Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110629

Financial Crisis
»A New Leader for the IMF: ‘Convinced European’ Christine Lagarde Takes Over
»As Police Crush Protests, EU Narrowly Wins Greek Vote
»Bankrupt Greece Blackmails Europe, Bailout or Euro Zone Dies, Global Financial System Collapse
»Barroso Hails Lagarde’s IMF Nomination
»D-Day for Greece as Lawmakers Vote on Austerity
»Despite Fears: Owning Home Retains Allure, Poll Shows
»EU Holds on to IMF Chairmanship
»EU to Greece: No More Solidarity if You Vote No
»Greece: Police Use Tear Gas in Front of Parliament
»Greek Austerity Gains Momentum Despite Growing Protests
»New French Plan: German Banks Signal Willingness to Help Greece
»Portugal Cuts Budget Deficit to 8.7% of GDP
»Portugal Shows Austerity Zeal, Postpones High Speed Rail
»Respite for the Euro: Greece Dodges Insolvency by Passing Austerity Package
»Claim: TSA Employees Now Developing Cancer Clusters From Standing Near Body Scanner Machines
»Hitchcockian Crows Spread the Word About Unkind Humans
»Jail for NY Synagogue Terror Plotters
»No Child Left Inside Act, Agenda 21 in the Classroom
Europe and the EU
»‘Berlin is Playing Into the Hands of the Chinese’
»Berlin’s Dance With the Dragon
»Brussels Threatens Fines Over Naples Waste
»Chinese Cyber Attacks Target German Ministers
»Dutch Coffee Shops Allowed to Sell Cannabis to Foreigners, For Now
»Dutch MPs Back Unanaesthetised Slaughter Ban
»French Opposition Leader Joins 2012 Presidential Race
»Germany: Revenge Attacks Spark Fear of Extremist Violence
»Italy: Work Restarts on Lyon-Turin Rail Link
»Ministers Agree on Extension of Germany’s Anti-Terrorism Laws
»Netherlands: Verhagen: Fear of Foreigners Understandable
»Opposition Leader Stirs Up Trouble for Polish EU Presidency
»Right vs. Left: Arsons and Stabbings in Berlin as Extremist Groups Clash
»Sweden: Three Injured in ‘Gang-Related’ Shootout
»Swedish Police Backtrack on ‘Ethnic’ Profiling
»Switzerland: Plan for Foreign Criminal Expulsions Hits Impasse
»UK: Children’s Minister: Asian Communities Hampering Child Sex Inquiries
»Kosovo: Serbians Comemorate 1389 Battle vs Turks, Tension
Mediterranean Union
»Publishing: Mediterranean, ANSA to Host Aman 2012 Assembly
North Africa
»Egyptian Court Dismisses Muslim Case Against Christian Woman
»Egypt: Protestors Clash With Police in Tahrir Square
»Egyptian Salafis Boycott Coptic Businessman
»France Air Drops Arms to Libya Rebels: Source
»France: Paris Dedicates Square to Initiator of Tunisia Revolt
»Muslim Brotherhood Figure and Former Spokesman in the West: Establish a Global Islamic State
»UK Won’t Supply Libyan Rebels With Weapons as France Did
»Unlike France, Britain Won’t Arm Libya Rebels: Minister
Israel and the Palestinians
»Column in Saudi Daily Denies Holocaust, Criticizes Mandatory Holocaust Studies for Arab-Israeli Pupils
»Israel Rejects Gaza Ship Claims as ‘Bond-Esque’
»Organization Involved in Gilad Shalit’s Abduction Promises More Kidnappings
Middle East
»Ahmadinejad: Iran and Cuba Play an Important Role in Restoring World Order
»Averting a Swarm: Yemen’s Political Instability May Make it Difficult to Control Locust Breeding.
»Conference Defines U.S., Israel as Source of Global Terrorism
»Erdogan: Imprisoning Turkish Generals — And Ending Secularism
»Europe Must be Ready for Arab Reform Long Haul
»In Saudi Arabia, Renewed Discussion on Fatwa Permitting the Killing of Coworkers Who Do Not Pray
»Iran Denounces Upcoming BBC2 Documentary on Muhammad as Attempt to “Ruin Muslims’ Sanctity”
»Iran: Turkey Must Not Pressure Syria
»Lebanese Cleric: Demolish U.S. Embassy in Beirut
»Special Stakelbeck on Terror Show: Hezbollah Rising
»Syrian Terror Campaign Forces Refugees Across Northern Border
»Turkish Opposition Boycotts Parliament Opening
»Uprisings: OIC Islamic Countries, Change is Irreversible
»Yemeni Soldiers Killed in Clashes With Al Qaeda Militants
»Polish Opposition Blames Russia for President’s Death Crash
South Asia
»France’s Vinci Builts First 3D Cinema in Turkmenistan
»France Says Does Not Pay Ransoms, As Hostages Released
»Indian Cricket Plots Control of World Game
Far East
»Famine Threatens to Return to North Korea
»North Korean Players Struck by Lightning, Coach Claims
Australia — Pacific
»PNG Tribesman Attacks New Zealander With Arrows
»553 Refugees Land in Lampedusa
»840 Refugees Arrive in Lampedusa, 117 Women 28 Children
»Netherlands: Anti-Islam Party Wants New Definition of ´non-Native´
»Netherlands: Fear of Foreigners ‘Understandable’, Says Verhagen (Update)
»Over 500 Sub-Saharan Migrants Land on Lampedusa
»‘Tighten Border Controls’: Sweden Democrats
»Two Boatloads of Immigrants Land in Lampedusa
Culture Wars
»Rhode Island Lawmakers Pass Bill to Allow Civil Unions for Gays
»Swiss Drop Plans to Tighten Euthanasia Rules
»Astronomers Find Brightest Object of Early Universe
»Rover May Tackle Kilimanjaro-Sized Mound on Mars
»Space Station’s Brush With Space Junk Highlights Growing Threat

Financial Crisis

A New Leader for the IMF: ‘Convinced European’ Christine Lagarde Takes Over

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called it “a victory for France.” But Christine Lagarde, appointed to replace the disgraced Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund, insists she is independent. Despite a looming inquiry into past indiscretions, Lagarde has widespread backing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

As Police Crush Protests, EU Narrowly Wins Greek Vote

As the Greek parliament managed to narrowly pass a package of sweeping privatisation and draconian cuts to public services at the insistence of the EU and IMF, police deployed an unprecedented level of violence to suppress mass protests and prevent demonstrators from blocking the parliament. With a slim 155 in favour and 138 against, the centre-left government of Prime Minister George Papandreou managed to pressure all rebel MPs to back the package, shocking his deputies with visions of tanks on the streets of the capital if the bill did not pass.

Unconfirmed Twitter reports from on the ground suggest that plastic bullets have also been fired on demonstrators. “Normally there are provocations on the sides, but the police are attacking normal demonstrators,” Maniou Panayota, an assistant to Greek left-wing MEP Nikolaos Chountis told EUobserver from Athens. “These are university professors, locally elected politicians. The police violence is incredible. They are attacking with no mercy.”

She confirmed reports that police had fired gas into the metro stop underneath the square where a makeshift medic unit had been established. Takis Frantzis, a community activist, told this website: “Several times, the police have tried to occupy the streets using unprecedented levels of tear gas,” he added. Demonstrators describe an orange-green gas being used that they have not seen before. According to a Red Cross tent, some 500 people have been treated for respiratory troubles, with 20 taken to hospital for burns and bruises. “Teams of doctors are trying to heal the wounded,” Frantzis added.

