Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20110809

Financial Crisis
»Debt Crises and Market Turmoil: Is the World Going Bankrupt?
»Dow Closes More Than 400 Points Higher in Wild Finish
»Fed to Hold Rates Exceptionally Low Through Mid-2013
»Germany Says Eurozone Can’t Save Italy
»Greece: Gov’t and Civil Servants at Loggerheads
»Italy: Milan Stocks Slide in Global Market Turbulence
»Italy: Tax Pressure to Rise With Budget Reform, Says Body
»Dashed Hopes: How Obama Disappointed the World
»It’s ‘Crazy’ To Ignore Shariah
»Obama’s Change Has Been Realized
»Philly Mayor: ‘No Excuses’ For Flash Mob Attacks
»Professor Commits Suicide During Class
»Republicans Boost Al-Jazeera
Europe and the EU
»Cameron and the Riots
»France: Paris Prayers in Old Barracks
»German Interior Minister: ‘German Identity is Shaped by Christianity’
»Islamism Has Taken Strong Roots in Norway
»Italy: Milan City Leaders Support Mosque
»London Riots: The Underclass Lashes Out
»Srdja Trifkovic: London’s Postmodern Riots
»UK: Forced to Strip Naked in the Street: Shocking Scenes as Rioters Steal Clothes and Rifle Through Bags as People Make Their Way Home
»UK: Interfaith Unity in Tottenham as Riots Continue
»UK: London Descends Into Anarchy
»UK: Looters Attack Diners at Michelin-Starred Restaurant
»UK: Now It’s Manchester and the Midlands’ Turn as London Braces for Fourth Night of Rioting
»UK: Petitioners Push MPs to Debate Quitting EU After Gathering Enough Support to Trigger Talks
North Africa
»Egypt: Liberal Wafd Could Leave Alliance With Muslim Brothers
»Libyan TV Says 33 Children Among 85 Killed in NATO Raid
»Muslims Attack Christian Village in Egypt — 1 Murdered, Homes Looted and Torched
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: Norway’s Jewish Problem
»Cost of Life Demonstrations Include Elderly
Middle East
»Mossad’s Miracle Weapon: Stuxnet Virus Opens New Era of Cyber War
»Turkey: Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Seven Generals
»Turkey: Journey Into Tunnel That Will Unite Asia, Europe
Sub-Saharan Africa
»African Union Calls for 3,000 More Soldiers for Mogadishu
»France: Minister: 17,500 Illegal Citizens Expelled in 7 Months
»Swiss Conservatives Split by Immigration Campaign
»Turkey, Greece Debate Ways to Fight Illegal Migration
»UK: What David Cameron Needs to Do
»Band of Antiprotons Rings the Earth
»Building Blocks of DNA Found in Meteorites From Space

Financial Crisis

Debt Crises and Market Turmoil: Is the World Going Bankrupt?

Europe and the US are hopelessly over-indebted. The crisis that started in the US real estate sector in 2007 has devastated state finances on both sides of the Atlantic and is threatening to wreck the euro and trigger a second global downturn. The world lacks the political leadership needed to end the turmoil.

           — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]

Dow Closes More Than 400 Points Higher in Wild Finish

Stocks ended the day sharply higher on Tuesday afternoon in a wild finish after the Federal Reserve announced that it would hold short-term interest rates near zero but included no new steps to foster economic growth.

The major indexes had been buoyant before the Fed announcement, then plunged in the immediate aftermath. But in the final hour of trading they surged back, with the Dow Jones industrials ending up more than 400 points and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rising nearly 5 percent.

The gains largely offset — though not entirely — the deep losses on Monday, the first trading day after Standard & Poor’s downgraded its rating of the United States government’s long-term debt.

[Return to headlines]

Fed to Hold Rates Exceptionally Low Through Mid-2013

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday said that the risk of a downturn in the nation’s economy had increased, and that it was prepared to use additional policy tools, including extending its period of exceptionally low interest rates, until at least 2013.

The Fed’s announcement was eagerly awaited by investors who have responded to grim economic tidings in recent weeks by driving down global markets.

The economy grew only 0.8 percent during the first half of the year. The work force is shrinking. State and local governments are cutting back. And fiscal policy is immobilized by partisanship, leading Standard & Poor’s to remove the United States from its list of risk-free borrowers.

That has left investors to hope that the Fed would consider new steps to help the economy.

[Return to headlines]

Germany Says Eurozone Can’t Save Italy

Advisors in the German government think the eurozone’s bailout fund won’t be enough to save Italy from its current crisis, according to a media report. Economic advisors told the news magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday that the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) is only capable of helping smaller countries, not economies the size of Italy’s.

Government experts say Italy’s eurozone partners cannot cover the guarantee for Italy’s state debt of over €1.8 trillion.

The report says Berlin is now insisting that Italy find its own way out of its crisis through budget cuts and reforms.

           — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]

Greece: Gov’t and Civil Servants at Loggerheads

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, AUGUST 8 — A row between the government and the civil servants’ union (ADEDY) escalated on Friday after the union leader, Spyros Papaspyrou, slammed government spokesman Ilias Mosialos for suggesting that civil servants striking over pay cuts would face penalties. Papaspyrou indicated that Mosialos had overstepped the mark by hinting at sackings of civil servants — whose jobs are protected by Greek law. “Has the government decided that it will abolish the Constitution before it has even reformed it?” Papaspyrou told the Real FM radio station. Mosialos reacted to the union leader’s comments by calling on civil servants to focus on their jobs. “The chief duty of every civil servant is to work for the common good,” Mosialos said, adding that “everyone has their responsibilities and they will be judged by the general public.” Several other members of ruling PASOK, including Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, threw their support behind Mosialos, indicating that a work-to-rule protest by civil servants — in the middle of such a critical period for Greece — would be “unacceptable.” The dispute began on Thursday when, in an apparent attempt to head off a confrontation with civil servants, Mosialos said that the government would take action if there is a go-slow protest. His comments came after Papaspyrou said that members would react to continuing salary and benefit cuts, as well as the lengthening of their working week from 37.5 hours to 40.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Milan Stocks Slide in Global Market Turbulence

Italian bond spread falls to 278 points

(ANSA) — Rome, August 9 — Italian stocks rose in early trading Tuesday but fell back as turbulence continued in global markets and sent European shares to a fresh two-year low.

Milan shares initially rose 2.6% but then fell back, dropping 2.28% to 15,277 points — a new annual low — in late morning trading, but losses were even higher in London, Frankfurt and Madrid.

The spread between Italian 10-year government bonds and the benchmark German bond dropped to 278 points with a yield of 5.10%, after posting highs of 407 points last week.

Late Monday Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi discussed the economic crisis in a conference call with US President Barack Obama.

A statement released by Berlusconi’s office said that Obama had expressed his appreciation for the decisive measures taken by the Italian government “to face the immediate economic challenges and improve competitiveness”. The two leaders also discussed developments in the eurozone after the European Central Bank moved to buy Italian sovereign bonds on Monday after a dramatic selloff in Italian and Spanish bonds last week.

On Friday Berlusconi and Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti held a media conference, after financial markets closed, to announce plans to balance the budget by 2013, and not 2014 as previously planned.

The move has angered opposition parties and trade unions who accused the prime minister of surrendering Italian sovereignty to the European Central Bank because he pledged to speed up financial reform.

Antonio Di Pietro, head of the Italy of Values party, said Berlusconi had been “dragged by the ear by the EU and international economic institutions”.

“Berlusconi should perform a service to his country for the first time and go,” he said.

Susanna Camusso, the head of Italy’s largest trade union organisation, Cgil, said that the government was incapable of dealing with the current emergency and called for a change in Italy’s political leadership.

The volatile situation on the markets, as well as the controversial US rating cut by Standard & Poors, were at the center of a conference call on Sunday between the Group of Seven (G7) industrial countries. France and Germany later issued a joint statement which praised the actions taken by Rome and Madrid, but which also made it clear that any support from the ECB hinged on enacting their reforms.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Tax Pressure to Rise With Budget Reform, Says Body

Artisans association sounds alarm

(ANSA) — Rome, August 8 — The government’s decision to bring forward its austerity budget plan will mean Italians will soon be paying significantly higher taxes, national artisans association Confartiginato (CGIA) said on Monday.

The government last month drafted a series of reforms to balance its budget by 2014 to avoid any risk of defaulting on Italy’s sovereign debt. However, markets rejected the hypothesis of not balancing the budget until 2014 and, when faced with a loss of investor confidence and what was the equivalent of a dictate from the European Union, as well as Germany and France, Rome was forced to move up its target to 2013.

“It doesn’t take much to realise that these measures are going to drive taxes up with tax pressure near or perhaps above record highs”, said Giuseppe Bortolussi, the secretary general of CGIA, which represents many of Italy’s small businesses.

“Before these reforms were adopted tax pressure in 2013 was expected to be 42.6%. However, in order to balance the budget by 2013, tax pressure will have to rise to at least 44.3% and this 1.7-point hike is really scary,” he added. Tax pressure in Italy reached a record high of 43.7% in 1997 when the country was forced to raise revenue to meet the conditions necessary to join the European single currency. Aside from raising taxes and cutting spending, the government’s budget plan includes a privatization program and deregulating areas of the economy, including much-coveted job security laws with all these reforms aimed at promoting growth.

The EU, Germany and France want Italy to be well on the road to reform already by the end of September. The government of Premier Silvio Berlusconi had originally hoped to impose the lion’s share of the budget cuts and tax increase after the next scheduled elections in 2013.

