Saturday, January 11, 2003

News Feed 20111220

Financial Crisis
»A Currency Crisis Debate: ‘The Euro-Zone Bailout Programs Must be Stopped’
»Belgian Unions Call General Strike Over Pension Reform
»Brussels: France Telecom Pension Funding Approved
»EU States Fail to Cobble Together €200bn for IMF
»Euro is ‘Irreversible’ And ‘Permanent’, Says ECB Chief
»IMF Releases 2.9 Bn Euros to Portugal
»‘Miracle’ if France Keeps Triple-a Rating: Market Regulator
»Now Germany Woos Britain Over EU Rift: PM’s Defiance Rewarded as Merkel’s Man Snubs Sarko
»Party for Freedom: “Barroso: Avoid a Global Trade War”
»Resistance in London: Britain Refuses to Boost IMF Aid for Euro Crisis
»Spain Raises 5.640 Bn Euros in Short-Term Debt
»What Crisis? German Economy Defying European Gloom
»Caroline Glick: Tom Friedman’s Losing Battle
»Frank Borzellieri: Victim of the New Orthodoxy
»Hindu Americans Shocked and Outraged at Attempts to Ban the Bhagavad Gita in Russia
»It’s a Small World: Kepler Spacecraft Discovers First Known Earth-Size Exoplanets
»Justice Dept. Silent as Holder Charges Critics With Racism
»MA Man Guilty of Plot to Kill Soldiers
»Over 2 Bln Christians Worldwide, US Study Shows
»Republicans in House Reject Deal Extending Payroll Tax Cut
»US Investigation Links Lebanese Canadian Bank to Hezbollah
Europe and the EU
»Congolese Protesters Clash in Brussels
»COPPEM: Foundation for Interreligious Dialogue in Palermo
»France: Croissant Robber Terrorizes Paris Bakeries
»Germany: Anti-Fascists Brick Up Neo-Nazi Politician’s Front Door
»Italy: Berlusconi Sex-Case Woman Gives Birth to Baby Girl
»Italy: Mussolini Likens Monti to Fidel Castro
»Liège Killings: Justice Minister Tightens Up Arms Legislation
»Maggots Clean Wounds Faster Than Surgeons
»Moroccan Imam Should be Barred: Dutch Minister
»Spain: Iran and S. Arabia Launch 2 TV Channels in Spanish
»Switzerland: Readers Flee Basel Daily After Blocher Takeover
»The Far-Right Undertones of Romanian Politics
»UDC Leader Wants Citizenship for All Those Born in Italy
»UK: Foreign Student, 22, Arrested at Birmingham Airport on Suspicion of ‘Carrying Terrorist Document’
»UK: Jihad and Jews Don’t Go Together
»UK: Judge’s Fury at Billionaire Arab Prince After He Fails to Attend High Court Over Claims He Married Model in Secret Ceremony
»UK: Lutfur Rahman Can be Described as Extremist-Backed Rules Press Complaints Commission (But We Will Publish His Denials)
»UK: Martin Bright Continues His Campaign to Poison Relations Jewish and Muslim Communities
»UK: Rioting Arsonists Could be Shot if They Endanger Lives
North Africa
»Clinton: “Violence on Women Dishonours Revolution”
»Egypt Riots Threaten Cultural Sites as Cairo Library Goes Up in Flame
»Egypt Releases 27 Copts Falsely Detained in Maspero Massacre
»Egypt: Thousands of Women March Against Mistreatment in Tahrir Square After Protester Was Stripped to Bra and Beaten by Troops
»Napoleon’s ‘Description De L’Egypte’ Lost to Fire Amid Clashes
»Obama Praises Tunisia’s “Inclusive Transition”
Middle East
»Crisis Unfolds in Iraq
»France-Turkey: Paris and Ankara at Loggerheads Over Armenians
»US Concerned About Arrest of Iraq’s Vice President Hashemi
»Indian Uproar at Call in Russia to Ban Hindu Holy Book Bhagavad Gita
»Russian Church Keen to Limit ISKCON Activities
South Asia
»675 Pakistan ‘Honour Killing’ Victims
»India Slams ‘Absurd’ Bid to Ban Gita in Russia
»Indonesia: Thousands of Police to Guard Christmas
»Indonesian Widows to Seek Dutch Justice
»ISKCON Monks Demonstrate in Front of Russian Consulate
»Pakistani Chops Off Wife’s Nose, Lips
Far East
»Kim Jong-Il, the Leader From Hell
»Next N. Korea Leader Got Swiss Education: Reports
»Uncle Jang: The Real Power Behind Kim the Younger
Latin America
»Mystery of Amazonian Tribe’s Head Shapes Solved
»Denmark: Over-Qualified Immigrants Outnumber Over-Qualified Natives
»UK: The Killer Shielded by the Home Office: Family’s Fury as Officials Say it is Against Law to Reveal if Son’s Murderer is an Illegal Migrant
Culture Wars
»Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide
»Norway: Minister Mulls Local Election Gender Quotas
»Santa Claus to Visit Schools in Saugus After All, After Initially Being Told to Stay Away
»Boob Job Vouchers ‘Not a Good Gift Idea’

Financial Crisis

A Currency Crisis Debate: ‘The Euro-Zone Bailout Programs Must be Stopped’

How to save the euro? Some believe that the European Central Bank is the key to any solution. Others think that the euro zone should be contracted and the weak members squeezed out. SPIEGEL spoke with two leading German economists about the currency’s future. Their one area of agreement? Something must be done quickly.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Belgian Unions Call General Strike Over Pension Reform

Belgian trade unions called for a general strike in the public sector on Thursday to protest the new government’s pension reform plans, aimed at making it tougher to take early retirement. fter a 24-hour strike call from late Wednesday through Thursday by the SNCB railworkers’ union, other public sector unions Monday joined the protest, urging a stop-work in public transport, postal services and the administration.

The one-day strike will throw up the first challenge faced by Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo’s centre-left government, which took office December 6 pledging to cut spending to trim the country’s debt and deficit — respectively at 96.2 percent and 4.1 percent of GDP in 2010. The Socialist party leader has pledged to maintain pension payments but due to the aging population is proposing to delay early retirement, except in some cases.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Brussels: France Telecom Pension Funding Approved

Attention to market liberalisation of sector crucial

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, DECEMBER 20 — The European Commission has said that funding for the pensions of France Telecom officials are in line with EU regulations on state aid. The reduced contributions by the telecommunications company had been compensated with a 5.7 billion-euro payment by France Telecom to the French state in 1997. This decision is linked to the July 2012 alignment of the calculation for annual contribution by France Telecom with that of its competitors, instead of continuing to pay less than in the past, receiving de facto state aid. This will happen without any impact on employee contributions or on the amount of their pensions. “Maintaining healthy competition,” said Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition Commissioner,” among the large European operators in the telecommunications field is crucial for the competitiveness of our economies and employment. After complete market liberalisation, the EU Commission must keep a watchful one on the dossiers in relation to the former monopolies.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

EU States Fail to Cobble Together €200bn for IMF

Eurozone countries on Monday (19 December) agreed to pay €150bn to a special IMF fund but failed to reach their total ceiling of 200bn among all EU states, as pledged at a summit on 9 December, with Britain refusing to contribute to the euro-saving scheme. After a three-hour long conference organised by Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and head of the informal group of eurozone finance ministers, only the contributions of the euro countries were clearly spelled out, amounting to a total of €150 billion.

Germany will be the largest contributor, with €41.5 billion, followed by France (€31.4bn), Spain (€14.8bn) and the Netherlands (€13.6bn). Euro-countries already under an EU-IMF bail-out — Greece, Ireland and Portugal — are not listed as contributors. IMF- supported EU countries outside the common currency — Hungary, Romania and Latvia — will also not be coughing up. Lithuania, still recovering from the financial crisis, and Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest member, are not participating, either. Britain refused to contribute to this special IMF fund to be set up for the eurozone rescue, saying it will top up its share to the general IMF reserves.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Euro is ‘Irreversible’ And ‘Permanent’, Says ECB Chief

The euro is “irreversible” and will overcome the crisis, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said in his first appearance in front of the European Parliament’s economics committee on Monday (19 December), while making the case for austerity and fiscal discipline. In line with Berlin and the ECB’s own stance so far, Draghi rejected calls for his institution to step in majorly to alleviate the borrowing costs of Italy and Spain, which in turn would help them restore economic growth and jobs.

Pressed by MEPs to explain why the ECB puts its “credibility” higher than actually boosting economic growth and jobs in troubled eurozone countries, similar to what the US Federal Reserve or the British central bank are doing, Draghi insisted that his institution does not have “the mandate” for such intervention. “The Fed’s mandate is different, it is also geared on growth and jobs. We are much more restricted to monetary stability,” he explained.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

IMF Releases 2.9 Bn Euros to Portugal

The International Monetary Fund said Monday it would release 2.9 billion euros ($3.8 billion) to Portugal in the newest installment of the country’s huge rescue loan. The release follows the second IMF formal review of Portugal’s progress on budget austerity and economic reforms under the 78-billion-euro IMF-European Union bailout program launched last May.

Last week the government announced it was well below the ceiling for the fiscal deficit set under the IMF-EU program. The government headed by Pedro Passos Coelho said the deficit would likely not exceed 4.5 percent of output this year, sharply below the maximum 5.9 percent set by creditors. Last year, the deficit hit 9.8 percent of gross domestic product.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Miracle’ if France Keeps Triple-a Rating: Market Regulator

It would be a miracle for France to retain its triple-A credit rating, threatened by the eurozone debt crisis, the head of its main market regulator said on Tuesday. Keeping it would amount to a miracle, but I’d still like to believe it,” said Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the outspoken head of the AMF regulation agency.

Ratings agencies have warned that France is exposed to the sovereign debt crisis gripping southern Europe and have threatened to downgrade its hitherto perfect rating. The government has protested that it has embarked on an austerity programme backed by a pact with fellow eurozone members to guarantee deficit reduction.

Any suggestion that France’s debt of 1.7 trillion euros ($2.2 trillion) is becoming unmanageable could send the interest rate it pays on bonds soaring. Earlier, the French treasury announced that it would need to raise 178 billion euros ($232 billion) in medium and long-term bonds next year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Now Germany Woos Britain Over EU Rift: PM’s Defiance Rewarded as Merkel’s Man Snubs Sarko

Germany launched an extraordinary charm offensive to try to get Britain back to the EU negotiating table last night despite George Osborne’s refusal to contribute billions to a Brussels begging bowl.

Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, used a visit to London to extend an olive branch, lavishing praise on the UK as an ‘indispensable partner’ and promising a ‘hands-off’ approach to our financial services industry.

There are increasing signs Germany is prepared to go behind France’s back and contemplate giving David Cameron the special protections for the City of London that were refused at a crunch summit this month, prompting the Prime Minister to veto an EU-wide power-sharing treaty.

Mr Westerwelle, speaking alongside Foreign Secretary William Hague, promised a prosperous future for the City. He said Germany wanted the EU’s next steps to involve all 27 member states, adding: ‘My main message is for the British people — you can count on us, and we can count on you.

‘There is no doubt that we want to make the next steps in the EU together as 27. I am here to show you that we are willing to build bridges over troubled water.’

The remarks about ‘building bridges’ were in stark contrast to days of aggressive rhetoric from the French, who appear keen to see Britain exit the EU altogether.

Ministers were privately appalled by suggestions from France, which looks likely to lose its gold-plated credit rating within weeks, that the UK should be downgraded first.

The Chancellor risked heightening tensions last night as he confirmed Britain will not sign up to a 200billion-euro package of European loans to the International Monetary Fund, the world’s economic rescue service.

