Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120330

Financial Crisis
»Austrian Minister Steals Show on Euro-Firewall Announcement
»‘Even a 1-Trillion Euro Firewall Wouldn’t be Enough’
»‘Furious’ Eurozone Chief Scraps News Conference After Leak
»Greek PM Does Not Rule Out Third Bail-Out
»Italy: Economic Desperation Pushes Moroccan to Set Himself on Fire
»Norway’s Oil Fund to Reduce Exposure in Europe
»Polish Minister: EU and NATO Might Fall Apart
»Spain Braces for Further Budget Squeeze
»Three in Four Germans Against Increase in Firewall Fund
Europe and the EU
»France: Raids on Radical Islamists in Various Cities
»French Police Swoop on ‘Islamic Extremists’
»Ireland: Funeral Orators Urged Not to Glamorise Suicide
»It’s Wrong to Make Victim of Child Killer
»Lithuania: Beer Really is an “Essential Service”
»North Sea Gas Leak: Total Weighs Options as Explosion Fears Mount
»Primary Schoolgirl Aged Five Could be UK’s Youngest Victim of Forced Marriage
»School Shooting in Southern Finland
»Srdja Trifkovic: Sarkozy the Demagogue
»UK: Scout Clothing for Muslim Girls
»UK: Why Did He Take Her Shoes and Handbag?
»Wales: Cardiff Taxi Incident: Majid Rehman Remanded in Custody
North Africa
»Egypt: Alexandria’s Patriarch Hopes for Peaceful Coexistence
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: The State Department’s Jerusalem Syndrome
»Israeli Forces Deploy for Protests at Borders
Middle East
»Churches Condemn Saudi Fatwa
»Obama Clearing Way to Tighten Sanctions Targeting Iranian Oil
»Turkey Cuts Iran Oil Purchases by 20%: Company
»Turkey: Conquering Middle East With New Soap Opera
South Asia
»Afghan Police Officer Kills 9 Comrades as They Sleep
»On the Run: Bin Laden Had 4 Children and 5 Houses, A Wife Says
»Pakistan: Waziristan: US Drone Kills 4 Arab Militants
»The Indonesian Government Wants to Ban Miniskirts
Far East
»Apple Hit by Report on China Factory Conditions
»Chinese Learning French to Emigrate to Quebec
»Japan Threatens to Intercept North Korea Missile
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Outer Mogadishu Clashes Target Hospital, MSF Reports
»Illegal Immigrants Flocking to Denmark
»NATO Among Those Accused of Letting Migrants Die at Sea
»Tens of Thousands of Immigrants Illegally Entered Britain Under New Visa System
Culture Wars
»Swedish Boys’ New Hero: Pram-Pushing Spiderman
»Dolphins Form Groups Like Humans: Swiss Study
»Flowing Water on Mars? Strange Red Planet Features Stir Debate
»How Water on the Moon Could Fuel Space Exploration
»Human Brain Organised Like a 3D ‘New York City’ Grid
»Spectacular Brain Images Reveal Surprisingly Simple Structure
»Where the World’s Parliaments Meet Eye to Eye

Financial Crisis

Austrian Minister Steals Show on Euro-Firewall Announcement

Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker cancelled a press conference and sent an emailed statement instead after Austrian minister Maria Fekter went out and briefed journalist on the firewall decision. Juncker also wanted to have the Spanish budget announced in Madrid first, diplomats say, as he anticipated questions on the matter.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Even a 1-Trillion Euro Firewall Wouldn’t be Enough’

European finance ministers meeting in Copenhagen on Friday agreed to boost the euro-zone firewall to over 800 billion euros. The move marks another U-turn on the part of the Merkel administration, which recently dropped its opposition to increasing the fund. German commentators warn that even the new firewall may still be too small.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

‘Furious’ Eurozone Chief Scraps News Conference After Leak

An angry head of the eurozone finance ministers cancelled a planned news conference on Friday after Austria’s minister left a crunch meeting to brief reporters on the outcome, an EU diplomat said. Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister and a veteran of EU affairs, scrapped the briefing after Maria Fekter told reporters that the group had struck a deal to boost their “firewall” against the crisis. A European Union diplomat said Juncker was “furious” with Fekter. Fekter strode into the media centre in the Danish capital and was immediately surrounded by around 100 reporters from around the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek PM Does Not Rule Out Third Bail-Out

“Greece will do everything possible to make a third adjustment programme unnecessary,” Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper in an interview published Friday. “It is difficult to forecast market conditions and expectations in 2015,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Economic Desperation Pushes Moroccan to Set Himself on Fire

Verona, 29 March (AKI) — A Moroccan construction worker who had not received a paycheck in four months doused his body in gasoline and set himself aflame Thursday in front of city hall in the the northern city of Verona. It was the second case of self-immolation by fire in as many days.

Financial desperation has driven about 10 people in Italy towarded botched or successful suicide this month.

The 27-year-old Moroccan was rushed Verona hospital after trying to kill himself near Verona’s 2000-year-old amphitheatre. His condition is considered serious but not life threatening.

Italy is the third-richest country among the 17 countries that use the euro currency. But its economy is in recession and is expected retreat this year. One-third of Italy’s workers under 24 year of age can’t find a job. With tax hikes and other reforms designed to reduce the world’s fourth-highest debt, the situation is expected to get worse.

The incident in Verona follows yesterday’s attempted suicide 150 kilometres south in Bologna where a 58-year-old man set himself on fire in front of the Italian tax collection agency, claiming he has paid his taxes and is being mistreated by the tax authorities.

Hardly a day passes without news or a suicide or attempted suicide.

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

Norway’s Oil Fund to Reduce Exposure in Europe

Norway’s massive state pension fund will significantly reduce its exposure to crisis-hit European economies and will instead invest more in emerging economies, the Norwegian government said on Friday.

