Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120206

Financial Crisis
»Australian FM Castigates Navel-Gazing Europe
»Crisis Desperation Drives Merkel to Campaign for Sarkozy
»Delayed Austerity Talks: Merkel Demands That Greece Take Quick Action
»EU Says China May Become Its Biggest Market in 2012
»Euro Group President Jean-Claude Juncker: If Greece Doesn’t Reform, ‘it Can’t Expect Solidarity’
»Europe Crisis Could Halve China’s Growth: IMF
»Focus on French Economy Fuels Gains by Far Right
»Greece: Karatzaferis Asks for “Italian-Style” Gvt
»Greece: Unions Plan Strike on Tuesday
»Italy: Monti Says Italy ‘Eager’ To Follow OECD
»Papademos Meets Creditors as ‘Sacrifice’ Looms
»Poll Shows Most Germans Want Greece Out of Eurozone
»UK: Radical Muslims Target Young Inmates in Prison
»Lawrence: Woman Talks About Turkey to Church Audience
»Parents Protest at Scandalized LA Grade School
»Sandia Labs Engineers Create ‘Self-Guided’ Bullet
Europe and the EU
»3D Printer Provides Woman With a Brand New Jaw
»Finns Elect New Centre-Right President
»France: Nicolas Sarkozy Spends £10k a Day Food, Keeps 121 Cars
»France: Le Pen Claims Presidential Candidacy in Doubt
»France: Minister Under Fire for ‘Civilisations’ Remarks
»Fury as War Crimes Suspect is Allowed to Stay in Britain
»Germany: Leftist Crime on the Rise
»Italy: Heating Consumption Hits Record After Historic Storm
»Netherlands: Dutch Burqa Ban Legislation Row Heating Up
»Norway Mass Killer Decries “Cultural Destruction”
»Norway: Breivik Asks Court for ‘Immediate Release’
»Norway: Breivik Planned to Publish Own Magazine
»Patch of Seagrass is World’s Oldest Living Organism
»Poland Suspends Ratification of Acta Bill
»Romanian PM Resigns Over Protests
»Situation ‘Tragic’ As Winter Weather Blankets Europe
»Sweden: Attackers Carve ‘Whore’ Into Woman’s Arm
»Sweden:10-Year-Old Girl Stabbed in the Throat at School
»Switzerland: Media Blame Banks for Caving in to US Pressure
»UK: Another Racially Motivated Attack
»UK: Al-Qaeda Bid for Brit Girl Bombers
»UK: Extremism Report: What About the Far Right?
»UK: Grievances ‘Drive Radicalisation’
»UK: Home Affairs Committee Warns of Far-Right Terror Threat
»UK: It Took Years to Jail Him, But Now MPs Visit Abu Hamza at Belmarsh to Canvass His Views
»UK: Is David Cameron More Yellow Than Blue?
»UK: Internet Biggest Breeding Ground for Violent Extremism, Ministers Warn
»UK: Menace of Sex Abusers Preying on Leeds Kids
»UK: Pictured: Swollen Face of Trainee Chef Left for Dead After He Was Savagely Beaten ‘By Asian Gang in Hate Crime Attack’
»UK: Tim Farron Misses a Golden Opportunity to Compare Cameron’s Britain to Nazi Germany
North Africa
»Danish Citizen Arrested on Terror Charges in Morocco
»Snow in Algeria, Deaths & Controversy
Israel and the Palestinians
»The Mainstreaming of Hamas Continues as Palestinian Unity Gains Steam
Middle East
»Amid Crippling Sanctions Over Its Nuclear Weapons Program, Iran is Continuing to Prepare Itself for War Against the West, And Now is Warning of a Coming Great Event.
»Fatah-Hamas Agreement on Unity Gvt Signed in Doha
»Iran: More Jew-Annihilationist Jihad Rhetoric (And Jihad Taqiyya)
»The Syria Veto: Leaders Vent Frustration Over Chinese and Russian ‘Scandal’
»Gazprom Says Unable to Meet European Gas Needs
South Asia
»Bangladesh: “Angry Brides “: An Online Game to Fight Dowry Murders
»Graft, Politics, Militant Islam Shake Indian Ocean Island
»Obama Admin Overlooks Rampant Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Far East
»China Bans Airlines From Paying EU Carbon Charges
»Emissions Scheme Dispute: China Bans Airlines From Paying EU Carbon Tax
»World’s ‘Most Expensive’ Tea Grown in Chinese Panda Poo
»Time for Soft-Touch Britain to Get Tough on Immigration
»Why the UK Cannot Deport Thousands of Criminals
Culture Wars
»UK: Prominent Tory Disowns ‘Religious Right’ And Supports Gay Marriage
»Mars ‘Super-Drought’ May Make Red Planet Too Dry for Alien Life
»Pirate File-Sharing Goes 3D

Financial Crisis

Australian FM Castigates Navel-Gazing Europe

Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd Saturday suggested the EU risks becoming so wrapped up with its economic problems that it talks itself into irrelevance. He suggested Europe “runs the risk of talking itself into an early economic and therefore globally political grave.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Crisis Desperation Drives Merkel to Campaign for Sarkozy

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s move to help President Nicolas Sarkozy in his bid for re-election is unprecedented. But so too is the European debt crisis. Berlin is driven by the fear that a Socialist president in Paris may overturn its strategy to rescue the euro. But Merkel’s campaign assistance poses risks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Delayed Austerity Talks: Merkel Demands That Greece Take Quick Action

Patience with Greece is wearing thin in Europe. On Monday, Chancellor Merkel became just the latest EU leader to demand quick action from Athens. But talks on additional austerity measures there continue to go nowhere despite the looming threat of bankruptcy. Greek politicians, after all, must answer to their voters.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Says China May Become Its Biggest Market in 2012

(BEIJING) — The EU ambassador to China said Monday the Asian powerhouse could become Europe’s biggest export market this year, overtaking the United States, as Beijing boosts domestic demand. His comments come after Premier Wen Jiabao said China was considering helping the crisis-hit eurozone by contributing to regional bailout funds, and that a stable Europe was crucial for Beijing.

“There are indications that in 2012, China may become Europe’s biggest export market,” Markus Ederer told reporters in Beijing. “European exports are growing at a higher pace than European imports from China,” he said, adding the forecast was based on current trade trends. He gave no concrete figures.

The European Union has long been the biggest market for Chinese goods, and trade between the two grows every year, reaching $567 billion in 2011. But while Chinese exports to the European Union grew by 14.5 percent last year from 2010, the Asian country’s imports of European goods rose at a higher rate of 25.6 percent in 2011, according to official Chinese data.

Beijing is increasingly looking to reduce its dependency on exports and focus more on domestic demand. But its economy — which grew at a rate of 9.2 percent last year, down from 10.4 percent in 2010 — is still export-driven and Beijing has watched with increasing concern as Europe’s debt crisis deepened, impacting its growth.

Last week, Wen said solving the crisis — which has seen a wave of credit-rating downgrades and brought Greece to the brink of bankruptcy — was “urgent” and urged global cooperation on the issue. After talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was on a trip aimed at boosting her hosts’ confidence in Europe, Wen said China “was investigating and evaluating ways” to become more involved in solving Europe’s debt problem.

European leaders have repeatedly called on China, which has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves at around $3.2 trillion, to invest in a bailout fund, but Beijing has so far made no firm commitment. Any move to bail out wealthier European nations using public funds would likely face strong resistance in China, where millions still live on less than a dollar a day.

After raising the possibility of a contribution during Merkel’s visit, Wen told businesses in the southern manufacturing hub of Guangdong at the weekend that Europe was important for China. “Helping stability in the European market is actually helping ourselves,” he said.

During her visit, Merkel sought to assure Beijing that the crisis was under control, saying the euro currency had made Europe stronger, and pointing to an EU treaty agreed last week that aims to stop countries from overspending. On Monday, Ederer sought to further boost confidence in the eurozone, and said the EU welcomed any Chinese initiatives, “both in terms of political support and also in terms of state debt and investment in Europe.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Euro Group President Jean-Claude Juncker: If Greece Doesn’t Reform, ‘it Can’t Expect Solidarity’

In a SPIEGEL interview, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Euro Group, talks about the need for Greece to push ahead with economic reforms. If the country doesn’t meet Europe’s demands, it will have to declare bankruptcy in March, he says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe Crisis Could Halve China’s Growth: IMF

(WASHINGTON) — An escalation of Europe’s debt crisis could slash China’s economic growth in half this year, the International Monetary Fund said Monday, urging Beijing to prepare stimulus measures in response. The IMF, in an economic outlook report on the world’s second-largest economy, highlighted China’s vulnerability to global demand.

“The global economy is at a precarious stage and downside risks have risen sharply,” the IMF said. “The most salient risk is from an intensification of feedback loops between sovereign and bank funding pressures in the euro area, resulting in more protracted bank deleveraging and sizable contractions in credit and output in both Europe and elsewhere.”

The IMF outlined the negative impact if the eurozone crisis tipped Europe into a deep recession, dragging China’s growth lower mainly due to shocks through trade. In that “downside scenario” China’s growth would fall by around 4.0 percentage points this year from the 8.2 percent rate the IMF projected in January, the Washington-based institution said.

In that case, “China should respond with a significant fiscal package.” “The weak external outlook underscores the importance of accelerating the transformation of China’s economy to reduce its vulnerability to the vagaries of global demand.” The IMF forecast last month that its “downside scenario” would shave 1.75 percentage points off 2012 global growth, currently projected at 3.3 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Focus on French Economy Fuels Gains by Far Right

ABBEVILLE, France — This small city in northern France has few immigrants and little crime. But in the last local elections here, the candidate of the far-right National Front eliminated the standard-bearer of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party in the first round of voting and then won 30.2 percent of the vote in the runoff, losing to a Socialist.

With the presidential election less than three months away, Mr. Sarkozy’s party fears the same results on a national scale. The president is facing strong competition on the right from the National Front and its leader, Marine Le Pen, and his party is worried that she may eliminate the sitting president in the first round of voting on April 22.

What is most striking is how well she and the party are doing not only in the south of France, where immigration and radical Islam are traditional issues, but here in the post-industrial north, where the issues are more economic: unemployment, factory closings, competition from inside the enlarged European Union, from Poland and Slovakia, and from outside, particularly China.

In Abbeville, a city of 25,000 on the Somme River, numerous jobless workers who say they feel betrayed by the European Union, globalization and deindustrialization are turning not to the Socialist Party, but to the National Front, which promises a kind of patriotic focus on French jobs, French pride and French money. Some who once voted Communist now join others who are traditionally on the right — like the hunting and fishing lovers who abound here — to support Ms. Le Pen.

There are, of course, those who insist that France is being polluted by immigration and undermined by Islam. Anti-Semitism, however, an underlying theme of the party’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been disavowed by Ms. Le Pen, his daughter. She concentrates more on Islam and those who, she says, refuse to assimilate to French habits, laws and culture, including secularism and gender equality.

