Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120423

Financial Crisis
»25 Signs That Middle Class Families Have Been Targeted for Extinction
»France 2012: Hollande Now to Reassure EU
»IMF Doubles Its Funds, Warns Europe
»Italian Stocks Down After Dutch Premier Resigns
»Italy Could Balance Budget by Next Year, Bank of Italy Says
»Nigel Farage: Euro Break-Up Inevitable, Just a Question of How
»Qatar Royal Family Member Buys Greek Island
»Spain: Economy in Recession, Unemployment at 24%
»The Coming Chaos From the Obama-Soetoro Playbook
»The Spanish Dilemma: Euro’s Fate Hinges on Austerity in Madrid
»There is Not Going to be a Solution to Our Economic Problems on the National Level
»Tunisia: Road to Recovery Still Long
»US and EU Attack Swiss in Economic War: Ermotti
»“We Can’t Wait”: Obama Embraces Executive Orders to Bypass Congress
»How Much Skepticism Can the Climate Take?
»John Edwards Goes on Trial Over Mistress Money
»Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Training: Their Target is the Tea Party
»One-World Governance Policies Begin in New Rochelle, NY
»Political Extortion of America
»Private Spaceflight Company Spacex Has Lofty Goal: Help Save Humanity
Europe and the EU
»Anti-Jihadist Raid Through Italy, Italian Convert Arrested
»Bossi Calls for Lega Nord to Stay United and Fix Problems
»Center-Right Czech Coalition Dissolves Itself
»Dutch Prime Minister Submits Government’s Resignation
»Europe Rings Alarm Bell After French Far-Right Success
»Foreign Flags Hurt Our Feelings: Swiss Patriots
»German Military Rethinks Exporting Democracy
»Germany: First Wolf in Rhineland for 120 Years Shot Dead
»Germany: Chinese PM Opens Hannover Trade Fair
»German Scientists Use Fungi to Clean Soil, Water
»Italian Islamist Arrested, 10 More Probed
»Italy: Profumo on Education: No Time for Reforms, We Need Stability
»Italy: Lega MP Maroni Calls for Unity to Weather the Crisis
»Lars Man Standing, Final Score
»Norway Killer Picked Victims Who Had “Leftist” Look
»Norway: Breivik Offers Apology to Non-Political Victims
»Norway: Breivik Apologises to the ‘Non Politcal’ Victims
»Norway: Oslo Muslims Pained by Breivik’s Testimony
»Sarkozy Says Le Pen Supporters Must be Respected
»Spanish Royalty in Crisis After King’s Antics
»Storms to Hit Central and Northern Italy Then Intense Heat
»Sweden: ‘Laziness is Not a Disability’: Council
»Switzerland Home to Kim Jong-un ‘For Nine Years’
»UK: Pakistani Students Raped Woman, 20, After She Fell Asleep on Night Bus on Way Home From Night Out
»UK: Renovation Tax Will Harm Our Churches, Warns Hurd
»UK: Terror Case Lawyers Who Fight Fanatics’ Deportation Land £110m Bill in Legal Aid
»UK: Takeaway Boss ‘Tried to Recruit Girls as Young as 12 to Work as Prostitutes in His Brothel’Azad Miah ‘Hounded and Stalked Girls to Have Sex for Money’
»UK: Western Allies of MI6 ‘Kept in Dark’ Over Mosque Sting Plan
North Africa
»Egypt Stops Gas Supplies to Israel
»Egypt Scraps Gas Deal With Israel
»Tunisia: Director Mourad Ben Cheikh, Too Many Foreign Funds
Middle East
»Bomb Blasts in Blue Helmet Hang-Out in Lebanon
»Turkey: Great Ambitions But Lacking Resources, Study
»Turkey: Fazil Say Contemplates Exile, ‘Insulted as Atheist’
»Yemen: Army Offensive Kills 16 Al Qaeda Militants
»Moscow: Tens of Thousands With Kirill in Defense of the Faith
South Asia
»India Shooting Ship Release Delayed
»India’s Top Court Admits Italy’s Appeal on Marines
»Indian Military Makes Strategic Stride With the Agni-V
»Indonesia: West Java: Islamic Extremists Attacked an Ahmadi Mosque
»Over 3 Thousand Former Maoist Guerrillas Join Nepalese Army
»Sri Lanka Backs Monks in Fight Over Mosque
»US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Finalized
Far East
»Pyongyang Threatens to Turn Seoul to Ashes
»Tension is Expected to Remain in the South China Sea
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Jihadists in Mali Ready to Release Kidnapped Swiss Woman
»Sudan President Bashir Vows No Peace Talks as Missles Strike
Latin America
»Brazil: Actor Playing Judas Dies After He Accidentally Hanged Self in Passion Play
»France and Germany Push to Suspend Free Movement
»Immigrants Deported, Algiers Complains With Rome
»Sweden: Cop Blames Colleagues’ Racist Slurs on ‘Stress’
»Switzerland: Berne Closes the Door on East Europeans
»We Only Deport a Third of Illegal Migrants We Catch: New Figures Deliver Another Blow to UK Border Agency
Culture Wars
»Professor Depicts Blood-Dripping Knife, Machine-Gun, While Talking Population Control
»Shaping America Into Progressivism

Financial Crisis

25 Signs That Middle Class Families Have Been Targeted for Extinction

The middle class in America is being systematically wiped out, and most people don’t even realize what is happening. Every single year, millions more Americans fall out of the middle class and become dependent on the government. The United States once had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class is rapidly shrinking and government dependence is at an all-time high. So why is this happening? Well, America is becoming a poorer nation at the same time that wealth is becoming extremely concentrated at the very top. At this point, our economic system is designed to funnel as much money and power to the federal government and to the big corporations as possible. Individuals and small businesses have a really hard time thriving in this environment.

To most big corporations these days, workers are viewed as financial liabilities. Most corporations want to reduce their payrolls as much as possible. You see, the truth is that most corporations want to be just like Apple. If you can believe it, Apple makes $400,000 in profit per employee. Big corporations don’t care that you need to pay the mortgage and provide for your family. Their goal is to make as much money as possible. And most of the control freaks that run our bloated federal government don’t care much about middle class families either. To many politicians and federal bureaucrats, middle class families are “useless eaters” that are constantly damaging the environment with their “excessive” lifestyles. In this day and age, neither the federal government nor the big corporations really have much use for middle class Americans, and that is really, really bad news for the the future of the middle class family in America.

There are three key factors that are constantly chipping away at the middle class…




Labor has become a global commodity, and American workers are often 10 to 20 times as expensive as workers on the other side of the world are. Middle class jobs (such as manufacturing, etc.) have been leaving this country at an astounding pace. Competition for the jobs that remain has become extremely fierce, and this has driven wages down. The following is from a recent article in the New York Times…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

France 2012: Hollande Now to Reassure EU

‘Re-orientate Union in name of European values’

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, APRIL 23 — Following his victory in the first round of the French presidential election and today’s crash of European stock markets, Francois Hollande knows that the eyes of EU leaders and of his partners in Europe are directed at him. Thus, as soon as he was back on the campaign trail once more in Brittany today, Mr Hollande was careful to send these spectators a message. In it, he reaffirmed his pro-European faith alongside a criticism of the new EU structure constituted by the Merkel-Sarkozy partnership.

“It is in the name of European values that I want to redirect the construction of the Union,” he told supporters in Lorient, Brittany. The none-too veiled reference was to the promise in his manifesto to renegotiate the fiscal treaty by inserting growth alongside rigour. This idea he repeated shortly after in an attack on the decision to subject budget decisions made by individual countries to those made in Brussels: “France deserves respect; it is the French people who should decide on their future, and they alone,” Mr Hollande declared. “We need the country to take its destiny into its own hands”.

These are strong words and they are aimed at preparing European partners and financial markets of the Socialist candidate’s behaviour should he be crowned at France’s presidential palace. But at the same time, the message aims to persuade as many electors as possible to transform his first-round success into a final one, pushing his supporters to remain mobilised.

The response from financial markets was immediate: the phantom of crashing indexes repeatedly evoked by Sarkozy appears to have come true today — at least in part. Despite a paradoxically mild level of loss on the Paris stock market (down by 2.83%), most markets suffered on a day made more nervous by a government crisis in Holland.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

IMF Doubles Its Funds, Warns Europe

Finance ministers from emerging countries over the weekend joined Europe in doubling the coffers of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while asking for a bigger say in its governance and warning the eurozone to speed up anti-crisis measures.

Chaired by Singapore’s finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the IMF meeting on Saturday (21 April) concluded that “continued progress” in the eurozone is needed to lower the borrowing costs of governments and “secure financial stability.”

“Undertaking bold structural reforms will be crucial to boosting confidence and productivity, facilitating rebalancing within the monetary union, and promoting strong and balanced growth,” the final communique says.

For his part, US treasury secretary Timothy Geither noted that more action is needed from the European Central Bank (ECB). “The success of the next phase of the crisis response will hinge on Europe’s willingness and ability, together with the European Central Bank, to apply its tools … aggressively to support countries as they implement reforms,” he said.

The Frankfurt-based ECB has already poured €1 trillion worth of cheap loans into eurozone banks to prevent a credit crunch and to allow them to buy more government debt, a move which temporarily lowered Spain and Italy’s borrowing costs.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Friday managed to raise €326 billion extra for her institution’s general intervention budget. The money could be used for further euro-bail-outs.

The US and Canada declined to chip in. Meamwhile, in return for their — so far unspecified — extra contributions, Brazil, China, India and Russia want a bigger say in the way the IMF takes its decisions.

Brazil’s finance minister Guido Mantega pointed out that even though his country could be described as the third largest economy in Europe behind Germany and France, its voting power at the IMF is equivalent to the Netherlands and smaller than Spain, Italy or Britain.