Mr Osborne is refusing to expose more British taxpayers’ cash through the IMF to a eurozone bailout package, despite suggestions that we should contribute about £25billion.

In a conference call with 26 other EU finance ministers, Mr Osborne repeated the Government’s position that the UK is prepared to increase contributions by up to £10billion, but only when EU leaders boost their own bailout fund and not for any scheme specifically for the single currency.

‘The UK has always been willing to consider further resources for the IMF, but for its global role and as part of a global agreement,’ a Treasury spokesman said.

A Government source said no one in Europe should be surprised at Britain’s stance, which had been clear for several weeks. ‘It’s called “doing what you say you’re going to do”. Get used to it,’ the source said.

Eurozone countries appear to have cobbled together their own 150billion-euro boost for IMF resources — nowhere near enough to bail out Italy, Spain or other debt-stricken economies in peril.

To the frustration of British officials, the European Central Bank again rejected suggestions that it should embark on a programme of quantitative easing — effectively printing money — in order to help governments repay their debts.

The bank has refused to do so, insisting it is up to national governments to put their houses in order.

ECB president Mario Draghi said EU rules ‘forbid monetary financing of states’ by the central bank.

A report from a key UN body yesterday warned the world is heading for a repeat of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The UN Commission for Trade and Development issued the strongest warning yet from a major international organisation.

It said: ‘Unless there is a rapid policy turnaround, the world is in danger of repeating the mistakes of the 1930s.

In today’s highly integrated global economy, the contractionary contagion will affect all countries. Emerging and developing economies need to prepare contingency plans.’

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF, warned the EU’s firewall to staunch the spread of the crisis ‘doesn’t really exist’.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Party for Freedom: “Barroso: Avoid a Global Trade War”

The Party for Freedom delegation in the European Parliament has sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. They urge him, in this letter, to end the unilateral introduction of the European CO2 emission trading system (ETS) for aviation. The unilateral introduction of the ETS is likely to result in a global trade war while Russia, India, China and the US threaten to retaliate.

Member of the European Parliament Laurence Stassen: “Barroso has to withdraw the ETS proposal. The introduction of the ETS will lead to a rapidly deteriorating competitiveness of European airline companies and might trigger a global trade war. The U.S. is even preparing legislation that forbids US airline companies to respect the forthcoming European legislation.”

The Party for Freedom delegation sounded the alarm several times in recent months (*) and is afraid that Brussels is only interested in a political objective and that they have lost sight on the potential economic impact of the introduction of the ETS.

           — Hat tip: The PVV[Return to headlines]

Resistance in London: Britain Refuses to Boost IMF Aid for Euro Crisis

EU finance ministers wanted to raise 200 billion euros to boost the International Monetary Fund’s firepower in the euro crisis, but they only raised 150 billion on Monday, largely due to resistance from Britain. Germany, meanwhile, will have to rework its 2012 budget to help finance the new permanent euro rescue fund.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain Raises 5.640 Bn Euros in Short-Term Debt

Spain raised 5.640 billion euros ($7.4 billion) in an auction of short-term debt on Tuesday, borrowing more money than first planned as it locked in sharply lower borrowing rates. Spain had originally planned to sell 3.5-4.5 billion euros in three- and six-month bills in Tuesday’s auction.

Rates fell dramatically from the previous comparable auction last month, a sign of easing market tension, and European stock markets and the euro rose firmly in response to this and strong confidence data from Germany. Investors have shown concerns this year over Spain’s debt because of doubts over its ability to repay borrowers at a time of bulging deficits and an economic slump that has created a 21.5-percent jobless rate.

A new conservative government takes power on Thursday after winning a November 20 election by a landslide on promises to cut the deficit and boost jobs. In Tuesday’s auction the borrowing rate on the three-month bills was down to 1.735 percent from 5.110 percent in the last sale. For the six-month bills, the rate fell to 2.435 percent from 5.227 percent.

Demand was very high, with investors bidding for 18.4 billion euros of bills in total, encouraging the Treasury to borrow more than the amount first planned — as it had also done in the two previous debt auctions. Spain has promised to slash its public deficit from 9.3 percent of gross domestic product last year to 6.0 percent of GDP this year, 4.4 percent of GDP in 2012 and 3.0 percent of GDP — the European Union limit — in 2013.

In a speech on Monday ahead of his investiture, incoming prime minister Mariano Rajoy laid out his plans to create jobs, clean up banks and reassure investors that he can stabilise Spain’s finances. He said Spain would take measures to cut its deficit by 16.5 billion euros in 2012 but acknowledged that it may fail to meet the 6.0-percent deficit target this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

What Crisis? German Economy Defying European Gloom

German companies and consumers are upbeat about the future, according to economic surveys released on Tuesday. They show that Europe’s largest economy has remained resilient in the face of the euro crisis despite expectations that the common currency zone is headed for recession.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Caroline Glick: Tom Friedman’s Losing Battle

For decades New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman balanced his substantively anti-Israel positions with repeated protestations of love for Israel.

His balancing act ended last week when he employed traditional anti-Semitic slurs to dismiss the authenticity of substantive American support for Israel.

Channeling the longstanding anti-Semitic charge that Jewish money buys support for power-hungry Jews best expressed in the forged 19th century Protocols of the Elders of Zion and in John Mearshimer’s and Stephen Walt’s 2007 book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Friedman denied the significance of the US Congress’s overwhelming support for Israel.

As he put it, “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Frank Borzellieri: Victim of the New Orthodoxy

Frank Borzellieri was the principal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a predominantly black and Hispanic Catholic elementary school located in the Bronx,New York. This past summer, in spite of having had a stellar record during his tenure, Borzellieri was abruptly terminated from the office that he held for two years. Unlike those sexually abusive priests who the Church harbored for decades, Borzellieri is not guilty of any crime. In fact, he isn’t so much as suspected of having engaged in any criminal activity whatsoever. Nor is it the case that Borzellieri, a committed Catholic, was deemed to have deviated from Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s Catholic mission.

Still, Borzellieri was judged, and justly, of holding quite heterodox views. But the orthodoxy from which he deviated is not that of Catholicism, but that of “Political Correctness. Borzellieri, you see, dared to defy the conventional dogma on race. For this, he was essentially branded a “white supremacist” by the New York Daily News and fired by the Archdiocese of New York. In early August of this year, the Archdiocese of New York released a statement in which it said that Borzellieri’s views were “incompatible with the philosophy and practices of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, and with Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Hindu Americans Shocked and Outraged at Attempts to Ban the Bhagavad Gita in Russia

Washington, D.C. (December 20, 2011) — The Hindu American community expressed shock and outrage over a recent attempt in Russia to ban the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s holiest scriptures. The case was reportedly initiated by state prosecutors in the Siberian town of Tomsk, where they are trying to ban the scripture by labeling it “extremist.” According to representatives of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Russia, the state prosecutors have taken select words from the Bhagavad Gita out of context, in an effort to officially proscribe the text. The version of the Gita in question is a Russian translation by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON.

In response to the case, a number of Hindus in Russia have come together to form the Hindu Council of Russia in order to protect their rights. Hindu community leaders have also approached the Indian embassy in Russia for assistance, while the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has formally presented its concerns to Russian embassy officials here in Washington, D.C. (click here to download the letter) and requested a meeting to further address the situation.

“The actions of Russian prosecutors are indefensible and represent a draconian attempt to restrict the religious freedom of Hindus in Russia,” said Suhag Shukla, HAF Managing Director and Legal Counsel. “By promoting a narrow and intolerant agenda that demonizes a sacred scripture revered by more than one billion Hindus worldwide, Russian officials are acting contrary to the principles of a free democratic society.”

Originally scheduled to issue its verdict on Monday, December 19, the court reviewing the case decided to postpone its verdict until December 28 to gather additional opinions of experts from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

“We urge the Russian judiciary and government to uphold the basic rights of their Hindu citizens,” said Jay Kansara, HAF’s Washington, D.C. based Associate Director. “Any court ruling or law that would prohibit the Bhagavad Gita or any other Hindu religious literature would be considered a direct attack on the civil liberties of Russia’s Hindu community and an affront to Hindus throughout the world.”

           — Hat tip: RW[Return to headlines]

It’s a Small World: Kepler Spacecraft Discovers First Known Earth-Size Exoplanets

NASA’s planet-hunting observatory claims its smallest two finds yet, but neither looks hospitable to life

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft is starting to put the pieces together in its search for virtual Earth twins in other planetary systems. Kepler, which launched in 2009, is on the lookout for planets that are about the size of Earth and have temperate surface conditions. One half of that formula was realized on December 5 when mission scientists announced the discovery of a planet in the so-called habitable zone, called Kepler 22 b, a few times larger than Earth. Now Kepler has located its first two Earth-size worlds, and although neither are plausibly hospitable to life, it seems only a matter of time before the mission scores its ultimate goal.

The two new worlds orbit a sunlike star 950 light-years away called Kepler 20. One has dimensions almost identical to our own planet; the other is just 87 percent Earth’s diameter. The planets, which by convention have been assigned the names Kepler 20 f and Kepler 20 e, respectively, are the smallest exoplanets for which diameters are known. Francois Fressin and Guillermo Torres of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and their colleagues announced the discoveries in a paper published online December 20 in Nature. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

“For the first time, we’ve crossed the threshold of finding Earth-size worlds,” Torres says. “The next step is having an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Justice Dept. Silent as Holder Charges Critics With Racism

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (2nd L)) points his finger as he talks to a member of the press at the end of an event to launch a campaign to combat the purchase and sale of counterfeit and pirated products November 29, 2011 at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House in Washington, DC. According to a news release from the Department of Justice, the campaign will educate the public on various forms of intellectual property theft, from counterfeit consumer goods and pharmaceuticals to illegal downloads and other pirated materials, with highlight on the potential health, safety and economic consequences for American citizens. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attorney General Eric Holder accused his growing chorus of critics of racist motivations in a Sunday interview published in the New York Times. When reached by The Daily Caller Monday morning, the Department of Justice provided no evidence to support the attorney general’s claims.

Holder said some unspecified faction — what he refers to as the “more extreme segment” — is driven to criticize both him and President Barack Obama due to the color of their skin. Holder did not appear to elaborate on who he considered to make up the “more extreme segment.”

“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder said, according to the Times. “Both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

The White House hasn’t returned requests for comment on whether President Barack Obama agrees with his top law enforcement officer’s allegations of racial motivations. Holder’s accusations come as resignation calls mount from a growing list of 60 congressmen, two senators, every major Republican presidential candidate and two sitting governors, spurred on by the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

MA Man Guilty of Plot to Kill Soldiers

Tarek Mehanna found guilty on all counts

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man was convicted Tuesday of conspiring to help al-Qaida and plotting to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Tarek Mehanna, 24, of Sudbury, faced four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities. A federal jury convicted him Tuesday of all counts.

Prosecutors said Mehanna and two friends conspired to travel to Yemen so they could receive training at a terrorism camp and eventually go on to Iraq to fight and kill U.S. soldiers there.

When the men were unable to find such a training camp, Mehanna returned home and began to see himself as part of the al-Qaida “media wing,” translating materials promoting violent jihad and distributing them over the Internet, prosecutors said.

Mehanna will be sentenced April 12 and could be sent to prison for the rest of his life. His mother, Souad Mehanna, sobbed after the verdict was read and was consoled by her younger son, Tamer. Mehanna’s lawyers also cried.

The defense lawyers portrayed Mehanna as an aspiring scholar of Islam who traveled to Yemen to look for religious schools, not to get terrorist training. They said his translation and distribution of controversial publications was free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Prosecutors focused on hundreds of online chats on Mehanna’s computer in which they said he and his friends talked about their desire to participate in jihad, or holy war. Several of those friends were called by prosecutors to testify against Mehanna, including one man who said he, Mehanna and a third friend tried to get terrorism training in Yemen so they could fight American soldiers in Iraq.

