørgensen of the Christian Democrats — was itself symbolic of how controversial the symbol-laden agreement is both inside and outside the nation’s borders.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Lifts Asset Freeze on Austrian Kadhafi Associate

The European Union announced Tuesday it was lifting the assets freeze on Libyan businessman Mustafa Zarti, believed to be a close associate of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Steps Up Legal Threats Over Sweden’s Wolf Hunt

The European Commission on Thursday renewed its cricism of Sweden’s wolf policy, giving the country two months to take steps to “protect endangered wolves” or face a hearing at the European Court of Justice.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Explosive Find: Excavated Bomb Suggests Early Start for Artillery

Archeologists in northern Germany have discovered two projectiles from the 17 century that suggest exploding cannon balls have been around longer than thought. A complex fuse system may have led the bombs to detonate when they reached their targets.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

First Women to Appear in French Court for Wearing Banned Burkas Are Refused Entry… For Wearing a Burka

The first women to be summoned before a European court for illegally wearing burkas were refused entry — because they refused to remove their face coverings.

Najet and Hind who keep their features hidden at all times and refuse to identify themselves beyond their first names, were due to appear before a judge outside Paris.

Both are accused of violating France’s so-called ‘burka ban’, which came into force earlier this year and prevents anyone covering up their faces in public.

But when Hind, a 31-year-old mother, tried to enter the court building in Meaux on Thursday, police held her back, telling her to take her head-covering off.

Najet, meanwhile, simply stayed at home, with the 34-year-old saying she knew she would be stopped from entering.

[Return to headlines]

France: A Mayor Calls for the Army

The department of France best known to the world at large is no longer Finistère, in Brittany, or Savoie, in the Alps, or Vendée, with its special history, but the notorious Seine-Saint-Denis, number 93, northeast of Paris. Catapulted to fame in 2005 as rioting went on for weeks, an area of immigrant ghettos, crime, gangs with stockpiles of war weapons, drug dealing, murders, rapes, and general degradation, it has once again made headlines in France. This time, the town of Sevran has become a city under siege.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French Fetishist Held for ‘Pleasuring Self on Foreign Feet’

French police have arrested an alleged serial foot fetishist who lured foreign women to his home near Paris with the promise of a warm bed but instead pleasured himself on their feet. The unnamed man, aged 42, from Mantes-la-Jolie to the west of Paris, allegedly approached young women at night after they missed the last train and offered them somewhere to sleep. Once at home, he announced that he was a chiropodist and began massaging the unsuspecting women’s feet, before moving on to sucking their toes and then masturbating against their feet. He dutifully returned the women to the train station the next morning.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Gothenburg Mosque Opened on Thursday

Gothenburg’s new Mosque opened on Thursday. 200 specially invited guests attended the opening ceremony on Hisingen. Kalsoom Kaleem sits in the board of Sweden’s Muslim Foundation. She was happy and moved to tears. — I am glad to share my emotions and my happiness with all the people in society and with my brothers and sisters in Gothenburg, she told Sveriges Radio. — I have had many doubts but I didn’t have any choice but to keep trying and trying. So this feels very good, said Bacham Ghanoum, vice chairman of the Sweden’s Muslim Foundation, to GP. 14 speakers talked during the ceremony and the message was clear: the mosque should be a meeting place.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Athenians Take Syntagma Square

16 June 2011 Eleftherotypia Athens

On 15 June, tens of thousands of people marched to the parliament in Athens, where the Greek “Angry Ones” have been camping for the last three weeks. Although the protest was largely peaceful, there were a number of skirmishes with police. Eleftherotypia reports.

Alexandros Kyriakopoulos

“March on!” shouted the drummer continuing to bang his instrument — “Everyone forward!” Like the orchestra on the Titanic, the rest of the band kept on playing while the insults flew.

At that moment, Syntagma (Constitution) Square was flooded with people, as were the nearby streets and alleys. The police tear gas canisters continued to rain down in an atmosphere rendered electric by the anger of the crowd. The air was filled with the sound of explosions and the sirens of ambulances to-ing and fro-ing to collect the injured. In all the small groups where scuffles were breaking out, you could hear people shouting “se-cur-ity.”

In the centre of the square, demonstrators formed human chains to prevent trouble and allow the injured to pass through. Several elderly people with open head wounds were evacuated, while small children wandered around wearing gas masks that were to big for them.