The current 54 percent of Norway’s so-called oil fund — one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the world — invested in European stocks and bonds will drop to 41 percent, the government said in a report to parliament on the long-term changes in the management of the fund.

“The proportion invested in Europe will be reduced gradually over time,” Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen said in a statement. At the same time, “the fund is growing, so that its (European) investments measured in Norwegian kroner will still increase over time,” Johnsen said, adding “the fund shall continue to be a considerable investor in Europe.”

The Norwegian oil fund, which contains all state revenues from the country’s massive oil and gas sector, is currently valued at around 3,470 billion kroner ($609.2 billion) and is Europe’s biggest


Parallel with the relative reduction in European stocks and bonds, the fund will increase its investments in the Americas and in Africa from 35 to about 40 percent of its total portfolio, while its portion of Asian investments will rise from 11 to 19 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Polish Minister: EU and NATO Might Fall Apart

Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski has said the EU could unravel and the US might quit Nato, leaving Poland alone to face an increasingly assertive Russia. He painted the “black scenario” in a speech to MPs in Warsaw on Thursday (29 March), at a time when other EU leaders are saying the worst of the financial crisis is over. Noting that the US is already more interested in the Pacific than in Europe and that EU countries are becoming more selfish, he outlined a future in which open borders and open labour markets are dismantled, less money goes into the EU budget and important projects — such as the European External Action Service — become “completely eroded.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain Braces for Further Budget Squeeze

A day after strikes and protests put the public’s anger at government austerity measures on display, the Spanish government is set to unveil another round of budget cuts. Spain is set to unveil its budget for 2012 on Friday, and the purse strings will be tight. In an effort to keep in line with agreements made with the European Union to get the nation’s deficit under control, Madrid is expected to slash at least 35 billion euros ($46.7 billion) from public spending. That would bring down the country’s debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) to 5.3 percent, a figure put forth by the EU, to avoid being forced to accept an international bailout.

The EU’s original target was 4.4 percent, but this was relaxed slightly. Still, Spain is expected to struggle to meet even the revised figure of 5.3 percent, as its economy is expected to shrink and make even more budget slashing necessary. As the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy, should Spain require a bailout it would be much bigger than emergency funding given to Greece and Portugal as they struggled to combat similar deficit problems.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Three in Four Germans Against Increase in Firewall Fund

(AGI) Berlin — The increase in firepower to 800 billion euros of the European fund set up to assist struggling states is not to the taste of the German people. The Politbarometer poll by the second biggest state television network, ZDF, shows that 3 in 4 Germans (74%) reject the broadening of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) with the addition of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which was approved in Copenhagen today at the Eurogroup summit. Opposition to the new euro bailout instrument is dominant among the supporters of all parties represented at the Bundestag.

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

Europe and the EU

France: Raids on Radical Islamists in Various Cities

Around 20 arrests. Sarkozy: operations to continue

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — French police arrested around 20 radical Islamists at dawn this morning, in a series of raids carried out in the suburbs of Toulouse, Nantes, Marseille and Nice. The operations were geared towards “dismantling organisations”, according to a source close to the investigation into the recent killings in Toulouse, who added that today’s arrest are not “directly related” to the investigation into crimes committed by Mohamed Merah.

Following Merah’s death on March 22, President Nicolas Sarkozy asked the police to “assess” the level of danger posed by people known to have links with or sympathy for the most radical forms of Islam. The chief prosecutor in Paris, François Molins, indicated that inquiries would “focus on the search for any form of complicity”. Today’s vast operation, which was carried out by France’s intelligence agency (DCRI) with assistance from the police and special units, is still going on in Le Mirail, the most deprived suburb of Toulouse. In Nantes, operations were focussed on a warehouse in Coueron, on the outskirts of the city, which is suspected to have been used by senior members of the now disbanded group, Forsane Alizza.

Nineteen people were arrested in the raids, while Kalashnikov rifles were also seized, Sarkozy told the radio station Europe 1. The President confirmed that the operations were not all linked to the killings in Toulouse and Montauban but said that “they will continue”.

After a period of controversy and uncertainty, a brief funeral service was held for Merah, who was buried in the Cornebarrieu cemetery on the outskirts of Toulouse. The ceremony was attended by around thirty youngsters from the killer’s area of the city, though no members of his family were present. According to Abdallah Zekri, an advisor to the rector of the Paris Mosque, who was organising the funeral, of the young people who attended the service, “some behaved normally while four or five others were probably Salafists and were determined to cry “Allah is Great”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

French Police Swoop on ‘Islamic Extremists’

French police arrested about 20 suspected Islamists in dawn raids on Friday, most of them in the hometown of an extremist who was shot dead by police last week after a killing spree.

Agents from France’s DCRI domestic intelligence agency swooped in to carry out the arrests, most of them in the southern city of Toulouse a day after Al-Qaeda-inspired gunman Mohamed Merah was buried there, sources close to the investigation said.

The arrests were “not directly linked” to the Merah investigation, but were aimed at dismantling Islamist networks, one source said.

Some of the arrests also targetted people in the western city of Nantes.

The arrests came a day after Merah, who was shot dead by a police sniper on March 22 at the end of a 32-hour siege at his flat in Toulouse, was buried in the city under heavy police watch.

The 23-year-old had shot dead three soldiers, and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in a killing spree that shocked the country.

The man branded a “monster” by French leaders was laid to rest in Toulouse’s Cornebarrieu cemetery after his family’s homeland Algeria refused to accept the body, citing security concerns.

French authorities have charged Merah’s brother Abdelkader with complicity in the attacks and said they were looking for other accomplices.

Abdelkader Merah was charged with helping his sibling steal the powerful Yamaha scooter used in the shootings and police have said they were seeking a third person who may have been involved in the theft.

Merah recorded his killings with a camera strapped to his body and police have said an accomplice may have been involved in mailing a montage of the videos to Al-Jazeera.