Mehanna’s lawyers told jurors that prosecutors were using scare tactics by portraying Mehanna as a would-be terrorist and were trying to punish him for his beliefs.

The defense built its case on the testimony of a half dozen terrorism experts. Mehanna did not testify.

His lawyers acknowledged that Mehanna expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden, but said he disagreed with bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders about many things, including the use of suicide bombers and the killing of civilians.

Jurors began deliberating Friday. In his instructions to them, U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr. told jurors that in order to find Mehanna guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida, they must find that he worked “in coordination with or at the direction of” the terrorist organization. He said independent advocacy on behalf of the organization is not a violation of the law.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]

Over 2 Bln Christians Worldwide, US Study Shows

(AGI) Washington — A US study show that Christians account for almost one third of the world’s population, estimated at 6,9 bln. According to the study, carried out by the Pew research Center, most of the world’s 2.18 billion Christians are living in the United States, Brazil and Mexico. Russia is the European country with the highest Christian population, while most of Asian and African Christians live in the Philippines and Nigeria, respectively. Half of all the Christians in the study were Catholics, 36.7% Protestants and 11.9% Orthodox.

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

Republicans in House Reject Deal Extending Payroll Tax Cut

House Republicans on Tuesday soundly rejected a bill approved by the Senate that would have extended the payroll tax cut for most Americans beyond the end of the year and allowed millions of unemployed people to continue receiving jobless benefits.

The House vote, which passed 229 to 193, also calls for establishing a negotiating committee so the two chambers can resolve their differences. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in opposition.

But the Senate has left town for the year, and Democrats say they do not intend to call it back, putting continuation of the tax cut in jeopardy and leaving a shadow over many unemployed Americans as the holidays near.

[Return to headlines]


US Investigation Links Lebanese Canadian Bank to Hezbollah

A US investigation has revealed that proceeds from drug smuggling and other criminal enterprises have been laundered through a prominent Lebanese bank and used as funding for militant group Hezbollah.

A six-year investigation by the United States into the inner workings of the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB), one of Beirut’s many secretive financial institutions, has revealed an intricate web of money laundering and criminal activity through which the militant group Hezbollah has been deriving new strands of funding.

In an extensive report by the New York Times last week, the US operation into the LCB’s activities, which began shortly after Hezbollah’s 2006 summer war with Israel, has revealed that the depths of the bank’s connections with the powerful Lebanese militant group have been carefully buried under untainted assets for years.

After painstakingly gathering information from undercover sources and networks, the investigation, according to the NYT, has hit pay dirt in the last few months with damaging evidence emerging during the sale of the LCB, a former subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada Middle East, to a Beirut-based partner of the French banking giant Société Générale.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Congolese Protesters Clash in Brussels

A hundred and forty-four people were detained on Saturday night as a thousand demonstrators protested against the result of the presidential elections in Congo. The demonstrators were unhappy with the decision of the Congolese High Court to declare incumbent President Joseph Kabila the winner of the presidential poll.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

COPPEM: Foundation for Interreligious Dialogue in Palermo

(ANSAmed) — PALERMO, DECEMBER 19 — The 2012 projects of the standing committee for the Euro Mediterranean partnership of local and regional authorities (COPPEM), which came together this weekend in Palermo for its sixteenth general assembly, include the constitution of a foundation for interreligious and intercultural dialogue supported by COPPEM, by the Sicily region and the Theology Faculty of Sicily. In May a conference on tourism will be organised in Marmaris, in Turkey, in cooperation with the Turkish, Israeli and Greece partners. In January there will be a mission to Libya to start the procedures for Libya’s accession to the COPPEM. SO far, Libya has participated in the assemblies as observer. Last weekend’s meeting was attended by mayors and governors of Mediterranean countries, representatives of the Arab Towns Organisation (ATO), of the congress of local and regional authorities of the European Council, of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) and of the Union of Mediterranean Universities (Unimed).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Croissant Robber Terrorizes Paris Bakeries

French police said on Tuesday they were on the hunt for a man in his forties who has held up a series of bakeries in Paris suburbs to steal croissants and other baked goods. Since December 9, the man has robbed five bakeries in western suburbs, police said, each time using the same modus operandi.

After placing an order, the man holds up what appears to be a fake revolver, points it at the person behind the cash register and takes his pastries without paying. No one has been injured in the robberies and in each case the value of the goods stolen has been low, at between €8 and €20.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Anti-Fascists Brick Up Neo-Nazi Politician’s Front Door

Anti-fascists in Lower Saxony bricked up the front door of a top member of the extreme-right National Democratic Party’s (NPD) home to protest against his presence at a city council meeting on Monday. The front door was neatly walled in overnight, and sealed with a poster reading, “House arrest for Nazis.” An antifascist spokeswoman said the action was a symbolic attempt to stop him leaving the house.

Police were called to the house in Oldenburg where Ulrich Eigenfeld, treasurer of the NPD, lives, after other people living there opened the front door and found their exit blocked. “The line is crossed for us when they leave the house with their misanthropic thinking,” said a spokeswoman for the group in an email, according to the Oldenburger Lokalteil website.

She said that although anti-fascists were against walls in society, naming nationalism, racism, sexism and the class system as examples, this was a different case. “We say — tear down walls! But for Nazis we make an exception,” she said.

Eigenfeld made it to the meeting of the Oldenburg council, but his speech was disrupted by a group of around 50 protesters who shouted while he tried to talk, and held up banners against the NPD, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Sex-Case Woman Gives Birth to Baby Girl

Karima El Mahroug’s partner say happiness ‘undescribable’

(ANSA) — Genoa, December 20 — The young woman former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly paying to have sex with before she was 18 gave birth to a baby girl here on Tuesday.

“She is well and with her mother,” said Karima El Mahroug’s partner, Luca Risso, after the birth of Sofia Aida Risso. “My happiness is undescribable”.

Prosecutors say El Mahroug, a Moroccan runaway and belly dancer also known as Ruby, was working as a prostitute at the time when she attended parties at the former premier’s home aged 17.

Berlusconi denies that he had sex with her and that he abused his power as premier to try to cover up the case. If found guilty, Berlusconi faces a total of 15 years in prison — three for paying for underage sex and 12 for abuse of power when he phoned a Milan police station where Ruby had been detained on an unrelated theft allegation.

The ex-premier says he believed Ruby was the niece of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and he was hoping to avoid a diplomatic incident with Egypt.

In three ongoing trials and many previous cases, Berlusconi has always denied wrongdoing, claiming he is the victim of a minority group of allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges who he says are persecuting him for political reasons.

In more than a dozen cases, the ex-premier has never received a definitive conviction, sometimes because of law changes passed by his governments, while some other charges were timed out by the statute of limitations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Mussolini Likens Monti to Fidel Castro

‘He does not have his stature’, says MP

(ANSA) — Rome, December 20 — Rightwing MP Alessandra Mussolini has likened Italy’s Premier Mario Monti and Industry Minister Corrado Passera to Cuba’s Communist dictator Fidel Castro.

“First you tax Italians, then you make them leave their work and beat them in the head and finish that without even allowing them to take their pensions,” Mussolini said. Mussolini, granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, was speaking on a TV programme on state broadcaster RAI.

“This is a government of ‘Cuban’ technicians. They have succeeded in taxing Italians. “Passera is like Fidel Castro, Premier Monti does not have his stature”.

Mussolini founded the national conservative political party Social Action and served in the European Parliament before becoming an MP in the Italian Parliament.

She is aligned with the People of Freedom party led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Liège Killings: Justice Minister Tightens Up Arms Legislation

Belgium’s brand new Justice Minister Annemie Turtelboom has plans to tighten up arms legislation following last week’s Liege massacre. Killer Nordine Amrani possessed a whole arsenal despite being refused a licence ten times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Maggots Clean Wounds Faster Than Surgeons

The idea of putting maggots into open flesh may sound repulsive, but such a therapy might be a quick way to clean wounds, a new study from France suggests. Men in the study, all of whom had wounds that wouldn’t heal, were randomly assigned to have dead and unhealthy tissue removed from their lacerations by either standard surgical therapy or maggots (that eat dead tissue).

After about a week, men who received the maggot therapy had less dead tissue in their wounds than men who underwent surgery, the researchers said. However, after two weeks, the immature insects had lost their advantage: Both groups had about an equal amount of dead tissue in their wounds. And in the end, the maggots did not help the wounds heal faster.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Moroccan Imam Should be Barred: Dutch Minister

A Moroccan imam who has issued a religious decree that girls as young as nine years old can marry should not be let into the Netherlands, the Dutch foreign minister said Monday. “There are reasons why this person should be refused a visa,” Uri Rosenthal said in a letter, written to the country’s lower house of parliament.

Mohamed Al-Maghraoui was supposed to take part in a conference organised by The Hague-based As-Sunnah mosque later this week, Dutch media reported, but so far has not applied for a visa, said Rosenthal. “Seeing the amount of time needed to process the visa through consultation with the Schengen partners, the issuing of such a visa is practically not possible,” he added.

Rosenthal did not give reasons why the imam would be refused a visa. Author of a 2008 fatwa, or religious opinion that girls as young as nine can marry, Al-Maghraoui was condemned by Morocco’s top body of Islamic scholars for his views. His website was closed down the same year. The minimum marrying age for women in Morocco is 18.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Iran and S. Arabia Launch 2 TV Channels in Spanish

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, DECEMBER 20 — Two Islamic television channels in the Spanish language arrive around Christmas in Spain. The first, an Iranian channel, will start broadcasting on December 21, the second, a Saudi channel, on January 1. Both will use the Hispasat satellites for broadcasts in Spain and South America. According to sources in the audiovisual sector quoted today by El Pais, Hispan TV has started counting down to the day of tomorrow, when it will start broadcasting from Tehran. Its programmes are aimed at the a Spanish-speaking audience and can count on collaboration with Spanish journalists. The channel will start with 16 hours of television per day, which will be extended to 24 hours by the end of this winter. Its schedule includes information services, news, television series made in Iran and dubbed into Spanish, discussions on film, literature and religion. The programme ‘Debate abierto’ (Open debate) will focus on spreading the Shiite Islam, the dominant religion in Iran. “This new television network in Spanish will play a crucial role in reflecting the ideological legitimation of our system in the world,” Ezotollah Zarqami explained in October to the media. Zarqami is president of Irib, the organisation that groups Iranian public television channels, and Hispan TV will also join this organisation. The second new channel, Cordoba Television, will start its satellite broadcasts on January 1. It is managed by a Saudi foundation and can be received in Spain and South America. Its programmes, in Spanish, focus on the Islamic doctrine of Wahabism. Cordoba Television has its headquarters in the industrial centre of San Sebastian de los Reyes, in Madrid, and is part of the Foundation for the Message of the Islam, chaired by sheikh and theologian Abdulaziz al Fawzan — member of Saudi the council of wise men — and is backed by the Saudi royal family. Its schedule will initially include eight hours of television per day, in blocks that are repeated three times per day, mainly documentaries and debates on religion. The network has hired converted Spanish citizens and the sheikh can count on around fifty reporters from private national television networks Antena 3 and Telecinco. The second part of the sheikh’s plan includes, according to sources quoted by newspaper ABC some time ago, broadcasts of Cordoba TV in France, the UK and China as well. “This way Saleh Al Fawzan” according to the conservative newspaper, “not only fulfils one of the precepts of his doctrine, spreading this doctrine outside Saudi borders, but also makes his project part of the offensive of Islamic fundamentalism for the ‘recovery of Al Andalus’, which Muslims see as a lost paradise that has been occupied by the Spanish.” University professor of Islamic theology Imam Mohamed Ibn Saud is mentor of Cordoba TV and member of the Sharia (the Islamic legal system used in Saudi Arabia) Supervisory Board and of the Human Rights Committee, an organisation at the service of the Saudi government. “Sheikh Al Fawzan,” El Pais points out, “has been dedicated to spreading Wahabism, the ultra-conservative form of Islam that reigns in Saudi Arabia, for years. He preaches inflammatory sermons on Saudi television channel Al Ikhtariya and UAE channel Al Majd, in which he underlines the need to profess ‘a positive hate’ towards Christians and justifies the marginalisation of women in his country.” According to anti-terrorism experts, Cordoba TV could become a dangerous instrument of proselytism of radical Islam, destabilising the resident Muslim community in Spain. The name ‘Cordoba’ was not picked randomly: it was the capital of the Caliphate, in the tenths and eleventh century, established in the Iberian Peninsula by the Arab domination. It represents the climax of Islamic religion according to Muslim theologians.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Readers Flee Basel Daily After Blocher Takeover

The Basler Zeitung has lost more than 1,000 subscribers in a single week after it was revealed that the paper is owned by the family of far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) deputy leader Christoph Blocher. In an interview with newspaper Sonntagsblick, the Basel daily’s editor-in-chief, Markus Somm, confirmed the “dramatic figure” and said he understood the sudden departure of many customers who felt cheated.