Some 29 have been arrested, according to police. Of their number, 19 have been injured. Frantzis reports that the main rallying call people have been chanting is an old slogan from the days of the military junta: ‘Bread, education, freedom!’ “But now added is the phrase: ‘The junta didn’t stop in ‘74’,” he continued. “We don’t have democracy at the moment.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Bankrupt Greece Blackmails Europe, Bailout or Euro Zone Dies, Global Financial System Collapse

The Greek population is in constant revolt with another 48 hour national strike underway against ever expanding announcements of economic austerity though to date little of which has actually been implemented and therefore risks at the very a least a delay of the latest tranche of Euro 12 billion in what has now become a permanent flow of funds from core Euro-zone to Greece and other peripheral eurozone countries, therefore tax payers of core Europe and to a lesser degree Britain are being taxed to pay for the unwillingness of the PIIGS to pay their bills.

Core Euro-zone countries are effectively being black mailed by Greece to finance Greece’s public budget deficit and the interest payments due on the ever expanding debt mountain, none of which that the Greece population are having to bare the consequences of, for were they then Greece would have gone bust Iceland style a year ago. The facts are that IF Greece were not being financed as a consequence of being within the Euro-zone then all of the middle class of Greece would have already been swiftly wiped out, as the value of earnings, savings and assets would have collapsed along with the Greek economy as a consequence of the markets immediate adjustment to the true level of debt and inability to ever repay.

Some argue that a short- sharp shock Iceland style would prove better in the longer run but there would be blood in the streets perhaps even revolution that would be infinitely worse for the Greek population than what is taking place today as international trade would literally seize up overnight due to the inability to make payments on goods and services and if a country can no longer import foods, then all that would be left would be food aid being shipped in Africa style to prevent starvation.

Therefore the Greeks life style is being subsidised by hard working tax payers elsewhere, and those demonstrating on the streets of Greece are mostly delusional or represent subversive interests such as the communist party that are banking on profiting from debt crisis chaos, for if Greeks actually got what they are asking for i.e. an exit from the Euro and debt default, then the Greek population would soon, perhaps within 24 hours come to regret the outcome as all roads would lead to instant bankruptcy with all of its consequences. So all this talk of the Greeks wanting to leave the Euro-zone is a load of nonsense, for what the Greeks really need to worry about is Greece being kicked out of the Euro as it continues to act as a funding black hole that is currently costing core euro-zone tax payers Euro 100 billion per year that they will never get back.

If Greece were ejected from the Euro-zone then there would soon be an exodus of Greece’s best and brightest workers as they sought earnings in hard currency such as the Euro rather than be paid in worthless Zimabwe-esk Drachma’s. Something that the Euro-zone politicians may be considering behind close doors in a desperate attempt to save the Euro currency from collapse.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Barroso Hails Lagarde’s IMF Nomination

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde’s nomination to become the next IMF chief as an “excellent choice.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

D-Day for Greece as Lawmakers Vote on Austerity

Greece faces a financial D-Day as lawmakers vote on a tough austerity plan to secure new money from creditors to avoid sovereign default despite a last-ditch general strike by protesters.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Despite Fears: Owning Home Retains Allure, Poll Shows

Owning a house remains central to Americans’ sense of well-being, even as many doubt their home is a good investment in after a punishing recession.

Nearly nine in 10 Americans say homeownership is an important part of the American dream, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. And they are keen on making sure it stays that way, for themselves and everyone else.

Support for helping people in financial distress over housing is higher than support for helping those without a job for many months.

[Return to headlines]

EU Holds on to IMF Chairmanship

French finance minister Christine Lagarde has been elected as the new chief of the International Monetary Fund at a time of unprecedented economic turmoil in the eurozone.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU to Greece: No More Solidarity if You Vote No

On the eve of perhaps the most significant vote in the Greek parliament since the return of democracy to the country, the European Commission has warned there will be no more EU solidarity if the country says no to more cuts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Police Use Tear Gas in Front of Parliament

Police used tear gas on protestors in front of Greece’s Parliament building this morning to disperse demonstrators who are protesting against the austerity plan set to be voted on by MPs today. Europe’s attention is focused on Athens today, where MPs will be asked to vote in favour of a austerity programme, crucial to prevent the country from going bankrupt and to ward off danger for the Eurozone. Protestors have been arriving to the city centre since this morning to try to demonstrate against the vote by symbolically surrounding Parliament. According to a France Press journalist, police started to use tear gas to move a group of protestors away. Subsequently, numerous people moved back, taking refuge at the entrance of the Syntagma Square metro station. The press has learned that the vote, initially scheduled to take place at 11:00am, will probably be moved due to the large number of MPs involved in the debate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Austerity Gains Momentum Despite Growing Protests

Greece’s latest round of austerity measures continues to divide its people and lawmakers, with workers continuing a two-day strike as parliament votes on the bill. Approval is necessary to save Greece from default. Greek lawmakers appeared increasingly likely to pass a new round of austerity measures on Wednesday, with the fate of the country’s emergency loan package and perhaps its place in the eurozone at stake. The bill’s passage is contingent on the government’s ability to keep in line its slim majority of 155 out of 300 seats. A small number of lawmakers from the ruling Socialist party have defected or threatened to vote against some of or all of the measures. However Thomas Robopoulos, one of three Socialist deputies who said he would vote against the bill, backtracked before the vote and told Reuters news agency he would support the bill. “I have made the decision to vote for the plan because national interests are more important than our own dignity,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New French Plan: German Banks Signal Willingness to Help Greece

A new plan by French banks could lead to a breakthrough in efforts to create a second bailout for debt-stricken Greece after German banks also signaled their willingness to participate. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has reportedly scheduled meetings with the country’s top bankers to discuss the scheme. The German government has repeatedly insisted that private investors must take part in further financial aid for Greece, a requirement that has been met with some resistance. But now a potential solution to the conflict has emerged. A number of media reports say that German banks are prepared to take part in a new “soft” debt restructuring plan by Paris aimed at encouraging private sector participation. “The French proposal should form the basis for working out a German decision,” an unnamed German Finance Ministry insider told news agency Reuters on Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was expected to meet personally with leaders of the country’s largest banks and insurers on Thursday to negotiate a plan.

According to the model proposed by French banks, which are among the most vulnerable to Greek debt, financial institutions would roll over some 50 percent of Greece’s soon-to-mature bonds and invest in new bonds not set to mature for another 30 years. Some 20 percent would flow into a special fund secured by high-value securities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Portugal Cuts Budget Deficit to 8.7% of GDP

Portugal’s first quarter budget deficit fell to 8.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product from 9.2 percent the previous quarter thanks to spending cuts and increased tax receipts, the INE national statistics institute said on Wednesday. The outcome reflected “reduced public spending, including salary cuts” and higher tax revenue, INE said in a statement. Faced with a potentially devastating sovereign debt crisis, Portugal agreed to slash its public deficit to 5.9 percent by the end of 2011 in exchange for a 78-billion-euro bailout programme from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The deal, agreed earlier this year, aims to bring the deficit down to three percent of GDP, the EU limit, by 2013. Elected last month, Portugal’s new centre-right government has vowed to “scrupulously apply” the measures negotiated with the EU and IMF and promised even deeper budget cuts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Portugal Shows Austerity Zeal, Postpones High Speed Rail

Portugal’s new centre-right government vowed Tuesday to exceed austerity targets agreed in its EU-IMF bailout, sacrificing the completion a high-speed rail link with Spain. Suspending construction of the Lisbon-Madrid high-speed rail link that was due to be completed by 2013, formed part of a four-year government programme submitted to parliament for approval. The government of Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho vowed to “apply scrupulously the measures negotiated with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union,” but said it wants to be “more ambitious in the adjustment process for the Portuguese economy”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Respite for the Euro: Greece Dodges Insolvency by Passing Austerity Package

Greek parliament on Wednesday passed a vital 28 billion euro austerity package, allowing the country to avoid immediate insolvency. Efforts to come up with a vast new bailout for Athens have also made progress this week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Claim: TSA Employees Now Developing Cancer Clusters From Standing Near Body Scanner Machines