The video was reportedly sent to the channel’s Paris bureau from outside Toulouse while Merah was already besieged in his flat by police.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed a crackdown on Islamist extremists in the wake of the killings, saying earlier this week that he had ordered the domestic intelligence agency to “check in detail the situation in our country of all persons identified as a potential risk to national security”.

On Thursday France banned four Muslim preachers from entering the country to attend an Islamic conference, saying their “calls for hatred and violence” were a threat to public order.

Saudi clerics Ayed Bin Abdallah al-Qarni and Abdallah Basfar, Egyptian cleric Safwat al-Hijazi and a former mufti of Jerusalem Akrama Sabri are banned from entering France, a statement said.

“These people’s positions and statements calling for hatred and violence seriously damage republican principles and, in the current context, represent a serious threat to public order,” said the statement from Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and Interior Minister Claude Guéant.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ireland: Funeral Orators Urged Not to Glamorise Suicide

Those who speak at funeral services of people who have died by suicide should not glamorise the deceased or give the impression that suicide is a normal response to life’s troubles, a new guide has stated.

Suicide Prevention in the community: A practical guide, which was launched by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch yesterday, is aimed at helping communities deal with suicides.

It recommends that there should not be permanent memorials to people who take their own lives; neither should there be dedications at sporting events, dances or community events.

Instead, attention should be focused on activity-focused memorials such as local or national suicide prevention, mental health and voluntary support groups.

It also contains information on how to adjust a suicide victim’s Facebook page in the event of their death.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

It’s Wrong to Make Victim of Child Killer

by Paul Sheehan

Shares in The New York Times Company have slid from $US25 to $US6.89 (S6.60) during the past four years. The company has stopped making money. Its flagship newspaper has also stopped making sense when confronted with realities that do not accord with its ingrained world view.

On March 20, after Europe was rocked by a string of murders in France, The New York Times ran a prominent story which inferred the killings were a byproduct of anti-immigrant sentiment: “The political debate around the shootings, and whether the deaths were somehow inspired by anti-immigrant talk, is likely to continue — both as a weapon in the presidential campaign and as a more general soul-searching about the nature of France . . . In a period of economic anxiety, high unemployment and concerns about the war in Afghanistan and radical Islam, the far right in Europe has made considerable gains.”

For the Times, the greatest threat to social cohesion in France is the far right, not the demographic challenge presented by an increasingly disaffected, de-assimilating, rapidly growing minority of 5 million Muslims.

Even after it was revealed that the killer was a Muslim who supported al-Qaeda, progressives went into overdrive to dissociate the violence from Islam. The most egregious example appeared on the ABC website, by Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic studies at Oxford. He set new lows in rationalising bigotry:

“Twenty-three-year-old Mohamed Merah was a familiar face within and beyond his neighbourhood. People describe him as quiet, easy-going, nothing at all like an ‘extremist jihadi Salafist’ ready to kill for a religious or political cause . . .

“Religion was not Mohammed Merah’s problem; nor is politics. A French citizen frustrated at being unable to find his place, to give his life dignity and meaning in his own country, he would find two political causes through which he could articulate his distress: Afghanistan and Palestine. He attacks symbols like the army, and kills Jews, Christians and Muslims without distinction. His political thought is that of a young man adrift, imbued neither with the values of Islam, or driven by racism and anti-Semitism.”

What a load of reprehensible drivel.

Mohammed Merah did not kill without distinction. He was highly specific. He wanted to kill Muslim soldiers in the French army. He wanted to kill Jews. His killings were premeditated. He filmed the murders as he did them, a tactic frequently used and advocated by al-Qaeda. He had a history of crime and a collection of weapons. He told police he had travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan to train as a jihad fighter. He had been on a watch list of Muslim extremists, one reason the police found him quite quickly. When they approached he opened fire.

His film of the shootings was mailed to the al-Jazeera TV network for dissemination. The footage depicted all seven murders, taken with a camera slung from the gunman’s neck. The film had been dubbed with verses from the Koran invoking jihad and the greatness of Islam.

Merah’s mother is married to the father of Sabri Essid, a member of an underground network that recruited fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. He was convicted on terrorism charges in France in 2009. Merah’s brother, Abdelkader, was also investigated but not charged. He has now been charged with complicity in the seven murders by his brother.

The more we learn about this story, the more sinister it becomes.

During Merah’s time in prison he studied the Koran. The French prison system has become a fertile recruitment ground for radical Islam. Merah had also formed a connection with Forsane Alizza, Arabic for “knights of honour”, which had 2000 followers on Facebook before it was banned in January by the French Interior Ministry for inciting racial hatred.

Forsane Alizza is one of several linked groups in Europe, notably Shariah4UK and Sharia4Belgium, with others in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Scandinavia. According to the Pew Research Centre in the US, about 100 million Muslims express support for al-Qaeda and thousands are in Europe.

In contrast, support for race war among the far right in Europe is minuscule. The killing rampage by a far-right gunman in Norway last year revealed no connections to a wider movement.

The primary objective of Forsane Alizza, according to its website, is to “support the mujahideen everywhere”. The group disavows democracy. It agitates for sharia in Europe. Its principal targets are the French military, especially Muslims in the military, and Jews. These are exactly the targets Mohammed Merah selected. But Professor Ramadan portrayed him as a frustrated, adrift, distressed, non-racist, non-political, non-religious Frenchman. A murderer of children becomes a victim.

Speaking of rationalisations for bigotry, tonight a debate will be held at the University of Sydney featuring a speaker from Hizb ut-Tahrir. The group is banned in many countries for advocating jihad.

           — Hat tip: Anne-Kit[Return to headlines]

Lithuania: Beer Really is an “Essential Service”

Lithuanian court reaffirms something many of us already knew

In a ruling designed to prevent brewery workers from striking over pay and working conditions, lawyers representing the Carlsberg brewery in Lithuania have managed to convince a court in that country to classify beer as an “essential service”. Workers classified as essential are banned by law from striking.