Massive subscription cancellations have not been the only form of protest. On Saturday, several hundred people rallied on the streets of Basel to voice their discontent with the recently unveiled ownership of the paper. Writing in the Sunday edition of the Basel paper, Somm said it had been a mistake for Christoph Blocher, the outspoken figurehead of Switzerland’s largest political party, not to have explained his financial connection to the Basler Zeitung.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Far-Right Undertones of Romanian Politics

After the fall of the Romanian dictator Ceausescu all that was left of his national-Communist system was nationalism. DW takes a look at how old-fashioned, chauvinist cliches emerged from the rubble of a dictatorship.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UDC Leader Wants Citizenship for All Those Born in Italy

(AGI) Florence — UDC leader Casini said it is important that those born in Italy are considered Italians for all legal purposes. “I’ve had an amazing meeting with the Senegalese community. They are responsible and serious people who fully understand that Italy can’t be mixed up with some episodes of violence and racist intolerance. Speaking before children, I reiterated that I consider it important that those born on our national territory can be Italians for all legal purposes, which may require adequate legislative measures”, Pierferdinando Casini said on the sidelines of an UDC dinner in Florence.

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

UK: Foreign Student, 22, Arrested at Birmingham Airport on Suspicion of ‘Carrying Terrorist Document’

A 22-year-old student was arrested last night at Birmingham Airport on suspicion of carrying with him a terrorist document.

Police seized the Pakistani national — who lives and studies in the UK — after he got off a flight from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said he was held on suspicion of being in possession of a document likely to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Last night he was being questioned by officers from West Midlands Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit.

It’s unclear whether police and customs were acting on intelligence or whether the suspect was arrested after a routine customs search.

The suspect is on a student visa studying in the UK.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police told MailOnline: ‘A 22-year-old man was arrested last night at Birmingham airport on suspicion of being in possession of a document likely to be of use to a person committing a terrorist offence under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

‘He was questioned by officers from the counter terrorism unit as he arrived on a flight from Dubai.

‘He is a Pakistani national with a student visa, studying at a fully accredited institution.’

The spokesman added: ‘The suspected document was found in his possession.’

Police would not give any further details in response to questions.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Jihad and Jews Don’t Go Together

by Martin Bright

This summer, we warned readers to be careful about overtures from the “community organisers”, London Citizens. These darlings of the political class campaigned on behalf of low-paid workers and asylum seekers, and, on the face of it, appeared to be an entirely admirable organisation. Unfortunately, as we revealed, its deputy chair, Junaid Ahmed of East London Mosque, gave a speech at the height of Operation Cast Lead paying tribute to Hamas terrorists. Rabbi Jeremy Gordon told his New North London Synagogue congregation of his “pain” at Hamas leaders being held up as heroes, while Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of North London Synagogue told the JC that he abhorred Mr Ahmed’s views.

The result? Junaid Ahmed remains a trustee and deputy chair of London Citizens and senior figures in the Jewish community continue to work with the organisation. The anti-Islamist website Harry’s Place has provided an important service in monitoring the activities of London Citizens and its continued relationship with East London Mosque. The mosque and its sister institution, the London Muslim Centre, has consistently hosted controversial speakers from the wilder fringes of the Islamist world. As the Daily Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan reported just this month, the mosque advertised a discussion with Wahabi cleric Sheikh Saad al-Beraik. It is difficult to feel anything but “pain” when you read words attributed to Sheikh al-Beraik by the Saudi Information Agency: “Muslim brothers in Palestine, do not have mercy neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don’t you enslave their women? Why don’t you wage jihad? Why don’t you pillage them?”

And yet, this week, the same Rabbi Wittenberg who found Mr Ahmed’s Hamas-worship so abhorrent, agreed to take part in a “multi-faith peace procession” alongside the chairman of East London Mosque, Mohammed Abdul Bari. Again, the avowed aim of the march is entirely admirable: reclaiming the streets after this summer’s riots. But why do respected Jewish leaders insist on making common cause with an institution that continues to host antisemitic hate preachers? The only possible argument for doing so would be to persuade East London Mosque to distance itself from the extremists in its midst. With absolutely zero evidence of this happening, the only conclusion is that Rabbi Wittenberg is fulfilling the traditional role of useful idiot to those with an entirely different agenda to his own.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Judge’s Fury at Billionaire Arab Prince After He Fails to Attend High Court Over Claims He Married Model in Secret Ceremony

A High Court judge told of his ‘frustration’ after an Arab prince failed to appear at a court hearing to settle a dispute over an alleged secret marriage with an Egyptian model.

Nivin el-Gamal, 35, told Mr Justice Bodey yesterday that she married Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates Airlines, at a ceremony in London four years ago.

She wants the judge to rule that a marriage took place, declare it null and void and therefore put her in a position to claim maintenance.

But just moments before Sheikh Ahmed, whose airline sponsors Arsenal, was due to give evidence, his lawyer claimed his client had been ordered to stay in Dubai by the country’s ruler to attend a political meeting.

His counsel Martin Pointer QC said he was ‘unable to attend’ as he had ‘no practical choice’ but to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit (GCC) in Riyadh.

Sheikh Ahmed, who is a member of the royal family of Dubai, has denied the claim made by Miss el-Gamal and said no ceremony took place.

Mr Pointer said the case would continue without his client’s oral evidence.

The judge said: ‘Why is it suddenly sprung on the court on Monday morning seconds before he comes into the witness box?

‘Provision could have been made for a video link.’

‘He is unable to attend to give evidence,’ said Mr Pointer. ‘He has been recalled by the ruler of Dubai to attend the GCC meeting in Riyadh.’

Mr Pointer added: ‘My client intends no disrespect at all to your lordship by not being here.’

Richard Todd QC for Miss el-Gamal who claims she married the Sheikh in a secret ceremony in January 2007 said it was ‘a very dramatic development indeed’.

He added: ‘We are frankly dumbfounded by this turn of events.’

Mr Pointer, who said the Sheikh would not now be coming to England to give evidence, then began his final legal submissions claiming there was ‘no evidence’ that the ‘marriage’ ever took place, apart from the ‘self-serving evidence’ from Miss el-Gamal.

There was no independent record and no evidence from the Imam who was said to have conducted the service or from the witnesses who were said to be there.

Last week, Miss el-Gamal was branded a liar who invented the ‘marriage’ in a bid to get £1million a year maintenance from him.

In what Mr Todd described as ‘the case of the Prince and the pauper’, she is seeking a declaration that the ‘marriage’ should be declared null and void.

But the Sheikh denies they were ever married although they did meet for sex and have a three-year-old son born in the U.S. in April 2008.

The Sheikh, worth an estimated £19billion, is the uncle of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Lutfur Rahman Can be Described as Extremist-Backed Rules Press Complaints Commission (But We Will Publish His Denials)

Since April Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-backed mayor of Tower Hamlets, has been pursuing a PCC campaign against the Telegraph. He has over the last eight months made four complaints, all of which were finally resolved to our satisfaction last week.

1. That we described him as “extremist-backed” by virtue of his “close links” to an extremist Islamic organisation, the Islamic Forum of Europe. Rahman claimed that he had “repeatedly and consistently denied links to the IFE.” We pointed out that he had in fact repeatedly refused to deny having links to the IFE, including here and here. We pointed out that many others in Tower Hamlets politics, including the chief coordinator of his own mayoral election campaign, Bodrul Islam, have stated his links with the extremists in terms and on the record.

The PCC rejected Rahman’s complaint, saying that to describe him as being “extremist-backed” and as having “close links” to the IFE was “not misleading.” We will continue to detail Rahman’s many links with extremism, but have agreed to start including the denials which he has recently started making.

2. That we gave the impression he had been charged with fraud in a blogpost headlined “Lutfur Rahman councillor is charged with fraud.” Rahman claimed that the article, about one of his supporters, Cllr Shelina Akhtar,could confuse people whose English was poor. As we pointed out, the very first sentences of the piece read: “One of the most prominent supporters of Tower Hamlets’ extremist-backed mayor, Lutfur Rahman, has been charged with fraud. Councillor Shelina Akhtar appears in court next month.” The piece goes on to say that “Akhtar is accused… She is charged with… She remains a member of Tower Hamlets council at the time of writing.” As we said, it is perfectly clear that the mayor was not the individual charged. His name is not Shelina Akhtar, he is not a councillor and he is not a woman.

The PCC rejected Rahman’s complaint,saying: “The article made clear from the opening paragraph that it was the councillor and not the complainant who had been charged. The Commission did not agree that readers would be misled.”

3. That in our reporting of his decision to give a character reference to a convicted sex attacker, we failed to mention that the reference had subsequently been withdrawn. We pointed out that the man, a minicab driver, had pleaded guilty to a serious sexual assault on a helpless woman passenger seven full weeks before Rahman gave his reference in court, at the sentencing hearing. Rahman withdrew the reference only once the matter got into the press, well after the man had already been sentenced. By that time it was too late to do the attacker any harm or his victim any good.

The PCC rejected Rahman’s complaint, saying: “As the reference had been a feature of the active consideration of the case, the Commission did not consider the omission of any mention of its later withdrawal would have significantly misled readers.”

4. That in our reporting of allegations from October 2010 onwards that Rahman took illegal donations, we failed to point out that a subsequent police enquiry had (in February 2011) found “no case to answer.” We pointed out that Rahman had refused to respond to our inquiries about the allegations, or to deny the allegations in other forums, when they were first made. He had subsequently started denying them, and we had reported those denials. We told the PCC (and have also reported) that the allegation was never investigated seriously (the police did not, for instance, interview several key witnesses), and that the main complainant, Tower Hamlets’ opposition leader Peter Golds, continues to make the allegations, which he and many other figures across the political spectrum believe to be true. Nonetheless, two blogposts after February 2011 made reference to the allegations without adding the police point. We offered to add the police point to the first blogpost, and have done so. We unfortunately omitted to add the police point to the second blogpost.

The PCC said that our adding the police point to the first blogpost was a “sufficient remedy,” but said it should also have been added to the second blogpost, upholding this part of the complaint. We have now added the police point to the second post.

As this blog will detail in the coming days, Rahman and his cronies have in recent months embarked on an aggressive campaign on several fronts, not just the PCC, to stifle criticism of their car-crash mayoralty. In our case, despite eight months of trying, they have comprehensively failed. We are delighted that all the key pillars of our reporting have, once again, been vindicated.

