Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110718

Financial Crisis
»Can This Union be Saved?
»Clinton Gives Athens Moral Support
»Divisions Remain Ahead of Key EU Debt Summit
»Dutch Banks ‘Easily’ Pass Stress Test
»Germany’s Labor Shortfall: Wooing Professionals From Debt-Stricken Parts of the EU
»Germany: Second Bailout for Greece With ECB and IMF
»Gold Rallies to Record in Best Run Since 1980
»Gold Soars Above $1,600 for First Time
»Greece: No Taxi Today and Tomorrow Across the Country
»Italy: Market Speculation Probe as Italy Hit Again
»Merkel Defends Handling of Eurozone Crisis
»No Kebab for Sarrazin: Divisive Author Chased Out of Immigrant District
»Pressure for Deal at Thursday Eurozone Summit
»Trichet Tells Eurozone to Improve ‘Verbal Discipline’
»Hack Attack on a Republican
»I Was Beaten, Taunted for Being White, Bronx Man Says After Subway Attack
»Oil Spill Cleanup Turns Up Trove of Indian Relics
»The Light Bulb Repeal Failed. Here Are Some Work-Arounds
»Traitor or Whistleblower? The Divided Life of Bradley Manning
Europe and the EU
»Another Top Police Official Resigns in British Scandal
»British Police Chief Resigns Over News International Scandal
»Copper Thieves Target Sweden’s Churches
»Denmark: Video: Muslim Verbally Assaults Old Lady on Copenhagen City Train
»Denmark: Queen’s Greenland Arrival Catches Hosts Off-Guard
»Denmark Failing to Prove Need for Border Controls: EU
»EU Warns Denmark on Sweden Border Controls
»Exclusive: Classified Documents Show U.S. Full Responsibility for 1998 Italy Ski Gondola Disaster
»French Politicians Attack Critic of July 14 Military Parade
»Germany Looks to Spain, Greece, For Workers
»Germany: Award for Putin Was ‘Dilettantish and Politically Insensitive’
»Helmut Kohl: Merkel is Destroying My Europe
»Hooligans to be Banned From Swiss Trains
»Israel Ambassador Bids Farewell to ‘Anti-Semitic’ Spain
»Italy: Court Says Berlusconi Trial to Stay in Milan With ‘Communist’ Judges
»Italy: Tension in Palermo’s Shipyard, Unionists on Top of Derrick
»More Evidence War on Murdoch is About BBC Preserving Its Dominance
»New German Mosque a Milestone in Religious Architecture
»Nick Clegg: ‘I Fear We’re on the Brink of Another Financial Crisis’
»Russian Envoy Slams Retraction of Putin’s Prize
»Spanish Police Make Record Cash Haul From Drug Traffickers
»Srdja Trifkovic: Otto Von Habsburg’s Ambiguous Legacy
»Swedish Mobility Service Recruits Senegalese Help
»UK: Any Colour, As Long as It’s White: Middle Eastern Playboys Dazzle London With Their Supercars
»UK: Majid Nawaz on Extremism and Democracy
»UK: The ‘BBC Left’ Is Using Hacking to Get Revenge
»US Drones Target White Jihadis
North Africa
»Belgian Nationality for Refugees From Libya
»Egyptology Gains as Corrupt Clown Zaki Hawass Fired
»Egyptian Sheikh: Whoever Insults Muhammad, Even if He Later Repents, Must be Killed
»Ex-FM Says Libya Behind 1989 Airline Attack
»Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Coma After Suffering Stroke, Claims His Lawyer
»Gadhafi Defiant on Brega Assault
»Libyan Rebels Admit They Don’t Have Full Control of Brega
»Tunisia: Violent Clashes in Sidi Bouzid, 14-Yr-Old Killed
»White House Starts Talks With Gaddafi Representatives
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: Israel’s Only Two Options
»Israel’s Survival: An Enduring Question
»Poll Exposes Palestinians’ Peace Opposition
»Ship to Gaza Hit by Cyber Attack
Middle East
»Crossing the Red Sea: Egypt Approves Massive Bridge to Saudi Arabia
»Energy: Ansaldo to Invest 640 Mln Euros in Turkey
»Iran’s “Chastity Squads” Make Arrests, Impose Fines for Sandals, Nail Polish, Insufficient Veiling for the Sake of “Moral Security”
»Iranian Troops Take Over 3 Kurdish Rebel Camps in Iraq
»Tourism: More Vistors to Istanbul in 2011 Than Rome and NYC
»‘Depressed’ Ferret Still on Run After Fleeing Siberian Circus
»European Rights Court to Examine Katyn Massacre of Poles
»Penza War Veterans Get Stalin Bust
»Russia Averts ‘Major’ Terror Act Near Moscow: Security Chief
»Russia Launches Long-Delayed Deep Space Radio Telescope
»Solzhenitsyn’s Son Calls on Russians to Fix Country’s Ills
»Village Head Killed in Russian Caucasus
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Don’t Shoot Taliban… You’ll Wake Locals
»British Soldier Shot Dead ‘By Afghan Serviceman’ While on Routine Patrols
»Pakistan: Anti-Terror Court Sends Politician to Jail
»Taliban Execute 16 Pakistani Policemen and Post Video
Far East
»Japan Bans Fukushima Beef
»Japan Radiation Specialists Accuses Tepco of Total Cover-Up Regarding Radiation Exposure of Nuclear Plant Workers
Australia — Pacific
»Men Charged Over ‘Sharia Law’ Lashing During Sydney Home Invasion
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Somali Pirates Hijack UAE Tanker
»Freeze Immigration and Put British People First, Says Ed Miliband’s Policy Guru
»How Can the Asylum System be Fixed?
»Immigrants Land in Salento Area
»Kick Out Foreigners Who Cannot Get Jobs, Say 40 Per Cent of Spaniards
Culture Wars
»Italy: Anaesthetists Warn Living Will Law Unenforceable as it is
»UK: Beckhams a ‘Bad Example’ For Families
»Astronauts May Benefit From Red Wine in Orbit
»NASA Spacecraft Snaps First Close-Up Photo of Huge Asteroid Vesta
»NASA’s Inspiring, Enlightening, And Successful Search for New Earths
»U.S. Secretary of State and EU Buy Into OIC’s “Religious Defamation” Charade

Financial Crisis

Can This Union be Saved?

Walter Williams

National debt is over $14 trillion, the federal budget deficit is $1.4 trillion and, depending on whose estimates are used, the unfunded liability or indebtedness of the federal government (mostly in the form of obligations for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drugs) is estimated to be between $60 and $100 trillion.

Those entitlements along with others account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls mandatory or non-discretionary spending. Then there’s discretionary spending, half of which is for national defense. Each year, non-discretionary spending consumes a higher and higher percent of the federal budget.

The spending path that Congress has chosen for the last half-century is unsustainable and will end up with economic collapse but little or nothing can be done about it unless I’m grossly wrong about the American people. Americans who detest our country and those who love our country are hell-bent, wittingly or unwittingly, on destroying it.

You say, “Williams, that’s not only insulting but shows little trust as well. Explain yourself!”


To put this in perspective: Defense spending is called discretionary and totals $685 billion. Our deficit is $1.4 trillion. Defense spending could be entirely eliminated and we’d still have a massive deficit. Any congressman unwilling to make cuts in entitlement spending is not to be taken seriously about sparing our nation from economic collapse.


Everyone who receives government largesse and special favors deems his needs as vital, deserving, proper and in the national interest. It is entirely unreasonable to expect a politician to honor and obey our Constitution and in the process commit political suicide. What’s even worse for our nation is that voters ousting a politician who’d refuse to bring, say, aid to higher education back to his constituents is perfectly rational. If, for example, he’s a Virginia politician and doesn’t bring higher education grants back to his constituents, it doesn’t mean Virginian taxpayers will pay a lower income tax. All that it means is that Marylanders will get the money instead. Once legalized theft begins, it pays for everyone to participate. Those who don’t will be losers.

That’s the nation’s dilemma. The most important job for people who want to spare our nation from economic collapse is not that of persuading politicians to do the right thing but to convince our fellow Americans to respect the limits of our Constitution. In his speech to Virginia’s ratifying convention, James Madison said, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.”

[Return to headlines]

Clinton Gives Athens Moral Support

Ta Nea, 18 July 2011

During a visit to Athens, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for “a solution for Greece now,” headlines Greek daily Ta Nea. “The message Hillary Clinton sent to the Europeans is clear: Greece must be saved,” the Athens paper writes. The Secretary of State “reaffirmed her support for the reform programme undertaken by the [George] Papandreou government and highlights the need to apply these reforms. As of now, the ball to save the eurozone, through Greece, is in the European camp”. This view can only please Prime Minister George Papandreou who, in an interview, said it “is time for Europe to snap out of it,” and called for “courageous decisions to be taken collectively, not only for the future of Greece but for the future of Europe as a whole”.

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

Divisions Remain Ahead of Key EU Debt Summit

Uncertainty over whether the EU will be able to agree the terms of a second bailout for Greece in the coming days rose over the weekend as fundamental differences between key players were highlighted once more. In an interview published Monday with the Financial Times Deutschland, European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet said that he would not accept defaulted Greek bonds as collateral and that governments would have to step in and take measures if Greek government debt were given a default rating. “If a country defaults, we will no longer be able to accept its defaulted government bonds as normal eligible collateral.” “The governments would then have to step in themselves to put things right … the governments would have to take care the Eurosystem is presented with collateral that it could accept.”

“It is unacceptable to us to jeopardise our role as an anchor for stability and trust in the eurozone and Europe.” His comments, coming just ahead of an emergency EU summit on Thursday (21 July), put him in stark opposition to Berlin which has been insisting that in order for Greece to get a second bailout, expected to be around €115bn, the private sector has to be involved. Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated her views in an interview with ARD television on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Dutch Banks ‘Easily’ Pass Stress Test

All four Dutch high street banks passed the latest round of European stress tests, with Rabobank leading the pack over ING, ABN Amro and SNS Reaal.

The tests looked at the shape banks would be in if there was a decline in economic growth, a rise in interest rates and a drop in stock market prices.

Both ING and SNS Reaal received billions of euros in government support during the financial crisis and ABN Amro was nationalised.

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

Germany’s Labor Shortfall: Wooing Professionals From Debt-Stricken Parts of the EU

The German economy has long complained about a shortage of professionals. Now, with mass unemployment the reality in debt-stricken countries such as Portugal, Greece and Spain, Berlin is looking to attract potential workers northwards. The German economy has grown so well in the last few months that a lack of trained professionals has become a political problem . But now the federal labor agency has an idea. Berlin, it argues, should focus on attracting qualified workers from debt-stricken eurozone countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal. “There is huge potential in Spain, thousands of engineers are unemployed, including IT specialists,” said Monika Varnhagen, director of the labor agency’s Central Bureau for Foreign Jobs and Professions (ZAV), to Die Welt.

With 20 percent unemployment, there are around 130,000 people in Spain in need of work, according to an Europepan Union employment network called EURES, which helps with cross-border employment in Europe. No less than 17,000 Spaniards are reportedly open to working in Germany. But Spain alone can’t fill Germany’s skilled-labor shortfall. Lars Funk, who leads a division of the Association of German Engineers, says the country needs a total of 73,000 engineers across all fields. “The shortfall is enormous,” he says. Varnhagen, from the ZAV, argues that Greece and Portugal could also send professionals. Portugal has a high number of nurses who would come to Germany, she says, and in Greece many doctors would be willing. Varnhagen adds that Bulgaria and Croatia (which hasn’t yet joined the EU) also have potential for engineers, doctors and nurses. The main obstacle is language.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Second Bailout for Greece With ECB and IMF

(AGI) Berlin — Germany said that the second bailout package for Greece will be defined in agreement with the ECB and the IMF.

It was announced by the spokesman for the German Finance Ministry, Martin Kotthaus, despite rumours of differences on the issue between the two organisations.

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

Gold Rallies to Record in Best Run Since 1980

Gold surged to a record and is set for the best run of gains in more than three decades as U.S. politicians failed to reach agreement on raising the debt ceiling and Europe’s sovereign crisis lingered, boosting haven demand. Bullion in euros and pounds also rose to all-time highs. Immediate-delivery gold gained as much as 0.3 percent to $1,598.60 an ounce, rising for an 11th consecutive session, the best run since the 11 days to July 8, 1980, according to Bloomberg data. Spot gold, which has rallied 12 percent this year, traded at $1,597.32 at 2:16 p.m. in Singapore. President Barack Obama is pressing congressional leaders for a multitrillion-dollar agreement in deficit-cutting talks as negotiators near an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt limit. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told CNN a default would cause panic in the financial system, making the 2008 failure of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. “look like a very small event.”

