Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120223

Financial Crisis
»Canada Demands EU Shore Up Its Crisis Fund
»French More Anxious About Downturn
»Norway’s Crown Hits 9-Yr High, More Room to Firm
»Big Oil’s Generosity and the Cloak of Social Responsibility
»Fear of Spiders Makes You Believe Creepy Crawlies Are Bigger
»How Kodak Succumbed to the Digital Age
»New Mosque Opens in Roswell
»Canada Welcomes Delay of EU Oil Sands Decision
»Early-Morning Raid Nets 37 Arrests in Insurance Scam
Europe and the EU
»A Growing Following in Germany: The Dangerous Success of Radical Young Clerics
»Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results
»Finland: Soini and Rehn Clash: “Figure of Speech” Or “Hate Speech”?
»Germany Rejects Demand to Stop Castrating Sex Criminals as Punishment
»Greek Journalist Called Merkel ‘Dirty Berlin Slut’
»Imam Shot in the Head in Northern Sweden
»‘Lilyhammer’ Review: Anti-Leftist Catnip for Liberty-Loving Conservatives
»Norwegian Skiers 100 Times Better Than Danes
»Taking a Stand Against Neo-Nazi Terror: Merkel Asks Victims’ Relatives for Forgiveness
»The Devil Makes Him Do it: Meet the Vatican’s in-House Exorcist
»UK: Accused ‘Threatened to Have 15-Year-Old Girl Killed’, Rochdale Rape Trial Hears
»UK: Asian Takeaways Targeted in Trouble
»UK: David Cameron: Beat Footie Racists
»UK: Drug Dealer Who Shot Former Friend Fails to Get His Jail Term Cut Despite Revenge Killing
»UK: Extremist Mohammed Abdin Jailed for Eight Months Over Threats to Machine Gun Police
»UK: Ken Livingstone’s Extremist Links: A ‘Remarkable Intellect’ Hits Back
»UK: Londoners Won’t be Fooled by the Anti-Ken Livingstone Spin
»UK: Nottingham City Council Slammed Over Jobs Scheme
»UK: Radical Muslim Preacher Fan of Soldier’s ‘Islamophobic’ Novel
»Was Speeding Neutrino Claim a Human Error?
Israel and the Palestinians
»Israel Might Buy 30 Italian Military Jets
Middle East
»What Iranian Elites Think: An Inside Look at Views of the West
South Asia
»Corruption in Bangladesh — It is the National Sport
»Mystery Over Warning Shots, Times and Enrica Lexie’s Route
»Obama Apologizes for Afghan Quran Burnings
»The London-Based Campaign to Hang a Pakistani Christian
»‘We Will Bring Marines Back’, Says Terzi
»What an Act of Ignorance!
Far East
»Japanese Company Aims for Space Elevator by 2050
»LVMH to Make Red Wine in China
Sub-Saharan Africa
»SA Family Seeks Asylum in US — Report
»‘We Want Out of SA’
Latin America
»Falklands Flare Up — Could a New Oil Find Re-Ignite an Old Conflict?
»Britain’s ‘Mickey Mouse’ Border Controls Let 500,000 Into the Country Without Any Checks for Five Years
»Italy Censured for Deporting African Migrants
»Sweden Braces for Family Immigration Boom
»UK: Mass Immigration Has Changed Our Country for Ever
Culture Wars
»Male Students at Top University Banned From Dressing as Girls on Pub Crawls ‘Because it is as Offensive as Blacking-Up’
»‘Swedish Needs a Gender-Neutral Pronoun’
»UK: Doctors Filmed Agreeing to Abortions Based on Gender
»Red Dwarf Stars May be Best Chance for Habitable Alien Planets
»Tiny ‘Soccer Ball’ Space Molecules Could Equal 10,000 Mount Everests

Financial Crisis

Canada Demands EU Shore Up Its Crisis Fund

(OTTAWA) — The European Union must significantly bolster its own crisis fund before Canada gives more money to the IMF to help prevent eurozone contagion, a senior Canadian official said Thursday. “Further actions are required in Europe notably to bolster their firewall before we come back to this question of IMF resources,” the finance department official told a media briefing ahead of upcoming G20 crisis talks in Mexico.

“We would insist on the need for a much larger and a much more effective firewall generally in Europe so that countries in the periphery that are undergoing adjustment have the necessary liquidity support.”

The firewall — a rescue fund designed to prevent the debt crisis from engulfing other EU members — must still be topped up by $500 billion, the official said. “The quantum and effectiveness of the firewall need to be improved.” It must be “significantly larger than exists now” and “significantly more effective.”

The 17 eurozone nations already pledged in December to contribute 150 billion euros ($192 billion) in the form of bilateral loans to the International Monetary Fund. They hope emerging countries, which have so far held back, will also participate so the IMF has enough funds to prevent eurozone contagion.

However Mexico’s and Japan’s finance ministers have said that the G20 is not yet ready to agree on providing more funds to the IMF, while the IMF is looking for Europe to boost the resources of its own rescue fund — the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) — for fragile countries. That opinion is shared by Canada and the United States.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French More Anxious About Downturn

A new survey shows around eight in ten people questioned in France believe the country is in the midst of an economic downturn, compared to just four out of ten Germans, and many feel the country has not done enough to adapt to the global economy. The poll, conducted by the Ifop institute and published in newspaper La Croix on Thursday, asked people in France, Germany, China, Russia and the USA about the economic situation.

79 percent of those questioned in France said they believed the country to be in recession. China, Russia and Germany all scored between 35 and 38 percent while 52 percent of Americans agreed. French people seem less convinced than others that the country is well prepared to compete globally. When asked if they are well placed in the global economy, just 32 percent of French people agree. This compares to 65 percent of Chinese and 61 percent of Germans.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway’s Crown Hits 9-Yr High, More Room to Firm

OSLO: Norway’s safe haven crown currency hit a fresh nine-year high against the euro on Thursday and may gain further, helped by a strong economy, high oil prices and the low risk of central bank intervention, traders and strategists said.

The crown pushed through a key resistance level and firmed over half a percent as heavy offshore buying triggered stop-loss orders, before easing back to settle well above its recent high.

“All the fundamentals, high oil price, a wide interest rate differential and ample risk appetite, are working in the crown’s favour,” said Nordea currency strategist Ole Haakon Eek-Nielsen.

Norway is debt free and the oil driven and rapidly expanding economy has attracted an inflow of capital in recent months as healthy fundamentals make it ideal for investors seeking to reduce euro zone exposure.

The recent oil price rally has only increased the crown’s appeal and the currency has comfortably outperformed the Swedish and Danish crowns.

The Norwegian crown approached a similar level in September when the Swiss National Bank put a cap on the franc’s exchange rate against the euro, sending investors scrambling for alternative safe-haven assets.

“The difference with September is that foreign investors are not as long right now so this is not a very crowded position unlike back then… and the currency has room to go further,” Eek-Nielsen said.

The Swiss and Japanese central banks have fought to stop their currencies firming too much in recent months but Norway’s dependence on oil, which is dollar based, and its strong fundamentals makes intervention less likely in the short term.

The euro traded around 7.49 to the crown for most of the morning before falling to 7.4399 within seconds and settling down around 7.4745 by 1018 GMT.

“A lot of positions just got shaken out so chart levels got redrawn,” a dealer said. “Some new positions were built in round 7.4600 and 7.4720 but they’re not very strong.”

Handelsbanken on Thursday lowered its 3-month crown forecast to 7.45 from 7..60 and said Norges Bank might become uncomfortable if the crown firms too quickly.

Norges Bank has repeatedly said it has room to manoeuvre with interest rates but most analysts expect the bank to keep rates unchanged for most of 2012 as record house prices and a strong labor market argue against further rate cuts.

Swedish bank SEB also warned that a move too quickly through the 7.4640 level would stretch short-term conditions, risking a short term negative reaction with resistance for the euro seen around 7.5115.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]


Big Oil’s Generosity and the Cloak of Social Responsibility

by Daniel Graeber

U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil said it invited 50 school girls to its headquarters in Texas for its 9th annual program meant to encourage more women to pursue engineering. The company said that while women make up about half of the U.S. workforce, only around 14 percent of those jobs were in the field of engineering. The program, Exxon explained, was part of a multi-million dollar effort launched through its philanthropic arm, the Exxon Mobil Foundation.