“The motivations for a vote for the National Front are very diverse,” said Nicolas Dumont, 35, the Socialist mayor of Abbeville. “It can be a way to say ‘stop’; it can be a way to” express fury, he said, using a vulgar term.

“It’s a way to make things move,” he added. “It’s the cry of victims, of people who think they can find easy solutions to difficulties.”

Mr. Dumont, elected in 2008, is a local Socialist star. He thinks that Mr. Sarkozy’s efforts to co-opt the voters of the National Front, which worked in the 2007 election, have since served to normalize the party and its discourse. “There is a porosity of themes and ways of speaking on these topics that has removed inhibitions,” he said.

“My real fear is that Ms. Le Pen won’t come in second in the first round, but that she will come in first,” Mr. Dumont said. His expectation, of course, is that the Socialist Party’s candidate, François Hollande, will then have an easier path to the presidency in the May 6 runoff.

Ms. Le Pen, because she is a woman and, at 43, a fresh face with less baggage than her father, has been easier for voters to support, Mr. Dumont said.

The northern province of Picardy remains important for French industry, but Abbeville does not. There are few immigrants because there are few large factories, and one of the last, the Beghin-Say sugar works, closed in 2009. The reason, Mr. Dumont says, as the National Front charges, is “Europe” — beet-sugar quotas were shared with new members of the European Union, reducing the French quota, and the sugar factory, its chimney still prominent on the horizon, is empty.

“The National Front doesn’t need propaganda; it attracts people naturally, as a protest vote,” said Robert, 56, a bus driver who declined to give his last name. “There’s a complete loss of bearings,” he said, getting a kebab. “We don’t believe in politicians anymore. There’s a rejection of the political class. People are refusing both left and right and go toward the extremes.”

Eric Rambure, 38, said, “The system is spoiled.” He will not vote, he said; his wife cannot find a job, and his father-in-law was laid off. “Everyone is worried,” he said. “There’s no work.”

Jean-Yves Camus, a political analyst who is an expert on the National Front, said the party was the strongest advocate of state control in Europe, attracting a generation that experienced the economic boom of the 1950s and the current decline.

It remains “the last party to represent a revival of the state, based on industrial value and injection of public money,” Mr. Camus said, making it seem to some the true inheritor of Gaullism.

The leftist newspaper Libération caused a fuss here last month with a long article about Abbeville, describing it as a prototypical French town, white, peaceful and provincial, embracing the National Front. A front-page headline in the local newspaper, Le Journal d’Abbeville, asked “Abbeville, City of Racists and Rednecks?”

Local leaders of the National Front think the article was exaggerated. Michel Chevalier, 63, is the party’s treasurer for the Somme district. “It’s a very Parisian view,” he said. “There are very few rednecks and racists here.” People are turning to his party “because they are disappointed with both the politicians and the unions,” he said.

Workers “are sick of paying for people who aren’t working, and I’m not speaking just of immigrants,” he said. But immigration is an issue, said his colleague, Christian Mandosse, 51, who runs a party Web site. People are tired of “France importing the unemployed and their families,” he said, especially those who do not share French “culture, values and religion.”

Mr. Chevalier, who voted for the Socialist François Mitterrand as president, said that “people are so fed up there’s potential for political revolution.” The party officials denounced what they said was the effort of Mr. Sarkozy’s party to deny Ms. Le Pen enough signatures to get on to the ballot.

“It’s not democracy when you deprive people of the right to speak or vote for whom they want,” Mr. Mandosse said.

They believe that Ms. Le Pen will get at least 25 percent of the vote in the first round and could run ahead of Mr. Sarkozy and even Mr. Hollande.

Emanuel Ozanon, 38, who runs the restaurant Le Charlotin here, said he was considering a vote for Ms. Le Pen. “There’s a lot of insecurity and sadness, a sense of no solution and that it’s time for real change,” he said. “I’m not a very political person. But I understand what’s happening. Hollande is full of hot air, and she has the ambition to change things.”

Mr. Dumont concedes that voters are fed up. “There’s a loss of faith in the capacity of both the right and the left to change their lives,” he said. Part of the failure, he admits, belongs to his own Socialist Party — “Since 1995 we have not known how to talk to these people.” But what consoles him, he said, is the unpopularity of Mr. Sarkozy.

“There’s a real will to reject Sarkozy and kick him out, like I’ve never seen before,” he said, then smiled a bit. “It’s easier to say ‘stop’ then to say ‘again.’ “

Maïa de la Baume contributed reporting.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Greece: Karatzaferis Asks for “Italian-Style” Gvt

A letter to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, 6 FEBRUARY — Giorgos Karatzaferis, the leader of extreme right-wing party Laos, which is supporting the Greek “national rescue” government or “transition government”, as Nea Dimocratia leader prefers to call it, together with Pasok (Socialist party) and Nea Dimocratia (centre-right) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, asking a re-organization of the government aimed at replacing the heads of important ministries with experts, as in Mario Monti’s Italian government. “While we face the last and crucial phase of our initiative aimed at rescuing our Country”, Karatzaferis wrote, “I suggest that, for a number of reasons, the government is re-organized according to the same principles underlying Mario Monti’s government”.

As for the meeting with the Prime Minister and with the other parties supporting the government is concerned, Karatzaferis delivered a speech to the leaders of his party, stating that negotiations were continuing in a satisfactory way and stressing that he and Antonis Samaras (Nea Dimocratia leader) succeeded in “saving” the thirteenth and fourteenth month salaries. “We are halfway of a long journey”, Karatzaferis stated, “Negotiations are continuing in a satisfactory way. A hard struggle was underway with the government”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Unions Plan Strike on Tuesday

GSEE and ADEDY, Greece’s two major labor unions, have planned a 24-hour strike on Tuesday against belt-tightening measures and reforms demanded by foreign creditors in exchange for a new bailout package. Despite our sacrifices and despite admitting that the policy mix is wrong, they still ask for more austerity,” chief of ADEDY public sector union said.

Representatives from the two unions were to meet on Monday to finalize plans to strike. European governments maintained pressure on Greece to accept terms demanded by international lenders during a weekend of talks to avert a financial collapse.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos struck a tentative deal with party leaders to boost economic competitiveness and extend spending cuts after eurozone finance chiefs told them an increase in the 130 billion-euro ($170 billion) aid package wasn’t forthcoming. The four men would resume their meeting on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Says Italy ‘Eager’ To Follow OECD

Gurria praises government’s structural reforms

(ANSA) — Rome, February 6 — Italian Premier Mario Monti expressed his readiness to follow advice from the Organization for European Cooperation and Development on Monday. “The government is eager to cooperate with the OECD and to have its input and recommendation,” he said after meeting with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria in Rome. “They are concerned with the things that we want in Italy, with accelerated implementation, starting with structural reform”. The Paris-based organization, which forecasts a 2012 recession in Italy, pledged to support the Monti government’s reform agenda while calling on it to continue its crackdown on tax evasion and to strengthen social safety nets as the euro crisis drags on. In December the OECD praised the former European Commissioner for his 30-billion-euro austerity package of tax increases and spending cuts to help put Italy’s public finances in order.

The administration is now seeking to implement structural measures to make the sluggish Italian economy more dynamic.

It unveiled a series of liberalisations and simplifications last month that it intends to push through parliament.

The government is in sensitive talks with unions on measures to reform the labour market and make it easier for women and young people to find jobs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Papademos Meets Creditors as ‘Sacrifice’ Looms

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos began a second round of negotiations with international creditors in Athens to stave off default as political leaders waver on budget measures and unions call their first general strike of the year.

Papademos met with representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to continue talks on possible spending cuts that Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said would determine whether Greece can stick to its plan to remain in the euro area.

“The salvation of the country, remaining in the euro, means great sacrifices,” Venizelos told reporters in Athens late yesterday after meeting with the so-called troika of representatives. “Failure of these talks, failure of the plan, the country’s bankruptcy, means even greater sacrifice.”

With Greece’s stability at stake and the country set to pay a 14.5 billion-euro ($19 billion) bond due on March 20, Papademos will bring the leaders of the three parties supporting him back to the table later today in a bid to forge agreement on terms for a second aid package to prevent the country’s collapse.

European leaders stepped up pressure on Greek politicians to meet the conditions of the 130 billion-euro bailout yesterday as Papademos delayed the meeting with party leaders a day. In Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said time is running out. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said there could be no funds without reforms.

Allowing Greece to go bankrupt “isn’t an option,” he said…

[Return to headlines]

Poll Shows Most Germans Want Greece Out of Eurozone

A poll published in Sunday’s edition of Germany’s mass-selling Bild newspaper found that 53% of Germans would prefer to see debt-ridden Greece leave the eurozone, while only 34% felt it should keep the euro. The same poll found that 80% opposes releasing a second rescue package unless Greece implements reforms.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Radical Muslims Target Young Inmates in Prison

Jailed terrorists are radicalising vulnerable young Muslims in prison, a report by MPs has disclosed.

Despite being sent to maximum security jails, extremists are preaching hate to new inmates, breeding a fresh generation of radicals willing to launch terror attacks. A nine-month inquiry by the home affairs select committee into the roots of violent radicalisation found that, in some cases, inmates were being persuaded to carry out suicide missions within days of entering prison. The findings are published as four radical Islamists are due to be sentenced for plotting a major terror attack before Christmas on the London Stock Exchange, the London Eye and other important landmarks. Mohammed Chowdhury, 21, Shah Rahman, 28, Abdul Miah, 25, and Gurukanth Desai, 30, will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court today for the Mumbai-style terror plot. It is believed Miah was radicalised in prison after being sentenced for drugs and weapons offences. A former neighbour of his in Cardiff said he had “gone into prison as a petty criminal and came out spouting extremist views”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Lawrence: Woman Talks About Turkey to Church Audience

[Note from HRW: the following is a report of Turkish version of taqiyya served up in Central NJ . . .note the change in identity from Interfaith dialog Center to new identity]

A country that is about the size of Texas, Turkey has been called the crossroads of civilization — and the heart of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled large swaths of Asia and Europe for more than 600 years.

Turkey also is a place where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together in peace for hundreds of years under the Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1299 to 1923, said Yesim Acikel, who outlined the country’s history to about 60 people at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville,

Ms. Acikel was invited to speak to the congregation Sunday afternoon by the church’s Peacemaking Committee. She is a member of the Turkish Cultural Center and the Peace Islands Institute, formerly known as the Interfaith Dialog Center.

Turkey, which was formerly known as Anatolia, straddles Europe and Asia, Ms. Acikel said. The largest part of the country, however, is in Asia. Neighboring countries include Syria, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia and Armenia, she said.

Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state, governed by a parliamentary system that provides for a separation of powers — the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch, Ms. Acikel said.

There are many religious sites associated with Christianity inside Turkey’s borders — from the House of the Virgin Mary, where she lived her last days, to the Hagia Sophia built by the Roman Emperor Justinian in 537 and which was the largest church in the Christian world for 1,000 years, she said.