Based on the government’s 2011 three-year budget calculations, CGIA said the government in 2012 will need to come up with an additional four billion euros more from spending cuts, in addition to the 6.081 billion euros it had hoped raise, while the increase in tax revenue alone in 2013 will have to more than double, from 12.774 billion euros to 28.284 billion euros.

In a related development, Italy’s tax revenue agency on Monday said that it expected to collect some 11 billion euros in previously undeclared taxes thanks to spot auditing checks which last year netted just over 10 billion euros.

The announcement was made at the start of the summer campaign by tax police who will make surprise audits on bathing establishments, yachts and celebrities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Dashed Hopes: How Obama Disappointed the World

As America’s first black president, Barack Obama electrified an entire nation. But now that the nation is in crisis, he seems unable to connect with the people. He wanted to change America and restore its reputation in the world. But now his opponents are dictating the country’s political course.

He was constrained by a number: 140, the maximum characters a Twitter message can contain. On a recent Wednesday afternoon, it was US President Barack Obama’s own, self-imposed limit. Obama was hosting a “Twitter Town Hall Meeting” in the East Room of the White House, where he hoped to explain his policies through the new medium.

It’s a challenge for a politician to restrict his comments to 140 characters, especially during a budget crisis in which anger and shouting seemed to prevail over actual arguments.

“I’m going to make history here as the first president to live tweet,” Obama said with an amused smile, as he walked up to a laptop adorned with the presidential seal. These were big words for a particularly insignificant event.

Obama has always managed to win over Americans with big words. He used big words to raise expectations and establish a mood of change in the 2008 presidential election campaign, when he inspired the country with his slogan “Yes, we can.”

Obama, who signs his tweets with “bo,” began with a question: “In order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep?”

The tweeting session lasted more than an hour. But after his first tweet, Obama stopped typing into the laptop and, like any other politician, spoke into the microphone, giving long responses which were up to 3,900 characters in length, instead of the 140-character Twitter messages. It was a barrage of ifs and buts, that included the usual political rhetoric, and when the event drew to a close, some would have been tempted to ask what exactly was different about this first Twitter event hosted by the US president.

High Hopes

When Barack Obama was elected almost three years ago, the country seemed intoxicated. The world allowed itself to be carried along by this wave of enthusiasm, and by its hopes for a new, more peaceful America. A crowd of 200,000 people came to hear him speak at the Victory Column in Berlin; Kenyans spent the entire election night dancing in front of their television sets; in Japan, the residents of a fishing village named Obama celebrated his victory; in Gaza, where hatred for America is normally the prevailing sentiment, there were exuberant parties; and in London, Madame Tussauds wax museum handed out free tickets.

Obama’s election was the self-affirmation of a nation that wanted to prove that the American dream was still alive. Not voting for Obama would have been cynical, timid and un-American.

The world also had high hopes for a changed America, a country that would be less militaristic than it was under his predecessor, George W. Bush, and one that would pursue smarter policies, both in dealing with the Islamic world and on issues of environmental protection and climate change.

This wasn’t just wishful thinking on the part of his voters or his foreign admirers. In fact, it consisted of tangible promises Obama had actually made. Again and again, he talked of uniting the country and even healing the planet.

And? Did he make good on those promises?

Last week, both houses of the United States Congress approved a lazy compromise shaped by pre-election political interests. In doing so, they averted the threat of a government default, but only because no one could be sure that it might not lead directly to the collapse of the US and possibly the global financial system. The president was not even one of the main players anymore, and his fellow Democrats had already abandoned demands he had previously described as essential. Gone was the spirit of “Yes, we can.” Now it seemed as if the rating agencies were dictating America’s fate. The country that Obama had set out to lead to new heights now seemed to be immersed in frustration, faintheartedness and mutual finger-pointing…

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

It’s ‘Crazy’ To Ignore Shariah

Bridge-building with jihad sympathizers threatens our constitutional liberties

by Frank Gaffney

As the nation mourns the loss in combat of 30 of its military heroes — including 22 members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 — in Afghanistan over the weekend, the question inevitably occurs: What are we fighting for that justifies this latest among so much sacrifice in that distant, backward and inhospitable land?

Sen. John McCain suggested on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the answer, in part, is to prevent the Taliban from taking over the country again — at horrific cost to the people and, in particular, the women of Afghanistan. That would be a more credible goal if we were not simultaneously negotiating what amounts to the surrender of the country to Taliban representatives.

A more compelling justification would be if we were fighting to prevent the success of those who, like the Taliban, adhere to the politico-military-legal doctrine they call Shariah. According to that doctrine, the entire world — not just Afghanistan — must submit to divine dictates as recounted by Muhammad and refined, interpreted and applied for more than 1,400 years by Muslim rulers (caliphs), scholars, institutions and jihadists. It is the particular mission of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, notably al Qaeda, to accomplish this objective and establish a new, global caliphate to rule in accordance with Shariah.

Unfortunately, many in this country remain clueless about this threat. A particularly egregious example of official willful blindness was evident in an outburst last week by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In response to criticism that he had appointed to his state’s superior court a Muslim lawyer known for his ties to Shariah-adherent terrorists and their sympathizers, Mr. Christie declaimed: “[This] Shariah-law business is crap … and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies!”

As Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, National Review essayist and constituent of the governor’s observed over the weekend, “As Gov. Christie ought to understand, Shariah concerns can’t be dismissed as ‘crap.’ They help us sort out the pro-American Muslims we want to empower from the Islamists. When we dismiss these concerns, we end up building bridges to all the wrong people, as government has done, to its repeated embarrassment, for two decades. That is how we end up ‘partnering’ with the likes of Abdurrahman Alamoudi and Sami al-Arian (both ultimately convicted, with their ties to terrorism duly exposed); Salam al-Marayati, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee leader who argued that Israel should be at the top of the 9/11 suspect list; and such Islamist organizations as the Council on American Islamic relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which, though not indicted, were shown by the Justice Department to be co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing case.”

Unfortunately, as Mr. McCarthy observes, Mr. Christie is not the only one who is witless about the threat from Shariah and the dangers associated with “building bridges” to its adherents, whether in the New Jersey Islamic community, among the Afghan Taliban or via Muslim Brotherhood fronts such as CAIR and ISNA. Such “ ‘bridge building’ — code for ‘Muslim outreach,’ the law-enforcement strategy that started in the Clinton years, picked up steam in the George W. Bush years and has become the backbone of Obama counterterrorism.”

The extent to which such “outreach” has morphed into the unvarnished embrace of Muslim Brotherhood-tied entities is evident in the Obama administration’s “strategy” for “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States,” unveiled last week. Notable for its moral equivalence — it studiously avoids specificity about the threat in favor of euphemisms such as “radicalization,” “terrorism” and “violent extremism” that suggest threats from “Christian” and “right-wing” organizations are equivalent to those from Islamists — the strategy calls for partnering with those who purport to eschew the “al Qaeda ideology.”

In so doing, Team Obama is missing the same thing Mr. Christie fails to comprehend: Far from being “crazy” or the ideology of only so-called “extremists” like al Qaeda and its franchises and copycats, Shariah also drives the Muslim Brotherhood. That is true notwithstanding the fact that the Brotherhood uses nonviolent — or more accurately pre-violent — means to advance Shariah’s imposition. According to its “phased plan,” that will continue to be the case right up until the moment when the Brothers “seiz[e] power to establish their Islamic nation.”

Consequently, what’s crazy, to use Mr. Christie’s term, are efforts to detect and defeat violent extremism by enlisting the very organizations that the federal government established in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas to be Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated entities. So is the Obama administration’s bid to “bridge” differences with the Brothers’ friends in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to stop free expression in the West — as it has whenever there are “consequences,” like that “right-wing” extremist’s murderous rampage in Norway. Ditto, the White House’s reported decision to entrust to a deeply Brotherhood-penetrated Department of Homeland Security exclusive responsibility for determining who and what can be used to train local law enforcement and others charged with keeping us safe.

Here’s the bottom line: America is under assault by those who see its Constitution and liberties as the ultimate impediment to the triumph of Shariah worldwide. We will needlessly lose many more of our finest in Afghanistan, elsewhere around the world and, ultimately, here if we fail to recognize that it is crazy to believe and behave on any other basis.

[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Change Has Been Realized


Today, our political leaders and our media can only mock and slander those who seek rediscovery of our Founders’ “first principles.” These provident tenets empowering the individual against inevitable encroachments by the state are roundly decried by the Keynesian- and Marxist-leaning academics and self-serving power addicts camped on Capitol Hill. The vision of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison is simply anathema or even unknown to the political class in Washington and to the sycophantic media.

Meanwhile, shrewd businesses race from our shores to flee globally disproportionate U.S. corporate tax levies and the ever-constricting regulations heaped upon them by a regime bent on the demise of the private sector, a move essential to the establishment of President Obama’s vision of “change.” Mr. Obama and his pack of various “czars” and congressional Democrats are increasingly transparent in their zeal to transform “the Great Experiment” into a third-string socialist nanny state. They have all but drawn and quartered the American economy, and with it our freedoms and our national raison d’etre.

[Return to headlines]

Philly Mayor: ‘No Excuses’ For Flash Mob Attacks

(CNN) — Philadelphia’s mayor described his stiff curfew on teenagers’ “flash mob” attacks on city residents as a dose of “tough love” and called for parents to keep better watch on their kids.

“I have an understanding of what of our parents are facing, but others are in very challenging situations, and I appreciate that and understand that, but there is no excuse for young people being out so late at night by themselves and then making bad decisions and literally assaulting other citizens,” Mayor Michael Nutter told CNN’s “American Morning” on Tuesday. “I will not tolerate that.”