The initiative, Exxon officials explain, is meant to show school girls that engineering was a rewarding field and not just a boys-only club. Last week, the foundation announced it awarded Teach for America a $500,000 grant to improve math and education programs for tens of thousands of students in low-income communities. Officials involved in Exxon’s philanthropic arm said the educational initiatives are meant to prepare students to compete in the global economy.

But Exxon isn’t the only major energy company concerned with the greater good to some degree. BP claims it’s spent some $14 billion on restoration operations along the southern U.S. coast following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Another $1.2 billion was spent funding a scientific study of the gulf ecosystem and BP workers invested some 66.5 million man hours cleaning up southern beaches.


[Return to headlines]

Fear of Spiders Makes You Believe Creepy Crawlies Are Bigger

The more you fear a spider the bigger it will appear to be, according to new research.

A study of arachnophobes found the worse their condition the larger they estimated the creepy crawlie’s size. The irrational fear of spiders is believed to affect as many as half of women and girls, and up to one in six males. And the latest findings explain why many sufferers hold out their arms shrieking “it was that big” when the reality of the situation turns out to be much less scary. A better grasp of how a phobia affects perception of feared objects can help doctors design more effective remedies, the Journal of Anxiety Disorders reports. Psychologist Professor Michael Vasey, of Ohio State University, said: “If one is afraid of spiders, and by virtue of being afraid of spiders one tends to perceive spiders as bigger than they really are, that may feed the fear, foster that fear, and make it difficult to overcome.”


[JP note: Far be it from me to have fatuous thoughts about Islamophobia in relation to this research.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

How Kodak Succumbed to the Digital Age

The most important moments of the 20th century were captured on Kodak film. But the once-dominant American company could not compete in the digital age. Eastman Kodak’s bankruptcy has left the company’s remaining employees with uncertain futures.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Mosque Opens in Roswell

The Roswell Community Masjid cut the ribbon on its new building last weekend.

With the support of local leaders in attendance, Roswell Community Masjid (RCM) cut the ribbon on its new mosque last weekend. Representatives from other Roswell spiritual organizations, businesses and political entities showed up Sunday, Feb. 19 to the new mosque location at 345 Market Place in Roswell, not far from where it previously rented space in the shopping center at Grimes Bridge Road and Holcomb Bridge Road, next to Provinos. “This [new] facility has the potential to house more events to provide services and resources for the Roswell community. Whether it is other spiritual organizations, schools, charities and community events,” Shaheen Bharde, spokesperson for RCM, told Roswell Patch. RCM, which began over three years ago in 2008, purchased the Market Place location and completely renovated it from the inside. Larger praying areas, a multi-purpose room for community events, library, media center and classrooms were all included in the remodel. Eventually, RCM would like to also install a full outdoor basketball court and children’s play area. “Besides functioning as a masjid for Friday and daily prayers, RCM is currently providing quality programs in youth education,” said Bharde. The masjid is home to local Muslim Boys and Girl Scouts troops and is well respected by neighboring non-Muslim institutions, due to its collaboration in social services and interfaith activities, according to Bharde.

Roswell Mayor Jere Wood and Georgia State Representative Lynne Riley hosted the official ribbon cutting, Sunday. For more information on RCM or tours of its new facility, visit them online.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Canada Welcomes Delay of EU Oil Sands Decision

(OTTAWA) — Canada’s resources minister said Thursday he is “pleased” that a key EU decision on whether to label oil from Canada’s tar sands as highly polluting was postponed to June after European talks ended in stalemate. “We understand the European Union Fuel Quality Committee today did not approve the implementing measures for their fuel quality directive,” Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said in a statement.

“We are pleased to see that many EU countries are opposed to this discriminatory measure.” The issue has whipped up a controversy with Canada, believed to be sitting on the world’s third largest oil reserves thanks to tar sands in Alberta whose extraction environmentalists say will wreck the climate.

Canada threatened to lodge a World Trade Organization complaint against the European Union if experts from the EU’s 27 member countries meeting in a special committee voted to deem oil from tar sands as harmful for the environment.

“The committee failed to give an opinion, there was no qualified majority for or against,” said European Commission spokesman Isaac Valero Ladron. The question will now go to environment ministers who meet in June, he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Early-Morning Raid Nets 37 Arrests in Insurance Scam

Police arrested 37 people, slapping them with an excess of 130 charges, after investigators cracked down on a large insurance scam in the GTA.

Police raided about 50 homes in the Toronto, Markham and Brampton areas in the early hours of Thursday.

They say they were initially tipped off by a staged collision in 2009, and teamed up with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Statefarm Insurance for a lengthy investigation.

At the time, a car was taken into a collision reporting centre that did not match the damages in the crash, according to Insp. Gord Jones of Traffic Services.

“Cars were being towed by tow truck drivers that have never been involved in collisions,” said Jones, adding that the damages didn’t add up, “People were making fraudulent claims.”

Fraudulent insurance claims cost insurance companies several billion dollars a year.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Det. Mike McCulloch.

The fraudulent claims mostly targeted the South Asian community with victims not being able to protect themselves and report crime due to a language barrier.

Rick Dubin, vice-president of investigative services for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, told the conference that the public has to take insurance crime very seriously.

“The cost to everyone is reflected in health care, courts and insurance costs … when they cheat, you pay.”

Police are urging the public to be alert as they try to identify more suspects in the case.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

A Growing Following in Germany: The Dangerous Success of Radical Young Clerics

Imams in Germany have long tended to be older men who preach primarily in Turkish or Arabic. Now, though, officials are worried about a new breed of cleric: young, dynamic and followers of a radical brand of Islam. Their adherents are growing in number.

None of his words are arbitrary. It is a show he has performed many times before. Sheikh Abdul Adhim knows which verses of the Koran appeal to his listeners, and which subjects they want to hear about. “Satan will tempt you with money and drugs” he tells the faithful at Berlin’s Al-Nur Mosque. “Only faith in Allah can protect you.” The members of the congregation nod. “No one preaches as beautifully as Abdul Adhim,” they say.

The 34-year-old Berliner is the most prominent figure in a community of young, radical imams who are gaining importance among German Muslims. They appear in mosques and civic centers, they live in cities like Frankfurt, Bonn and Mönchengladbach, and the Internet is their most important platform. Web-based videos have meant a rapid increase in both popularity and influence in the community. Hundreds of followers regularly make the pilgrimage to Adhim’s live rallies, or to those held by 33-year-old Pierre Vogel, from the town of Frechen near Cologne.

Supporters of these young imams say that they are reaching youth who would otherwise be lost to the streets. Critics, however, see men like Adhim and Vogel as foes of democracy, because of the strictly conservative form of Islam they preach. Many are Salafists, adherents of a fundamentalist movement that strictly follows the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Salafists reject innovation, frown on interactions with infidels and believe that the only legitimate laws come from God.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results

It appears that the faster-than-light neutrino results, announced last September by the OPERA collaboration in Italy, was due to a mistake after all. A bad connection between a GPS unit and a computer may be to blame.

Physicists had detected neutrinos travelling from the CERN laboratory in Geneva to the Gran Sasso laboratory near L’Aquila that appeared to make the trip in about 60 nanoseconds less than light speed. Many other physicists suspected that the result was due to some kind of error, given that it seems at odds with Einstein’s special theory of relativity, which says nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. That theory has been vindicated by many experiments over the decades.

According to sources familiar with the experiment, the 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos’ flight and an electronic card in a computer. After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed. Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos. New data, however, will be needed to confirm this hypothesis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finland: Soini and Rehn Clash: “Figure of Speech” Or “Hate Speech”?

EU Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn and Finns’ Party chairman Timo Soini have clashed over remarks made by Soini in a YLE TV broadcast. Rehn characterized the remarks as “dangerous hate speech”. Soini says public figures have to be able to tolerate criticism and has refused to apologize.

Olli Rehn is both the Vice-President of the EU Commission and the Member of the Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs.

When asked in a YLE TV broadcast on Wednesday for a reaction to Rehn’s views on the economic situation in Greece, Finns’ Party leader Timo Soini compared Rehn to Nikolai Bobrikov — a Russian Governor-General of Finland who was given dictatorial powers by the Tsar, and who was assassinated by a Finnish nationalist in 1904.

Rehn took offense at the remark and issued a statement calling it “not only insulting to a patriotic person such as myself, but also dangerous hate speech referring to a murdered person”. Rehn demanded an apology.