(NaturalNews) In a new twist to the TSA saga to which we can only say, “We told ya so,” the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that reveal TSA employees are reporting “cancer clusters” among their own employees who work near radiation body scanners. At the same time, DHS refuses to issue dosimeters to TSA employees because, obviously, those dosimeters would indicate alarming levels of radiation exposure. So it’s better to just keep everyone ignorant and keep irradiating all the TSA employees and hope nobody notices, apparently.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Hitchcockian Crows Spread the Word About Unkind Humans

The common crow knows when you’re out to get him — and he’s likely to teach his friends and family to watch out for you, a new study finds. In results that can only be described as Hitchcockian, researchers in Seattle who trapped and banded crows for five years found that those birds don’t forget a face. Even after going for a year without seeing the threatening human, the crows would scold the person on sight, cackling, swooping and dive-bombing in mobs of 30 or more. “Most of the birds that are scolding us are not the ones we captured,” said study researcher John Marzluff, a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington and an occasional victim of crow attacks. “It’s likely that they’re learning from their parents and their peers that this dangerous person is still out there.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Jail for NY Synagogue Terror Plotters

Three men have each been jailed for 25 years for planning to attack two New York synagogues and to shoot down US military planes.

James Cromitie, 45, David Williams, 30 and Onta Williams, 35, were arrested in May 2009 following a year-long sting operation.

The men, who were provided with inert explosives by an undercover informant, were convicted in October 2010 after a two-month trial.

The US Attorney’s Office said the three had voluntarily agreed to target synagogues and military planes using what they thought were real bombs and missiles.

An FBI informant was approached in June 2008 by Cromitie, who talked to him about Afghanistan.

Cromitie told the informant his parents had lived in Afghanistan, and said that if he died a martyr, he would “go to paradise”.

The informant told Cromitie he was involved with a Pakistan-based terrorist group known as Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Cromitie said he would like to join the group to “do jihad”.

The informant continued to meet Cromitie, the two other defendants and a fourth defendant, Laguerre Payen, who has not yet been sentenced.

The group discussed attacking synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and shooting down military aircraft from the Air National Guard Base in Newburgh.

The informant provided the men with a non-functioning surface-to-air guided missile and three Improvised Explosive Devices, each with C-4 plastic explosive.

The men were arrested as they took “active steps to carry out the operation”.

The men’s defence team claimed they were victims of entrapment, but Assistant US Attorney David Raskin said the sting did not undermine the seriousness of the men’s crimes.

He said: “The bombs that they were going to use were supposed to kill a lot of people. The fact that they were all fake really doesn’t matter.”

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

No Child Left Inside Act, Agenda 21 in the Classroom

On June 21, 2011, the Maryland State Board of Education proudly announced that students must be environmentally literate before they can graduate from high school. Each child must receive a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary environmental education aligned with the Maryland State Environmental Literacy Standards.


The sponsors of the bill claim, “studies show environmental education has a measurable, positive impact on student achievement not only in science but in math, reading, and social studies. Business leaders also increasingly believe an environmentally literate workforce is critical in a burgeoning green economy. Where is this “burgeoning green economy? I see no signs of it.

I did find plenty of data showing the dismal state of education and schools in Maryland when it comes to math, science, and reading. Students can barely read, write, balance a checkbook, or solve simple math problems yet are now required to be stewards of the environment and explore it in depth across the curriculum. Sarbanes believes that a more holistic approach to the curriculum is necessary. Somehow holistic does not mesh well with curriculum. It sounds like a College of Education new age, feel-good teaching method of the moment; let us throw $500 million in this “green” direction. We failed at teaching students to read, write, and compute, perhaps we can be successful at brainwashing them into believing that human activity is bad, causes global warming, and destroys the planet.

Apparently, who knew environmental study and “green play” helps children cope with ADD and ease obesity rates. I thought proper nutrition, PE classes, competitive sports, and recess time where designed for physical exercise and thus weight control. What is “green play” anyway?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

‘Berlin is Playing Into the Hands of the Chinese’

Trade was the focus of the meeting of German and Chinese leaders in Berlin this week, with German companies eager to get a piece of the massive Chinese market. But commentators warn of the dangers of becoming too dependent on the emerging Asian superpower.

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: “Relations between China and the Europeans can be described using two key words: business and human rights. The Europeans leave geopolitics and big-picture strategy to the Americans. This is both shortsighted and naive. While we (Europeans) see free trade as something that is desirable from an economic standpoint, Beijing views economic issues as a strategic lever to be used for its geopolitical positioning. …. Now, Premier Wen Jiabao is traveling through Europe with his checkbook, buying up sovereign bonds from debt-stricken countries, having China’s state banks grant low-interest loans or promising new investments for companies that China has invested in. China, which is already the US’s largest creditor, is also becoming a powerful economic player in Europe, and not only as a market for our goods.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Berlin’s Dance With the Dragon

A by-the-numbers exchange on human rights. Mutual praise and admiration. New deals worth billions. The Chinese juggernaut has passed through Berlin, leaving German commentators pondering the implications in The Local’s media roundup on Wednesday. Newspapers, regardless of their political stripes, were all but unanimous in expressing concern about the danger of too-great China’s influence in Germany and Europe after Chinese premier Wen Jiabao travelled to the region this week. Some bemoaned the lack of a united European policy on China, allowing the emerging Asian giant to use its considerable economic lure — and bulging wallet — to more easily influence each country individually.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Brussels Threatens Fines Over Naples Waste

The European Commission warned Italy on Tuesday that it risks fines unless it improves waste collection in Naples where thousands of tons of garbage have built up in recent days.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Chinese Cyber Attacks Target German Ministers

Chinese cyber attacks on German computers rose sharply in number last year and included attempted penetrations of government ministers’ PCs, according to a Wednesday media report. Even as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao wrapped up a glittering visit to promote trade and a closer relationship, daily Bild reported the dramatic increase in attacks by Chinese hackers, whom the Cologne-based Bundesverfassungsschutz intelligence agency believes are working for Chinese intelligence. Angela Merkel had discussed the issue with Wen during their talks, Bild reported. Germany and China held their first joint cabinet meeting Tuesday and inked more than $15 billion in business deals amid deepening economic and political ties between the two countries. The Bundesverfassungsschutz’s latest report says the number of “electronic attacks” on German federal officials in 2010 was 2,108, which is about 600 more than the previous year, the paper wrote. “Most of the attacks aimed at federal officials and German business, because of their characteristics, can be assigned an origin in China,” the intelligence report says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Dutch Coffee Shops Allowed to Sell Cannabis to Foreigners, For Now

The closure of a coffee shop that sold cannabis to foreign visitors has been deemed unlawful by the top Dutch court. However, the court’s decision hinted there would be legal grounds for a change to the law in future.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Dutch MPs Back Unanaesthetised Slaughter Ban

The Dutch parliament voted on Tuesday to ban the unanaesthetised slaughter of animals — much to the disappointment of Jewish and Muslim organisations. The final count of MPs’ votes in the 150-seat lower house was 116 ballots for the draft legislation, with 30 against. Animals are killed using the ritual slaughter technique — throat-slitting without stunning the animal in advance — to obtain kosher and halal meats. Jewish and Muslim representatives had argued that animals do not suffer more in the process than they do when other methods used in modern, non-religious slaughterhouses are applied.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French Opposition Leader Joins 2012 Presidential Race

The leader of France’s Socialist Party, Martine Aubry, has joined the race to become president in 2012. The veteran politician is regarded as her party’s second-strongest contender to challenge president Sarkozy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Revenge Attacks Spark Fear of Extremist Violence

A string of tit-for-tat attacks in Berlin between political extremists on the far-left and right, including an alleged knife attack on a young mother walking with her three children, has given rise to fears of surging ideological violence. In the past week, violence between the two sides has escalated. There have been several attacks on neo-Nazis, including assaults on high-ranking members of the National Democratic Party (NPD) and also on the xenophobic pro Deutschland group. These were followed by arson attacks on leftist premises overnight Sunday. Some of the violence has been targeted against election campaigns ahead of Berlin’s city election in September. Berlin Interior Minister Ehrhart Körting told daily Der Tagesspiegel’s Tuesday edition that he was concerned about the danger of things spinning out of control.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Work Restarts on Lyon-Turin Rail Link

La Stampa, 28 June 2011

“TGV en route after battle ends,” headlines La Stampa in the wake of the violent clashes that marked the opening of the work site for the construction of the high-speed Lyon-Turin rail link in the Susa Valley in Northwest Italy. The newspaper reports that the skirmishes, which injured four protesters and 25 police, broke out when authorities moved into to dismantle barricades manned by several thousand supporters of the No TAV (“No to High Speed”) collective. They were blocking road access to the work site.