“The situation in the euro area, as well as the proliferation of the debt-ceiling problem in the U.S., continues to be a very strong focus,” said Ben Westmore, a minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. Gold for August delivery in New York also gained to a record, climbing as much as 0.6 percent to $1,599.20 an ounce. The metal jumped to its highest ever levels of 1,136.654 euros and 992.378 pounds. Cash silver rose as much as 1.7 percent to $39.96 an ounce, climbing for a fifth day.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Gold Soars Above $1,600 for First Time

The price of gold soared above $1,600 for the first time on Monday as investors bought the safe-haven metal amid deepening debt worries in the eurozone and the United States. Gold jumped as high as $1,603.40 an ounce at 1150 GMT on the London Bullion Market, as the precious metal extended its recent record-breaking surge. In later slipped back to $1,599.45, compared with $1,587 late Friday. “Gold hit another milestone … at $1,600 as investors lose confidence in the ability of politicians to get to grip with the debt problems weighing down on sentiment,” said analyst Michael Hewson at trading group CMC Markets. “More advances look likely while this lack of confidence prevails as investors plough capital into the asset.” The precious metal is widely regarded by investors as a safe-haven in times of global economic turmoil, with investors looking ahead anxiously to Thursday’s Brussels summit of eurozone leaders trying to tame a growing debt crisis. At the same time, US politicians are wrangling over a deficit reduction plan which would allow President Barack Obama to avert a potentially catastrophic US debt default in return for $1.5 trillion in spending cuts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: No Taxi Today and Tomorrow Across the Country

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, JULY 18 — Greece will be left without taxis on Monday and Tuesday as cab owners intend to show their opposition to the sector’s liberalization at the height of the tourism season. As daily Kathimerini reports, the Transport Ministry is promoting the full opening-up of the sector but the owners, who have paid up to 200,000 euros each for a cab permit, are threatening with long-lasting action if the ministry does not accept their demands. The main point of contention for taxi owners is the ministry’s intention to lift all limitations to the issuing of new permits. Owners call for licensing criteria based on population figures, i.e. one permit per 400 people in Athens and Thessaloniki and one permit per 1,000 people in the rest of the country. At least the traffic restrictions to the entry of cars to downtown Athens based on their plate number are abolished from Monday until the end of August.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Market Speculation Probe as Italy Hit Again

Stocks, bonds suffer despite austerity package

(ANSA) — Milan, July 18 — An Italian prosecutor opened an investigation Monday into speculative attacks against Italy’s financial system.

The Milan bourse fell and bond spreads stayed close to recent highs amid fears of Greek debt-crisis contagion despite last week’s fast approval of a 70-billion-euro austerity package.

Prosecutor Michele Ruggiero, from the southern city of Trani, started the probe in response to complaints from two leading consumer protection associations, Adusbef and Federconsumatori.

Ruggiero travelled to Milan to gather information from Consob, the bourse regulator, as the bellwether FTSE MIB index fell by 3.22% and leading banks like Intesa Sanpaolo, Unicredit and Monte dei Paschi di Siena registered losses of 6-7% despite passing European Union stress tests Friday.

The spread between Italian bond yields and those of benchmark German bunds, a measure of the premium Italy has to pay on its huge public debt, climbed back to levels seen last Tuesday, before the austerity package went through parliament in record time as politicians rallied together.

“The uncertainty about Italy remains high despite the approval of the budget,” analysts at the Goldman Sachs merchant bank said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Merkel Defends Handling of Eurozone Crisis

Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her handling of the eurozone debt crisis, saying Germany was working to shore up the European currency and bring stability to Greece. In an interview with public broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening, Merkel repeatedly said that the euro had to be defended at all costs, but rejected criticism that her approach to the crisis had been haphazard and rudderless. “I think I’m doing what’s necessary,” Merkel responded testily. “The euro is not in crisis,” she said, while adding that the currency was “especially” important for an exporting nation like Germany. “We are working to make the euro a stable currency.” But she acknowledged Greece faced serious problems and reiterated the necessity of an initial bailout of the heavily indebted country. Merkel also stressed the importance of having the private sector help shore up Greece.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

No Kebab for Sarrazin: Divisive Author Chased Out of Immigrant District

Angry Muslims reportedly drove controversial author Thilo Sarrazin from a Turkish restaurant in Berlin. Though his bestselling book claims Muslims are dumbing down German society, their accusations of racism have left the former central bank board member shocked and indignant. “Get lost!” and “Nazis out!” were among the epithets lobbed at controversial author Thilo Sarrazin during a recent trip to Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, according to newspaper reports on Monday. The city’s former finance senator had taken a trip to the area with broadcaster ZDF to film a TV special ahead of the one-year anniversary of the publication of his controversial book, “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (“Germany Does Itself In”). The memory of the book’s content, which sparked massive controversy in Germany for what many called its anti-immigrant sentiments, was apparently still fresh in the minds of some residents of the district, known for its high concentration of Muslim immigrants.

Accompanied by Turkish-German journalist Güner Balci, Sarrazin took a tour of the district, stopping by a Turkish market where he wrote in Die Welt he was yelled at by an “angry man in his fifties” who he dubbed “the squaller,” before a group of other “politically correct” market patrons joined in, calling him a racist until he and the camera team left. The show’s camera team then followed Sarrazin to the popular Turkish restaurant Hasir, where they had planned a talk with co-owner Ahmet Aygün, who with his five brothers owns a number of successful restaurants across the city. But before they reached the eatery, a “well-dressed” couple of “obviously Turkish decent” began shouting at him, he wrote. The woman, who “seemed intellectual in a somewhat anemic way,” called him a “racist,” and the man called for him to leave Kreuzberg, Sarrazin reported. “A rational discussion was impossible,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pressure for Deal at Thursday Eurozone Summit

Berlin Working on Plans for Greek Debt Cut

The leaders of the euro zone are becoming convinced that the only way to save Greece is to restructure its growing mountain of debt. The only remaining question is how. The German Finance Ministry is analyzing a number of options, including the EU rescue fund purchasing Greek debt. The appeal was a dramatic one, but the situation warranted it. “The current mood is not helping us pull ourselves out of the crisis,” Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou said in an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland published last Thursday “This insecurity frightens off investors.” Papandreou is undoubtedly right. As his country stands dangerously close to national bankruptcy, finance ministers from the 17 euro-zone countries remain divided on how to organize a second bailout package for Greece. Still, last Monday, they at least agreed on one thing: that, so far, all rescue efforts aimed at buying Greece some time to gain some control over its debt problems had failed. Indeed, Greece’s economy is on the verge of collapse, and its skyrocketing debt level has now reached 150 percent of GDP.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Trichet Tells Eurozone to Improve ‘Verbal Discipline’

The head of the European Central Bank called on eurozone leaders on Monday to speak with one voice in the debt crisis, while defending German Chancellor Angela Merkel against accusations of foot-dragging. “There is an absolute need to improve ‘verbal discipline’,” Jean-Claude Trichet said in an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland, a transcript of which was released by the ECB. “The governments need to speak with one voice on such complex and sensitive issues as the crisis,” he said, while acknowledging that having 17 different governments made things “complex.” He said: “But speaking with one voice in a period of crisis is of (the) essence.”

The Frenchman also defended Merkel against criticism that she, as the leader of Europe’s biggest economy, had acted too slowly throughout the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis and had made matters worse. “Not in the least,” Trichet said. “I would see a discussion of this kind as being completely misplaced in the current situation.” Merkel had said on Sunday that she would attend a summit of eurozone leaders in Brussels on Thursday — announced by EU president Herman Van Rompuy — to agree a new Greek rescue package only if there were a prospect of a concrete deal. Trichet also expressed confidence that the eurozone would overcome the current crisis, which has dragged Greece, Ireland and Portugal into bailouts and which markets speculate could pull down Spain and Italy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Hack Attack on a Republican

Visitors to an Ohio lawmaker’s Twitter site Wednesday were greeted by an image of a naked man with a flexing arm photoshopped where private parts would be.

Staffers for Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, quickly removed the offensive material, and asked Capitol police to investigate the hack. They also have contacted Twitter, House leadership and House Information Security.

Twitter users noticed the hack after someone posted two nonsensical messages to Johnson’s Twitter feed and replaced Johnson’s profile image with a photoshopped image of a naked man.

Johnson spokeswoman Jessica Towhey said the account had been “compromised by an unauthorized user.”

           — Hat tip: Van Grungy[Return to headlines]

I Was Beaten, Taunted for Being White, Bronx Man Says After Subway Attack

A Bronx man was viciously assaulted and robbed on a subway train Sunday by four men who he says taunted him for being white. Police confirmed they are investigating the assault and robbery of Jason Fordell, 29, but have not labeled it a hate crime. They are seeking the four assailants, who fled the scene. A fifth passenger who police say spontaneously joined in the attack has been arrested. “Everyone on the train was egging them on,” said Fordell, 29, of the early-morning attack on the 4 train. He said he was returning home at 5 a.m. from an East Village nightclub where he sells his hand-designed leather accessories when his Gothic getup drew unwelcome attention. After Fordell transferred to a crowded 4 train at 42nd St., four young, black men began harassing him, cops said. “People started saying stupid little comments — cracker this, white boy this, f——t this,” Fordell said. “I told them the only reason they were saying this is there was four of them and one of me.”

The case is being investigated by detectives, but has not been assigned to the NYPD hate crimes task force because cops are unsure if the suspects were motivated by bias, sources said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Oil Spill Cleanup Turns Up Trove of Indian Relics

Cleanup after the BP oil spill has turned up dozens of sites where archaeologists are finding human and animal bones, pottery and primitive weapons left behind by pre-historic Indian settlements — a trove of new clues about the Gulf Coast’s mound dwellers more than 1,300 years ago. But they also fear the remains could be damaged by oil or lost to erosion before they can be fully studied. So far, teams of archaeologists hired by the oil giant have visited more than 100 sites and sent back a growing list of finds to labs for radiocarbon dating and other tests, though extensive excavations haven’t been done. Scholars have also accompanied cleanup crews to make sure they don’t unwittingly throw away relics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Light Bulb Repeal Failed. Here Are Some Work-Arounds

The attempted repeal of the ban on incandescent bulbs has failed for now. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) HR2417 light bulb pro-choice bill was defeated…sort of. Although an overwhelming majority voted for repeal of the ban (233 to 193) due to the fact that the vote was held under a suspension of the rules in order to limit debate, a 2/3 majority was needed and over one third of the members of the US House of Representatives lacked the required common sense to vote in favor.

As a result you may believe you are condemned to exposing your family to those CFL mercury bombs because Al Gore, General Electric and others stand to make gigantic profits from the global warming fraud.

Don’t worry. There are ways to beat the GE/Gore gang while we wait for the next Congress and president to enact a repeal.

The obvious way is to stock up. It seems a lot of people are. Last year my informal surveys found that stores both large and small seemed to have suspended stocking safe, incandescent light bulbs in favor of the mercury bombs; virtually all shelf space for lights was taken over by the mercury kind. Lately safe bulbs have recovered. Although the mercury bombs are still there it’s clear that public demand for incandescent bulbs has gone through the roof, since the good guys have regained ground on the shelves: the non-mercury, old fashioned bulbs are again available in all their glorious, warm profusion. Stores are responding to consumers who want to stock up for the duration.

But suppose your closet space is limited and you don’t have enough room for a supply of bulbs to last until repeal. What to do?

You’re still not stuck. You see, when the AlGoreistas’ claims of a falling sky stampeded the Congress into passing and George W. Bush into signing the light bulb ban they ran into something that limits even what Congress can do: Reality.

In this case Reality dictated that certain types of incandescent bulbs be exempted from the ban. Thus the Light Bulb Prohibition law specifically allows the following incandescent bulbs: appliance lamps; left-hand thread lamps; plant lights; reflector lamps; rough service lamps; several kinds of shatter proof and shatter resistant bulbs; 3-way incandescent lamps; vibration service lamps. So if you are pro-choice on light bulbs there’s a lot you can do to protest Prohibition even if you lack the space or foresight to stock up before the ban goes into effect.

Rough service bulbs are widely available at electrical supply stores and hardware stores. Undoubtedly there will be a sudden surge in the need for these next year. Shatter resistant and shatter proof bulbs are not as widely available, but expect production and distribution to increase dramatically. Both are somewhat more expensive than ordinary incandescents, but last a great deal longer.


Human ingenuity in overcoming adversity is amazing and one German entrepreneur has started selling things that look like light bulbs, have filaments like light bulbs, and light up like light bulbs but AREN’T light bulbs. They are personal hand warmers and “not intended to be used for lighting purposes.” If you buy one and use it for a purpose for which it is not intended, maybe the EPA will introduce a program in the public schools to get children to rat on their parents.

There can be no doubt that Americans will find more ways to beat the Green Fanatics…

[Return to headlines]

Traitor or Whistleblower? The Divided Life of Bradley Manning

Chat transcripts by Bradley Manning, the alleged source of secret US government documents for WikiLeaks, will be used as evidence in his military trial. They reveal a conflicted and lonely young soldier who felt strongly about revealing “almost criminal” behavior. He’s spent 14 months in jail, but there is still no date for his trial. As far as his commander in chief is concerned, the verdict on Pfc. Bradley Manning is already in. Following a fundraiser held in San Francisco in April, US President Barack Obama said that Manning “broke the law.”

A small group of Manning supporters had interrupted the president’s speech before a well-heeled audience and held up signs saying “Free Bradley Manning!” The protesters then broke into a song lamenting the treatment of the 23-year-old US Army intelligence analyst whom the US Department of Defense has accused of passing on an untold amount of confidential and secret material to the WikiLeaks website. Even US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to have formed a clear opinion on Manning. She recently told the American magazine Vanity Fair that she cannot fathom how a soldier with psychological problems and a “drag queen” for a boyfriend could embarrass the United States in this way.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Another Top Police Official Resigns in British Scandal

Britain’s phone hacking crisis claimed another major victim on Monday when John Yates, the deputy commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, resigned.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday cut short an African trip and ordered a special parliamentary session to debate the widening phone-hacking scandal.