“Figure of speech”

Timo Soini has refused an apology.

According to Soini, the EU Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are dictating to Greece what to do, regardless of the results of elections in that country.

“The Bobrikov of Brussels. That is a figure of speech, and anyone in a public position has to tolerate public criticism,” Soini said on Thursday. “Complete nonsense from Rehn, this is no hate speech,” he continued.

“Look at what kind of swamp the Commission and Europe have driven Greece and the euro into. If this cannot be criticized with a figure of speech, then we are living in a strange Europe,” Soini told YLE.

Soini says that this is a question of freedom of speech.

“I stand by my words. He can’t take much [sauna] heat, if this offends him.”

“If this turns into the sort of society where people get easily offended, soon no one will dare say anything and we’ll have only officialese,” Soini added.

Soini said that he himself is used to public criticism and that he expects the same of others.

EU Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn declined to comment to YLE on what his intentions are now that Timo Soini has refused to apologize.

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Germany Rejects Demand to Stop Castrating Sex Criminals as Punishment

Germany is rejecting demands from an EU body that it should stop surgically castrating sex criminals — a practice that dates back to the Nazis — because it is ‘degrading’.

Defying Brussels, the German government said it intends to carry on with the practice citing low re-offending rates among sex criminals who had opted to have the procedure.

It pointed out the results of a 1997 study that tracked the history of 104 sexual offenders ‘who subjected themselves to castration in the decade between 1970 and 1980. Their reoffending rate was three per cent,’ the German authorities explained, ‘as opposed to 46 per cent for a control group.’

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Greek Journalist Called Merkel ‘Dirty Berlin Slut’

A Greek radio station has been fined €25,000 for allowing one of its journalists to refer to German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “dirty Berlin slut” on air. According to the English-language news site Athens News, Yiorgos Trangas used the term (translated literally as “dirty Berlin girl with an open arse”) twice during programmes in September and October 2011 on the Real FM radio station.

The Greek National Council of Radio and Television justified the fine by saying Trangas had used obscene language and abused the Greek language, the news site reported. Trangas apologized Wednesday but referred to Greeks as “the Jews of 2012.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Imam Shot in the Head in Northern Sweden

A 54-year-old imam was found shot in the head in Strömsund in northwestern Sweden on Wednesday in what police have classified as attempted murder.

Police received a call around 1:30pm on Wednesday afternoon that the man, identified by Sveriges Television (SVT) as Obydkhon Sobitkhony, had been found with gun shot wounds.

“He was shot at least once in the head, but there may have been more shots. He was improving for awhile last night but during the day on Thursday certain complications came up which have made his condition worse,” Östersund police detective Ted Persson told the local Östersunds Posten (ÖP) newspaper on Thursday.

Sobitkhony, who is known by the surname Nazarov, serves as an imam in Strömsund, where he has lived since coming to Sweden in 2006 as a political refugee from Uzbekistan.

He is being treated at hospital in Umeå for what have been described as life threatening injuries.

According to SVT, a gun believed to be used in Wednesday’s shooting was found near where Sobitkhony lay and around 30 officers participated in the preliminary investigation by combing the scene for clues and knocking on doors in the vicinity.

“The door knocking as yielded positive results thus far,” Persson told the newspaper.

However, local police have made an appeal to the public for more information about the shooting.

Sobitkhony is a known critic of the regime in Uzbekistan and came to Sweden along with scores of other political refugees after a 2005 crackdown by Uzbek government troops in Andijan in which hundreds of protesters were killed, although the exact number of casualties remains in dispute.

At the time of the incident, known as the Andijan massacre, the Uzbek government claimed the demonstrations were organized by Islamic radicals.

In the wake of the influx of Uzbek refugees, Strömsund, a town of just over 4,000 residents, has seen a rise in hate crimes ranging rom racist graffiti to the burning down of a mosque in the city in 2008.

According to SVT, there were threats against Sobitkhony but, police were unwilling to confirm or deny the existence of threats directed against the imam.

“However, there are threats against other Uzbeks who are currently in Strömsund,” said Persson.

While local police are running the investigation, both Interpol and Swedish security service Säpo have been informed of the incident.

“For the moment, we don’t have any suspects, but we do have some forensic evidence,” Persson told ÖP.

           — Hat tip: Freedom Fighter[Return to headlines]

‘Lilyhammer’ Review: Anti-Leftist Catnip for Liberty-Loving Conservatives

by John Nolte

Steven Van Zandt must, at times, slow down his busy life in order to take a moment to savor and appreciate where he finds his career today. With the exception of a brief sabbatical, he’s been the co-star of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band almost since the beginning, and yet, in his middle age, his life took the wildest of turns in 1999 when the then 49 year-old was offered the choice role of the dark, deadly, and brooding Silvio Dante in HBO’s seminal television series “The Sopranos.”

Then, at the end of that historic eight-year run, of all places, Norwegian television came calling with “Lilyhammer,” the story of a middle-aged New York gangster who ends up relocated in Lillehammer, Norway, courtesy of the Witness Protection Program. The show premiered to record ratings, which caught the attention of America’s new distribution giant, Netflix. On the lookout for something that would loudly declare its arrival in the world of original programming, Netflix premiered all eight episodes of “Lilyhammer” earlier this month through its streaming service.

If you’re expecting “The Sopranos,” no offense, but that’s just dumb. That was lightning in a bottle. Yes, Van Zandt brought along Silvio’s wig, hunched shoulders, and down-turned mouth, but the similarities end there. Though undeniably dangerous (especially when threatened), willing to throw a punch, and always on the hustle, this new character, “Johnny,” isn’t quite the cold-blooded murderer who famously whacked Adriana.

The show, however, is a delight. The wife and I devoured and savored all eight episodes over a single weekend and now we can’t wait for season two (which has already been ordered.) While ‘Lilyhammer’ doesn’t go to the same dark places the “Sopranos” went, and the characters are nowhere as complex, to the show’s credit, that’s not the goal.

Instead, we get a funny, fresh and addictive fish-out-water comedy/drama that focuses on our flawed protagonist as he attempts to chisel out a life in a stark, cold country where he doesn’t speak the language (though he does understand it). The pleasure to be had in all of this is how supremely capable Johnny is. So capable, in fact, that just a few episodes in, the roles reverse and it’s those around Johnny who become the fish-out-of-water as one man single-handedly bends an entire country to his will.

According to the show, the country of Norway is a Leftist’s wet dream. There’s national healthcare, and everything from hunting to building to creating a new business to getting a driver’s license is over-regulated to the point of absurdity.. Worse still, the men have mostly been emasculated into sniveling, helpless do-gooders who believe in “conflict resolution,” the church of trash separation, and accepting the unacceptable when it comes to bureaucratic rules.

The entire premise of “Lilyhammer” is to mock, ridicule, and undermine a nanny state that has all but destroyed human ingenuity and creativity. Johnny might be a gangster, but he’s an all-American gangster who has no patience for nonsense and who knows how to get things done. He also does something the eunuchs around him won’t — he’s chivalrous.

In episode three, something happened that I never thought I would see on television. A sexist fundamentalist Muslim gets what he deserves (or what anyone who does such a thing deserves) after he intentionally and publicly humiliates a woman. Johnny catches up with the punk in the men’s room and slaps him around like a little bitch. I about fell out of my chair and was certain that the show would never allow this to stand as a moment to rejoice. But I was wrong.

That’s the kind show this is. In other words, it’s the kind of show you would never see produced here in America, because every episode revolves around our hero standing up for human liberty, masculinity and even nationalism. Every year Norway holds their own 4th of July, and when Johnny sees that his girlfriend’s son has written a speech about tolerance, peace, love, and multiculturalism — he tells the kid not to apologize for Norway, but to be proud of his country and to stand up for it. The end result is one of the series’ highlights.

No matter what leftist absurdity Johnny’s faced with, the show does a beautiful job of deconstructing not only the absurdity itself, but also the dehumanizing effect out-of-control statism has on the human soul and spirit — how bureaucracies breed tyrannical bureaucrats who revel in the power given to them by the state to be unreasonable, rude, dictatorial, corrupt, and ineffective.

Johnny comes to town and liberates the town, not only with good, old-fashioned American common sense, but also by beating them at their own corrupt game — everyone from lazy socialized doctors to unions to the DMV to the “Gandhi-spouting hippie” who holds up the development of some land just because he can.