The UK also said that its €11 billion contribution will only become available once IMF reforms are completed. “I take reforms one step at a time,” Lagarde told reporters on Saturday. “Everybody wants to have a bigger share of the same pie, so there will have to be give and take.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Stocks Down After Dutch Premier Resigns

Spread above 400

(ANSA) — Milan, April 23 — The spread rose and the stock market shrank in Italy on Monday after European markets responded badly to Socialist candidate Francois Hollande coming out on top in the first round of the French presidential elections and the resignation of Dutch Premier Mark Rutte over budget cuts. The yield spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark, a key indicator of market confidence in Italy’s ability to weather the eurozone crisis, climbed back above the psychologically important 400 mark and went up to 410 before dropping to 408.6 at the close of trading. Milan’s FTSE Mib index lost 3.83% of its stock value and dropped below the 14,000-point mark to 13,849.

Markets across Europe suffered big losses as nearly 160 billion euros went up in smoke in a 2.34% loss on the Stoxx Europe 600 index. photo: Dutch Premier Mark Rutte after tendering resignation

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy Could Balance Budget by Next Year, Bank of Italy Says

‘Better asset management needed’ says Rossi

(ANSA) — Rome, April 23 — The Bank of Italy said Monday that the recession-hit country could balance its budget in 2013 by managing public assets better.

Bank of Italy Deputy Director-General Salvatore Rossi said in a House hearing that market volatility required “better public-asset management” in order for Italy to hit its target of balancing the budget next year.

A deepening recession has led some commentators to say it will be harder to balance the budget in 2013, but Premier Mario Monti has said that the goal remains unchanged.

Commenting on the government’s Economic and Financial Document (DEF), Rossi said Italy could show growth by the end of the year if investor confidence comes back and if taxes are lowered.

“We need to find a way to reduce the tax burden on workers and businesses”, he said.

The International Monetary Fund says that the Italian economy will shrink in 2013 by 0.3%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Nigel Farage: Euro Break-Up Inevitable, Just a Question of How

* Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the ‘Europe of Freedom and Democracy’ (EFD) Group in the European Parliament


“It’s a great shame Mr Van Rompuy’s not here because a month ago he told us the worst was over, we’d reached the turning point. He even told us that he’d solved the Euro crisis! Well, today we’ve got a more realistic Mr Barroso who says if we follow his policies and stick together we can solve this in the end!

Sorry! No one believes you anymore, and actually, in the face of the rapidly deteriorating situation these comments look ridiculous.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Qatar Royal Family Member Buys Greek Island

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 23 — A member of Qatar’s royal family has purchased a Greek island for 5 million euros, according to a report in a Qatari newspaper. The 1,236-acre island, named Oxia, was initially advertised by owners the Greek-Australian Stamoulis family for 6.9 million euros, Greek daily Ekathimerini reported, citing unnamed sources. The island’s new owners are expected to develop part of the island, it added. The island is located in the Ionian Sea, near Ithaca, and is protected by the Natura 2000 ecological network, the newspaper said. Greece’s government has been under pressure to privatise the country’s islands in the wake of its sovereign debt crisis. The sale follows a week after Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Smeralda Holding, owner of luxury hotel resorts on Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. Qatar Holding said it will acquire a portfolio consisting of four luxury hotels with a total of 372 rooms, the Porto Cervo Marina, the Porto Cervo Shipyard, the Pevero Golf Club, a 51% interest in 2,290 hectares of adjacent undeveloped land and various other real estate assets in Costa Smeralda. “We intend to continue supporting the on-going development programme which will see Costa Smeralda strengthen its position as one of the world’s top resort destinations,” Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed, managing director and CEO of Qatar Holding, said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: Economy in Recession, Unemployment at 24%

Outlooks by international bodies confirmed

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — The Spanish economy is once again technically in a recession, after a first quarter with a drop in GDP of 0.4%, in addition to that of 0.3% in the last quarter of 2011. The data released today by the Bank of Spain, before those published by the national statistics institute, confirm the outlooks by international bodies, which predicted that the recession would grow worse before the end of the summer. In the same period, unemployment affected almost 24% of the active population. On an annual basis, GDP dropped in the first quarter by 0.5%. This is the second recession seen in the Spanish economy in about 3 years, although the previous one in 2009 was much worse, at -3.7%. According to the bulletin published by Spain’s central bank, the drop in GDP was caused by the latest 0.4% drop in domestic demand and a lesser contribution from the foreign sector — which saw an increase but a lesser one than the previous quarter. In the first quarter, employment was down by 4%, adding to the 3.3% drop seen in the last quarter of 2011.

The central bank said that the backdrop (with 290,000 new jobless between January and March), was “compatible” with an unemployment rate of around 24% in the first quarter of 2012.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Coming Chaos From the Obama-Soetoro Playbook

America and the world today is in chaos. Wars, rumors of wars, high gasoline prices, increasing food prices, growing divisions among races and between classes, current and impending financial collapses dominate the headlines. Critics and detractors of Barack Hussein Obama claim that it is a result of his failed policies that our house and much of the world is in such disarray. Investigation into the man known as Barack Hussein Obama II and the people behind him suggests otherwise.

The chaos that presently exists domestically and across the globe is destined to get worse, but it’s not due to Obama’s inexperience or failed policies. Rather, it is the direct result of the implementation of his successful policies. The chaos in which we find ourselves is exactly what has been planned for decades. Chaos is the tactic, the means to an end, and not the result of failure of policy by the man known as Barack Hussein Obama II.

We have seen only the tip of the full frontal assault of the chaos planned for this country. Actually, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Investigative findings suggest that our present state of disorder was crafted long ago, compliments of a shadowy cabal of government leaders and their often unwitting lackeys, complicit media moguls and their eye-candy mouthpieces, and ideologues intent on changing the United States and thus the world. While this might sound like a bad fictional plot from the film noir genre, a good bit of investigation indicates otherwise.

Before dismissing such musings as delusional fodder, carefully consider the current state of our country — and the world — and start to connect the dots, stepping backwards chronologically.


Our founding fathers had the vision to understand that the biggest threat to our Republic is from within. That’s the reason that the founders placed a natural born restriction clause for President at the time the U.S. Constitution was drafted. They understood that there was a contemporaneous threat from a Trojan Horse president, as well as a future threat, despite the other checks and balances constructed within our government. Over time, however, communist influence in our schools and media continued to dilute the literal interpretation of the Constitution. Such revision changed or ignored history altering events, such as the infiltration of Communists into our federal government in the post World War II era. History has been revised. As the famous novelist George Orwell once stated, “He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.” That has never been so true as today.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Spanish Dilemma: Euro’s Fate Hinges on Austerity in Madrid

Spain in recent days has taken center stage in the euro crisis. The country’s banks are threatened with collapse and the government in Madrid has not been successful in efforts to get the national budget under control. Will the country be forced to request aid from the euro bailout fund?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

There is Not Going to be a Solution to Our Economic Problems on the National Level

Once you understand how Washington works, it becomes easier to understand why our politicians do such stupid things.

For example, big corporations tend to donate large amounts of money to political campaigns and they love the “free trade” globalization agenda.

They love to import massive quantities of super cheap foreign goods so that they can undercut the prices of goods made in the United States.

They love to set up manufacturing facilities on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to workers.

The “free trade” agenda is great for the largest corporations, but it is horrible for the average American worker.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every $1 billion of goods that are imported from overseas.

Trade with other countries can be good as long as it is balanced. Unfortunately, the U.S. trading relationship with the rest of the world is tremendously imbalanced.

In 2011, the United States bought more than 550 billion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they bought from us.

This trade deficit has enormous consequences that most Americans simply do not understand.

Over the past decade, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars have left our country.

Our industrial base is being dismantled and we are rapidly becoming poorer as a nation.

According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day closed down in the United States during 2010.

Just think about that.

Every single day we lost 23 more.

Overall, America has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

Why do you think cities like Detroit are dying?


The Federal Reserve is supposed to keep inflation low, but the truth is that the Fed has absolutely killed the value of the U.S. dollar. Just check out the chart below which was produced by the Fed itself. It shows how dramatically the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar has declined over the years…


By any measure, the Federal Reserve has been a colossal failure for the American people. Since the Fed was created, our currency has lost more than 95 percent of its value and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Road to Recovery Still Long

Report by central bank sends out contrasting signals

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, APRIL 19 — Tunisia has not been spared by international difficulties linked to a crisis that for years has dealt particularly heavy blows to the economies of countries that do not produce raw materials. The country has also been marked by political upheaval in the last year, with the transition from dictatorship to democracy, but this may be better interpreted as the crossover from one power system centred entirely on a rapacious oligarchy to another, with Tunisia forced to reset itself almost entirely, as it continues to search for an identity and a position in the region. Tunisia’s economic figures for the first quarter of 2012 were awaited with great apprehension, amid hope that the timid signs of recovery seen fleetingly in the last few months of last year could be interpreted as a consolidation of Tunisia’s road to revival.

The report by Tunisia’s central bank has shed some light on the matter and, though it reported encouraging factors, also confirmed a state of crisis, particularly in certain export sectors.

The bank says that tourism and equipment exports continue to be “positive”, while exports in the manufacturing and services sectors (transport in particular) continue to suffer.

While there has been a fall in exports, which have always represented a strategic sector for the economy of a country that specialises in transformation and has few raw materials, imports have risen, particularly in the manufacturing sector, with mechanical and electrical goods, textiles and clothing leading the way, a factor that has worsened Tunisia’s payment balance.

The overview is made more delicate by the situation of the country’s reserves. In the first quarter of the year, net reserves totalled 9.947 billion dinars (around 4.5 billion euros), the equivalent of 101 days worth of imports, against 113 days at the end of 2011. At the end of 2010, meanwhile, the figure stood at 147 days.