The organisers with megaphones asked people to gather together and to stay in the square in spite of the scuffles. “We won’t leave. This is our day!” they shouted. As the skirmishes became more and more violent, they called on people not to give in to the police pressure, and not to break the human chain. “No matter how many teargas grenades they throw, we are staying. This square belongs to the people’s revolution and democracy. It’s where our hopes were born.”

Large crowds also turned out in Thessaloniki, in Patras, and in small towns and cities like Lamia and Larissa, in Crete, and on islands like Corfu and Samos. Everywhere, the Greek people took to the streets: farmers with their tractors, shop owners, students, schoolchildren and pensioners. This is a mass uprising, and the political unease is palpable. This time round, it will not stop here: the next date is set for Sunday 19 June.

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

Ikea Beefs Up Store Security Following Blasts

Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea has decided to boost security measures at all of its European outlets following several recent explosions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Ex-Brazilian President Lula ‘Cancels Rome Visit’ Amid Diplomatic Row

Rome, 16 June (AKI) — Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has cancelled a visit to Rome at the end of June, fearing he could face protests over his refusal to extradite convicted leftwing terrorist Cesare Battisti to Italy, Brazilian daily ‘Folha de Sao Paulo’ reports.

Lula was due to attend an agriculture seminar being held in the Italian capital and to promote his former food security minister Jose Graziano as a candidate for the post of director-general at Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) during his visit, the daily said.

Italy on 10 June recalled its ambassador to Brazil following the Brazilian Supreme Court’s decision to reject a request to extradite Battisti to Italy to serve a life sentence for homicide.

Lula’s last official act before leaving office in December was to grant 56-year-old Battisti political refugee status on the recommendation of a report by Brazil’s attorney general.

Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that a bilateral extradition treaty should apply, but that the final decision must be taken by Lula.

The decision not to extradite Battisti, announced by Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim, came on Lula’s last day in office despite warnings from Italy that it would consider such a move “unacceptable”.

Italian judges have sentenced Battisti in absentia to life in jail for four murders committed in the 1970s. He spent three decades on the run and has lived in France, Mexico and Brazil, where he was in jail from 2007 until his release on 9 June.

Lula’s successor Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist militant who joined Lula’s Workers Party, has not taken up a request from Italy to reverse Lula’s decision on Battisti.

Italy has announced it is appealing to the International Court of Justice over the case.

Battisti was a member of the Armed Proletariat for Communism, which carried out a number of murders in the 1970s. An Italian court found Battisti guilty of the 1978-1979 murders of a prison guard, a special investigator of terrorist organisations, a butcher and a jeweller, and in 1993 he was sentenced to life in prison.

Battisti escaped from an Italian prison in 1981 while awaiting trial.

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

Italy: Berlusconi Associate Arrested

La Stampa, 16 June 2011

The 15 May arrest of businessman and consultant Luigi Bisignani “rocks the world of politics,” headlines La Stampa, which, along with the rest of the Italian press, is already talking about the “P4 case,” a reference to the secret masonic lodge which planned to subvert democratic institutions in 1970s. Investigators believe that Bisignani, a former journalist was at the head of “a secret association, whose members collected confidential information from contacts in the worlds of politics and business, which they used to exert pressure, on occasion even resorting to blackmail,” to obtain public tenders and well-paid jobs, explains the Turin daily. La Stampa points to links between Bisignani and Silvio Berlusconi, who insists that the affair is another judicial “plot” against him. At the same time, the newspaper argues that there is no connection between the emerging scandal and the recent slump in electoral support for the head of government, whose political fortunes “appear to destined for inevitable decline.”

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

Italy: Exasperated Neapolitans Protest Uncollected Garbage

(AGI) Naples — Protests have broken out in Naples over uncollected garbage as citizens blocked a street in Via Vicinale Monti, in the Pianura quarter. Protests broke out last night when dumpsters were overturned and their contents strewn across the street. Even the streets in the city center and high end shopping areas are not immune, with overflowing rubbish bins and torn plastic bags float down the streets.

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

‘Nepotism’ Scandal in Bulgaria’s Judiciary Escalates

A nepotism scandal in Bulgaria’s judiciary escalated Thursday as hundreds of judges demanded the dissolution of the top judicial body over its controversial appointment of a court chief.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Multiculturalism Must Go: Donner

Dutch society and its values must take precedence and integration policy should go, home affairs minister Piet Hein Donner told parliament on Thursday evening during the presentation of his integration bill.

Donner spoke of a ‘change of direction’ in which the government ‘will distance itself from the relativism contained in the model of a multicultural society’. Society changes, he said, but must not be ‘interchangeable with any other form of society’, according to press reports.