The best news is that all of this is presented with wit, charm, humor, interesting characters, very good acting (especially Van Zandt), and very good writing. While each episode is pretty much self-contained, there is an over-arching story and drama that keeps you coming back as the characters and their relationships slowly evolve. This is a quality television show that might not reach the heights of a “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad,” but it certainly hangs in there with “The Closer” and “Sons of Anarchy.”

But more than that, “Lilyhammer” is an absolute breath of politically incorrect air. As we sit here and watch the hapless and hopeless Republican party constantly outsmarted by the media and Barack Obama as our liberties are stripped away, I promise you that “Lilyhammer” will help to get you through the night.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Norwegian Skiers 100 Times Better Than Danes

Danish skiers are 100 times more likely than their Norwegian counterparts to come a cropper on the piste, according to figures from insurer Tryg.

“If you see somebody getting transported down a ski slope with a broken leg or ligament damage, it’s most likely a Dane,” said Anne Marie Lai Kjar, head of Tryg’s emergency centre.

Reports of ungainly Danes continue to flood in relentlessly from ski resorts around the world.

“Going on a ski trip is a physical activity that Danes grasp very badly. At least, Danes get a lot more serious injuries than their Nordic neighbours. Norwegians are probably naturally better and are more accustomed to going skiing,” said Lai Kjar.

Last year, Tryg’s emergency centre registered 1,342 injuries involving Danes on the alpine slopes of Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Just 81 Swedes and 30 Norwegian careered headlong into the kind of injury trouble that blighted the holidays of their Danish peers.

Danes were found to be 100 times more injury prone than Norwegians when figures for the number of holidaymakers from each country were taken into account.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Taking a Stand Against Neo-Nazi Terror: Merkel Asks Victims’ Relatives for Forgiveness

At a memorial event for the victims of the neo-Nazi terror cell on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked their relatives for forgiveness for investigators’ wrongful suspicions about the victims and their families. She called on Germany not to forget. “Indifference has a devastating effect,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Devil Makes Him Do it: Meet the Vatican’s in-House Exorcist

At 86, Father Gabriele Amorth still performs several exorcisms per day. He sees the devil everywhere, including in the music of Marilyn Manson. And he’s convinced that Satan — as much as he feared John Paul II — fears Pope Benedict XVI even more

But also by the light of day, this faithful priest says his job is often at odds with the rest of the Catholic Church. He became the official exorcist of diocese of Rome in June 1986, during John Paul II’s papacy. Today, at 86, this member of Society of St. Paul is still fighting what he calls “the Great Enemy.” The devil is his name.

Father Amorth tells the story of his lifelong battle against Satan in the newly published book “L’Ultimo Esorcista” (The Last Exorcist). The book was written together with Paolo Rodari, a journalist with the Italian newspaper Il Foglio.

Besides Lucifer, the priest’s other enemies are all those people who don’t believe the devil exists. “Your Eminence, you should read a book,” father Amorth once told a powerful cardinal of the Roman Curia who had said the devil was just “a result of superstition.”

The cardinal asked: “What book?”

“The Gospels,” Amorth shot back. “Am I wrong or are the exorcisms one of Jesus’s primary activities?”

The priest practices eight to 10 exorcisms a day, including on Sunday and Christmas day. He thinks the devil is everywhere, even in the Vatican’s holy rooms. He says that John Paul II was convinced as well, and also practiced his own exorcisms.

The Polish pontiff’s first exorcism took place on March 27, 1982. The then bishop of the central Italy town of Spoleto, Ottorino Alberti, brought a young woman, Francesca Fabrizi, to him. Once in front of him, she started to sob, writhing on the ground, despite the Pope’s commands for the devil to retreat. She calmed down only when John Paul II said: “Tomorrow I will say mass for you.”

A few years later, the woman visited John Paul together with her husband. She was peaceful, happy, and pregnant. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” the Pope told the head of the papal household, Cardinal Jacques Martin, according to the latter’s memoirs. “It was a biblical scene,” the Pope added.

Benedict XVI won’t go there

Current Pope Benedict XVI does not perform exorcisms, but Amorth believes the devil considers him even more dangerous than John Paul II. In his book, Amorth writes that two of his assistants took two victims of demonic possession to St. Peter’s Square to see a papal general audience. When they saw the Pope, they fell to the ground, rolling around, screaming and drooling. Benedict noticed them, got closer, and blessed them. It looked like they had been lashed, and knocked backwards severa meters. Amorth writes.

According to Amorth, the devil has always tempted the Church hierarchies and the inhabitants of the Vatican. He says that satanic sects are behind the case of Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican City employee who mysteriously disappeared on June 22, 1983.

“A 15-year-old girl [as Orlandi was at the time] does not get it in a car if she does not know the person inviting her to get in. I think investigations were necessary inside, not outside the Vatican. I think that only someone that Emanuela knew well could have convinced her to get in the car. Often satanic sects do it: they invite a girl in a car and then they make her disappear.”

In 1999, Luigi Marinelli, a retired priest and a former member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches, published the book “Gone with the Wind In The Vatican” denouncing nepotism, corruption, and sexual scandals of the Catholic Church. But no one did anything. “It should have been an alarm bell for the Church. But it wasn’t,” says Amorth.

The priest believes that the devil tempts everyone: religious and lay people, adults and children. A striking case happened in the small northern Italian town of Chiavenna in June 2000, when three teenagers killed a nun named Maria Laura Mainetti. They later said it was a sacrifice to the devil. At the time, the press put the emphasis on the girls’ obsession for esotericism and worship of the rock singer Marilyn Manson.

“Of course, I cannot say the cause of the murder was Manson’s song or Manson himself,” says Amorth. “But let’s be clear: Satanic music is one of the main vehicles to spread Satanism among young people. The messages of satanic music influence the hearts and minds of young people. Via this kind of music, young people get in touch with new and previously unknown topics. They reach evil’s frontiers, places they had not explored before.”

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

UK: Accused ‘Threatened to Have 15-Year-Old Girl Killed’, Rochdale Rape Trial Hears

Fresh allegations over use of alcohol, drugs and violence made in court against 11 men charged in child sex case

A teenager was repeatedly raped by members of a gang who used alcohol and threats of violence to force her to comply with their demands, a court heard on Wednesday.

The girl, who cannot be identified, said one of the men told her he would “get someone to kill you” unless she got in his car, where she was sexually assaulted.

Her police interviews, recorded when she was 15 years old, were played to jurors at Liverpool crown court, where 11 men are accused of being part of a child sexual exploitation ring.

Kabeer Hassan, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin, Qamar Shahzad, Liaquat Shah, Hamid Safi and a 59-year-old man who cannot be named all deny conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16.

The 59-year-old defendant also denies two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, one count of sexual assault and an allegation of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

The offences are alleged to have been committed in and around Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in 2008 and 2009.

During police interviews, the girl, now aged 19, told of occasions when she and a friend were targeted by the 59-year-old as they were “hanging around” on the streets of the town.

On one occasion, she said, he stopped his car and told her to get inside, and when she refused he said: “If you don’t get in I’ll get someone to kill you.”

She said he also told her he would tell her mother that she had been having sex with him and she became so frightened she agreed to get into the vehicle.

He then drove her to an industrial area on the outskirts of Heywood, near Rochdale, where he forced her to perform a sex act, she said.

The girl stated: “I said I didn’t want to do it, I said, let go of me. But he wouldn’t, he just carried on.”

On another occasion, the girl said the defendant bought her a litre-sized bottle of vodka and after she was drunk he forced her to have sex with another man.

She said: “He said he had given me a treat and now I had to give the other man a treat.”

The girl said she was then taken to a dingy room where she was raped on a mattress on the floor. Asked what was going though her mind, she said: “I just thought, I’m going to have to let him do it.”

           — Hat tip: EDO[Return to headlines]

UK: Asian Takeaways Targeted in Trouble

Disturbances have broken out in the Heywood area of Rochdale, police have confirmed.

Gangs of youths have congregated and it is believed Asian takeaway businesses have been targeted, sources said.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “We became aware of congregations of men gathering in Heywood this evening. We are getting some reports of disturbances.

“There has been no reports of serious injuries. The owner of one takeaway restaurant has had his car attacked.”

