Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120226

Financial Crisis
»ECB Prepares to Open Liquidity Floodgates Again
»Greece: Troika’s Policies Blamed for Artworks Theft
»Italy: No Need for Another Austerity Budget, Says Monti
»Italy: Belt-Tightening: Reforms Will be Worth it, Says Monti
»Monti Hails Rajoy, Smokes Peace Pipe With Gates
»Monti Previews Amendment to Church Property-Tax Law
»Oslo Says No Gracias to Spanish Hopefuls
»Adam Sandler Sets Razzie Nominations Record
»Deepwater Horizon Victims Ready for Epic Court Battle With BP
»Profit or Preservation? Debate Rages Over Titanic Treasures
»The Greater Your Fear, The Larger the Spider
»Time Magazine Cover Asserts Latinos Will Decide Next President
»Wyoming House Advances Doomsday Bill
»Man Shocked by Arrest After Daughter Draws Picture of Gun at School
Europe and the EU
»European Neanderthals Were on the Verge of Extinction Even Before the Arrival of Modern Humans
»Germany: British Holocaust-Denying Bishop Out on a Technicality
»Ireland: the Pub Loses Its Pulling Power
»Italy: Investigators Arrest Eight in Naples Corruption Scandal
»Italy: 11 Local Officials Arrested in Casalesi Swoop
»Italy: Crackdown Unearths Widespread Tax Evasion in Palermo
»Mycenae: Fortress Steeped in Ancient Horrors
»Obama Syndicate Plans Imminent Takeover of USA by Islam and Globalists
»Secret Renaissance Letter Reveals Plan to Save England
»So What Have the Romans Ever Done for us?
»Stonehenge Was Based on a ‘Magical’ Auditory Illusion, Says Scientist
»UK: ‘What Would Happen With a Scarf Over My Face?’: Outrage of Fireman Sam Creator Detained and Branded Racist for Innocent Burqa Joke at Airport Security
»UK: ‘Who’s Got a Lighter? Let’s Torch the Place’: Chilling Words of Riot Thug Who Yesterday Finally Admitted Burning Down Historic Furniture Store
»UK: BNP Leader Nick Griffin ‘Is a Sex Pest Who Exposed Himself to Former Glamour Model in Her Car’
»UK: Fireman Sam Creator Detained at Airport for Veil Comment at Security Gate
»UK: Kidnapped by America: Our Laws, Our Freedom and Our People
»UK: Mystery Virus Kills Thousands of Lambs
»UK: Police Appeal After Boy is Assaulted in Nelson
»UK: Sexual Predator Who Laughed at His Victims Jailed for Seven Years
»UK: Teenager Admits Stabbing Stepfather
»UK: Teenager ‘Murdered 17 Year-Old Motorcyclist With Spear of Wood’
»UK: Transgender Fraudster Posed as Man and Woman to Take Out Credit Cards and Loans
»‘Unique’ 11th Century Coin Discovered Near Gloucester
»Privatizing Albanian Castles Worries Heritage Experts
Israel and the Palestinians
»Fossilized Pollen Unlocks Secrets of Ancient Royal Garden
»Is Israel Losing Temple Mount War?
Middle East
»Britain’s Battle Plan for War With Iran
South Asia
»Janet Levy: The Jihad Against Bengali
»Pakistan: Four Danish Nationals Booked Under Blasphemy Law
»Woman Thrashed on Witchcraft Charge
Australia — Pacific
»Dig Finds Evidence of First MacKillop Schoolroom
»New Zealand: Archaeologists Uncover Moa Bones
»Threat Looms in the North of Australia
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Tanzanian Police Arrested Shooting People Who Rioted Against Witch Craft
»US Troops Now in 4 African Countries to Fight LRA
Latin America
»Two Die in Fire at Brazil’s Antarctic Research Station
»‘Con Air’ Gypsy Gang Members Who Flew to Britain in £800,000 Benefit Fraud Told to Pay Back Just £17.65
»Typhoid Detected on Christmas Island
»UK: Asylum Seeker Jailed for Raping Lone Teenager
Culture Wars
»14-Year-Old Homeschooled Girl Receives Death Threats for Defending Marriage
»Catholic Symbols Vandalized in Bay Area Hate Crime
»Debasing Our Military, One Politically Correct Moment After Another
»Gender Studies Pushes Forward, Integrates With Other Disciplines
»Idiotic Lawyer Claims Lesbians Can’t Hate Crime a Gay Man
»Ireland: Gender Identity Issues
»Montenegro: 60% Consider Homosexuality an Illness, Survey
»Navy Seeking More Minority Seals
»Rush: Obama’s Infanticide Vote ‘Most Shocking, Underreported, Significant Story I Can Ever Remember’
»Rutgers Suicide Case May Find “Hate” Hard to Prove
»Tom Martin, 39, Is Suing Europe’s Largest Gender Studies Department for Alleged Sex Discrimination
»UK: ‘Gay Marriage’ To be Taught in Schools
»UK: Christians Sent to the Lions Yet Again
»UK: Harriet Harman’s Law on Equality ‘Is Anti-Christian’ And Unacceptable
»UK: Lynne Featherstone Tells Church ‘Don’t Polarise Gay Marriage Debate’
»UK: Mixed-Up Five-Year-Olds and the Alarming Growth of the Gender Identity Industry
»Validity of “Hate Crime” Caught on Tape is Questioned

Financial Crisis

ECB Prepares to Open Liquidity Floodgates Again

(FRANKFURT) — The European Central Bank is preparing to flood eurozone banks with cheap money again this week in the second of two such operations aimed at preventing a credit crunch in the euro area. In an unprecedented move last December, the ECB announced it would lend as much as banks wanted at an ultra-low interest rate of 1.0 percent for a period of three years so as to keep credit flowing in Europe at a time when banks are increasingly wary of lending to each other in the current debt crisis. In the end, some 523 banks lined up to borrow a record 489.2 billion euros ($655 billion).

At the time, ECB chief Mario Draghi said that a second such three-year auction of funds — known as a long-term refinancing operation or LTRO — would be held on February 29 and he estimated that demand for the new cash would likely be just as strong. Draghi, in office only since November, has since been keen to draw attention to the success of the operation.

In an interview with the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday, Draghi said “the impact of the three-year tender was underestimated when I announced it in December, because many people expected the ECB to expand its government bond purchases, the famous ‘bazooka’. “Maybe I should have called the tender ‘Big Bertha’ when I announced it, then everyone would have listened,” Draghi said.

Tensions in the banking system do indeed appear to have eased, borrowing costs for debt-wracked countries such as Spain and Italy have come down, stock markets across Europe have rallied and confidence is on the rise.

Ever since the eruption of the crisis, the ECB has come under intense political pressure to step in and save eurozone countries sinking under huge mountains of debt. But the bank has argued from the very beginning that it is up to overspending governments to get their finances in order and restore the markets’ confidence in their ability to repay their debts, which is the underlying cause of the eurozone’s current ills.

The ECB insists its fire-fighting efforts must be limited to acting as lender of last resort for banks only and not for governments. Nevertheless, economists and ECB watchers are impressed with Draghi’s performance so far, after just four months in office: in addition to a wide range of liquidity measures, the bank has cut interest rates twice, effectively reversing two rate hikes last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Troika’s Policies Blamed for Artworks Theft

Athens National Gallery/Olympia museum robbed in same month

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, FEBRUARY 21 — Just a month after the theft carried out by “unknown individuals” at the Athens National Gallery — where on January 9 the art works stolen included a Pablo Picasso painting, one by the Dutch Mondrian and a 17th-century drawing by the Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia — two armed thieves robbed the Museum of Ancient Olympia (where the Olympic Games were born and an international symbol of culture) taking away 65 invaluable ceramic and bronze archaeological finds. Among the objects stolen was a golden seal ring from the Mycenaean Age from a tomb in Anthia, in the Messinia region of the Peloponnese, and a bronze statue of a runner which was to have been exhibited in a large show organised by Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in August. Alongside the golden ring from Anthia, there had been another golden seal ring from a Patras tomb which was not stolen: this leads investigators to hold that the theft was carried out without any special planning, almost as if it had been improvised. Police sources say that the theft was carried out by two armed men wearing balaclavas who entered the museum by breaking through glass with a hammer. Once inside, the two tied up and gagged a security guard within the building and made their getaway with the archaeological finds. Journalistic sources say that archaeologists will soon be able to speak in detail on the exact nature of the damage wrought, the value of the pieces taken and those destroyed by the criminals as they broke through the glass. It seems, in any case, that most of the objects missing are part of a group of clay finds representing celebrations and which date back to the Geometric, Archaic and Classical eras. The theft at the Museum of Ancient Olympia, which in 2009 had been grazed by the flames wreaking havoc through the entire Ilia region and two months ago flooded by heavy rain, is the first armed robbery in a Greek museum, yet another sign of another problem suffered by the country linked to the economic crisis: an unrelenting rise in organised crime. It was also the first robbery in which a single theft resulted in the loss of a high number of ancient finds in a museum in the country over the past twenty years, after the damage suffered by the Corinth museum in April 1990, when about 200 archaeological finds were stolen only to subsequently be found 9 years later (in September 1999) in a warehouse in Miami, Florida. Blame has been placed on the troika (the IMF, EU and ECB) and governments, which with their austerity measures force the country’s museums to reduce the number of security guards. “The robberies in the Museum of Ancient Olympia and the Athens National Gallery,” said the president of the National Association of Antiquities Guardians, Giannis Mavrikopoulos, “are the result of the troika’s economic policies, since funds are unavailable for adequate protection of archaeological sites.