Ample opportunity

It is not the government’s job to integrate immigrants, he said. General policy on schooling, jobs and housing gives them ample opportunity for integration.

Donner wants an end to integration policy and a tougher approach to people who ignore Dutch values or disobey the law. He is planning to introduce a law making forced marriage illegal and he wants tougher measures for immigrants who lower their chance of employment by the way they dress.

If necessary, the government will introduce extra measures to allow the removal of residence permits from immigrants who fail their integration course.

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

Police Probe Ikea Bombing Blackmail

As Ikea increases security at its stores across Europe following an explosion in its Dresden branch, police in Germany are examining a letter claiming responsibility and threatening further attacks if a substantial amount of money is not paid.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Catalan MPs Helicopter Into Parliament

La Vanguardia, 16 June 2011

“Outrageous,” headlines La Vanguardia, in the wake of a Barcelona protest that blocked access to the Catalonian regional parliament, which was scheduled to hold a debate on budgetary cuts. Several hundred Angry Ones — “Indignados” in Spanish — prevented MPs, some of whom were physically attacked and insulted, from entering the building. Helicopters and police vans had to be deployed to enable them to take their seats. As the day went on, there were a number of violent skirmishes with police. This is an “attack on democracy in Catalonia,” remarks the outraged Catalan daily, “the worst attack on a parliament since 23-F:” the botched coup attempt of 23 February 1981. La Vanguardia argues that the 15-M movement expresses “a common sense of unease prompted by the dysfunction of democracy and a desire for regeneration,” however, “the eruption of the Angry Ones has increasingly been marked by anti-political and populist messages, which do not acknowledge any representative role for state institutions” — an attitude that “brings to mind the worst aspects 20th-century totalitarianism,” the Barcelona daily affirms.

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

Sweden: New Threats Keep Terror Alert ‘Elevated’: Säpo

New threats to Sweden have resulted in security service Säpo deciding to maintain the country’s terror alert level at “elevated”, the agency’s head said in an interview on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Traditional German Student Organization Debates Race-Based Entry Rules

The Burschenschaften are German student groups that have always been German patriots. Now some may be lunging into extreme-right territory with a debate on whether to make German blood a requirement for membership.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Shopkeeper Who Frogmarched Teenage Thief Home to the Boy’s Father Endures Ten-Month Court Ordeal After Police Charge Him With False Imprisonment

A shopkeeper suffered a gruelling ten-month court ordeal and was warned he could face life in jail — for frogmarching a 15-year-old shoplifter home to the teenager’s family.

Owais Dar, 26, of Nelson, Lancashire, thought he was doing the right thing when he caught the boy stealing a bunch of grapes. He drove the teenager to his home and handed him over to his father.

But two days later, at four in the morning, Mr Dar was woken by police banging on the door and was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment.

[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Al-Karama Party Wants to Cancel Peace Treaty With Israel

The Egyptian al-Karama party, whose leader plans to run in the upcoming presidential elections, has said the cancellation of the Camp David Accords is its top priority, according to a report by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm on Thursday.

Al-Karama party representative Amin Iskander said the party wishes to cancel the agreement “immediately because it’s not in Egypt’s interest.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Juppé: Gaddafi Must Go, No Matter the UN Resolution

(AGI) Algiers — According to the French Foreign minister, Alain Juppé, Gaddafi must relinquish his power and leave Libya. This is the will of the “largest majority of the international community”, Juppé said. While visiting Algeria, the French minister underscored the importance of ousting the Libyan leader, even if that task was not spelled out in the resolution number 1973, issued by the UN Security Council and establishing the no fly zone over Libya.

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

Libya: More Bombs on Tripoli. Msgr Martinelli: Hopes for an End to the Conflict

Local sources report signals of an opening of the Libyan regime. The high cost of the mission are a challenge to the governments of Great Britain, the United States and Italy.

Tripoli (AsiaNews) — NATO bombings on Tripoli continue. Overnight air raids hit the Gaddafi bunker and other areas of the capital, but there are no reports of deaths and injuries. Archbishop Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, confirms to AsiaNews that “all night we heard the bombs, which continue to fall unabated in various parts of the city”. The prelate says, however, he is confident in a positive change in the situation. “Yesterday — he says — I met some influential members of the World Islamic Call Society (WICS) who have asked for our cooperation to discuss a possible peaceful solution to the war.”

According to local sources, the regime is making overtures of a possible opening for dialogue with NATO forces, who would be willing to stop the bombing. “But the important thing is to continue to pray for the end of the war — says Martinelli — only prayer in recent months has given me the strength to go forward and to have hope.”