[JP note: Good show … now flush out all the other extremist-backed, Muslim entities in every sphere of public life.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Martin Bright Continues His Campaign to Poison Relations Jewish and Muslim Communities

The current edition of the Jewish Chronicle has yet another piece by the paper’s political editor Martin Bright attacking the East London Mosque. Entitled “Jihad and Jews don’t go together”, this is just the latest installment in the JC‘s obsessive (and so far entirely futile) campaign to destroy the relationship between community organisers London Citizens and ELM (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here).​ An outraged Bright relates the shocking news that Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of North London Synagogue “agreed to take part in a ‘multi-faith peace procession’ alongside the chairman of East London Mosque, Mohammed Abdul Bari”.

While the print edition of the JC features Bright’s article denouncing Rabbi Wittenberg for daring to participate in a community procession with Dr Bari, the paper’s website carries a report by Jennifer Lipman that gives favourable coverage to the role of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation’s Council of Imams and Rabbis in presenting a joint Jewish-Muslim response to the English Defence League. In an admirable letter to the home secretary the council expressed its concern about the EDL’s attempts to “incite hatred and antagonism in our society” and “drive a wedge between the Jewish community and our Muslim neighbours”.

Yet among the “organisations which we regularly cooperate with” listed on the Joseph Interfaith Foundation’s website we find … the East London Mosque. A recent example of such cooperation was seen during Inter Faith Week last month, when the Council of Imams and Rabbis and ELM jointly held an event for local mosques and youth organisations at the London Muslim Centre, entitled “Meet the Rabbis and Ask Questions”. It took the form of a seminar consisting of a short introduction about Judaism followed by a Q&A session with a panel of rabbis. How long, you wonder, before Bright and the JC extend their vicious witch-hunting to Mehri Niknam?

As evidence of ELM’s extremism Bright refers JC readers to fellow witch-hunter Andrew Gilligan’s sloppily researched piece on his Telegraph blog attacking the mosque for hosting Sheikh Saad al-Beraik. This accusation against ELM is based on a single, decade-old quote from the Saudi Information Agency, which is hardly a reliable source, being a dubious website run by a Saudi dissident — though Bright doesn’t mention this, allowing his readers to assume that the quote is from an official Saudi government website. Furthermore, during his visit to the UK Saad al-Beraik also spoke at the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, where he led the Jumma prayer and delivered the khutbah. Unsurprisingly, given its close links to the Saudi embassy, appearances by such “Wahabi clerics” are hardly unknown at the London Central Mosque. Yet that hasn’t prevented the Board of Deputies of British Jews from attending interfaith events there. Can we take it that the BoD too is going to be denounced by the JC for associating with an institution that hosts “controversial speakers from the wilder fringes of the Islamist world”?

The idea of the JC witch-hunting the Joseph Interfaith Foundation or the Board of Deputies might appear far-fetched, but since his appointment as the paper’s political editor Bright has made a speciality of persecuting members of the Jewish community who refuse to boycott Muslim organisations and individuals of whom he disapproves. Earlier this year the JC published a front page article accompanied by an op ed from Bright attacking the prominent Jewish philanthopist Trevor Pears for funding the organisation Forward Thinking, which had hosted a meeting at the House of Commons featuring a so-called “jihadist” named Tafazal Mohammad. Bright’s accusations against Tafazal Mohammad were shown to be baseless and the JC was forced to publish an apology.

The bottom line here is that Bright is intent on discrediting and marginalising organisations that support the Palestinian cause. However, if Jewish leaders are to boycott Muslims who sympathise with the Palestinian resistance, as Bright demands, then Muslim organisations could equally well refuse to cooperate with Jews who continue to support Israel despite its acts of state terrorism against the Palestinian people. If the Israel-Palestine conflict is allowed to determine relations between Jews and Muslims in the UK, then interfaith initiatives become almost impossible. Bright is quite happy to poison relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities because he isn’t a member of either and doesn’t have to live with the consequences of his inaccurate and irresponsible journalism. His approach does play well with the likes of Melanie Phillips, of course, but more thoughtful members of the Jewish community must surely question the damage done by Bright’s use of the JC as a platform to pursue his malicious campaigns against representative Muslim institutions.

[JP note: The East London Mosque poisons the entire community with its presence.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rioting Arsonists Could be Shot if They Endanger Lives

Arsonists who put lives in danger during riots could be shot by the police, a review of public order tactics concluded yesterday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Clinton: “Violence on Women Dishonours Revolution”

(AGI) Washington — Violence on women in Egypt during last few weeks’ protests “dishonours the revolution” says the Us secretary of State, Hillary Cinton. She dubbed as “shocking” the images of troops ripping off a female protester’s clothes..”Recent events in Egypt have been particularly shocking. Women are being beaten and humiliated in the same streets where they risked their lives for the revolution only a few short months ago” Clinton said on Monday. “This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonours the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people” .

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

Egypt Riots Threaten Cultural Sites as Cairo Library Goes Up in Flame

The heavy handed crackdown on protesters demanding the ruling military council to step down and hand power to a civilian government is unprecedented. However, another victim of the recent round of violence was a library holding some of Egypt’s most precious manuscripts, maps, and books, after a fire broke in Cairo’s Scientific Complex. According to caretaker Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri, the damage included irreplaceable maps dating from Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt in 1798.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Egypt Releases 27 Copts Falsely Detained in Maspero Massacre

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — The Cairo Criminal Court decided this week to accept the appeal and release, pending investigations, the remaining 27 Coptic detainees arrested in connection with the events of Maspero Massacre on October 9, where 27 Copts were killed and 329 injured (AINA 10-10-2011).

This decision was hailed by the church and the various Coptic rights groups. Besides welcoming the decision of the civilian court as a just verdict considering that the detainees were all innocent, it showed, according to various Coptic organizations, the injustice of the military prosecution’s investigations. A view shared among all Copts is that releasing the detainees is not enough, those responsible for the killings should be brought to justice.

The Maspero case was first brought by the military prosecution, but was later referred to state security interrogation upon an order from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Early last week, upon the request of the defendants’ lawyers, the general prosecution transferred the case to an independent investigations judge.

The 30 Copts originally detained and the prominent Muslim activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who is expected to be also released next week, were charged with the murder of one soldier, the theft of guns from the armed forces, and damaging private and public property. Two weeks ago three Christians minors, Abanob, Andrew and Hana, aged 16 and 17, who did not participate in the Maspero demonstration, but were arrested from the streets because their Christian tattoos, were released (AINA 11-5-2011).

The Coptic Orthodox Church, which had previously demanded the release of the detainees, expressed its satisfaction with the verdict. However, outspoken Coptic Priest Filopateer Gameel, founding member of the Maspero Youth Federation, one of the organizers of the October 9 Maspero march, said “Where is the accountability of the persons responsible for the blood that was shed in Maspero?” adding that the decision to release the detainees confirms the fairness of the Egyptian judiciary, but it also raises questions about the circumstances under which the military police arrested them, and the unlawful renewal more than once of their detention by the military prosecution.

Fr. Filopateer demanded the prosecution of those responsible for the killing of civilians and of the person who gave orders on that night for the military armored vehicles to move to crush the Christian protesters under their wheels, referring to the report of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights, which although could not identify those who shot at the demonstrators, confirmed that there were 12 dead people who were crushed by armored vehicles. He said “We will not be happy just to get the innocent out of prison, , and this will definitely not be the end of the case; the authorities must be held accountable for the killing of the demonstrators.”

Copts Without Borders said in a statement that past experience with regards to Coptic cases have the same trend. They start with arbitrary detention of Copts, which aims at twisting the arm of the Copts to relinquish their rights and be diverted away from them by their concern over the detainees. “This limits the ambition of the Copts, of bringing the criminals to justice, and all their hopes are thereby confined to getting the detainees out of prison.”

Copts Without Borders views the decision to release the 27 Maspero detainees as a precursor to entirely closing the Maspero case by the authorities, similar to all previous cases of violence against the Copts including the incident of the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria, which was bombed on New Year’s Day, 2011 (AINA 1-2-2011). It declared its non-acceptance of the decision to merely release the detainees, without punishment of the killers, demanding the opening of a new impartial investigation into the events including the disclosure of the names of those involved from the military who gave orders to fire live ammunition and for the armored vehicles to run over the demonstrators.

Prominent Muslim attorney Essam Kandil, one of the 35-man Maspero defense team, said that he offered his voluntary services because of the “glaring injustices in the case, especially that the victims were picked up from the streets based on being identified as Christians.” He said the entire defense team will fight until all Coptic victims of the Maspero Massacre, whether those killed, injured or detained for 66 days unlawfully, have received the justice they deserve.”

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Thousands of Women March Against Mistreatment in Tahrir Square After Protester Was Stripped to Bra and Beaten by Troops

Thousands of Egyptian women marched in the streets of Cairo today, protesting against the abuse of female demonstrators by soldiers.

The march was a rare protest by women and its numbers — about 10,000 — underlined the depth of anger over the crackdown by the ruling military.

Earlier today, a teenage protester was shot during a police raid in the Egyptian capital.

Following the women’s protest, the ruling military council issued an unusual apology for what it called ‘violations’ — a sudden U-turn after days of ignoring the demonstrations.

The council expressed ‘deep regret to the great women of Egypt’ and reaffirmed ‘its respect and total appreciation for the women of Egypt and their right to protest.’

Ringed by a protective chain of male protesters, women from different social classes and religious background gathered in Tahrir Square and marched through the streets of Cairo.

Many carried pictures of soldiers attacking women — particularly one of a veiled woman whose clothes were half pulled off, baring her down to her blue bra, by soldiers who beat her and stomped on her chest.

‘They say they are here to protect us, but they are stripping us naked,’ the marchers chanted.

‘The girl dragged around is just like my daughter. They do that and then call us thugs,’ said Um Hossam, a 54-year old woman in traditional black dress and a veil. ‘I am a free woman and attacking this woman or killing protesters is just like going after one of my own children.’

This morning, in the second dawn raid in as many days, troops and riot police descended on Cairo’s Tahrir Square in a bid to evict protesters.

Dr Ahmed Saad, a volunteer at the field hospital in the square, said a 15-year-old was in a critical condition after being shot.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Napoleon’s ‘Description De L’Egypte’ Lost to Fire Amid Clashes

Thousands of irreplaceable manuscripts at Cairo’s Institute for Scientific Research are lost to fire amid attack military attack on protesters at nearby Cabinet building

A fire that erupted on Saturday in Egypt’s Institute for the Advancement of Scientific Research has resulted in the loss of several precious manuscripts, according to Zein Abdel-Hadi, head of Egypt’s Libraries and Archives Department, which has taken possession of many of the books rescued from the fire. The original manuscript of Napoleon’s historic “Description De L’Egypt” was reportedly among the losses.

Young revolutionaries rushed into the institute — which is located next to the Cabinet building, the site of ongoing clashes between security personnel and anti-government protesters — as soon as the fire erupted in hopes of rescuing the thousands original manuscripts housed there. Nearly 30,000 books were rescued out of a total of around 196,000 in the institute’s collection, estimated Abdel-Hadi, who went on to commend the young activists’ courage.

The “Description De L’Egypt” was initially drawn up by the team of French scientists who accompanied French empire-builder Napoleon on his invasion of Egypt (1798-1801). The 20-volume book was originally entitled “Description of Egypt, or the Collection of Notes and Research Done in Egypt during the French Campaign by Napoleon Bonaparte.”