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: David Cameron: Beat Footie Racists

PM in vow to clean up game

DAVID Cameron today vows never to allow British football to be dragged down again by racist and anti-gay slurs.

It follows ugly incidents during televised games this season that have engulfed some of the Premier League’s biggest names. Writing for The Sun below, the PM puts himself at the forefront of the battle against prejudice — on the pitch and on the terraces. The PM hosts a Downing Street summit for top soccer officials on tackling abuse today. He will also announce a £3million injection into the FA’s National Coaching Centre. Former players who have fought prejudice, including John Barnes and Graeme Le Saux, will also be at No10.

Recent incidents saw Chelsea’s John Terry stripped of the England captaincy for alleged racial abuse of QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. And Liverpool’s Luis Suarez was banned for eight games after racially abusing Patrice Evra of Man Utd.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Drug Dealer Who Shot Former Friend Fails to Get His Jail Term Cut Despite Revenge Killing

A drug dealer who shot a former friend in the head has failed to get his jail term cut, despite telling judges his victim later killed his baby daughter in revenge.

Rilwan Bankole, 32, shot Richard Kwakye in the head as he sat in the passenger seat of a car in Peckham in 2003, after the pair fell out about missing drugs and guns.

Kwakye was saved by emergency surgery and later killed Bankole’s 19-month-old daughter Siariah Letang, in an arson attack in Camberwell in 2010.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Extremist Mohammed Abdin Jailed for Eight Months Over Threats to Machine Gun Police

A man arrested for threatening to machine gun police officers who stopped a meeting of an Islamic group at a Cardiff community centre was today jailed for eight months.

Mohammed Abdin of Clare Road, Grangetown was given four months for an admitted public order breach that evening and ordered to serve, in addition, a suspended sentence imposed for his involvment in an affray last year outside the American Embassy during a 10th anniversary memorial service for 9/11. A judge was told this morning that in London last September he was heard to say: “In 10 or 15 years time when we rule, I’m going to hunt you down and then I’m going to kill you. I’m going to burn you to death ……. you are going to die”.


[JP note: Deportation to an Islamic country would have been preferable.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ken Livingstone’s Extremist Links: A ‘Remarkable Intellect’ Hits Back

by Andrew Gilligan

Rabina Khan, Lutfur Rahman’s cabinet member for housing, penned a sharp attack today on the Evening Standard’s recent series of articles about the electoral roll shenanigans in Tower Hamlets, the Sharia-tinged administration of which she is part. Ms Khan claimed that linking Lutfur with Islamic extremism was “simply risible.” Perhaps she’s forgotten that Lutfur lost a complaint on this precise subject against me and this newspaper at the Press Complaints Commission recently. The PCC ruled that it was “not misleading” to describe Rahman as “closely linked” to the extremist Islamic group, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), who control the East London Mosque. Dozens and dozens of times over the last two years, this blog, this newspaper, and Channel 4’s Dispatches have produced copious evidence linking Lutfur with Islamic extremism. The main highlights of his career to last October are set out here. The IFE, the mosque and their allies have also made more than 200 complaints about us to the PCC and to the broadcasting regulator, Ofcom. Every single one of those complaints has been rejected, too.


PS: Lutfur denies links to extremism.

[Reader comment by danoconnor on 23 February 2012 at 03:40 pm.]

European civilization has been ordered by the Coporate/Political elite to take the biggest one-time-only reverse colonization, population transfomation gamble in its existence, with the highest stakes ever played on the gaming table (everything), with a 7th century, 1.5 billion population protection racket based on violence , oppression and fear , which is as we speak in violent conflict around the planet in dozens of locations wherever its techtonic plates rub up against the infidel. Why take this cross your fingers and hope for the best toss of coin live or die gamble, when the evidence clearly demonstrates that only a civilization that has lost its collective mind and will to survive would ever dream of doing so. What is more, even if the UK at sometime became majority 60%, then 70%, then 80% Russian, Mexican, German, or African, instead of majority Muslim, it would still be a national calamity. The reason being that history has demonstrated with monotonous regularity that it always is. So whenever such population /ethnic transformation ever takes place , it is always with very much wailing and gnashing of teeth ( Dante’s Inferno ) Armaggedon , End of Days. The commentators like Kelly2 and dozens of others who take all poor , oppressed by the nasty racist White man under their wing , and who fantisize about 7 billion people becoming global de-nationalized , de-racialized , de-culturalized grey glob of obiendient units of consumers, because they think nature made an incredible blunder when it create human differentation — -are not willing to risk everything and anybody to reach their infantile utopia, they are only prepared to risk every unborn future generation of their own flesh and blood , kith and kin — because they are White.

[Reader comment by cardiboy on 23 February 2012 at 09:02 am.]

I used to teach and live in East London until 10 years ago, although I go back at least three times a year to visit. East London ie Newham, Tower Hamlets, large parts of Waltam Forest and South Redbridge are turning into Muslim Ghettoes. The far more economically successful Hinus and Sikks move out and integrate well into society.The same ghettoisation can be said of areas in the Midlands and the North, The birthrate in Muslim communities is appreciably higher than other groups. A constant stream of ‘ cousins ‘ arrive from Kashmir and Bangladesh for marriage and in many cases especially brides, make no attempt to learn English. You do not have any need to learn English if you live in parts of Ilford. From my own experience and what I hear from Hindu, Sikh and Carribbean friends is overwhelmingly that many Muslims have no respect for cultures other than their own.Many, many people know this and feel that we are rapidly approaching a tipping point. You will not hear anything about this on the BBC or read about in the Observer or Guardian. Their arrogance, an almost total lack of integration will lead , I suspect, quite soon , to Sharia law being openly practised in some areas.Just wait till we have an terrorist attrocity directly linked to Somali, Pakistani or Bengali sources and there will be major civil strife. Thanks to the arrogant and blinkered policies of mainly socialist politicians, I suspect we are well past the point of no return. God help our childern and grandchildren

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Londoners Won’t be Fooled by the Anti-Ken Livingstone Spin

It said that Ken has allied himself to regressive forces in Tower Hamlets, when actually our agenda is progressive


[Reader comment by Disaffected Youth on 22 February 2012 at 5:32 pm with 211 recommends]

Frankly, I find it almost impossible to take the Guardian seriously anymore. How can it call itself a “Liberal” paper when literally every day an article is published apologizing for, condoning, defending, or praising the demonstrably homophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, authoritarian, distinctly illiberal faith of Islam.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Nottingham City Council Slammed Over Jobs Scheme

A £12m jobs scheme for Nottingham has been badly mismanaged, a watchdog has concluded.

A report by the District Auditor, leaked to the Post, says Nottingham City Council made “unsafe” decisions when it handed out taxpayers’ money in a bid to create 1,000 job and 600 volunteer placements.

A Post investigation has also revealed almost one in ten of the job placements — worth a total of £960,000 — went to companies connected to the councillor in charge of the scheme, Hassan Ahmed.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Radical Muslim Preacher Fan of Soldier’s ‘Islamophobic’ Novel

Radical Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has revealed he’s a secret fan of a former British soldier who writes controversial books a racism watchdog has branded as ‘anti-Islamic’

Bearded extremist Choudary caused outrage last year when he planned a mock funeral in the Wiltshire town of Wooton Bassett to protest against UK soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was also involved in a flag burning ceremony outside the US Embassy in London and his organisation, Islam4UK, has been proscribed by the Home Office, making membership of it illegal. He believes UK citizens should live under Sharia law. Despite his hatred of British soldiers, the father of four is now encouraging people to read books by author DC Alden because he believes they will prepare the nation for when Muslims take over. Former soldier Alden served in the British Army in Cold War Europe. He has written two novels, The Horse at the Gates and Invasion. Both give dramatic accounts of a fictitious takeover of the West by Islamic armies.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Was Speeding Neutrino Claim a Human Error?

Speedy neutrinos? Not so fast. The shocking result that neutrinos apparently travelled from Switzerland to Italy faster than the speed of light may have been due to a malfunctioning fibre-optic cable, says OPERA, the Italian collaboration of physicists that made the first, surprising claim.

“If the mistake is confirmed, it was clearly due to a human error,” says Luca Stanco, one of 15 members of the 160-strong OPERA collaboration who did not sign their names to the initial report of the results because they considered it too preliminary. “I tried to say, please be more careful,” he adds.