Meanwhile, a further 90 days of mission to Libya is placing pressure on the governments of the United States, Britain and Italy, as they attempt to grapple with cuts due to the economic crisis.

A few days ago a bipartisan group of parliamentarians considered the700 million dollars spent on the war against Gadhafi, initiated without Congress approval, excessive. President Barack Obama will have to address the House tomorrow on the legality of the mission, in order to seek further funding.

Yesterday, Admiral Mark Stanhope, Commander of the British Royal Navy, denounced the high costs of the mission in Libya, but was immediately contradicted by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Criticisms are also being voiced in Italy, where the Interior Minister Maroni asked for a review of the nation’s participation in the war, which has so far cost more than 600 million Euros. (Sc)

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

Stalemate in Libya Amid Italian Indifference

For Angelo Del Boca, an historian and Libya expert, people are tired of this war and NATO and the rebels have run out of resources. A meeting between government and rebel representatives in Paris is a good sign. After the bombs, a new path is opening.

Rome (AsiaNews) — “This is a crazy war that is taking place amid everyone’s indifference, especially in Italy. Members of the NATO coalition are running out of money and do not want to continue the fight. The rebels don’t have any resources left, but people continue to die. Meanwhile, Gaddafi plays chess,” said Angelo Del Boca, a historian and Libya expert. Speaking to AsiaNews, he said that Italian and world media are deaf to appeals for a ceasefire and talks.

“This attitude is due to our country’s economic crisis. However, let me remind you that we have already spent 700 million Euros for this ‘toy’ that killed thousands of people on both sides, violating international law, UN resolutions and the friendship treaty signed with Italy.”

For Del Boca, signs of a breakdown are visible inside Libya. The rebels have conquered many towns like Gharyan and villages in the country’s southeast on the border with Tunisia, but local sources are saying they have run out of weapons, and just patrol the area. Gaddafi no longer bombs them, despite the fact that his army is still well equipped.

For the historian, this “is a sign that everyone is tired of the war, which has reached a stalemate, and cannot continue with weapons, but must now turn to diplomacy.”

According to the historian, a meeting in Paris between members of the government and representatives of the Transitional Council is a first step “towards finding another path other than bombs”.

“Yesterday,” Del Boca said, “even Saif al-Islam Gaddafi proposed elections within three months by the international community. However, the colonel is not showing any sign that he will quit.”

Meantime, the US Congress is putting pressures on Barak Obama to justify the US intervention in Libya beyond 90 days. The huge costs of the operation, which will reach US$ 1.1 billion by September, are being closely scrutinised.

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

Middle East

Caroline Glick: A Do or Die Moment

Every day, major stories come out of the Middle East. And behind each of these stories are major developments that deserve of our attention and, more often than not, our intense concern. Just this week, major stories have come out of Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen and Pakistan that are all deeply disconcerting.

In Syria, dictator Bashar Assad’s violent repression of the popular revolt against his tyrannical, minority regime has exposed the Syrian leader as a vicious murderer. While there is some room for hope that the Syrian people may successfully overthrow him, given the US’s refusal to provide any tangible assistance to the regime opponents, it is hard to see how such a happy future could come about…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Gender-Spotting Tool Could Have Rumbled Fake Blogger

Software that guesses a writer’s gender could have prevented the world being duped into believing a blog that opposed the Syrian government and was striking out for gay rights was written by a young lesbian living in the country. It turned out the author of the blog, “Gay Girl in Damascus”, was a man — something the online gender checker would have picked up on. When New Scientist fed the text of the last blog post into the software, it said that the author was 63.2 per cent likely to be male.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iran Politics: Video Interview With Maziar Bahari

Journalist Maziar Bahari was imprisoned at Iran’s infamous Evin Prison. He sits down with Steve Paikin to discuss his time spent at Evin, and the brewing battle between president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Khamanei.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Seeking Safety in Turkey: Syrian Refugees Describe Horrors of Assad Crackdown

Syrian President Bashar Assad is driving away his own people, say refugees who have fled into Turkey. Eyewitnesses describe executions, random violence and bodies in the streets. But despite the exiles’ suffering, many Turks are suspicious of their motives for crossing the border.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Worst Place for Women

An expert study concludes the country is the most dangerous place for women after the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and India. AsiaNews experts disagree, saying changes are taking place.

Kabul (AsiaNews) — Widespread violence, lack of health care and poverty make Afghanistan the worse country in the world for women, this according to a study by the Thomson-Reuters Foundation. However, AsiaNews sources do not share such a negative view.