“I remember going to the site (the House of the Virgin Mary) and feeling the presence of Mary,” said Ms. Acikel, who is a Muslim.

Modern-day Turkey is an offspring of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted for more than 600 years, Ms. Acikel said. It had its beginnings when leader Osman Bey saw the weakness of the Byzantine Empire and began the empire’s conquest of neighboring countries.

As the Ottoman Empire expanded, it brought Islam with it. “Islam” means peace, submission and obedience, Ms. Acikel said. Muslims believe in only one God, who is the same god for Christians and Jews. In fact, the Koran — which is the word of God for Muslims, just as the Torah is for Jews — refers to Christians and Jews as “the people of the book,” she said.

Ms. Acikel said the leaders of the Ottoman Empire accepted the differences of the Christians and the Jews, and wanted them to integrate into society — but not necessarily to assimilate, although some Muslim men married Christian women. They recognized the “authenticity” of the two faiths and did not try to crush them, she said.

The leaders of the Ottoman Empire told their new subjects that they wanted peace, progress and to build the economy, Ms. Acikel said. The leaders told them they could live in peace, and they were expected to help grow the economy and to pay taxes to help support the empire.

The Ottoman Empire also gave much freedom to its newly conquered subjects because there were too few Turks to control all of its lands, which stretched from the Crimea in the north to Yemen and Sudan in the south, and from Iran and the Caspian Sea in the east to the Vienna in the northwest and Spain in the southwest, she said.

Nevertheless, it was made clear to Christians and Jews that within the legal system and the public realm, the superiority of Islam was to be recognized, Ms. Acikel said. A kadi, or local magistrate, was sent to the countries under the Ottoman Empire’s rule to work with the local population to maintain balance and order, she said.

But things began to change in the 1800s and 1900s in the Ottoman Empire, Ms. Acikel said. As Europe gained economic and ideological power, the Ottomans were attacked physically, through wars, and ideologically by the concept of nation-states. There were too many states and ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire.

Many of the Ottoman states — such as Greece, Bulgaria and Egypt — sought to separate from the Ottoman Empire and waged wars for their independence, she said. As the empire began to lose land, Muslims and Turks who had settled in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, for example, emigrated back to Anatolia, or modern-day Turkey.

Out of that process emerged the modern country of Turkey, which was formed in 1923, Ms. Acikel said. Turkey, which is 99 percent Muslim, is not a diverse country in terms of religion. It is a Western, secular and democratic country. Turkey is a member of the European Union.

“Some people say that East and West cannot live together, but (Muslim) origins and traditions disagree. We lived together for hundreds of years,” Ms. Acikel said of the Muslims, Christians and Jews.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Parents Protest at Scandalized LA Grade School

LOS ANGELES — Many children stayed home Monday while parents demanded more protection at an elementary school where two teachers are suspected of molesting students in class.

Nearly a quarter of the students at Miramonte Elementary School were absent, with attendance reaching just 72 percent, according to figures from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Meanwhile, about three dozen parents and supporters protested in front of the main doors off the school. Some carried a banner reading, “We the parents demand our children be protected from lewd teacher acts.”

School police watched and sheriff’s deputies were on hand, but there was no violence.

Elsewhere, a janitor at a San Fernando Valley elementary school was arrested on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a child on a campus.

Paul Adame, 37, was taken into custody after a mother told police on Sunday that he had inappropriate contact with her child during school hours Friday at Germain Elementary School in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles, police Capt. Kris Pitcher said at a news conference.

The captain declined to provide details but urged anyone who might know of other possible victims to contact police.

There was no immediate word of any connection between the arrest of the janitor and the cases at Miramonte, which is 15 miles away in an unincorporated county area of South Los Angeles.

The Miramonte protesters demanded greater communication with education officials and the placement of cameras in classrooms and hallways.

Arianna Perez, 30, also wants a new principal and teachers, or at least a new round of background checks for the 50 or so instructors. She kept her two sons out of the school on Monday.

“I’m not letting them in (school),” she said of her children. “They’re scared to be in. I’m not going to put them in risk of (teachers) doing something to them.”

Neither of her boys was a student of the two teachers named in the allegations.

“I don’t want to go to the school anymore,” said son Luis, 11. “I feel unsafe. and I feel like something bad’s going to happen, like what happened to others.”

The protest was an unusual event in the poor, overwhelmingly Latino neighborhood, where many parents and students struggle with the English language…

[Return to headlines]

Sandia Labs Engineers Create ‘Self-Guided’ Bullet

Figuring out how to pack a processor and other electronics into a machine gun bullet has been a challenge for engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, so weapons experts say the miniature guidance system the lab has developed is a breakthrough. Three years in the making, the bullet prototype represents another step toward a next-generation battlefield that scientists and experts expect to be saturated with technology and information.

“In the laboratory, I’m able to make machines so incredibly small it kind of boggles my mind,” said Red Jones, one of the Sandia researchers who helped develop the laser-guided .50-caliber bullet. “Where we’re headed, we’re going to be limited only by our imagination.”

The idea behind Sandia Labs’ bullet is rooted more in the M2, a belt-fed machine gun that became standard issue in the U.S. Army nearly 80 years ago. Pairing the M2 with the guided bullet would allow soldiers to hit their mark faster and with precision. At 4 inches long and a half-inch in diameter, the bullet directs itself like a tiny guided missile and can hit a target more than a mile away. It’s designed to twist and turn, making up to 30 corrections per second.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

3D Printer Provides Woman With a Brand New Jaw

An 83-year-old Belgian woman is able to chew, speak and breathe normally again after a machine printed her a new jawbone. Made from a fine titanium powder sculpted by a precision laser beam, her replacement jaw has proven as functional as her own used to be before a potent infection, called osteomyelitis, all but destroyed it.

The medics behind the feat say it is a first. “This is a world premiere, the first time a patient-specific implant has replaced the entire lower jaw,” says Jules Poukens, the researcher who led the operation at Biomed, the biomedical research department of the University of Hasselt, in Belgium. “It’s a cautious, but firm step.” Until now, the largest 3D-printed implant is thought to have been half of a man’s upper jawbone, in a 2008 operation in Finland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finns Elect New Centre-Right President

Sauli Niinisto from the centre-right National Coalition Party was elected Sunday as Finland’s new president in the second round of voting, gaining 62.6% of the votes. His green challenger Pekka Haavisto received 37.4%. Niinisto will take office on 1 March with Finland’s president having certain foreign policy powers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Nicolas Sarkozy Spends £10k a Day Food, Keeps 121 Cars

Nicolas Sarkozy has been promising to cut back on his presidential spending, but he’s actually splashing out £10,000 a day on food and keeps 121 cars under the Elysee Palace, according to a new book.

Socialist MP Rene Dosiere, in L’argent de l’État (Money from the State), sets out what he sees as extraordinary excesses by the French President.

In the explosive book, he accuses Sarkozy of ‘ignoring the most elementary principles of the separation between private and public accounts’.

Sarkozy, whose palace budget exceeds that of the Queen, recently stated that there will be a ‘rupture’ with his past money-splurging ways and more transparency.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

France: Le Pen Claims Presidential Candidacy in Doubt

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen may not be able to gather enough signatures to make her eligible to run in April’s presidential elections, with candidates needing signatures of 500 mayors in order to stand. Le Pen, heading up the National Front, says that just 320 mayors have signed up.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Minister Under Fire for ‘Civilisations’ Remarks

French Interior Minister Claude Guéant said on Sunday he stood by remarks that not all civilisations are equal, as critics denounced his comments as dangerous and xenophobic. Guéant, who is also responsible for immigration and is known as a hardliner, provoked a storm of controversy with the comments on Saturday. “Contrary to what the left’s relativist ideology says, for us all civilisations are not of equal value,” Guéant told a gathering of right-wing students. “Those which defend humanity seem to us to be more advanced than those that do not,” he said.

“Those which defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those which accept tyranny, the subservience of women, social and ethnic hatred,” he said in his speech, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. He also stressed the need to “protect our civilisation”. “I do not regret (the comments),” Guéant said on Sunday, though he accused critics of taking them “out of context”.

The left denounced his speech as an attempt by President Nicolas Sarkozy to woo supporters of the the far-right National Front (FN) ahead of a two-round presidential election in April and May. Harlem Desir, the number two in the French Socialist Party, slammed “the pitiful provocation from a minister reduced to a mouthpiece for the FN”. Bernard Cazeneuve, a spokesman for Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande, denounced the remarks as “divisive and degrading” while former Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal called them “dangerous.”

Sarkozy’s allies were quick to defend the minister, however. Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said it was simply “common sense” to suggest that civilisations could be ranked according to values such as “respecting personal rights, rejecting violence or abolishing the death penalty”. Finance Minister François Baroin accused the left of “exploiting the statements for electoral gain”.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppé suggested that his colleague had meant to say that “all ideas, all political systems are not equal”. Speaking on BFM television, Juppé said however one should avoid talking of a shock of civilisations, suggesting the term was “inadequate”.

Guéant has repeatedly linked immigration with crime in France and last month said the delinquency rate among immigrants was “two to three times higher” than the national average. In April, he declared that an increase in the number of Muslim faithful in France posed a “problem”. He has also said that he wants to reduce the number of legal immigrants entering France, including those coming to work legally or to join their families.

His latest comments came as the FN’s presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is credited with about 20 percent support in opinion polls.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Fury as War Crimes Suspect is Allowed to Stay in Britain

CAMPAIGNERS have condemned a legal ruling that a war crimes suspect should stay in Britain because he has a human right to “a family life”.

Dejan Tolic, 36, admitted being a member of Serbian paramilitary group The White Eagles, linked to atrocities in the former Yugoslavia.

He also served as a bodyguard for leading Serbian nationalist Vojislav Seselj, who is on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague over the massacre of Bosnians and Croats.

Mr Tolic applied for asylum in the UK in 1999 claiming he would be in danger if he returned to Serbia, but his application was rejected by the Home Office. Before he left Britain in 2004, he married a British woman and they had a son.

He returned to the UK and now a judge has ruled he should be allowed to stay on human rights grounds.

Mr Tolic’s lawyers told the court it would be “disproportionate” to remove him because of his relationship with his son, now aged six.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Leftist Crime on the Rise

New figures on politically-motivated crime show a sharp increase in leftist crime in Germany last year, along with a slight fall in far-right crime, it was revealed Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Heating Consumption Hits Record After Historic Storm

Possible shortages as Siberian cold front endures

(ANSA) — Rome, February 6 — Gas consumption reached a record high Monday as Italy climbed out of the biggest snow storm in over 20 years and braced itself for freezing temperatures and possible heating shortages through the middle of February.