With regard to the banking sector, there was a fall in the number of deposits and a rise in non-performing credits, which has put inevitable pressure on the liquidity of banks and therefore upon their ability to finance the economy.

As a result, the average interest rate on the monetary market has been forced up to 3.73% at the start of April, from a figure of 3.48% in March, despite the “injection” decided by the central bank’s monetary system (3.4 billion dinars at the beginning of March).

As far as inflation is concerned, prices have largely remained the same, with the figure reaching 5.4%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

US and EU Attack Swiss in Economic War: Ermotti

Switzerland’s financial industry could lose 20,000 jobs in the coming years due to the “economic war” being waged by the EU and US against its top banks, the head of UBS warned in an interview Sunday.

“Switzerland has been attacked since 2008,” Sergio Ermotti, the head of Switzerland’s leading bank, told the SonntagsZeitung. This was partly because it offered more favourable tax rates than its international competitors, he added.

“We are in the middle of an economic war,” he said. “The idea is to weaken the two great Swiss banks, which have seen international success,” he argued, referring to UBS and Credit Suisse.

His comments came after French prosecutors on April 12th opened a probe into whether the bank had helped its French clients avoid taxes. UBS has said it is fully cooperating with French authorities in the inquiry.

In the United States, 11 Swiss banks are being investigated on suspicion that they encouraged their clients to channel undeclared assets into Swiss accounts.

The coordinated campaign to undermine Swiss finance would lead to a loss in high-value accounts, Ermotti said. “I am expecting Swiss finance to lose around 20 percent of its jobs in the coming years, being about 20,000 jobs,” Ermotti told the paper.

Switzerland has recently signed deals with Austria, Britain and Germany to toughen up penalties on tax cheats, but negotiations with Paris have stalled amid the ongoing French presidential elections.

Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf met with the US Attorney General Eric Holder on Saturday on the sidelines of an International Monetary Fund meeting for informal talks on the tax evasion issue.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


“We Can’t Wait”: Obama Embraces Executive Orders to Bypass Congress

COMMENT: Apologists here for Obama’s use of executive orders point out the other recent presidents who’ve also overreached their use of executive orders. This makes the abuses more important, not less, as this has been an on-going deviation from the Constitutional limits of the president since at least FDR in the 30s. An executive branch run wild makes the abuses of kings and dictators almost inevitable. That is why it must be reined in; that’s why the framers constructed limited powers in their document. On the otherhand, there’s clear evidence that all of Obama & co.’s study of the Constitution must have been focuses on tactics to skirt its limitations.

“In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” -Thomas Jefferson

WASHINGTON — One Saturday last fall, President Obama interrupted a White House strategy meeting to raise an issue not on the agenda. He declared, aides recalled, that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of Congressional obstructionism.

“We had been attempting to highlight the inability of Congress to do anything,” recalled William M. Daley, who was the White House chief of staff at the time. “The president expressed frustration, saying we have got to scour everything and push the envelope in finding things we can do on our own.”


But increasingly in recent months, the administration has been seeking ways to act without Congress. Branding its unilateral efforts “We Can’t Wait,” a slogan that aides said Mr. Obama coined at that strategy meeting, the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies — on creating jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, raising fuel economy standards, curbing domestic violence and more.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

How Much Skepticism Can the Climate Take?

Influential skeptics continue to challenge the scientific consensus that CO2 emissions are responsible for climate change. Have they got a point?

In January this year, 16 scientists wrote in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that they saw no scientific arguments supporting the need for urgent action to combat climate change.

They included prominent climate skeptics like MIT Atmospheric Science professor Richard Lindzen as well as the scientists, and former ExxonMobil employees, Roger Cohen and William Happer.

Even in Germany, where climate skeptics have less political influence than countries like the USA, a book called “Die kalte Sonne” (The Cold Sun) has been making waves since its publication earlier this year.

The authors Fritz Vahrenholt und Sebastian Lüning, employees of Germany’s second-biggest energy company RWE, maintain that less than half the world’s warming to date is human-made. They say solar activity, sunspots and magnetic fields, which change in cycles, are responsible.

As the sun is about to go into a cold cycle, they say, this will counteract global warming and we need not fear the worst. Calls for urgent action are no more than “panic-mongering”. “I feel duped on climate change”, Vahrenholt told the media. The German boulevard paper “Bild” ran the headline “The CO2 lie”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

John Edwards Goes on Trial Over Mistress Money

Opening statements were heard Monday in the trial of John Edwards, a two-time presidential hopeful accused of illegally using political campaign money to hide a love affair from the public and his cancer-stricken wife. Edwards, a former Democratic senator who was White House candidate John Kerry’s vice presidential choice in 2004, arrived at the court in Greensboro, North Carolina around 1300 GMT accompanied by his eldest daughter Cate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Training: Their Target is the Tea Party

Hundreds of OWS training workshops took place this month throughout the country, in all 50 states, including small rural areas. Inside one of the training workshops, attendees report that OWS is “specifically instructed to go to any and all Tea Party gatherings, rallies, etc., to be confrontational and create havoc and disruption.”

They are being trained to recruit and enlarge their numbers in their assigned geographic locations, to use the correct messaging, to incite any opponents, engage in confrontation, employ tactics to evade police blockades and create gridlock.

OWS workshops are extremely organized and clearly well funded. Each workshop had a trainer, DVD’s, handouts and a training manual.

OWS has deep pockets and they will be providing food, water, entertainment and more… just as we saw last Fall with the gourmet meals, tents, hotel rooms and printing presses for their newspapers.

OWS is not a grassroots movement, as demonstrated by the training, resources and coordination at their workshops. OWS is orchestrated and organized by George Soros’ and Media Matters, Van Jones, Steve Lerner, Francis Fox-Piven, Barack Obama, Union leaders (e.g. SEIU, AFL/CIO, UAW), Communist Party USA (CPUSA), Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and other radical far-left anti-American organizations who are dedicated to the destruction of our free market system and the overthrow of our Constitutional form of government.

Eric Holder, Barack Obama, the Democrat Party — including the Marxist/Communist members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — and the news and print media are all in bed with OWS. Ordinary Americans cannot and should not expect that OWS will be held accountable for inciting riots, raping women (as they did the last time around) or for any other crimes they may commit.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

One-World Governance Policies Begin in New Rochelle, NY

The revolutionary and Luciferian (he dedicated his book “Rules for Radicals” to Lucifer…aka Satan) Saul Alinsky said “True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.“ Alinsky also taught that community organizing (aka ‘teaching radicalism and Satanic concepts’) must begin at the local level and in a forceful manner. Karl Marx, his partner Frederich Engels and Vladimir Lenin wrote and believed the same. Adolph Hitler, along with Marx and the rest, also believed that environmental elements and ‘saving the planet’ were excellent ploys to be brought into every speech and were needed in order to shame and bully a population into submission. It worked — and still works—remarkably well.

Today, in the USA and the rest of the world, we now have the UN Agenda 21— which, in New Rochelle, NY (as well as other towns and cities throughout the nation), is attempting implementation via ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives). At one fell swoop, a city becomes part of the “international community” and is no longer accountable to its State or nation. And without the population realizing it, the city becomes part of the international order and one-world government commences with its attendant end to freedom, self-determination and the right to make any life decisions on one’s own. Thus, the end of liberty—and life as we know it—begins.


Robert: My deepest concern with ICLEI in New Rochelle is that our Mayor and his supporters have gone to great lengths to misrepresent ICLEI as a homegrown association of local governments staffed by eager 30-something staffers who want to do good. The Mayor has repeatedly denied any association between New Rochelle and the United Nations despite the undeniable and rather obvious fact that New Rochelle is a member of ICLEI and CLEI is a part of the UN system to implement Agenda 21.

When an ICLEI representative appeared before our City Council she flat-out lied in responding to a direct question on the origins and funding of ICLEI.

I might add that our City Council never held a vote to authorize joining ICLEI. When asked about this at a public meeting by Council Member Louis Trangucci, our City Manager said that joining ICLEI was implied when the ICLEI representative spoke before Council.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Political Extortion of America

One of these days Americans will either realize the treachery of the parties, or fail to make the hard decision for liberty and enable the completion of the transformation of this nation into something the Founding Fathers never intended. One of these days Americans will realize they have been so conditioned to believe that the politicians are a ruling elite that they will demand a return to a day when the politicians were servants of the people, or the transition to slavery will be complete. One of these days Americans will decide that the political games the statists play is extortion, or they will become the very peasant class the elitists are orchestrating into existence.

A conversation with an American Liberal can be quite illuminating. When the law of the land, constitutional authorities, and the importance of the sovereignty of the States are brought into the discussion, the liberal will always fall back on the rosy intentions of the government’s machinations. They will use terms emphasizing how their plans are good for the community, good for the people, and is good for the public trust. The legality, or the coercive nature, of their policies never seems to cross their minds. Even worse, when confronted with the constitutional legalities, they have been so conditioned by the liberal education system, liberal media, and liberal political force that they scoff at any notion that there may be a lack of constitutional authority.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Private Spaceflight Company Spacex Has Lofty Goal: Help Save Humanity

SpaceX plans to launch a historic demonstration mission to the International Space Station next week, but the company’s ambitions extend far beyond low-Earth orbit.

If all goes according to plan, SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon capsule will blast into space on April 30, lifting off the pad at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Once aloft, Dragon will berth with the orbiting lab — a first for a private spaceship — offload supplies and take some different items on for the trip back to Earth.

The mission is a test to see if the Falcon 9/Dragon combo are ready to start making contracted cargo runs to the station for NASA. A successful flight would be a big step forward for private spaceflight, and it would set SpaceX more firmly on a path toward its ultimate goal: helping save humanity from extinction.