Employees of the Danish beer giant’s brewery in Lithuania had voted to strike but were prevented from doing so after the court ruled that beer is an essential service in the same category as medical supplies and water. The decision rendered the strike vote invalid and made the work stoppage illegal.

In an obvious play on Carlsberg’s “Probably the best beer in the world” tagline, a union leader representing the workers called the ruling “probably the most ridiculous decision in the world.” “Beer is great,” Jenny Formby, the spokesperson for the UK brewery workers’ union, told the Telegraph. “But it does not save lives.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Sea Gas Leak: Total Weighs Options as Explosion Fears Mount

French energy giant Total is frantically trying to respond to a natural gas leak discovered this week on one of its platforms off the eastern coast of Scotland. As it weighs options for plugging the leak, the threat of a major explosion and environmental catastrophe loom.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Primary Schoolgirl Aged Five Could be UK’s Youngest Victim of Forced Marriage

A girl aged five is thought to have become Britain’s youngest victim of forced marriage.

She was one of an astonishing 400 children helped by the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit during the last year, it has emerged.

The shocking revelations have come to light as a public consultation into criminalising forced marriage draws to a close today.

Amy Cumming, joint head of the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), told the BBC that more than a quarter — 29 per cent — of the cases it handled in 2011-12 involved minors.

She said: ‘The youngest of these was actually five-years-old, so there are children involved in the practice across the school age range.’

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told Mail Online that one in ten of the cases involved victims aged below 15, while 19 per cent of those affected were aged 16 to 17-years-old.

In the horrific case of the five-year-old girl, the authorities would not say where the marriage took place or give any more details to protect the child.

Fionnuala Murphy, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, said it deals with an alarming 100 cases of forced marriage every year.

She told the BBC: ‘We have had clients who are in their very early teens; 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds.

‘The youngest case we had was nine-years-old.’

The organisation is among many that want forced marriage to be made a criminal offence.

The Government said last year that there at least 5,000 to 8,000 cases of forced marriage in England and the number of reported cases is rising annually.

At the time, Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi said it was a disgrace that forced marriage was only a matter of civil law.

The politician said forcing someone to do anything against their will, by violence or by coercion, is ‘inhumane and unacceptable’.

She added: ‘I have met some of the victims. They speak about wedlock being used as a weapon and the horrors to which this can lead, such as rape, abuse and unwanted pregnancy.’

The FMU is a joint-initiative between the FCO and the Home Office. In 2011, the unit investigated 1,468 suspected cases of forced marriage, but many more are feared to go unreported.

Of those, 66 involved victims with disabilities and 10 identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. A total of 78 per cent of victims were female.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: ‘We are determined, working closely with charities and other organisations doing a tremendous amount in this area, to make forced marriage a thing of the past.’

A decision on the consultation is expected later this year.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: ‘Forced marriage is an appalling form of abuse and we are determined tackle it.

‘That’s why we have held a consultation on making it a criminal offence.

‘That consultation closed today and we will analyse the responses before announcing the way forward.’

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

School Shooting in Southern Finland

HELSINKI — Finnish police say a gunman has been arrested after firing several shots at a school in southern Finland but no one was injured.

Detective Superindent Jari Kinnunen says the attacker shot through the door of a secondary school classroom Friday in Orivesi, 190 kilometres (120 miles) north of the Helsinki.

Kinnunen says the man, in his 20’s, did not resist arrest.

The school was evacuted after the incident on Friday morning.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Srdja Trifkovic: Sarkozy the Demagogue

President Nicolas Sarkozy announced March 30 that French police have arrested 19 persons suspected of belonging to violent Muslim networks. “These arrests are linked to the world of a certain sort of radical Islamism,” Sarkozy told Europe 1 Radio, and added that automatic weapons were found in the homes of some of those arrested in the raids in and around Paris and several other French cities.

It is striking that Sarkozy added matter-of-factly that the arrests were not related to Mohamed Merah, the Muslim terrorist killed by police last week after he murdered seven people in the Toulouse area. This raises some troubling questions.

If the arrests were not related to Merah, it stands to reason that the authorities were in possession of information warranting today’s action well in advance of his murderous spree. That the raids were not carried out earlier indicates either a culture of permissive negligence in the French security apparatus—the one that allowed Merah to operate freely, in spite of his long history of terrorist connections—or else a political ploy by Sarkozy, calculated to improve his rating in advance of a two-round presidential election scheduled for April 22 and May 6. Most likely both elements were present: the police had not considered those 19 potential jihadists worthy of a commando-style raid until prompted by the Élysée Palace to deliver a high-profile action now.

In his bid for a second five-year term, Sarkozy has been trailing his main adversary, Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party, and he sees his chance for victory in attracting votes from the supporters of Marine Le Pen. Over the years, the National Front leader has rightly criticized Sarkozy for being soft on immigration, and in the aftermath of Merah’s murders she declared that the “Islamic fundamentalist threat has been underestimated” in France, allowing political-religious groups to flourish due to the “laxism” of the authorities.

Le Pen’s recent warning that “security is a theme that has just signed up to the presidential campaign” seems to be confirmed by Sarkozy’s other gestures…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

UK: Scout Clothing for Muslim Girls

The Scout Association has launched a new clothing range for Muslim girls in response to an increasing number from the faith joining the organisation.

A “hoodie dress” and a T-shirt dress, both with long sleeves, are to be made available for activities including abseiling and climbing following requests from the Muslim community.

The knee-length outfits feature a graphic print inspired by Scout badges and activities and have been designed by Sarah Elenany, a 27-year-old British designer of Palestinian and Egyptian origin.

The Scout Association — founded in 1907 — said more than a third of all scouts worldwide now are Muslim with an estimated 2,000 Muslim scouts in the UK.