The study, based on interviews with 213 experts from around the world, indicates that Afghanistan tops a list of five worst nations, ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia. The inclusion of India has raised eyebrows given its great economic development; however, widespread female foeticide and the nation’s sex trade explain its low ranking.

The survey was compiled to mark the launch of a website, TrustLawWoman, aimed at providing free legal advice to women’s groups.

High maternal mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a “near total lack of economic rights” render Afghanistan such a threat to its female inhabitants. “Continuing conflict, NATO air strikes and cultural practices combine to make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women,” Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, said.

Sources tell AsiaNews that in the case of Afghanistan many factors have to be taken into account. Even so, the status of women has improved in recent years.

“In Kabul, women wear the veil, but fewer women wear the burqa,” an expert said. “Women drive vehicles, which is banned in many Muslim countries.”

“It is true that getting proper medical care is hard, but the problem is widespread,” and “it is worst in the small towns and villages,” the source said.

“Since the war continues, I think that the situation is bad for everyone, and that it is not worse for women than for others.”

“Girls go to school and learn, and their families agree to send them,” another source said. “Some mullahs are opposed, but families don’t listen to them. We have women doctors and lawyers. Many other teachers and 27 per cent of Members of Parliament are women. Three are cabinet ministers. In short, there has been a lot of progress compared to the Taliban regime.

“Of course, the situation is worse in villages and in areas under Taliban influence. Abuses against women are normal in the villages and families force girls to marry whom they choose. The number of young women who commit suicide after suffering abuse is high. But we must remember that under Taliban rule, women had no rights. Now we must work to give them the dignity they deserve.”

Still, the path is still long. “Pakistan has some of the highest rates of dowry murder, so-called honour killings and early marriage,” said Divya Bajpai, health adviser at the International HIV/Aids Alliance. In fact, as many as 1,000 women and girls die in honour killings annually in that country.

The aforementioned study also noted that in India “there were three million prostitutes, of whom about 40 per cent were children”.

Forced marriage is also frequent and up to 50 million girls are thought to be ‘missing’ over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide because in many parts of India parents prefer to have boys rather than girls.

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

Muslim Mothers in India Charged in ‘Honor Killings’ For Strangling Daughters Who Married Hindu Men

Two Muslim mothers in India were arrested and accused of killing their daughters for dishonoring their families for running off with Hindu men, authorities said.

Newlyweds Zahida, 19 and Husna, 26, who were neighbors, were strangled on Wednesday night when they returned home after marrying men their mothers didn’t approve of, cops said.

The mothers allegedly helped each other choke their daughters.

“We killed them because they brought shame to our community,” Khatun, one of the mothers who uses one name, told the Indian Express newspaper after her arrest on Friday.

“How could they elope with Hindus? They deserved to die. We have no remorse,” she said.

A third woman who allegedly helped the mothers was on the run, the Express reported.

There has been a spike in so-called “honor killings” across India as young men and women have sought to buck the country’s tradition of arranged marriages and elope with partners outside their social class or religion.

Marriages between Hindus and Muslims are traditionally prohibited by both communities, though they have become more common in some urban areas in recent years.

Zahida and Husna, who, like Khatun, use only one name, lived in Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India that borders Nepal.

They ran away and married a pair of Hindu laborers earlier this month, cops said. They returned on Tuesday and sought protection with local officials, but they were sent home to make peace with their mothers, the Express said.

The officials even had the mothers sign a bond promising not to hurt their daughters. But the mothers allegedly defied the pledge.

“When I woke up yesterday, I found my mother sitting beside my sister’s body,” Saira, Zahida’s older sister, said. “She said she had killed her. I ran to the police station and informed them. Soon we got to know Husna had also been killed.”

Just days before the women were arrested, India’s Supreme Court said that people who commit honor killings should receive the death penalty.

The high court slammed the practice as “barbaric” and “feudal.”

While there are no official figures, an independent study found that some 900 people were killed each year in India for defying their elders, according to The Associated Press

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Punjab: Christian Families Flee False Accusation of Blasphemy

The students of a madrassa try to force a child to convert. A relative is attacked for defending him, and accused of blasphemy. A priest: “This is a common practice in the region. Many cases of forced conversions are not made known”. The authorities turn a blind eye to the problem.