“I think it’s important that humanity become a multiplanet species,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in an interview that aired on CBS’ “60 Minutes” last month. “I think most people would agree that a future where we are a spacefaring civilization is inspiring and exciting compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event. That’s really why I started SpaceX.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Anti-Jihadist Raid Through Italy, Italian Convert Arrested

(AGI) Rome — A vast anti-terrorism operation was launched by the Cagliari Police early this morning in several Italian cities. Operations were coordinated by the UCIGOS Police Prevention Central Directorate with the aim of dismantling a network of Islamist extremists active on the Internet in the dissemination of documents making an apology of Jihadist terrorism. A 28-yr old Italian convert to Islam was arrested in Pesaro under the charge of training for international terrorism.

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

Bossi Calls for Lega Nord to Stay United and Fix Problems

(AGI) Asti — Umberto Bossi said he resigned as party leader to let the party solve its problems. “I resigned to give a free hand to whoever had to fix the problems within the party”, Umberto Bossi said during a party rally in Asti in support of mayoral candidate Pierfranco Verrua. Bossi said he had feared, at the beginning of the election campaign, about possible negative reactions after what happened over the past few weeks: “I was afraid for a while, but I thank you for looking at the Lega Nord’s good side”. “If we don’t want to help those who caused this chaos, we must close all passages”, he added.

“Let’s solve the problems now. Whoever caused this chaos within the Lega Nord wanted its destruction. This is not an attack on one or another member. It is an attack on the Lega Nord”.

Referring to the prospect of Roberto Maroni becoming the new party secretary, he added: “This is something different. It depends on the party congress”. “All the mess between me and Maroni is over now”, he said.

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

Center-Right Czech Coalition Dissolves Itself

The Czech Republic’s center-right coalition government teetered on the verge of collapse over the weekend, as it sought to scrape together a parliamentary majority in the face of massive anti-austerity protests. The Czech Republic’s prime minister announced on Sunday that his center-right coalition had agreed to dissolve itself, after the smallest party in the coalition government split into two factions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Dutch Prime Minister Submits Government’s Resignation

After talks with a far-right party to form a parliamentary partnership broke down over the weekend in the Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has submitted his government’s resignation to Queen Beatrix.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet submitted their resignations to Queen Beatrix Monday after talks to reach an agreement on reducing the country’s budget with a far-right party collapsed over the weekend.

The Dutch information services in The Hague said the Queen had accepted the resignation and has asked Rutte to attend to the business of the state with a caretaker government for now.

Rutte’s resignation is not much of a surprise after he revealed over the weekend that the minority coalition had not reached an agreement with the anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders on budget talks.

The Freedom Party is not a member of the coalition but had been siding with it for the past 18 months, securing the government’s majority. However, the budget rift meant early elections were likely. The next scheduled election would have been in May 2015.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe Rings Alarm Bell After French Far-Right Success

Europe rang the alarm bell on Monday over the far-right National Front’s historic score in the French presidential election, the latest anti-EU party to make big gains on the continent. Germany led a chorus of concerns after National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen finished third with a surprising 18 percent of the vote in Sunday’s first round.

“This high score is alarming but I expect it will be ironed out in the second round,” said a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that she continued to support French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the election.

Le Pen’s strong showing was not enough to take her to the May 6 runoff but it shocked European Union foreign ministers holding talks in Luxembourg the day after the vote.

Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal said the French election result was “extremely worrisome” and followed the rise of the far-right across Europe, including in his own country and Finland.

Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt said: “I’m concerned with the sentiments that we see that are against open societies, against an open Europe, that does worry me, not only in France.”

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said Sarkozy was partly to blame for Le Pen’s success after he campaigned for tighter immigration controls and reform of the Schengen passport-free travel area.

“If you repeat every day that we must change Schengen, that we must have a strong immigration policy, that we have to speak about French exception, this is all grist for the FN mill,” said Asselborn, a socialist.

Belgium’s Didier Reynders said far-right gains in France and the rest of Europe “is always a concern” in the continent. “We must be very watchful about this,” he said.

Extreme right parties have made great electoral strides in several EU nations, from Sweden to Finland and the Netherlands, while others remain strong in Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and Hungary. Even though Le Pen fell short of the second round, she nearly doubled the 10.4 percent her father Jean-Marie took as her party’s 2007 presidential candidate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Foreign Flags Hurt Our Feelings: Swiss Patriots

Conservative nationalist party, the Ticino League, wants to make the raising of the Swiss flag mandatory for anybody hoisting a foreign flag in Switzerland. “All foreign flags hoisted publicly should be accompanied by a Helvetic banner of at least the same size,” the party announced on Thursday before the cantonal parliament, newspaper Le Matin reported.

The proposal led to two hours of lively debate in the Ticino assembly in the Italian-speaking part of the counrty, which finally rejected the idea on the grounds that imposing such regulations about flags would restrict freedom of expression. In addition, it was determined that flags do not cause any danger to public safety.

The proposal’s champion, National Councillor Lorenzo Quadri, now intends to bring the issue to the national parliament. “Some have become used to hoisting foreign flags without doing the same with the Swiss flag,” he said.

Quadri maintains that the sight of foreign flags without the equivalent Swiss representation is hurting some Swiss peoples’ feelings. Raising the Swiss flag would be a sign of respect for the host country, he said, and would be the very least foreigners could do to show their willingness to integrate.

Swiss People’s Party politician, Oskar Freysinger, agrees. “Displaying two flags gives a double positive message: the person is proud of his roots and loves Switzerland and its values,” he said.

But some, including Green Party parliamentarian Antonio Hodgers, think little of the idea. “Obliging people to give the impression that they like our country is nonsense,” he told Le Matin.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German Military Rethinks Exporting Democracy

The German military may soon adopt new guidelines that call into question the export of democracy, SPIEGEL has learned. In the future, the Bundeswehr is to take greater account of local traditions and institutions, even if they are violent and corrupt.

In his second inauguration address, US President George W. Bush vowed to redouble American efforts at exporting democracy around the world. “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture,” he said in the January, 2005 speech, “with the ultimate goals of ending tyranny in our world.”

Seven difficult years later, however, the situation in Afghanistan continues to demonstrate the challenges facing the spread of Western-style democracy. And Germany, for its part, has now begun to adjust its military policy accordingly.

According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, overseas missions undertaken by the German military are no longer to be focused on exporting Western conceptions of democracy. Political systems are only viable, read new draft guidelines for overseas military missions, when they are founded on “local concepts of legitimacy.”

The draft guidelines “for a coherent policy relative to fragile states” were developed jointly by the German foreign, defense and development ministries. The paper indicates that intervention strategy must take into account local traditions and institutions, even if they don’t correspond to concepts of liberal democracy.

In some cases, the new concept even supports cooperating with corrupt or violent elites. The paper says that it is the responsibility of each country to choose its leader and authorities and that it is difficult to influence such decisions from the outside. “An overly dominant role played by the international community can be harmful,” the paper reads. In the future, foreign military missions in “fragile states” are to be coordinated by a task force headed by the Foreign Ministry.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: First Wolf in Rhineland for 120 Years Shot Dead

The first wolf seen in the Rhineland for more than 120 years has been found shot dead, probably by a hunter, it emerged on Monday. The Rhineland-Palatinate Hunting Association was “99 percent sure that the dead animal is the wolf,” a spokesman for the Rhineland-Palatinate Hunting Association told The Local.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Chinese PM Opens Hannover Trade Fair

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao officially opened the Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industry and trade fair, on Sunday evening. China is this year’s guest of honour at the gigantic annual week-long trade fair, which brings together 5,000 manufacturing and technology companies from 69 countries in this northern German city from April 23-27.

As many as 500 companies are from China alone. And the motto of this year’s Hannover Messe is “Green Intelligence” with the focus on environmentally sustainable innovations and technologies.

“As two of the most important manufacturing countries in the world, China and Germany are committed to working closely to promote dialogue and cooperation of the global industries,” Wen said during a lavish and colourful opening ceremony held under tight security in Hannover’s concert and congress centre.

Merkel, for her part, noted that it was her third meeting with Wen in less than a year and that “little by little, we’re understanding better how things function in the two countries.”

Bilateral trade between Germany and China stood at €144 billion last year and “we’re working on making this even more,” she said.

According to the head of the German VDMA industry federation, Thomas Lindner, China was staging “the largest single showcase of industrial technology ever outside the People’s Republic” at this year’s fair.

“This impressive and extensive presentation shows us China both as a trading partner, but also a business competitor,” Lindner said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German Scientists Use Fungi to Clean Soil, Water

Fungi get a bad rap, but they can actually be quite useful. German researchers are developing new ways of using fungus to clean soil and water.

Fungi have earned their reputation as a homeowner’s nightmare. Once they’ve settled into wood and been exposed to moisture, all that’s left are brittle remains that turn into dust at the slightest touch.

Fungi get their destructive abilities from enzymes that break down lignin, a complex chemical compound that is largely responsible for holding wood together. Enzymes in fungi, including the so-called laccase enzyme, are among the few compounds capable of decomposing lignin.

B tapping into the power of these enzymes, German scientists are finding new ways to use fungi to break down toxins, including at sewage treatment plants.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Islamist Arrested, 10 More Probed

Suspect linked to Moroccan in ‘Milan synagogue plot’

(ANSA) — Rome, April 23 — An Italian convert to Islam was arrested in the north-eastern city of Pesaro on Monday on suspicion of distributing material on waging ‘jihad’ or holy war and 10 other suspected militants were placed under investigation across the country.

The arrested man, a 28-year-old factory worker whose Muslim name was given as Abdul Wahid As Siquili, was detained because he was about to flee the country for Morocco, police said.

Police said As Siquili had “close ties” to a Moroccan militant arrested in March on suspicion of planning an attack on Milan’s synagogue, Mohamed Jarmoune.

The Pesaro worker allegedly sent Jarmoune and the others an Internet link where they could download material on guerrilla warfare and bomb attacks.