After the scientists’ return to France, the French interior minister at the time, Jean Antoine Schpetal, organised a special committee mandated with collecting and publishing all the material, which was eventually published in ten volumes of engravings, nine volumes of research, and one atlas. The volumes are considered among the most important historical works of the early nineteenth century.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Obama Praises Tunisia’s “Inclusive Transition”

(AGI) President Barack Obama called Tunisia’s interim prime minister, Hamadi Jebali to congratulate him for the ongoing “inclusive transition” policies in the North African country. A White House communique said, “The president praised Tunisia for its inclusive transition, which offers historic possibilities of greater political and economic opportunities for all Tunisians.” .

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

Middle East

Crisis Unfolds in Iraq

By Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan

We interrupt President Obama’s celebration of keeping a campaign promise to bring you news from Iraq, where a political crisis has been unfolding since just hours after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta departed on Thursday. The ethno-sectarian settlement achieved at such cost to Iraqis and Americans is unraveling rapidly. The principal Sunni bloc has withdrawn its members from the Iraqi Parliament and is threatening to withdraw from the government altogether within two weeks unless Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki adheres to the written commitments he made during the negotiations to form a government.

Maliki prompted their action by arresting and torturing the bodyguards of Sunni vice president Tariq al Hashemi. Multiple unconfirmed reports indicate that on Thursday night, Maliki moved elements of the Baghdad Brigade, commanded by his son, to surround the residences of Sunni political figures, including Hashemi. In retaliation for the Sunni parliamentarians’ walkout, Maliki has demanded a no-confidence vote for Sunni deputy prime minister Salah Mutlaq, and indicated his intent to bring charges against Hashemi and others for conspiring to assassinate him…

           — Hat tip: DS[Return to headlines]

France-Turkey: Paris and Ankara at Loggerheads Over Armenians

Parliament confirms discussion on Thurs. Gul, ‘unacceptable’

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — Tensions between France and Turkey skyrocketed after a decision was made by the French National Assembly not to withdraw a bill that criminalising the denial of the Armenian genocide between 1915 and 1917, despite the discontent expressed by the government in Ankara. The proposal will be regularly discussed on Thursday in the French National Assembly, reported French Parliamentary Relations Minister Patrick Ollier, who specified that the idea of postponing the vote was not even taken into consideration in today’s meeting with parliamentary group leaders, which sets the agenda for the week.

The decision greatly irritated Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who launched a harsh warning to Paris. “It is not possible for us to accept this bill (…) which denies the right to reject baseless and unjust accusations against our country and our nation,” explained Gul, calling for France to abandon this “unacceptable” law.

The bill establishes a sentence of one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for denial of the Armenian genocide, which France recognised in 2001 and which, according to many scholars, caused the death of 1.5 million people. Turkey has acknowledged that 500,000 people died between 1915 and 1917, but considers these people to be victims of World War I and not of genocide.

Yesterday two Turkish delegations of MPs and businessmen arrived in Paris to try to stop the law approving criminalising the denial of the Armenian genocide from being passed.

Today, Turkish MPs are set to meet with President Sarkozy’s diplomatic advisor Jean-David Levitte, and the head of French diplomacy, Alain Juppé. If a crisis were to erupt between France and Turkey it would come at a difficult time for France, in a regional context in which Turkey plays an essential role in resolving the situations involving Iran and Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Concerned About Arrest of Iraq’s Vice President Hashemi

(AGI) Washington — The US has expressed concerns about the arrest of Sunni Vice President Hashemi by the Iraqi authorities. Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq’s two vice presidents, is charged with involvement in terror activities.

It was announced by White House spokesman Jay Carney.

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


Indian Uproar at Call in Russia to Ban Hindu Holy Book Bhagavad Gita

Angry Indian lawmakers forced parliament to close on Monday and protesters gathered outside a Russian consulate over a Siberian trial calling for one of Hinduism’s most holy books to be put on a list of banned literature that includes Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The case filed by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk says a translation of the Bhagavad Gita is extremist because it insults non-believers, local media in Russia say.

“We will not tolerate an insult to Lord Krishna,” members of parliament shouted, until the house speaker adjourned parliament for several hours.

The Bhagavad Gita takes the form of a conversation between Hindu god Krishna and a prince called Arjuna prior to a battle. Its philosophical insights were praised by Albert Einstein and forms a bedrock of the Hindu belief system.

India and Russia enjoy close diplomatic and defence ties and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from an annual visit to Moscow at the weekend. Lawmakers demanded to know if he had raised the issue of the trial with Russian officials.

The translation up for trial is called “Bhagavad Gita as It Is,” and is central to the global Hare Krishna movement. Members of the movement link the case against the text to the Russian Orthodox Church, which they claim wants to limit their activities. Dozens of Hare Krishna adherents in orange robes shouted slogans and danced outside the Russian consulate in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, a Reuters witness said. More than 20,000 people signed an online petition against the trial and the word Gita was one of the main Indian trends on Twitter on Monday.

           — Hat tip: RW[Return to headlines]

Russian Church Keen to Limit ISKCON Activities

The court case against a translation of the Bhagavad Gita in the Siberian city of Tomsk is linked to long-running attempts by the Russian Orthodox Church to limit the activities of the Hare Krishna movement, branding it as a totalitarian sect.

Earlier this year, the authorities banned the construction of an ISKCON community village in the Tomsk region. Seven years ago, the Moscow city government did not allow the movement to build a sprawling prayer-cum-cultural complex in central Moscow. Later, ISKCON was permitted to set up its centre in a Moscow suburb.

ISKCON says it has one lakh Russian followers and more than 100 communities but the Orthodox Church claims the number is in a few thousands.

Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin regretted that the case was being heard in the university city of Tomsk, famous for its secularism and religious tolerance, and reiterated the secular credentials of Russia (the Interior Minister is a practising Muslim.)

Mr. Kadakin considered it “categorically inadmissible when any holy scripture is taken to…courts. For all believers, these texts are sacred.”

A second-term ambassador, whose first posting was in India in 1971 and who for years taught about India, Mr. Kadakin said the Bhagavad Gita, along with the holy scriptures of other faiths, was a great source of wisdom for the people of India and the world. “Russia, as is known to anyone, is a secular and democratic country where all religions enjoy equal respect. This is even more applicable to [the] holy scriptures of various faiths, whether it is the Bible, the Holy Quran, the Torah, the Avesta and, of course, the Bhagavad Gita, the great source of wisdom for the people of India and the world,” he said.

“It is not normal either, when religious books are sent for examination to ignorant people. Their academic scrutiny should be done at scientists’ fora, congresses, seminars, etc., but not in court. It is strange that such events are unfolding in the beautiful university city in Siberia, as Tomsk…is famous for its secularism and religious tolerance. Well, it seems that even the lovely city of Tomsk has its own neighbourhood madmen. It is sad indeed.”

           — Hat tip: RW[Return to headlines]

South Asia

675 Pakistan ‘Honour Killing’ Victims

AT least 675 Pakistani women and girls were murdered during the first nine months of the year for allegedly defaming their family’s honour, a leading human rights group says.

The statistics highlight the scale of violence suffered by many women in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where they are frequently treated as second-class citizens and there is no law against domestic violence.

Despite some progress on better protecting women’s rights, activists say the government needs to do far more to prosecute murderers in cases largely dismissed by police as private, family affairs.

“A total of 675 women and girls were killed in the name of honour across Pakistan from January to September,” a senior official in the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan told AFP today.

They included at least 71 victims under the age of 18.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said figures were still being compiled from October to December, and that a full report would be released in February.

The Commission reported 791 honour killings in 2010 and there was no discernible decrease this year, the official added.

Around 450 of the women killed from January to September were accused of having “illicit relations” and 129 of marrying without permission.

Some victims were raped or gang raped before being killed, he said. At least 19 were killed by their sons, 49 by their fathers and 169 by their husbands.

Rights groups say the government should do more to ensure that women subject to violence, harassment and discrimination have effective access to justice.

Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch, told AFP that the state’s inability to enforce rule of law, leaving matters in the hands of tribesmen and local elders, was a major factor.

“We have a system in Pakistan where the state and judicial recourse are absent and the vacuum is filled by local elders,” he said.

“A combination of legal reforms, exercise of administrative authority and social awareness can greatly help check the honour killings,” he added.

Earlier this month, a Belgian court sentenced four members of a Pakistani family to prison for the murder of their daughter and sister, who defied them by living with a Belgian man and refusing an arranged marriage.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

India Slams ‘Absurd’ Bid to Ban Gita in Russia

India’s foreign minister condemned Tuesday a “patently absurd” court case in Russia seeking to ban a version of one of Hinduism’s most important and scared texts, the Bhagavad Gita. The case filed by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk claims that a renowned translation of the text, titled “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” is “extremist literature” and should join Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on a list of banned books.

Speaking in parliament, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said the lawsuit was the work of “ignorant and misdirected or motivated individuals” and an attack on a religious text that defines the “very soul of our great civilisation”. “While this complaint is patently absurd, we have treated this matter seriously,” Krishna said, adding that formal protests had been registered with senior government officials in Moscow.

“We are confident that our Russian friends, who understand our civilisational values and cultural sensitivities, will resolve this matter appropriately,” he said. “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” — first published in 1968 — is a translation of and commentary on the original text by Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the international Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON.

ISKCON members have linked the court case to the Russian Orthodox church, which they claim wants to limit their activities in Russia. O Monday, the Indian parliament had to be adjourned after an uproar over the issue and protestors gathered outside the Russian consulate in the eastern city of Kolkata.

The Siberian court has postponed its judgement on the case until December 28. If it rules in favour of the suit, the book would be placed on a list of banned works that includes Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

New Delhi and Moscow have enjoyed close ties that date back to the 1950s. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from an annual visit to Moscow at the weekend after sealing a preliminary deal to buy 42 jets. In a statement Monday, the Russian ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, voiced his concern and sadness that the case was ever allowed to reach the court.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Thousands of Police to Guard Christmas

Jakarta, 19 Dec. (AKI) — The Jakarta Police says it will deploy more than 7,000 security personnel to carry out a “2011 Lilin Jaya” operation to secure churches and recreation spots throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

“The Jakarta Police, backed by the National Police, will be sending 5,899 personnel, and will be assisted by another 1,500 personnel from the local administration,” Jakarta Police operation chief Sr. Comr. Agung Budi Maryoto said on Monday, as quoted by

He said that from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, the personnel would be on guard at places considered to be prone to possible disturbances, including 45 churches that have been listed as a priority.

The 45 churches, located in South and Central Jakarta, would need special security attention because they are known to have huge congregations, he said

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

Indonesian Widows to Seek Dutch Justice

Widows of Indonesian men killed by the Dutch colonial army in 1946 and 1947 on Saluwesi island are planning to seek justice before a court in the Netherlands, their lawyer said Tuesday. “We are exploring the possibilities of legal action,” Amsterdam-based lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld told AFP, following a landmark ruling earlier this year which found the Dutch state responsible for another massacre in Indonesia in 1947.

The new case was “not about money” but “about getting recognition for the harm that has been done to them,” said Zegveld. In September a court in The Hague found the Dutch state responsible for executions committed by its colonial army in 1947 in the village of Rawagede on Indonesia’s Java island.

The court ruled in favour of eight widows and a survivor of the Rawagede massacre during Indonesia’s fight for independence, where men and boys were executed by the colonial Dutch army as relatives and friends looked on. Zegveld said the new legal action could start “within two or three months in the Netherlands.” “So far, we have spoken to about 10 widows who could enter the Dutch courts,” she added.

Residents claim some 40,000 Indonesians were killed by the Dutch army in Sulawesi’s south between December 1946 and February 1947 while conducting operations to look for opponents of the former Dutch colony. The Dutch government says there were between 3,000 to 5,000 deaths, according to figures quoted in the Dutch media..

Zegveld said events to open proceedings are being studied, citing examples such as executions in the Sulawesian villages of Pare-Pare, Bulukumba, Lombok and Supa-Galung. The Dutch government formally apologised earlier this month for the Rawagede massacre on the country’s Java island in an emotional ceremony.