Lahore (AsiaNews) — Ten Christian families were forced to flee from Chak 68, Arifwala, in Khanewal district, for fear of the consequences of an accusation of blasphemy. A Christian boy of eight years, Ihtesham, nicknamed “Sunny” went to buy ice in a market, and was surrounded and harassed by students of a madrassa, an Islamic religious school. They asked him to recite verses from the Koran, those every Muslim reads the so-called “Kalma”, in short the statement that “there is no God but Allah ….” They asked him to renounce his religion and convert to Islam.

An uncle of Sunny, Dildar Masih, seeing that his nephew was in trouble, because of the students, intervened. Sunny explained to him that they were bullying him to renounce his religion. Dildar addressed the boys, he rebuked them and told Sunny to go home. The boys told of the incident to the religious leaders at the madrasas. The latter announced that Dildar Masih had committed blasphemy, making fun of Koranic verses, and the loudspeaker of the madrasa urged all to punish the blasphemer, to set an example. A crowd gathered around Dildar where he was working and attacked him. After the incident, ten families fled from the village.

Father Rufin John, from Khanewal, told AsiaNews: “This is a common practice in the region. Many cases of forced conversions are not disclosed. In many schools it is mandatory for all to read verses from the Koran, it is in the program, and is compulsory for students of all faiths to read them. If students of faiths other than Islam do not read them, they are subject to abuse, or are thrown out of schools. “

Father Afzal Masih of Rahim Yar Khan told AsiaNews: “In Rahim Khan, the madrasa students annoy teenagers of different faiths every day. They do not allow them to play in their playgrounds, they do not want them to pass close to the madrasas, the radical school of thought is at its maximum in this region. They are taught that Christians and people of other religions may be killed if they do not accept Islam. And the authorities turn a blind eye to this problem. “

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

Far East

China: Corrupt Chinese Communists Flee With 800 Billion Yuan (Over 20 Years)

They are members of the Party and directors of state companies. The money — the result of bribes and illicit funds — has been carried abroad in suitcases full of money or rented “couriers”. The Bank of China admits that corruption is endangering the power of the Communist Party.

Shanghai (AsiaNews / Agencies) — At least 18 thousand Chinese of the ruling establishment have fled abroad in less than 20 years, bringing with them some 800 billion Yuan (equal to 87.24 billion euros) earned through corruption.

A recently published report by the Central Bank of China, says that the money was transported out of the country in suitcases or by renting or “couriers” who like “ants” transferred the money to other nations.

Among the 18 thousand are party cadres and managers of state companies that received bribes or ill-gotten gains. The period covered is between the mid-’90s and 2008.

The report explains that the low-level cadres, who stole relatively small sums of money have fled to countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Russia.

Those of note and the highest level, who fled with huge sums of cash, preferred the more liberal countries: USA, Canada, Australia, Holland. If they could not immediately get visas in these Western countries, they temporarily re-located to African countries, Latin American or Eastern Europe.

The 67 page report, was originally marked as “confidential”, but later won an award for “outstanding value of financial research” and was published on the bank’s website.

The document — drawn up in June 2008 — said that rampant corruption is undermining the foundations of the Communist Party. “It [corruption] — it says — is a direct threat to the clean-politics structure of the [Communist] Party and harms the foundations of the party’s power.”

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

China’s “Born in the USA” Frenzy

When Liu Li boarded a plane for the United States, she had a little bit of makeup on, was wearing a loose dress, and had her hair up. She tried to hold her handbag in front of her belly in a natural way, just as the middleman had taught her. She was trying to look as calm as any wealthy Chinese lady would look when travelling abroad. But Liu Li couldn’t help feeling terribly nervous: she was six months pregnant when she left for the United States, where she wanted to give birth to an American citizen.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Prada Raised ‘More Than $2 Bln’ In Hong Kong IPO

Hong Kong, 17 June (AKI/Bloomberg) — Prada and its owners raised about HK$16.7 billion ($2.14 billion) in this year’s biggest Hong Kong initial public offering after the company sold shares near the low end of its target amid a global stock-market slump.

The luxury company, the Prada family and Intesa Sanpaolo sold 423.3 million shares for HK$39.50 each, according to two people familiar with the matter. The sale gives Prada a market value of about 9 billion euros, or 23 times 2011 earnings, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public.

The Milan-based company is the second foreign issuer in a week, after Samsonite International, to scale back its Hong Kong fundraising plans amid a five-week slump for the Hang Seng Index, which has lost 6.7 percent since 13 May. Prada, which starts trading in Hong Kong on 24 June, sold stock at a higher valuation than global peers like LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s biggest maker of luxury goods.