There have been several assaults by teens on residents in recent weeks, and the beatings have left people badly injured. The city cites the culprits as members of a “flash mob,” which is a group of people who decide to gather at a given place via e-mail and social media.

Nutter, who is African-American, delivered a frank sermon at his church, Mount Carmel Baptist in West Philadelphia, on Sunday about the problem.

The mayor lashed out at the attackers, saying “you’ve damaged yourself, you’ve damaged another person, you’ve damaged your peers and, quite honestly, you’ve damage your own race.”

On Monday, Nutter signed an order reducing curfews to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for people under the age of 18 in Center City, the heart of Philadelphia’s downtown, and University City, a neighborhood to the west where the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University are located.

In the rest of the city, the curfew will remain at 10 p.m. for people under age 13 and midnight for people under age 18.

First-time curfew breakers will be fined $150. Repeat offenders could be slapped with fines up to $500, the mayor’s office said.

In tandem with the curfew, the city will expand recreation center hours throughout the city.

One example of the violence occurred in late July. Philadelphia police arrested three juveniles and a 19-year-old on assault, reckless endangerment and robbery charges after a mob struck the Center City area.

Two people were injured. The youngest of the juveniles to be arrested is 11, according to Officer Christine O’Brien. The others are 16 and 17; none of them are being identified because of their age.

The 19-year-old was identified as Raymond Gatling, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

“We will be prosecuting these young criminals to the fullest extent of the law,” District Attorney Seth Williams said in the mayor’s Monday news release about the curfew. “There is no excuse for what they did, and they have brought great shame upon themselves and their families.”

The problem has overshadowed attention on achievements among youths across the Philadelphia region, one of America’s most populous metro areas.

           — Hat tip: Paul Green[Return to headlines]

Professor Commits Suicide During Class

PHILADELPHIA — A Chestnut Hill College professor did the unthinkable Wednesday afternoon during math class.

Rudolf Alexandrov, 71, an adjunct professor, became agitated and quickly walked out of the classroom inside St. Joseph’s Hall, according to sources familiar with the incident. He returned briefly, then yelled some words and ran to the second-floor railing overlooking the veranda inside the hall.

When concerned colleagues summoned campus security, Alexandrov, who had been standing on a ledge next to the railing, dove head-first over the railing, said Lt. Robert Zaffino, with Northwest Detectives. The fall to the marble floor is about 20 to 30 feet, he said.

The horrific act reportedly took place in front of his students and wife Olga Alexandrov, 56, also an adjunct professor at Chestnut Hill, according to sources.

[Return to headlines]

Republicans Boost Al-Jazeera

Michael Calderone, the senior media reporter for The Huffington Post, has written an article which appears on the website of Arab American News that appears to “credit” Senator John McCain for helping get carriage for Al-Jazeera English (AJE) on Time Warner cable in New York.

He writes that “…U.S. political leaders have had far more praise for the network’s on-the-ground reporting around the globe. In March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called AJE ‘real news’ for its coverage of the Arab Spring protests. Two months later, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) attended a dinner for the network and spoke glowingly about its impact on the revolutions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.”

Meantime, an Al-Jazeera contributor, Republican David Ramadan, who supported McCain for president, is running for the newly created 87th House of Delegates seat in the Commonwealth of Virginia and seems poised to win. He has been interviewed by Al-Jazeera, which the Muslim Brotherhood describes as the “great Arab media organization,” and says that his mission includes “educating the Republican party on the Arab-American and Muslim community on what we need from candidates in order to support them.”

On August 10, former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese is scheduled to appear on Ramadan’s behalf at a Loudoun County, Virginia, restaurant.

The Huffington Post has done its part on behalf of Al-Jazeera, as noted by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA): “Another facet of the Huffington Post’s brand of journalism is its symbiotic relationship with Qatar’s state-financed news organization Al Jazeera. In early 2011, the Huffington Post ran a series of pieces supporting Al Jazeera’s efforts to convince major American cable companies to carry its newscasts.

“From Jan. 30 to 31 alone, Huffington Post published four pieces promoting Al Jazeera, including one by Jeff Jarvis titled ‘We Want our Al Jazeera English Now’ which calls the decision not to carry Al Jazeera ‘un-American.’

“Another piece by Wadah Khanfar, the Director General of Al Jazeera, was a full page promotional piece for the network, citing its ‘Journalism of depth.’

“Khanfar has become something of a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, creating the unusual circumstance where the head of a foreign-based media source owned by an autocratic head of state serves as a guest columnist for a major American news organization.”

Calderone is nevertheless correct in his assessment of how significant McCain’s praise of the channel has been. As we noted at the time, McCain’s praise of the terror channel “was a shocker because the day before, on Sunday, The Washington Post had finally gotten around to publishing a semi-critical article on the channel, noting its double-standards and open bias on the matter of revolutions in the Middle East. The Post even acknowledged that WikiLeaks had released a U.S. cable describing the channel as a foreign policy instrument of Qatar, the Middle Eastern dictatorship which financially sponsors it and selects its personnel.”

Picking up a New York Times story by Brian Stelter about Al-Jazeera getting carriage in New York, Keach Hagey of Politico wrote, “It’s a major step forward for the awareness-raising campaign that AJE has been on since its coverage of the Arab Spring propelled it to newfound relevance this year. But so far there is no sign that the obstacles keeping the channel from achieving its true goal in the U.S.—national cable carriage—are cracking at all.”

Neither Stelter nor Hagey gave any space to critics of Al-Jazeera, an indication of how this “awareness-raising campaign” has captured the exclusive attention of these reporters, indicating that they do not want to be accused of putting obstacles in the way of its well-financed push for carriage in major U.S. media markets.

One of the big obstacles has been the channel’s anti-American and anti-Israel bias.

Interestingly, many of the concerns that we have expressed about Al-Jazeera are confirmed in a 94-page master’s thesis, “Al-Jazeera as a Political Tool within the Contradictions of Qatar,” by an Arabic-speaking Japanese graduate, Munehiro Anzawa, available on the American University in Cairo website. It is dated May 2011.

This student is able to document many of the facts that seem to have been ignored by the media cheerleaders for the channel. First—and most obvious—the channel is Arab government-funded, which obviously colors its reporting.

The student writes that “It is important to reveal how Al Jazeera’s financing by one of the most repressive governments regarding freedom of expression affects the channel’s coverage, bias, and editorial independence.. It is also interesting to note that Al Jazeera’s news reporting virtually ignores the internal affairs of its financial sponsor, Qatar, or the ruling Al Thani family.”

“More significantly,” says the master’s thesis, “Al Jazeera does not seem eager to report on the internal issues of Qatar and the dirty laundry of the ruling family.”

Other important points on the subject of dirty laundry:

Qatar harbored Islamic radicals “such as a top commander of Al Qaeda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of September 11, and many Arab extremists…”

“…according to the U.S. diplomatic cables unveiled by WikiLeaks, Qatar was the worst in counterterrorism measures in the region. Qatar’s security was ‘hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals.’“

“Al Jazeera frequently hosts anti-American guests and has aired propaganda against the United States both before and after September 11th.”

The academic study, however, neglects many other important points, including the fact that Al-Jazeera’s Afghan correspondent, Tayseer Alouni, went to prison in Spain for being an agent of al-Qaeda. This kind of relationship explains why Al-Jazeera has been so quick to air exclusive videos and messages from Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The study notes that a turning point for Al-Jazeera in the U.S. came when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the channel for offering “real news.” The study failed to note that her husband, disgraced former president Bill Clinton, has a financial relationship with the government of Qatar and several entities in the country. The regime is a financial sponsor, listed at between $1 and $5 million, of the William J. Clinton Foundation.

In mid-May it was revealed by Hagey at Politico that McCain had praised Al-Jazeera, becoming a shill for the terror channel. It appears that McCain was using the channel, or perhaps the channel was using him, in order to affect regime change in Libya. As a result, Islamists are poised to take control of the country.

We pointed out at the time, “McCain’s praise of Al-Jazeera was also curious because the channel, during the 2008 presidential campaign, had savaged the McCain-Palin ticket by running a piece depicting Republican voters as country bumpkins and racists. Casey Kaufmann, the Al-Jazeera reporter who did the story, contributed $500 to the Obama-for-president campaign, a violation of basic standards of journalism ethics.”

Additional research has turned up the fact that David Ramadan, a member of the Virginia delegation and Arab-American delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2008, told Al-Jazeera about his support for McCain in an article that appeared under the direct headline, “Why I support John McCain.” He wrote, “McCain is a reformer, McCain is pro-immigration, McCain is a centrist. McCain supports the US finishing the trouble that George Bush got the US into in Iraq.”

Ramadan is running for the newly created 87th House of Delegates seat in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Republican primary election takes place on August 23. His website boasts an endorsement from House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, a Jewish conservative, and other prominent Republicans. Appointed by Governor Robert McDonnell to serve on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University (GMU), he says he is an example of living the American dream. He has lived in Virginia since 1989.

However, Ramadan’s bio also says that he is a “frequent commentator” on networks such as Al-Jazeera.

Pamela Geller, author of the new book, Stop the Islamization of America, suggests Ramadan is a Muslim Brotherhood candidate. Writing at Big Peace, Kent Clizbe, a former CIA counter-terrorism ops officer, says that Ramadan has mysterious foreign connections that deserve serious scrutiny.