The faulty cable suggestion is one of two possible problems with the initial result that OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) flagged today. The other would mean the neutrinos travelled even faster than initially thought.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel Might Buy 30 Italian Military Jets

(ANSA) — Rome, February 16 — Israel said Thursday it might buy military jets from Italy. According to the Israeli embassy in Rome, Udi Shinai, director-general of the Israeli defense ministry, will ask his government to purchase 30 M346 aircraft to be used for training purposes.

The deal would be worth roughly $1 billion for Italian defense contractor Alenia Aermacchi. Sources say the Italian government would make a reciprocal investment in Israeli defense products of equal value.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

What Iranian Elites Think: An Inside Look at Views of the West

Israeli hawks are threatening a military strike in order to stop Iran’s nuclear program and many Republican presidential candidates in the US also support action. A loose survey of students and academics in Tehran shows that even among opponents of President Ahmadinejad, anti-Western sentiment is strong.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Corruption in Bangladesh — It is the National Sport

According to Transparency International, Bangladesh is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. In fact, TI ranked Bangladesh as the most corrupt country in the world for five consecutive years from 2001 to 2005. When you think of the competition, e.g., Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia, Egypt, etc., this consecutive world record is almost unbelievable. But it is true. Baksheesh may not have been invented in Bangladesh, but they certainly took the custom/crime to new limits.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Mystery Over Warning Shots, Times and Enrica Lexie’s Route

Satellite confirms tanker was in international waters. Italian navy order to ignore Indian authorities and keep marines on board

ROME — The third warning burst was aimed “into the sea across the bows of the fishing boat, which was not hit and in fact changed direction and turned back”. In his report two days ago to the Carabinieri ROS special operations group and the Rome public prosecutor’s office, Massimiliano Latorre reconstructed the sequence of events off the Indian coast. The report names those who fired and denies that there could have been any casualties, far less victims. Latorre was in charge of the security unit on board the oil tanker Enrica Lexie to protect it from pirates and he is the author of the report, complete with photographs, which public prosecutor Francesco Scavo Lombardo will use to investigate the incident. Latorre and Salvatore Girone face charges of murdering two seamen on the St. Antony fishing vessel. The case file also contains statements from the five other service personnel on board and the conclusions of the unit’s leader. However, a number of question marks still hang over the episode and the versions supplied by the Italian military personnel and the Indian authorities differ considerably. There are three key points: the time of the incident, its precise position and the vessel that attacked the tanker. But there is another question to answer. Why did the Italians, who reported they were in international waters, nonetheless enter the Indian-controlled zone, enabling the arrest of the two marines? And why did they do so despite the objections of the Italian navy?

Different times

According to the report forwarded to Rome, the alarm was sounded at 11.30 am on 15 February when the Enrica Lexie was “thirty-three miles off the south-west coast of India”. The position is confirmed by the ship’s satellite link but Indian authorities contest the data. The times are also at variance as Indian police sources put the incident at least two hours later. This has led to conjecture that the two fishermen may have been killed in a separate incident since that same evening there was another attack by pirates not far away. Latorre enclosed three photographs with his report in an attempt to demonstrate precisely this inconsistency, claiming that the fishing boat is not the dead seamen’s vessel St. Antony. However, the poorly focused photographs are of little help in clearing this up. Neither do they clarify whether, as the marines maintain, that there were five armed men — not fishermen — on the boat.

Three bursts of fire

To find the truth, it is necessary to go back to the moment when the two vessels were getting closer to each other. According to the report, “the radar picked up a vessel on a collision course and the marines on board prepared to react. The security unit carried out the prescribed procedures for such cases. When the vessel is 500 metres away, the first warning shots are fired. Another warning burst is fired at 300 metres and a third at 100 metres”. Latorre points out that the final warning shots are fired into the water “without striking the vessel”. The version furnished by the Indian authorities is completely different, claiming that the fishing boat bears the marks of sixteen projectiles while four hit their target killing the two seamen. Italian investigators and diplomats regard this version as unlikely because it would mean that all the shots were fired straight at the men.

Failure to comply with order

Currently, magistrates are weighing up whether to send a team of investigators to India to work in close liaison with Italian diplomats. ROS Colonel Massimiliano Macilenti, who has been put in charge of investigations, is already gathering evidence from military headquarters and the shipping company, partly to ascertain whether they sent the Enrica Lexie into Kochi harbour. The Italian navy had objected to this and to allowing military personnel to disembark. Nonetheless, the requests of the Indian authorities were granted. According to established procedure, decisions on board are taken by the captain in agreement with the shipping company but in an emergency situation, action is decided with the military authorities and the Italian government. It will now have to be ascertained whether the shipping company took the decision to leave international waters and with whom they negotiated. For the time being, those negotiations seem to have ended in the worst possible fashion.

Fiorenza Sarzanini

20 febbraio 2012 | 17:00

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

Obama Apologizes for Afghan Quran Burnings

President Barack Obama has sent a letter apologizing for the burning of Qurans at the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office announced Thursday.

“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies,” Obama said in the letter, according to a statement released by Karzai’s office. “The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

The note was presented to the Afghan president’s office by the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, Karzai’s office also said.

           — Hat tip: EDO[Return to headlines]

The London-Based Campaign to Hang a Pakistani Christian

Choudhry is a former Ahmadi, who left the movement in order to become a counter-Ahmadi spokesperson, working with Khatam-e-Nabuwwat, based in Forest Gate in East London.

Channel 4 confronted Khatam-e-Nabuwwat in 2010, identifying them as extremists, following an anti-Ahmadi hate campaign. Channel 4 carries an interview with Akber Choudhry at the end of the clip, asking him questions about the anti-Ahmadi literature that Khatam-e-Nabuwwat allegedly distributed in South London. Choudhry has appeared on Iqra TV and Al Jazeera as a polemicist against the claims of the Ahmadiyyas. He tends to dismiss Ahmadi concerns about their persecution and lack of voting rights, combining this with his theological opposition to Ahmadis claiming to be genuine Muslims. According to Choudhry’s blog, regarding Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, he believes there should be “review, and not wholesale abolition, of these laws”. He describes Aasia Bibi as “the illiterate Christian woman convicted of blasphemy”. Choudhry’s Khatm-e-Nabuwwat organisation has played a major role in the persecution of Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman who faces the death penalty for drinking from a well designated for Muslims only, in Pakistan. Late last month, the Express Tribune reported that Bibi’s accuser, Qari Salam, was feeling guilty about her, but was “convinced” not to drop charges, by Khatm-e-Nabuwat


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘We Will Bring Marines Back’, Says Terzi

Efforts concentrated on return of soldiers from India

(See related story on site). (ANSA) — Rome, February 22 — Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi told the Senate Wednesday that efforts are being concentrated on the safe and speedy return of the two Italian marines being detained in India.

Terzi said the “protection of the military is of absolute importance and we want to bring them home as soon as possible”.

Talks were held on Wednesday with Indian authorities to try to resolve the case. The marines are being held for allegedly murdering two Indian fishermen while defending an Italian merchant ship.

Terzi also told Indian authorities that the jurisdiction for the incident is “strictly Italian”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

What an Act of Ignorance!

by Badrya Darwish

I would not have commented on the burning of the Quran by US military in Afghanistan a few days ago if the incident took place or was done by individuals far away — in Florida for example. Many such incidents took place before and were done by ignorant people tarnishing the image of Islam or mocking Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

First came the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard who drew blasphemous cartoons and then his country apologized and said they could not stop him, relating the incident to freedom of speech. Another Dutch filmmaker who was later killed made a controversial movie about violence against women in Muslim countries. Later on there were a series of blasphemous films broadcast in France and Holland. Then we thought these were ignorant individuals seeking easy publicity such as the stunt by Pastor Terry Jones from Florida who threatened to burn the Quran in public and made great publicity for himself around the world.

Those were freaks seeking attention. I thought to ignore them was the best thing. But when an incident takes place in the US army barracks, it is a totally different story. These are no longer acts of individuals. The most recent Quran burning happened on a US base that was later referred to as an “act of ignorance” by Mr Karzai. The Qurans which were confiscated from the prisoners and were later burnt were not supposed to become public knowledge. Afghani workers recognized the remains of the Qurans in the bins and this is how we learnt about it.