Moreover, guards have been trained only in protecting antiquities and not in security issues, such as spotting suspicious movements.” “Shortly after the theft at the National Gallery has come that of the Olympia Museum, highlighting the criminal responsibility held by governments of the Memorandum which left museums and archaeological sites across all of Greece to their own devices and without any sort of protection,” commented the press office of Siryza, the second largest leftwing party in Greece. “A shortage of personnel and adequate funding project an image of the abandoning and a systematic underestimation of a cultural heritage which includes works of inestimable value, leaving the latter prey to organised crime.” “Our cultural heritage,” said the Greens party spokesperson Eleanna Ioanidou, “can be part of the solution to the country’s economic problems and not a burden on state coffers. The minister (Pavlos Geroulanos) should have resigned immediately after the theft at the National Gallery.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: No Need for Another Austerity Budget, Says Monti

Italy must grow, argues premier

(ANSA) — Rome, February 20 — Premier Mario Monti reassured Italians on Monday that there would be no need for another austerity budget.

Monti’s emergency administration of technocrats pushed a 30-billion-euro package of spending cuts and tax increases through parliament in December to put Italy’s public finances in order and help steer the country out of the debt crisis.

“There will be no need for another (austerity) budget because it includes margins of prudence,” Monti told members of Italy’s financial community at the Milan stock exchange.

Monti’s government has also presented a package of economic liberalisations designed to boost sluggish growth and it is in talks with unions and business associations on labour-market reforms to make it easier for young people and women to find jobs.

The premier stressed Italy, which is in recession, now needed help from Europe to be able to return to growth and start slashing its massive national debt.

“Italy needs to grow, but it cannot grow on its own,” Monti said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Belt-Tightening: Reforms Will be Worth it, Says Monti

Premier meets Irish PM Kenny

(ANSA) — Rome, February 24 — Premier Mario Monti on Friday promised that the tough reforms and belt-tightening his government is introducing will be rewarded in terms of economic growth.

Monti’s emergency government of technocrats passed a tough austerity package of spending cuts and tax increases in December and it is now trying to bring in reforms to revitalise the Italian economy, which has been slipping into recession after a decade of sluggish performance.

“The measures to consolidate the budget, the rigor and the structural reforms may be difficult to take, but they generate growth,” Monti said after meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Rome.

The government is currently pushing a package of economic liberalisations through parliament and Monti has warned that he will not allow it to be watered down after amendments were presented to some of the more contested measures.

The administration has also presented reforms to cut red tape and is set to approve a package to increase the pressure on tax evaders and divert the revenue generated by this to lower the tax bills of low-income families.

The government is in talks with business associations and unions to reform the labour market and make it easier for women and young people to find jobs in a country where 31% of 15-to-24-year-olds are unemployed.

Monti has suggested he wants to make it easier for firms to fire workers, saying this would encourage them to hire, offering better benefits for people out of work in exchange.

The unions, however, are staunchly opposed to changes that would make it easier for firms to dismiss employees.

Former European commissioner Monti, who took over the helm of government after the debt crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to resign as premier in November, said the way Ireland was tackling its own financial crisis “stimulated everyone”.

“The way the Irish prime minister has turned around Ireland’s economy and finances has been a big success in Europe,” Monti said.

Kenny repaid the compliment, saying that Monti had “enhanced Italy’s reputation in this period”.

The Irish prime minister said the two leaders agreed on the need to boost Europe’s financial firewall to stop states coming under speculative attacks on the financial markets.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Monti Hails Rajoy, Smokes Peace Pipe With Gates

Spanish labour-market reforms a possible example says PM

(ANSA) — Rome, February 23 — Italian Premier Mario Monti kept centre stage of international economics Thursday by praising the labour-market reforms of visiting Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy and holding a high-profile ‘peace-pipe’ meeting with Bill Gates.

Monti, whose government is conducting an uneasy debate with unions about freeing up the labour market to help stoke growth, said the sweeping reforms enacted by his Spanish counterpart might set an example Italy could follow.

“Italy and Spain see eye-to-eye on major issues and we’re thinking of starting contacts with experts on a possible joint approach to (eurozone) problems,” said Monti, who like Rajoy is trying to steer Italy away from debt-crisis contagion.

The Spanish premier has earned plaudits for ramming through reforms in the face of strident opposition from unions who say they could spell more jobs lost than job created.

Monti, too, is aiming to make easier firing rules a linchpin of a comprehensive reform of the labour and welfare systems, bringing more women into the workplace while making a dent in sky-high youth-unemployment levels.

“We have a lot to learn” from the Spanish experience, he told reporters after “cordial” talks with Rajoy, whose reforms are targeting even higher jobless rates among Spanish youth.

The two leaders also said domestic service sectors across the European Union should be freed up to boost growth for all EU members.

Rajoy said Spain, Italy and “at least” seven other EU members had signed a letter calling for more pan-EU growth policies. Italy and Spain’s youth-unemployment crises will top the agenda of a European Council meeting at the beginning of March, Rajoy said. He said EU-mandated short-term fiscal demands, in economies heading for recession, risked posing distractions to reformist governments who, as well as putting their financial houses in order, are focused on “conducting measures aimed at the future”. Monti added he hoped Iran would return to “real negotiations” on its controversial nuclear program.

After his talks with Rajoy, Monti went on to a shorter and reportedly amicable meeting with Gates, with whom he famously butted horns when he was European competition commissioner in the 1990s.

Neither Gates nor Monti commented before or after the one-hour meeting but observers were confident they had put their past differences behind them.

The Microsoft wizard was fined almost 500 million euros by Monti eight years ago as the then competition commissioner started a tussle that was to result in even bigger raps for anti-competitive practices.

With his staunch defence of free-market principles, also in another headline-grabbing case against General Electric, The Economist magazine said “many American businessmen regarded Mario Monti as the corporate equivalent of Saddam Hussein” — as the premier himself recalled when taking up the reins of government in November, denying he could be seen as a poster boy for international financial powerhouses.

Gates, who has increasingly turned to philanthropy after stepping back from the forefront of Microsoft development, denied reports that he was a possible candidate to lead the World Bank.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Monti Previews Amendment to Church Property-Tax Law

Measure would ‘repeal exemption’

(ANSA) — Rome, February 24 — The premier’s office issued a note Friday on a proposed amendment that would effectively require the Catholic Church to pay taxes on non-religious property.

The measure would “repeal the rules which provide for exemption for properties where non-commercial activity is not exclusive but only prevalent,” said the note.

According to Italian law, Church-owned properties including hotels are exempt from taxes so long as a portion of the building has a religious function. The drafted amendment would not affect property used exclusively for religious purposes. A law passed by the Silvio Berlusconi government in 2006 effectively exempted all Vatican property used for commercial purposes from local real-estate tax.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Oslo Says No Gracias to Spanish Hopefuls

SADLY frying pan fire comes to mind. Enthused by the television series Españoles en el mundo (Spaniards around the world) many unemployed Spaniards have packed their bag and headed north to Norway.

They are also heading for disappointment and soup kitchens.

Their presence, along with other euro-refugees creates huge social problems.

These affect not only their own homelands, deprived of the younger generation’s skills, but to host countries like Norway that lack the infrastructure to deal with the influx.

It seems Norway doesn’t want them.

It is reported that Spaniards, even those skilled and available for jobs advertised are finding their qualifications unrecognized. Doors are closed and the welcome as cool as the Norwegian winter weather.

Crash landing

THE term, ‘you couldn’t make it up’ comes to mind.

The runways of the multi-million Euro airport at Castellón — inaugurated in April 2011, but yet to see any planes — are to be torn up.

As they are too narrow for a taxiing airliner to manoeuvre it is back to the drawing board.

To cap it all the private contractor who won the deal to run the air terminal for 50 years is demanding €80 million for the contract’s cancellation. These clots are running Europe.

Job’s worth

A JOB for life was never going to be a solution to Spain’s employment problems.

It excludes job seekers and encourages sloth and incivility.

A constant refrain heard is the bad attitude displayed by many Spanish civil servants. As one Spaniard put it to me; nothing short of murder would lose them their jobs.

The new Spanish government’s far-ranging reforms of the labour section are condemned by some unions; well they would wouldn’t they.

The fact is that Spain is part of the European Union. Unless its labour laws are realistic and workers are singing in chorus with their competitors they haven’t a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting through the crisis.

I would say however that reform should be applied equally to politicians and pin-striped bankers.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]


Adam Sandler Sets Razzie Nominations Record

Comic actor Adam Sandler may not be in the running for an Oscar this year, but he has set a new record for another award — the most Razzie nominations for the worst films and performances of 2011. The producer, actor and writer received a leading 11 Razzie nods, including worst actor, actress, screenplay and film, in a contest created as an antidote to the love-fest that engulfs Hollywood during Oscar season.

Sandler’s cross-dressing comedy Jack & Jill, in which he played both the male and female roles, led the pack of poor movies with 12 nods.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Deepwater Horizon Victims Ready for Epic Court Battle With BP

Trial to establish cause and fault for the worst oil spill in US history is set to begin in New Orleans federal court on Monday

With Bea’s testimony, lawyers for some 130,000 plaintiffs hope to make the case that BP and its partners were grossly negligent in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. Eleven men were killed outright, and by the time crew regained control of the well, 87 days later, 4.1m barrels of oil had spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Enterprises from shrimp boats to time-share condos were facing ruin. Clean-up crews reported mysterious coughs and rashes. The full extent of damage to the Gulf ecosystem, to the tuna, dolphins and oysters encountered hydrocarbons, and to the fragile wetlands where some of the oil washed up remains unclear.