[links appear in the original URL]

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Cameron and the Riots

Impotence in Britain’s Mogadishu

David Cameron has broken off his summer vacation and returned to England, where he has pledged to battle rioting mobs. The British Prime Minister is deploying 16,000 police officers and has vowed to unleash the “full force of the law.” But is Scotland Yard still capable of restoring order?

A burning capital city. Marauding bands stealing whatever they please. A police force that appears to be impotent. And a fire brigade that can’t put out blazes because its rescue forces are attacked by a mob.

The television images dominating screens this week could be right out of Mogadishu. As difficult to imagine as it might be, the pictures aren’t from Somalia, but from London, right in the center of Europe. And they will never be forgotten. They have even prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to break off has vacation in Tuscany. If he were to continue to enjoy the sun as London sinks into chaos, then his star would likely fall just as far as former US President George W. Bush’s did because of his disastrous crisis management in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has also returned from his holiday early, as has Interior Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Ed Milliband. Parliament has been recalled from the summer recess, and on Thursday it is set to convene an emergency session. The scenes of violence that have unfolded during the past few nights could well be fateful for Britain’s international reputation as well as that of Cameron’s government.

How quickly can the orgy of thieves and plunderers be stopped? Can it be at all? So far, Cameron has cared primarily about one thing: Budget cuts wherever possible, including the police, come hell or high water. Thousands of jobs are to be eliminated.

Now, one year before the city is slated to host the Summer Olympic Games in socio-economically depressed East London, there are serious doubts as to whether the conservative-liberal government is still capable of enforcing law and order. Cameron’s relations with the leaders at Scotland Yard have long been shattered. And the trench warfare between politicians and police has now contributed to a situation in which a few hordes of looting youths are able to disrupt the entire public order…

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

France: Paris Prayers in Old Barracks

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, AUGUST 8 — No more praying on the pavements: Muslim faithful of the populous Paris Goutte D’or quarter, with its high proportion of residents with African and Maghreb origins, will soon be able to meet up in a former barracks for their Friday prayer, according to a statement made by France’s Interior Minister, Claude Gueant, following many press leaks. “Prayers in the street are unacceptable, are a direct attack on the principle of secularity and they must stop” Mr Gueant said in an interview to France Presse.

The proposal to move prayers — which fill the narrow access road to the quarter and attract the interest of Parisians and tourists alike — to the former barracks has already been approved of by the Muslim faithful, the Minister said. They had visited the proposed locations and judged them “absolutely appropriate”. “It has been agreed that these premises shall come into operation on September 16,” Mr Gueant said. He explained that “during the entire Ramadan period in the month of August, there will be an information campaign addressing the faithful, informing them that their prayers in the street will have to finish”.

Muslim prayers on the pavement — which are due to the small size of the places of worship at their disposal, happen quite often in the Muslim quarters of Paris and other great cities such as Marseilles, but they have often given rise to debates and controversy in France. At the start of this year, the right wing leader, Marine Le Pen, compared them to the Nazi occupation, drawing strong criticism from the Muslim community and the centre-left opposition, as well as from some figures from the majority.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

German Interior Minister: ‘German Identity is Shaped by Christianity’

In a SPIEGEL interview, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich discusses the motives of Norwegian killer Anders Breivik, calls for an end to anonymity on the Internet and explains why Islam is not part of German identity.

SPIEGEL: Minister Friedrich, the massacre in Norway has sparked a discussion about the political background to the attacks. Is Anders Breivik a madman or the first anti-Muslim terrorist?

Friedrich: He is a madman, but he’s also more than that. I’m not talking about insanity in a medical sense. This sort of a crime, where someone shoots children in cold blood as they desperately beg for their lives, is incomprehensible for any person with normal emotions. But other factors must also have entered into the equation, factors that made this crime possible in the first place. Investigators are now trying to determine what they are.

SPIEGEL: Is this sort of an attack possible in Germany?

Friedrich: We are increasingly concerned about radicalized perpetrators acting alone. The deadly shots at American soldiers at the Frankfurt airport were also fired by a lone perpetrator, in that case an Islamist, who had become radicalized on the Internet. We have more and more people who isolate themselves from their social environment and immerse themselves into an online world. It changes them, usually in ways that no one notices. This constitutes a serious threat, also in Germany.

SPIEGEL: Have politicians paid too little attention to the extremist anti-Islamic scene that has developed in Europe in recent years?

Friedrich: There are always defensive reactions against what we perceive to be foreign. We have to incorporate these defensive reflexes into a rational discussion process through prevention and education. In Germany, so far, we have been relatively successful at this. We are a cosmopolitan and open country.

SPIEGEL: And yet there is also a growing movement in Germany that inveighs against Islam, especially on the Internet, and warns against the supposed threat of foreign infiltration. Breivik is apparently not alone with his ideas.

Friedrich: It’s a long way from the crude political theories that certain Islamophobic blogs disseminate on the Internet to the mass murder Breivik committed. But you are, of course, right: There are certain political views in this scene that we find shocking, because they are unconsidered and full of prejudices. But we also have to realize that the abuse of Islam by Islamist extremists has contributed to this.

SPIEGEL: Anders Breivik claims to have acted in the name of Christendom. In doing so, is he misusing Christianity in a way that’s similar to how Osama bin Laden misused Islam?

Friedrich: Someone who disregards individuals’ life and limb, and their dignity as human beings, cannot invoke Christianity.

SPIEGEL: Did politicians like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, or bloggers like “Fjordman,” who Breivik often quoted and whose identity has since been revealed, pave the way for this killer?

Friedrich: Nowadays politically motivated perpetrators like Breivik can find all kinds of radical, unsophisticated theories, especially on the Internet. They can maneuver from blog to blog, spending all their time in this intellectual soup. At some point they manage to combine it all into a cohesive worldview. But this tells us that the Internet creates completely new challenges. The principles of our legal system must also apply on the web. In democratic conflict, we argue openly on the basis of our constitutional rules of behavior. Why should this be different on the Internet? I know that I will be severely berated in the online community for this, but why don’t Fjordman and other anonymous bloggers need to disclose their true identity? Normally people use their names when they take a position. Why shouldn’t this be something that is also self-evident on the Internet?

SPIEGEL: Where is the boundary between legitimate discourse and racist or right-wing extremist agitation?…

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

Islamism Has Taken Strong Roots in Norway

By Vadim Trukhachev

Recent terrorist attacks in Norway made many Norwegians talk about the problem of the relations between natives and immigrants from Muslim countries. The problem has manifested itself in one of the most peaceful countries on the continent — Norway. Today, the majority of its citizens want to limit immigration.

In July, Norwegian publication VG Nett initiated a sociological study on the attitudes towards immigrants. It was found that nearly 54 percent of respondents supported the statement: “We no longer have to let immigrants into Norway.” In addition, 80 percent believe that those who live in Norway must pass an exam in the local language, and many Norwegians do not favor policewomen wearing head scarves. These numbers speak for themselves. Norwegian authorities, in contrast to many other countries, have not yet made statements to the effect that “the policy of multiculturalism” in the country has failed. However, the situation in a calm northern kingdom is gradually heating up. A number of recent events in Norway highlighted once again that not everything is well in the area of ??ethnic relations.

In June, the entire country was discussing the tragedy in the third-largest city in Norway, Trondheim. The group of Muslim immigrants raped a schoolgirl, which led to the girl’s depression and subsequent death. The police found out that the criminals raped two other girls, who, fortunately, survived. Guards have also recognized that the majority of brutal rapes are committed in the country by immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. A month earlier there was a different case. One of the secondary schools in Bergen had to be evacuated after a student told the newspaper that he had a gun and intended to shoot at Muslim children. Students were evacuated, the bully was identified, but no weapon has been found. While this particular crime did not take place, there have been many cases of attacks on Muslims by indigenous Norwegians.

There is another indicator of poor compatibility of different cultures. In recent years, approximately three thousand people have moved out from Groruddalen area in Oslo. Today, nearly 45 percent of its population is Muslim who do not speak Norwegian. The Northerners complain that blondes (who are many in Norway) have to dye their hair dark, and children are afraid to bring sandwiches with ham to school because Islam does not permit eating pork.

The opinion on Muslim immigrants has hardly improved after the episode that occurred in the summer of 2009. Then, in Norway, 500 hundred Chechens and Kurds fought against each other. Police detained 54 people from the North Caucasus, who were established as the initiators of the massacre unprecedented by local standards. More than seven of them ended up in court. After the incident, natives of the Caucasus are getting deported from Norway increasingly more, including those who behaved perfectly well. However, the line of the Norwegian leadership in relation to Muslim immigrants is not particularly consistent. Recently, Islamist theologian Yusuf al-Karadaui has freely arrived in the country. He famously called the Holocaust a “divine punishment” and defended the rights of husbands to beat their wives. A Norwegian-Iraqi writer called al-Karadaui a man who “is more dangerous than Osama bin Laden.” Yet, this man was granted a visa.

In addition, earlier this year, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten drew attention to the fact that ethnic Kurd Najmuddin Farah Ahmad, also known as Mullah Krekar, has been living in the country for 20 years. He founded the organization “Ansar al-Islam” based in northern Iraq that nearly all Western countries have declared terrorist and related to “Al-Qaeda.”

           — Hat tip: AA[Return to headlines]

Italy: Milan City Leaders Support Mosque

Move faces strong opposition from right

(ANSA) — Milan, August 8 — Milan city councilors reasserted their plans to allow construction of an official mosque Monday, falling short of naming a specific date.

“An official place of worship remains a priority,” said Milan Executive Councilor Chiara Bisconti in the first meeting with local Muslim leaders and a newly elected city administration.