“The gas crisis could lead to shutting off heat to some companies on Thursday,” said Paolo Scaroni, CEO of energy provider Eni. More than 440 cubic meters of heating gas were consumed by Monday, according to the ministry for the environment, which signalled an “alert for the exceptional peak”. Officials said they were exploring new avenues to import gas as crucial supplies from Russia, which has also been hit hard by a Siberian cold front, were diminishing. “The situation is certainly critical,” said Industry Minister Corrado Passera. “But it is being closely monitored”. Passera is scheduled to meet with Scaroni on Tuesday to address possible solutions to the crisis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Dutch Burqa Ban Legislation Row Heating Up

The anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), which props up the minority government in parliament, has demanded that the Dutch police enforce the recently approved burqa ban. The PVV is supported by Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten on the issue.

PVV MP Joram van Klaveren was speaking on Sunday in response to remarks made by Amsterdam police chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg on a national TV talk show. Mr Aalbersberg said it should be left up to the police officer on duty to decide whether or not to write out a ticket for a Muslim wearing a burqa or niqab. The police chief added issuing a warning should also be an option. The burqa ban in the Netherlands has stirred up a national debate. Earlier, other police chiefs from various Dutch corps announced they did not intend enforcing the new law if it were passed. The lower and upper houses of parliament still have to vote on the legislation, which will ban all clothing which covers the face in public.

Burqa part of election deal

The burqa ban was part of the PVV’s election programme and its implementation was part of a deal negotiated by the Freedom Party and the two coalition partners, the conservative VVD and the Christian Democrats. Geert Wilders’ party gives parliamentary support to the minority government. Minister Opstelten is from the largest coalition party, the VVD.

In neighbouring Belgium, the second EU country after France to implement a burqa ban, the campaign of the far-right Vlaams Belang (‘Flemish Interest’) also stirred up considerable controversy. The daughter of Flemish Interest leader Philip Dewinter featured on the campaign poster wearing a niqab and a bikini top with the text “Freedom or Islam?”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Norway Mass Killer Decries “Cultural Destruction”

Norwegian killer appears before Oslo court

OSLO (Reuters) — Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway, said Monday his massacre was necessary to prevent his country’s cultural destruction.

“We in the Norwegian movement will not sit and see that we are made a minority in our own country,” the anti-Islam fanatic told a packed courtroom in only his second public comments since the attack in July.

“The attacks on the government headquarters were preventive attacks on people committing cultural destruction of Norwegian culture and Norwegian ethnicity,” he said and demanded to be released immediately.

The 32-year-old has admitted detonating a fertilizer bomb that killed eight people at a government building in Oslo in July and hours later committing a shooting spree at an island camp for the Labor Party youths, killing 69.

“I acknowledge the acts but I plead not guilty,” said Breivik, whose attacks were the worst outburst of violence in Norway since World War Two.

The custody hearing, required periodically to keep a suspect detained, was Breivik’s fifth and the second one open to the public as Norway prepares for his trial, set to begin on April 16.

He entered the courtroom with a faint smile, wearing a black suit with a silvery tie, and raised his arms to show off his cuffed hands.

In a manifesto posted online before the attacks, Breivik wrote that he was targeting “traitors” whose leftist views and softness on immigration had brought the country low.

“The ethnic Norwegians will be a minority in Oslo in the next 10 years. It is a fact. I represent Norwegian resistance,” he told the court.

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Asks Court for ‘Immediate Release’

The Norway gunman who killed 77 people in twin attacks in July asked an Oslo court on Monday to release him immediately, saying his massacre was a “preventive attack against state traitors.” “I do not accept imprisonment. I demand to be immediately released,” Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old right-wing extremist, told the Oslo court that was convened for a hearing on his detention. Hollow laughter erupted in the rows where survivors and families of the victims were seated, when Behring Breivik twice demanded his immediate release.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Planned to Publish Own Magazine

Long before last July’s dual terrorist attacks, confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik planned to publish a monthly magazine promoting what he described as cultural conservative views.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Patch of Seagrass is World’s Oldest Living Organism

It’s green and very, very old. A swathe of seagrass in the Mediterranean could be the oldest known living thing on Earth. Carlos Duarte of the University of Western Australia in Perth sequenced the DNA of Posidonia oceanica at 40 sites spanning 3500 kilometres of seafloor, from Spain to Cyprus. One patch off the island of Formentera was identical over 15 kilometres of coastline.

Like all seagrasses, Posidonia oceanica reproduces by cloning, so meadows spanning many kilometres are genetically identical and considered one organism. Given the plant’s annual growth rate the team calculated that the Formentera meadow must be between 80,000 and 200,000 years old, making it the oldest living organism on Earth. It trumps a Tasmanian seagrass, Lomatia tasmanica, believed to be 43,600 years old.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Poland Suspends Ratification of Acta Bill

Poland Friday suspended the ratification of the international copyright treaty, Acta. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said there would have to be further discussion on the bill which has sparked widespread criticism in Poland, with opponents saying it will curb internet free speech.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Romanian PM Resigns Over Protests

Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc on Monday announced his resignation after three weeks of anti-government protests in the country. He said he took this decision in order to calm “social tensions” and so the “economic stability of the country” is not affected.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Situation ‘Tragic’ As Winter Weather Blankets Europe

Heavy snow left several Italian villages paralyzed and without power as winter weather and cold temperatures spread across Europe, the mayor of one village said. Many of the 32 villages in the Aniene Valley, near Rome, lost electricity on Friday when an electric pylon fell because of the snow, said Piero Moscardini, mayor of Vallinfreda.

The valley, home to about 50,000 people, has received some 100 cm (39 inches) of snow, Moscardini said. “It’s the worst snow since 1956,” he said. “The situation is tragic. We need the Army to save us.” Ambulances cannot traverse the roads, he said, and some villagers cannot reach their stables to feed livestock.

Meanwhile, deaths continued to increase from the cold. In Romania, four people died on Saturday and another six on Sunday, authorities said. A total of 34 people have died since the cold snap began in late January. Nineteen national roads and one highway remained closed on Sunday. More than 30 cities and villages are isolated, authorities said, and power outages were reported in 200 cities and villages. More than 3,000 employees belonging to the Interior Ministry were involved in rescue operations, as hundreds sought refuge in temporary shelters and hundreds more were hospitalized because of hypothermia.

In Poland, TVN Poland said a total of 53 people have died, eight of them in the past 24 hours. The victims are mainly homeless people, according to the report.

Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s busiest international airports, canceled about half of its flights Sunday, its owner said Sunday — about 260 more flights than it expected to cancel as of the night before. Between two and four inches of snow fell on London overnight, as the British capital became the latest European city to be hit by winter weather wending its way west.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Attackers Carve ‘Whore’ Into Woman’s Arm

A 20-year-old woman had the word “whore” carved into her arm in connection with a knife attack in Landskrona in southern Sweden. The woman told police she was attacked around 11pm on Saturday night when she got off a bus in central Landskrona, the local Helsingborgs Dagbladet newspaper reported. Two men suddenly appeared and threw the woman to the ground. One then held her down while the other took out a knife and carved “hora”, the Swedish word for “whore” into her arm.

The woman, who was also reportedly cut in the face, was later taken to hospital by relatives. Local police confirmed the incident for the newspaper, but refused to divulge many details about the circumstances of the attack. “We have quite a bit to go on and we’re doing our best to solve it,” a police spokesperson told Helsingborgs Dagbladet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden:10-Year-Old Girl Stabbed in the Throat at School

A 10-year-old girl had her throat slashed with a knife outside a school in Gothenburg in western Sweden on Monday morning, according to police. The attack, which occurred outside the Bergsgård school in the Hjällbo district northwest of central Gothenburg, left the girl seriously wounded. She was taken to Östra Hospital with the knife still in her throat, according to a statement from police, and is expected to be moved later to Sahlgrenska Hospital.

Emergency services received a call about the stabbing at 9.51am on Monday morning. “The patient was loaded into the ambulance at twelve minutes past ten,” Jack Söderberg, a shift leader with the emergency service operator SOS Alarm, told the TT news agency. According to police spokesperson Björ Blixter, the girl is conscious and told police she had never seen her attacker before.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Media Blame Banks for Caving in to US Pressure

Swiss banks came under fire in Sunday newspapers for giving in to US demands on banking secrecy. “Swiss banks capitulate” wrote the French-language Le Matin Dimanche describing a situation of panic “since the blow to Bank Wegelin.” Switzerland’s oldest bank Wegelin faces US criminal charges on allegations it helped Americans evade paying taxes on assets that could be valued at $1.2 billion.

The finance ministry said on January 31st that it would hand over thousands of encoded bank documents to US investigators. Le Matin Dimanche said Wegelin had been in the sights of US authorities since 2009. The mass circulation German-language Sonntags Blick carried this front page headline: “Tax sinners: Swiss banks have betrayed 29,700 Americans.”

Wegelin was founded in 1741, but on January 27th it announced the sale of its non-US activities to fellow Swiss bank Raiffeisen “as a consequence of the increasingly threatening situation surrounding Wegelin & Co Private Bankers in the US tax dispute”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Another Racially Motivated Attack

We have been given a picture of a young boy in a bad way, this happened in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

His name is Daniel, he was attacked by 10 muslim youths. Kav and Dan were walking up Market Street, Hyde..minding their own business when a gang of at least 10 asian lads beat them up. Dans in hospital awaiting surgery……kav is home, bruised, battered, shook up

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Al-Qaeda Bid for Brit Girl Bombers

Extremist websites lure angels of death, MPS warn

AL-QAEDA is trying to recruit WOMEN to carry out suicide bombings in the UK, MPs warn today.

It is using extremist websites to radicalise the angels of death, says their chilling report. The Commons home affairs committee says it has heard evidence the terror group is “specifically launching and targeting women for violent acts”. It is already a deadly tactic in the Middle East, where growing numbers of Palestinian women are volunteering for suicide missions against Israel. The MPs’ report comes days after four Islamic extremists admitted plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange. Woolwich Crown Court heard how the gang — who also had London mayor Boris Johnson on a hit list — had been brainwashed by the twisted ideology of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda leader until the US killed him in Yemen last year. His attempts to recruit UK Muslims were exposed by The Sun. Last night the committee chairman, Labour’s Keith Vaz, said the gang’s admissions show “we cannot let our vigilance slip”.

The MPs’ report says big internet firms must do more to shut websites that encourage violent extremism. Home Secretary Theresa May has already launched a crackdown on recruiting websites used by extremists, as a purge on fanatics in mosques and colleges has resulted in the web being increasingly used to brainwash supporters. For their report, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Sir Norman Bettison told MPs the internet “seems to feature in most, if not all, of the routes of radicalisation”. MPs grilled hate preacher Abu Hamza inside Belmarsh Prison for their inquiry. The report says he blames British foreign policy and guilt for radicalising Muslims. The Home Office said last night: “We are working closely with the police and internet service providers to take hate off the web.”

[JP note: Compare reports by the Sun and others with the one by the BBC below — Home Affairs Committee warns of far-right terror threat.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Extremism Report: What About the Far Right?