The trial getting underway in a New Orleans courtroom on Monday morning could cost BP and its partners in the doomed well up to $40bn in damages and penalties. BP has already paid out nearly $7bn to thousands of spill victims. It has also settled with families of most of the 11 men who were killed on the rig.

There are a staggering array of actors: nearly 130,000 individuals who suffered losses in the spill, the federal government, and the governments of Louisiana and Alabama against BP and five other companies. There are 340 lawyers from 90 different firms working on the plaintiffs’ side alone.

Then there are the disputes between the companies. BP, which owned the well; Transocean, which owned the rig; and Halliburton, which cemented the well, are all fighting with one another over how to apportion blame.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Profit or Preservation? Debate Rages Over Titanic Treasures

The Titanic captivated the world when it sank in 1912. And it’s continued to fascinate for generations. Now, $200 million-worth of Titanic treasures are up for auction April 15th-100 years to the day after the ship set sail. But as the centennial approaches, a Eugene archaeologist, said he strongly objects to the removal and auction of the artifacts from the ship.

“I don’t think the site has been treated properly,” said archaeologist Richard Pettigrew, at his home office in Eugene on Friday. “It hasn’t been treated scientifically, or with the kind of respect that it should be treated with, and that’s why I’m objecting to it.”

Pettigrew said for-profit removal of Titanic artifacts was flawed from the get-o. “Imagine a crime scene: when police arrive on the scene they section if off to prevent people from disturbing the evidence. Right?” said Pettigrew ,as he sat in his chair with a picture of the Titanic on his desk top computer behind him. “Well, that’s what an archaeology site is.”

Pettigrew said scientists, archaeologists and historians should be in charge of the removal and preservation of artifacts from the Titanic site-not private companies. “The Titanic is in fact a grave site where more than 1,500 people died,” he said.

RMS Titanic Inc., the company collecting the artifacts since 1987, did not respond to KVAL’s request for comment. But on its web site, the company said it is dedicated to preservation of the Titanic for educational and historical purposes.

Pettigrew said he’s not against companies making money, but not when the public has to pay the price. “I think archaeology is really a way for us to look into our rearview mirror and to understand where we came from and to reconnect with some basic elements of our humanity,” he added.

The Titanic wreckage site is in international waters. Pettigrew said this is why RMS Titanic Inc. and other companies have been able to profit since its discovery in 1985.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Greater Your Fear, The Larger the Spider

Fear can distort our perceptions, psychological research indicates, and creepy-crawly spiders are no different. People who are afraid of spiders see the arachnids as bigger than they actually are, recent experiments have shown. Researchers asked people who had undergone therapy to address their fear of spiders to draw a line representing the length of a tarantula they had just encountered in a lab setting.

“On average, the most fearful were drawing lines about 50 percent longer than the least fearful,” said Michael Vasey, lead study researcher and professor of psychology at Ohio State University. “We have seen participants draw lines that are at least three times as long as the actual spider.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Time Magazine Cover Asserts Latinos Will Decide Next President

TIME Magazine is making a bold claim: The Latino vote will decide the 2012 elections.

Their cover story, written by Michael Sherer, argues that the Latino vote has grown in certain parts of the country that may determine our President in 2012.

Sherer says that new voters in the Southwest are largely Latino, and that if Obama is able to win “heavily-Latino Western states like Nevada, Colorado and Arizona,” he would be able to afford losing industrial Midwestern states like Ohio and Wisconsin.

The author calls it an “awkward coincidence” that the last of the Republican debates is occurring in Arizona — a state known for its controversial immigration laws. Many believe the GOP’s harsh rhetoric surrounding undocumented immigrants has alienated Latinos from the Republican party, and may in turn cost the party the election in 2012.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Wyoming House Advances Doomsday Bill

CHEYENNE — State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States.

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo[Return to headlines]


Man Shocked by Arrest After Daughter Draws Picture of Gun at School

A Kitchener father is upset that police arrested him at his children’s’ school Wednesday, hauled him down to the station and strip-searched him, all because his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.

“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Jessie Sansone, 26, said Thursday.

“I was in shock. This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school.”

The school principal, police and child welfare officials, however, all stand by their actions. They said they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.

“From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there’s guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child,” said Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children’s Services.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

European Neanderthals Were on the Verge of Extinction Even Before the Arrival of Modern Humans

New findings from an international team of researchers show that most Neanderthals in Europe died off around 50,000 years ago. The previously held view of a Europe populated by a stable Neanderthal population for hundreds of thousands of years up until modern humans arrived must therefore be revised.

This new perspective on the Neanderthals comes from a study of ancient DNA published February 25 in Molecular Biology and Evolution. The results indicate that most Neanderthals in Europe died off as early as 50,000 years ago. After that, a small group of Neanderthals recolonised central and western Europe, where they survived for another 10,000 years before modern humans entered the picture. The study is the result of an international project led by Swedish and Spanish researchers in Uppsala, Stockholm and Madrid.

“The fact that Neanderthals in Europe were nearly extinct, but then recovered, and that all this took place long before they came into contact with modern humans came as a complete surprise to us. This indicates that the Neanderthals may have been more sensitive to the dramatic climate changes that took place in the last Ice Age than was previously thought”, says Love Dalén, associate professor at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: British Holocaust-Denying Bishop Out on a Technicality

A new indictment is expected to be ready in five weeks

BERLIN (JTA) — A German court has set aside a guilty verdict against a Holocaust-denying bishop on a technicality, but the defendant will face justice again, prosecutors say.

The Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg on Wednesday threw out the conviction of British Bishop Richard Williamson, 71, because the lower court had failed to say when and how the offending remarks were broadcast. A new indictment is expected to be ready in five weeks.

Meanwhile, Jewish groups are protesting an unrelated German court decision that appears to downplay the seriousness of Holocaust denial as a crime.

That ruling, which the Federal Constitutional Court handed down in November, overturned hate charges against an unnamed defendant in his 80s who shared printed material that called the Holocaust “a purposeful lie.” The court ruled that the defendant was protected under “freedom of opinion” laws, since he had shared his views privately with the proprietor of a bar he frequented.

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, called the decision “a slap in the face” for Holocaust survivors and their families, providing “hints on how to deny the Holocaust in Germany and escape punishment.” And WJC Vice President Charlotte Knobloch, of Munich, said German legislators were “disposing of the ban” against Holocaust denial “through the backdoor.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Ireland: the Pub Loses Its Pulling Power

THE IRISH PUB, says the Lonely Planet travel guide, is the country’s number-one attraction. Yet it is also doomed, according to leading food writer John McKenna. Health campaigners have its products in their cross-hairs, but the truth is that many of us are increasingly indifferent to its long-standing charms. It isn’t all that long since the pub held a society in thrall. Birthday, Communion and funeral ceremonies would eventually make their way to its darkened interiors. Family members would be despatched to drag reluctant drinkers out of their locals. Early risers joined all-nighters for a pint on the way to work. People boasted about being locked into small, dank rooms for the night with a set of beer taps.

Now pubs are closing at a rate of one every two days — more than 1,100 since 2005. Their decline has frequently been cited as yet another example of rural decay, but pubs in all areas, and of all types, are calling time.

Only last week, some of Dublin’s trendiest watering-holes — the Odeon, Pod and Crawdaddy on Harcourt Street — closed their doors, as did the downstairs venue at the Lower Deck in Portobello. North of the Liffey, the traditional “12 apostles” pub crawl from DCU to the city centre is now reduced to 10 after a brace of bars on the route — the Red Windmill and the Botanic House — failed to reopen after Christmas. The capital’s publicans are now begging for business.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Investigators Arrest Eight in Naples Corruption Scandal

Probes continue into bribes for public contracts

(ANSA) — Naples, February 20 — Eight arrests were made in Naples on Monday in an anti-corruption clean-up.

Among those under investigation are local business owners and regional officials from Campania and Molise.

Investigators are probing rigged bids for public contracts and a technology research center in the Naples suburb Fuorigrotta, along with wrongdoings in the management of a waste-disposal site.

Central to the investigations is the alleged exchange of 20,000 euros in bribes from entrepreneurs through a mediator intended for public officials.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: 11 Local Officials Arrested in Casalesi Swoop

Retired Carabinieri general probed in Camorra clan op

(ANSA) — Naples, February 22 — Italian police on Wednesday arrested 11 current and former local officials in towns north of Naples for helping the Casalesi clan of the Neapolitan Camorra mafia get building contracts for a huge residential complex.

A former Carabinieri general was placed under investigation for allegedly informing one of those arrested, an ex-mayor, that his council was about to be dissolved for mafia infiltration.

Preliminary investigations judge Pietro Carola called the case of the retired Carabinieri general, Domenico Cagnazzo, “extremely serious”.

He said wiretaps taken since 2006 show the clan is in touch with “leading figures in the national and regional political world as well as prominent members of institutions, including military ones”.

Anti-Mafia prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho said the operation, in which hundreds of police seized real estate worth some 250 million euros, showed the Casalesi clan “is not at all defeated” despite years of arrests and convictions.

“It has infinite funds at its disposal but we will continue to hit its economic interests,” he said.

Death threats from the Casalesis have forced anti-mafia writer Roberto Saviano, whose expose’ Gomorrah was turned into a prizewinning film, into round-the-clock police protection

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Crackdown Unearths Widespread Tax Evasion in Palermo

94% of street vendors checked are delinquent, police say

(ANSA) — Palermo, February 22 — A large-scale tax-evasion sweep in Palermo found that 94% of street vendors investigated did not report their earnings, police said Wednesday.