La Stampa welcomes the breaching of “the wall of illegality that surrounded the work site,” while acknowledging that fears voiced by local residents about the site’s impact on the valley are legitimate. “The start of work will send a positive signal to the European Union, which had issued a number of ultimatums over delays on the Italian section of the project.” As La Stampa points out, if construction work had not begun by the end of June, 600 million euros in European grants for the Lyon-Turin line — which is set to cut journey times between Paris and Milan from seven to three hours — could have been lost.

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

Ministers Agree on Extension of Germany’s Anti-Terrorism Laws

A month-long disagreement among government ministries about the extension of anti-terrorism laws in Germany appears to have ended. The government is to reauthorize the laws for another four years. The German justice and interior ministers have agreed on a four-year extension of a group of contentious laws used to investigate and prosecute suspected terrorists, the government said Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Verhagen: Fear of Foreigners Understandable

Vice-Premier and Christian democratic (CDA) leader Maxime Verhagen considers the fears among the Dutch of foreign influences “understandable”. NRC Handelsblad newspaper was quoting yesterday from a speech that Verhagen was due to make at a party meeting in the evening. The paper concludes that, in his view, “the CDA must listen more to the concerns that foreigners continually change the Netherlands, that foreign products are can also bring a foreign illness with them, that churches will be replaced by Islamic mosques, that immigrants get rid of Dutch employees too quickly or that newcomers do not adapt.”

“Never before has Vehagen associated himself so explicitly with the ideas of the PVV (Party for Freedom) on foreign influences which could threaten the Netherlands,” writes the leftwing newspaper. Other media that also obtained the speech early however concluded yesterday that the CDA minister was actually stressing that the PVV way is not the solution. In a literal quotation from the speech, the CDA leader asked himself the question: “Will my neighbourhood still be my neighbourhood if another church is closed and a another mosque built? Why do the newcomers not adapt to us? They surely will not grab the job of my son?” These concerns are widespread among the population, he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Opposition Leader Stirs Up Trouble for Polish EU Presidency

Opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has depicted the Polish government as being grossly incompetent and dangerously close to Russia in its handling of the Smolensk tragedy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Right vs. Left: Arsons and Stabbings in Berlin as Extremist Groups Clash

Berlin officials are carefully watching a rise in violence between far-right and far-left groups. Right-wing politicians have been attacked on the street, and left-wing clubs and youth homes have been set on fire. Now Berlin state politicians have issued a joint statement condemning right-wing parties. There has never been much love lost between left-wing and far-right groups in Berlin, but in recent years the level of escalation has seldom been as high as it is now. A spate of politically motivated violence in Berlin has officials talking about revenge attacks, and the police in Germany’s capital are on the alert. The city’s mainstream political parties have also issued a joint statement against right-wing extremists. Last weekend, five different arson attacks were reported against left-wing organizations in Berlin. The wave of arson was apparently motivated by revenge, following several attacks within the past week on far-right politicians on the streets of Berlin, with weapons ranging from water balloons to glass bottles.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Three Injured in ‘Gang-Related’ Shootout

Three people were seriously injured in what police suspect may have been a gang-related shooting in Norrköping in eastern Sweden on Tuesday night. Police made several arrests following the incident, which took place at a restaurant in the city centre. “A number of people have been detained and we’re interviewing a number of different people who have information to provide,” Anne Asp of the Östergötland County police told the TT news agency. A dispute between two gangs precipitated the shooting. Two men were shot, while a third man was stabbed in the chest. A 31-year-old man from Malmö was taken to Linköping university hospital with life-threatening injuries. The two other victims are said to be in serious, but stable condition.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swedish Police Backtrack on ‘Ethnic’ Profiling

Police in Stockholm have been forced to apologize after singling out three nationalities in a letter to a local neighbourhood watch group warning them against organised crime, according to Swedish media reports. “Criminals are criminals, their nationalities are a lesser matter,” Mauro Gonzalez of the Federation of Chilean Associations in Sweden (Chilenska Riksförbundet) told The Local. The letter sent out by police in Huddinge, a southern suburb of Stockholm, advised residents to be especially vigilant of “South Americans — in particular from Chile”, “Lithuanians” and “Romanians”, after a wave of burglaries in the area.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Plan for Foreign Criminal Expulsions Hits Impasse

A controversial plan to deport foreign criminals from Switzerland hit an impasse this week after a governmental working group indicated it cannot agree on how to implement the measure. The expulsion initiative, calling for the immediate deportation of foreign offenders convicted of serious crimes, was approved by Swiss voters last November and the working group was set up a month later. But the seven-member committee presented four options to the Federal Council to consider after failing to make a common recommendation this week, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported on Wendesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Children’s Minister: Asian Communities Hampering Child Sex Inquiries

“Closed” Asian communities are hampering investigations into child sexual exploitation, the children’s minister, Tim Loughton, has warned.

He claimed that a combination of political correctness and racial sensitivities have kept cases of child sex grooming by Asian gangs “under the radar”. Mr Loughton made the comments in an interview for the BBC Politics Show in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, which has been investigating claims that girls as young as 12 have been targeted by organised Asian gangs. He said: “In many cases we are dealing with some closed communities. Closed in terms of things being able to go on under the radar and away from the public glare. I think that political correctness and racial sensitivities have in the past been an issue.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: Serbians Comemorate 1389 Battle vs Turks, Tension

Yesterday Serbs in Kosovo celebrated the 622-year anniversary of the legendary battle lost against the Turks on June 28 1389, a date marking the beginning of the Ottoman occupation which lasted almost 5 centuries. Tension arose during the commemoration. An official ceremony was held in Gazimestan, memorial near the Kosovo capital Pristina which commemorates the Serbs who lost their lives in the battle. Among the approximately 2,000 Serbs in attendance there were a few hundred ultranationalists, who chanted extremist slogans against the US and the European Union and waved Serbian flags and banners. Some interrupted the speech given by the hereditary prince to the Serbian royal family, Aleksander Karajordjevic, loudly chanting the names of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic: the two Bosnian Serb leaders in jail at the International Criminal Court in the Hague (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Respect”, “respect”, reiterated the prince, clearly annoyed.