Sophy Ridge, political correspondent [Sky News]

Reading the newspaper headlines, you would be forgiven for thinking the latest report into extremism by the Home Affairs Select Committee of MPs was yet another stark warning of the growing threat of radical Islam. “Al-Qaeda bid for Brit girl bombers” (The Sun), “Internet fuels radical Islam” (The Independent), “MPs visit Abu Hamza at Belmarsh” (the Daily Mail), “Radical Muslims target young inmates in prison” (The Daily Telegraph), “Hamza in Terror War Rap” (the Daily Star). But just look at the conclusion of the report, entitled the Roots of Violent Radicalisation — “We suspect that violent radicalisation is declining within the Muslim community.” To say this doesn’t exactly chime with the press coverage of the report is an understatement. And this is the first line of the conclusion. Pretty difficult to miss. In their defence, the report does warn of “support for nonviolent extremism, fed by feelings of isolation” within the Muslim community.

But when it comes to violent terrorism (which, let’s face it, is the primary concern for many) it’s an altogether different group under the spotlight. The MPs conclude: “There also appears to be a growth in more extreme and violent forms of far-right ideology. Indeed it is clear that individuals from many different backgrounds are vulnerable, with no typical profile or pathway to radicalisation.” The case that immediately springs to mind is that of Anders Breivik, who committed the appalling shootings in Norway last year. He arguably seems to fit exactly the profile of the “lone wolf” using the internet to get “far-right ideas” that the committee specifically warns about. At the time David Cameron ordered a review into far-right groups, acknowledging that insufficient attention had been paid to them in the past. This is not to say, of course, that violent Islamist extremism is no longer a concern and should be forgotten about. But perhaps the report should act as a warning against lazy assumptions about terrorism and extremism.

[JP note: Raeding this, you would be forgiven for thinking Sky News was part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s propaganda bureau as Ridge’s piece is helpfully accompanied by no less than four images of Anders Breivik.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Grievances ‘Drive Radicalisation’

Grievance, guilt and capability drive violent radicalisation, hate preacher Abu Hamza has said. The radical cleric, who is being held in the maximum-security Belmarsh prison in Woolwich, south-east London, said British foreign policy was a key reason behind radicalisation. Hamza, 53, who was jailed for seven years in February 2006 for inciting murder and race hate, spoke to MPs from the jail as he fights extradition to the United States on terror charges. Members of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee visited Hamza at the prison on November 28 last year. Their report on the roots of violent radicalisation said: “Abu Hamza believed the drivers of radicalisation to be grievance, guilt and capability.

“Grievances were driven by British foreign policy (relating to Palestine and Afghanistan) and a sense that the Prophet was being mocked.” It went on: “He did not believe that unemployment was a source of grievance, and considered that groups who suggested it was were ‘blackmailing’ the Government for funding. Guilt was driven by a feeling that you were safe but your brother was not and you could not help him.” The report also said that Hamza denied that his sermons contributed to radicalisation. “He believed it was enough for people to watch the news to be radicalised and in any case he condemned the ‘wrong kind of violence’, where third parties were injured or killed,” it said. “He told Muslims to express their grievances and guilt through lobbying, donating money and educating people.” The report went on: “In terms of radicalisation in prisons, Mr Abu Hamza noted that prisons were a good environment for contemplation and that it was usual for prisoners to seek to re-evaluate their lives.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Home Affairs Committee Warns of Far-Right Terror Threat

MPs have warned the government not to neglect the threat from extreme far-right terrorism.

In a report on radicalisation, the Home Affairs Committee said it had heard “persuasive evidence” about the potential danger. The MPs also say internet service providers should make greater efforts to remove violent extremist material. The committee interviewed jailed radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza as part of its research. Its report examines the roots of radicalisation and the government’s Prevent strategy designed to counter it. The MPs said violent Islamist radicalisation appeared to be declining but there may be increasing support for non-violent extremist views fuelled by “feelings of alienation”. “A view was expressed by some of those giving evidence to us… that the revised Prevent strategy only pays lip service to the threat from extreme far-right terrorism,” the report added. “We accept that Prevent resources should be allocated proportionately to the terrorist threat. However, we received persuasive evidence about the potential threat from extreme far-right terrorism.”

The committee cited the growth of far-right groups with links to similar organisations in Europe. “The ease of travel and communications between countries in Europe and the growth of far-right organisations… suggest that the current lack of firm evidence should not be a reason for neglecting this area of risk,” the MPs said.

Breeding Grounds

The report described the internet as “one of the few unregulated spaces where radicalisation is able to take place” and suggested it played a greater role in promoting violence than prisons, universities or places of worship. It says service providers should sign a code of conduct aimed at removing such material. The committee said that although legislation allows the police to order the removal of unlawful extremist material, internet service providers should be more active in dealing with it. Keith Vaz MP, the committee chairman, said: “The conviction last week of four men from London and Cardiff radicalised over the internet, for a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange and launch a Mumbai-style atrocity on the streets of London, shows that we cannot let our vigilance slip. “More resources need to be directed to these threats and to preventing radicalisation through the internet and in private spaces. These are the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism.” A Home Office spokesman said: “Our new Prevent strategy challenges extremist ideology, helps protect institutions from extremists, and tackles the radicalisation of vulnerable people. Above all, it tackles the threat from home-grown terrorism on and off line. We are working closely with the police and internet service providers to take internet hate off the web. We are pleased the Home Affairs Committee and the witnesses who contributed to its report broadly support the outcome of the Prevent review and the revised strategy.”

“Blackmailing the Government”

During the research, the MPs met in prison Abu Hamza, the preacher jailed for hate crimes and now facing extradition to the United States. He told them that Islamist radicalisation was driven by “grievance, guilt and capability”, the report reveals. “Grievances were driven by British foreign policy (relating to Palestine and Afghanistan) and a sense that the Prophet was being mocked. He did not believe that unemployment was a source of grievance, and considered that groups who suggested it was were ‘blackmailing’ the government for funding. Guilt was driven by a feeling that you were safe but your brother was not and you could not help him.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: It Took Years to Jail Him, But Now MPs Visit Abu Hamza at Belmarsh to Canvass His Views

A group of MPs who visited hate-preacher Abu Hamza in his jail cell have published his views in an official report.

Members of the home affairs select committee went to high-security Belmarsh prison to interview the cleric who was jailed after telling his followers that the murder of non-Muslims was justified ‘even if there is no reason’.

Their report on violent radicalism is published today and includes an uncritical summary of Hamza’s comments. He is referred to respectfully throughout as ‘Mr Abu Hamza’.

Families of terror attack victims condemned the committee and its chairman

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Is David Cameron More Yellow Than Blue?

There is growing anxiety among the rank and file of the Conservative Party that David Cameron is not delivering the agenda his party’s faithful want.

David Cameron appears to be enjoying a bright start to 2012. His Conservatives are riding high in the polls, his government is widely seen to have won the economic argument and the public overwhelmingly back his welfare reforms. Even the resignation of the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne two days ago and the spectre of a double-dip recession seem unlikely to stop the Prime Minister in his tracks. But amongst the rank and file of his party there is growing anxiety that the coalition is not delivering enough of a Conservative agenda. Many of the party faithful understood that while the Tories were in opposition, it made strategic sense to move to the Left, flaunt his green credentials and even speak of “hugging a hoody”. To many activists, have a leader who talked freely of gay marriages seemed only reasonable if it helped ditch the Tories’ “nasty party” image.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Internet Biggest Breeding Ground for Violent Extremism, Ministers Warn

Websites now pose bigger risk than prisons, says report, prompting call to clamp down on ‘unregulated’ material

The internet now plays a part in most, if not all, cases of violent radicalisation and is a more significant recruiting ground than prisons, universities or places of worship, according to report by a cross-party group of MPs published today. The Commons home affairs committee says internet service providers need to be as effective at removing material that promotes violent extremism as they are in removing content that is sexual or breaches copyright. The committee discloses that a new Home Office counter-terrorism internet referral unit has received 2,025 complaints since it was set up in 2010. About 10% of the offending websites or web pages have been taken down as a result. But the MPs say far more needs to be done, including more action to take down extremist videos and a new code of practice to draw the line on material promoting violent extremism.

The MPs’ focus on the influence of the internet comes as judges prepare to sentence this week the four men found guilty of plotting a pre-Christmas terrorist attack on the London stock exchange after being inspired by the radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. The nine-month inquiry found that the internet played a greater role in violent radicalisation than prisons, universities or places of worship and was now “one of the few unregulated spaces where radicalisation is able to take place”. The report stresses, however, that no single pathway leads to radicalisation and emphasises that direct, personal contact is also significant. It adds that although convicted terrorists have attended British universities and prisons there is seldom evidence that they were radicalised there. The report says recruitment activities have retreated to private homes as the authorities have targeted public arenas.

The MPs, however, heard in private an assessment from Charles Farr, the Home Office’s head of the Office of Security and Counter-terrorism, that “sympathy for violent extremism is declining rather than increasing”. The MPs contrast this with the situation in 2007 when MI5 said there were “at least 2,000 people” in the UK who posed a threat because they supported terrorism — a figure that had increased by 400 the previous year. The MPs do conclude that there may be growing support for nonviolent extremism within the Muslim community, fed by feelings of alienation and a sense of grievance, and this is a challenge for society and the police.

They recommend that tackling Islamophobia and demonstrating that the British state is not antithetical to Islam should constitute a big part of the official Prevent strategy designed to counter the ideology that feeds violent radicalisation. The MPs talked to the radical preacher Abu Hamza in the maximum security unit at Belmarsh prison in London, who told them the main drivers of radicalisation were grievances, especially concerning Palestine and Afghanistan, a sense that the prophet was being mocked, guilt and capability. He said unemployment was not a source of grievance. Keith Vaz MP, the committee’s Labour chairman, said: “The conviction last week of four men from London and Cardiff radicalised over the internet, for a plot to bomb the London stock exchange and launch a Mumbai-style atrocity on the streets of London, shows that we cannot let our vigilance slip. More resources need to be directed to these threats and to preventing radicalisation through the internet and in private spaces. These are the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism.”

[JP note: For more on the Islamo-noncritical Charles Farr (he would be, wouldn’t he, given his career background in the UK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) see here ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Menace of Sex Abusers Preying on Leeds Kids

Many men were prepared to wait weeks or even months, using increasingly devious and underhand methods, to get what they wanted, she said. “We worked with one girl who was hanging around with older males and was being given the drug M-Cat,” said Taylor. “She couldn’t see that they were doing that for any other reason than that they liked her.

“This went on for a long time until one night they said to her ‘you owe us £300 for all the drugs you’ve had and you’re going to have sex with these men to pay off your debt’.

“She didn’t want to report it because she thought people would blame her. But she is the victim, she is a child.

“These girls should not be being labelled and just seen as being promiscuous.”