There are around 40 active UK scout groups with a predominantly Muslim membership…

           — Hat tip: ESW[Return to headlines]

UK: Why Did He Take Her Shoes and Handbag?

CCTV Reveals Mystery Man After Woman is Hit by Lorry and Decapitated

Police investigating the decapitation of a woman by a lorry have revealed CCTV images of the victim before she was hit and a what appears to be a man seen walking off with her shoes and handbag afterwards.

Witnesses claim they saw an Asian man calmly bending down and picking up the possessions as pandemonium broke out in the aftermath of the tragedy near Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Police are still battling to identify the victim, who was dressed in in traditional Muslim attire, after no one reported a missing woman who matches her description.

She died instantly when she stepped into the path of the articulated lorry as it was being driven through the rush hour.

The ensuing impact propelled her handbag and shoes up to 100 yards from the rest of her body.

The grisly nature of the incident led to ghoulish onlookers taking sick pictures of the gruesome scene and posting them on Twitter.

Police want to track down the man who was captured on CCTV carrying objects including shoes.

Supt Wasim Chaudhry said: ‘We are really looking to speak to this man who is seen to pick up the ladies shoes and also possibly the handbag, maybe in good faith.

‘That handbag is key to establishing the identity of the victim. We have also looked at missing reports and at the moment there are no matches, so we are reliant on people coming forward.

‘I know the community will be very distressed and I want to reassure them that we have a team of very experienced officers investigating the matter.

‘The gentleman has been seen on CCTV picking up the shoes and then walking away.

‘It may well be the person has put them to one side or taken them for handing them in.

‘They haven’t come forward yet with those items.

‘Whilst the incident was on going those shoes have been collected. I can hope that this person has person has done so in good faith maybe thinking it was lost property, maybe handing them in to the police.

‘We haven’t had it handed in yet. It’s inevitable we will have family members and friends concerned that a loved one hasn’t come home. I would urge anyone who is concerned to come forward.

‘At this stage we are still working to identify who this victim was in what is a really tragic case.’

Police were called to the scene at 10am on Thursday on Upper Brook Street in Longsight to find the woman’s body parts strewn across the road.

They also discovered the truck driver had driven on apparently oblivious that he had hit the woman.

A 47-year old trucker was later arrested on suspicion of murder after his vehicle was pulled over by police at a side street near a council tip three miles from the death scene — but he was subsequently released without charge.

Police then arrested another lorry driver, aged 40, on suspicion of causing death by careless driving. Officers believe the dead woman was local to the area and had black hair.

She was wearing gold bangles on each wrist, had a pierced nose, a toe ring and was wearing saffron-coloured Asian clothing.

Supt Chaudhry added: ‘This continues to be a fast moving investigation. At the moment, we are treating this as a fatal road traffic collision.

‘We have currently not had reports of any missing people in the area, and we would urge anyone who has concerns to call us as soon as possible.

‘We have therefore released this description in an effort to try and identify the woman who has lost her life in what are clearly tragic circumstances.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Wales: Cardiff Taxi Incident: Majid Rehman Remanded in Custody

A taxi driver has been remanded in custody after a collision involving eight pedestrians in the centre of Cardiff.

Majid Rehman, 28, of Grangetown, Cardiff was arrested after an incident in Wood Street on Tuesday evening.

He faced one charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, and seven counts of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm.

Mr Rehman will next appear at crown court on 10 April.

The defendant spoke only to confirm his name and address.

Presiding magistrate Christopher F Dale remanded him in custody despite a bail application from the defence which included the offer of a £5,000 surety from a family friend.

Six of the injured people were a group of railway workers.

One man, 35, from the Grangetown area of the city, was still being treated in hospital on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Alexandria’s Patriarch Hopes for Peaceful Coexistence

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, MARCH 30 — Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II said that Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s dominant power in parliament, has shown goodwill for dialogue with other religious. Speaking after a meeting with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, as CNA reported, he admitted that there is a rivalry between Christians and Moslems in Egypt, but believes that both sides have understood that troubles and fanaticism lead nowhere. “Egypt is passing through hard times and tries to find its way”, he said.

He added that Egypt will soon have a new President after the forthcoming elections, who will have a lot to do for the economy and the country. He wished for a peaceful coexistence in the area, which is troubled with many political and religious problems. Theodoros of Alexandria participated Tuesday in the synaxis of the primates of the Orthodox Churches to discuss the situation of Christians in the region of the Middle East, held in Cyprus.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: The State Department’s Jerusalem Syndrome

I went to the US Consulate this week to take care of certain family business. It was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. I think it is ironic that two days after my extremely unpleasant experience at the consulate, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refused to say what the capital of Israel is. It was ironic because anyone who visits the consulate knows that the US’s position on Jerusalem is in perfect alignment with that of Israel’s worst enemies.

Last time I went to the consulate was in 2007. At that time the building was located in the middle of an Arab neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem. It was unpleasant. In fact it was fairly frightening. Once inside the building I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Americans had gone out of their way to make Israeli-American Jews feel uncomfortable and vaguely threatened.

But then, I was able to console myself with the thought that the US has been upfront about its rejection of Israel’s right to assert its sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem. By treating Jews as foreigners in their capital city and behaving as though it belongs to the Arabs by among other things hiring only Arabs as local employees, the US officials on site were simply implementing a known US policy. True, I deeply oppose the policy, but no one was asking me, and no one was hiding anything from me…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Israeli Forces Deploy for Protests at Borders

Israeli security forces in riot gear Friday confronted Palestinian demonstrators after deploying in high numbers along Israel’s frontiers on an annual protest day.

By midday, minor skirmishes had broken out between thousands of protesters and security forces in the Jerusalem area. Palestinians threw rocks and Israeli troops responded with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber pellets. No serious injuries were reported.