Raids were made in Milan, Cuneo, Pesaro, Cagliari, Salerno and Palermo.

The 10 probed, whose nationality was not immediately divulged, were “gravitating in the Islamist fundamentalist galaxy,” police said. In Cagliari, an Italian literature teacher was under investigation for allegedly translating material from Internet sites inspired by al Qaeda.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Profumo on Education: No Time for Reforms, We Need Stability

(AGI) Turin — “This government will soon end its tenure, we do not have enough time to complete reforms. What we can do is streamline some obsolete procedures we still find education. We can also make things steadier.” This is what the Italian Minister of Education Mr. Francesco Profumo said during the first regional conference on education organized by Piedmont bishops’ association in Turin. In particular, Mr. Profumo stressed that “We need do make plans: many things have been done in the last few years but a bit at random. Instead, we need to make plans to keep things steady”. He also added that “ We need to have a better time perspective: the last competitive test in education dates back to 1999. We need to send a clear message, thus helping people to plan their own life. The country needs to be fairer, I would say more forseable to help people make plans for the future”.

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

Italy: Lega MP Maroni Calls for Unity to Weather the Crisis

(AGI) Milan — Lega MP Roberto Maroni and Umberto Bossi Met near Varese on Saturday. Emerging from the meeting, former Interior Ministry Maroni said he was very pleased with the words of esteem Bossi addressed him. Moreover Mr. Maroni pointed out that, “if the Lega Nord remains united, it will not have to fear for its future.” Together with Lega President Bossi, Mr.

Maroni stopped to talk with the media and stressed the powerful feeling of pride attached to “being part of the Lega Nord.” The MP went on to say, “unlike other parties in Italy, that need to change their logo, leader and name, we — the Lega Nord — do not need to resort to such tricks of the trade,” and concluded, “we are the only ones who have a true project for the North, we demand federalism to be fulfilled. We are the number 1 party in Northern Italy.”

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

Lars Man Standing, Final Score

By Mark Steyn

I’ve written previously about Lars Hedegaard of the Danish Free Press Society, my host in Copenhagen in 2010. Lars was charged, acquitted, re-charged, convicted and fined 5,000 kroner for remarks about Islam made during a conversation in his own home. He appealed to the Danish Supreme Court, and late on Friday they struck down his conviction 7—0.

But the relevant provision of Danish law remains in place, and Lars can never get back the years of his time that this disgusting prosecution consumed. Restraints on free speech and individual liberty in the name of identity-group rights are now routine in much of the Western world. If it weren’t for the First Amendment, the American Left would do as the Euroleft does on freedom of expression. At America’s wretchedly conformist college campuses they already do…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Norway Killer Picked Victims Who Had “Leftist” Look

OSLO (Reuters) — The man who killed 77 people last summer to protest at Muslim immigration to Europe said on Monday he believed he could tell the ideology of his prospective massacre victims by looking at them, and tried to spare one who appeared “right-wing”.

“Certain people look more leftist than others,” Anders Behring Breivik said on the sixth day of a trial that has transfixed Norway, explaining how he picked off “Marxists” with his rifle and pistol while passing over a young man he thought looked conservative.

“This person … appeared right-wing, that was his appearance. That’s the reason I didn’t fire any shots at him,” said Breivik, 33, whose sanity or lack of it is a prime issue to be determined in the trial.

Breivik has given a detailed account of his car bomb attack at government headquarters in Oslo, which killed eight people, and a follow-up gun massacre at a Labour Party island camp where he killed 69, mostly teenagers, all within a few hours on July 22.

Most Norwegians have reacted with contained horror to the content of Breivik’s testimony, delivered in a cold, matter-of-fact manner, while there is wide public acceptance of his right as a defendant to give it.

Breivik has had almost free rein to issue warnings against immigration and explain how he scoured the Internet for bomb-making recipes while writing a 1,500-page document declaring himself part of a secretive group that is Europe’s answer to Al Qaeda — a group the police have said likely does not exist.

Breivik has denied criminal guilt, insisting that his victims were “traitors” whose multiculturalist views facilitated what he saw as a de facto Muslim invasion of Europe…

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Offers Apology to Non-Political Victims

Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people last July, said Monday he wanted to apologise for killing “innocent” people in his Oslo bombing, but offered no similar apology for the Utøya massacre.

He also insisted that not only his victims and their families had their lives ruined on July 22nd: “I also lost everything,” he lamented to the court.

For the first time since his trial started on April 16, the 33-year-old right-wing extremist voiced a small ounce of regret for his actions.

Breivik said: “I would like to offer a large apology” to those who were injured or killed in the bombing of an Oslo government building, as they were just passing by and had no political connections.

But when prosecutor Enga Bejer Engh asked if he wanted to say the same to any of the 69 people — mainly teens — he slaughtered in his shooting massacre on the nearby island of Utøya after the bombing, Breivik said: “No, I do not.”

He reiterated that the youngsters attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing were “legitimate targets”, since he claims they were “political activists” working for the “deconstruction of Norwegian society” through the multiculturalism he insists is leading to a “Muslim invasion” of the country.

Instead, he insisted that “everyone who is linked to the (government) and the Labour Party … should issue a large apology” to the Norwegian people.

In his own apology, Breivik mentioned in particular Kai Hauge, a 32-year-old man who was killed as he walked past the government building when it was bombed.

Hauge’s mother Sølvi rejected the apology. “It is of course not enough,” she told the Aftenposten daily’s online edition, adding: “We will never get Kai back.”

Jon Hestnes, who represents survivors and family of the victims of the Oslo bombing, meanwhile described Breivik’s apology as surprising and insincere.

“I think it was pathetic. It doesn’t help that he said that. There was no expression in his body language showing that he meant what he said,” he told public broadcaster NRK.

On Friday, Breivik gave his account of events on Utøya, providing chilling details of how he calmly walked across the island, picking off his victims, one by one, shooting most of them point-blank in the head.

And on Monday, the sixth day of his trial, he faced cross examination from the prosecution about the deadliest massacre ever committed by a sole gunman.

He again described his massacre showing no emotion, and insisted it was “cruel but necessary.”

He stressed the shooting spree had been a “gruesome” experience for him as well, and that he had to force himself to carry it out since it felt so “against human nature.”

It was almost like “being asked to eat a plate of excrement,” he said.

He explained his years of meditation to “de-emotionalize” himself as an “indoctrination technique … where I look at all political activists as monsters.”

Yet when he was there, walking among the dead bodies, “I thought to myself that it was gruesome… I have never done anything so gruesome before,” he said, acknowledging though that “it was probably more gruesome for the people I was hunting.”

But, he insisted, “this is a small barbarity to avoid a larger barbarity.”

He also stressed that not only the families of his victims had had their lives ruined.

“One should remember that on July 22nd I also lost … my entire family, all my friends… I also lost everything,” he told the court.

When asked if he meant that people should feel sorry for him, he quickly responded: “Of course not.”

Breivik, who was dressed as a policeman during his more than hour-long shooting spree, also told the court he tried to lure a large group out into the open at one point by telling them he was there to evacuate them.

While many seemed skeptical, “two or three seemed relieved (and) came towards me… Then I raised my Glock (pistol) and shot a girl in the head… There was panic (and) I shot the others too,” he said.

He said he had not realized that so many people on the island would be under 18 — 33 of those killed were minors — but that he only considered the two 14-year-olds as children.

And even if he had known there would be so many youngsters present “I would do it again,” he said, reiterating that he had wanted to kill all 569 people on the island that day.

He reiterated that he had spared the lives of two people, a girl and a boy, whom he deemed too young, and said he had not shot one man, Adrian Pracon, as “He did not look like a Marxist… He looked like someone like me.”

“The reason he gave for not killing me was shocking,” Pracon told the VG daily’s online edition, recalling how the killer had pointed his rifle at him and then suddenly walked away.

“It is sickening that he played my god, that he decided over who would live and die,” he added.

The confessed killer said several others in Norway were “more deserving of execution than the Labour Party youth,” adding that if he had managed to attack a journalists conference, as originally planned, “I might have enjoyed” the slaughter.

Breivik had been scheduled to testify on Monday about his sanity, which is the main issue of contention during the trial, which is scheduled to last 10 weeks. But that was postponed until later so he could finish testifying about Utøya.

He has been charged with “acts of terror” and faces either 21 years in prison — a sentence that could thereafter be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society — or closed psychiatric care, possibly for life.

A first court-ordered psychiatric exam found him insane, while a second opinion came to the opposite conclusion.

The confessed killer wants to be found sane and accountable for his actions, so that his anti-Islam ideology, as presented in the 1,500-page manifesto he published online just before the attacks, will be taken seriously and not considered the ravings of a lunatic.

He lamented on Monday that his sanity was being questioned.

“If I had been a bearded Jihadi there would be no report at all… There would not be a need for a psychiatric evaluation,” he said, maintaining he was the victim of “clear racism.”

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Apologises to the ‘Non Politcal’ Victims

(AGI) Oslo — Breivik has issued an apology directed solely at the “non-political” casualties of the Oslo bomb attack. The sixth day of the trial of ultra-nationalist Anders Breivik Behring in Oslo opened with this ‘apology’ to the passers-by caught up in the explosion on 22 July last year in the Norwegian capital. Breivik had planted a bomb in a van- near office of the Prime Minister and other officials. “I would like to offer them my biggest apologies,” he said at the beginning of today’s hearing, an apology he failed to extend to those who died or were injured in subsequent shootings on the island of Utoya, where he attacked a summer camp for Labour Party youth.

Breivik killed a total of 77 people in the two attacks.

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

Norway: Oslo Muslims Pained by Breivik’s Testimony

“He is evil. Pure evil. A robot,” Sihen Naidja says, her voice trembling, when asked how she experienced the first week of Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik’s trial.