City officials said they will encourage construction of small places of worship over the next year in order to account for Milan’s rising population of Muslims, widely considered the fastest growing religious group in Europe.

We are “firmly and decidedly opposed to construction,” said Carlo Masseroli, Milan’s former designated urban planner, speaking on behalf of Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom party (PdL) in Milan.

Masseroli added that small Muslim places of worship are fine, noting that “adequate spaces” already exist which “respect the rules and norm of city standards without upsetting the social fabric of neighborhoods”.

The issue of an official mosque is politically charged in Milan, where newly-elected Mayor Giuliano Pisapia came out in favor of the mosque in his recent campaign to unseat a conservative incumbent, arguing that Milan should offer a proper place of worship for its Muslim community, which currently uses temporary spaces and makeshift venues.

In 2008, the anti-immigration Northern League party claimed in the wake of two terrorist arrests in Milan that too many mosques had turned out to be preaching Islamism, leading a call to hamper mosque construction in the entire country.

However the Catholic Church has supported mosque construction in Italy, stating that Muslims should have enough mosques so that they do not have to worship in the street or in other “unsuitable” conditions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

London Riots: The Underclass Lashes Out

London’s rioters are the products of a crumbling nation, and an indifferent political class that has turned its back on them.

No one seemed surprised. Not the hooded teenagers fleeing home at dawn. Not Ken and Tony, who used to live in Tottenham and had returned to stand vigil over the missiles and torched cars littering an urban war zone. Tony claimed to have seen the whole thing coming. “This was always going to happen,” he said.

The police shot a black guy in suspicious circumstances. Feral kids with no jobs ran amok. To Tony’s mind, this was a riot waiting for an excuse. In the hangover of the violence that spread through London, the uprisings seemed both inevitable and unthinkable. Over a few days in which attacks became a contagion the capital city of an advanced nation has reverted to a Hobbesian dystopia of chaos and brutality.

“In the evening there is fear, and in the morning they are gone. This is the fate of those who take our goods, and the reward of those who violently take our property.” Isaiah 17:14. No such Old Testament fate awaited the pillagers of N18, strolling away from 21st-century megastores with a looted haul of iPod accessories and designer trainers.

This is the most arcane of uprisings and the most modern. Its participants, marshalled by Twitter, are protagonists in a sinister flipside to the Arab Spring. The Tottenham summer, featuring children as young as seven, is an assault not on a regime of tyranny but on the established order of a benign democracy. One question now hangs over London’s battle-torn high streets. How could this ever happen?

Among several obvious answers, one is a failure of policing. The evidence so far points to more ignominy for the rudderless Met, as doubts emerge over whether Mark Duggan, whose death inspired the initial riots, fired at police. The stonewalling of Mr Duggan’s family precipitated the crisis, and the absence of officers to intervene in an orgy of looting led to a breakdown of order suggestive of the lawless badlands of a failing state.

The second alleged culprit is ethnicity. But, as David Lammy, Tottenham’s MP, has said, these are no race riots. The Eighties uprisings at Broadwater Farm, as in Toxteth and Brixton, were products, in part, of a poisonous racism absent in today’s Tottenham, where the Chinese grocery, the Turkish store and the African hairdresser’s sit side by side.

So blame unemployment and the cuts. It is true that Tottenham is among London’s poorest boroughs, with 10,000 people claiming jobseeker’s allowance and 54 applicants chasing every registered job vacancy. In other affected boroughs, such as Hackney, youth clubs are closing. Unwise as such pruning may be, it would be facile to suggest that homes and businesses have been laid waste for want of ping-pong tournaments and skateboard parks.

The real causes are more insidious. It is no coincidence that the worst violence London has seen in many decades takes place against the backdrop of a global economy poised for freefall. The causes of recession set out by J K Galbraith in his book, The Great Crash 1929, were as follows: bad income distribution, a business sector engaged in “corporate larceny”, a weak banking structure and an import/export imbalance.

All those factors are again in play. In the bubble of the 1920s, the top 5 per cent of earners creamed off one-third of personal income. Today, Britain is less equal, in wages, wealth and life chances, than at any time since then. Last year alone, the combined fortunes of the 1,000 richest people in Britain rose by 30 per cent to £333.5 billion.

Europe’s leaders, our own Prime Minister and Chancellor included, were parked on sun-loungers as London burned. Although the epicentre of the immediate economic crisis is the eurozone, successive British governments have colluded in incubating the poverty, the inequality and the inhumanity now exacerbated by financial turmoil.

Britain’s lack of growth is not an economic debating point or a stick with which to beat George Osborne, any more than our deskilled, demotivated, under-educated non-workforce is simply a blot on the national balance sheet. Watch the juvenile wrecking crews on the city streets and weep for all our futures. The “lost generation” is mustering for war.

This is not a cri de coeur for the failed and failing. Nor is it a lament for the impoverished. Mob violence, despicable and inexcusable, must always be condemned. But those terrorising and trashing London are also a symptom of a wider malaise. In uneasy societies, people power — whether offered or stolen — can be toxic. Most of the 53 per cent of e-democrats calling to have the death penalty reinstated (of whom 8 per cent would opt for firing squad or gas chamber) would never dream of torching a police car, but their impulses hardly cohere either with David Cameron’s utopian ambitions.

What price for the Big Society as Tottenham, the most solid of communities, lies in ruins? The notion that small-state Britain can be run along the lines of Ambridge parish council by good-hearted, if under-funded, volunteers has never seemed more doubtful. Nor can Ed Miliband take much credit for his unvaried focus on the “squeezed middle”, rather than on a vote-losing underclass that politicians ignore at their peril, and at ours.

London’s riots are not the Tupperware troubles of Greece or Spain, where the middle classes lash out against their day of reckoning. They are the proof that a section of young Britain — the stabbers, shooters, looters, chancers and their frightened acolytes — has fallen off the cliff-edge of a crumbling nation.

The failure of the markets goes hand in hand with human blight. Meanwhile, the view is gaining ground that social democracy, with its safety nets, its costly education and health care for all, is unsustainable in the bleak times ahead. The reality is that it is the only solution. After the Great Crash, Britain recalibrated, for a time. Income differentials fell, the welfare state was born and skills and growth increased.

That exact model is not replicable, but nor, as Adam Smith recognised, can a well-ordered society ever develop when a sizeable number of its members are miserable and, as a consequence, dangerous. This is not a gospel of determinism, for poverty does not ordain lawlessness. Nor, however, is it sufficient to heap contempt on the rioters as if they are a pariah caste.

One of the most tragic aspects of London’s meltdowns is that we need this ruined generation if Britain is ever to feel prosperous and safe again. If there are no jobs for today’s malcontents and no means to exploit their skills, then the UK is in graver trouble than it thinks. Mr Osborne may congratulate himself on his prudence, but retrenchment also bears a social cost. We are seeing just how steep that price may be.

Financial crashes and human catastrophes are cyclical. Each reoccurrence threatens to be graver than the last. As Galbraith wrote, “memory is far better than the law” in protecting against financial illusion and insanity. In an age of austerity, there are diverse luxuries that Britain can no longer afford. Amnesia stands high on that long list.

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

Srdja Trifkovic: London’s Postmodern Riots

As a former resident of Winchmore Hill I am well familiar the surrounding areas of north London—Wood Green, Ponders End, Enfield…—affected by three successive nights of rioting and looting which has now spread to other parts of the capital. Burglaries, car thefts and vandalism started being a problem in our N21 neighborhood two decades ago, but the Hobbesian mayhem of the past few days would have been scarcely imaginable back then outside the hellish confines of Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm estate.

Three key aspects of London’s three successive nights of rioting are missing in the mainstream media coverage: race, the striking indifference of most onlookers to the chaos around them, and the equally striking inability or unwillingness of the police to impose and maintain order…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

UK: Forced to Strip Naked in the Street: Shocking Scenes as Rioters Steal Clothes and Rifle Through Bags as People Make Their Way Home

This is the shocking moment a young man is apparently forced to hand over all of his clothes after appearing to be stripped naked during lawless riots overnight.

Internet rumours last night claimed that on top of the widespread destruction across London and Birmingham, people were having their clothes removed by looters as police attempted to contain the criminality.

Reports on Twitter claimed some people were being stripped, while another shocking video shows a bleeding teenager being robbed in broad daylight by lawless thugs who pretend to help him to his feet.

On Twitter, numerous posters claimed there had been incidents of people being stripped naked in Birmingham, although the reports are unsubstantiated.

A spokesperson for the Met Police could also not confirm reports of people being stripped in Deptford, south London.

Elsewhere, a shocking video showed an unnamed teenager being apparently assisted by kind-hearted passers-by after being spotted injured and bleeding on the ground.

But seconds after the vulnerable boy is helped up, callous looters instead start rifling through his rucksack.

With over a dozen thugs standing nearby, the teenager tries to stop the bleeding from his head as thieves continue the daylight robbery.

A man who is clearly seen picking items from the teenager’s bag then wanders off with his loot, before carelessly discarding the items on the floor.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Interfaith Unity in Tottenham as Riots Continue

A representative from the board of Deputies of British Jews joined a mulltifaith “vigil of hope” on Monday evening in Tottenham. The event was arranged following the death of resident Mark Duggan and the violent protests and riots that followed. As riots again erupted across London, faith and lay leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities gathered at a church to call for calm. Tottenham MP David Lammy also attended.