In Gaza, Palestinians said Israeli forces shot and wounded two men who approached the border during a demonstration by about 15,000 people, organized by Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Elsewhere, things were calm.

The “Land Day” rallies are an annual event marked by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who protest what they say are discriminatory Israeli land policies.

Supporters in neighboring Arab countries also planned marches near the Israeli frontier, but organizers said they would keep protesters away from the borders.

Last year, demonstrators from Lebanon and Syria tried twice to break across the borders into Israel, setting off clashes with Israeli troops in which at least 38 people were killed.

In southern Lebanon Friday, more than 3,000 Lebanese and Palestinians gathered outside the Crusader-built Beaufort castle 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Israel. Lebanese security forces kept them from moving any closer to the border.

Sobhiyeh Mizari, 70, said she always taught her 12 children “never to forget Palestine.”

“We will liberate our land against the will of Israel and its backers,” said Mizari, who said her husband was killed in Israeli shelling of Lebanon in 1978.

Security forces were preparing for demonstrations in northern Israel, where a large portion of Israel’s Arab minority lives…

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Middle East

Churches Condemn Saudi Fatwa

German and Austrian church leaders have condemned a call by Saudi Arabia’s Muslim Grand Mufti for the destruction of Christian places of worship throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

“The Mufti clearly lacks any respect for religious freedom and the peaceful coexistence of religions. We stand firmly committed to religious freedom for everyone in our country, and we demand the same rights no less emphatically for Christians in countries where Muslims form the majority,” said Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of Germany’s bishops’ conference.

The archbishop was reacting to the mid-March declaration by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the highest Saudi religious authority, who said Muhammad had decreed that “only one religion should exist in the Arabian Peninsula” and that existing churches should be destroyed.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Obama Clearing Way to Tighten Sanctions Targeting Iranian Oil

President Obama has determined there is enough oil in world markets to allow countries to rely less on imports from Iran, a step that could ramp up western sanctions to deter Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, an administration official said Friday. Mr. Obama is required by law to decide by March 30, and every six months after, whether the price and supply of non-Iranian oil is sufficient to allow for countries to cut their oil purchases from Iran. The new sanctions, passed as part of the defense budget and mandated by the Senate in a rare 100-0 vote, penalize foreign corporations or other entities that purchase oil from Iran’s central bank, which collects payment for most of the country’s energy exports. The sanctions are meant to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear program.

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Turkey Cuts Iran Oil Purchases by 20%: Company

Turkey’s national oil company Tupras said on Friday it had cut its purchases of oil from neighbouring Iran by 20 percent as western nations tighten sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme. “Given the situation, it was decided following an evaluation to reduce by 20 percent crude purchases from Iran,” the company said in a statement. Turkey, which imports a third of its oil from Iran, is seeking to obtain an exemption from new US sanctions against Iran.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Conquering Middle East With New Soap Opera

Major success and many fans in Emirates for Fatmagul

A new Turkish soap is capturing the imagination of audiences in the Middle East and Arab countries, the website of a Turkish daily newspaper has reported. “Fatmagul’un Sucu Ne?” (What’s Fatmagul got to do with it?) is confirming a trend seen as a neo-Ottoman cultural widening that is being met with some resistance.

Turkish soaps are watched in more than 20 countries (with peaks of 40 for the luckiest productions) and experts say that they are contributing to the spreading of Turkey’s values and lifestyle through the Middle East and North Africa, exerting a sort of “soft power” that is to the advantage of Ankara’s neo-Ottoman diplomacy. Between 2005 and 2011, Turkey’s Ministry of Culture announced in January, some 35,675 hours of Turkish television programmes were sold to 76 countries across the world.

The most successful were “Magnificent Century”, which is reawakening interest in Ottoman splendour, and the now historic “Kurtlar Vadisi” (Valley of the Wolves), which has been on screens since 2003, the year that Erdogan became Prime Minister.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Police Officer Kills 9 Comrades as They Sleep

KABUL — A police officer in eastern Afghanistan shot dead nine of his colleagues as they slept Friday morning and then fled in a government vehicle full of guns and ammunition, according to Afghan and American officials. The nine had been drugged earlier, an Afghan official said.

The incident, which took place in Paktika province, marks one of the deadliest cases of fratricide in Afghanistan this year. The apparent surge in such incidents — when Afghan soldiers and policemen target their American and Afghan colleagues — has raised concerns about the state of the war effort during a critical time, just as the Taliban’s yearly “spring offensive” has begun.

On Monday, also in Paktika province, a different Afghan police officer killed a U.S. soldier. Two British soldiers were also killed on Monday by an Afghan soldier in the southern province of Helmand.

Both assailants in the Paktika incidents are believed to have been members of the Afghan Local Police, a force of local recruits armed and trained to keep insurgents from gaining ground, authorities said. The ALP has recently been under fire for alleged human rights abuses, and some critics say the force amounts to little more than a smattering of militias. Still, U.S. and Afghan defense officials say the ALP is key to policing restive districts and gaining the trust of local populations.

Friday’s incident, which is under investigation by American and Afghan forces, ended with the suspect driving off in a white Ford Ranger filled with 10 AK-47s and 25 magazines, a U.S. official said. Afghan police brought in the suspect’s two brothers for questioning, said Mokhlis Afghan, a provincial spokesman…

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On the Run: Bin Laden Had 4 Children and 5 Houses, A Wife Says

Osama bin Laden spent nine years on the run in Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, during which time he moved among five safe houses and fathered four children, at least two of whom were born in a government hospital, his youngest wife has told Pakistani investigators.

The testimony of Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, Bin Laden’s 30-year-old wife, offers the most detailed account yet of life on the run for the Bin Laden family in the years preceding the American commando raid in May 2011 that killed the leader of Al Qaeda at the age of 54.