Basim Gozlan, who runs the Norwegian website, meanwhile insists that it is a good thing that Breivik has been given so much time to explain his worldview.

“I think it is good and healthy that this comes out,” he told AFP in a telephone interview, arguing that Breivik built his ideology largely on the basis of Islam-critical writings in the media and online and rumours he has heard about violent Muslims.

“This should help show people that this kind of rhetoric can be very, very dangerous. It is a wake-up call, and I think many people will moderate the way they talk about these things,” Gozlan said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sarkozy Says Le Pen Supporters Must be Respected

(AGI) Paris — Nicolas Sarkozy has reached out to Marine le Pen supporters ahead of the French presidentials. Alluding to the 18% of votes gained by the Front National candidate, he said “We must respect the voters’ will, it is our duty to listen.” With regard to the results of the previous consultation in 2007, which won him the Presidency, he added “There was this crisis vote that doubled from one election to another, an answer must be given to this crisis vote.” ..

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

Spanish Royalty in Crisis After King’s Antics

The Spanish royal family is in the middle of its worst crisis in years following a series of scandals, including the revelation that King Juan Carlos went on an extravagant trip to Africa despite the recession. Many people in Spain are now asking tough questions about the role of the monarchy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Storms to Hit Central and Northern Italy Then Intense Heat

(AGI) Rome — Storms are expected for tomorrow in Central and Northern Italy, then Spring will set in at its fullest. ‘ Hannibal’ the anticyclone rising from Africa, is due to make temperatures jump up 12-13 degrees. As of Tuesday night, violent storms will hit Italy’s Northern-Western regions then to move on to the rest of the North, central Italy and Sardenia during the day. Strong winds and hail are expected. Snow will fall on the Alps at low altitudes — between 800 and 1000 meters. Violent downpours are due to hit Rome on Tuesday afternoon but will not last for long. However it is Spring and as it always happens in springtime, the weather can change suddenly. Fine weather is expected on 25 April to be followed by a wave of hot air. ‘Hannibal’ will first blow hot air over Sardenia and Sicily and the South and eventually across the country until the end of the month. It will give Italy a taste of Summer with temperatures rising and reaching 30 degrees in the South and 25 degrees everywhere else.

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

Sweden: ‘Laziness is Not a Disability’: Council

Disability Council members of a Swedish town have had enough of “lazy” drivers who park their cars in the disabled spaces, and want the erection of signs stating that laziness is not a recognized form of disability.

“Laziness is not a disability” say the proposed signs aimed at motorists in Nordmaling, northern Sweden. Below is a picture of a person in a wheelchair. Members of the municipality’s disability council (handikapprådet) are now lobbying to see the signs be used around the local area.

“People don’t respect disabled parking signs,” said Margareta Gustavsson of the council to the Västerbottens Kuriren newspaper. “They seem to think that laziness is a disability, but it’s actually not at all.”

Gustavsson added that the Nordmaling community centre has already claimed one of the signs to erect in their own car park. However, community development officer of the municipality, Sune Höglander, sees things differently, and has no intention of implementing the signs.

“It’s just a fun thing they’ve got for themselves, but I don’t think that those kinds of road signs will be found in our catalogue. Signs must be accurate, factual, and not emotive,” he said. Höglander also pointed out that he didn’t consider “lazy parkers” taking disabled spaces to be a large problem in Nordmaling.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland Home to Kim Jong-un ‘For Nine Years’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lived in Switzerland from the age of seven, arriving two years earlier than previously thought, the Swiss paper Le Matin Dimanche reported on Sunday. Previously Swiss media had placed his arrival in Switzerland in 1993 when he was around nine years old.

But the paper cited documents it had obtained from federal police archives at the public ministry to show he had stayed in Switzerland between late 1991 and early 2001. The paper said it had obtained a document showing a request for accreditation of a certain Nam Chol Pak to work as a bureaucrat for North Korea’s foreign ministry.

The document showed that the official arrived on November 25th 1991, with his wife, two sons and a daughter. The two boys were the two youngest sons of Kim Jong-il, who ruled North Korea from 1994 until his death in December last year.

But they used the pseudonyms Chol Pak and Hun Pak while in Switzerland, and Hun Pak was Kim’s alias, the paper said.

Little is known about the boy’s formative years in the country. Schools where he was reportedly enrolled have refused to discuss his time there. According to Swiss and foreign media, he was a pupil at an international private school in Guemligen, near the Bern suburb of Muri, and later attended a public school in Liebefeld, also near Bern. Le Matin Dimanche, quoting an unnamed former classmate, reported early this month that he scored poor grades and was often absent.

The boy’s false father initially worked for North Korea’s mission to theUnited Nations in Geneva and was later transferred to the North Korean embassy in Muri, the paper said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Pakistani Students Raped Woman, 20, After She Fell Asleep on Night Bus on Way Home From Night Out

Two ‘despicable’ sex predators who raped a woman after she fell asleep on a night bus have been jailed for a total of 18-and-a-half years.

Pakistani students Rizwan Ahmad, 24, and Hassan Siddique, 19, targeted the 20-year-old as she made her way home from a night out in central London.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how Siddique got off the number 55 bus while Ahmad began chatting to the woman when she realised she had missed her stop.

Ahmad persuaded her to get off at the next stop and said he would call her a taxi. He then phoned Siddique, a student at the London College of Business Management and Information Technology, to summon him to the scene.

The two men lured their victim down a secluded alleyway off Leabridge Road in Leyton, east London, and took turns to rape her in the early hours of June 4 last year.

During their trial Ahmad and Siddique insisted their victim had encouraged them, but the jury found both defendants guilty of rape and attempted rape.

Judge Tudor Owen said he believed the pair should be kicked out of Britain once they have served their jail terms, adding: ‘The sooner you are deported from this country, the better.’

In an impact statement the victim said the attack will ‘stay with her for the rest of her life’.

But she is determined to ensure her ordeal does not dictate her future.

Sentencing, Judge Owen told the two rapists: ‘What you did was despicable. Your story was simply ludicrous.

‘You claimed she instigated the whole thing, that it was she who wanted to engage in sexual activity with you.

‘Unsurprisingly, the jury rejected your account.

‘Women travelling alone at night are entitled not to be accosted in the way you two did.

‘She had a lot to drink but that does not mean she should have been treated in the way she was.

‘She was an easy target because she was so drunk.

‘She is now frightened of travelling alone at night, this has damaged her life.’

Jailing Ahmad for 10 years, and Siddique for eight-and-a-half years, Judge Owen added: ‘If it is necessary I will recommend most strongly that you are deported at the conclusion of your sentence.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Renovation Tax Will Harm Our Churches, Warns Hurd

A Conservative grandee and former foreign secretary has launched a scathing assault on one of the Coalition’s tax changes.

In his first major criticism of the Coalition, Lord Hurd, who served in the governments of Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major, has attacked the Chancellor’s plans to introduce VAT on church renovations. The peer’s intervention heightens pressure on George Osborne and follows damaging rows over the taxes of pensioners, pasties and charitable donations. It comes at an awkward time for David Cameron. Labour now boasts a six-point opinion poll lead over the Conservatives — their largest since June 2010. Speaking of the VAT plan, Lord Hurd said: “I think it needs to be looked at in the light of the whole scheme of relations between the Church and the state. “The Church has on the whole a pretty raw deal and this is just one example of it. “We are governed by people who are vaguely sympathetic to the Church and would be horrified if it started to disintegrate, but don’t quite understand that in order to keep it all going it needs a bit of effort and a bit of sympathy. It is taken for granted and that, I think, is a pity.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Terror Case Lawyers Who Fight Fanatics’ Deportation Land £110m Bill in Legal Aid

Lawyers working regularly for terrorist suspects have billed the taxpayer more than £110million in a decade, estimates suggest.

Among the big earners are firms that have fought to prevent the deportation of terror suspect Abu Qatada to face trial in Jordan and to halt the extradition of hate preacher Abu Hamza to the U.S.

A small group of legal firms are thought to have effectively cornered the market, with the result that they have secured high earnings from the taxpayer-funded legal aid system, which usually pays the legal bills for terrorists and suspected terrorists.

The highest-paid firm of solicitors is thought to be Arani &Co, based in Southall, West London.

Led by Mudassar Arani, 47, it is best-known for representing Abu Hamza, who spread hatred from Finsbury Park mosque in North London, and who has been fighting extradition for eight years.

[Return to headlines]

UK: Takeaway Boss ‘Tried to Recruit Girls as Young as 12 to Work as Prostitutes in His Brothel’Azad Miah ‘Hounded and Stalked Girls to Have Sex for Money’

A takeaway boss tried to recruit six girls as child prostitutes, one as young as 12, in a ‘cold, clinical, exploitation of the desperate and vulnerable’, a court heard today.

Azad Miah, 44, is said to have ‘hounded’ and ‘stalked’ girls to have sex for money while at the same time allegedly running a brothel from his city centre premises in Carlisle, Cumbria.

A jury at Carlisle Crown Court was told he also paid regularly for the sexual services of a girl over a four-year period from when she was aged 14.

Opening the case, Tim Evans, prosecuting, said: ‘This is a case in which this defendant sought to persuade a variety of young girls, some of whom he knew were under 16, to have sex with him for money via the provision of drugs or drink.

‘Those requests were either made face to face when girls either came into the The Spice of India in Botchergate or were made by telephone calls and texts.

‘The attempted persuasion was persistent. He would hound young girls for periods of weeks or months face to face or over the phone. Perhaps most worryingly, he would stalk some of them, following them home.

‘Some of the girls that he had made approaches to did indeed have sex with him for money.’

Mr Evans said many of the alleged victims aged from 12 to 16 were told by Miah that their friends were also having sex with him for money.