Participants also burned a flag of the United States, the main supporters of Kosovo independence (February 17 2008) and harshly criticised the European Union which, many have said, is of no use to Serbia, which is friends with Russia. Serbian media report that a number of people were taken in by police on charges of vandalism and disturbing public order. Speaking in Gazimestan was also Serbian Orthodox patriarch Irinej, who celebrated mass, delivering a sermon with strong tints of patriotism and nationalism. “Everything possible needs to be done so that Kosovo remains a part of Serbia,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Publishing: Mediterranean, ANSA to Host Aman 2012 Assembly

The next general assembly of Aman, the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies, will be held in Rome in 2012 and will be hosted and organised by the ANSA agency. The decision was taken in Tangiers, at the end of the twentieth general assembly of the Alliance. The proposal made by ANSA president Giulio Anselmi to host next year’s general assembly in Rome was approved by the 20 agencies that are part of the association. Idrissi Hachemi Khalil, the director of Morocco’s press agency (who has just been appointed Map leader by king Mohamed VI) congratulated Anselmi and emphasised the excellent cooperation relationship between the two agencies. At the end of the meeting Aman general secretary George Penintaex announced the members of the Aman board for the 2011/2012 period, comprising Map as president, ANSA and Afp as vice presidents and Cyprus’ Cna press agency as general secretary.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egyptian Court Dismisses Muslim Case Against Christian Woman

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — The Egyptian administrative court of the State Council dismissed today the lawsuit filed by Muslim lawyers, demanding the disclosure of the whereabouts of Camilia Shehata, the wife of a Coptic priest, who was alleged to have converted to Islam and held against her will by the Coptic Church. In reaching its decision, the court said the Muslim lawyers failed to provide proof to support their claim of the detention of Camilia by the church.

Camilia’s attorney, Dr. Naguib Gabriel, said “The only thing the Muslim lawyers delivered as proof for their claims were snippets of newspapers from the Internet.”

The case lasted over four months, during which Dr. Gabriel submitted as proof unequivocal documents that Camilia was never detained by the church and she never converted to Islam as alleged. Among the documents was a power of attorney from Camilia for him to represent her at court. “This was issued by the public notary, by a Muslim employee and in which she wrote “Christian” beside her religious affiliation, while she could have easily written Muslim instead.” said Gabriel. “If she was really detained by the church, she could have asked for help from the employee when she went to the notary,” he added. Also, a certificate from Al-Azhar stating that she never converted to Islam was presented as evidence.

The prosecution also heard the testimony of Bishop Armiya, secretary to Pope Shenouda III, who denied the church had detained her. It also took the testimony of Anba Agapios, Bishop of Deir Mawass, Minya Governorate, who also refuted the charge.

Previously, the court had responded to the Muslim lawyers’ demands regarding Camilia’s conversion to Islam, saying the issue was the beliefs of people, but whether there was a detainment or not. Also, the Muslim lawyers had demanded Camelia appear in person before the court, which was refused by the court.

“Today’s court ruling closes the curtain on one of the most famous and difficult cases in Egypt.” said attorney Dr. Gabriel. “Muslims will not be allowed to demonstrate regarding this matter anymore, which they used as a pretext to create sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians.”

The story of Camelia Shehata, which became a public issue for the last 11 months, started on July 19, 2010, when after a dispute with her husband, Father Tedaos Samaan, priest at St. Georges Church in Deir Mawas, she left home and went to Cairo to stay with relatives, without telling anyone of her whereabouts. “This was my biggest mistake,” said Camilia in an interview with Al-Hayat Christian TV Channel from her hide-out with her husband and 2-year-old son.

Her husband, believing she was abducted by Muslims, like many other cases, came with some 3000 Copts from his congregation to protest her disappearance at St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo (AINA 7-23-2010”).

State Security found her a few days later and handed her over to her sister who lives in Cairo. She later reconciled with her husband and the family has lived in hiding ever since, as Muslim demonstrations started to take place, demanding the return of “their sister in Islam, Camelia.”

Faked photos of Camilia in a Hijab appeared on the internet and over 20 demonstrations were staged by Muslim, accusing the church of abducting new converts (females) to Islam and holding them against their will in churches and monasteries, where they were tortured (AINA 9-18-2010).

Camilia appeared in a video clip from her hideout, taken under utmost security by the independent daily El-Youm7, in which she denied ever converting to Islam (video). The Muslims said it was not Camilia but was her double who appeared, and carried on with their demonstration, the last of which was on April 30, when they encircled the Coptic Cathedral and the Pope’s residence vowing that “Camilia must return” (AINA 4-30-2011). Camelia appeared for a second time on May 7, in a one-hour interview on Al-Hayat TV, in which she denied all Muslim claims of ever having met any of them or having been to Al Azhar with them. On both occasions she confirmed her Christian faith.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Protestors Clash With Police in Tahrir Square

There were at least 14 demonstrators injured, one seriously, in the violent clashes which broke out over the night between protestors and security forces using tear gas to break up the protest. Reports were from the MENA news agency, which added that 26 policemen had been injured in the clashes, suffering bruises and suffocation caused by tear gas. About a thousand protestors are still in the large square in central Cairo, yelling slogans demanding the removal of the head of the Armed Forces, Hussein Tantawi, who over the night released a communiqué to condemn the incidents. In the communique’ number 26, the military council called the incidents in the square “deplorable” and said that their sole objective is to “destabilize the country according to an organised plan based on the use of the blood of martyrs to sow division between revolutionaries and security forces.” The military council made an appeal “to the Egyptian population and the youths of the revolution not to follow this call.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Egyptian Salafis Boycott Coptic Businessman

Coptic businessman and “Free Egyptians Party” founder Naguib Sawiris posted an image on his twitter account depicting a bearded headdress-wearing Mickey Mouse with Minnie Mouse in a niqab. The image angered salafi Muslims in Egypt. In response, an Internet campaign has been launched, calling on the public to boycott Sawiris’ businesses, including newspapers and cellular telephone and communication companies. In addition, they have filed a complaint against Sawiris for harming religions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Air Drops Arms to Libya Rebels: Source

France has begun parachuting arms shipments to Berber rebels fighting Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s forces in the highlands south of Tripoli, the French daily Le Figaro reported on Wednesday. According to the paper, which said it had seen a secret intelligence memo and talked to well-placed officials, the air drops are designed to help rebel fighters encircle Tripoli and encourage a popular revolt in the city itself. “If the rebels can get to the outskirts of Tripoli, the capital will take the chance to rise against Kadhafi,” said an official quoted in the report.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Paris Dedicates Square to Initiator of Tunisia Revolt

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JUNE 29 — Tomorrow the city of Paris will name a square after Mohamed Bouazizi, the young Tunisian man who sparked the ‘Jasmine Revolt’ with his sacrifice. The square, located in the 14th arrondissement near Montsouris Park, will be dedicated to the young martyr “as a tribute to the Tunisian people and to the January 2011 revolution”. At the ceremony, specified Paris City Hall in the statement, the Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe will be present, as well as the President of the Tunisian Human Rights League, Mokhtat Trifi, together with Bouazizi’s family and representatives from numerous associations and organisations involved in Tunisia. Singer Abri Nasraoui is also expected to perform, signing a song written after the revolt. On December 17 of last year, Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire in front of the Sidi Bouzid Governorate headquarters and died on January 4 at Ben Arous Hospital in the southern outskirts of Tunis, where he had been taken in critical condition.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Muslim Brotherhood Figure and Former Spokesman in the West: Establish a Global Islamic State

In a June 8, 2011 interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouq, Dr. Kamal Al-Helbawy, former Muslim Brotherhood spokesman in the West, called upon the Arab youth to launch a new revolution that would eliminate the borders drawn by imperialist nations and bring about the establishment of a global Islamic state — “called ‘The United States of Islam.’“ According to Al-Helbawy, the Muslim Brotherhood is active in approximately 80 countries and strives to realize the dream of becoming a global organization.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK Won’t Supply Libyan Rebels With Weapons as France Did

(AGI) Brussels — Britain will not supply weapons to the rebels in Libya as France did. Earlier today, France began parachuting weapons to re-supply the rebels in the mountains south of Tripoli. It was announced by British Defence Minister Gerald Howarth, who explained that doing this would “raise quite a few issues, not least the United nations resolution (1973) (which authorised raid strikes to protect the civilian population) although in some circumstances that could be justified”.