[Return to headlines]

British Police Chief Resigns Over News International Scandal

Britain’s top police officer resigned as the News International phone-hacking scandal shook the British establishment. Former CEO Rebekah Brooks was bailed after being arrested on Sunday. In a surprise announcement, Britain’s top police officer Paul Stephenson stepped down from his position as Metropolitan police commissioner amid reports that he was linked to former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who was arrested last week. Stephenson reportedly accepted a five-week stay at a luxury hotel early this year where Wallis was a public relations consultant. “I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to Met’s [Metropolitan police] links with News International at a senior level,” Stephenson said.

Former CEO Rebekah Brooks was released on bail early Monday, a day after she was arrested in connection with corruption allegations during her tenure as the chief executive of News International, the British newspaper arm of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Brooks has become the focus of outrage over the phone-hacking scandal at News International, which led to the shutdown of the Sunday tabloid newspaper News of the World. She had announced her resignation on Friday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Copper Thieves Target Sweden’s Churches

Tourists and church-goers are not the only ones to be drawn to Sweden’s many attractive copper-roofed churches. A surge of copper thefts have left the country’s churches reeling. “We’ve seen a sharp increase during 2011,” Leif Eriksson, CEO of Kyrkans Försäkring, the insurance company in charge of insuring 60 percent of Sweden’s churches, told The Local on Monday. “Thefts increase every year, but this year they’ve really taken off,” he said. In 2010, a total of 27 copper thefts were reported, costing churches a damage cost of 1.3 million kronor ($198,000). So far in 2011, 26 thefts have already been registered, at a total cost of 1.8 million kronor.

The roofs are expensive to rebuild, and replacing a roof containing 30,000 kronor worth of copper can cost as much as 500,000 kronor. Copper is an attractive material, and more and more churches are now looking to replace the stolen goods with some other material, of less interest to potential thieves. Leif Eriksson believes that smaller parts, such as copper drainpipes, may come to be replaced with other materials when the copper has been stolen repeatedly. Copper roofs however, are hard to avoid, as many churches are protected buildings falling under cultural heritage regulations, where the original material must be used when renovating.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Video: Muslim Verbally Assaults Old Lady on Copenhagen City Train

A Muslim guy brings honor to his culture by freaking out on a old lady on the s-train in Copenhagen: “f*** you, you dog. Fat cow.” The Muslim guy talks about his rights and says that the other people on the train are discriminating against him, even as he acts in an intimidating manner. Ever heard of that phenomenon happening before?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Queen’s Greenland Arrival Catches Hosts Off-Guard

Danish Royals arrive sooner — and leave later — than expected

Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik arrived too early and stayed too long on their summer visit to Greenland, joked Greenland’s prime minister Kuupik Kleist. In a speech on Saturday to celebrate the crown couple’s summer visit to Greenland, Kleist poked fun at Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik for arriving in the town of Uummannaq before they were expected and before their hosts were finished preparing their official welcome. Kleist then teased that the Danish royals overstayed, reports Sermitsiaq, Greenland’s national newspaper. “Everything went wrong at the beginning of the tour in northernmost Greenland,” Kleist said in his speech. “Instead of a quick inspection, they stayed for three days.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark Failing to Prove Need for Border Controls: EU

The European Commission warned on Monday that Denmark has failed to justify a controversial decision to increase controls at its borders with Germany and Sweden.

The European Union’s executive arm said experts met with Danish authorities last Thursday and visited the country’s borders with its two European neighbors, which are part of the Schengen passport-free travel zone.

“Unfortunately, the mission did not enable us to get adequate answers to our questions,” said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem.

“There are persistent concerns about the compatibility of Denmark’s strengthened internal control measures with the freedoms provided under the EU Treaty including the Schengen acquis,” she said.

“It is incumbent on Denmark to demonstrate factually that the gravity of the situation justifies putting in place controls which might affect the exercise of free movement of goods, services and persons at the internal borders with Germany and Sweden.”

The result of the mission makes it “even more necessary to establish a reinforced dialogue with the Danish authorities and to put in place a strict monitoring system based on regular information from the Danish authorities.”

A letter was sent to Danish authorities to get further clarifications and further visits are not excluded, she said.

“The commission will not hesitate to use all tools at its disposal to guarantee free movement of goods, services and persons and the full respect of EU legislation,” she said.

Denmark deployed 50 new customs officers at its borders with Germany and Sweden on July 5, a controversial measure hammered out under pressure from its far-right ally which drew critics from Brussels and its neighbors.

The Scandinavian country argues random border checks are in line with Schengen and that their aim is to combat the smuggling of illegal goods and drugs, not to control travelers.

“In a first assessment the experts reported that they were unable to get sufficient justifications from the Danish side for the intensification of the controls at the internal borders,” the commission said in a statement.

“In particular, according to the experts, the risk assessment required to justify the controls was not sufficient and there were no clear instructions to border control officers on how to carry out controls,” it said. “There also does not seem to be a structured reporting mechanism about the numbers of controls and the results of the intensified border checks.”

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

EU Warns Denmark on Sweden Border Controls

The European Commission on Monday warned Denmark that it has failed to justify a controversial decision to increase controls at its borders with Sweden and Germany. The European Union’s executive arm said experts met with Danish authorities last Thursday and visited the country’s borders with its two European neighbours, which are part of the Schengen passport-free travel zone. “Unfortunately, the mission did not enable us to get adequate answers to our questions,” said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmström. “There are persistent concerns about the compatibility of Denmark’s strengthened internal control measures with the freedoms provided under the EU Treaty including the Schengen acquis,” she said. “It is incumbent on Denmark to demonstrate factually that the gravity of the situation justifies putting in place controls which might affect the exercise of free movement of goods, services and persons at the internal borders with Germany and Sweden.”

The result of the mission makes it “even more necessary to establish a reinforced dialogue with the Danish authorities and to put in place a strict monitoring system based on regular information from the Danish authorities.” A letter was sent to Danish authorities to get further clarifications and further visits are not excluded, she said. “The commission will not hesitate to use all tools at its disposal to guarantee free movement of goods, services and persons and the full respect of EU legislation,” she said. Denmark deployed 50 new customs officers at its borders with Germany and Sweden on July 5, a controversial measure hammered out under pressure from its far-right ally which drew critics from Brussels and its neighbours. The Scandinavian country argues random border checks are in line with Schengen and that their aim is to combat the smuggling of illegal goods and drugs, not to control travellers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Exclusive: Classified Documents Show U.S. Full Responsibility for 1998 Italy Ski Gondola Disaster

Just a month after 20 people were killed in northern Italy when a low-flying American military jet clipped a gondola line, the U.S. had already concluded that the crew and their supervisors were at fault. The pilot was later acquitted of manslaugher charges, enraging much of Europe.

Maurizio Molinari, Paolo Mastrolilli

New York

In Italy, it is still remembered as the epitome of American military “cowboy” behavior gone awry. On Feb. 3, 1998, 20 people died when a U.S. military plane cut a cable supporting a gondola of an aerial tramway in the ski resort of Cavalese, in Trentino Alto Adige, Italy. Now, 13 years after what’s become known as the “massacre of Cermis” — for the Cermis mountain peak where the gondola crashed — La Stampa has obtained a classified U.S. Marine Corps Forces document that had recognized the marines’ full responsibility just a month after the incident. “The cause of this tragedy was that the Marine aircrew flew much lower than they were authorized to fly, putting themselves and others at risk,” reads the document. It also recommended that “appropriate disciplinary and administrative action be taken against the mishap aircrew,” and against the “Commanding Officer, Operation Officer, Director of Safety and Standardization, the Aviation Safety Officer and any Aircrew Training Officer for their failure in identifying and disseminating pertinent flight information for their local training flights.” The document recommends the United States pay any legal reparation for deaths and damages.

General Peter Pace — who at the time was Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Atlantic/Europe/South, and later became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States’ highest-ranking military office — signed the final investigation report on the massacre of Cermis. The document, obtained legally according to U.S. Federal laws, is dated Mar. 10, 1998. The previous month, on February 3, an EA-6B plane of the 31st Fighter Wing of Marine Corps, based at Aviano air base, in northern Italy, cut the cables of the aerial tramway of Cavalese. A cable car plunged 600 feet, killing the 20 people aboard. Gen. Pace ordered an investigation led by Gen. Michael DeLong. Italian Col. Orfeo Durigon and Col. Fermo Missarino took part to the investigation. The executive summary of the report reads that on February 24, the Italian government formally asked the United States to renounce the personal jurisdiction over the four members of the aircrew. Nothing was decided and the investigation stayed under Gen. Pace’s control. The conclusion of the final investigative report —revealed here for the first time — is clear.

Origins of a tragedy

On Aug. 27, 1997, the Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 arrived in Aviano to take part in operation “Deliberate Guard,” in Bosnia. That same month, the Italian government ordered new directives on low altitude flights in Trentino Alto Adige, forbidding flights below 2,000 feet (around 700 meters.) Copies of the directive were given to all the pilots. One copy was found — unread — in the EA-6B, after the accident. In the flight deck there were also maps marking the aerial tramway. No one had opened them. The aircrew consisted of the pilot Capt. Richard Ashby, the navigator Capt. Joseph Schweitzer, Capt. William Raney and Capt. Chandler Seagraves — who joined the crew at the last moment. According to the report, there is no evidence that any of them were under the influence of drugs or illegal substances, or had shown signs of psychological stress.

They had never been reported for flat-hatting, but on January 24, Ashby had gotten a formal warning for a low take-off. On February 2, Schweitzer started to plan the flight route for the low-altitude training mission, but used the wrong documents. Squadron commander, Col. Muegge, and his assistants Roys, Recce, Watton and Caramanian did not alert directly the pilots of the new flight altitude limitations. But Schweitzer did not plan to fly under 1,000 feet altitude, still much higher than the aerial tramway cables. Nevertheless, Gen. Pace concluded that the commanders should be sanctioned too. On the morning of February 3, the plane took off for a mission in Bosnia. After its return, at 12.20 p.m., the morning pilot, Capt. Thayer, alerted about a fault in the “G meter,” the radar altimeter.

The instrument was changed. The radar altimeter seemed to work fine, even if, after the accident, the aircrew had denied having heard the sound that it emits to alert that the plane is flying below the concerted altitude. The afternoon pilot, Capt. Ashby, was qualified for a low-altitude flight, but had not been on a mission of that kind since July 3, 1997, and never in Italy. The EA-6B plane, nicknamed Easy 01 on this mission, took off at 2.35 p.m. An AWACS radar plane was covering the flight and later provided the investigators with further details. According to a witness quoted in the investigation, at 2.50 p.m. a military jet was flying at low altitude and high speed over the village of Dimaro, in Trentino Alto Adige. The flight recoder confimed that the jet was Easy 01.

After a few minutes, the plane was seen over the village of Pellizzano. At 3.08 p.m., Easy01 was seen flying at an altitude of 100 meters over the village of Ciago. Schweitzer said that the he could see the Marmolada Mountain, the arrival point of the training mission. The final 45 seconds are reconstructed. Some witnesses saw Easy01 flying at a very low altitude over Molina di Fiemme. According to the report, the pilot claimed he did not know that there was an aerial tramway. When he saw it, he immediately descended, to avoid the car cabin, Ashby said. Schweitzer said he was shocked seeing the cable. Then he heard a sound, but he thought they had avoided it. In that moment, the radar altimeter marled 800 feet. It had already rung to alert the aircrew. The report concludes that at 3.13 p.m. the cables of Cermis aerial tramway were hit by Easy01 that was flying at less than 113 meters, or 370 feet, of altitude. According to the report, the plane speed was above the limit of 450 knots.

Return to base

After the impact, Ashby and Schweitzer alerted the control center in Padua. In Aviano, landing strip number 23 was freed for Easy01 to land. Maj. Gross, responsible of the security, looked at the plane with binoculars and testified that it seemed as it had hit a cable. Easy01 landed at 3.35 p.m.. There was a video camera in the flight deck, but nothing was recorded. It turned out later that Schweitzer had erased its memory after the accident. After having read the investigation report, Gen. Pace concluded that the cause of the accident was crew error. It had surpassed the speed limit of 100 miles an hour and flew far below the allowed 2,000 feet of altitude.

The general wrote that the impact was not casual, because the aircrew flew faster and at a lower altitude than it was allowed. He also blamed superiors for not having given clear orders. There is also a final mystery. On March 5, Gen. Peppe, commander of 31st Fighter Wing, told the investigators that on February 4, the day after the accident, Col. Muegge had told him that everyone knew about the 2,000 feet altitude limit, except Ashby. According to Gen. Pace the conclusion was clear: all the claims for damages caused by the accident have to be paid. On February 1999, the Italian government provided every victim’s family with $65,000.

In May 1999, the U.S. Congress rejected a bill that would have set up a $40 million compensation fund for the families of the victims, who came from Italy, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands. In December 1999, the Italian Parliament approved a monetary compensation of $1.9 million per victim. NATO treaties obliged the US government to refund 75% of this compensation. Ashby and Schweitzer were found not guilty in the United States of charges of involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide. Later they were convicted of obstruction of justice for having destroyed a videotape from the flight, and were subsequently dismissed from the Marines.