Taylor said: “There does need to be some work with these young men.

“There is still a culture that they think it is acceptable for four or five 18- or 19-year-olds to have sex with a 13- or 14-year-old girl.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Pictured: Swollen Face of Trainee Chef Left for Dead After He Was Savagely Beaten ‘By Asian Gang in Hate Crime Attack’

Police hunting a gang of Asian youths who battered a Caucasian teenager and left him for dead were treating the savage beating as a ‘hate crime’ last night.

Trainee chef Dan Stringer, 17, was repeatedly kicked and punched by a mob of up to eight people after he fell over as they were chasing him down the street near Manchester.

The victim and his best friend Kavan Brown, also 17, were walking down Market Street, Hyde, Saturday evening when they passed by a takeaway shop.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Tim Farron Misses a Golden Opportunity to Compare Cameron’s Britain to Nazi Germany

by Paul Goodman

Today’s papers have reported Tim Farron’s remarks on Sky yesterday, where his interview followed an earlier one with William Hague. The Foreign Secretary had been questioned about the current atrocious events in Syria. Farron said: “Isn’t it ludicrous you were talking to William Hague about many undemocratic countries overseas and here we are and half of our legislature are being appointed and not democratically elected?” The aspirant Liberal Democrat leader is evidently right. The non-election of members of Britain’s second chamber is clearly comparable to the massacre of innocent people in Homs. It is also disgraceful that Fallon’s party has to date been unable to introduce to the Lords what the people rejected in a referendum for the Commons — namely, a reformed electoral system that would give his party a permanent monopoly on power. None the less, Farron — whose speech to last year’s Liberal Democrat conference was so mercifully shorn of opportunism — missed a trick yesterday. He would do well to learn from that old master, Chris Huhne (remember him?), who so aptly compared Sayeeda Warsi to Goebbels. I promise Farron that drawing a parallel between their coalition partners and nazis goes down a storm with the Liberal Democrat base. As far as I’m aware, Huhne never mentioned Cameron in the same sentence as Hitler, and firming up the parallel with Assad would obviously be rather feeble.

So wouldn’t establishing a link between Britain’s present-day Prime Minister and Germany’s once-time dictator be in order for Farron? There may also be future opportunities to compare, say, Iain Duncan Smith to Himmler, Eric Pickles to Goering, and Theresa May to Eva Braun.

[JP note: I am sure Paul Goodman on Islam could do a good impression of Rudolf Hess — confused, bewildered, etc.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Danish Citizen Arrested on Terror Charges in Morocco

Man is believed to have travelled to the north African country to supervise a terror attack

Moroccan police have arrested a Danish citizen on terror charges, according to the Associated Press. The Dane, who is of Moroccan descent, was arrested along with two other men for having planned terror attacks against the Moroccan state. The three suspects are believed to be members of a terror organisation going by the name the Party for Moroccan Islamic Liberation.

According to Morocco’s Interior Ministry, the Danish citizen travelled to Morocco to supervise the execution of a plan that aimed to “undermine the country’s security and stability” by recruiting “indoctrinated” people. Authorities believe the terror cell is financed by supporters in Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Snow in Algeria, Deaths & Controversy

Half of country dealing with blocked roads & blackouts

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, FEBRUARY 6 — Half of Algeria is still being held hostage by a wave of cold weather and snow which has hit the country over the last three days and which has taken many casualties (many caused by malfunctioning heaters and car accidents on icy roads). A controversy has erupted over what El Watan, a daily that is often critical of the authorities, is calling the “incredible inertia” of the government. According to the most recent news, the situation is critical in Kabylia and the plateau region, where, in the absence of aid from the authorities, people are dealing with a long-term lack of electricity and impassable roads. This is making it impossible for food and fuel to arrive to the local communities by car and generators. People are furious with the state, according to residents in isolated towns, which is only listening to complaints and doing nothing else. This is an exceptional situation (such low temperatures and snowfall have not been registered since 2005) requiring exceptional measures, which have not arrived, according to the public.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

The Mainstreaming of Hamas Continues as Palestinian Unity Gains Steam

One of the least-noticed consequences of the Arab Spring might be called the “mainstreaming of Hamas.” The chief of the Palestinian party and militia, which the West knows chiefly for its suicide attacks on Israel, has declared repeatedly that it has decided to set aside violent resistance and, in the spirit of the Arab Spring, concentrate on demonstrations and other nonviolent methods. Nominally committed to the eradication of the Jewish State, Hamas now supports a negotiated peace agreement based on 1967 borders and — without renouncing the option to pick up arms in the future — vows to give Palestinian moderate leader Mahmoud Abbas the running room to see what talks can produce, according to Khaled Mashaal, chief of the group’s political office.

Popular protests pack “the power of a tsunami,” Mashaal said just before Christmas in Cairo, where he was meeting with the leaders other Palestinian factions under the guiding hand of Egypt. “Now we have a common ground that we can work on, the popular resistance, which represents the power of people.”

It was a remarkable statement from a group that has embodied armed resistance against Israel. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, a respected East Jerusalem analyst who speaks with Mashaal, says Hamas is falling into line both with the spirit of the Arab Awakening, as he prefers to call it, and with the desires of Egypt’s new government, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement Hamas grew out of.

“You are seeing a new chapter of political Islam. I call it reformist,” says Abdul Hadi, whose think tank is the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, or PASSIA. “This wave of reformists are talking about a civil state, not a religious state. They’re talking about democracy. They’re talking about sharing power…

“Mashaal is for the Arab Awakening, for reformist political Islam, for sharing power and for playing the game to get recognition from the Americans and Europeans.”

That analysis got a boost Monday morning from reports out of Qatar that Hamas has agreed that Abbas himself should head a unified Palestinian government that will run both the West Bank and Gaza Strip pending elections promised for this summer. Abbas would replace Salam Fayyad as prime minister, in what is supposed to be a placeholder government of technocrats.

What to make of all this? Start with the people in the streets. When crowds in Tahrir Square toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the Palestinian faction led by Abbas lost its main patron. Mubarak strongly favored Abbas’ secular Fatah party, and as an enemy of political Islam kept a tight rein on Hamas activists in the adjacent Gaza Strip, which they governed since kicking Fatah out in 2007. Then the Arab uprisings cost Hamas a vital ally: Until recently, Mashaal lived in Damascus, but Hamas is moving its headquarters out of Syria rather than side with President Bashar Assad against his population. Analysts in Gaza say Iran last year slowed or even stopped its subsidies to Hamas as punishment for not backing Assad. Bottom line: both factions lost their main state supporters just as their own people pried themselves from Arab satellite news to insist that they be heard, too.

What Palestinians demanded was that Fatah and Hamas bury their differences and form a united front against the Israeli occupation. This the factions promptly agreed to do, in a series of meetings held — not by accident — in Egypt. The new government emerging in Cairo may be dominated by Islamists, but it has pushed both sides to make up and adopt the non-violent strategy against Israel, complete with negotiations.

“Exactly,” says Mahmoud Musleh, a Palestinian lawmaker elected on the Hamas ticket, with an emphatic nod.

The Egyptians have their reasons for encouraging quiet. Chief among them is the need to concentrate on pressing domestic matters for a while. “They don’t want Gaza to be an independent entity, and they don’t want Sinai to be a jungle of nameless violent Islamists,” says Abdul Hadi.

The change also suits Hamas’ immediate needs. This is a party that could use a fresh start. Palestinian public opinion polls show Hamas is deeply unpopular with voters in Gaza. On the West Bank, its leaders shuttle between jail and internal exile: Of six lawmakers elected to the Palestinian legislature on the Hamas ticket, and sharing an office in Ramallah, Mahmoud Musleh and Ahmad Abed Elazeez Mubarak were the only two not in Israeli jails last week.

Announcing the reconciliation helped Hamas’ public image, as did the release of prisoners it brokered with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But as Randy Newman says, it’s money that matters. The Palestinian economy runs on dollars and Euros sent from donor countries. That cash is funneled into the West Bank, where Abbas and prime minister Fayyad are building the institutions of an independent state, and supposedly showing the payoff for keeping the peace. But a goodly portion of those millions also flow into Gaza, because some 70,0000 idled civil servants who remain on the Palestinian Authority payroll inside Gaza even after Hamas took over and told them to stay home. That flow of dollars is crucial for Gaza.

The challenge is to keep the money coming. The same Western nations that list Hamas as a terrorist organization say they cannot fund a Palestinian government that includes it. The “technocratic” transitional government is one attempt to navigate that red line. But if Hamas does well in elections, the problem will still be there.

This is where things get foggy. Hamas could conform to Western demands by renouncing terror, accepting the right of Israel to exist and signing on to the agreements negotiated by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the supreme political body of the Palestinian national cause. And if it wants to join the PLO — as it is trying to do — Hamas eventually will have to do all those things, because PLO membership obliges it. But that’s an awful lot to expect of a militant group in the space of a few months.

Another option may be to run candidates under a new banner — such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas grew out of the Brotherhood, and the two have been synonymous in Palestinian politics. But a few weeks ago in Khartoum, at the same leadership meeting where Mashaal won approval for the shift to nonviolence, the decision was made to enunciate a “Muslim Brotherhood — Palestine” chapter. Why is not entirely clear. But one possibility is as a party label that’s less notorious in the West than Hamas.

What does appear clear is that Mashaal was speaking for the organization when he announced the shift to Abbas’ approach, despite subsequent public grousing from Hamas leaders in Gaza, including Hamas’ prime minister there, Ismail Haniyeh. Dissent is permitted in the organization, Hamas members say, but Mashaal’s announcement of a new, more moderate line was made only after approval of the majority — one that, in its years governing Gaza, has shown a growing appetite for international acceptance. And Washington, at least, has been giving it space to maneuver in that direction. Last May, when the reconciliation was announced, Netanyahu angrily slammed the door on talks that would include Hamas while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointedly did not.

“In the Mecca Agreement [a 2007 pact setting the ground rules for reconciliation], Hamas said it accepts the obligations of the PLO,” says Musleh. “This shows that Hamas doesn’t see things as black and white, it’s willing to try different means in order to achieve what it’s after. I honestly believe Hamas will get closer to the PLO and be involved in the elections, if the elections take place. Hamas is a not a closed movement. It studies the changes and is affected by what’s happening on the ground and around it.”

Meanwhile, perhaps in keeping with the reformist currents of the Arab Spring, Mashaal announced he was not running for another term as head of Hamas’ political office. However, in the context of the Islamic Resistance Movement, as Hamas is officially called, that doesn’t mean he actually wants to leave the job. “The way the system works, in the movement we are not allowed to say, ‘I’m running.’ But you can say, ‘I don’t want it.’ This is what Mashaal has done,” says Ahmad Abed Elazeez Mubarak, a Hamas veteran on the West Bank. “We understand exactly what he means.” It is the need for an appearance of political modesty. “It’s a matter of everybody else calling for you,” says Musleh. “If the movement said you must continue, he must continue.”