Her account is contained in a police report dated Jan. 19 that, as an account of that frantic period, contains manifest flaws: Ms. Fateh’s words are paraphrased by a police officer, and there is noticeably little detail about the Pakistanis who helped her husband evade his American pursuers. Nevertheless, it raises more questions about how the world’s most wanted man managed to shunt his family between cities that span the breadth of Pakistan, apparently undetected and unmolested by the otherwise formidable security services.

Bin Laden’s three widows are of great interest because they hold the answers to some of the questions that frustrated Western intelligence in the years after 2001. They are currently under house arrest in Islamabad, and their lawyer says he expects them and two adult children — Bin Laden’s daughters Maryam, 21, and Sumaya, 20 — to be charged on Monday with breaking Pakistani immigration laws, which carries a possible five-year jail sentence.

The wives have cooperated with the authorities to varying degrees. Investigators say the older women, named in court documents as Kharia Hussain Sabir and Siham Sharif, both citizens of Saudi Arabia, have largely refused to cooperate with investigators. However, Ms. Fateh, who was wounded in the raid that killed her husband, has spoken out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Waziristan: US Drone Kills 4 Arab Militants

(AGI) Miranshah — The toll of the new US drone raid in north Waziristan has reached at least 4 dead and 3 wounded. The drone attack took place in one of the most remote semi-autonomous tribal areas on northwestern Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. According to intelligence sources, all of the victims are foreigners, citizens of several undisclosed Arab countries .

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

The Indonesian Government Wants to Ban Miniskirts

The ban would take effect from May and is part of the country’s morality campaign. It will not regard the tourist resorts of Bali and Papua, where tribal people live. Criticism from human rights activists. Former President Megawati speaks of a diversionary tactic to divert attention from real problems.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Indonesia is banning miniskirts. According to Suryadharma Ali, Minister for Religious Affairs, the government is determined to “fight with seriousness,” the tendency of women to wear sexy outfits, including the world famous “mini” because it is inconsistent with Islamic principles and morals. The decision has been met with praise from radical movements, including the approval of the Ulema Council (MUI) which invites the female world to wear “Muslim clothing”. Opposition and human rights activists call on the executive to deal with the economy and dismiss the proposal as a desperate attempt to divert attention from the more concrete problems, such as rising fuel prices (see AsiaNews 28/03/2012 Clashes break out across Indonesia over rising diesel and gasoline prices, many injured), while ingratiating himself with the local extremist fringe.

The intention to ban “sexy” clothing was made by Ali — current president of the pro-Islamic United Development Party (PPP) — During a parliamentary session in Senayan, Central Jakarta. He has also covered the subject as a “secretary general” of the newly-created Presidential Task Force, called to fight against pornography as requested by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in mid-March.

By Decree No 25/anno 2012, the Head of State marked the official birth of the Commission, under the direction of the minister for welfare Agung Laksono, it will monitor the customs, including clothing, and any performances of a sexual nature in public place. The “anti-miniskirt” law should come into force next May, tourist resort of Bali, where there are many foreigners, and the province of Papua, where tribal people native to the area continue to wear clothes traditional “mini” will be exempt.

Former President Megawati, leader of the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP) fiercely criticizes the government’s proposal, it only serves to distract the public from more concrete problems, such as rising fuel prices which has caused enormous social tensions. Criticism also from human rights movements: Andi Yentiani, the national commission for women’s rights, emphasizes that “there are more important issues that need to be addressed.”

Indonesia is famous for its campaigns of moralization, in the name of Shariah and Islamic custom: among them the recent proposal for cancellation of the Lady Gaga concert, the fight against the flag-raising “because Muhammad had never done it”; invectives against the popular social network Facebook because “amoral”, against yoga, smoking, jeans and the right to vote, especially for women.

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

Far East

Apple Hit by Report on China Factory Conditions

Workers who make iPhones and iPads at Foxxconn factories in China are often overworked and underpaid, a landmark report has found. The Apple partner has pledged to tackle all workplace violations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Chinese Learning French to Emigrate to Quebec

Thousands of people in China are trying to write their own ticket out of the country — in French.

Chinese desperate to emigrate have discovered a backdoor into Canada that involves applying for entry into the country’s francophone province of Quebec — as long as they have a good working knowledge of the local lingo.

So, while learning French as an additional language is losing ground in many parts of the world — even as Mandarin classes proliferate because of China’s rise on the international stage — many Chinese are busy learning how to say, “Bonjour, je m’appelle Zhang.”

Yin Shanshan said the French class she takes in the port city of Tianjin near Beijing even includes primers on Quebec’s history and its geography, including the names of suburbs around its biggest city, Montreal.

“My French class is a lot of fun,” the 25-year-old said. “So far, I can say ‘My name is … I come from … I live at’ “ and, getting straight to the business of settling down in the province: “I would like to rent a medium-sized, one-bedroom flat.’ “

Despite China’s growing prosperity and clout, more and more of its citizens are rushing to the exits, eager to provide better education prospects for their children and escape from their country’s long-standing problems, including hazardous pollution and contaminated food. Canada joins the United States and Australia among the most favoured destinations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Japan Threatens to Intercept North Korea Missile

Japan has threatened to intercept a North Korean long-range rocket, scheduled to be launched next month, as South Korean newspapers reported that the north has test-fired two short-range missiles.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Outer Mogadishu Clashes Target Hospital, MSF Reports

(AGI) Rome — Somalia clashes between Shabaab militia and government regulars continue. Clashes broke out this morning in Daynile, outside Mogadishu with much of the fighting targeting a hospital accident and emergency ward and the surgery department, causing widespread damage. The incident was reported by the Medecins Sans Frontieres NGO. No victims are reported among the hospital’s 19 patients and medical staff

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


Illegal Immigrants Flocking to Denmark

Police and tax authorities encounter more illegal immigrants on a daily basis

There are enough illegal immigrants in Denmark to populate a medium-sized town, and their numbers are growing, according to estimates from police.