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

French Politicians Attack Critic of July 14 Military Parade

French politicians on the right have turned on the green candidate for next year’s presidential vote after she suggested scrapping the traditional July 14 military parade. Former investigating magistrate Eva Joly, who holds joint French-Norwegian nationality, provoked outraged after suggesting that the Bastille Day event should be replaced by a civic parade. But as one politician from the ruling right-wing UMP party suggested she go back to Norway, politicians from the opposition Socialists, while rejecting Joly’s proposal, defended her against the ruling party’s attacks Friday. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon led the assault on Joly, in comments to reporters in Ivory Coast, where he was visiting for talks with President Alassane Ouattara.

“I think this lady lacks a very longstanding sense of French traditions, French values, French history,” Fillon said. “If every year we pay homage to our armed forces on the national holiday, it’s because we are paying homage to an institution which assures the defence of the values … of liberty, of fraternity, of equality,” he added. It was normal to pay homage to the armed forces, which were vital to French democracy, he argued. “I think there are very few French people who share Madame Joly’s view.” A special advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Henri Guaino, was even sharper. He described Joly’s remarks as “pathetic” and “an insult to all those who, for centuries, have died for this country, for its values, for freedom.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Looks to Spain, Greece, For Workers

German authorities desperate to fill empty jobs needed to keep the economic upswing going are targeting professionals in crisis-hit countries like Spain, Greece and Portugal. “There is great potential in Spain, thousands of engineers are unemployed, also IT specialists — the interest in Germany is considerable,” Monika Varnhagen, director of the foreign and specialist section of the German Labour Agency told Die Welt newspaper on Monday. But she said there were often problems with the language, with only one in ten having even basic German. Although those looking for jobs in Germany were willing to learn, this necessity slows down the process. “Or, alternatively, the employer in Germany accepts that someone who has little German knowledge but good English can join the company and get sorted out in situ. In our conversations with employers we are currently finding out how great the willingness is to depend on such people and to invest in them.” She said her staff had already accompanied a number of German employers on a recruitment drive to Spain and that the first work contracts were being signed, with a further trip planned for September.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Award for Putin Was ‘Dilettantish and Politically Insensitive’

A week after it emerged that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would receive a prestigious German prize meant to honor “role models,” the sponsoring organization has pulled the plug on this year’s entire award ceremony. German commentators agree with critics: Putin has little in common with previous winners. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s award closet must be crammed. It holds his judo trophies, Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” award, the Grand Croix of France’s Legion of Honor and the highest civilian honors of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. And, from Germany, he already has the “Order of Saxon Gratitude,” which the eastern city of Dresden awarded him in 2009 for reportedly promoting cultural relations between Russia and Germany. But just a week after news emerged that he might have to make room for another German award, the deal is off.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Helmut Kohl: Merkel is Destroying My Europe

Der Spiegel, 18 July 2011

With sixteen years in power, Helmut Kohl is the “record-holding chancellor” of the Germans. He’s also the architect of reunification and of the single currency, citizen of honour of Europe and for a long time he was Angela Merkel’s spiritual father in politics. But today, “Kohl resents Merkel’s European policy,” headlines German daily Tagesspiegel. Very frugal with his political commentary, the 81-year old former chancellor nonetheless allowed some harsh comments toward the current head of government to be leaked to the German weekly Der Spiegel: “She’s destroying my Europe,” Kohl reportedly told someone close to him, adding that her policies in the eurozone crisis are “very dangerous”. The comments caused a great stir in the press and were denied by Kohl. He is now trying to turn attention to the errors of his direct successor, Social-Democrat Gerhard Schröder, responsible, Kohl says, for undermining the Stability Pact and allowing Greece to join the eurozone. But the press judges Merkel’s policies to be catastrophic because she “doesn’t know how to use her power for the common good and submits to the dictates of the moment,” sums up the Tagesspiegel.

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

Hooligans to be Banned From Swiss Trains

The Swiss Federal Railways are planning to ban football hooligans from boarding Swiss trains. In an interview with the Aargauer Zeitung daily, SBB’s chairman Ulrich Gygi said a legal amendment is necessary to waive the company’s obligation to transport every customer who is traveling with a valid ticket. Gygi said agreements could be put in place with the country’s football clubs, which could hire special charter trains for their supporters and be held responsible for possible damage. He also added that football fans should be required to show a special combo-ticket for the supplementary trains before they are allowed access to sections designated for away fans at Swiss football grounds. A first draft of the new rules will be ready by spring 2012, said the newspaper. Hooligans in Switzerland are a common sight in the streets during weekend football games and often leave trains in a sorry state.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel Ambassador Bids Farewell to ‘Anti-Semitic’ Spain

Israel’s ambassador in Madrid described the “hatred and anti-semitism” he had experienced during his four years in Spain, in a message post on the embassy website Saturday. Raphael Shutz said that his four years in Spain had included some difficult moments. He cited Israel’s January 2009 assault on the Palestinian-held Gaza Strip, which provoked an international outcry; and the May 2010 commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy in which nine Turkish activists were killed. In addition, he said, “…the fact of having personally experienced the hate and the anti-semitism that exists in Spanish society is something that I take away with me.” But he stressed too, that he had also had many positive experiences.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were first established in January 1986 after centuries of hostility following the publication of a royal order expelling the Jews from Spain in 1492. The edict of expulsion was formally nullified 500 years later at an official ceremony in March 1992 which was attended by the Spanish king and then Israeli president Haim Herzog.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Court Says Berlusconi Trial to Stay in Milan With ‘Communist’ Judges

(AKI) — A court in Milan on Monday declined to transfer prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s trial for paying an underaged dancer for sex to a special tribunal for ministers.

Berlusconi’s legal team says his case should be heard by the ministerial court that oversees cases of ministers accused of committing crimes while executing government duties.

Berlusconi says he is the target of political persecution by communist judges he calls “red robes.”

Italy’s Constitutional Court on 6 July said it would decide on the matter “in the next few months.”

Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly paying then-17-year-old nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, commonly referred to by her stage name ‘Ruby to have sex. Both Berlusconi and Mahroug deny ever having sex.

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

Italy: Tension in Palermo’s Shipyard, Unionists on Top of Derrick

(AGI) Palermo — Ugl, Fim and Uilm trade unions representatives of the Palermo shipyard and satellite industries decided to climb on top of a 200 ton derrick as a sign of protest, following a workers assembly, and asked for an urgent meeting with the Giuseppe Bono Group CEO. It was made known by the Palermo Ugl engineering trade unions secretary Gabriele Specchiarello, who claimed that “the lost of the order for Costa Romantica is only the last drop in the slow agony of the Palermo shipyard. Without a clear definition of work timetables and orders, there is no future for us.” The trade union secretary underlined that “with our strikes and protests we are asking the company, once for all, for serious answers to the workers, and we ask local and national government to do their part to save the assets of the Sicilian shipyards” .

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

More Evidence War on Murdoch is About BBC Preserving Its Dominance

“Thus when the BBC decides to manufacture a story, or ignore another, it forms reality for millions in Britain and world-wide.” — Michael Gonzalez, 30 July 2003 (Wall Street Journal)

That is what the BBC is desperate to maintain. No one looking at the current Guardian-BBC onslaught against News International should do so without understanding the historic context and the real agenda behind the fight. But first, lets remind ourselves of the current situation.

The Guardian and BBC started its latest offensive using the years old story of ‘phone hacking’ as a pretext for renewing its war with Rupert Murdoch. News International was nothing but a proxy in this fight. With the fall of the News of the World, arrest of Andy Coulson and resignation from News International Chief Executive, Rebekah Brooks, the Guardian-BBC axis could have declared victory in its campaign to exact a price for the criminal behaviour of Screws journalists. But they have not done so as the real target was always Murdoch. Never mind that Murdoch may not have known any details of operational criminality by some of the employees inside his media empire, for the Guardian-BBC cabal this was never an issue. The aim was always to take out their biggest rival.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New German Mosque a Milestone in Religious Architecture

Cologne’s central mosque suffered many critics before its construction began in 2009. It’s now almost finished and is being hailed as a new artistic and social vision for the predominantly Christian city. Cologne’s new central mosque has already endured years of criticism — and it’s not even finished yet. There are those who have complained about the height of its minarets and those who call it der Meiler — from Atommeiler, German for nuclear reactor — because they say it looks like an atomic facility. When plans were first unveiled for the redevelopment of the central mosque, some critics even saw it as an opportunity to raise a fundamental debate about the city’s Turkish Islamic community.

The right-wing group Pro Köln and the prominent social commentator, Ralph Giordano, campaigned to have the construction plans stopped. Giordano’s focus was not the mosque — he complained instead that integration of the Turkish Islamic community had failed and that the problem was Islam. Now six years into the project, its architect Paul Böhm says the mosque is itself an act of integration.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Nick Clegg: ‘I Fear We’re on the Brink of Another Financial Crisis’

Nick Clegg has said he is “incredibly worried” that the world is on the brink of another financial crisis.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he was concerned the crisis in the eurozone could spread to Britain and have a “direct impact” on jobs. The admission is the first time that a senior British politician has suggested that the problems in Greece, Spain and Italy could affect Britain. European leaders are due on Thursday to convene an emergency summit in which they hope to approve a plan for private-sector involvement in bailing out Greece. Mr Clegg was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “How worried are you that we are on the edge of another really serious world financial crisis?” He replied: “I’m incredibly worried. I think the gravity of the uncertainty in the United States, which is basically a product of political gridlock, and the growing fiscal crisis, sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone is immensely serious.” He said that it was foolish to think that Britain was able to “wash our hands of it” because the country was not a member of the eurozone.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Russian Envoy Slams Retraction of Putin’s Prize

Russia’s ambassador to Berlin on Monday blasted the decision to cancel plans to award a private democracy prize to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin after a storm of protest in Germany. Ambassador Vladimir Grinin told ARD public television ahead of a joint Russian-German cabinet meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev and Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday that he found the flap “very distasteful and indecent.” “I regret it deeply,” he said, while adding: “I do not think that it will harm our relations.” The private foundation that awards the Quadriga prize each October 3, the anniversary of German reunification, to “role models for enlightenment, dedication and the public good” had earlier this month selected Putin as this year’s winner. The announcement sparked outrage across the political spectrum over Putin’s disputed record on human rights, journalistic freedom and the Chechnya conflict. Others noted the award could seem to be an endorsement of Putin for March’s presidential election. He has not yet announced whether he will stand. On Saturday, the organisers bowed to what they called “unbearable” pressure, including a threat by the 2009 laureate, former Czech president Vaclav Havel, to return the prize, and called off this year’s ceremony.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spanish Police Make Record Cash Haul From Drug Traffickers

Spanish police said Monday announced the seizure of a record 25 million euros ($35 million) in cash and the arrest of 21 people in Spain and the United States involved in laundering money from drug trafficking. “It is the largest single amount of cash seized in Europe coming from drug trafficking,” the head of the special police unit combating money-laundering, Jose Luis Olivera, told a news conference. A total of 17 people were detained in and around Madrid and four in Miami, Florida in an operation staged in coordination with the FBI. The four held in the US included the “brains” behind the organisation, Alvaro Lopez Tardon, a Spaniard.

Police also arrested his brother, Artemio, in Madrid, in whose home they found 25 million euros in cash under the living room floor. “We have broken up the organisation cut off their operations,” said the officer in charge of the operation, Jose Luis Gudina, told the same news conference. He said the operation, codenamed “Azalea” after the name of the street where Artemio lived, has been ongoing for two years, during which police investigated “all the businesses and their proxies” used by the gang to move their money. The network was involved in laundering money from drug trafficking from Colombia through a network of companies principally engaged in export-import, often involving luxury cars, and with accounts in tax havens.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Srdja Trifkovic: Otto Von Habsburg’s Ambiguous Legacy

Archduke Otto von Habsburg, who died on July 4 aged 98, became the heir to the imperial crown of Austria and the royal crown of Hungary when his father Charles ascended the throne of the multinational Dual Monarchy in November 1916. In the final decades of his life (1979-1999) he was an influential figure in the multinational European Parliament as an elected CSU member from Bavaria. It is incorrect, however, to claim — as many obituarists have done — that “his abiding theme was the need to bridge the East-West division of the continent.” He has deepened that division by adopting a hostile attitude to Europe’s Orthodox nations and traditions.

Habsburg was an enthusiastic supporter of the Jihadist side in the Bosnian civil war, visited Sarajevo repeatedly during that war, and had several meetings with Alija Izetbegovic. At his funeral, on Habsburg’s specific instructions, the religious leader of Bosnia’s Muslims, reis-ul-ulema Mustafa effendi Ceric, joined Roman Catholic and Jewish clerics in prayer. No Orthodox Christians were invited. It should be noted that in a 2005 interview Ceric called Britain one of the early “trophies” of Islam in Europe. He counts among his international activities participation in radical Islamic groups and events, as well as links with Muslim activists banned from the U.S. for terrorist funding and phony Islamic “charities” tainted by terrorist links. After 9/11 Ceric was in the forefront of crying discrimination when the U.S. moved to close Bosnan-connected “charities” supporting Muslim terrorists.