He told the jury it would hear ‘in essence’ that The Spice of India, since closed, not only operated as a takeaway restaurant but as a brothel ‘where women attended and prostituted themselves’.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Western Allies of MI6 ‘Kept in Dark’ Over Mosque Sting Plan

MI6 and Col Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan intelligence service set up a radical mosque in a Western European city in order to lure in al-Qaeda terrorists, it can be revealed.

The joint operation, which was undertaken as Britain attempted to secure a deal with Col Gaddafi to reopen diplomatic relations, shows how closely Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service was prepared to work with his regime’s spies despite widespread allegations of human rights abuses. At the time, Britain was encouraging Col Gaddafi to give up plans for weapons of mass destruction. Four months later, the dictator and Tony Blair, then prime minister, struck the 2004 “deal in the desert” which ended Libya’s pariah status. The cooperation extended to recruiting an agent to infiltrate an al-Qaeda terrorist cell in the Western European city, which cannot be named for security reasons. The double agent, codenamed Joseph, was closely connected to a senior al-Qaeda commander in Iraq and had been identified as a possible spy by the ESO, Libya’s external intelligence service, on a visit to Tripoli. MI6 began recruiting the agent without telling its allies in the European country where he lived.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt Stops Gas Supplies to Israel

(AGI) Cairo — The Egyptian authorities canceled an agreement signed in 2005, allowing the East Mediterranean Company to export gas to Israel. The measure has been motivated by alleged provision violations. The news was provided by the Egyptian natural gas state company, Egas. The pipeline that connects Egypt to Israel and Jordan has been targeted by 14 attacks since the fall of Honsi Mubarak’s regime.

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

Egypt Scraps Gas Deal With Israel

The Egyptian partners in a joint natural gas endeavor with Israel have cancelled a deal governing commercial relations between the two sides. The gas deal with Israel has long been a source of controversy in Egypt.

Israel’s Finance Ministry on Sunday criticized Egyptian energy companies for terminating a gas deal with the Jewish state, saying that the “unilateral” move overshadowed the two neighbors’ long-standing peace agreement.

“This is a dangerous precedent that overshadows the peace agreements and the peaceful atmosphere between Israel and Egypt,” Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a press release.

The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company reportedly scrapped the deal on Thursday, accusing Israel of failing to pay its bills for the past four months. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has denied that charge.

The two Egyptian energy companies were partners with the Ampal-American Israel Corporation in the bi-national East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), which operates the pipeline that supplies Israel with natural gas. Ampal said on Sunday that the termination of the deal was “unlawful and in bad faith.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Director Mourad Ben Cheikh, Too Many Foreign Funds

Funds to Salaphites from abroad, but more than one secular road

(ANSAmed) — ROME, APRIL 23 — The Salaphites in Tunisia? They are “a fringe phenomenon” and a minority, limited to around 2,000. But the real problem is “the foreign countries that support and finance them with huge resources, putting the country’s internal balance at risk and influencing politics”. The speaker is the Tunisian film director Mourad Ben Cheikh, who made the documentary on the revolution in his country entitled “No more Fear” which has, since debuting at Cannes, done the rounds of at least a hundred film festivals in the world. One and a half years ago, Ben Cheikh filmed the crowds and the flags of the revolution in Avenue Burghiba. Now, in an interview with ANSAmed, he takes stock of how the country has changed. He says he is not sure whether it is the Saudis who are behind the new prominence of the Salaphites in Tunisia, a country that had been the most secular in the region before the revolution. “But I do know that through its economic and religious policies, Saudi Arabia has become a cancer in the flesh of the Arab World”. On the other hand, it is in Riyadh that the deposed president Ben Ali has found hospitality, “because they are very keen that a former head of state does not face a trial”. Another player in Tunisia’s future is the small Emirate of Qatar. They “are doing their utmost to influence politics in the Arab World,” and not only there. In short, from tyranny of a police state under the overthrown regime, the country risks moving to “a political stalemate” under the influence of foreign finance for Islamic movements, the director notes. Ben Cheikh would like to see his country keep its right to find its own way towards democracy. “Every Tunisian should be free to choose their own approach to politics and to religion,” and a democracy that shuts out one part of its population would not be a democracy. Just as “every country should be able to find its own answer to the problem of laity. For example, Queen Elizabeth is head of the Church of England, but individual liberties are respected all the same. And the same happens in Italy, despite its Lateran Pact with the Vatican”. But the West looks at the Arab revolutions through the lens of its own fears and prejudices. Ben Cheikh has seen this in the different reactions of various audiences to his documentary, reactions that “vary according to the country”. In Spain and in Greece, for example, the revolution in Tunisia is seen with a feeling of geographical “closeness” but also with one of continuity between the economic crises and the mode of “resistance”. But in Germany it is the fear of Islam which prevails, and in France the questioning over the secular nature of the state. “Frace cannot manage to see Tunisia for what it is: it always sees it through its own current concerns”. Even though, it is thanks to organisations in that very country such as Amnesty International, that has enabled his documentary to be shown in cinemas as part of a regular programme.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Bomb Blasts in Blue Helmet Hang-Out in Lebanon

(AGI) Beirut-The casualty toll of an explosion that occurred at around midnight near a restaurant in Tyre is of at least 7 injured. The city is on the Southern coast of Lebanon. The explosion was reportedly caused by a bomb that unknown subjects placed on the elevator to the 4th floor of the building in which the restaurant is located. The restaurant is locally famous for the dance parties organized there and because it sells alcoholic drinks. This turns it into one of the favorite destinations of foreigners, including the ‘Blue Helmets’ of UNIFIL II, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

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

Turkey: Great Ambitions But Lacking Resources, Study

Influence in Middle East superficial and short-lived, USAK

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, APRIL 19 — Despite the fact that the country has started to play a much more important role in the Middle East over the past decade, Turkey still has to close a wide gap between its ambitions and its possibilities to become a real “regional power.” This claim is made in a study carried out by the Turkish think tank USAK that was published today. The report underlines that Turkey only has superficial influence because of its reduced diplomatic corps, its low level of exports and scarce use of the Arabic language. The report of the International Strategic Research Organization, as USAK writes on its website, examines Turkey’s power in the diplomatic, economic and “soft power” areas, the ability of a country to convince other countries through its intangible resources like culture, values and political institutions. The report calls for a comprehensive joint efforts by the state, the private sector and civic society in all three fields (diplomacy, economy and soft power) as “a great disparity exists between the role that Turkey wants to play and the capacity it has” to do so. USAK also warned that Turkey’s newly-found regional influence could be short-lived. “We cannot say that regional actors, be them small or big, are following Turkey’s lead,” the report claims. “The current attention accorded to Turkey is at the level of just sympathy. Any mistakes or Arab misunderstanding of certain rhetoric or policies hold the potential of quickly eroding the favourable attitudes that Turkey enjoys.” The Turkish Foreign Ministry, according to the study, was severely underfunded and understaffed when compared to those of leading nations. Its budget of 436 million euros is the lowest among several countries, including both global heavyweights and emerging powers, such as India and Brazil. With 5,533 employees, Turkey’s ministry is better staffed than Brazil and India, but lags well behind Britain and France, who employ 17,100 and 15,008 people respectively. Only 26 diplomats spoke Arabic, USAK point out, which hampers the “penetration of local information resources.” In the economic field, trade with countries in the region is booming, but Turkish exports are easily-replaceable with other, cheaper goods, with high-technology products making up only 3.5 percent of the total. USAK claims that Turkey had failed to determine any “centre of gravity” for trade, which could turn into a major disadvantage in the future.

Focusing on soft power, Turkish soap operas enjoy vast popularity in the region and tourism is flourishing. The Turkish media, however, is almost absent from the Arab-language realm and Turkey has little power in influencing the regional news agenda, USAK continues, adding that TRT’s Arab-language channel lagged behind competitors from Iran, France, Germany, China and the United States.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Fazil Say Contemplates Exile, ‘Insulted as Atheist’

Pianist and composer may escape Islamic pressures to Japan

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, APRIL 23 — One of Turkey’s best known artists internationally, pianist and composer Fazil Say has said he has been thinking for some time of moving to Japan because of the pressure he is under in an Islamic environment, where his statements about atheism are causing him trouble.

“Even though we are speaking the same language, we fail to communicate, “Mr Say is reported as saying on the English language site of Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper. “The best thing to do is to keep away for some time. I would like to go to Japan, but I don’t know if I will be able to do so,” as “it’s too far away” and living there “means reducing the number of concerts given in Europe and in Turkey. And of course, I want to see my daughter growing up and she will remain here,” in Turkey.

According to the summary given in Hurriyet, Mr Say spoke of how it has become difficult to live in Turkey over recent years, where he has been exposed to insults over opinions he has expressed on Twitter.

As the AFP agency cites from the hard copy of the newspaper, this is a reference to “when I said I was an atheist”, “I was insulted. The law intervened over what I had said on Twitter. I am perhaps the first person in the world to have come under a judicial inquiry for having expressed my atheism”. Given the three month prison sentence Turkish law reserves for the crime of “insulting religious values”, “if I am sentenced to imprisonment, my career will be over,” the 41-year-old musician said.

A leading MP in the prime minister’s party, Samil Tayyar, insulted Mr Say by saying that his mother was “an escapee from a brothel”. The phrase itself gave rise to controversy. The pianist also said that lay people have become a minority in Turkey that is exposed to pressure from an Islamic majority which is imposing its own religious values more and more openly.

“I habe been shut out of Turkish society 100%”.

According to the Hurriyet website, the musician has lived in the USA for seven years and is currently writing his third symphony (“Evren”, the Universe) which follows those with the titles: “Istanbul” and “‘Mesopotamia”. The latter symphony is to be performed in Istanbul on June 23, while Evren is scheduled to be premiered in Austria in October.

Declared by its leading politicians to be “99%” Muslim, Turkey has a secular constitution drawn up by its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who proclaimed the republic in 1923 on the rubble of the Ottoman Empire.