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Amid Crippling Sanctions Over Its Nuclear Weapons Program, Iran is Continuing to Prepare Itself for War Against the West, And Now is Warning of a Coming Great Event.

“In light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty God, the Zionists and the Great Satan (America) will soon be defeated,” Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, is warning.

Khamenei, speaking to hundreds of youths from more than 70 countries attending a world conference on the Arab Spring just days ago, told a cheering crowd in Tehran that “Allah’s promises will be delivered and Islam will be victorious.”

The countries represented included Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, all of which have been involved in the Arab Spring.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Fatah-Hamas Agreement on Unity Gvt Signed in Doha

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT — The chairman of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, signed a reconciliation agreement today in Doha. According to the agreement, Mahmud Abbas will guide the transition government until next election. The ceremony for the signature of the agreement was broadcast live by pan-Arab television Al Jazeera, as a Palestinian officer had already anticipated this morning.

Israel: Railway to Eilat is an alternative to Suez Canal

Netanyahu counts on China, India and Japan

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iran: More Jew-Annihilationist Jihad Rhetoric (And Jihad Taqiyya)

By Andrew Bostom

Reza Khalili reports [1] the latest (ad nauseum) re-statement of the Iranian Shiite theocracy’s Jew-annihilationist jihadism (see my three-part series, “Jihad and Genocidal Islamic Antisemitism in Shiite Iran” [here [2], here [2], and here [2]], and much more extensive material included in “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism [3]”)—putatively (and perversely) a “response” to Israel’s own planned efforts [4] to thwart Iran’s longstanding, expressed genocidal desire to destroy the Jewish State and Zionists (i.e., non-dhimmi Jews) in general. But as is their wont, and entirely consistent with their forbears, Iran’s Shiite theocrats manage to include [1] some taqiyya [5] (sacralized Islamic dissimulation [5]) on the doctrine of offensive jihad in Shiite Islam. After all, how in fact did their lionized ancestors—beginning with Shah Ismail at the advent of the 16th century—justify the expansionist jihad campaigns which created the “Safavid Empire”, as well as the maintenance of this imperialistic aggressiveness during the subsequent Qajar dynasty (i.e., into the early 20th century)?

In fact, Shia and Sunni doctrines on jihad are fundamentally the same. [1] Even the so-called “requirement” for the “hidden” Shia Imam’s “consent” to wage jihad, was already argued away regarding “defensive jihad” by Abu Jaffar al-Tusi during the 11th century as the Shia of Iraq were beset by the Sunni Seljuk Turks. [2] This position was reiterated in the 13th century by al-Hilli. [3] These legists maintained—in a deliberately vague and elastic formulation—that Shia Muslims could be summoned to jihad by the Imam’s so-called “designee(s)”—which came to mean the “fuqaha,” or doctors of the (Shiite) Muslim Law. [4] With the advent at the outset of the 16th century of the very aggressive Shiite Safavid theocracy under Shah Ismail, who claimed direct descent from the Imams, we see “non-fuqaha” rulers declaring unabashed offensive, expansionist jihad throughout this dynasty. [5]

Demonstrating how Safavid Shi’ite jurisprudence was in agreement with the Sunni consensus on the basic nature of jihad war, including offensive jihad, here is an excerpt from the Jami-i-Abbasi [the popular Persian manual of Shi’a Law] written by al-Amili (d.1622), a distinguished theologian under Shah Abbas I [6]:

Islamic Holy war [jihad] against followers of other religions, such as Jews, is required unless they convert to Islam or pay the poll tax.

The 18th century Qajar Shiite theocratic dynasty saw the role of declaring jihad—again, including offensive, expansionist jihad—restored in theory to the Shiite fuqaha. [7] Moreover, re-emphasizing how such campaigns under the both Safavids and Qajars no longer required endorsement by the Imam, an early 18th century Qajar treatise on jihad states, “It is possible to say that jihad during the Imam’s concealment is more praiseworthy than during his presence.” [8]

Finally, Sunni and Shiite eschatology—the latter being of particular importance to Iran’s current obsessive desire to eradicate Israel and non-dhimmi Jews—highlights the Jews purported supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjal—the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ—and as per another tradition, the Dajjal is in fact Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions state that the Dajjal will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. [9] When the Dajjal is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered— everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree. Thus, according to a canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 40, Number 6985), if a Jew seeks refuge under a tree or a stone, these objects will be able to speak to tell a Muslim: “There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!” [10] Another hadith variant, which takes place in Jerusalem is described by James Robson, a noted scholar and English translator of the hadith. [11]…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

The Syria Veto: Leaders Vent Frustration Over Chinese and Russian ‘Scandal’

At a prestigious annual foreign policy meeting in Munich this weekend, top diplomats, including Germany’s Guido Westerwelle and Hillary Clinton, expressed scorn over moves by Beijing and Moscow to veto a UN resolution condemning violence in Syria. One top US senator accused China and Russia of being “on the wrong side of history.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Gazprom Says Unable to Meet European Gas Needs

Russian gas giant Gazprom has warned that it cannot meet the extra demand from Europe prompted by an extreme cold front crossing the continent from Siberia. “Gazprom at the moment cannot satisfy the additional volumes that our western European partners are requesting,” the company’s deputy chairman Alexander Kruglov said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Bangladesh: “Angry Brides “: An Online Game to Fight Dowry Murders

At least 325 women were tortured and killed for dowry-related reasons, in 2011. This is confirmed by a joint investigation of Ain-O-Salish Kendro (Ask), Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Odhikar. The three NGOs, however, specify that these are only partial data, taking into account the many cases not reported or passed off as suicide. Brides are beaten and burned alive by their husbands (or their relatives), dissatisfied with a dowry that is too little or non-existent. Alternatively, strangled, then tied with a rope and hanged on a pole to simulate a suicide (see 05/04/2011, “When wives are set on fire for their dowry”). A practice prohibited by law, but rooted in Bangladeshi culture and growing: according to the survey, 198 in 2011 were certain data.

Dowry murders are widespread in other South Asian countries. According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, in 2010 the country had 8,391 cases of dowry deaths and at least 90 thousand cases of torture and abuse by husbands and their families. To raise awareness in the fight against this practice, the marriage agency launched Facebook Angry Brides, an online game modeled after Google’s more famous Angry Birds.

In the game, three potential husbands — a doctor, a police officer and an engineer — approach a woman, each demanding a very high dowry. The bride has eight arms against the three men and throw various objects (shoes with heels, a pan, a broom, pots and vegetables).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Graft, Politics, Militant Islam Shake Indian Ocean Island

MALE, Maldives (Reuters) — Few of the million or so tourists who visit the Maldives each year would catch even a whiff of the troubled politics or growing militant threat roiling the islands of one of the world’s most renowned get-away-from-it-all destinations.

President Mohamed Nasheed, who initiated multi-party democracy in the Indian Ocean archipelago with an historic election victory in 2008, stands accused of adopting the autocratic methods of his predecessor and bitter rival, which he had pledged to abolish.

Last month, Nasheed ordered the military to arrest Criminal Court Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed, accusing him of being in the pocket of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Nasheed’s opponents have adopted a hardline style of political Islam to savage his religious credentials.

The entry of that brand of Islam into politics has unnerved practitioners of traditionally moderate Maldivian Islam and Western governments alike, and raised worries it could threaten the nation’s toddler democracy.

In the outer islands of the Muslim archipelago, there are fears that hardline militant Islam is taking root.

Taking a page from the book of Gayoom, Nasheed ordered Mohamed’s arrest and defied a Supreme Court release order, sparking more than three weeks of sometimes-violent protests by opposition parties that scented a chance for their own Arab Spring in the Indian Ocean.

The reason, Nasheed says, is because the judge, like the other 200-odd criminal court judges, was illegally sworn in for a life term and has blocked every attempt to bring multi-million-dollar corruption, rights abuse and criminal cases against Gayoom’s allies and relatives.

“Gayoom is running the judiciary,” Nasheed said. “When he lost the presidency, he was clever enough to carve out a territory and hide there, or get protected there. And none of the cases are moving.”

So to make good on his electoral promise to enact a new constitution and establish an independent judiciary, Nasheed says he has acted outside of it.

“You have to push everyone to the brink and tell them ‘You do this or we all fall’,” Nasheed told Reuters in an interview at the presidential bungalow in Male, the capital island.

“I think it would be so wrong of me not to tackle this simply because I might fall or simply because people may raise eyebrows.”

“Doubting Democracy”

And it has done just that, drawing private diplomatic rebukes from Western nations which backed his ascendancy to lead the archipelago of 1,200 islands out of 30 years of Gayoom’s rule, which was widely criticized as dictatorial.

“It’s just indefensible. It’s almost like Nelson Mandela coming out and locking up all the white people,” a businessman based in Male who works with a government-linked company told Reuters, asking not to be identified.

An Asian diplomat serving in Male said Nasheed was undermining the very institutions he was supposed to build.

“He is a champion of democracy by soul and heart, make no mistake about that,” the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “But the worst thing that has happened here is people are doubting democracy and asking ‘Did we do the right thing?’“

Even Nasheed appears uncomfortable, if unwavering.

“For god’s sake, I don’t want to arrest anyone. I have no intention of keeping anyone under arrest, and the man is kept very nicely — that’s no justification at all — but it’s not the kind of dump we were kept in.”

There have been nightly and sometimes-violent opposition protests since the judge’s detention, prompting the government to get U.N. and Commonwealth assistance to break the impasse.

The protests have also prompted virulent attacks on Nasheed’s Islamic credentials.

The Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP), run by the urbane former attorney general Hassan Saeed, issued a pamphlet accusing Nasheed of attempting to undermine Islam by bringing in Christianity, establishing diplomatic relations with Israel and of doing business with Jewish businessmen.

“It was a critique of the government’s religious policy, and it must be read in that context,” Saeed told Reuters in his law office near the Male port. “Our main problem is the business relationships with Jews of Nasheed and members of his cabinet.”

On Twitter, opposition-linked groups or individuals have called for Nasheed’s impeachment and, in at least one case, beheading under sharia law.

“Tropical Afghanistan”

But while the political fray goes on with all eyes on the 2013 presidential election, Maldivian intelligence officers and Western officials say hardline Salafist and Wahabist groups are gaining political ground in the more distant atolls and making a beachhead in Male.

The capital island is home to almost 200,000 of the Maldives’ 330,000 people, all Sunni Muslims. It is also home to the majority of the estimated 30,000 people on the islands who are addicted to heroin, according to U.N. estimates.

“It’s potentially a tropical Afghanistan. The same forces that gave rise to the Taliban are there — the drugs, the corruption and the behavior of the political class,” a Colombo-based Western ambassador who is responsible for the Maldives told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“The Salafists are taking over atoll after atoll. They work on the ground and it is insidious. Nero is definitely fiddling while Rome burns.”