Habsburg was a strong supporter of Bill Clinton’s Kosovo war and repeatedly called for the bombing of Belgrade, starting in 1993, six years before it happened in March 1999. His support of the KLA terrorists and of Kosovo’s independence was based on a mix of visceral Serbophobia and outright mendacity, earning him a badge of shame in the form of the morbid quasi-state’s “golden medal of freedom.” As the ruins of Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries were smoldering nearby, he attended ceremonies naming Kosovo’s town squares after him and his family. When he died, Kosovo’s “foreign minister” sent a message of condolence to the family, stressing that “Otto von Habsburg was a great friend of Kosovo [who] conveyed to the citizens of Kosovo the message of freedom… Later on, Von Habsburg became a great defender of the idea of our independence.” Kosovo’s “president” Atifete Jahjaga bewailed the loss of “an irreplaceable friend who will be considered and remembered forever.”…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

Swedish Mobility Service Recruits Senegalese Help

Swedes looking to order transportation services may from 2012 find their calls re-directed to an operator in Dakar, Senegal. Transportation service, known as “färdtjänst”, is available to disabled individuals who are unable to travel by ordinary public transport. Samres AB, a company responsible for transportation service in 120 Swedish municipalities, is currently teaching 32 Senegalese the ins and outs of the Swedish language. The plan is to have the new employees trained and ready to start taking calls coming in from Sweden by the start of 2012.

“There are cost benefits. We also get employees who stay for a long time, and lower our staff turnover, but sure — there are cost benefits, which give us a competetive edge,” Niklas Najafi, Samres’s business area manager, explained to The Local on Monday. Najafi prefers not to get into specifics about how the Senegalese salaries compare to Swedish conditions. “We pay attractive salaries by local standards,” he affirmed. Some 32 people in Senegal are currently being paid by Samres to study Swedish. Over the course of 9 months, the employees are studying the language nine hours per day, five days per week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Any Colour, As Long as It’s White: Middle Eastern Playboys Dazzle London With Their Supercars

Dozens of mega-rich Middle Eastern playboys have arrived in central London in their customised supercars — all painted a dazzling WHITE.

The multi-millionaires descended for a stay at the Dorchester Hotel as they start a summer tour of Europe’s most fashionable destinations.

Figures show white has overtaken black as the most popular colour for new cars.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Majid Nawaz on Extremism and Democracy


[Reader’s comment]

alfie 16 July 2011, 2:08 pm

The problem of Islamism in the UK is that it has become entrenched without any real meat and bones scrutiny. There are two reasons for this:

(1) The one we all know: Guardianista-ism. A mixture of wilful ignorance, ideological peddling of identity-politics that Islamism advances under the cover of, the Left / Liberal romanticisation with all the attendant stupidities — (Madeline Bunting ‘The Enlightenment is Islamophobic’)

(2) An innacurate counter-impulse — often from the right, generalisations made, at the farthest reach, EDL-ism, which ultimately protects Islamism because it prevents even more it being smoked out whilst the argument shifts elsewhere, and the impulse to not speak about the elephant in the room, becomes even more pronounced.

Add to this a dash of FEAR — either because of fear of violence (warnings of ‘alienation’ etc etc), and the bullying slander of ‘Islamophobia’ whenever scrutiny of Islamism and literalist Islam is embarked upon.

This is a very tangled web that has been woven. It needs to be spoken of and the strings cut with accuracy and perspective.

Finally — beyond mere Islamism, the Deobandi culture of Islam is entrenching in cities, a literalist, separatist paradigm that simply is at odds with British values and society, even when we most generously define those values, most capaciously and openly define those values.

Here is a thought — the Islam of the Jamaatis, the Tableegis, the Ikhwan, the MCB, the Maududi-ites in Britain…………this ideology and gravitational pull is concerned not with matters of integration, pluralism (except as a word said during lip service to leverage themselves to the Guardianistas, ‘diversity’, ‘multicultural’ and so on), but with an attempted constant orientation of literalist Islam to guide and respond to how Muslims should supposedly exist in a non Muslim society.

This is why Deobandi philosophy is so important, to understand this context. Deoband is a seminary in a town in Uttar Pradesh, north India. This is part of what is known as the ‘cow belt’ of India, denoting the Gangetic (from river Ganges) heartland of ancient Hindu India. In other words, the literalist, austere, fearful-of-contamination philosophy behind Deobandi Islam is itself a response to the fear and disorientation of being Muslim in a predominantly non Muslim society. It is about the creation of boundaries and separatism. It is a regressive, insular impulse that creates a pool in which nastier fish of ideology swim unopposed. That is the context of British Deobandism and Islamism — has been for decades, from before the Rushdie affair even, which was the first real assertion of Deobandi / Maududi-ist / Islamist ‘crisis creation’ in order to stoke the fires of Islamic sentiment in the UK. Remember, its the embattled struggle against the temptations and ‘jahil’, ‘kuffar’ culture of secular, liberal, egalitarian, plural, free-conscience Britain that is the primary cause of British Muslim angst.

Now, how many times does this get discussed in the chambers of mainstream discussion in the UK on these matters?

Lastly, Deobandi Islam is the school from which the Taliban derive their ethos, it prevails in Pakistan under the generator of Maududi / Jamaat-e-Islami. These societies are predominantly Muslim, so why does it struggle against contamination and impurity there? The answer is that it is an ideology that never ceases. Even Islamic society is to be regulated by the austerity, puritanism and ‘purity’. In other words, even when Islam is the majority, its not enough. Impurity is sought out and hunted down, always and forever, this is the ‘struggle’ of Deobandism.

In such a context, ‘democracy’ is itself a contamination, a battle waged against Islam. Let alone all liberal principles of equality, free conscience, and so on.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The ‘BBC Left’ Is Using Hacking to Get Revenge

Left-wing politicians and broadcasters do not want to debate ideas but they do want to remove their opponents.

It was a broadcasters’ event some years ago. I had been invited to speak on a favourite subject: the BBC hegemony in broadcast news and the risk that its own package of tendentious assumptions — that Euroscepticism was a lunatic fringe irrelevance, that anyone who expressed concern about immigration was a bigot, etc, etc — was going unchallenged in the mass media. After I had said my piece, a BBC producer in the audience asked whether, since I was so concerned about the dangers of large media organisations, I did not have the same objection to the existence of the “Murdoch empire”.

“No-o-o,” I replied patiently, I did not have the same objection. If I did not wish to support Mr Murdoch’s enterprises I could refrain from buying his newspapers or subscribing to his television service — and no one could threaten me with arrest and imprisonment for so doing. This was, I suggested, a rather significant difference between the two media corporations. In the startled silence of his response, I assumed that it had never occurred to him (as I say, this was some years ago) that anyone could question the justification for the legally enforced licence fee since it was clearly, for him, rooted in the inherent moral goodness of the BBC — and by implication of the ethical standards which it purveyed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Drones Target White Jihadis

By Amir Mir

ISLAMABAD — The July 5 killing of yet another white jihadi commander in an American drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal agency of Pakistan — an Australian national this time — has given credence to earlier reports by Western intelligence agencies that the Pakistan-based al-Qaeda network is recruiting Western Muslim converts to widen the pool of potential terrorists beyond traditional Asian and Middle Eastern radicals who could foil racial profiling and carry out terrorist attacks in the West.

According to Pakistani media reports, the white jihadi killed by two missiles fired by a drone at around 11 pm on July 5 in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan has been identified as Saifullah, who used to serve as a key aide to Osama bin Laden and had been working in tandem with al-Qaeda’s chief military strategist, commander Ilyas Kashmiri, who has been reported as killed in a drone attack on June 3.

Saifullah, 50 years old, has been described as a middle-ranking al-Qaeda leader, though little more is known about him. The deadly strike actually targeted a guesthouse and also killed five other militants. The Mir Ali area, where Saifullah was killed, is in the sphere of influence of Abu Kasha al-Iraqi, an al-Qaeda leader who serves as a key link to the Taliban and supports the external operations network of al-Qaeda, now led by Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Pakistani Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar, who is still considered by the Pakistani establishment as a “good Taliban”, and the Haqqani network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani’s elder son Sirajuddin Haqqani, also operate in Mir Ali, a known hub for al-Qaeda’s military and external operational councils.

An increasing number of Westerners have traveled to the Pakistani tribal areas in recent years to join the so-called jihad that al-Qaeda is waging against US-led allied forces in Afghanistan. Among the Westerners are Americans, Britons, Germans, French and Australians.

The al-Qaeda-trained white jihadis have formed their own contingents in North Waziristan and are fighting alongside al-Qaeda militants on the Pak-Afghan border. The white jihadis living in North Waziristan wear local clothes and travel in small groups in vehicles or on motorcycles, flaunting weapons including assault rifles, rocket launchers and rocket-propelled grenades.

Recruits bearing Western citizenship are prized by the al-Qaeda leadership, mainly because of their nationalities and English-speaking abilities. More and more Muslim converts from the West are therefore being chosen by international jihadis as recruits to strike in the heart of the West.

The current spike in drone attacks in Mir Ali area is ostensibly meant to target the leadership of the North Waziristan-based white jihadis, which Western intelligence agencies believe have been training and dispatching white men to Europe for carrying out commando-style terrorist raids in the West — similar to the 26/11 attacks in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai that killed 166 people, including many foreigners.

Therefore, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which runs the drone program, has been repeatedly targeting al-Qaeda hideouts in the Mir Ali area, ostensibly to wipe out the white jihadis’ networks. So far this year, the CIA has carried out 43 drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan, killing more than 360 people. There were 124 drone strikes in 2010.

Commander Saifullah is not the first Muslim convert from the West to have been killed in Mir Ali. Sixteen Germans and two Britons have been reportedly killed in drone strikes in Mir Ali since September 8, 2010.

They were all members of the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG), an al-Qaeda affiliate based in Mir Ali, which had suffered the last set back on December 10, 2010, with the killing of two white commanders, both British nationals, in a drone attack. The Britons were killed in Khadar Khel town of Miranshah in North Waziristan and identified as Stephen and Smith.

They were known in militant circles by their pseudonyms of Abu Bakar (Stephen) and Abu Mansoor (Smith), and were traveling in a vehicle with two local militants when the drone targeted them. Even though the car was completely destroyed and little remained of the bodies, local militants were quick to take the mutilated corpses out from the burnt vehicle for burial.

Stephen, 47, was subsequently identified as a senior al-Qaeda operative who was imparting terror training to a group of white jihadis from Great Britain in North Waziristan to carry out terrorist operations in Europe and America. Smith, 28, was identified as the righthand man of Stephens in the Islamic Army of Great Britain.

Hardly two months before the killing of Stephen and Smith, another American drone had killed the operational chief of the Britons in the same area. Abdul Jabbar, a British national, was killed in North Waziristan on October 4, 2010. Identified as the chief operational commander of the Islamic Army of Great Britain, he was a British citizen, came from the Jhelum district of Punjab in Pakistan and had a British wife. Abdul Jabbar had earlier survived a drone strike on September 8, 2010, targeting a training camp being run by Hafiz Gul Bahadar. Jabbar was tasked by the Waziristan-based al-Qaeda leadership to plan Mumbai-style suicide attacks against targets in Great Britain, Germany and France.

Besides Abdul Jabbar, the October 4, 2010 drone attack also killed German nationals who were known in militant circles of North Waziristan by their Islamic names of Imran and Shahab. According to intelligence British authorities subsequently shared with their Pakistani counterparts, Jabbar, Imran and Shahab had been making frequent phone calls to England and Germany to their jihadi contacts in a bid to set off the terror plot by finding appropriate accomplices in Europe. In their conversations, the white jihadis reportedly talked about facilitators and logistics they needed in Europe to successfully execute terrorist operations.

However, Jabbar’s younger brother, who is a key leader in the lslamic Army of Great Britain, and two other most wanted German jihadis were lucky to have survived the October 4 drone hit. The white Germans — 27-year-old Mouneer Chouka alias Abu Adam and 25-year-old Yaseen Chouka alias Abu Ibrahim — are real brothers.

Coming from Bonn, both lead a group of 100-plus German militants who had traveled to the border areas of Pakistan in recent years, raising a security alert in Europe. Information about the presence and activities of the Chouka brothers in North Waziristan as well as the hatching of a Mumbai-like terror plot for Europe came from an arrested German jihadi of Afghan origin, Rami Mackenzie alias Ahmed Siddiqi.

The 36-year-old was part of an 11-member jihadi cell that was to take part in the European terror plot, but was arrested in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in the beginning of July 2010. He is reported to have told his American interrogators that the European terror plot was approved by none other than Bin Laden, who had also provided some funding to execute the scheme.

Currently being held at the US military airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan, Siddiqi further told his interrogators that small teams of militants were to model their missions in European countries on the pattern of Mumbai attacks by first seizing and then killing hostages…

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

North Africa

Belgian Nationality for Refugees From Libya

Belgium is offering a refuge to twenty-five refugees from Libya. The Africans that include families with young children have fled the bloodletting in the North African country. Until now the Africans were being accommodated in a UN refugee camp in Tunisia. The refugees landed at Brussels Airport on Monday morning. It is the first time in two years that Belgium takes in new refugees of its own accord.