The army represents a whole country — it has seniors who answer for all their deeds. Explaining it with ignorance is a bit far-fetched accusation. The apology of President Obama alone is the least he could do. He owes the Afghan nation and all Muslims around the world -even in the US — more than that. Whoever has done this should answer for his or her deeds. There should be accountability and punishment. Officers and military people get punished for much smaller mistakes and trivial acts in their daily routine. They face sometimes court-martials.

Please Mr Karzai, don’t try to underplay it that it was an act of ignorance! Maybe you may also call bombing weddings in your country and killing innocent children and women an “act of ignorance.”

           — Hat tip: RR[Return to headlines]

Far East

Japanese Company Aims for Space Elevator by 2050

People could be gliding up to space on high-tech elevators by 2050 if a Japanese construction company’s ambitious plans come to fruition.

Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp. wants to build an operational space elevator by the middle of the century, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported Wednesday (Feb. 22). The device would carry passengers skyward at about 124 mph (200 kph), delivering them to a station 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth in a little more than a week.

In Obayashi’s vision, a cable would be stretched from a spaceport on Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 60,000 miles (96,000 km), or about one-quarter of the distance between our planet and the moon. A counterweight at its end would help “anchor” the cable in space.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

LVMH to Make Red Wine in China

Moet Hennessy, the wine and spirits unit of French luxury group LVMH, said on Thursday it will start producing red wine in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, with bottling beginning in four to five years’ time.

Moet and VATS, a Chinese vintner, have agreed to work together on a plot of land that covers around 30 hectares (74 acres), a statement said.

“It is the first time that LVMH is launching the production of red wine in China,” a spokesman told AFP. The investment will compliment a project announced in May 2011 to make white wine in northwestern China.

The latest plan should “allow us to offer a high-quality red wine to Chinese consumers in four to five years,” the statement quoted Moet Hennessy president Christophe Navarre as saying.

LVMH already owns Wenjun, a well-known brand of Chinese spirits.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

SA Family Seeks Asylum in US — Report

An Afrikaner family wants refugee status in the United States, claiming they will be victims of racism if they return to South Africa, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Their lawyer was trying to get academics in the US to give credence to their claim, according to the newspaper.

They did not want to speak to the newspaper “because of privacy and safety concerns”, said their lawyer Rehim Babaoglu.

A University of Memphis scholar has rejected requests by the “white Afrikaner farmers” to help them in their court application.

“I am not interested in assisting Afrikaners claiming discrimination in a non-racial, democratic, post-apartheid South Africa,” said Professor Mark Behr, who is also a white Afrikaner.

“In my scholarly opinion, there is absolutely no basis for their allegation, whatever evidence they may present.”

He told the newspaper that in his view no other academic would back their claims either. — Sapa

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

‘We Want Out of SA’

A South African family is desperate to remain in the US, its members claiming they cannot return home because, as Afrikaners, they will be subject to racial discrimination.

The family’s legal representative has been contacting US academics in a bid to get a scholarly opinion that would bolster the asylum application.

The family, described by the law firm as “white Afrikaner farmers”, is among dozens of South Africans who, over the past decade, have applied for asylum abroad for a range of reasons, including fear of persecution and violent crime. Some of the applications have been successful.

When contacted for comment, the family’s lawyer, Rehim Babaoglu, said the family was too afraid to be identified.

“They were shocked to hear that a reporter was seeking information and they have no comment. They definitely don’t want to participate because of privacy and safety concerns,” said Babaoglu.

But Professor Mark Behr, of Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee, and Dr Dennis Laumann, of the University of Memphis, have rejected requests that they help the family.

“I am not interested in assisting Afrikaners claiming discrimination in a non-racial, democratic, post-apartheid South Africa,” wrote Laumann.

“In my scholarly opinion, there is absolutely no basis for their allegation — whatever evidence they may present.”

Behr — who is an award-winning South African author — said he did not believe the law firm would find “any fair-minded scholar” to support the family.

“If the people your firm seeks to represent are in any way victims of racism, it is, sadly, only a racism of their own making, in their own minds.

“Let me add, too, that I speak as a white Afrikaner, from a family of farmers, people who themselves lost farms they owned in Africa, and with my own profound empathy for all people who live off the land in South Africa,” replied Behr.

But the family is not alone in attempting to flee post-apartheid South Africa:

According to latest statistics from the US Department of Homeland Security, about 129 South Africans were granted asylum between 2001 and 2010;

Immigration New Zealand’s general manager for settlement, protection and attraction, Stephen Dunstan, said 48 South Africans had applied for refugee status since 2006. All were rejected; and

Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees received nine applications for asylum between 2009 and 2011.

Russell Kaplan, the lawyer for South African Brandon Huntley, who is still fighting for refugee status in Canada, said the trend was growing.

“My office is involved in other South African claims — I prefer not to say how many — and I continue to speak to many white South Africans every month who report increasing fear for themselves and their families,” Kaplan said.

Gary Eisenberg, who specialises in immigration law, said that, though the topic was complex, he believed that many applicants had a valid case.

“There exist, for instance, entry quotas for whites at universities, and BEE policies restricting the hiring of white candidates in the private sector,” said Eisenberg.

“If these measures could be interpreted to be state-sponsored or supported discrimination based on colour or race classification, for example, then a well-founded case of discrimination on those facts could be made in terms of the asylum rules of Western countries, such as the UK, Canada and the US.”

But Eisenberg said it would be difficult for someone to apply for asylum on the basis that he felt that the state supported or sponsored the high levels of crime in the country.

Adriana Stuijt, a retired Dutch-born journalist who worked in South Africa, estimates that there are almost 800 South Africans living as refugees around the world.

Stuijt has a blog that monitors the number of refugees and is a member of the Afrikaner Rescue Action Fund, which was started in the Netherlands to help poor Afrikaner communities.

“The latest case, a South African Afrikaans-speaking man of German descent, is in north Germany. He applied three months ago. He fled because of many violent incidents and threats to his life,” said Stuijt.

“The latest group of asylum-seekers, from 2011 and 2012, I find are often Afrikaner individuals or families, most of them from farming regions.

“Some are sponsored by US families and religious communities and are still in the asylum process in several states.”

AfriForum’s deputy CEO, Ernst Roets, said that though the organisation did not encourage South Africans to leave the country, the crisis on the farms has left many with no alternative .

Roets said San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has the highest murder rate in the world — 159 murders per 100000 inhabitants.

“In South Africa, to be a farmer, the murder rate is more than 300 per 100000, according to criminologists,” said Roets.

“What encourages people to ask for refugee status is the fact that our government is not taking real steps to address the issue.”

Just this week, a dairy farmer was killed and his wife badly injured in Buffelshoek, North West.

Roets travelled to Geneva in December to address the UN Human Rights Council on the crisis on South African farms. He said the biggest concern was that a minority group was being targeted.

His intention, he said, was to create awareness and put pressure on the government to “take this more seriously”.

But Lucy Holborn, research manager at the SA Institute of Race Relations, said statistics did not back up arguments that, by virtue of being a minority group, Afrikaners were more likely to be crime targets.

“The majority of victims of crime in South Africa are black . I often argue that crime is the one thing that cuts across all race groups,” said Holborn.

She said there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that crime in farming communities was racially motivated.

Dave Steward, executive director of the FW de Klerk Foundation, said South Africa, despite “some threats” to basic human rights, such as the Protection of State Information Bill, was a long way from being in a situation where people should be seeking asylum.

“The situation on the farms [is] fairly critical but whether that is a result of government activity — often the requirement for political asylum — is another matter.”

Yesterday, Home Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said it was impossible to say how many South Africans made asylum or refugee applications.

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Falklands Flare Up — Could a New Oil Find Re-Ignite an Old Conflict?

by John Daly

The Falkland Islands, a British windswept archipelago in the southern Atlantic off the coast of Argentina, last had its moment in the media spotlight three decades ago, when the two nations fought a brief but vicious conflict after Buenos Aires invaded the islands, providing a PR boost to Argentina’s ruling junta.

But, Argentina lost, and the 11-week conflict claimed more than 900 lives, leaving Britain in control of the islands.

UK analytical firm Edison Investment Research is now reporting that the Falklands’ oil industry could potentially be worth $180 billion in royalties and taxes, news that has reignited the smoldering diplomatic dispute between London and Buenos Aires.