Although pinpointing the exact number of illegal immigrants is difficult, the police approximate that the number is somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000, reports police union magazine Dansk Politi.

Assistant police commissioner Kjeld Farcinsen, who heads the immigration control group in Copenhagen, admitted to Berlingske newspaper that illegal immigration is a growing problem.

“It really doesn’t matter where we search, we always seem to find something.” Farcinsen said in reference to the random inspections the police undertake.

Officials from tax authority Skat are also aware of a rise in illegal immigration, according to public broadcaster DR.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in cases, especially involving people from developing countries,” Skat spokesperson Christina Steinmetz told DR. “When we arrive they try and escape through windows and backdoors, obviously indicating that they do not want to talk to us.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NATO Among Those Accused of Letting Migrants Die at Sea

Confusion, denial and ignored distress signals by Nato, warships and two fishing boats led to the death of 63 migrants (including children) on a boat which tried to cross the Mediterranean last year, according to a scathing report by the Council of Europe (CoE).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tens of Thousands of Immigrants Illegally Entered Britain Under New Visa System

Up to 50,000 immigrants illegally entered Britain by pretending to be students, a “shocking” report on the UK Border Agency will say today.

In a deeply critical study, the National Audit Office found a huge surge in students entering the country was largely fuelled by fake applications after a new visa system was introduced in 2009. The report reveals the UK Border Agency probably let through 40,000 to 50,000 illegal students in this year, largely from India, Bangladesh and China. Most of these people have never been traced. The number of illegal immigrants who pretended to be in education is more than ten times higher than the previous estimates.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Swedish Boys’ New Hero: Pram-Pushing Spiderman

A new Swedish toy catalogue has reversed the traditional gender roles by showing Spiderman pushing a pram, and a young girl riding a toy racecar. Kaj Wiberg is the CEO of the company behind the catalogue, “Leklust”, and claims that it is time to move forward from old-fashioned gender restrictions. “Gender roles are an outdated thing,” he told Metro newspaper.

Carl Emanuelsson, spokesman for Sweden’s Feminist Initiative, welcomes the concept. “It’s great that this company has tried to show that people don’t need to be stuck in gender roles,” he told The Local. “Examples such as these show other ways that we can break free from the roles that are forced on us, the roles that we are limited by.”

In the catalogue, on a predominantly pink page full of dolls and prams, a child dressed as spiderman can be seen pushing a pink pram. On another page, a blonde-haired girl with rolled up sleeves is pedalling what appears to be a racing vehicle. Elsewhere, the catalogue features another boy standing in front of a toy stove, apparently cooking a make-believe meal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Dolphins Form Groups Like Humans: Swiss Study

A study carried out by the University of Zurich in Shark Bay, Australia found that male dolphins bond with one another in ways that are almost as complex as humans.

A joint team of researchers from the United States, Australia and the University of Zurich’s Anthropological Institute & Museum built on studies from the 1990s which found that two to three males would form an alliance to steal females from a group for mating purposes.

Interested in the way that these renegade dolphins formed their teams, researchers looked at the structure of these male relationships.

They found that dolphins have exceedingly complex bonds with one another, and that their relationships are not based on an obvious group structure. In this way, they are comparable only with humans.

The dolphins’ behaviour was also likened to that of chimpanzees, which are also known to forge alliances.

But whereas chimps develop alliances to defend territories from attack by members of the same species, the dolphins were bonding to defend their females.

It was previously thought that male dolphins would only come together for the mating season, but the study has shown that this is not in fact the case.

“Our study shows for the first time that the social structure and associated behavior of dolphins is unique in the animal kingdom,” University of Zurich’s Michael Krützen said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Flowing Water on Mars? Strange Red Planet Features Stir Debate

Flow-like features on Mars are a source of debate among scientists. While some experts say they are likely produced by liquid water or brine on the Red Planet’s surface today, other investigations interpret some of these features as dry mass movements, stirred up by various other processes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

How Water on the Moon Could Fuel Space Exploration

The vast deposits of water ice likely lurking at the moon’s poles could be tapped to help spur a sustainable economic and industrial expansion into space, researchers say.

At the moon’s north pole, Spudis said a minimum estimate for the amount of ice located there — as gleaned from Mini-RF data alone — is 600 million metric tons. “If you convert that to liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to launch a rocket … that is the equivalent of a space shuttle launch every day for 2,200 years,” Spudis said. “And that’s just what we can see. I think the actual amount is at least an order of magnitude greater than that. So there’s plenty of water. The water is there. We can use it to actually bootstrap spacefaring infrastructure. That’s the real significance.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Human Brain Organised Like a 3D ‘New York City’ Grid

The human brain has been described as “the most complex object in the known universe”, comprising tens of billions of connecting nerve fibres seemingly tangled like a huge bowl of spaghetti. But if a team led by Van Wedeen of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is correct, this staggering complexity arises from a seductively simple underlying structure, revealed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If you straighten out its folds, Wedeen argues, the brain consists of a three-dimensional grid of fibres. It is a big idea that could help unravel mysteries of brain development and evolution, and help link neurological and psychiatric disorders to abnormalities in brain structure.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spectacular Brain Images Reveal Surprisingly Simple Structure

Stunning new visuals of the brain reveal a deceptively simple pattern of organization in the wiring of this complex organ. Instead of nerve fibers travelling willy-nilly through the brain like spaghetti, as some imaging has suggested, the new portraits reveal two-dimensional sheets of parallel fibers crisscrossing other sheets at right angles in a gridlike structure that folds and contorts with the convolutions of the brain. This same pattern appeared in the brains of humans, rhesus monkeys, owl monkeys, marmosets and galagos, researchers report today (March 29) in the journal Science.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Where the World’s Parliaments Meet Eye to Eye

The Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) brings elected representatives from 159 of the world’s parliaments together. It serves as a democratic training ground, even when tensions between members run high.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]