Belgium’s Commissioner-General for Refugees, Dirk Van den Bulck, says that the Belgian Government has given priority to people who are most urgently in need of accommodation. The refugees are mostly mothers with young children. They were all living in Libya, but hail from Congo and Eritrea. Fedasil, the Belgian Government Asylum agency, will take care of the refugees. Mr Van den Bulck: “They will be given full rights and if they wish they will be allowed to stay in Belgium for an unlimited period of time. After following integration courses they will be able to acquire Belgian nationality within a year.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Egyptology Gains as Corrupt Clown Zaki Hawass Fired

Egypt’s antiquities minister, whose trademark Indiana Jones hat made him one the country’s best known figures around the world, was fired Sunday after months of pressure from critics who attacked his credibility and accused him of having been too close to the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Zahi Hawass, long chided as publicity loving and short on scientific knowledge, lost his job along with about a dozen other ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle meant to ease pressure from protesters seeking to purge remnants of Mubarak’s regime. “He was the Mubarak of antiquities,” said Nora Shalaby, an activist and archaeologist. “He acted as if he owned Egypt’s antiquities, and not that they belonged to the people of Egypt.” Despite the criticism, he was credited with helping boost interest in archaeology in Egypt and tourism, a pillar of the country’s economy. But after Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11 in a popular uprising, pressure began to build for him to step down.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Egyptian Sheikh: Whoever Insults Muhammad, Even if He Later Repents, Must be Killed

The above clip was taken from an interview given by Shaykh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni on the Egyptian satellite television station al-Hikma on 7 July 2011. Al-Huwayni here explains that whoever insults Muhammad, even if he later repents, must be killed. Later in the interview, al-Huwayni went on to contrast this with the case of one who insults Allah. He said that insulting Allah of course makes one an infidel, which is agreed to by all Islamic scholars, yet the one who insults Allah is not killed—he is merely called to repentance. This is because even if the whole world insults Allah, it does not matter to him—it does not hurt him.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ex-FM Says Libya Behind 1989 Airline Attack

Libya is responsible for a deadly 1989 attack on a French airliner, Libyan former foreign minister Abdel Rahman Shalgam told Al-Hayat newspaper in an interview published on Monday. “The Libyan security services blew up the plane. They believed that opposition leader Mohammed al-Megrief was on board, but after the plane was blown up, it was found that he was not on the plane,” said Shalgam, who defected from Moamer Kadhafi’s embattled regime earlier this year. On September 19, 1989, a UTA DC-10 travelling from Brazzaville to Paris via N’Djamena crashed in Niger after explosives on board detonated, killing 170 passengers and crew, including 54 French citizens. A French court in 2009 sentenced six Libyan agents in absentia to life in prison for the attack, but Libya has never admitted it was responsible. However, Tripoli had in 2004 agreed to pay $170 million in compensation to the families of the victims.

Shalgam also said that the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie that killed 270 people, for which Libya is widely believed to have been responsible, was more complicated than the UTA attack. “The Lockerbie operation was more complex … the role of states and organisations has been discussed, and while the Libyan services were implicated, I do not think it was a purely Libyan operation,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Coma After Suffering Stroke, Claims His Lawyer

Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak has fallen into a coma, his lawyer said today.

The ex-head of state has been in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since April under arrest on charges he ordered the killings of protesters during Egypt’s uprising.

He is said to be suffering from heart trouble — but the claims that he had suffered a stroke or was in a coma were later rebutted by the head of the ex-President’s medical team.

Doctor Assem Azzam said today that 83-year old Mubarak, who was ousted in February, had suffered a bout of low blood pressure but was now stable.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Gadhafi Defiant on Brega Assault

Fresh blasts rocked Tripoli on Sunday after veteran Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi vowed never to give in to mounting calls to go into exile despite a new offensive by rebels seeking to oust him.

At least 13 explosions were heard before and just after 2300 GMT Saturday. State television reported that “the colonialist crusader aggressor” had raided civilian and military sites in the Ain Zara district and in Tajoura in the eastern suburbs.

The blasts came just hours after Gadhafi insisted in a defiant speech that he would never quit his homeland. “They are asking me to leave. That’s a laugh. I will never leave the land of my ancestors or the people who have sacrificed themselves for me,” he said in a loudspeaker address to supporters in Zawiyah, west of the capital. “I’m ready to sacrifice myself for my people, and I will never quit this land sprinkled with the blood of my ancestors who fought Italian and British colonialists,” he said. “These rats have taken our people hostage in Benghazi, Misrata and the western mountains, using them as human shields,” Gadhafi said of the rebels’ eastern stronghold and their two enclaves in the mainly government-held west.

“Five million armed Libyans will march on them and liberate the occupied towns as soon as the order is given.” Libya’s rebels on Saturday suffered their bloodiest day yet in the offensive to wrest control of the oil town of Brega from Gadhafi’s troops, as medics said the death toll had risen to at least 12. Nine people were killed and 79 wounded as loyalist landmines began to vie with Grad rockets to ramp up the casualties, according to a list from the hospital in nearby Ajdabiya. Rebels said their steady advance on the key refinery town was slowed by the discovery of defensive trenches that had been filled with flammable chemicals by the retreating loyalist forces.

After a small rebel reconnaissance unit punched through into Brega late on Friday before falling back, a rebel commander said troops were now moving “slowly but surely” towards it from east, north and south. It was unclear what kind of chemicals were being used, but Brega is home to a large petrochemical facility that produces a range of oil by-products. NATO said that on Saturday it hit one tank, five armoured vehicles, a multiple rocket launcher and another rocket launcher in and around Brega.

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

Libyan Rebels Admit They Don’t Have Full Control of Brega

(AGI) Brega — The Libyan rebels confirmed that they had re-entered Brega, although they don’t have full control of the city yet. Brega is a strategic oil town located some 750 km east of Tripoli. “Some small groups have made it inside, but we do not control the whole town yet”, said a spokesman for the rebel forces, Mohammed Zawi, who also denied that Gaddafi’s forces left Brega. “It is now close fighting”, he added. Media sources confirmed that mortars and rockets appear to have given way to heavy machine guns in Brega. According to local doctors, three rebels were killed and 96 others wounded over the past 24 hours, which means that overall, since the battle for Brega started on Thursday afternoon, 15 rebels have been killed and 274 wounded. NATO described the situation in the city as “dynamic”.

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

Tunisia: Violent Clashes in Sidi Bouzid, 14-Yr-Old Killed

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS — A 14-year-old boy was killed in the violent clashes last night in Sidi Bouzid between demonstrators and the police. TAP reports that the boy was killed by a ricocheting bullet and that two others were seriously wounded. Sidi Bouzid is the city where, on December 17 last year a young itinerant vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire and died after weeks of suffering. His suicide — a protest against an administrative fine which he had been served — is held to be the first act of the Jasmine revolution, which on January 14 culminated with the fleeing of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

White House Starts Talks With Gaddafi Representatives

(AGI) Washington — The United States are currently holding talks with Muammar Gaddafi representatives. The news was reported by the White House.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: Israel’s Only Two Options

Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is in Europe this week seeking to convince the Spanish and Norwegian governments to support the Palestinian bid to sidestep negotiations with Israel and have the UN General Assembly recognize Palestinian sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in addition to Gaza.

The Palestinians know that without US support, their initiative will fail to gain Security Council support and therefore have no legal weight. But they believe that if they push hard enough, Israel’s control over these areas will eventually unravel and they will gain control over them without ever accepting Israel’s right to exist.

Fatah’s UN gambit, along with its unity deal with Hamas, makes clear that the time has come for Israel to finally face the facts: There are only two realistic options for dealing with Judea and Samaria…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Israel’s Survival: An Enduring Question

By Roger Kaplan

Israël Peut-il Survivre? (Will Israel Endure?)

By Michel Gurfinkiel

Paris (Hugo & Co., 2011), 304 pp.

The new book by our friend and occasional Paris correspondent Michel Gurfinkiel could not be more timely. The talk is all of Arab springs and revolutions, while the United States appears by all evidence to be going through the most broad-ranging reappraisal of its Mideast position since Lyndon Johnson made support for Israel one of the cornerstones of American policy.

Readers familiar with Gurfinkiel’s earlier historical studies will recognize the deft combination of erudition and intuition, rigorous attention to the contemporary political and psychological climate, and feel for the large world-historical canvas against which the details of today’s news appear, by turns, puny and fraught with significance. At a time when the legitimacy of the Jewish state is questioned by the oddest collection of bedfellows (eg, European secular democrats and Arab theocrats), Gurfinkiel demonstrates the Jewish claim on Israel from historical, linguistic, legal, and even genetic evidence. At the same time he asks, Why is this still an issue?

The answer is that a curious evolution in the geopolitics of ideas has left Israel’s enemies in a position to set the agenda of any discussion of that old perennial, “Middle East peace.” They have done this partly by rephrasing many of the basic facts about the origins of the contemporary Middle East and even, when possible, replacing the facts altogether with fictions or memory holes.. If Gurfinkiel’s earlier Roman d’Israel, The Israel Story, was written to provide a handy and highly readable narrative of the modern rebirth of Israel, the purpose of the new book is to run down the list of errors, misconceptions, and omissions that distort current debates, in policy circles no less than among the popular media, regarding Israel and the Arabs.

In a characteristic example of “counter-revisionism,” Gurfinkiel examines the term naqba or catastrophe. In current discussions, this refers to the fate of the Palestinian Arabs during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. The misfortunes of this population are not a matter of controversy, though their causes and magnitude are. He delves into these issues, in some detail, in other chapters, but his purpose in discussing the “catastrophe” is to ask why it is the only one, of the many that marked the blood-drenched 20th century, that has achieved and maintained the status of an “unresolved question” that the “international community” must address.

Along with the events of 1948, there were many other catastrophes in the Middle East’s recent history. Perhaps 250,000 Palestinian Arabs (noncombatants) were displaced at that time. Leaving aside the documented facts (which he discusses elsewhere) that the civilian and military authorities of the fledging Israeli state by and large (and with some exceptions) tried to discourage the Arabs from leaving the new nation while the Arab leadership did just the opposite, Gurfinkiel observes that during the same period and in the years following, some 900,000 Jews were summarily expelled from Arab countries where they had lived for millennia, in many cases long before the advent of Islam…

[Return to headlines]

Poll Exposes Palestinians’ Peace Opposition

Steve Emerson

More than 60 percent of Palestinians reject a two-state solution with Israel and support the Hamas charter’s call for killing Jews, according to a new poll conducted in the West Bank and Gaza.

American pollster Stanley Greenberg surveyed more than 1,000 Palestinians in conjunction with the West Bank-based Palestinian Center For Public Opinion. The poll was sponsored by the Israel Project, a nonprofit research group advocating “people-to-people peace” between Arabs and Israelis. But If the poll (which has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points) is any indication, most Palestinians have little interest in compromise or peace with their Israeli neighbors.

Palestinians were asked about President Obama’s statement that “there should be two states: Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people and Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people.” Those surveyed rejected Obama’s formulation by a 61-34 margin.

Sixty-six percent said the Palestinians should begin with a two-state solution and then move toward becoming one Palestinian state.

The poll contained some positive results, including the fact that Palestinians preferred talks to violence by a margin of more than 3-1. Israeli President Shimon Peres was encouraged by these findings. “The Palestinians want solutions, not revolutions,” Israel Project President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi quoted him as saying.

But Peres’ upbeat interpretation is at odds with Palestinian answers to some of the other questions. Fifty-three percent favored teaching songs about hatred of Jews in Palestinian schools. Sixty-two percent supported kidnapping IDF soldiers and holding them hostage. Seventy-two percent backed denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem…

[Return to headlines]

Ship to Gaza Hit by Cyber Attack

The website of Swedish Ship to Gaza has been subjected to a cyber attack, in the latest setback to befall the aid and protest convoy the Freedom Flotilla II. The group were forced to shut down their website on Friday after a so-called overload attack which forced their server company to pull the plug. “Since Friday morning our server supplier has been under attack, which means that our website is down. We can’t say for sure if it is directed against us, but it is obviously an advanced attack,” Ship to Gaza wrote in a statement. The organisation shifted their information feed to a temporary blog and are considering whether to report the matter to the police, while they sought to play down the impact of the attack.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Crossing the Red Sea: Egypt Approves Massive Bridge to Saudi Arabia

Egypt has given the nod to plans for a gigantic bridge across the Red Sea. It would provide the first direct road link between Arab North Africa and the Middle East — but the project could upset Israel and Jordan. Egypt and Saudi Arabia hope to construct a giant bridge spanning the Gulf of Aqaba for road and rail traffic. Officials at Egypt’s Ministry of Transportation have confirmed to SPIEGEL that the project, under discussion since 1988, has finally been approved. Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has reportedly put General Abdul Aziz, the chairman of the Arab Road Association, in charge of overseeing the project’s implementation.

The Gulf of Aqaba runs along the eastern edge of the Sinai Peninsula. Plans call for the 32-kilometer (20-mile) bridge to cross the narrow Strait of Tiran from Ras Nasrani, near the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, to Ras Hamid in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Parts of the bridge would be suspended. For the Arabs, the massive construction project would be a triumph. For the first time since 1948, when the modern state of Israel was founded, Arab states in North Africa would have a direct road link with fellow Arab states in the Middle East without having to cross Israeli territory. It would also reduce dependence on sometimes perilous ferry crossings over the Red Sea and Arab ports on the Mediterranean.