The crackdown, which began Tuesday in the Sicilian capital, also cited 45% of restaurants questioned for not issuing receipts and discovered 51 workers who were paid under the table. Investigators said that of the 250 randomly checked businesses, the majority were delinquent on their taxes, leading to a sum total of 800,000 euros in fines. With cash needed to balance the budget by 2013 and emerge from the debt crisis, Premier Mario Monti has launched a drive against tax cheats, who he recently said “are giving poisoned bread to their children”.

The campaign has featured a number of headline-grabbing operations among rich tourists in Cortina d’Ampezzo and the Ligurian Riviera, shoppers at exclusive stores in Rome and nightclub owners in Milan.

Italy’s internal revenue agency has said that it will ramp up the pressure further by introducing a new system to find evaders by cross-checking incomes and spending by the end of June.

The tax agency last year estimated that around 120 billion euros’ worth of undeclared business was done on the Italian underground economy each year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mycenae: Fortress Steeped in Ancient Horrors

It seemed appropriate that just as we approached the grim 3000-year-old fortress of Mycenae, dark clouds should suddenly gather overhead and send down a few warning drops of rain. Even though this was the setting for one of the greatest love affairs in history — the romance between Helen and Paris that launched the Greek invasion of Troy and inspired Homer’s epic poems — it is a dark place with an even darker history.

Legend has it that Mycenae was founded by the hero Perseus and that he hired the Cyclops, the awful one-eyed giants, to build it. Other legends tell of successive blood feuds, wars and assassinations, with grandsons killing grandfathers, nephews killing uncles, fathers sacrificing daughters, wives killing husbands and sons killing mothers, until the ruling dynasty wiped itself out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Obama Syndicate Plans Imminent Takeover of USA by Islam and Globalists

While Congress ignores it (or secretly supports it), the US courts continue to fall one by one towards accepting and utilizing Shari’a law in place of US law and the wholly-owned-by-the-totalitarian-Left-and/or-the-Saudis (same thing) media continue their mindless and largely irrelevant programming (to continue the mesmerization of the American people) Obama is openly supporting and assisting the Islamist takeover of the USA. I have been writing about this since prior to the Obama syndicate’s usurpation of the White House. However, it’s comforting to know that my more well-known brethren have at last gotten the message and are now, also, writing about it. In the end, we are all in this together!

Recently, Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Soeren Kern wrote in his article “Caliphate Conference” Seeks to Islamize Europe, U.S.”: “The explicit aim of the Istanbul Process—currently backed by the Obama administration—is to make it an international crime to criticize Islam. A Muslim fundamentalist group is organizing a conference focused on turning Austria and other European countries into Islamic states.

“The “Caliphate Conference 2012” will be held on March 10 in the Austrian town of Vösendorf, situated just south of Vienna. The main theme of the event will be “The Caliphate: The State Model of the Future.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Secret Renaissance Letter Reveals Plan to Save England

A newly discovered document, written by one of Europe’s most famous philosophers, Thomas Hobbes, reveals a plan that, if successful, could have turned the tide of one of England’s bloodiest wars. In the words of Hobbes, the plan would prevent the “ruine of the English nation.” The document was written during the height of the English civil war, a series of conflicts between 1642 and 1651 that saw King Charles I (and later his son Charles II), pitted against his country’s parliament.

Hobbes, whose work encompassed politics, history, law, physics and mathematics, was a strong supporter of the king. And in the newfound document, discovered among papers of English writer John Evelyn in the British Library, Hobbes proposes a plan to win the war by getting the head of the parliamentary navy, Earl of Warwick Robert Rich, to defect.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

So What Have the Romans Ever Done for us?

FIRST CENTURY AD. The Roman General Agricola reportedly says he can take and hold Ireland with a single legion. Some archaeologists have claimed the Romans did campaign in Ireland, but most see no evidence for an invasion. Imperial Rome and this island on its far western perimeter did share interesting links, however. The Discovery Programme, a Dublin-based public institution for advanced research in archaeology, is to investigate Ireland’s interactions with the empire and with Roman Britain, aiming to fill gaps in the story of the Irish iron age, the first 500 years after the birth of Christ.

The project, Late Iron Age and Roman Ireland (Liari) could uncover a surprising role for Roman culture, predicts Dr Jacqueline Cahill Wilson, project leader. It offers “a new narrative for this formative period of early Irish history”.

Science is going to drive the project, and the interpretation presented by the researchers will be based on science as much as the archaeology, Cahill Wilson explains. Roman artifacts including coins, glass beads and brooches turn up in many Irish counties, especially in the east.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Stonehenge Was Based on a ‘Magical’ Auditory Illusion, Says Scientist

The layout of Stonehenge matches the spacing of loud and quiet sounds created by acoustic interference, new theory claims

The Neolithic builders of Stonehenge were inspired by “auditory illusions” when they drew up blueprints for the ancient monument, a researcher claims. The radical proposal follows a series of experiments by US scientist Steven Waller, who claims the positions of the standing stones match patterns in sound waves created by a pair of musical instruments.

Waller, an independent researcher in California, said the layout of the stones corresponded to the regular spacing of loud and quiet sounds created by acoustic interference when two instruments played the same note continuously.

In Neolithic times, the nature of sound waves — and their ability to reinforce and cancel each other out — would have been mysterious enough to verge on the magical, Waller said. Quiet patches created by acoustic interference could have led to the “auditory illusion” that invisible objects stood between a listener and the instruments being played, he added.

To investigate whether instruments could create such auditory illusions, Waller rigged two flutes to an air pump so they played the same note continuously. When he walked around them in a circle, the volume rose, fell and rose again as the sound waves interfered with each other. “What I found unexpected was how I experienced those regions of quiet. It felt like I was being sheltered from the sound. As if something was protecting me. It gave me a feeling of peace and quiet,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘What Would Happen With a Scarf Over My Face?’: Outrage of Fireman Sam Creator Detained and Branded Racist for Innocent Burqa Joke at Airport Security

The creator of the popular children’s character Fireman Sam has told how he was accused of racism after making a light-hearted remark at Gatwick airport.

Dave Jones said he experienced an ‘Orwellian nightmare’ after commenting on the ease with which a woman with her face covered by a hijab, another form of the burqa, had walked through security controls.

As he placed his scarf and other items into a tray to pass through an X-ray scanner, he quipped to an official: ‘If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen.’

To his astonishment, he was met on the other side of the barrier by officials who detained him for an hour in an attempt to force him to apologise and the police were called.

Mr Jones, 67, who was supposed to be meeting his daughters, said: ‘Something like George Orwell’s 1984 now seems to have arrived in Gatwick airport.

‘I feel my rights as an individual have been violated.

‘What I underwent amounts to intimidation, unlawful arrest and detention. I was humiliated and denigrated in full public view.

‘I am a 67-year-old pensioner and have lived my life within the law.

‘I do not have even one point on my driving licence.’

Mr Jones said that when he had made his original remark, the guard had appeared to agree with him, responding: ‘I know what you mean, but we have our rules and you aren’t allowed to say that.’

As he went through security where he hoped to meet up with his two grown-up daughters, he was confronted by a woman official who said he was being held because he had made an offensive remark.

Mr Jones, a former member of the Household Cavalry and a retired fireman, said he had said nothing racist. But she took his passport and boarding pass and escorted him to another area where she questioned him.

He said: ‘It was impossible to get her to listen to reason. We were then joined by a second female security guard who stated that she was Muslim and was deeply distressed by my comment.

‘I again stated that I had not made a racist remark but purely an observation that we were in a maximum security situation being searched thoroughly while a woman with her face covered walked through.

‘I made no reference to race or religion. I did not swear or raise my voice.’

After about 20 minutes, he asked the security guard whether he was going to be charged. She said no, but he could not leave until he apologised.

He called for a policeman but, he said, it was clear the officer was ‘keeping to the politically correct code’.

He demanded that the officer should arrest him if there was a case against him. Mr Jones said: ‘I was told that we now live in a different time and some things are not to be said.’

The matter was only resolved when Mr Jones agreed his remarks ‘could’ have been regarded as offensive. A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: ‘Our security team are looking at what happened. The matter was dealt with and the passenger made his journey.’

           — Hat tip: DT-N[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Who’s Got a Lighter? Let’s Torch the Place’: Chilling Words of Riot Thug Who Yesterday Finally Admitted Burning Down Historic Furniture Store

The devastation he caused created some of the defining images of last summer’s riots.

And last night Gordon Thompson — branded a ‘cynical coward’ in court — was told he faces a long jail term after he admitted starting the fire which destroyed a historic furniture store.

The 33-year-old had long denied burning down the family-owned House of Reeves shop in the centre of Croydon, south London, during a terrifying night of anarchy.

The father of two had been planning to claim he was bravely trying to stop masked rioters looting the store when it burst into flames.

Yesterday, however, he pleaded guilty to arson recklessly endangering life and burglary. He had already admitted burgling two other shops — Iceland and House of Fraser — on the same evening.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: BNP Leader Nick Griffin ‘Is a Sex Pest Who Exposed Himself to Former Glamour Model in Her Car’

BNP leader Nick Griffin is a sex pest who exposed himself to a former glamour model in her car, it was claimed today.

Claudia Dalgleish said that the far right leader bombarded her with text messages full of crude sexual innuendos during a campaign of harassment.

The 40-year-old said that Mr Griffin flashed at her after they ate a takeaway together in her vehicle.

Claudia — also known as Claudia Bryan — told the Daily Star Sunday that the married father-of-four pulled his trousers down after they finished the meal.

She got out of her Jeep to throw away the rubbish to find the leader had partially undressed himself.