Phil Rosenberg, the Board’s interfaith officer, said that seeing London’s different communities coming together gave hope that “a great city” could be made even better. He conveyed the Jewish community’s sadness and solidarity at the events of recent days and also spoke of the link between the riots and sinat chanim (baseless hatred). Sinat chanim is one of the things commemorated on the fast of the 9th of Av, which is observed today.

[JP note: It may not be kosher, but I have plenty of reasonable hatred of pedlars of spurious, interfaith nonsense.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London Descends Into Anarchy

As London descends into anarchy this evening, with disturbances, arson, looting and other criminality breaking out in one borough after another for the third night running, it is clear that this is organised disorder, with thugs being dispatched to provoke and escalate hooliganism and rioting from area to area through use of social media and apparently now, the more secure BlackBerries.

It also seems clear that this follows in a direct line from the disorders in recent years, such as we have seen at the G20 demonstrations or the storming of Conservative party headquarters over student fees, which again seemed to owe their violence to organised anarchist (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) and revolutionary leftist groups. This is almost certainly because of the near-delirious belief among such groups that, with the western economy in meltdown and the political class and the police discredited and disdained, Britain is on the cusp of a revolutionary moment. So they hijack specific protests or demonstrations in order to smash up property, police officers and anything or anyone deemed to represent the established order in order to bring about the End of Capitalism As We Know It.

What we are seeing, in the sluggish and unprepared reaction of the police and political class to these events, compounded by their serial failure to grasp from previous such disturbances just what is going on here, is a catastrophic combination of professional inertia and incompetence, serial eyes off the ball, paralysing political correctness, an apparent reluctance to identify, name and deal with subversive activity, a capital’s police force in systemic disarray, a criminal justice system that has become an insulting joke, a refusal from the top to draw clear lines in the sand and to exercise moral and political leadership, a pandering instead to mob rule, tyro politicians who have never had a grown-up job and couldn’t run the proverbial whelk-stall let alone get a grip on a culture teetering on the edge of the cliff, a third-rate civil service machine that no longer can be relied on to keep the show on the road, a culture of narcissistic selfishness on an epic scale and a general breakdown in education, morality and elementary codes of civilised behaviour, much of it deliberately willed on for the past three decades by a grossly irresponsible and politically motivated intelligentsia that set out to smash the west.

And now London is being smashed as a result.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Looters Attack Diners at Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Diners at the two Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury in Notting Hill were attacked by looters who stormed the dining room demanding jewellery and phones.

Gangs of masked youths wearing hoodies and wielding weapons smashed through the glass front door of the restaurant, ransacking the dining room before snatching jewellery.

Witnesses said that staff at the restaurant leapt to their defence, eventually managing to chase the intruders away with rolling pins and other kitchen implements. But a short while later the mob returned.

Restaurant staff ushered the stunned guests into other rooms before locking them in the wine cellar for their own safety.

           — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]

UK: Now It’s Manchester and the Midlands’ Turn as London Braces for Fourth Night of Rioting

Fresh violence is flaring around the UK tonight as parts of the West Midlands and Manchester come under siege from a series of copy-cat riots.

It comes as 16,000 police officers have been deployed on London’s streets in a bid to contain a fourth night of violence which spiraled out of control across dozens of London suburbs yesterday.

Disorder and looting have been reported in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Nottingham, Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester — although police appear to be containing the unrest.

Groups of yobs have looted hundreds of shops and businesses and torched cars, but the damage is not on the scale seen in the capital last night.

In Salford, the Central Housing office has been set alight while youths have smashed shop windows, torched cars and looted businesses.

In Manchester, about 100 yobs have looted shops including Foot Asylum in the Arndale Centre and Liam Gallagher’s recently opened fashion boutique in King Street had its windows smashed.

A marauding gang of up to 200 youths, most of them masked or wearing hoodies, fought a running battle with police, kicking in windows of supermarkets, jewellery stores and mobile phone shops.

In the heart of the city, Miss Selfridge has been set alight and stores including Swarovski, T-Mobile, French Connection and Marks & Spencer all have had their windows smashed.

The mob had almost total control of the city centre streets for more than an hour and a half before deployments of plain clothed officers — some armed with telescopic truncheons — made raids on specific targets to apprehend looters.

In Swarovski, two looters were arrested by a team of five plain clothed officers and they had to call for backup as they were surrounded by a baying mob of around 50 masked men.

Officers on horseback and dog handlers walked through the streets, flushing out rioters. But gangs moved off and smashed up a Sainsbury’s store before gathering on the main Deansgate thoroughfare.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Criminals have brought shame in particular on the streets of Salford and Manchester.’

He added: ‘We want to make it absolutely clear — they have nothing to protest against. There is nothing in a sense of injustice and there has been no spark that has led to this. This has been senseless violence and senseless criminality of a scale I have never experienced in my career before.’

In Birmingham mobs rampaged through the city centre but unlike the previous night’s riots, when shops were looted, the gangs mainly wreaked destruction, set fire to cars and attempted to provoke police.

Rioters continually regrouped and dispersed, forcing police to chase them. Crowds of around 500 assembled in the centre of Birmingham and the atmosphere quickly turned menacing.

Youths stormed Tesco, the post office, Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser and smoke poured from a flaming car blocking views of the city’s iconic Selfridges building.

In the West Bromwich area thugs broke into shops earlier in the afternoon whilst hundreds of rioters rampaged through the town centre leaving a trail of smashed windows and shattered businesses.

Dozens of them were barely in their teens. One boy, aged around 12, hurled stones at a police van before shouting abuse at riot officers.

One couple ventured on to the streets to insult police while pushing their baby girl in a pushchair.

The father, called Neil, in his early 20s, said: ‘This is brilliant, we heard it was all kicking off on Twitter and came right here.

‘I wanted my daughter to see what was going on because this is part of history, the people are fighting back. I’ll take her home if it gets too dangerous but she’s fine for now.’

A gang of 30 youngsters, all sporting white dust masks normally worn by workmen, were spotted kicking in shop windows and setting fire to wood and scrap paper in the street.

In Nottingham, Canning Circus Police Station was fire bombed by a group of between 30 and 40 men but no injuries were reported, Nottinghamshire Police said just after 10pm.

The violence followed the arrest of 10 youths earlier in the evening after a small group of people got on to the roof of one of the buildings at Nottingham High School.

In another incident two men, aged 17 and 18, were also arrested earlier after rocks were thrown at Bulwell Police Station.

The force later said, via its official Twitter feed, that the fire had been extinguished, with the scene being preserved for forensic evidence.

It said at least eight people have been arrested in connection with the firebombing.

Meanwhile, two 18-year-olds were arrested in Folkestone, Kent, and a 16-year-old was being questioned in Glasgow on suspicion of inciting violence through internet social networking sites.

In London, the situation has been considerably calmer compared to last night’s violence which spread across dozens of suburbs.

Police have been on stand-by, many in Hackney, where unrest flared up first yesterday afternoon in Mare Street, whilst many shop-keepers decided to shut up shop early — many choosing to barricade their shop fronts in case of damage.

In Canning Town, in east London, a tense stand-off was on-going between police and groups of youths, while in Enfield, north east London, groups of young people are reportedly patrolling the streets in a bid to deter violence, according to Sky News.

Similar scenes could be seen in Southall, west London, where Sikh worshipers were pictured protecting the Singh Sabha Sikh Temple in Havelock Road.

Several London theatres cancelled performances including the Battersea Arts Centre, Greenwich Playhouse and the Arcola Theatre in Dalston.

Police said tonight they had arrested a man in connection with a large fire at Reeves Furniture store in Reeves Corner, Croydon, which took place last night.

The 21-year-old is being held at a south London police station and was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

Officers also revealed 685 people had been arrested in connection with disorder across London in the last few days with 111 people being charged.

Managers decided to shut the Southside shopping centre in Wandsworth, south London, to avoid the risk of looting and violence.

Shops, businesses, pubs, schools and even medical centres sent staff home early in a desperate bid to avoid the dramatic scenes that have rocked the capital since Saturday evening.

Looting even forced filming on BBC1 hit Sherlock to be cut short. A second series of the show — starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman — is being filmed in the capital this week.

Co-creator Mark Gatiss announced that work on the show had to be curtailed with a message on Twitter.

He wrote: ‘This is a new one on me. Scene incomplete owing to approaching looters. Unbelievable times.’

Both Cumberbatch and Freeman were on set in north London when work was abandoned on the production this afternoon.

The vast majority of shops in Peckham closed before 3pm as staff were sent home early.

Outside a Poundland store on Rye Lane, which was looted last night, a large group of people gathered to look at a piece of artwork which was created by community members this afternoon.

A large sign reading ‘Why We Love Peckham’ had been placed on the board holding a smashed window together.

Hundreds of people had filled out notes on Post-its about the area.

One read: ‘It is vibrant and fun,’ while another simply said: ‘Diversity.’

Meanwhile, staff at St George’s Medical Centre in Tooting were sent home early.

Midwives working in and around Bromley were also given strict orders not to attend calls around the town centre this afternoon in case they became entangled in violence.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Petitioners Push MPs to Debate Quitting EU After Gathering Enough Support to Trigger Talks

MPs could be forced into an historic vote on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union after campaigners gathered enough supporters to trigger a debate.

A petition demanding a straight vote on whether the UK should stay in or leave the EU has attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

It comes as a new YouGov poll published today reveals for the first time that a majority of British people would vote to leave the EU if there was a referendum.

It found that some 60 per cent of voters want a referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of the EU.

If there was a vote, 52 per cent would vote to leave, with only 30 per cent preferring to stay in. Of those polled, 15 per cent were undecided and four per cent would not bother to vote.