Planners believe that tolls paid by millions of Muslim pilgrims on their way to holy sites in Saudi Arabia could make up for the roughly $5 billion (€3.6) the bridge is expected to cost. They also believe the bridge will significantly increase the number of pilgrims. Five years ago, then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak abruptly put the monster project on ice shortly before construction began in response to security concerns voiced by neighboring Israel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Energy: Ansaldo to Invest 640 Mln Euros in Turkey

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, JULY 18 — Ansaldo Energia, a subsidiary of Italian defense industry giant Finmeccanica, is preparing to build a 640 million-euro natural gas facility in Gebze, an industrial area in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, as reported by daily Hurriyet. Turkey’s Garanti Bank, IS Bank, Vakif Bank and Yapi Kredi Bank will also contribute in financing the project, which is estimated to produce 865 megawatts of energy, according to a written statement by the Italian company.

Together with Unit Investment, a Belgian finance company, Ansaldo Energia owns 40% shares, which equals 86 million euros, in Turkey’s Yeni Elektrik Uretim. Ansaldo Energia will receive financial consultancy from Italy’s UniCredit and legal consulting from Chiomenti and Clifford Cahnce. Finmeccanica’s General Manager Giorgio Zappa said earlier in November that his company planned vast investments in Turkey and had thus opened an office in Ankara. The company has won tenders totaling 3 billion euros in the last four years.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iran’s “Chastity Squads” Make Arrests, Impose Fines for Sandals, Nail Polish, Insufficient Veiling for the Sake of “Moral Security”

The “chastity squads” could take as their motto a reversal of the old Vidal Sassoon slogan, pledging: “If you do look good, we don’t look good.” Along with satisfying the Islamic Republic’s inherent urge to mind other people’s business, morality police are a cheap way for the government to look busy while intimidating the populace into staying in line.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iranian Troops Take Over 3 Kurdish Rebel Camps in Iraq

(AGI) Tehran — Iranian troops have crossed into Iraq and have taken “full control” over 3 camps of the Kurdish Pjak rebel group. The raid took place during an attack launched last Saturday on the Qandil Mountains, in Iraqi Kurdistan. The news was reported by a commander of the Guardians of the Revolution of the Islamic Republic, Colonel Delavar Ranjbarzadeh. “All 3 camps on Iraqi land that supported the terrorist organization are now under our control”, he stated to the Irna press agency, which in turn reported the killing of 5 guerrillla fighters on the North-Eastern border of Iran and the seizure of ammunition and heavy weaponry from the rebels. The PJAK, which is the acronym of the English for Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, is a Kurdish separatist movement founded in 2004 operating along the border between Iran and Iraq. It is a spin-off of the PKK, the Kurdish separatist movement in Turkey, and mainly operates in Western Iran although it also performed actions in the south of Turkey and in the North-Eastof Syria.

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

Tourism: More Vistors to Istanbul in 2011 Than Rome and NYC

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — Last year the Turkish metropolis Istanbul surpassed New York and Rome in terms of visitors. On the basis of a recent survey published by the Turkish press, revenues from the tourism sector rose in 2010 more than in any other place in the world (+30.1%) — an increase over that seen in cities like Barcelona and Dubai (respectively +28.2% and +24%) — reaching 7 billion euros. Istanbul, which this year is expected to see 9.4 million visitors (+20.4% on 2010), is in seventh place in world rankings, ahead of Amsterdam and Milan (London is first with 20.1 million visitors).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


‘Depressed’ Ferret Still on Run After Fleeing Siberian Circus

The hunt continued Sunday for a “depressed” ferret who escaped Disney-style from a Chita circus along with a monkey and a red-breasted parakeet last week. Hopes were raised Friday that the ferret had been found when Chita resident Ivan Burtsev found a ferret on a city street near the Zabaikalye hotel the night before and brought it to the local zoo. “He is absolutely tame. He understands how to open doors, and he comes when you tap your leg,” Burtsev told news site, adding that he had been aware of the runaway ferret from news reports. But circus art director Zhanna Lazerson rejected the ferret after examining it at the zoo.

“It’s not our ferret,” she said, according to Interfax. Lazerson said earlier that the circus wasn’t exactly missing its ferret, calling the animal a “terrible glutton, idle to the core.” She said the ferret, monkey and parakeet fled because they suffered from depression caused by days of nonstop rain in Chita. The news about the escape has gone viral on the Russian Internet, with many top Russian bloggers posting it and offering sometimes biting commentary on why the animals actually fled. Others have suggested that the escape be made into a Disney or Pixar animated film.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

European Rights Court to Examine Katyn Massacre of Poles

The European rights court Friday ruled admissible a complaint lodged against Russia by families of the victims of the Stalin-era Katyn massacre of Polish officers during World War II. Relatives of a dozen of the estimated 22,000 Polish officers shot dead in the forest of Katyn in western Russia in 1940 brought the case to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights two years ago. The plaintiffs accuse Russia of failing to carry out an adequate investigation into the deaths. In a statement the court, in agreeing to examine the claims, said that the 12 Polish men at the centre of the case were police and army officers, an army doctor and a primary school headmaster. “They were taken to Soviet-run camps and were then killed/presumed killed without trial, along with more than 21,000 others, in April and May 1940,” in Katyn and Tver, both in Russia, and Kharkov, now part of Ukraine.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Penza War Veterans Get Stalin Bust

Defying the Kremlin’s de-Stalinization policy, Communists in the Penza region have unveiled a monument to the Soviet dictator. About 60 people, many of them World War II veterans, gathered Friday on the grounds of the local office of the Communist Party for the unveiling of the bust. “A year ago, the veterans came to us with a request to restore historical justice and give them the opportunity to lay flowers at a monument to the generalissimo,” Vladimir Simagin, secretary of the local branch, said by phone from Penza. Stalin is still widely regarded among veterans as a military genius who won the war with the Nazis. A recent survey by the independent Levada Center indicated that half of Russians saw Stalin’s leadership as positive for the country. Simagin said the bust cost 200,000 rubles ($7,100), which was raised through numerous donations from local residents, and was ordered from a sculptor in North Ossetia. He said the monument is the city’s first to Stalin since statues to him were pulled down during the late 1950s following Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s condemnation of him and his policies. Stalin died in 1953.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Russia Averts ‘Major’ Terror Act Near Moscow: Security Chief

Militants from the volatile North Caucasus had planned to stage a “major” terror act just outside Moscow, the head of Russia’s state security agency services told President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. “One of major terror acts was averted in the Moscow region several days ago,” FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov told the Kremlin chief. He said in televised remarks the agency had detained four people from the restive Northern Caucasus, adding the militants had planned to target public places and “transport infrastructure” in the Moscow region.

The FSB also confiscated several explosive devices carrying 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) of TNT equivalent, arms and maps, Bortnikov told Medvedev. Russia is battling a Muslim insurgency in the North Caucasus where attacks on officials are a daily occurrence and after a lull of several years, suicide attacks returned to Moscow. A suicide bomber from the North Caucasus killed 37 people at Russia’s busiest airport Domodedovo in January. Two female suicide bombers from that region killed 40 and wounded dozens on the underground during morning rush hour last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Russia Launches Long-Delayed Deep Space Radio Telescope

Russia’s long-delayed Spektr-R radio telescope successfully launched July 18 aboard a Zenit rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the country’s Federal Space Agency said. There was no immediate word on the operational status of the new radio observatory beyond the fact that it was placed into the planned elliptical orbit that peaks nearly 207,000 miles (330,000 kilometers) above the Earth, and reaches a low of about 621 miles (1,000 km). Featuring a giant 30-foot (10-meter) wide antenna, the Spektr-R observatory is part of the international Radioastron astronomy project.

“The aim of the mission is to use the space telescope to conduct interferometer observations in conjunction with the global ground radio telescope network in order to obtain images, coordinates, motions and evolution of angular structure of different radio emitting objects in the universe,” Federal Space Agency officials said in a statement. “Scientists also expect to obtain more information about pulsars and interstellar plasma, black holes and neutron stars in the Milky Way.” Scientists from more than 20 nations, including the United States, are participating in the project, either through contributions of on-board hardware or access to the terrestrial antennas that, working with Spektr-R, will permit interferometry measurements during the observatory’s planned five years of operations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Solzhenitsyn’s Son Calls on Russians to Fix Country’s Ills

The son of Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn has taken after his dissident father in calling on Russians to act to improve “awful” conditions in their country, in an article published Friday. Painting a picture of the chronic problems in Russia and denouncing its “negative” values such as money-grabbing, Ermolay Solzhenitsyn called for the development of civil society. “Russia ranks 50th to 60th in the world in terms of quality of life,” he said in his opinion piece in the business daily Vedomosti where he cited a litany of disturbing statistics. “Some of the statistics are awful: we are 50th in mortality, first in the number of abortions, sixth in suicides, second in alcohol consumption.”

He added that “the responsiblity lies not only with those in power but also with society.” The son of the Nobel literature winner, who was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and lived in exile in the United States until his return in 1994, said Russia lacked “socially active” citizens and criticised “the extreme passivity and paternalism” that permeated the population. He advised Russians to “come up with solutions and put them to work without going through Moscow” and “not to give or accept bribes” in a strong denunciation of corruption in Russian society. The newspaper piece was a first for Ermolay Solzhenitsyn. His famous father died in 2008, the author of “The Gulag Archipelago” that exposed the horror of Soviet prisons he was hailed as the conscience of the 20th century. He was also a strong critic of the consumerism in Western societies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Village Head Killed in Russian Caucasus

Gunmen have shot dead a village head in Russia’s restive southern region of Dagestan, where authorities are fighting a simmering Islamic insurgency, police said Sunday. The killers, as yet unidentified, targeted Kaflan Kadyrov, head of the village of Gedzhukh, late Saturday, regional police said in a statement. Kadyrov, who was in his mid-30s, suffered multiple wounds and was taken to a hospital where he died. The Kremlin is locked in a war of attrition with Muslim militants in the North Caucasus where authorities have fought two wars with separatists in the past 20 years. Dagestan has experienced some of the deadliest violence in the mainly Muslim southern periphery. The latest killing comes after a village imam and a senior policeman were shot dead in Dagestan earlier this month.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Don’t Shoot Taliban… You’ll Wake Locals

Marine’s diary reveals bizarre order to Brit troops

SOLDIERS were banned from shooting Taliban fighters planting mines — to avoid waking Afghan locals, a former Royal Marine has revealed. Craig Smith, 36, said US military chiefs routinely frustrated frontline forces by ordering them to exercise “courageous restraint”. Troops were even told they could be charged with MURDER if they shot anyone without permission from command. Dad-of-one Craig lifted the lid on “outrageous” orders issued to troops in a diary of his six-month tour of Afghanistan’s treacherous Helmand province with 40 Commando. He spoke out after an inquest heard 34-year-old hero Sergeant Peter Rayner was blown up, just days after being told not to fire on insurgents who were seen laying deadly IEDs. One senior officer stunned troops when he ordered them not to shoot a Taliban fighter because gunfire would “wake up and upset the locals”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

British Soldier Shot Dead ‘By Afghan Serviceman’ While on Routine Patrols

A British soldier has been shot dead in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said today.

Officials were probing claims that the serviceman had been killed by a member of the Afghan National Army.

The serviceman from 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) was shot dead while conducting a routine patrol with local soldiers yesterday when he was killed.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Anti-Terror Court Sends Politician to Jail

Islamabad, 18 July (AKI/Dawn) — A Pakistani anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi rejected Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member of national assembly Anjum Aqeel Khan’s request for a police remand and sent him to jail on a 14-day judicial remand instead, DawnNews reported.

Aqeel was presented in the court on Monday.

“I am innocent…I’m being politically victimised,” said Aqeel.

Aqeel surrendered to police on Saturday, 24 hours after his escape, and was taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) for a medical examination.

Police said Aqeel had been shifted to the hospital on his counsel’s request and was later handed over to the police on a one-day rahdari (transit) remand.

The PML-N lawmaker is facing corruption charges in the National Police Foundation (NPF) land scam case.

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

Taliban Execute 16 Pakistani Policemen and Post Video

(AGI) Islamabad — The Taliban have executed 16 Pakistani police officers standing in a line with their hands tied behind their backs and then posted the video on-line. The police officers shot and killed had been kidnapped in June in the Dir province on the northeastern border with Afghanistan and the Taliban then filmed and posted the video .

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

Far East

Japan Bans Fukushima Beef

Four months after the March 11 quake and tsunami trigged a nuclear disaster, Japan’s second-biggest retailer, Aeon Co., says it sold beef from cattle which had consumed nuclear-contaminated feed, triggering a scare over radiation-tainted beef. As radiation continues to spill from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Aeon Co. says the contaminated beef has been sold at stores in and around Tokyo. A company spokesperson says the rice straw cattle feed exceeded the government’s limits for radioactive cesium. Meat from 132 contaminated animals is known to have been distributed across the country, according to Japanese media.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Japan Radiation Specialists Accuses Tepco of Total Cover-Up Regarding Radiation Exposure of Nuclear Plant Workers

Reports continue to surface about Japan’s tsunami-caused nuclear disaster at the Fukushima complex, and this time Japanese radiation specialists say the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is engaged in a number of cover-ups and misinformation campaigns.