“Market volatility and Prada’s high valuation hurt demand,” said Castor Pang, head of research at Hong Kong brokerage Core-Pacific Yamaichi International Ltd. “Even after the low pricing, Prada’s stock still looks much more expensive than peers like LVMH.”

President Miuccia Prada, granddaughter of founder Mario Prada, her husband, chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli, and other family members will receive about $1.3 billion from the sale, before fees and the exercise of overallotment options, and retain a stake worth $10.7 billion, according to data from the prospectus. Intesa will receive about $517 million, and the company about $298 million. About two-thirds of the company’s proceeds will be used to fund the expansion of Prada’s directly operated stores as Asian customers increase spending on luxury goods.

The share sale by Prada, which began in 1913 as a store selling leather bags, trunks and Bohemian crystal in Milan, is the largest for consumer-goods companies in Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samsonite, the Mansfield, Massachusetts-based luggage maker, dropped 7.7 percent in its first day of trading yesterday after raising $1.25 billion in its IPO, the bottom of a revised range.

Including Prada, companies have raised $13.2 billion in Hong Kong IPOs so far in this year, compared with $6.2 billion at the same point a year ago. Of the 30 companies to price IPOs this year in Hong Kong and begin trading, 23 have fallen since their debut and the average decline is about 16 percent, the data show.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa

Did Internet Brides Murder Up to a Dozen Belgian Husbands?

Belgian investigators are looking at a number of suspicious deaths of Belgians in Cameroon. All died within the last five years and there is no direct connection between the Belgians. The Belgian Foreign Ministry says that the deaths may be suspicious.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Brazil: Italy Calls for Formal Talks Over Release of Convicted Terrorist

Rome, 17 June (AKI) — Italy has instructed its ambassador to Brazil to ask the Brazilian government to form a bi-lateral commission to resolve a dispute over last week’s release of convicted Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti.

“On the instructions of foreign minister Franco Frattini, the Italian ambassador to Brazil to formally asked Brazilian authorities to activate the Permanent Commission of Conciliation as foreseen by a 1954 convention between Italy and Brazil,” the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Italy and Brazil signed the agreement “for the amicable settlement of any disputes which might arise between the two countries,” the document said.

Italian judges have sentenced former far-left armed militant Battisti in absentia to life in jail for four murders committed in the 1970s. He spent three decades on the run and has lived in France, Mexico and Brazil, where he was in jail from 2007 until his release on 9 June.

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s last official act before leaving office in December was to grant 56-year-old Battisti political refugee status on the recommendation of a report by Brazil’s attorney general.

Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that a bilateral extradition treaty should apply, but that the final decision must be taken by Lula.

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

Cuba Embraces Dutch-Style Sex Education

Cuba can learn a thing or two from Dutch-styled sex education. That’s the view of Mariele Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, espoused in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Ms Castro — a qualified sexologist — says that figures from the United Nations have convinced her about the effectiveness of the “Dutch model”. Dutch children are informed about sex at a young age — a sex education programme has been slotted into the national curriculum at primary schools.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


“Why Aren’t You Speaking English?

A Texas senator is receiving praise and criticism.

During committee testimony this week in Austin, a Texas senator interrupted a Spanish speaker telling him he should “be speaking in English” during a committee hearing.

Antolin Aguirre of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition was testifying against Senate Bill 9 that would help crack down on illegal immigrants in Texas. Aguirre spoke through an interpreter even though he had been in the U.S. since 1988.

Two minutes into Antolin Aguirre’s testimony, Sen. Chris Harris, a Republican from Arlington, interrupted asking Aguirre’s interrupter, “Did I understand him correctly that he has been here since 1988?” Harris asked. “Why aren’t you speaking in English then?”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Italy Signs Migration Agreement With Libyan TNC

(AGI) Naples — Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and the leader of the Libyan TNC have signed an agreement to jointly manage the migration flows. The Italian government and the TNC will exchange information on illegal immigration flows, criminal organizations that encourage them, the modus operandi and itineraries used as well as on organizations specialised in falsifying papers and passports, as well as provide reciprocal assistance and cooperation in fighting illegal immigration, including the deportation of illegal immigrants .

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

Italy Signs Migration Accord With Libya Rebels

NAPLES, June 17 (Reuters) — Italy signed an accord with the head of Libya’s interim rebel government on Friday to jointly tackle a migration crisis triggered by the violence.

Thousands of people have fled Libya since an uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year rule began in February. Many have attempted to cross the Mediterranean and reach Italy on unsafe boats and hundreds have died in the attempt.