None of the 931,000 well-heeled tourists who came in 2011 to visit desert islands swathed in aquamarine seas, ringed by beaches of icing-sugar sands, would get a hint of that.

Most tourists are whisked straight to their island hideaway by seaplane or speedboat, where they are free to drink alcohol and get luxurious spa treatments, insulated from the everyday Maldives, a fully Islamic state where alcohol is outlawed and skimpy beachwear frowned upon.

Pressure from Islamist parties prompted the government to briefly shut down all hotel spas in January, before realizing they may be killing the golden tourism goose of the Maldivian economy, which is believed to account for two-thirds of gross domestic product.

“Whatever winds that blow with trade from the Middle East always stop in the Maldives first,” Nasheed said, referring to conservative influences brought back from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan over the past three decades.

“They’re really quite infiltrated into many, many islands and they have literally taken over our way of life.”

“Nasty People”

The Maldivian government has under watch about 100 people who have links to al-Qaeda or other militant groups, or who trained in camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan, two Maldivian intelligence officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“We do have a somewhat good understanding of who could be a violent extremist, who has trained in terrorist camps with terrorist groups,” one of the officials told Reuters. “We do understand this problem is huge and if we don’t tackle it, it is going to be a big problem in the future.”

Though not on the top of Western intelligence agencies’ radars, four diplomats from the United States and Europe, including Britain, confirmed Maldivian militants were being tracked and intelligence was being shared with the government.

“There are some extremely nasty people on some of the outer atolls, where you wouldn’t want to go,” an American diplomat told Reuters.

The geographic isolation creates an intelligence-gathering problem, the Maldivian official said: “Surveillance is very difficult because on an island, if you send anyone in, they can easily be spotted.”

Shoe on the Other Foot

The arrest of the chief justice has given Gayoom, still active through his Progressive Party of the Maldives, a chance to put the shoe on the other foot and kick Nasheed in the political arena.

“If Nasheed’s solution is to remove people from the system, when does that stop? If you allow the military to intervene in a political issue, that’s dangerous,” former Gayoom spokesman Mohamed Hussain “Mundhu” Shareef said.

Shareef and Faris Gayoom, the former president’s eldest son, said Nasheed had resorted to extra-constitutional measures because he was facing an election in 2013.

“We have seen abuses now we didn’t even imagine,” Faris Gayoom told Reuters in a café in Male. “They (Nasheed) came into power after character-assassinating my father, with allegations of torture and corruption.”

The government has implicated Gayoom’s relatives and allies in human rights abuse cases and graft cases involving hundreds of millions of dollars pilfered from state institutions including the Bank of Maldives and the oil trading administration.

“We totally, 100 percent deny everything,” Gayoom said. “For me, this is personal and for my father as well.”

Nasheed denied it was a vendetta against the man who jailed him 27 times, but simply a refusal to let a handful of corrupt men stop the Maldives from having an independent judiciary.

“They have their resorts, they have their property and the government can get it through the courts,” Nasheed said. “All of it goes right back to them and that is why they can’t let go of Abdulla Mohamed (the chief justice). That would be the end of them.”

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Obama Admin Overlooks Rampant Pedophilia in Afghanistan

In non-diplomatic terms, Afghanistan is a haven for child rape, according to several American military officers just returning from the frontlines of the Global War on Terrorism.

Pedophilia is a widely-accepted practice in southern Afghanistan, where “boys are given to older men for the sexual gratification of the elder and the sexual education of the child,” say many returning U.S. troops.


According to Reuters, there is a lot of homosexuality going on in Afghanistan, but those engaging in it don’t think of themselves as gay, so that makes it okay since Islam officially disapproves of the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

“They regard themselves as non-gay because they don’t “love” the sex object so Allah is happy. These are the men who avoid their wives as unclean. Apparently there is very little love of any kind in Afghanistan, which explains a lot,” according to Reuters.

“Having a boy has become a custom for us,” Ena Yatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. “Whoever wants to show off should have a boy.” [. . .]

[Note from Egghead: Again, I say that Islam is the MOST homosexual religion.]

           — Hat tip: Egghead[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Bans Airlines From Paying EU Carbon Charges

(BEIJING) — China said Monday it has banned its airlines from complying with an EU scheme to impose charges on carbon emissions opposed by more than two dozen countries including India, Russia and the United States. Beijing has said repeatedly that it opposes the new European Union plan, which was imposed with effect from January 1, and which Chinese state media have warned would lead to a “trade war” in the sector.

A statement on the website of China’s State Council, or cabinet, also said airlines were barred from using the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) to increase fares or other passenger charges.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Emissions Scheme Dispute: China Bans Airlines From Paying EU Carbon Tax

China said on Monday it was forbidding its airlines from joining a European Union carbon emissions scheme to protect the climate. The companies now face fines or may even be barred from landing at EU airports. The dispute comes as the EU is looking to China to help tackle the euro debt crisis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

World’s ‘Most Expensive’ Tea Grown in Chinese Panda Poo

Chinese entrepreneur An Yanshi is convinced he has found the key ingredient to produce the world’s most expensive tea — panda poo. The former calligraphy teacher has purchased 11 tonnes of excrement from a panda breeding centre to fertilise a tea crop in the mountains of Sichuan province in southwestern China, home to the black and white bears.

An says he will harvest the first batch of tea leaves this spring and it will be the “world’s most expensive tea” at almost 220,000 yuan ($35,000) for 500 grams (18 ounces). Chinese tea drinkers regard the first batch of tea to be harvested in the early spring as the best and successive batches, regarded as inferior, will sell for around 20,000 yuan.

The 41-year-old, who is so passionate about his new project he dressed in a panda suit for his interview with AFP, has been ridiculed by some in China for his extravagant claims of the potential health benefits of the tea. But he insists he is deadly serious, saying he quit his job at Sichuan University to throw himself “heart and soul” into his company, Panda Tea, whose logo features a smiling panda wearing a bow tie and holding a steaming glass of green tea.

While An hopes to make money from the tea, which he has planted on just over a hectare (2.5 acres) of land, his main mission is to convince the world to protect the environment and replace chemical fertilisers with animal faeces — before it is too late. “Panda dung is rich in nutrition… and should be much better than chemical fertilisers,” An told AFP, as he sat at a traditional Chinese tea table drinking tea grown with cow manure.

“People should make a harmonious relationship with heaven, earth and the environment,” An said. “Everybody has an obligation to protect the environment,” he added, as he showed AFP dozens of traditional Chinese scroll paintings that he has created of cheerful-looking pandas, bamboo and calligraphy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Time for Soft-Touch Britain to Get Tough on Immigration

During the course of the last Labour government, however, immigration became a scandal.

The figures speak for themselves: in the year to 2009 the number of foreign tenants in social housing rose to over 1.1million, while the number of British-born tenants fell by 1.2million.

This is shameful.

A betrayal of the people our politicians were elected to serve.

In our interview today with Housing Minister Grant Shapps he says that these iniquities will be addressed and local people given priority for housing: it’s about time, too.

We can only hope he means it and that this doesn’t become yet another commitment watered down to an aspiration about which nothing is done.

Mr Shapps added that a “sense of injustice” has grown up around the housing system. That’s one way of putting it. Anger and outrage, too.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Why the UK Cannot Deport Thousands of Criminals

THOUSANDS of European criminals in British jails will not be sent home despite the introduction of a new prisoner transfer deal among EU member states.

The deal, which came into force last month, is designed to allow countries to ease overcrowding in their prisons by deporting offenders back to their native land.

Since the agreement was first signed in 2008 only two nations have reached a deal with Britain, both securing opt-outs from the project.

Labour ministers allowed Poland to dodge its obligations for five years while Ireland negotiated a complete opt-out.

It leaves more than 1,400 Polish and Irish prisoners serving time in British jails at taxpayers’ expense. Offenders from the two nations make up more than a third of all the European inmates in the UK.

Andrew Percy, Tory MP for Brigg and Goole, said: “Members of any Government do not need to be brain surgeons to work out that the biggest foreign providers of our prison population are Poland and Ireland.

“Knowing this, I cannot believe the last Labour government allowed these countries to opt out of the new prisoner transfer agreements.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

UK: Prominent Tory Disowns ‘Religious Right’ And Supports Gay Marriage

In an interview with The Independent, Tim Montgomerie dismissed criticism that extending equal rights to gays and lesbians would weaken marriage.

Mr Montgomerie, who described himself as “not married and not gay”, said: “The Conservative Party has never had any shortage of gay people in it. The best way to think about it is: what David Cameron is embarked upon is an incredibly important project — to make social conservatism fashionable again. Marriage is civilising, stabilising, a hugely important institution for bringing people together. But if marriage is fossilised and exclusive, that has only limited reach. His attempt to enlarge and modernise the institution should not be seen as a threat to marriage but as its saviour.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Mars ‘Super-Drought’ May Make Red Planet Too Dry for Alien Life

The surface of Mars may have been parched for too long for any life-forms to exist on the planet today, a new study suggests. A team of researchers spent three years meticulously examining individual particles of Martian soil collected during NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander mission in 2008. According to their observations, the surface of Mars may have been arid and desolate for more than 600 million years, despite the presence of ice and despite previous studies that indicate the planet may have experienced a warmer and wetter past more than 3 billion years ago.

This could mean that the Martian surface is too hostile to support any life, the researchers said. “We found that even though there is an abundance of ice, Mars has been experiencing a super-drought that may well have lasted hundreds of millions of years,” study leader author Tom Pike, from Imperial College London, said in a statement. “We think the Mars we know today contrasts sharply with its earlier history, which had warmer and wetter periods and which may have been more suited to life.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pirate File-Sharing Goes 3D

LAST week saw the launch of a new category on The Pirate Bay, the controversial file-sharing site known for making copyright material freely available. Alongside music, films and e-books, the site offers “physibles” — digital objects that assume a physical form thanks to a 3D printer. At the moment such printers are the domain of hobbyists, spitting out small plastic trinkets, but improvements in the technology mean more complex materials and shapes will soon be possible. Could The Pirate Bay’s move open the door for a new wave of piracy as people scan objects using a 3D scanner and share them online?

The prospect may seem unlikely, but remember that MP3 players were a niche market until free music from the likes of Napster fuelled demand for the iPod. So perhaps file-sharing could do the same for 3D printers, bringing them into people’s homes. The music industry responded to illegal file-sharing with digital rights management (DRM) techniques that prevented a song from playing on an unauthorised device. Could companies that sell physical products do the same?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

So we are to believe Turkey was a
lovey-dovey peaceful utopia for the
800 or so years of the Ottoman Empire. That is hilarious. Islam doesn't live snugly with any other
system/religion, the best the minorities could expect would have been to live in dhimmitude under the Moslems.That means to live as second class citizens with fear and a constant degradation of all aspects of life until minority status gave way to something resembling genocide.Check-out Copts in Egypt or Sikhs, Hindus and Christians in Pakistan.It's an ugly thing.