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

Unlike France, Britain Won’t Arm Libya Rebels: Minister

Britain will not deliver arms to Libya’s rebels as France has done, a senior British defence official said Wednesday, saying it raises “quite a few issues”. “No, Britain is not considering supplying arms to the opposition in Libya,” Gerald Howarth, minister for international security strategy, told reporters on the sidelines of a defence policy forum in Brussels. “We think that it does raise quite a few issues, not least the United Nations resolution, although in some circumstances that could be justified,” he said. “But it is very much a matter for France, and no criticism of France intended,” he said. “But it is not something that we should be doing.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Column in Saudi Daily Denies Holocaust, Criticizes Mandatory Holocaust Studies for Arab-Israeli Pupils

In his May 17, 2011 column in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiya, Dr. ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Trairi, who is also a professor at King Sa’ud University, expressed support for claims by Roger Garaudy and other well-known Holocaust deniers questioning the number of people who perished in the Holocaust, and said that the Jews had taken advantage of the Holocaust in order to coerce the world into establishing the state of Israel. Al-Trairi protested a recent decision by the Israeli Ministry of Education requiring Israeli Arab pupils to study the Holocaust as part of their matriculation curriculum, claiming that Israel’s schoolbooks ignore the Palestinian narrative and do not consider the “other” to be equal. He also dismissed as groundless claims which first arose in the wake of 9/11 that Saudi schoolbooks convey messages of hatred and encourage terrorist acts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel Rejects Gaza Ship Claims as ‘Bond-Esque’

Israeli authorities have rejected claims of the Swedish Ship to Gaza movement that “foreign agents” were behind the damage to their boat, which was reported sabotaged on Monday. “It sounds like a ‘James Bond-esque’ insinuation, which is pretty funny, but has no bearing on reality,” said Ilana Stein of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs to news agency TT. The Swedish Ship to Gaza group reported on Monday that their ship Juliano had been sabotaged while berthed in Piraeus harbour in Greece. “It is time for the international community to put their foot down and say: It’s enough!” said Swedish spokesperson Mattias Gardell in a statement at the time.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Organization Involved in Gilad Shalit’s Abduction Promises More Kidnappings

Marking the fifth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s abduction, a website close to Hamas posted an article titled “Kidnapping Soldiers — The Best Way to Ensure the Liberation of the Prisoners,” which detailed all the prisoner exchange deals between Israel and the Arabs since 1948. Hamas issued a communiqué promising that Shalit will not see the light of day until the Palestinian prisoners are released in an honorable deal. Popular Resistance Committees spokesman Abu Mujahid said that the resistance will continue to abduct Israeli soldiers until every last Palestinian prisoner is freed, stressing that, after five years of trying to bargain with the resistance and gather information about Shalit, the Zionist enemy realizes that it must capitulate to the demands of the resistance. The mother of one of the kidnappers said that her son, who was killed in the operation, and another of the kidnappers who was also killed, had “pushed Israel’s nose into the dirt,” and had attained the martyrdom they had wished for. The anniversary of their martyrdom is a day of celebration for the Palestinians, she added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Ahmadinejad: Iran and Cuba Play an Important Role in Restoring World Order

In a meeting with Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernandez in Tehran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that both countries stand as a united front against terrorism, and must strengthen their cooperation. Ahmadinejad added that Tehran would stand by Cuba until “the final victory” and that the two countries play an important role in rectifying “the oppressive world order.” Hernandez said that Iran is his country’s main partner, and that it plays an important role in Latin America. He added that Cuba, which stands by Iran, does not fear U.S. threats.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Averting a Swarm: Yemen’s Political Instability May Make it Difficult to Control Locust Breeding.

Diplomats and analysts aren’t the only ones preoccupied by the armed clashes and demonstrations in Yemen. Scientists and agricultural officials have been keeping watch on the turbulent nation as well, hoping that a lack of rainfall will accomplish what the Yemeni government probably cannot: prevent a large-scale outbreak of the fearsome desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria).

The grasshoppers have already infested Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. Special locust squads, guided by satellite data to the breeding grounds, have sprayed more than 90,000 hectares since January. But international agricultural officials worry that some of the grasshoppers might escape to Yemen, where they often breed. There they could potentially take advantage of the country’s weakened defences and multiply into the kind of swarm that has previously ravaged large swathes of Africa and the Middle East.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Conference Defines U.S., Israel as Source of Global Terrorism

On June 25-26, 2011, the Iranian regime hosted the first “World Without Terrorism Conference” in Tehran. The conferees included Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmonov, Pakistani President Asif ‘Ali Zardari, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and Sudanese President ‘Omar Al-Bashir, as well as representatives from Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Mali. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad both spoke at the conference’s opening ceremony. In his address, Khamenei said that the conference’s aim was to clearly define terrorism and to identify its root causes. He pointed to “satanic world powers which use terrorism in their policies and in their planning to achieve their illegitimate goals,” specifying that the “Zionist regime” and Zionism in general had from their very beginning perpetuated global terrorism. He went on to say that the U.S., the U.K., and other Western governments had “a black record of terrorist behaviors.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Erdogan: Imprisoning Turkish Generals — And Ending Secularism

Andrew G. Bostom

Turkey continues its regression to full re-Islamization — a process already begun within a decade of Ataturk’s death in 1938 — and about to be fully realized under the fundamentalist Erdogan regime. Shredding the Turkish Constitution, which institutionalized Turkey’s harshly imposed secularism by assigning the military as “protectors of the secular order,” there are now more generals that have been imprisoned for purported “coup attempts” against Erdogan’s fundamentalist rule than are in active service for the military.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe Must be Ready for Arab Reform Long Haul

Europe should prepare for the long haul of democratic reform in the Arab world, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Wednesday as his country is to assume the EU presidency July 1. To support this process of democracy-building, Warsaw has proposed the creation of an “autonomous and abundantly financed” European foundation or endowment for democracy, Sikorski told foreign journalists in Warsaw. “Transforming a 500 million Arab, Muslim world towards democracy will not take a couple of years — it will take a couple of decades at least,” Sikorski observed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

In Saudi Arabia, Renewed Discussion on Fatwa Permitting the Killing of Coworkers Who Do Not Pray

A 2009 fatwa by Saudi Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan, which permits an employee to kill his coworker if he does not pray, has reappeared in discussion on Internet message boards and social networks. Extremist fatwas such as this raise the question of whether they should be issued by individual clerics, or by groups of clerics such as the Saudi Association of Senior Clerics — Saudi Arabia’s official religious institution.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iran Denounces Upcoming BBC2 Documentary on Muhammad as Attempt to “Ruin Muslims’ Sanctity”

There may be a language barrier evident in the wording, but the supremacism and sense of entitlement come through loud and clear. The documentary’s makers have already made a major effort not to offend, avoiding any visual depiction of Muhammad, but they are assured of offending someone nonetheless. In particular, in this case, if they lean too Sunni, they will offend Shi’ites; if they lean too Shi’ite, they will offend Sunnis. And if they lapse for a moment in hagiography or leave room for a shadow of doubt about Muhammad’s prophetic credentials, they will offend still other viewers. James Thurber’s observation applies: “You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iran: Turkey Must Not Pressure Syria

The Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, warned Turkey that if it continues to pressure the Syrian regime and to call on Hamas to recognize Israel, then Iran, Syria, and Iraq would limit their cooperation with it. An article in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps weekly Sobh-e Sadeq said that Ankara had encouraged Syrian citizens to flee to its territory in order to increase the number of refugees there — thus justifying foreign intervention in Syria. The article further said that Ankara’s actions against Syria on behalf of the U.S. and Israel, would lead to an uprising by the Syrian Turks and by millions of Alawis living in its territory.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Lebanese Cleric: Demolish U.S. Embassy in Beirut

Sheikh Muhammad Abu Al-Qat’, a Sunni Lebanese cleric and head of the preacher association in Lebanon, claimed that the U.S. Embassy in Beirut is spreading “political prostitution” and plots, and called to demolish it and deport its employees. He also expressed support for the resistance, calling it a religious duty.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Special Stakelbeck on Terror Show: Hezbollah Rising

On this week’s special edition of the Stakelbeck on Terror Show, we take an in-depth look at the group many consider to be the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization—more like a terrorist army, in fact—Hezbollah.