Dutch officials say some 150 people were killed, but a support group and the local community say the death toll was 431. Indonesia gained its independence in 1949.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ISKCON Monks Demonstrate in Front of Russian Consulate

Monks belonging to ISKCON sect today staged a demonstration in front of the Russian consulate here decrying any move by a Siberian court to ban Bhagwad Gita across Russia.

Holding placards and posters and chanting ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’ to the beating of drums and cymbals, nearly 100 monks of International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) appealed to all MPs to pass a resolution in Parliament condemning the action of a group linked to the Christian Orthodox Church which has moved a Russian court seeking a ban the holy book by describing it as ‘extremist’.

“These initiatives of the Tomsk Prosecutor’s office offend the religious sentiments of all followers of Hinduism and bring disgrace to the country of Russia,” the ISKCON posters said.

“Gita, the holiest Hindu scripture, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as an extremist literature across Russia,” they said.

           — Hat tip: RW[Return to headlines]

Pakistani Chops Off Wife’s Nose, Lips

A teenage Pakistani woman yesterday told of her terror as her husband chopped off her nose and lips in a furious marital row, and threatened to kill herself unless the police brought him to justice.

The horrifying case underscores the brutal violence suffered by some women in Pakistan, where a domestic violence Bill lapsed in 2009 after being held up in the Senate due to objections from religious parties.

Salma Bibi, 17, said her husband, 22-year-old Ghulam Qad-ir, subjected her to a beating, then bound her hands and feet with rope and hacked into her face with a razor in a remote village in Baluchistan.

“He repeatedly slapped my face and then went into the room and brought with him a locally made, sharp razor,” she said, speaking Baluchi in remarks translated by her uncle from a hospital bed in central Multan city.

“I started shouting in panic. He tied my hands and foot with a rope and chopped off my nose and lips,” she added.

The teenager said police refused to register a case when her family complained about the attack, and threatened to kill herself.

“I want justice and if it is not delivered to me, I will immolate myself in front of the Supreme Court.”

Ghulam and Salma married last year and live in the village of Karkana, 475 kilometres southwest of Islamabad.

Local officials insisted they were searching for Ghulam and would arrest him when caught.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Far East

Kim Jong-Il, the Leader From Hell

by Srdja Trifkovic

Kim Jong-il, the North Korean “Dear Leader” (as well as Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, etc, etc.) is dead at 69. The news that the diminutive leader of the most unpleasant despotism in the world is no longer going to regale us with his elevator shoes, oversize glasses and bouffant hairdo would be unworthy of attention, were it not for the existence of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and the anachronistic presence of U.S. troops in South Korea.

Kim was the son and heir of North Korea’s long-term Communist dictator Kim Il-sung. He was born in late 1941 in the Soviet Far East, where his father commanded a Red Army brigade composed of Korean and Chinese exiles. His official biography was doctored, however, to claim that he was born on Korean soil in 1942, in an area controlled by the Communist resistance forces led by his father. Everything else that is officially known about him is also a lie, including the miraculous signs that supposedly attended his birth (according to the official North Korean News Agency it was accompanied by the appearance of a bright star in the sky and a double-rainbow that touched the earth), the details of his education, and the intricacies of his complex family life. What we do know is that he was a film buff with a collection of 20,000 foreign movies and a connoisseur of fine French cognacs, neither of which appears to have softened his propensity to cruelty and capricious eccentricity.

By 1982 Kim Sr. had bestowed on him several senior Party, legislative, and military posts. As heir-apparent he took the designation of “Dear Leader” and was hailed as “the worthy successor to the cause of the revolution.” A grotesque personality cult was swiftly built around him, similar to the one enjoyed by his father, whom he succeeded on Kim Il-sung’s death in 1994. Hymns were composed in his honor, his images were hewn into rocky mountainsides, and his pictures added to those of his father in every office, classroom, and home.

In the late 1990s Kim Jong-il invested heavily into the already bloated military (songun, “army first”), with an emphasis on the nuclear program which was crowned with an A-bomb test in 2006, and a second shortly after President Obama’s inauguration. He pursued his father’s ruinous economic policy of strict autarky (“self-reliance,” juche) with fanatical zeal, effectively ending foreign trade even with North Korea’s only foreign friend, China. Economic mismanagement eventually resulted in a catastrophic famine which is conservatively estimated to have claimed over two million lives, or ten percent of the population, by 1997.

In late spring 2009 Kim Jong-il started grooming his youngest son, Kim Jong-un (b., 1983), as his successor. The youngster was duly designated “The Brilliant Comrade,” but since the rules of succession had not been formally announced prior to Kim Jong-il’s death it is uncertain whether it will proceed uncontested. His ability to establish himself in power will depend primarily on the loyalty of the army top brass and the willingness of the narrow ruling elite—which includes several relatives from his grandfather’s extended family—to respect Kim Jong-il’s wishes. The first signs are encouraging for the youngster: the ruling party has called on the nation to unite “under the leadership of our comrade Kim Jong-un,” and he was also named head of the committee that will oversee his father’s funeral on December 28.

On the foreign front the successors will inherit a position fairly stable in the short term. Kim Jong-il proved a capable negotiator, extracting a series of American concessions in return for a halt to his nuclear weapons buildup. The U.S. put North Korea on its list of state sponsors of terrorism after North Korean agents planted a bomb that blew up a South Korean passenger jet in 1987, on Kim Jong-il’s direct orders, according to one of the agents who was caught alive. In October 2008 the Bush Administration agreed to remove Pyongyang from its terrorism blacklist in return for the North’s commitment to dismantle its nuclear program. The deal was reached within the framework of the six-party talks (China, Japan, Russia, the United States, North and South Korea), whereby Pyongyang agreed to allow teams of international inspectors to visit its Yongbyon plutonium-processing facility in return for much needed foreign aid.

Playing the nuclear card—the only one he had amidst economic ruin and political isolation—had paid handsome diplomatic and economic dividends to Kim Jong-il over the years. “When the history of this era is written,” Graham Allison, a Harvard professor and expert on proliferation, was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “the scorecard will be Kim 8, Bush 0.” But if “he was the greatest master of survival, against all odds,” added Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul, “it was his own people who paid the price, and the price was pretty high.”…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

Next N. Korea Leader Got Swiss Education: Reports

The man tipped to be North Korea’s next leader was schooled in Switzerland where he was an ambitious pupil who enjoyed basketball and even picked up the local dialect, reports said on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Uncle Jang: The Real Power Behind Kim the Younger

He has been described by some analysts as the power behind the throne in North Korea following the death of the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il.

But who is Jang Song-taek?

And why does he appear to wield more influence in the Hermit Kingdom than Kim Jong-un, the 27-year-old son of Kim Jong-il and his anointed successor?

Kim the younger … Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-un, dubbed the “Great Successor” by North Korean state media, had been groomed to take over North Korea, but is seen as young, untested and not yet ready to step up to the big stage alone, analysts say.

“[Kim] is turning 28 on January 8, and although he carries the title of General, Korea is a society that is attentive to age and seniority,” said Scott Snyder of US think tank the Council on Foreign Relations.

“And so the idea of a twenty-eight-year-old who also commands the military is hard for outsiders to grasp and it remains to be seen whether it is in fact sustainable.”

Jang is 65-years-old and was part of Kim Jong-il’s inner-circle, with some describing him as the Dear Leader’s right-hand man.

Other experts say he has been acting as a mentor for young Kim since his father suffered a stroke in 2008, and may have already been acting in a caretaker role.

But Jang’s first encounter with the Kim dynasty was not a wholly positive one, North Korean experts told MSNBC.

He was first purged from the corridors of power when he tried to marry Kim Jong-il’s younger sister Kim Kyong-hee.

In 1972, he did marry her and later became the vice chairman of the National Defence Commission — the second-in-command in North Korea, MSNBC reported.

But between 2003 to 2006, he appeared to have displeased Kim Jong-il — allegedly for attempting to accumulate power — and disappeared from public view again, MSNBC said, quoting military website

“In a way [Jang’s] biography reminds me of Deng Xiaoping’s,” analyst Marcus Noland told MSNBC.

“They keep throwing him to the countryside and he keeps coming back.”

Jang was reinstated in 2007, heading up public security at the Workers Party, South Korea’s The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.

So would Jang support or challenge Kim’s claim to power?

“There is the potential for tension between Kim Jong-un and Jang Song-taek which could result in one or both precipitating a crisis to prove the new government’s power to other senior leaders, although in the short term it is unlikely an internal struggle will be revealed publicly,” Brittany Damora, Asia analyst for the London-based risk consultancy AKE, told Reuters.

“I anticipate increased foreign policy tensions and, later down the line, with policy likely to remain highly erratic, there is the possibility of small-scale military attacks on South Korea.”

Her view was echoed by South Korean expert Ryoo Kihl-jae of University of North Korean Studies.

“Tension will arise between Jang and Kim Jong-in, because Kim will have no choice but to share some power with Jang,” Professor Ryoo told The Associated Press.

Last year, according to cables leaked by WikiLeaks, the US embassy in Seoul said experts doubted that “youngest son Kim Jong-un would be able to succeed his father without sparking instability in the North”.

“One argued his lack of leadership experience made it unlikely he would win the support of the ruling elites. They agreed Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law Jang Song-taek would prove a strong rival for the younger Kim and would probably be tempted to challenge him.”

And Jang, despite not prominently featuring in last year’s 2010 party conference, had wider connections in North Korea’s bureaucracy, Mr Snyder said.

Jang also has strong support in the military as a result of his late brothers Jang Song-woo and Jang Song-gil, who held prominent positions in the armed forces, researcher Ryu Dong-ryeol of South Korea’s Police Science Institute told Chosun Ilbo in June.

His eldest brother, Jang Song-woo, was a Vice Marshal and commanded the Third Army Corps, while younger brother Jang Song-gil was a Lieutenant-General and tank commander, said.

With North Korea’s boasting a five-million-strong army and a nuclear arsenal of up to eight nuclear warheads, all eyes are on whether young Kim can keep a hold on the reins of power.

“There are real concerns that heir-apparent Kim Jong-un has not had sufficient time to form the necessary alliances in the country to consolidate his future as leader,” Asia analyst at IHS Global Insight, Sarah McDowell, told Reuters.

“There is now a heightened risk of an upturn in factional tensions within the North Korean political elite as senior political figures, doubting the capabilities of Kim Jong-un, could initiate a power struggle.”

           — Hat tip: RW[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Mystery of Amazonian Tribe’s Head Shapes Solved

Culture may trigger rapid evolution of various human features, suggests new research into the marital practices of a tribe from the Brazilian rainforest.

Evolution is often thought to be driven by environmental factors, including climate, or geographical obstacles such as rivers and mountains. Still, cultural factors — that is, groups of traditions and behaviors passed down from one generation to another — can have profound effects on behavior and also possibly lead to evolutionary changes.

To learn more, scientists analyzed genetic, climatic, geographic and physical traits of 1,203 members of six South American tribes living in the regions of the Brazilian Amazon and highlands. Their research found that one group, the Xavánte, had significantly diverged from the others in terms of their morphology or shape, possessing larger heads, taller and narrower faces and broader noses. These characteristics evolved in the approximately 1,500 years after they split from a sister group called the Kayapó, a rate that was about 3.8-times faster than comparable rates of change seen in the other tribes.