Italy’s Franco Frattini and Mahmoud Jebril, leader of National Transitional Council (NTC), agreed to exchange information on illegal migration and the organised criminal networks that encourage it, as well as cooperate on repatriating migrants.

“This accord shows how close the collaboration is between Italy and the NTC …. and how serious the NTC considers cooperation with countries that have recognised it,” Frattini said at a news conference in Naples.

Italy threw its full support behind Libyan rebels in April, recognising them as the only legitimate representatives of the country and promising to supply them with weapons.

Rome, the former Libyan colonial power, has urged other countries in the anti-Gaddafi coalition to recognise the NTC.

Before NATO operations began in Libya, its government had an agreement with Rome to take back migrants removed from Italian territory. Gaddafi had demanded more EU funding to help stem the flow of migrants.

He warned governments in March that millions of immigrants would try to reach Italy and France without Libya as a partner.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Libya: Italy to Ask NATO to ‘Stop Migrant Boats’

Varese, 17 June (AKI) — Italy will ask Nato ships to stop boats carrying migrants from North Africa to Italy.

“I think you can intervene immediately by asking Nato vessels already along the Libyan coast to block goods from entering, to also be used to block people from leaving,” Italian interior minister Roberto Maroni told reporters on Friday at a security conference in the northern Italian city of Varese.

“This can be done right away if Nato decides agrees. It would be a solution to the problem.

Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi needs votes from Maroni’s anti-immigrant Northern League party to keep his government from falling. The Northern League has threatened to end its governing alliance if Italy doesn’t pull its support for bombing the North African country.

Unrest in many Arab countries this year has caused the main flow of illegal immigrants seeking to enter the European Union to switch from Greece to Italy’s islands, the EU’s border protection agency Frontex said Tuesday.

Most migrants arrive in Italy by landing on the small island of Lampedusa, which is closer to Tunisia than the Italian mainland. In excess of 41,000 migrants have reached Lampedusa this year.

Italy on Friday was due to sign an accord with Libyan rebel leaders aiming to keep migrant boats from leaving for Italy. An agreement to jointly patrol coastal waters with Libya was scrapped in March when Italy joined Nato in its mission to defend civilians against Muammar Gaddafi.

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

Maroni: NATO Ships Could Stop Libyan Migrant Flood

(AGI) Varese — Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has raised the idea of a naval blockade to stop the flood of migrants from Libya. “I believe we can intervene right away,” said Maroni while attending a meeting at Varese’s Insubria University, “NATO, for example, which has ships off the Libyan coast to stop trade, could be required to stop people from leaving. It would be a solution to the problem.” .

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

Culture Wars

‘Gay’ Indoctrination a Reality

One homosexual activist says people who live the same lifestyle he leads aim to indoctrinate and recruit young children.

In a recent opinion article titled “Can We Please Just Start Admitting That We Do Actually Want to Indoctrinate Kids,” David Villarreal openly confesses that homosexual activists are pushing anti-bullying measures and pro-”gay” curriculum on children to “recruit” them.

Villarreal writes that he would “very much like for many of these young boys to grow up and start [having sex with] men,” and he insists that children who are not indoctrinated to accept alternate lifestyles will later become “hateful” and ignorant.

Dran Reese, director of The Salt & Light Council, laments the goal to target young children.

[Return to headlines]


Huge Heat Shield Has Huge Task: Protecting NASA’s Next Mars Rover

When NASA’s newest Mars rover dives into the Martian atmosphere next year, it will be cocooned in the largest “beat the heat” system ever sent to the Red Planet. To ensure that the nuclear-powered rover — called the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), or “Curiosity” for short — survives its fiery entry and reaches a pinpointed landing spot, it will have a huge heat shield and back shell that together form a protective aeroshell. The heat shield is outfitted with something called the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrument (MEDLI) — a set of sensors that will record atmospheric conditions and gauge how well the heat shield thwarts the brutal welcoming that Curiosity will receive high above the red Martian dirt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sluggish Sun May ‘Sit Out’ Next Solar Cycle

Now, other diagnostic measurements of the sun also point to weird behaviour, suggesting the normal sunspot cycle may be interrupted. “The sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation,” says Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Threats From All Sides: Bernie Ecclestone Fights to Save His Formula One Empire

The Formula One empire of Bernie Ecclestone is under fire on several fronts. Rupert Murdoch and investment firm Exor are trying to take it over, while the racing teams, unhappy that Ecclestone gets so much of the profits, want more money. But the wily auto-racing mogul has proved hard to beat in the past.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]