Watch as terrorism expert and bestselling author Walid Phares takes Stakelbeck on Terror on a tour of Hezbollah’s hotspots in Lebanon, the Middle East and around the world. He also discusses the threat Hezbollah poses to America and Western interests.

In our Map Room segment (8:40 to 17:0 mark of the show), Phares also outlines what a future Middle East war — sparked by Iran, Hezbollah and their allies attacking Israel — would look like and how it could affect America’s national security.

Click the link above to watch.

[Return to headlines]

Syrian Terror Campaign Forces Refugees Across Northern Border

In the past few weeks, thousands of people have fled the violence in Syria, straining the resources of the towns accommodating them and relations between Turkey and Syria. The Syrian military has made further advances through northern border towns, moving in on the village of Naija and reportedly targeting fleeing Syrians who had set up makeshift tent camps in wooded areas at the border.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkish Opposition Boycotts Parliament Opening

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s third term in office has got off to a turbulent start after opposition parties refused to turn up to the swearing-in of parliament, in protest over court rulings. More than 30 percent of elected MPs in the Turkish parliament refused to take their oath on Tuesday when parliament reopened for the first time following elections on June 12. That result saw Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK party comfortably re-elected for a third term. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) boycotted the opening ceremony in reaction to court decisions last week not to release two party members from detention in a high-profile trial. The CHP won 135 seats in the 550-member parliament.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Uprisings: OIC Islamic Countries, Change is Irreversible

Cautious diplomacy, dialogue, and a political solution for the crises in Libya and Syria: an impossible equilibrium is being sought between Islamic regimes and the Arab Spring in Astana, Kazakhstan, at the 38th summit of foreign ministers from the Organsiation of Islamic Cooperation, the new name with which the OIC, the largest inter-governmental organisation in the Muslim world since 1969, hopes to breathe new life into itself.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Yemeni Soldiers Killed in Clashes With Al Qaeda Militants

(AGI) Aden — Thirty Yemeni soldiers have died in clashes between the army and Al Qaeda fighters in southern Yemen near the town of Zinjibar. At least 14 militiamen are thought to have died in the clashes as reported by military sources. This morning, air raids in the same area killed four civilians and wounded twelve ..

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


Polish Opposition Blames Russia for President’s Death Crash

Poland’s conservative opposition on Wednesday blamed Moscow for last year’s air crash in Russia that killed its president Lech Kaczynski, his wife and dozens of other senior Polish officials. “The Russian side carries primary responsibility for this disaster,” said Law and Justice lawmaker Antoni Macierewicz, a hardline ally of the party’s leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the late president’s twin brother. Macierewicz is head of a Polish parliamentary commission probing the April 10, 2010 crash in Smolensk, western Russia. The commission’s members are all from Law and Justice.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

France’s Vinci Builts First 3D Cinema in Turkmenistan

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on Wednesday inaugurated the first 3D cinema in a country where films were banned until 2008 by his eccentric predecessor. “(The French group) Vinci has built the first 3D cinema in Turkmenistan for 20 million dollars,” the group’s regional director general, Igor Gorwiz, said at the opening ceremony. The previous Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December 2006, launched a cultural crackdown in 1999 that saw the ballet, opera, circus and cinema all banned for falling foul of “the national mentality.”

Located in the historical centre of the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, the newly built cinema consists of an ordinary screening room with 500 seats and a separate 70-seat 3D screening room. Until now, the city had only two cinemas, which showed Turkmen and Indian films. Berdymukhamedov has rejected some of the more bizarre aspects of the cult of personality introduced by his predecessor in the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Says Does Not Pay Ransoms, As Hostages Released

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe insisted Wednesday that France does not pay ransoms for hostages, as questions were asked about the release of two journalists held in Afghanistan by insurgents. Juppe said Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai had helped Paris secure the return of Stephane Taponier et Herve Ghesquiere, who had been captured by Taliban rebels 18 months earlier in the restive province of Kapisa. “France does not pay ransoms,” Juppe told reporters, when asked whether Paris had cut some kind of a deal with the hostage-takers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Indian Cricket Plots Control of World Game

World cricket could be hijacked by India for decades to come at the International Cricket Council’s annual meeting in Hong Kong starting on Sunday.

The ICC’s governance review committee, heavily influenced by the BCCI (Board of Control of Cricket in India), has proposed changes to the ICC constitution that would pave the way for the ICC president to rule indefinitely, and for two successive presidents to come from the same country. Sharad Pawar, the former head of the BCCI, is the ICC president but under the present regulations, an Indian could not succeed him. The proposal, which would allow India to impose their will on the cricketing world, needs the support of most of the 35 Associate members — and 38 votes out of 50 in the voting council — and it could well get voted in such is India’s financial muscle because of their vast television audiences.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Famine Threatens to Return to North Korea

As political tension increases between North and South Korea, the head of a Swiss aid agency in Pyongyang says the number of people suffering from hunger is growing. Katharina Zellweger, head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the North Korean capital, says the situation is not as serious as 1995, when up to 3.5 million of 22 million people starved to death, but serious food shortages are again an issue. Zellweger, who has lived in North Korea since 2006, was in New York to speak at the United Nations. “You see more and more people pulling out roots, grass and other edible plants. Or they cut down trees and try to grow corn or potatoes in their place,” she told

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Korean Players Struck by Lightning, Coach Claims

North Korea’s women’s football coach has claimed several players played in the opening 2-0 World Cup loss to the United States on Tuesday suffering from the effects of being struck by lightning at a training camp. “Frankly speaking, when we were having training and test matches before we left for this tournament, five of the players were hit by lightning and were in hospital,” said coach Kim Kwang Min, through an interpreter in the post-game press conference. “We had an accident in Pyongyang before we left for this tournament. Some of the players were left behind. Some were in hospital and came later. Until now they were not fully treated for the match.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

PNG Tribesman Attacks New Zealander With Arrows

A tribesman in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea shot and badly wounded a young New Zealander with arrows and also attacked his terrified French girlfriend, an aid group said Wednesday. The pair were bathing in a river in the Nomad area of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province when the young man, an anthropologist who was working in the area, went to retrieve his towel and was hit by the arrows. “There was an arrow in his ribs and one in his stomach,” Delene Evans, the general manager of Australian Doctors International, whose volunteer medics helped save the man, told AFP. “The attacker also hit him on the head with a rock.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


553 Refugees Land in Lampedusa

(AGI) Lampedusa — Two boats carrying 553 African refugees on board have landed this morning in Lampedusa; many women and children. The first boat carried 225 refugees, the second one 328. The latter declared an SAR emergency, and some Coast Guard officers went on board, as the 16-meter boat was likely to sink. Complicated rescue operations were conducted by the local Coast Guard. Migrants took off from Libya, but come from Sub-Saharan Africa.

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

840 Refugees Arrive in Lampedusa, 117 Women 28 Children

(AGI) Lampedusa — A record 840 Libyan refugees arrived in Lampedusa tonight, including 117 women and 28 children. The refugees arrived in Lampedusa shortly after 7.30pm aboard an about 20-metre-long boat which had been rescued earlier today some 16 miles off the island. The migrants, all of them from sub-Saharan Africa, left Libya some days ago. It is the largest single landing of immigrants on the island ever. Some weeks ago, 932 immigrants arrived in Pozzallo, in the province of Ragusa.