The major changes the investigators saw apparently occurred independently of the effects of climate or geography on the Xavánte. Instead, cultural factors appear responsible. For instance, in the Xavánte village of São Domingo, a quarter of the population was made up of sons of a single chief, Apoena, who had five wives. The tribe’s sexual practices allow successful men in that group to father many offspring, which in turn means that any traits of theirs can quickly dominate their population.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Denmark: Over-Qualified Immigrants Outnumber Over-Qualified Natives

Experts point to meager language skills, misunderstandings and discrimination as causes

Are you over-qualified for your current job? Your chances of being so are greater if you are an immigrant, according to a recently-released study from the European Commission’s statistical bureau Eurostat. In Denmark, 24 percent of immigrants are over-qualified for their jobs, whereas just 14 percent of people with traditional Danish backgrounds are.

Immigrants were also three times as likely as native-born Danes to be unemployed, according to the study. Albeit, unemployment rates for both groups were low — just two and six percent, respectively — in 2008, the year statistics for the study were gathered. The figures come from the 2008 European Labour Force Survey and pertain to native- and foreign-born workers aged 25-54 throughout the 27 EU states. People were considered ‘over-qualified’ if they had more education or experience than their current jobs required.

Despite the significant gap, immigrants in Denmark still fared better than the EU average, according to the study. Across the 27 EU countries, more than one-third of foreign-born workers were over-qualified versus just one-fifth of the native populations’ workers.

Moreover, Denmark also appeared to be a little ahead of its Nordic neighbours at utilising the skills and knowledge of immigrants, the study showed. Whereas Denmark showed a ten percentage point difference in over-qualified immigrants versus natives, point differences were even higher in Sweden (20 percent), Norway (17 percent), and Finland (12 percent).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: The Killer Shielded by the Home Office: Family’s Fury as Officials Say it is Against Law to Reveal if Son’s Murderer is an Illegal Migrant

A murder victim’s family who want to know if the man who shot their son is in Britain legally have been refused the information — to protect the killer’s privacy.

Wintworth and Lurline Deslandes are desperate to confirm suspicions that Saturday Hassan is a foreign national so they can ensure he is deported if he is released from jail.

But they have been told the killer — who shot their public schoolboy son Darren in the head after being thrown out of the family’s pub — must agree to details of his immigration status being handed over to their MP.

Officials said this ‘personal information’ needed to be ‘safeguarded’ and cited the Data Protection Act in their refusal to hand it over.

The UK Border Agency also insisted it needed ‘written authority’ from Hassan himself, who is serving life with a minimum term of 37 years, before any details could be released.

The Deslandes family are enraged by the response and their case has sparked a furious reaction at Westminster, with the couple’s MP branding the decision ‘ridiculous’.

Their son, a former Dulwich College schoolboy who attended Brunel University and worked for a housing association, was due to be married to Abigail Beresford earlier this year.

Last night Croydon North MP Malcolm Wicks said: ‘The logic of that answer is that I should write a nice letter saying, “Dear murderer, would you give me permission to find out if you are a foreign national, so I can make sure in the future you are deported”.’

The former Labour business minister added: ‘It’s ridiculous. The family of the murdered man had a suspicion for some reason he might have been a foreign national and it didn’t come out in court.

‘My experience as an MP is that if you find out some criminal is a foreign national, I do my best to pressure the Home Office to check the person out. That’s one reason an MP should be able to find out.’

Hassan, 31, was thrown out of the Deslandes family’s pub — the Newton Arms in Croydon, South London — on New Year’s Eve 2009 after threatening a customer.

Minutes later he returned with a semi-automatic weapon, firing at Darren, 34, and his younger brother Junior, who had evicted him.

Darren was shot in the head and died instantly. Junior, 26, was hit three times in the head, neck and shoulder. He was left critically ill but survived.

Last year Hassan was found guilty of murder and attempted murder at the Old Bailey and jailed.

Judge David Paget said: ‘What you did has taken the life of a thoroughly good and worthy young man with his life before him and has devastated the lives of the whole Deslandes family, of Darren Deslandes’s fiancée and I dare say of others near and dear to them.’

The family insist the question of Hassan’s immigration status never came up at the trial.

During the trial, Mr Wicks wrote to the Home Office asking for information on the killer’s immigration status after the family told him they believed Hassan was in the country illegally, having arrived here from Guyana in South America.

On December 2 last year the UK Border Agency wrote back. A letter signed by the then chief executive, Lin Homer, refused to divulge any details about Hassan’s past.

She wrote: ‘I hope that you will appreciate that in order to safeguard an individual’s personal information and comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, we are limited in what information we can provide when a request is made by someone, such as your constituent, who is not the subject of the application. Except in a few exceptional circumstances, we must ensure we have the written authority of the individual concerned before the information is divulged to anyone else.’

It also said the reply was a ‘proportionate response to protecting the privacy of the individual’.

Last night Mrs Deslandes, 57, said: ‘I do not see why he should have any data protection. He has killed someone. We are the victims and no one is there to protect us. He should be removed from the country.’

Mr Deslandes, 60, who is terminally ill with lung cancer, added: ‘He shot both of my sons and he tried to kill me as well, but he ran out of bullets.’

Raising the case in the in the House of Commons on Monday during a debate about the deportation of foreign nationals, Mr Wicks branded the decision ‘total nonsense’.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said he ‘rather agreed’ and described the situation as ‘absurd’. But officials admitted he was constrained by the Data Protection Act.

Last night a Home Office official said: ‘The minister is able to discuss more in some cases but the Data Protection Act is what it is and he can’t act above that.’

Mr Wicks raised the issue during a Commons debate on foreign criminals after a leaked Home Office report revealed foreign nationals allowed to remain in the UK have committed horrendous crimes including murder, rape and kidnap.

Ministers have pledged to increase the number of foreign nationals sent home but are being thwarted by the Human Rights Act, especially Article 8 which gives individuals a right to a ‘private and family life’.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Nina Shea, Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. She is the co-author (with Paul Marshall) of the new book, Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide.

FP: Nina Shea, welcome to Frontpage Interview. Tell us what inspired you to write this book with Paul Marshall.

Shea: We have been tracking and opposing the punishment of religious minorities and Muslim reformers in many Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries under apostasy and blasphemy codes for decades. As religious freedom advocates, we saw a horrific and spreading pattern of human rights violations that is being ignored in US foreign policy and in the media — though particularly egregious individual cases have been sporadically reported without much attention to their overall effect. This pattern of human rights violations should especially concern us because the practices and policies it evidences undermine the individual freedoms essential to liberal democracy. Even our national security is compromised since apostasy and blasphemy codes are used by Islamic radicals to crush their opponents and thus pose obstacles to moderation within Islam. So, it undermines a number of critical American interests.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Norway: Minister Mulls Local Election Gender Quotas

Norway’s Minister of Local Government, Liv Signe Navarsete, has said she won’t rule out forcing parties to put more women on their municipal ballots unless politicians take swift action to achieve a more equitable gender balance. Currently, 38 percent of politicians elected to municipal councils in Norway are women. This figure needs to increase, according to Naversete, who leads the Centre Party, a junior partner in the governing red-green coalition. “I think the time has come to discuss how the parties’ lists are compiled,” she told national broadcaster NRK. “If the distribution between men and women is too skewed, we’ll have to take a look at it.” Navarsete said she wanted to examine the possibility of requiring Norway’s political parties to ensure every second candidate on their council election ballots is a woman.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Santa Claus to Visit Schools in Saugus After All, After Initially Being Told to Stay Away

SAUGUS — Santa Claus will be visiting Saugus schools after all.

The town’s superintendent on Monday announced that he was ending a nearly 50-year-old tradition of off-duty firefighters dressed as Santa visiting elementary schools to hand out coloring books and crayons to children because he said Santa is a religious figure.

Richard Langlois reversed his decision later in the day after an outcry from firefighters and citizens who say Santa is a secular symbol.

Fire Chief James Blanchard told The Daily Item of Lynn he was “taken aback” by the original decision, but is glad it was reversed.

School Committee member Arthur Grabowski says the superintendent didn’t consult the board before making the original decision he said was “political correctness gone awry.”

The superintendent said the tradition will be revisited next year.

           — Hat tip: AC[Return to headlines]


Boob Job Vouchers ‘Not a Good Gift Idea’

People planning to give their loved one a nip and tuck at Christmas could be risking more than upsetting their partners — cheap seasonal offers with time limits are not to be recommended, a top surgeon has warned.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


toro said...

The discrimination towards Romania is quite shocking. And as a romanian, I simply cannot ignore the fact that each news about Romania is negative. Statistically is impossible to have only bad news about a country, which means that GoV has no real opinion on this matter and it's simply following an agenda filled with regurgitated crap produced by other people. And when I say other people, I think about Geert Wilders, a person I admire, but which is quite stupid when talking about romanians.
Let me debunk a couple of *FACTS* that keeps creeping in GoV news-feed:
1) There is no doubt that Romania is a country with great problems, but fascism is NOT one of them. Case in point, Noua Dreapta is a fringe political group which will remain so for the foreseeable future. The romanian society already has experience with an extremist party - PRM - which was in parliament but is no longer there. That is really a good thing, that I guess is not good for a site specialized in apocalyptic trends.
2) I don't believe a greater danger will justify overlooking a lesser danger. But speaking about fascism, I don't see a single news about Hungary. Why Hungary? Let me tell you this: Hungary is already living in a Mussolini like state. The fascist there just went over a 20% threshold and they might be the big winners of the next elections. Viktor Orban is a nationalist premier which constantly is meddling in the business of other countries. And just for the record: no gipsy was killed in Romania in the last years based on his race, however in Hungary there were several racist attacks and murders against them. For me is obvious you have no idea were Romania or Hungary are on the map, much less to select the really important news.
3) Gipsies are an important minority of Romania, but they are also one of the biggest problems. Their culture is that of a crime, because for them anti-social behavior is the norm and only a small part of them is really trying to integrate at all. As long as crime pays well, they will do it. They also burned all the understanding bridges with the romanian society and as a result, they are discriminated. I admit is not alright, but this is the reality. But is not something provoked by state funded discrimination, I would say is quite the opposite - the reaction of the gypsy society towards reality. They don't want to accept binding laws, therefore they like to show society the finger by simply living as parasites.
No one will ever integrate the gipsies, because integrating them means that there will be no more gipsies. But the problem can be contained and the only option is to apply the law disregarding the color of the skin. But this is no longer possible when dozens of NGOs are living after this "unfair" discrimination. Anyway, the point is that Romanian is not the same as saying gipsy. I don't care much about it, but the truth is that when a bad news appears - about Romanians doing troubles in Europe, they are talking about gypsies in 75% of cases. I know that GoV is the author of Mohammad Factor, but if you keep track of Romanian crimes in Europe, please do me a favor and find out the percent of gypsies. You might get a revelation.

toro said...

4) Geert Wilders is quite stupid and totally wrong in blaming Romanians for Holland problems. There are a couple of reasons why he is full of crap. And the most important reason is that the number of Romanians living in Holland in SMALL. And it will remain so. Romanian language is very similar to Italian or other Latin languages, therefore the vast majority of Romanians already emigrated to Italy and Spain. And a lot of them went to Germany and France. It is estimated that only in Germany, there are 200.000 Romanians with HIGH education: doctors and engineers. In fact, Romanians diaspora helped a lot the economies of Italy, Spain and Germany. But I guess these hard working people have no time for crimes, therefore they cannot appear in news. And definitely not in your news. Just for your information, Romania is not 3rd world country. It is a messed up country with a lot of corruption and a lot of bad things, but is still part of Europe and it was for 2000 years! Geert Wilders would be happy to have Romanians instead of Gypsies as emigrants. But I guess a white emigrant is quite scary, especially when he is better qualified than the local automaton.

I'm quite aware that Romania is not an A-grade country and I'm not a patriot, but even if you don't publish my comments, please think about it. Stop beating a dead cow, Romanians are quite normal people with a Christian religion. 95% of them.