‘I came back and found Nick Griffin with his… trousers down by his knees. I was shocked and asked him what he was doing,’ she said.

‘I was disgusted. He was excited. I ordered him out of the car. He is a sex pest.’

Claudia and Mr Griffin were parked in a car park in Swanley, Kent, after she crossed the English Channel to fetch him from France when he was involved in a car crash.

Nick Griffin, who has a wife called Jackie, has portrayed himself as a family man in a bid to clean up his party’s reputation.

           — Hat tip: DT-N[Return to headlines]

UK: Fireman Sam Creator Detained at Airport for Veil Comment at Security Gate

A retired fireman, and creator of the popular children’s character, Fireman Sam, was detained at an airport for questioning why a veiled woman was not checked by security.

As David Jones arrived at the security gates at Gatwick airport, he was looking forward to getting through swiftly so he could enjoy lunch with his daughters before their flight.

Placing his belongings, including a scarf, into a tray to pass through the X-ray scanner he spotted a Muslim woman in hijab pass through the area without showing her face.

In a light-hearted aside to a security official who had been assisting him, he said: “If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen.”

The quip proved to be a mistake. After passing through the gates, he was confronted by staff and accused of racism.

As his daughters, who had passed through security, waited in the departure lounge wondering where he was, he was subjected to a one hour stand-off as officials tried to force him to apologise.

Mr Jones, 67, who is the creator of the popular children’s character Fireman Sam, said: “Something like George Orwell’s 1984 now seems to have arrived in Gatwick airport.

“I feel that my rights as an individual have been violated. What I underwent amounts to intimidation and detention. I was humiliated and degraded in full public view.

“I am a 67-year-old pensioner and have lived my life within the law. I do not have even one point on my driving licence.”

He said that when he made his initial remark the security guard had appeared to agree with him, saying: “I know what you mean, but we have our rules, and you aren’t allowed to say that.”

As he went through the metal detecting arch, his artificial hip set off the alarm, prompting a full search from a guard. It was after this, and as he prepared to rejoin his two grown-up daughters, that he was confronted by another guard who said he was being detained because he had made an offensive remark.

“I repeated to her what I had said and told her that I had said nothing racist,” he said. “She took my passport and boarding pass and I was then escorted back through the security zone into the outer area. Here the female security guard proceeded to question me further, inferring many things that I had not said.

“It was impossible to get her to listen to reason. We were then joined by a second female security guard who stated that she was Muslim and was deeply distressed by my comment.

“I again stated that I had not made a racist remark but purely an observation that we were in a maximum security situation being searched thoroughly whilst a woman with her face covered walked through. I made no reference to race or religion. I did not swear or raise my voice.”

According to Mr Jones, who was due to board a British Airways flight to Portugal, where he now lives and runs a restaurant on the Algarve, the British Airways duty manager was then called in and sided with the security staff.

He continued: “I had now been detained for some time and my daughters were worried, calling me on my phone asking what was happening. We were going around in circles. I maintained that I had said nothing offensive and the security guard was continuing to accuse me. This had taken about 15-20 minutes and looked as though it was not going to be resolved.

“I asked the security guard if she was going to charge me to which she said no but I could not leave until I had apologised to the Muslim guard.

“At this point I asked for the attendance of a police officer. After some time he arrived but it was also plainly evident that he was keeping to the politically correct code. I told him that if there was a case then he should arrest me.

“I was told that we now live in a different time and some things are not to be said. They decided again that I would only be allowed to continue on my journey if I were to apologise to the Muslim guard. My reply was that as I had not made a racist remark it would be impossible for me to apologise.”

Mr Jones, a former member of the Household Cavalry and retired fireman, added: “I felt that I made a logical observation. That while everyone was being subjected to an invasive search it was illogical that someone should be let through with their face covered. I am not opposed to having this level of security but it must be equal for all.”

Eventually, Mr Jones said, the BA manager suggested that he should agree that what he had said “could” be considered offensive by a Muslim guard.

With his flight departure time now fast approaching Mr Jones agreed to the compromise. Escorted by the police officer, he was taken through security where he was again subjected to a full search after his hip replacement set off the metal detector alarms.

Mr Jones said he intended to complain formally to the Gatwick airport authorities and British Airways about the incident last Sunday.

Department for Transport rules do not prevent people covering their faces at UK airports for religious reasons.

However, all passengers must show their faces to UK Borders officials when they pass through passport control. Muslim women who wear hijabs can request that their identity is checked by a female immigration officer and they can also ask that they be taken to a private room before they remove their head wear.

A spokesman for Gatwick airport said: “The security team are examining the incident to ensure that the issue was managed in the right way.

“They are talking to the people involved to understand what the issue was and how it came to have the police involved.”

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

UK: Kidnapped by America: Our Laws, Our Freedom and Our People

What is the difference between extradition and kidnapping? I used to know, but I am no longer sure. Because an emotional spasm about ‘terrorism’ caused us to take leave of our senses, we are all now at the mercy of foreign governments that take a dislike to us.

In some cases we can be snatched from our homes and families because we are charged with actions which are not even crimes here.

I used to admire American justice, but since the state-sponsored panic under George W. Bush, I am sadly disillusioned.

The penalty for daring to plead not guilty — certain financial ruin and a possible 35-year sentence — is so savage that the presumption of innocence, and jury trial itself, have been to all intents and purposes abolished. This means that the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution — which guarantees the right to a fair trial, and is one of the glories of America — has been violated and destroyed.

That is bad enough, but we shouldn’t forget our other, equally unforgivable surrender of national independence, the EU arrest warrant. Bulgarian justice, anyone? Both the new US-UK extradition treaty and the EU arrest warrant were rammed through Parliament on the basis that they would fight ‘terror’.

Wise and far-sighted questions were raised about this enormous change when it was first proposed. The heartbreaking case of Christopher Tappin, the British businessman extradited to America last week, against whom there seems to be nothing resembling evidence of wrongdoing or guilty intent, is exactly what its critics feared.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Mystery Virus Kills Thousands of Lambs

Thousands of lambs have been killed by a new virus that is threatening the survival of many British farms.

The Schmallenberg virus causes lambs to be born dead or with serious deformities such as fused limbs and twisted necks, which mean they cannot survive.

Scientists are urgently trying to find out how the disease, which also affects cattle, spreads and how to fight it, as the number of farms affected increases by the day.

So far, 74 farms across southern and eastern England have been hit by the virus, which arrived in this country in January.

A thousand farms in Europe have reported cases since the first signs of the virus were seen in the German town of Schmallenberg last summer.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Appeal After Boy is Assaulted in Nelson

DETECTIVES are appealing for information after a teenage boy was assaulted in Nelson.

Around 9-30 p.m. on Saturday, February 11th, the 16-year-old was walking through Nelson town centre along Netherfield Road with his sister when three men shouted homophobic abuse at him.

An argument then broke out between the group before the men assaulted the teenager, punching and kicking him in the face.

The offenders were disturbed when a man who was passing intervened and they all left the scene.

The three men are described as being of Asian heritage

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Sexual Predator Who Laughed at His Victims Jailed for Seven Years

A SEXUAL predator who laughed at his victims as they gave evidence has been caged for seven years.

Vile Abdi Ahmed, 21, was yesterday jailed for two counts of sexual assault, five counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery.

Passing sentence at Inner London Crown Court yesterday, Judge Seed QC said: “You targeted vulnerable females in the early hours of the morning.

“I saw you laughing when witnesses were in tears — you showed no sign of remorse.”

The judge went on to say that he would “never forget” the face of one of Ahmed’s victims, caught on bus CCTV after she was attacked.

Between January and March last year Ahmed attacked a number of women using late-night buses in Camberwell and Lambeth, South London.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Teenager Admits Stabbing Stepfather

A teenager has admitted stabbing his stepfather to death in a row over a television.

Moynul Haque, 18, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mohammed Zillur-Rahman, 43, an imam at Chadwell Heath mosque, east London.

Zillur-Rahman died after being stabbed through the heart.

He said: “There was an argument over a television being moved by Moynul Haque into his bedroom.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Teenager ‘Murdered 17 Year-Old Motorcyclist With Spear of Wood’

A 17 year-old motorcyclist was murdered when a rival teenager threw a makeshift spear at his head, the Old Bailey heard.

Tommy Warde, 17, was riding pillion around a travellers’ site in Orpington, Kent, when the shard of wood penetrated 22cm into his brain

It is claimed John Vincent hurled the piece of timber ‘like a javelin or spear’ on the evening of August 9, 2011.

Mr Warde suffered massive brain damage and his life support was switched off on August 11.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Transgender Fraudster Posed as Man and Woman to Take Out Credit Cards and Loans

A transgender fraudster made thousands of pounds posing as both a man and a woman to take out credit cards and loans.

Frances Harris, 71, of Brighton, born as Frederick, admitted three charges of deception over a three-year period.

Lewes Crown Court heard that she obtained a £15,000 loan in 2003 from the Halifax bank by pretending to be a former business partner called William Coutts.

She also obtained a Marks & Spencer credit card in 2004 under the name of Mr Coutts’s daughter, Vanessa.

Harris was charged with making an untrue statement to gain a passport, that of Mr Coutts, which she used as verification for the loan.

The court heard that Harris used the money to pay for lavish living. In 2004 she was using a chauffeur-driven Bentley and receipts for expensive jewellery, a cruise and health spas were found when her home was searched.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

‘Unique’ 11th Century Coin Discovered Near Gloucester

A “unique” medieval coin from the reign of William the Conqueror has been discovered in a field near Gloucester. The hammered silver coin was found by metal detectorist Maureen Jones just north of the city in November. Experts from the Portable Antiquities Scheme said the find “filled in the hole” in the dates the Gloucester mint was known to have been operating.