One specialist, Nishio Masamichi, director of the Hakkaido Cancer Center, who initially called for “calm” in the early days following the disaster, wrote recently in a top Japanese business journal that the crisis has caused Japan’s “myth of nuclear safety” to fall apart.

Nishio, according to this independent report, says it’s time to confront the very real prospect of long-term radiation exposure, and has accused TEPCO executives of hiding the truth about the real damage caused by the disaster at the expense of saving the company. He also laid some blame for the way the aftermath of the disaster was handled on the country’s leadership, saying Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Cabinet lacked urgency and direction.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Men Charged Over ‘Sharia Law’ Lashing During Sydney Home Invasion

TWO men will face court over allegedly whipping a Muslim man 40 times in a home invasion for drinking alcohol, prohibited under Sharia law.

The 31-year-old was allegedly lashed with electrical cable by four heavily bearded men who broke into his bedroom in Menton St, Silverwater, about 1am on Sunday, reported The Daily Telegraph.

Three of the men, in their late teens or early 20s, allegedly held him down on his bed while a fourth, aged between 40 and 50, allegedly lashed him about 40 times over half an hour.

The victim, a recent Islamic convert known only as Christian, told police he recognised the men from his local mosque who were punishing him for having a few drinks with friends, Seven News reported last night.

He said he was living in fear after the attack, which left him covered in welts.

Police arrested a 20-year-old man at his home in nearby Auburn about 8.30pm on Monday and he was taken to Auburn Police Station, where he was charged with aggravated break and enter and committing a serious indictable offence.

He was refused bail and will appear in Burwood Local Court today.

A search warrant was executed on a second home in Auburn where police allege a 16-year-old youth assaulted officers.

He was arrested and taken to Auburn Police Station, where he was charged with assault, and resisting and hindering officers in the execution of their duty.

He was granted bail to appear in Parramatta Children’s court on August 18.

Investigations are continuing.

           — Hat tip: Russkiy[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Somali Pirates Hijack UAE Tanker

Pirates have hijacked a petrol tanker belonging to the United Arab Emirates in the Indian Ocean and are sailing it to the Somali coast, the EU’s anti-piracy body announced on Monday. “Late on the morning of July 16, it was reported by the owners that the MV Jubba 20, a laden tanker, had been pirated in the northern Indian Ocean, on her regular route from the United Arab Emirates to the port of Berbera” in the breakaway state of Somaliland, said the European Union Naval Force Somalia.

The Jubba 20 is an oil tanker owned and flagged by the UAE with a deadweight of 4,831 tonnes, said a statement from the Brussels-based force.

Marine patrols found the ship on July 17 some 100 nautical miles north-west of Socotra Island, off the coast of Yemen, on its way to the northern Somali coast. Nine Somali pirates are reportedly on board.

There is no information yet on the condition of the 16-strong crew who include four Somalis as well as five Indians and nationals of Bangladesh, Sudan, Myanmar and Kenya.

The UN Security Council last month warned that Somali pirates were attacking growing numbers of ships in the Indian Ocean and the attacks were becoming more violent and extreme.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Freeze Immigration and Put British People First, Says Ed Miliband’s Policy Guru

Insists ‘Britain is not an outpost of the UN.’

Lord Glasman, who last month faced accusations of sexism from a key ally of deputy leader Harriet Harman, told the Daily Telegraph that more stringent legislation should be in place to prevent workers moving freely throughout the EU.

He believes that immediate change is needed and is calling for the Department of Work and Pensions to deal with immigrants on a case-by-case basis, accepting workers only where there is a skills shortage.

He said Britain should be more open and generous to those immigrants who are needed, but to do so, the country had ‘to draw the line’.

He said: ‘We’ve got to reinterrogate our relationship with the EU on the movement of labour.

‘Britain is not an outpost of the UN. We have to put the people in this country first.

‘The EU has gone from being a sort of pig farm subsidised bloc, to the free movement of labour and capital.’

And he agreed it could mean stopping immigration completely for a while.

Labour moved swiftly to distance itself from Lord Glasman’s comments with a party insider stating: ‘Maurice Glasman is a friend and colleague. His views are his own.

‘Ed Miliband has made clear that the previous Labour Government made mistakes on immigration but we will set out our views clearly and after careful thought some time in the future.’

The source added: ‘We cannot turn our backs on the free movement of labour across Europe, especially as more than one million Britons work abroad.’

Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to tackle the number of immigrant workers flocking to the UK, with his Government having introduced a cap on non-EU workers permitted to seek employment on British shores.

That was met with an endorsement from Mr Miliband, who in September unashamedly took a swipe at the former administration claiming they ‘made mistakes’ when addressing immigration.

Under the last Labour government, the UK oversaw a record influx of migrant workers with more than three million arriving in Britain.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

How Can the Asylum System be Fixed?

Expand the ‘Safe Third Country’ Idea

Because claims are so hard to prove, asylum will always be one of the most fraud-ridden parts of the immigration system. Limiting such fraud is especially important because asylum represents a surrender of a portion of our sovereignty, since foreigners can sneak into our country illegally and demand asylum, and if they qualify we are bound by international law to let them stay.

Reforms in the mid-90s tightened the asylum system significantly, but much work remains. Perhaps the most important change would be to expand the concept of a “safe third country.” This principle, widely used elsewhere, holds that a foreigner should not even be allowed to apply for asylum if he has passed through another country where he could have applied first.

Asylum, after all, is like a life preserver thrown to a drowning man: if you’re really drowning, you don’t pick and choose among lifeboats, and if you do pick and choose, you’re not really drowning. The 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees implicitly requires such a policy, when it says that illegal immigrants seeking asylum may not be penalized if they are “coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened.”

This would mean that no one traveling from Canada (where we already have a limited arrangement like this) or through a European airport would be permitted to apply for asylum — their claims may indeed be genuine, but they were bound to make them at the first available opportunity. Likewise, those crossing our southern border illegally would be precluded from applying, especially since the January enactment of a new refugee law bringing Mexico up to international standards.

Asylum would still be available to those coming directly from persecutor countries like, say, Saudi Arabia, or students stranded by a coup back home. But by narrowing the focus of the system, we can more easily cope with the lies and fraud that are an inevitable part of asylum adjudication.

[Return to headlines]

Immigrants Land in Salento Area

(AGI) Oranto — More immigrants have landed in the Salento Region where security forces have found 14 men and 2 women near Otranto who said they are Kurds. one of the women is heavily pregnant and has now been hospitalized. members of the Navy from the Otranto headquarters alerted security forces seeing that the immigrants’ clothes were wet and they must have just landed. There was no trace of the boat that brought them to the Salento almost certainly from nearby Albania .

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

Kick Out Foreigners Who Cannot Get Jobs, Say 40 Per Cent of Spaniards

Four in 10 Spaniards believe that foreigners who have been out of work for a certain length of time should be ‘sent home’, and a whopping 80 per cent of natives feel there is an ‘excessive’ number of non-Spanish people living in the country. These shock statistics come from a report published by the Spanish Observatory for Racism and Xenophobia — part of the Ministry of Work and Immigration — which suggests that attitudes towards immigrants have become more negative since the recession hit. Worryingly, 63 per cent of Spanish people interviewed said they thought it was perfectly acceptable for companies to turn down foreign candidates for jobs in favour of natives, even where the non-Spaniard was better qualified and suited to the position. Where this mindset becomes a reality in the job market, it leads to perfectly capable foreign residents being unable to find employment and thus spending more time out of work, leading to a perception that immigrants are mostly ‘benefit bashers’.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Italy: Anaesthetists Warn Living Will Law Unenforceable as it is

(AGI) Rome — The president of the anaesthetists’ association said the living will law, in its present form, is unenforceable. The living will law passed yesterday by the Lower House “in its present form, is unenforceable. There are no indications as to who is responsible for establishing the absence of brain activity, which is an essential pre-condition to ensure the validity of the living will; nor are there any indications as to where further checks should be carried out and what they should consist of. Our category really doesn’t know what to do”, said the president of the national association of anaesthetists and resuscitators (AAROI), Vincenzo Carpino.

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

UK: Beckhams a ‘Bad Example’ For Families

With a fourth child, the couple have joined the ranks of the irresponsible, population experts say

David and Victoria Beckham may have been overjoyed to welcome their new daughter, Harper Seven, last week but, according to a growing group of campaigners, the birth of their fourth child make the couple bad role models and environmentally irresponsible. As the world’s population is due to hit seven billion at some point in the next few days, there is an increasing call for the UK to open a public debate about how many children people have.

Now the Green MP, Caroline Lucas, has joined other leading environmentalists in calling for the smashing of what TV zoologist Sir David Attenborough has called the “absurd taboo” in discussing family size in the UK.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Astronauts May Benefit From Red Wine in Orbit

While the astronauts on NASA’s final shuttle mission right now don’t have a sip of alcohol around, new research suggests it actually might be good for their health. The study found that red wine could help prevent the ill effects of prolonged weightlessness on the human body. An ingredient in red wine, called resveratrol, has shown promise protecting against the bone density loss and insulin resistance that can be side effects of flying in space, researchers said. The finding is based on a study of rats held upside down by their hind limbs and tails to simulate weightlessness. The rats fed resveratrol did not develop the adverse symptoms of the other group.

“For the first time, we report a simple countermeasure that prevents the deleterious adaptations of the major physiological functions affected by mechanical unloading,” the researchers, led by Iman Momken of the University of Strasbourg in France, wrote in a paper reporting their findings in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Resveratrol “could thus be envisaged as a nutritional countermeasure for spaceflight but remains to be tested in humans,” the scientists wrote.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NASA Spacecraft Snaps First Close-Up Photo of Huge Asteroid Vesta

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has beamed home the first close-up photo of the huge asteroid Vesta, just days after entering orbit around the distant space rock. The new photo, which Dawn snapped for navigation purposes on Sunday (July 17), shows Vesta in greater detail than ever before, researchers said. Astronomers have been observing the gigantic space rock for 200 years, first with ground telescopes and later orbiting observatories, but have never been able to see it so clearly, they added. “We are beginning the study of arguably the oldest extant primordial surface in the solar system,” said Dawn principal investigator Christopher Russell, of UCLA, in a statement.

“This region of space has been ignored for far too long. So far, the images received to date reveal a complex surface that seems to have preserved some of the earliest events in Vesta’s history, as well as logging the onslaught that Vesta has suffered in the intervening eons,” Russell added. At 330 miles (530 kilometers) wide, Vesta is the second-largest object in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It’s so big that many astronomers classify it as a protoplanet, saying that Vesta was on its way to becoming a full-fledged rocky planet like Earth or Mars before Jupiter’s gravity stirred up the asteroid belt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NASA’s Inspiring, Enlightening, And Successful Search for New Earths

The Kepler space telescope, NASA’s first mission dedicated to the search for planets beyond our solar system, has produced a gusher of strange new worlds. If astronomers are right, many of them will prove to be habitable.

Kepler monitors 156,000 stars, less than 0.0001 percent of the galaxy’s population. Like some cosmic wildcat drilling operation, Kepler has struck a gusher, discovering 1,235 possible new worlds in its first four months of operation. That number doubles the previous total of just over 500, painstakingly gathered over the last 16 years. Prior to 1995, keeping track of all the known planets around other stars like the sun was easy-the tally stood at an even zero.

The bulk of Kepler’s data have not yet been studied, and the mission will keep going for at least two and a half more years. But it is already shredding the textbooks, showing that our galaxy (at least the fraction of it seen by the spacecraft) contains a far more exotic assortment of planets than astronomers expected to find. “We’re learning about a diversity of worlds in our universe that we had no clue about beforehand,” Marcy says. “Rocky planets, yeah, we thought there might be some of those. By the way, we’re finding some rocky planets that are even denser than Earth. But we’re also finding these mini-Neptunes, a class of planet for which we have no examples in our solar system. They’re like small Neptunes but with huge amounts of liquid water around a rocky core.”

Also on the list are 67 planets roughly the size of Earth, give or take a thousand miles or so in radius?; 288 “super-Earths” up to twice Earth’s diameter; 662 Neptune-size planets; and 184 giants rivaling or exceeding Jupiter in size. The simple statistics from Kepler say that Earth-size planets are widespread.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

U.S. Secretary of State and EU Buy Into OIC’s “Religious Defamation” Charade

Western powers, often driven by political correctness, bend over backwards to speak in generalities about fighting “intolerance,” “stereotyping,” and “discrimination” in order to appear principled and even-handed, even at the expense of acknowledging specific, pervasive cases of all of the above. The EU’s document of “stuttering timidity” in response to the violent persecution of Christians in the Muslim world is one such example.

For its part, the Organization Formerly Known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference has long spoken in vague generalities and platitudes about such principles with the expectation that uninformed listeners will project their own understanding of the concepts of “tolerance,” “justice,” and “fairness” onto the discourse. Thankfully, others in the West have seen through this tactic, blocking the OIC’s quest for a “legally binding institutional instrument” with which to prosecute speech deemed offensive to Islam, and blocking resolutions against “religious defamation” at the UN. The language is vague, but the purpose is specific. This time, Hillary Clinton and the EU have fallen for the OIC’s game.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]