EU membership costs Britain £48million a day — or £4,912 per household.

The last time the UK held a vote on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU was in 1975, when just over 67 per cent of voters chose to stay in the union following a national referendum.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that MPs will dedicate House of Commons time to debating any issue which has the support of at least 100,000 people.

The mountain of signatures has been gathered by independent West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire.

Miss Sinclaire said: ‘Clearly the people of Britain want to decide who governs Britain.

‘It must be alarming to the government that despite all their assurances on sovereignty and cast iron promises, more and more people have given up on this European project.

‘This argument has gone on far too long, we must decide our course once and for all in a binding referendum.’

Miss Sinclaire has gathered 70,000 handwritten signatures as well as 30,000 electronic ones.

Last week, the Government launched a new e-petitions website which allows members of the public to set up their own petitions and sign existing ones.

It has paved the way for MPs to be forced into landmark votes on controversial issues including the death penalty, ending mass migration and legalising cannabis.

Commons leader Sir George Young has warned that MPs cannot ignore the popular groundswell.

But critics warned that the e-petitions would allow the Commons to be hijacked by special interest campaigns and will mean MPs spending precious Parliamentary time on proposals that have little or no chance of becoming law.

Miss Sinclaire fears that the Government will brush off her attempts to force a debate as most of her signatures have been gathered by hand.

However, Sir George has signalled that indicated that a traditional pen-and-ink petition could be lodged with the backbench business committee if it has one or more MPs sponsoring it.

The independent MEP will tell a London press conference today: ‘This is an encouraging development and raises the prospect of an early debate on our continued membership of the EU.

‘To insist that only an online petition will count would disenfranchise millions of people, particularly the poor and elderly, who do not have an email account or access to a computer.

‘The huge response to our campaign, together with the findings of our poll, show that most people want their say.’

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

North Africa

Egypt: Liberal Wafd Could Leave Alliance With Muslim Brothers

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 8 — The Muslim Brotherhood turnaround on July 29th, when a demonstration agreed previously with the lay forces was instead overtaken by Islamists and Salafites with slogans praising the sharia and against the lay state, could bring about an early exit of the liberal party Al Wafd from an electoral alliance that was launched, together with another fifteen or so mostly liberal forces, in June.

The announcement was made by Al Wafd itself, whose leaders — as reported by the Al Ahram Online — will discuss this possibility on August 14th.

The news bounced its way through the various media, Middle East Online among them, confirming the growth in tension between the lay-liberal side and the religious one, in the front that pushed Mubarak’s regime away, concerning the vision of the country’s future. The goal of the pre-electoral alliance was to dispel the other parties’ diffidence regarding their fear of the Muslim Brotherhood domineering the writing of the new Constitution in case of their strong victory at the elections in November. But the growth of discontent in the public opinion regarding the Brotherhood would be responsible for Al Wafd’s revising its own alliance with the Islamic group, no longer held to be a strength but rather a weight. “It seems as though the Muslim Brotherhood — said to Reuters Yasin Tajeddin, VP of Al Wafd — have reneged on the document that all members of the alliance had signed stating the general rules that the new Constitution ought to have”. An agreement that included the constitution of a lay State.

On the other hand the Muslim Brotherhood — who stress their wish to have a Constitution that respects both Muslims and non-Muslims — state that the alliance was not a declaration of intent regarding the Constitution but only the behaviour before elections. The party — said Isam Al Aryan, VP of the Freedom and Justice party (the new political issue of the Brotherhood) made no decisions regarding the Constitution, which will at any rate be written by a Parliamentary Commission.

Al Wafd was the head of the people’s revolt against British occupancy in 1919 and had allied previously with the Brotherhood in 1984. According to the Egyptian analyst Emad Gad, if it should turn back on this new alliance it would mean that they feel strong enough to gather votes on its own.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Libyan TV Says 33 Children Among 85 Killed in NATO Raid

(AGI) Tripoli — Libyan state television station ‘al-Jamahiriyah’ has accused Nato of committing a “massacre” of civilians. The channel reports at least 85 people including 33 children, killed in the carpet-bombing of the village of Majar, about 150 km east of Tripoli, for the sole purpose of “enabling the rebels” to enter neighbouring Zlitan from the south. This strategic town, for the moment still in the hands of government forces, has been the scene of furious fighting for a number of days.

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

Muslims Attack Christian Village in Egypt — 1 Murdered, Homes Looted and Torched

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — Muslims attacked Christians in the village of Nazlet Faragallah, in the southern Egyptian Minya province, on Sunday evening. The attack continued until the early hours of Monday morning, August 8. One Copt was murdered and homes were looted and torched when Muslims from Nazlet Faragallah together with Muslims from four neighboring villages started their violence at approximately 8 PM, after breaking their Ramadan fast.

According to eyewitnesses, thousands of Muslims entered the village from all sides, firing automatic weapons (mostly in the air), looting and throwing Molotov Cocktails at several homes. “They even destroyed our irrigation pumps,” said one witness.

The first attack was on the house of Father Youanes, pastor of St. George Church, which lies at the head of the village. He was beaten and his home was looted and torched.

Maher Nassif Tobias (50), an employee at the local council, was murdered in his home. He was found by his son. His house was completely looted, including his livestock.

Security forces arrived 4 hours after the attack began and there were too few of them. “They only had batons in their hands, and were unable to control the situation,” said a Coptic village resident. “Our village is surrounded by corn fields. The Muslims came into the village to loot and quickly disappeared in the fields, the police could not follow them. They were coming from all directions at the same time.”

Nazlet Faragallah has 8000 inhabitants, 80% are Copts and 20% Muslims.

The events were preceded on Saturday by an altercation caused by Muslims harassing Christian girls as they came out of a church service in the late afternoon. Stones were hurled by Muslims at the church, breaking five windows. A “reconciliation” meeting took place. Some 200 Copts staged a sit-in in front of St. George’s Church on Sunday afternoon to protest against Muslim attack on the church.

In a statement tonight, the security authorities in Minya said the Muslim attack on Nazlet Faragallah was caused by a group of Copts, headed by Haddar Ishaq, firing at Muslims as they came out of the mosque on Sunday afternoon. Copts in the village denied this claim.

Three Muslims were arrested yesterday and three Copts today. None of the Copts were involved in any incident, and one of them had broken his leg two weeks before. “Security is doing its balancing act again,” said one of the villagers. “They will use these Copts, who were arrested at random, to bargain for their freedom in exchange for village Copts giving up their rights during the ‘reconciliation’ meeting.”

It was reported that Muslim women walked the streets today, warning that after breaking the Ramadan fast the men would come to finish the Christians off, but this did not happen, as security was present in large numbers in the village and preparations were being made for another “reconciliation” meeting to take place on August 9.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: Norway’s Jewish Problem

Norway’s gov’t attacked us for merely pointing out in various ways, that Norway should not use Breivik’s attack as justification for further weakening Norwegian democracy.

In the wake of Anders Breivik’s massacre of his fellow Norwegians, I was amazed at the speed with which the leftist media throughout the US and Europe used his crime as a means of criminalizing their ideological opponents on the Right. Just hours after Breivik’s identity was reported, leftist media outlets and blogs were filled with attempts to blame Breivik’s crime on conservative public intellectuals whose ideas he cited in a 1,500 page online manifesto.

My revulsion at this bald attempt to use Breivik’s crime to attack freedom of speech propelled me to write my July 29 column, “Breivik and totalitarian democrats.”

While the focus of my column was the Left’s attempt to silence their conservative opponents, I also noted that widespread popular support for Palestinian terrorists in Norway indicates that for many Norwegians, opposition to terrorism is less than comprehensive.

To support this position, I quoted an interview in Maariv with Norway’s Ambassador to Israel Svein Sevje.

Sevje explained that most Norwegians think that the Palestinians’ opposition to the supposed Israeli “occupation” is justified and so their lack of sympathy for Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism was unlikely to change in the wake of Breivik’s attack on Norwegians.

Since my column was a defense of free speech and a general explanation of why terrorism is antithetical to the foundations of liberal democracy — regardless of its ideological motivations — I did not focus my attention on Norwegian society. I did not discuss Norwegian anti- Semitism or anti-Zionism. Indeed, I purposely ignored these issues.

But when on Friday, Norway’s Deputy Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide published an unjustified attack on me on these pages, he forced me to take the time to study the intellectual and political climate of hatred towards Israel and Jews that pervades Norwegian society.

That climate is not a contemporary development.

Rather it has been a mainstay of Norwegian society…

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Cost of Life Demonstrations Include Elderly

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, AUGUST 8 — Demonstrations for the increase in the cost of life in Israel is ever wider: now it includes the elderly and retired people. Several hundreds of them gathered today in the centre of Tel Aviv, in the area hosting several ministries, to ask for a cut in the cost of medicines, on the VAT for prime necessity goods and actions to prevent a cut to pensions. “The young and the elderly will join together to send Netanayhu (the premier) away” said one of the demonstrators. Pensioners, said the chairman of their union Gideon Ben Israel, join the people in their fight against the cost of life but at the same time are asking for specific solutions to their problems. The elderly are a considerable voting force. In the 2006 elections their newly formed party gathered seven seats at the Knesset, but was dismantled after a few years due to internal rivalry and conflicts. The echoes of the demonstration, which involved 250 thousand people last Saturday at Tel Aviv and several other thousands in other towns, finally reached the Knesset which decided to break the holidays and call for an extraordinary session, requested by the opposition. The session will be held on Wednesday or at the beginning of next week.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Mossad’s Miracle Weapon: Stuxnet Virus Opens New Era of Cyber War

The Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, attacked the Iranian nuclear program with a highly sophisticated computer virus called Stuxnet. The first digital weapon of geopolitical importance, it could change the way wars are fought — and it will not be the last attack of its kind.

           — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Seven Generals

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, AUGUST 8 — An Istanbul court on Monday issued arrest warrants for 14 suspects, including seven senior generals, as part of an investigation into allegations that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had set up websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda. An indictment in the case was accepted by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court late last month and the prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for the 14 suspects implicated in the case immediately after the indictment was accepted by the court. The court — as Today’s Zaman website reports — on Monday accepted the request and ordered the arrest of the suspects, which include former 1st Army Commander retired Gen. Hasan Igsiz, Maj. Gen. Mustafa Bakici, the General Staff’s legal counsel Maj. Gen. Hifzi Cubuklu, Lt. Gen. Mehmet Eroz, Vice Adm. Mehmet Otuzbiroglu and Lt. Gen. Ismail Hakki Pekin. Aegean Army Corp Commander Gen. Nusret Tasdeler, who was recently appointed head of the Education and Doctrine Command (EDOK) in Ankara, is also among the suspects. A total of 22 suspects are implicated in the indictment. The court also decided on a request by the prosecutor of the case, Cihan Kansiz, to merge the case with another trial on an alleged coup d’e’tat plot, which its creators dubbed the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism. The court ruled to merge the two cases.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Journey Into Tunnel That Will Unite Asia, Europe

The August heat and Ramadan fasting has not stopped them — everything must be ready by October 2013, Erdogan promised Turkey. If the past doesn’t get in his way, that is, once again. Uskudar, Istanbul’s Asian shore: 1700 builders working night and day 56 metres below sea level to finish the Marmaray Tunnel, the prime Minister’s latest mammoth project, which will link Europe to Asia for the first time under the Bosphorus strait, in just 2 minutes. Even if it may only be done by rail, it will be the first tunnel under the Mediterranean.

The Turks have been dreaming of it for years, a project which will revolutionise the face of the Turkish capital, along with 2 other AKP projects: a third suspension bridge over the 2 shores, and an ‘Istanbul channel’.

The submerged part will be 1.4km long, 13.6km in all. The tunnel will bring together rail transport from either shore of the capital, linking it to the underground and train system and thus forging 76.3 km route between Gebze and Halkali. This should provide services for 1 million commuters a day, lightening maritime and highway traffic. That is the very aim, to alleviate heavy traffic in the capital, whose population has reached almost 17 million. More than half live in Asia, 90% work in Europe.

           — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

African Union Calls for 3,000 More Soldiers for Mogadishu

(AGI) Mogadishu — The African Union has appealed for a further 3,000 soldiers to add to the 9,000 deployed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, from which most Islamic militias withdrew three days ago. “Our troops must now cover an area far larger than just the city,” explained General Fred Mugisha, the Ugandan commander of the A.U. mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Clashes between A.U. troops and rebels who have remained in the capital continue, in spite of the withdrawal of Shebab which is affiliated to al-Qaeda in the region.

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


France: Minister: 17,500 Illegal Citizens Expelled in 7 Months

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, AUGUST 8 — France has expelled 17,500 foreigners in the first 7 months of the year, according to Interior Minister Claude Gueant, who also confirmed the objective of 30,000 expulsions by the end of 2011. At the moment, the goal seems to be within reach: “if we reach it”, claims Gueant, “it will be the best historically recorded result”.

According to the Minister, who took up his post at the ministry in February, policies to tackle illegal immigration in France have been “more effective” since June 16, when the new immigration law was introduced, which brought the number of days for illegal immigrants’ administrative detention period from 32 days to 45. Gueant further confirmed he aims to reduce the number of “legal” immigrants in France, from 200,000 to 180,000 per year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Swiss Conservatives Split by Immigration Campaign

An anti-immigration poster campaign has caused a split in the conservative SVP party, with three senior politicians distancing themselves from the posters. The “Masseneinwanderung stoppen” initiative, calling for members of the public to sign a petition supporting a halt to mass immigration, was launched by the party just before Swiss National Day on August 1st. Petition flyers were posted in letterboxes and posters showing black feet marching on the red and white Swiss flag are prominently displayed in railway stations with the slogan: “Stop mass immigration” (Masseneinwanderung stoppen).

The collection of signatures in support of the campaign has begun, with an 18-month deadline to collect 100,000 names needed to spark a nationwide referendum on the issue.

The main reason for the supposed loss of control over immigration, according to the SVP flyer, is the “uncontrolled influx from the EU, our open borders and displaced asylum seekers.”

“With the popular initative against mass immigration, we can again decide who comes into our country. That is also beneficial to business,” it states on the flyer.

But three SVP politicians, who represent the party’s business-friendly wing, strongly disagree.

           — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]

Turkey, Greece Debate Ways to Fight Illegal Migration

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, AUGUST 8 — Turkish and Greek executives discussed ways to counter illegal migration and human trafficking in the Greek capital of Athens, diplomats said on Saturday, as Anatolia news agency reports. Diplomatic sources said Turkish and Greek executives held a meeting at the Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection, and Greek authorities briefed Turkish counterparts on a barb wired wall to be constructed at the border. In their meeting, Turkish and Greek executives debated operating joint flights to deport illegal migrants and agreed to discuss technical details later.

Greek executives proposed that interior ministries of the two countries should prepare a cooperation protocol, and said two countries should then sign it. Turkish authorities welcomed this proposal in principle. Diplomatic sources said debates were going on in a constructive way.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: What David Cameron Needs to Do

The Prime Minister caught a 3am flight back from Italy. At 6.30 yesterday evening, No 10 was still saying that Mr Cameron was keeping in close touch and there was no need for him to come back, but the images of the Croydon furniture shop in flames and the steady spread of violence across London and in Birmingham made that unsustainable. He’s given in to the inevitable, and while some will be tempted to focus on the time it took for him to realise he had to return, what should preoccupy us should be the ‘and now what?’ question. He’s back — what does he do? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Tone down the gushing praise for the police. Individual officers are brave and resourceful, but that is what we pay them for. Praise can come once this is over and we can judge whether they deserve it or not. The confused versions of what happened with the shooting in Tottenham are not encouraging, nor is the apparent slow response on Saturday night.
  • Encourage the police to put aside the ACPO mandated relativism and go in with vigour. Law-abiding citizens, in particular those who have seen their property destroyed, want no half-measures. Mr Cameron should lead from the front in requiring that the police act against looters and those who interfere with their work with extreme prejudice.
  • Leave the hand-wringing about deprivation, poverty, and rootlessness to others. Again, law-abiding citizens who themselves may be deprived and poor are insulted by such talk.
  • Set out in detail the resources available to the police and the choices chief constables can make to ensure that they are deploying necessary forces to the front line. Mr Cameron should not let the Police Fed or ACPO get the idea going that cuts to police budgets are in some way to blame. They are not.
  • Resist the temptation to comment publicly on police efforts. Keep it private, for now.
  • Speak for the shopkeepers, the workers, the homeowners, the tenants — many of them immigrants — who have had their property destroyed. In the US the federal government can declare a state of emergency, and offer central government funds. The Treasury should be looking at what short term help in a combination of grants and loans can be offered to get businesses running again. The Government should also be urging the insurance industry to expedite relief to those who are covered.
  • Identify himself with the work being done by the real community in Tottenham and elsewhere — the churches organising shelter, restaurants offering free meals — who are acting out, let’s admit it, the Big Society.
  • Be relentless in hitting back at any attempt by Labour to cash on on this one by turning it into a story about the consequences of cuts. Edward Miliband and Harriet Harman are haring back to London too like a pair of ambulance chasers. They sense an opportunity; Mr Cameron must deny them.
  • Get to work restoring London’s credibility internationally. A double blow to the stock market and the country’s reputation for law and order will need some major repair work with just a year to go to the Olympics.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Band of Antiprotons Rings the Earth

Researchers found for the first time that a band of antiprotons have been ringing around Earth, adding to the theory that antimatter could be trapped in Earth’s magnetic field.

The study titled “The Discovery of Geomagnetically Trapped Cosmic-ray Antiprotons,” published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggests that a thin band of antiprotons has been observed in the Van Allen belt surrounding Earth.

The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles around Earth, which is held in place by Earth’s magnetic field. It is believed that most of the particles that form the belt come from solar wind, and other particles by cosmic rays.

Piergiorgio Picozza from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, detected the particles using PAMELA — a cosmic-ray detector attached to a Russian satellite. PAMELA was launched in 2006 to study the nature of high-energy particles from the Sun and from beyond our solar system.

The big break came from an area known as the South Atlantic Anomaly, which is a region of space where the Van Allen Radiation Belts are the closest to our surface. When PAMELA passes through the South Altantic Anomaly, it finds thousands of times more antiprotons than are supposed to come from normal particle decays or, for that matter, anywhere else.


[Return to headlines]

Building Blocks of DNA Found in Meteorites From Space

The components of DNA have now been confirmed to exist in extraterrestrial meteorites, researchers announced. A different team of scientists also discovered a number of molecules linked with a vital ancient biological process, adding weight to the idea that the earliest forms of life on Earth may have been made up in part from materials delivered to Earth the planet by from space. Past research had revealed a range of building blocks of life in meteorites, such as the amino acids that make up proteins. Space rocks just like these may have been a vital source of the organic compounds that gave rise to life on Earth.

           — Hat tip: Rembrandt[Return to headlines]