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

Netherlands: Anti-Islam Party Wants New Definition of ´non-Native´

The anti-Islam party PVV has called on the government to extend the formal definition of non-native or allochtoon residents of the Netherlands to include third generation immigrants.

In an interview with website, PVV MP Joram van Klaveren says that by considering third-generation immigrants to be Dutch, it is impossible to get a good idea of how integrated they are into Dutch society.

´Non-western immigrants are still over-represented in the crime figures. Soon we won´t see that any more because they will be classified as natives,´ Van Klaveren said.

Some 80% of third generation immigrants are younger than 10 years old.

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

Netherlands: Fear of Foreigners ‘Understandable’, Says Verhagen (Update)

Native Dutch people’s worries about foreigners are ‘understandable’, deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen is set to say in a speech to Christian Democratic party members on Tuesday night, the NRC reports.

There is unease in Dutch society about wider issues than simply the economy and the CDA should listen more to concerns about the way foreigners are changing the Netherlands, the paper quotes Verhagen as saying in a leaked copy of the speech.

People are concerned about churches being replaced by mosques, about the fact immigrants don’t integrate and the risk that they will take Dutch jobs, the paper quotes the speech as saying.


Verhagen said he wants to distance himself from populism but that he is not blind to what drives it. ‘We have to make sure we do not dismiss these concerns as being offensive or unmentionable,’ he will say. ‘Such unease should also be the unease of a people’s party like the CDA.’

Solutions offered by some parties are populist and simplistic, Verhagen says, in a veiled reference to the anti-Islam PVV. ‘The fact that the multi-cultural society has failed is not a reason to crawl back behind the dykes and to reject everything which is strange and unfamiliar.’

The NRC points out that the CDA has lost ground in four elections in a row and is looking for a new direction to recover the support of its traditional voters.

[Editor’s note: this article has been updated following the publication of the full speech on the NRC website]

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

Over 500 Sub-Saharan Migrants Land on Lampedusa

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JUNE 29 — Two large boats carrying immigrants landed on the shores of Lampedusa in the early morning hours today. On the boats, which were assisted by port authority patrol boats, there were an overall 553 migrants including about 50 women and 17 children. The immigrants are from Sub-Saharan Africa and may have weighed anchor from Libya.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Tighten Border Controls’: Sweden Democrats

The Sweden Democrats demanded increased border controls when the Riksdag debated free movement within the European Union on Tuesday. “Criminal networks have been given the present of the century by the EU as have you here in this chamber through the decisions that have been taken here over the last two decades,” said Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats during the debate. According to Ekeroth the lack of border controls within the EU only benefits criminals. He also claimed that the border police in Malmö in the south of Sweden have given up in the fight against refugee smugglers, saying that illegal immigrants should be seen as criminals. He demanded that Swedish border controls should carry out more random testing against people they suspect “don’t belong here”. But justice minister Beatrice Ask retorted that to bring back border controls between European countries would prove an impediment for all the Swedes that are set to head out towards European destinations in the next few weeks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Two Boatloads of Immigrants Land in Lampedusa

Women and children among more than 500 arrivals

(ANSA) — Lampedusa, June 29 — Two large boats carrying more than 500 immigrants landed on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa early Wednesday.

Port authority officials met the first boat with around 225 immigrants as it arrived at the entrance to the port, while coast guard officials then intercepted the second boat carrying around 328 people two miles off the coast.

The immigrants were mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and the boats included more than 50 women and 17 children.

Both boats are believed to have departed from Libya and the new arrivals were immediately transferred to the island’s immigrant welcome centre.

Immigration is a politically divisive issue in Italy and Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s main coalition partner the Northern League is demanding an end to Italy’s support for bomb attacks in Libya, claiming they are responsible for the recent influx of refugees.

Around 30,000 immigrants, mostly from Tunisia, Libya and sub-Saharan Africa, have landed on the small island off the coast of Sicily since January.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Rhode Island Lawmakers Pass Bill to Allow Civil Unions for Gays

Less than a week after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, the Rhode Island State Senate approved on Wednesday evening a bill allowing not marriage, but civil unions for gay couples, despite fierce opposition from gay-rights advocates who called the legislation discriminatory.

The bill, which already passed in the stateâ€(tm)s House of Representatives and which the governor said he will likely sign, would grant gay and lesbian couples most of the rights and benefits that Rhode Island provides married couples. It was offered as a compromise this spring after Gordon D. Fox, the openly gay speaker of the Democratic-controlled House, said he could not muster enough votes to pass a same-sex marriage bill.

[Return to headlines]

Swiss Drop Plans to Tighten Euthanasia Rules

The Swiss government on Wednesday rejected proposals to tighten rules on assisted suicide, saying that they could inadvertently legitimise organisations offering assisted suicide. “The Federal Council decided against introducing specific provisions in criminal law on organised assisted suicide. It concluded that such an amendment to criminal law would have various drawbacks,” it said. Amid an emotional uproar sparked by several international media reports and documentaries on foreigners who had come to Switzerland to die as well as on the practice of assisted suicide in the country, Bern in 2008 decided to reassess legislation on the issue.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Astronomers Find Brightest Object of Early Universe

Scientists have discovered the most brilliant object yet from the infancy of the cosmos, a super-bright galaxy that challenges notions of how extraordinarily massive black holes evolved. The brilliant enigma is a quasar, a stage that some galaxies go through when lots of material falls into the supermassive black holes at their cores, giving off light as it does so. The quasar, assigned the name ULAS J1120+0641, is the most distant one found to date. It is by far the brightest object discovered from the early universe, giving off 60 trillion times as much light as our sun. (A trillion is 1 million millions.)

The distance to the quasar was then determined from observations made with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and the Gemini North Telescope. Based on how greatly the light from the quasar was stretched during its journey by the expansion of the universe, the scientists estimate the quasar existed only 770 million years after the Big Bang. By analyzing the light from ULAS J1120+0641, researchers estimate the quasar was powered by a black hole 2 billion times the mass of the sun. How black holes became so massive so soon after the Big Bang is difficult to explain.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Rover May Tackle Kilimanjaro-Sized Mound on Mars

Talk about a tough road to climb. On 24 June, mission scientists endorsed two landing sites for NASA’s next Mars rover from a shortlist of four. One of the two would see Curiosity tackle a mound of rocks nearly as high as mount Kilimanjaro. Where to land the $2.5 billion robot, due to blast off in November, has been debated for years. NASA will now mull over the mission scientists’ recommendations but is not obliged to follow either of them. One pick is the 150-kilometre-wide Gale crater (pictured), which hosts a 5-kilometre-high mound. The mound contains clays and sulphate minerals that require water to form, suggesting it was laid down in layers as sediment when water filled the crater over a period of a few hundred million years, beginning about 3.8 billion years ago. “Because it’s a bowl, it has been collecting this evidence in the sediment as to what’s been happening to Mars over time,” says Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St Louis, who participated in earlier discussions about possible landing sites.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Space Station’s Brush With Space Junk Highlights Growing Threat

The near-miss yesterday (June 28) between the International Space Station and a piece of space junk highlights the growing threat posed by the huge cloud of debris whizzing around Earth. The piece of space debris zipped uncomfortably close to the orbiting lab Tuesday at 8:08 a.m. EDT (1208 GMT), forcing the outpost’s six astronauts to take shelter in two docked Russian Soyuz lifeboats for only the second time ever. The spaceflyers would have attempted a speedy escape in the craft had a collision occurred and severely damaged the space station. The station’s shielding protects it from a near-constant pelting by tiny motes of fast-moving debris. But those defenses would likely have been breached had the object slammed into the orbiting lab yesterday. The piece was large enough to be tracked, meaning it was at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) in diameter, NASA officials said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]