On 13 December British-based oil and gas exploration company Rockhopper Exploration Plc announced that a new well proved its Sea Lion field 80 miles off the Falklands coast is bigger than expected, and is now projecting that it could recover as much as 430 million barrels of crude from its Sea Lion concession, 80 miles off the Falklands coast. The announcement encouraged other firms prospecting in the Falklands’ offshore waters, most notably Borders and Southern Plc and Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd.


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Britain’s ‘Mickey Mouse’ Border Controls Let 500,000 Into the Country Without Any Checks for Five Years

Britain’s shambolic Border Agency has routinely dropped or downgraded major immigration controls for the past five years without ministerial approval, a devastating report revealed last night.

It found up to half a million Eurostar passengers arriving from French tourist resorts, including Disneyland Paris, were waved into Britain without facing any anti-terror checks…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Italy Censured for Deporting African Migrants

European Court rules it violated human rights

(ANSA) — Strasbourg, February 23 — The European Court of Human Rights has censured Italy for violating the rights of undocumented migrants as part of the country’s Gaddafi-era policy of sending them back to Libya.

In a binding decision, the Strasbourg court found Italy guilty of degrading treatment, violating due process and putting migrants at great risk when it deported 24 Somali and Eritrean nationals to Libya on May 6, 2009. The judgement in the case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v.

Italy ordered the country to pay damages of 15,000 euros plus expenses for each of the 22 victims represented. Two of the original plaintiffs have died. They were among roughly 200 African migrants intercepted by Italian authorities off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa and deported against their will without first being identified, questioned nor given the chance to request asylum, which the court ruled broke Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court also ruled that Italy violated a ban on collective deportation and went beyond the effective rights of the accused to seek recourse in Italian courts. The 24 original plaintiffs in the case were the only ones prosecutors were able to retrace. Under a 2008 treaty, then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi pledged to to help Italy send back undocumented immigrants caught in international waters.

In February 2011 Italy suspended the agreement in the wake of the unrest in Libya.

Last year some 50,000 migrants arrived on Lampedusa after the Tunisian revolution and the Libyan war, pushing reception facilities past breaking point.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sweden Braces for Family Immigration Boom

The number of people seeking permanent residency in Sweden as relatives of immigrants already in the country will increase with 45 percent to 59,500 in 2012, a number comparable to 41,000 last year according to the latest predictions from Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket). The main reason behind the expected increase is a recent verdict in the Migration Court of Appeal (Migrationsöverdomstolen) which is set to make it easier to seek a residence permit for people from countries where it is difficult to produce valid identification documents.

The larger part of the rise in applications is expected to come from Somalia. Two years ago, two precendential verdicts from the court had demanded tighter controls on ID papers for those seeking residency permits on the grounds of having relatives in Sweden. This hit Somali applicants the hardest as there are no official authorities in Somalia to issue the kind of identification papers which could be recognized by Swedish authorities.

But in January this year, the court loosened regulations. The verdict means that if someone can confirm consanguinity through DNA-testing, there is no need to affirm the applicants’ identity in any other way. The Migration Board is therefore expecting a surge in applications from Somalia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Mass Immigration Has Changed Our Country for Ever

THE colossal scale of mass immigration in recent years represents a savage betrayal of the British people by our governing elite.

No one ever voted for Britain to be transformed from a cohesive nation into a fractured multicultural society. Yet just such a revolution has been brought about by the ideological trashing of our national identity and the wilful collapse of our borders, with the influx of foreign arrivals now running at almost 600,000 a year, most from Africa and Asia.

What we are witnessing is the systematic destruction of a once-proud country. As the pace of change accelerates Britain is fast becoming a place without any mutual sense of belonging or any shared heritage or even a common language.

The very concept of our British national identity is sinking into irrelevancy. In large swathes of our cities, amid the burkas and babble of foreign tongues, too many indigenous Britons now feel like aliens in their own land.

The revolutionary impact of mass immigration has been reinforced this week by astonishing figures that show two-thirds of all babies born in London have foreign parents.

In just six of the 32 boroughs in the capital were British parents in the majority, while in Newham, part of the East End, an incredible 84.1 per cent of births were to migrants, most from India, Pakistan or Poland.

Across London’s schools white pupils are now in the minority. N or is London alone in this trend. In the East Midlands’ city of Leicester, where just 44 per cent of school pupils are white, it seems likely that the majority of the overall Asian-dominated population could be non-white as early as 2015, making it the first urban conurbation in Britain to achieve that landmark.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Male Students at Top University Banned From Dressing as Girls on Pub Crawls ‘Because it is as Offensive as Blacking-Up’

But squeezing into a dress and applying make-up has long been seen by male undergraduates — especially those in sports teams — as harmless fun.

Until now that is. Apparently transgender people in Devon are likely to be offended by male students dressed as girls on pub crawls.

In fact, the Students’ Guild at Exeter University has warned societies and sports groups that men who dress up in drag for a joke are as offensive as those who ‘black-up’.

In a message sent out as part of a campus diversity week, students were told to be aware how dressing up as the opposite sex could upset others.

‘The Guild is aware that there are several trans-identified students at Exeter and more who express their identity as gender-queer (people who view themselves as neither wholly male or female),’ it said.

‘To parody this appearance is crass and offensive on the same level as ethnicity.’

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

‘Swedish Needs a Gender-Neutral Pronoun’

The Swedish language is in need of a new pronoun free of preconceived notions about gender, argue a Swedish linguist along with representatives from a publishing house set to release a children’s book featuring the word “hen” rather than “han” (he) or hon (she). The Swedish words “hon” (she) and “han” (he) are loaded with preconceptions about characteristics and we see that language and the words we choose have a huge impact on how we experience the world.

The new gender-neutral Swedish word “hen” will open up for a freer interpretation by not being tied to these preconceptions. Despite the fact that the book “Kivi & Monsterhund” (‘Kivi & Monster Dog’) hasn’t been published yet, we have already received a number of reactions.

Many are positive and curious. Others feel that it is upsetting and threatening, as gender is seen as something important. It creates predictability and safety. It is perceived as problematic when someone breaches the expected gender roles and in many cases it leads to some sort of punishment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Doctors Filmed Agreeing to Abortions Based on Gender

Doctors at British clinics have been secretly filmed agreeing to terminate foetuses purely because they are either male or female. Clinicians admitted they were prepared to falsify paperwork to arrange the abortions even though it is illegal to conduct such “sex-selection” procedures.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said: “I’m extremely concerned to hear about these allegations. Sex selection is illegal and is morally wrong. I’ve asked my officials to investigate this as a matter of urgency.”

The disclosures will add to growing concerns about the regulation of abortion clinics and the apparent ability of women to secure terminations “on demand”.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Red Dwarf Stars May be Best Chance for Habitable Alien Planets

Stars known as red dwarfs might have larger habitable zones friendly to ‘life as we know it’ than once thought, researchers say. Red dwarfs, also known as M stars, are dim compared to stars like our sun and are just 10 to 20 percent as massive. They make up roughly three-quarters of the stars in the galaxy, and recently scientists found red dwarfs are far more common than before thought, making up at least 80 percent of the total number of stars.

The fact that red dwarfs are so very common has made astrobiologists wonder if they might be the best chance for discovering planets habitable to life as we know it. More and more planets are getting discovered around red dwarfs — for instance, a potentially habitable “super-Earth” at least 4.5 times the mass of Earth, GJ 667Cb, was recently found orbiting the red dwarf GJ 667C.

“More of these planets are being found, so research is moving from being theoretical and predictive to using actual data from extrasolar planets,” said researcher Manoj Joshi, an atmospheric physicist at the University of East Anglia in England.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tiny ‘Soccer Ball’ Space Molecules Could Equal 10,000 Mount Everests

For the first time, astronomers have discovered the solid form of tiny carbon spheres in deep space inside a vast cloud of particles locked in orbit around two distant stars.

The carbon spheres, known as buckyballs, are formed from 60 carbon atoms linked together to form a hollow sphere, “like a soccer ball,” NASA announced in a statement today (Feb. 22). Astronomers spotted vast quantities of the tiny space balls, enough to create 10,000 Mount Everests, circling a pair of stars 6,500 light-years from Earth.

“These buckyballs are stacked together to form a solid, like oranges in a crate,” said the study’s lead author Nye Evans of Keele University in England in a statement. “The particles we detected are miniscule, far smaller than the width of a hair, but each one would contain stacks of millions of buckyballs.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]