The coin, which dates from 1077-1080, features the name of the moneyer Silacwine and where it was minted. The Portable Antiquities Scheme said that until the coin was discovered, there were no known examples of William I coins minted in Gloucester between 1077-1080. “The discovery of this coin therefore proves that the mint was in operation throughout the whole reign of William I,” it said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Privatizing Albanian Castles Worries Heritage Experts

Illyrian and medieval castles in Albania could be soon turned into bars and restaurants according to a government plant to lease cultural monuments to local businessmen. According to the plan unveiled in late January by the head of Albania’s Institute of Monuments, Apollon Bace, some 40 monuments would be leased for a period of up to 100 years, mainly because the government is unable to preserve them.

Bace says detailed plans for the use of these monuments will determine which parts of them are suitable for commercial activities and which parts should not be touched. Rich with monuments dating back to Roman times, Albania has struggled for years to preserve them properly, as government after government failed to invest enough in restoration.

Gjergj Frasheri, a well known Albania archeologist, says that what has happened with leased out cultural monuments in the past should serve as a lesson. He believes transferring more monuments to private hands will be a mistake as Albanians are notorious for carrying out building work for which they have no planning permission.

“Albania is a country of (hundreds of thousand) of buildings built without permits, where neither the state nor the law punishes people who build illegally,” Frasheri noted. “Damage to monuments damages our historical record, and it is irreparable and unrecoverable,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Fossilized Pollen Unlocks Secrets of Ancient Royal Garden

Researchers have long been fascinated by the secrets of Ramat Rahel, located on a hilltop above modern-day Jerusalem. The site of the only known palace dating back to the kingdom of Biblical Judah, digs have also revealed a luxurious ancient garden. Since excavators discovered the garden with its advanced irrigation system, they could only imagine what the original garden might have looked like in full bloom — until now.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Is Israel Losing Temple Mount War?

Ynetnews special: Why is Israeli government covering up Muslim effort to erase any trace of Jewish history on Temple Mount? Archeology expert: Excavations barbaric, a crime Amir Shoan

Ira Pasternack couldn’t believe his eyes. The tractor’s huge blade was lifted high up and then brought down with great force, shattering the ancient floors on Temple Mount. The large clods of earth exposed by the work were cast aside by the mustachioed driver. Yet even an amateur archeologist could spot the priceless remnants of Jewish, Christian and Muslim history being cast away.

A few hours earlier, on a steaming July day in 2007, Pasternack was sent to Temple Mount in his role as an Israel Antiquities Authority inspector, in order to supervise excavation works at the holy site, which in the past boasted two Jewish Temples. This marked the first such project at the site since the 1967 Six-Day War, as the area’s sensitivity could prompt a political and diplomatic flare-up, thereby discouraging any such work.

According to specific Antiquities Authority instructions, any digging at the site was not allowed to exceed 60 centimeters (roughly two feet) and was not to be undertaken using mechanical equipment. However, reports drafted by Pasternnack and other sources, exposed for the first time by Yedioth Ahronoth Friday, indicate that workers largely ignored the instructions.

Much of the work was done using a tractor, continued during the night with the help of a flashlight, reached deeper than the permit allowed for. Moreover, the clods of earth removed from the site, which apparently comprised valuable remnants from the two Jewish Temples, were thrown away to an improvised garbage dump by members of the Waqf (the administrative Muslim body in charge of Temple Mount.)

Archeology expert Dr. Gabai Barkai, a world-renowned expert on Temple era excavations, was shocked by the reported work: “How could one dig up such sensitive area at night? How could one dig using mechanical equipment? Every such move is a crime. This is first-rate barbarity.”

Why is report secret?…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Britain’s Battle Plan for War With Iran

BRITAIN is drawing up plans to send hundreds of troops and an extra nuclear sub to the Gulf as tension mounts with Iran.

Defence chiefs are convinced the UK will be swiftly sucked into any new conflict with Tehran’s fanatical regime.

They say it is a matter of WHEN not IF war breaks out — with 18 to 24 months the likely timescale.

The Army, Royal Navy and RAF will have crucial roles if hostilities are triggered by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear stand-off with the world.

The UK will first fly an INFANTRY battalion to the United Arab Emirates, our strong ally in the region, The Sun can reveal.

The move would be a public show of support, demonstrating that Britain is ready to defend the UAE it it comes under attack from Iran. The UAE is separated from Iran by just 34 miles of sea across the Strait of Hormuz.

Further troops could follow if our other allies Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar ask for help.

The Royal Navy has already quietly gathered seven WARSHIPS in the Gulf. HMS Daring — one of its newest and most powerful destroyers — arrived in the region last month to join Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll.

Minesweepers Pembroke, Quora, Middleton and Ramsey are based in Bahrain and a nuclear submarine is lurking in the area.

Under the war plan, a second sub armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles would be deployed.

The RAF would send Typhoon and Tornado JETS to reinforce helicopter and transport plane crews already stationed in Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE. A senior Whitehall official said: “MoD planners went into overdrive at the start of the year. Conflict is seen as inevitable as long as the regime pursue their nuclear ambitions.

“Britain would be sucked in whether we like it or not, probably via Iranian attacks on our forces in Afghanistan next door to them.”

The senior source added: “We also have some very important allies in the region and we stand ready to help them with troops.”…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Janet Levy: The Jihad Against Bengali

Every February 21, a little-known observance occurs: International Mother Language Day. Created in 2000 to promote and encourage the diversity of language, this benign and idealistic-sounding commemoration actually marks a bloody day in 1952 when an Islamic minority shot and killed university students protesting the imposition of an Islamic language, Urdu, on a Bengali-speaking majority in Pakistan.

The students who died that day understood that forced reconfiguration of a language can have cataclysmic and devastating effects on a society. Community identification can be shifted, populations and their practices repressed, and the established rhythm of daily life disrupted.

In the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, Muslims have for centuries used Arabic languages as part of their jihad against Christians and Hindus. A blatant example of this phenomenon occurred in 8th century Coptic-speaking Egypt when Muslims conquered the Christian nation and designated Arabic as the sole administrative language. Coptic, which had flourished as a literary and liturgical language, was purposely denigrated by the Muslim conquerors and eventually prohibited in favor of Arabic, the language of Mohammed. Today, Copts continue to be besieged by the Muslim majority in Egypt, and only a few hundred people speak the Coptic language.

A similar struggle occurs with the Bengali language. Although the student deaths of 1952 sparked a successful movement to create an independent Bangladesh, the majority Muslim population in that country persecutes Hindus and is Islamizing the Bengali language itself as a sort of linguistic Muslim jihad which has been going on for centuries.

History — Urdu vs. Bengali

Beginning almost 900 years ago, Urdu, a language associated with Muslims in India and Pakistan, was appropriated from Sanskrit-based Hindi over centuries of conquests by Persian, Arabic, and Turkic Muslims. To create Urdu, the Muslim conquerors took Hindi and Islamicized it by injecting new words, changing existing words, and writing the language in Arabic script. By de-Sanskritizing Hindi to develop Urdu, Muslim rulers de-Hinduized the language as a way of diminishing the infidel faith. As Latin is to Christianity, Sanskrit defines Hinduism and is the language of Hindu clerics and scriptures.

In 1948, shortly after Pakistan gained independence from the British government, the newly installed Islamic government declared Urdu the official language of West and East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. At the time, Sanskrit-based Bengali was the language of the vast majority of Bengalis, the inhabitants of East Pakistan, both Hindus and Muslims.

The Urdu language edict created great hardship for Hindus and Bengali-speaking Muslims who were not particularly proficient in Urdu. Although Bengalis were a majority linguistic group, under the Urdu language requirement they faced discrimination and experienced alienation from mainstream Pakistani society. Both Bengali Hindus and Muslims had difficulty finding employment and were discouraged from joining the Army, an important affiliation conferring social standing in Pakistan…

[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Four Danish Nationals Booked Under Blasphemy Law

JHANG: Four Danish nationals have been booked under the blasphemy law in Jhang. According to the FIR No 133, logged with the Kotwali police station, Zahid Saeed Bhutta Advocate filed a petition in the court of Jhang District and Sessions Judge for registration of a case against four Danish citizens.

He alleged that they published blasphemous material in Denmark and uploaded on the Internet, that could be accessed and read all-over Pakistan, including his city Jhang. The judge ordered the police to registrar a case under Section 295/C against the accused, and the police complied with the court orders.

Additional SP Jhang Abdul Qadir Qamar confirmed registration of the case and said such cases were investigated by a senior police officer.

           — Hat tip: HD[Return to headlines]

Woman Thrashed on Witchcraft Charge

RAJBIRAJ: A group of people led by one Badri Narayan Yadav along with a witchdoctor assaulted a woman at Barahi Birpur-5 here, alleging the woman of practicing witchcraft last Friday.

The group is learnt to have manhandled 38-year-old Sujan Devi Yadav, wife of Bhabar Lal Yadav, at the village, accusing her of being a witch.

She was reportedly dragged out of her house and beaten.

The victim who sustained injuries due to the beating has been admitted to the Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital.

The victim said the group compising Badri Narayan Yadav, his wife Amerika Devi Yadav, son Dharma Dev Yadav, a local Ram Ashish Yadav and the shaman Ramdev Ram and his wife SamjhaDevi Ram of neighbouring Kocha Bhakhari village forced her out of her house and assaulted her.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Dig Finds Evidence of First MacKillop Schoolroom

Archaeologists at a dig in South Australia believe they have pinpointed the exact site of Mary MacKillop’s first school. Mary MacKillop — Australia’s first Catholic saint — set up her first school in a stable at Penola in the state’s south-east in 1866. A dig led by Flinders University Associate Professor Heather Burke has been taking place for artefacts in the town. Professor Burke says it seems likely they have now found the precise site of the stable where the school was first set up.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Zealand: Archaeologists Uncover Moa Bones

Archaeologists Jeannette McIsaac and Michael Trotter working in the roadside trench at Redcliffs. Moa bones and other relics of Maori settlement around Redcliffs have been found during excavations at the Main Rd for a wastewater pipe. Fulton Hogan, working for Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team, appointed archaeologist Michael Trotter to monitor the excavation.

The work found evidence of early Maori occupation dating back about 600 years, including earth ovens (hangi) and the remains of cooked food including shellfish, seals, dogs, and moas. A bead made out of a fossilised shell and a workshop area where stone adze heads were crafted was also discovered. The most significant find was a small clay ball that had been baked in a fire.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Threat Looms in the North of Australia

The free movement of Papua New Guineans into Queensland has brought the threat of highly infectious tuberculosis, AIDS, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever, says Opposition Aboriginal spokesman Dr Bruce Flegg, who has just toured northern Queensland with LNP leader Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzanian Police Arrested Shooting People Who Rioted Against Witch Craft

Police officers in Tanzania shot at local protestors to prevent the angry crowd from destroying property.

Witchcraft doctors in Tanzania claim that the body parts of people with albinism have special healing powers. As a result, people in Tanzania with albinism are commonly hunted. Witch doctors then sell albino skin and other body parts, The New York Times reported.

In May of last year, Reuters reported that albino girls in Tanzania have also been targeted by rapists based on the belief that intercourse with an albino woman would cure AIDS.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Songea Wednesday to protest the recent murder of six women, the BBC said. Though the victims were not albino, the rioters believe that the deceased women were also victims of the witchcraft trade. The rioters attacked police stations and government offices, based on their feelings that police had done little to prevent witchcraft killings.

Ruvuma police, however, argue that the recent murders were unrelated to the black magic trade.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

US Troops Now in 4 African Countries to Fight LRA

U.S. troops helping in the fight against a brutal rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army are now deployed in four Central African countries, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa said Wednesday.

The U.S. announced in October it was sending about 100 U.S. troops — mostly special operations forces — to Central Africa to advise in the fight against the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony, a bush fighter wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The LRA’s tactics have been widely condemned as vicious. The U.S. troops are helping to fight a group that has slaughtered thousands of civilians and routinely kidnaps children to be child soldiers and sex slaves.

The anti-LRA group Resolve in a report released Wednesday urged the U.S. to encourage Uganda to dedicate more troops and helicopters to their counter-LRA operations.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Two Die in Fire at Brazil’s Antarctic Research Station

The Brazilian navy says it has recovered the bodies of two of its members from the debris of a Brazilian research station in the Antarctic. The Comandante Ferraz base near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula was destroyed by an explosion on Saturday. Officials said the blast was caused by a fire which raged through the base, where marine research work is carried out. A third member of the navy injured in the fire is in a stable condition.

Defence Minister Celso Amorim praised the military personnel’s bravery. “In an act of heroism, they risked their lives to extinguish the fire, but did not succeed,” Mr Amorim said. He said all the scientists from the station had been evacuated to Punto Arenas in Chile, from where they will be taken to Brazil on Sunday. The military personnel stayed in Antarctica, but sought temporary shelter at Chile’s Eduardo Frei research base.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


‘Con Air’ Gypsy Gang Members Who Flew to Britain in £800,000 Benefit Fraud Told to Pay Back Just £17.65

Gang members claimed benefits under two different aliases at the same time, and boosted the payouts they received by inventing children, producing what they said were photographs of the non-existent youngsters.

Some of the claimants did not live in the UK at all while making benefits claims, with one woman making regular flights into the country from Romania to collect their payments.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Typhoid Detected on Christmas Island

ASYLUM seekers on Christmas Island will have to wait to be transferred to mainland Australia, after typhoid fever was detected on the island.

The Immigration Department has confirmed that two crew members on separate asylum boats have been diagnosed with typhoid, The Australian reports.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

UK: Asylum Seeker Jailed for Raping Lone Teenager

AN ASYLUM seeker dragged a lone teenager off the street and horrifically raped her during an hour-long ordeal, a court heard yesterday.

Sudanese-born Hafedh Abdullah, 31, who was granted asylum in the UK 18 months ago, was jailed for 10 years and faces deportation when he is released.

Judge Jacqueline Davies, sitting at Doncaster Crown Court, said Abdullah was such a danger to women that she made him subject to a five-year extended licence period when he is released.

She told Abdullah: “It was a sustained attack late at night against a vulnerable young woman.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

14-Year-Old Homeschooled Girl Receives Death Threats for Defending Marriage

A 14-year-old homeschooler who testified before the Maryland state senate against a bill redefining marriage has been the subject of cyberbullying, vicious name-calling, and death threats.

Sarah Crank, 14, told the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee last month she believes children need a mother and a father. “ I really feel bad for the kids who have two parents of the same gender,” she told the senators. “Even though some kids think it’s fine, they have no idea what kind of wonderful experiences they miss out on.”

She continued, “People say that they were born that way, but I’ve met really nice adults who did change.”

“Today’s my 14th birthday, and it would be the best birthday present ever if you would vote ‘no’ on gay marriage,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Catholic Symbols Vandalized in Bay Area Hate Crime

UNION CITY, East Bay, California—As the Lenten season sets in with the observance of Ash Wednesday, parishioners of Saint Anne Catholic Church on Cabello and Dyer Sts. in this city woke up February 22 to the gruesome sight of their parish grounds vandalized and desecrated to the hilt in what Union City Police classified as a hate crime.

The perpetrators, who remain at large at press time, left in their wake macabre evidences of the rage and hatred that apparently consumed them: a wooden cross broken off its footing; a monument to the Seven Beatitudes knocked over from its base; faces of the icons of St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary sprayed over with black paint; and a spray-painted pentagram in two different locations, each with the Latin words, ‘carpe noctem’ (“seize the night”) on top, and ‘Satan’ at the bottom.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Debasing Our Military, One Politically Correct Moment After Another

Victory against Islamic terrorism has been completely removed from the equation.

For many years, the military was the last bastion of resistance against the bankruptcy of progressive thinking. No longer. Three vivid illustrations of what those who volunteer to defend this nation must now endure, stand as a beacon to the corruption that political correctness brings wherever it is unleashed. I could not be sadder for those who put themselves in harm’s way. They deserve far better.

First, the Fort Hood massacre. Army brass knew that Major Nidal Hasan was a an Islamic radical, long before he killed 13 and wounded another 32 of his fellow soldiers…

Such poison is amplified by story number two. At Camp Zama in Japan, the Army ordered combat veterans to wear fake breasts and “empathy bellies,” aka “pregnancy simulators” so they can get a better understanding of how pregnant soldiers feel during physical training…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Gender Studies Pushes Forward, Integrates With Other Disciplines

Northwestern’s methods for teaching gender and sexuality have garnered a lot of attention in the past year, from Prof. John Michael Bailey’s sex toy scandal to the Feb. 19 Chicago Tribune article featuring Prof. Lane Fenrich’s new course, “Sexual Subjects: Introduction to Sexuality Studies.” New opportunities for studying gender and sexuality are thriving across departments and the after-class sex toy controversy is in the past, said gender studies director Mary Weismantel.

“We really want to use this as an opportunity to get the message out that we’re very proud of the way sexuality studies is taught at Northwestern,” Weismantel, an anthropology professor said. “We think we’re a national leader.”

“Sexuality studies, for the most part, at least in terms of teaching, should never just be about the sex,” she said. “Sex is a window to talk about religion and morality and politics and economics and culture and history. It’s a road to everything. It’s a great lens for us to use to look at all those wider questions.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Idiotic Lawyer Claims Lesbians Can’t Hate Crime a Gay Man

While the LGBT community fares well in the acronym department, the reality is that we are, in many ways, deeply divided. It’s no secret that lesbians are the frequent butts of gay men’s jokes, and that bisexual and transgender people are often written off as side notes to the gay rights movement.

But what happens when those pesky differences infiltrate a court of law?

The Boston Herald reports that three lesbians ganged up on a gay man at the Forest Hills train station, beating him up and yelling homophobic slurs at him.

“My guess is that no sane jury would convict them under those circumstances, but what this really demonstrates is the idiocy of the hate-crime legislation,” said civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate. “If you beat someone up, you’re guilty of assault and battery of a human being. Period. The idea of trying to break down human beings into categories is doomed to failure.”

Full story here:

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Ireland: Gender Identity Issues

THIS WEEK, a television advert by bookmaker Paddy Power that was labelled as “deeply transphobic” by an Irish transgender support group was suspended from UK television and most Irish TV stations.

The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) had said that the advert made transgender people feel “mocked and ridiculed” and called for its withdrawal. Although the British television advertising clearance body Clearcast had initially approved the ad, which Paddy Power defended as “a bit of mild mannered fun”, it has since apologised for any offence caused by its broadcasting.

In the advert, a narrator announced that Paddy Power aimed to make the 2012 Ladies’ Day “even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgendered ladies”. Viewers were then shown images of different women and invited to “spot the stallions from the mares”.

TENI Board member Louise Hannon welcomed the suspension of the advert, saying that the message contained in it caused “enormous damage” to the transgender community:

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Montenegro: 60% Consider Homosexuality an Illness, Survey

(ANSAmed) — PODGORICA, FEBRUARY 21 — Sixty percent of Montenegrins consider homosexuality an illness, according to a survey carried out recently in the small Balkan country. In the survey, conducted by the Centre for Civic Education (CGO) and the gay movement Progres in collaboration with the Canadian embassy in Podgorica, 52% say they support the right of homosexuals to publicly declare their sexual orientation, compared with 45% who are against it. Another 25% say they believe that homosexuals are a group of people at risk and who should be helped to achieve their rights, a statement rejected by 40% of the respondents. Even neighbouring Serbia homosexual are looked on with suspicion and oftentimes with open hostility. Last October’s Gay Pride event scheduled to take place in Belgrade was called off at the last moment due to serious threats from a group of homophobic extremists and ultra-nationalists, who had threatened to carry out acts of violence and cause incidents.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Navy Seeking More Minority Seals

In nature, most seals are black, with relatively few white ones. The Navy’s SEALs have exactly the opposite problem — they’re overwhelmingly white, with hardly any blacks. So they’re trying to do something about it.

It’s a fundamental challenge in a democracy with an all-volunteer force: recruits may be drawn from all segments of society, but elite military units — and none is more elite these days than the SEALs, following their dispatch of Osama bin Laden last May — tend to draw from small pools of talent. For the SEALs, that includes athletic young men who are smart and good in the water. For whatever reason, that has led to an overwhelmingly white SEAL force.

Gaps exist in minority representation in both officer and enlisted ranks for Special Warfare operators. Diverse officers represent only ten percent of the officer pool (for example, African Americans represent less than 2% of SEAL officers).

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Rush: Obama’s Infanticide Vote ‘Most Shocking, Underreported, Significant Story I Can Ever Remember’

The nation’s number one talk show host drew attention to Barack Obama’s history of supporting infanticide on Friday’s show.

Discussing this week’s CNN debate in Mesa, Arizona, Rush Limbaugh told his listeners said the president’s vote against the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2001, 2002, and 2003 amounted to “the most shocking and underreported significant story I can ever remember.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich raised the issue of Obama’s support for infanticide after CNN debate moderator John King asked the presidential hopefuls a question about birth control.

Gingrich, who replied first, objected that in 2008, “not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide.”

“If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion,” Gingrich said. “It is not the Republicans.”

The legislation was brought forward after Jill Stanek, a nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, exposed abortionists’ practice of abandoning babies born alive after failed abortions, leaving them to die in a hospital utility room.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Rutgers Suicide Case May Find “Hate” Hard to Prove

Now it comes to trial following an investigation that revealed much more nuance, challenging prosecutors to prove a hate crime under rarely tested circumstances.

Ravi was quickly vilified by online commentators, at least in part as a result of early reports that incorrectly stated he had broadcast Clementi’s encounter on the Web, thereby “outing” him.

Garden State Equality was one of several gay rights organizations that praised the Middlesex County prosecutor’s decision to file charges against Ravi, calling Ravi’s actions “grotesque” and the “clearest-cut violation” of the law.

President Barack Obama and other public figures spoke of Clementi, a shy student with a talent for the violin, as yet another sad example of a young gay man bullied into taking his own life.

committed, graffiti left at the scene, the possession of hateful propaganda by the offender, or an offender’s previous history of hate crimes.

“In this case there apparently are none of those indicators to be found,” Levin said. “It doesn’t sound like a very strong case.”

On September 19, 2010, Clementi had arranged to have a man in his mid-20s identified in court only as M.B. to come over, and asked Ravi if he would leave the room. Ravi agreed. He went to the room of Molly Wei, a friend across the corridor, and used her computer to access his webcam through video-chatting software.

Wei later told investigators Ravi was alarmed at having to leave his room for a visit from an unknown older man and wanted to know what was going on. She said they saw images of Clementi kissing M.B., and, shocked, turned the video feed off within seconds. Ravi posted a message on his Twitter account:

“Turned on iChat and saw my roommate making out with a dude. Yay.”

To secure the bias intimidation conviction, prosecutors will need to convince a jury Ravi invaded Clementi’s privacy and that he did so to intimidate him because he was gay.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Tom Martin, 39, Is Suing Europe’s Largest Gender Studies Department for Alleged Sex Discrimination

THE man suing Europe’s largest gender studies department for alleged sex discrimination will be taking part in a public debate next week on the subject of whether feminism is sexist.

Tom Martin, 39, a former gender studies student who lives in Covent Garden, is taking the London School of Economics to the Central London County Court, with a hearing due on March 13.

He claims the prestigious institution’s masters degree course ignored men’s issues, thereby breaching the Gender Equality Duty Act.

The debate, Is Feminism Sexist, will be held in Room 309 of the Roberts Building on the University College London campus in Bloomsbury at 7pm on February 28.

Mr Martin said: “There are going to be fireworks.”

He added that his legal fighting fund for the case has received 129 donations from 10 countries totalling £4,300 so far.

Anyone wishing to attend the debate is advised to email to book a place.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Gay Marriage’ To be Taught in Schools

SCHOOLS will be forced to teach children as young as five the importance of gay marriage.

Teachers who refuse because of their religious beliefs could face disciplinary action.

Ministers are pushing ahead with a legal overhaul of the definition of marriage.

Campaigners against the Coalition Government’s plans warn it will put classrooms on the frontline of a political correctness war and parents who object to the teaching of same-sex marriage could be classed as bigots.

The Government will next month publish its consultation on giving same-sex marriage the same legal definition as traditional marriage. It is the first step towards a Gay Marriage Bill.

However, Ministers insist churches will not be forced to marry gay couples. Section 403 of the Education Act 1996 places a legal requirement on schools to teach children about “the importance of marriage”.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Christians Sent to the Lions Yet Again

HE persecution of devout Christians by aggressive atheist superiors goes on and is becoming one of the nastiest aspects of a deteriorating society. In Merton, south London, a carer working with children with severe learning difficulties, Ms Celestina Mba, was fired last year — or to be specific resigned after she felt her working terms had deliberately been made intolerable.

Her offence? She is dedicated to her Baptist church and wanted to go to church on Sundays. To do this she could not also cover the Sunday shift. She explained this, she had made it plain when she was taken on, her colleagues clamoured to switch shifts with her.

But the “managers” (meaning bureaucrats or jobsworths) were adamant. It was Sunday working or go. So here is the $64,000 question: where on earth was the harm if her colleagues were happy to switch shifts? And would the same have happened to a Muslim dedicated to going to mosque on Fridays?

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Harriet Harman’s Law on Equality ‘Is Anti-Christian’ And Unacceptable

Equality laws introduced by the last Labour Government have been attacked by a group of MPs for promoting ‘unacceptable’ discrimination against Christians.

In a strongly worded report out tomorrow, they say the legal system now places the freedom of believers to express their faith below the rights of other groups, such as the gay community.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Lynne Featherstone Tells Church ‘Don’t Polarise Gay Marriage Debate’

The Church does not have the exclusive right to define who should be allowed to get married, the equalities minister warns, as she suggests that religious groups have polarised the debate on gay marriage.

Lynne Featherstone directly challenges the role of the Church in the debate over homosexual weddings, saying it does not “own” marriage.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Miss Featherstone says the Government has a right to change the definition of marriage and pledges to challenge those who “want to leave tradition alone”.

Citing the words of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, who is a prominent opponent of the Coalition’s plans to allow same-sex couples to marry, she insists that how marriage is defined is up to “the people”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Mixed-Up Five-Year-Olds and the Alarming Growth of the Gender Identity Industry

20 years ago the condition didn’t exist. Now British children are being given puberty suppressing drugs on the NHS

The Tavistock Clinic is based in an anonymous concrete building in North London. Once there, you have to go to the third floor to find the Orwellian-sounding Gender Identity Development Unit.

The unit received £1,042,000 in funding last year from the local healthcare Trust. In layman’s terms, it treats patients who believe they are ‘trapped in the wrong body’.

Few would associate such a place with children barely old enough to attend school.

But it emerged this week that a little boy called Zach Avery, just five years old, now wears his hair permanently in bunches after being assessed by ‘experts’ at the Tavistock and ‘coming out’ as a girl.

Over the past year, 165 children have been referred to the clinic’s team of social workers, child psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Seven children under the age of five were officially diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) — when a person is born one gender, but feels they are the other.

The research supports their view. According to the Tavistock’s own figures, up to 80 per cent of youngsters who think they are the wrong sex will change their minds upon reaching adolescence.

Nevertheless, a clinical trial is currently underway at the Tavistock which involves prescribing children from around the age of 12 with drugs to suspend puberty, thus preventing — so the theory goes — the mental anguish caused by the maturing of sex organs and changes in the voice.

It also makes it easier for them to have gender-changing surgery, should they so wish, when they are older.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Validity of “Hate Crime” Caught on Tape is Questioned

A gathering of community leaders addressed new developments Saturday in the high-profile case of a brutal beating that was caught on tape, Feb. 4. The victim, 20-year-old Brandon White, asserted that he was the victim of hate crime, that he was attacked because he is gay.

After being firmly in White’s corner in previous weeks, a spokesman for the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian group called “Change Atlanta” questioned that assertion at the community meeting Saturday.

“It is undeniable that a crime did indeed occur. That is a fact,” said Devin Ward. “The type of crime that occurred is now up for question.”

Concerns that have been raised by residents of the Pittsburgh community, where the beating happened, that White knew his assailants before the attack, and that he was about to expose one or more of them for being homosexual. In an earlier report by CBS Atlanta, Ward said White should “right his wrong” for claiming it was a hate-inspired attack.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]