Over the past fifteen years, Turkey’s internal politics has partly seen a rediscovery of the nation’s Muslim soul, by Premier Erdogan. The case of Say forms part of a series of frictions between secular values, which are defended by the country’s military cadre and Islamic ones, represented by the AKP party of the Premier, which is enlarging the space inside the country for religious conservatism.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Yemen: Army Offensive Kills 16 Al Qaeda Militants

(AGI) Sanaa — At least 16 Al Qaeda militants have been killed during an offensive by the Yemeni army in the south of the country. The offensive has been underway for several days to re-take positions in the south, for months in the hands of groups tied to the terrorist network. The report came from the Sanaa Ministry of Defense. Sunday evening the army bombarded the area of Loder, in the southern province of Abyan, killing 13 militants. Another three lost their lives during an air raid carried out against several vehicles in the eastern province of Marib. Last week 40 Al Qaeda militants were killed in offensive launched by the army. Zinjibar, the capital of the troubled Abyan province, was seized last May by the so-called “Partisans of the Sharia”, an Islamic integralist group tied to Al Qaeda.

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


Moscow: Tens of Thousands With Kirill in Defense of the Faith

After weeks of media scandals, the Patriarch of All Russia leads a procession and a prayer at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior: “Protect the Church from the anti-Russian forces.”

Moscow (AsiaNews) — Thousands of people took part in the day in defense of the faith yesterday in Russia, organized by the Moscow Patriarchate to “protect the Church from the attacks of anti-Russian forces”, as stated by the same Patriarch Kirill, center of a series of media scandals which are compromising his image.

At least 40 thousand people arrived for a prayer led by the patriarch at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. The same church, where in late February the Pussy Riot group sang their “punk prayer”, in which they condemned the close relations between the Patriarchate and the newly elected President Vladimir Putin. The gesture cost the band’s three girls custody on charges of “hooliganism”. The incident has raised a heated debate over the role of the Church in politics and exposed Kirill to harsh criticism. “We are under attack by anti-Russian force,” said the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in front of the crowd of priests and faithful. “The danger is that blasphemy and mockery of religion are presented as a legitimate expression of human freedom, which must be protected in modern society,” he added.

Media and internet criticism of Kirill intensified after his open support for the third nomination of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin. The religious leader had called the 12-year reign of the politician and former KGB agent at the head of Russia as “a miracle of God”, but shortly after he railed against the Pussy Riot, demanding exemplary punishment. On 20 April, Moscow’s court ordered that the three girls, held since March, remain behind bars until at least June 24, to allow investigators to complete investigations. In fact, it is a case of detention without trial, note human rights activists, who point out that the three women face up to seven years in prison.

According to many believers, the “punk prayer “ was nothing more than the beginning of a series of “acts of vandalism” against the Orthodox Church. Some of these have brought to light, in the Russian media, Kirill’s life of luxury and privilege prompting the Patriarch to hold a Day of Prayer. “The reason for this hostility -, according to Pyatigorsk theology student Anastasia Pavlukhova — is that the Church now supports the state more explicitly and so they attack it to indirectly affect the authorities.” On 6 March, as news agency Reuters recalls, a man with an ax lashed out against icons in Veliky Ustyug, north-east of Moscow. Two weeks later, an attacker armed with a knife, attacked and desecrated a priest at the altar in the Church of Nevynnomyssk, in the south-east of the country.

“I came here because there is a risk that Russia will return to its past without God,” said Olga Golubeva, 54, a lawyer, who has participated in the procession and prayer led by Kirill yesterday. According to the Patriarchate, the participants were 50 thousand, 65 thousand for the Ministry of the Interior, and 40 thousand for the international press. Other similar events with thousands of people were held in Yaroslavl, Krasnodar and St. Petersburg.

“The Church needs this kind of events to prove it has more supporters than detractors — says Alexei Makarkin, an analyst with the Center for political technologies in Moscow — but also to consolidate the support of clergy and faithful.” “Within the Church itself — he adds — opinions are divided on what was worse: the performance of Pussy Riot or the reaction of the Patriarchate, the scandal or the demand for punishment for the girls.”

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

South Asia

India Shooting Ship Release Delayed

Hearing postponed to April 30

(ANSA) — New Delhi, April 20 — The Indian supreme court on Friday postponed a hearing regarding the release of an Italian tanker held for two months in a case involving the shooting deaths of two Indian fishermen, allegedly by two Italian marines on anti-pirate watch aboard the vessel.

The judge was prepared to order the release of the Enrica Lexie when he noted the absence of a notification document intended for the wife of one of the dead fishermen and delayed the hearing until April 30.

On March 29 a lower court said the ship could be released as long as certain conditions were met, including the payment of a deposit.

But the process has undergone a series of delays, including earlier this month when an Indian appeals court overturned a release order. The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, are at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between Rome and New Delhi over jurisdiction, which intensified when the two were sent to prison at the beginning of March.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

India’s Top Court Admits Italy’s Appeal on Marines

Hearing set May 8

(ANSA) — New Delhi, April 23 — The Indian supreme court on Monday admitted Italy’s appeal against the detention of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen while protecting a ship from pirates.

It set a hearing for May 8.

Italy says the case of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone should be tried in Italy because the incident took place in international waters.

An Indian ballistics test said bullets found in the fishermen’s bodies were compatible with rifles seized from the ship.

Italy has requested another ballistics test.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Indian Military Makes Strategic Stride With the Agni-V

India has made history with the successful testing of its much awaited Agni-V long-range ballistic nuclear-capable missile, nicknamed the ‘China killer,’ that can accurately hit targets more than 5,000 km away.

Thursday’s launch from a test range at Wheeler Island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha thrusts the emerging Asian power into a small club of nations with intercontinental nuclear weapons capabilities. The three stage, all solid fuel powered and17-meter missile blasted off according to the script at 8.07 am.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: West Java: Islamic Extremists Attacked an Ahmadi Mosque

Police patrol the place of worship, targeted in a raid last April 20 a few hours after Friday prayers. There are no injuries, but the building was seriously damaged. Controversy on the security and protection provided by the authorities. For Minister of Religious Affairs the Muslim minority is heretical and should be banned.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — A mob of Islamic extremists brutally attacked an Ahmadi mosque in the village of Cipakat in the town of Singaparna in Tasikmalaya regency, West Java province. Indonesian police departments have been deployed to protect the security of the place of worship and there is still a state of considerable tension in the area. The raid occurred on April 20, a few hours after Friday prayers, the holy day for Muslims. Local sources report that the attack was attended by at least 80 people affiliated with local Islamic extremist movements, the building was repeatedly hit with rocks and stones, while some of the assailants stormed into the building destroying objects. After the attack there were no injuries, but the structure was seriously damaged.

Human rights activists and members of civil society criticize the actions of the police, unable to “block” the attackers and defend the Ahmadi mosque, belonging to the Muslim religious minority considered heretical by Sunni — and official — Islam because they do not consider Mohammed as last prophet. However, the deputy spokesman of the National Police Gen. Muhammad Taufik rejected the accusations, adding that the crowd wanted to protest against the community for its “illegal” teachings and a practice of faith that “deviates” from the traditional doctrine.

The controversy was sparked by the delivery of a formal letter of protest from the Baitul Rahim Mosque of Representatives, which urged the protesters to attack the Ahmadi place of worship.

Djoko Suyanto, the Minister with responsibility for legal affairs and security condemned the incident and confirmed that a full investigation is underway to shed light on the matter. His words, however, have not placated public opinion and according activists the comment is not “genuine” but an empty promise, devoid of any concrete action to stop the violence.

The Minister for Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali has instead issued a stern warning against the Ahmadi minority, “inviting” them to respect Indonesian law. The reference is to a joint ministerial decree dating back to 2008, which outlaws the practice of worship for religious minorities and prohibits any form of spreading the faith. Unlike others, minister Ali is not seen as impartial compared to his predecessors, and has repeatedly called the Ahmadi movement an “offense” that must be banished from the country.

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

Over 3 Thousand Former Maoist Guerrillas Join Nepalese Army

Official as of today, a total of 6 thousand ex-combatants join the army. Internal divisions of former Maoist rebels threaten the peace process with the government. Weapons disappear from some camps. Former rebel cadres attacked by extremist wing call for the protection of the military.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — 3,128 former Maoist guerrillas are now part of the regular army as Nepalese soldiers and officers. In recent days the military has officially taken possession of the 15 training camps still in the hands of the rebels scattered throughout the country. The Maoist Prime Minister Bhattarai said that this event marks the end “of the two armies for one state” and gives hope for a general reconciliation after 10 years of civil war between Maoists and supporters of the Hindu monarchy.

In the coming months 3500 other fighters will be integrated. The number respects the agreements between the UN, the Nepalese government and Maoist leaders. For the remaining 13 thousand a program of integration into the world of work and a subsidy of up to 50 thousand dollars for high-ranking leaders has been proposed. However, part of the former Nepal People’s Liberation Army (Npla) considers the delivery of weapons and abandonment of the struggle an affront to the ideals of the 11-year Maoist war against state powers represented by the conservative parties still close to the monarchy.

Experts point out that such a division could stop the program of reintegration of militias into the army and society. According to military sources there are at least 3 thousand guerrillas who are pushing to get into battalions of the Nepal Army (NA), rejecting the option of civilian resettlement. Thousands more have opted instead for voluntary withdrawal, but without surrendering their weapons. In recent days, the Nepalese army has denounced the disappearance of several weapons and ammunition from old camps. The weapons were taken by men close to Mohan Baidhya, a former Maoist, contrary to the disarmament of rebel troops.

Last week, the leader has attacked some camps with his men and wounded four Maoists officers, forcing the former guerrillas to seek the protection of the army.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Bidhya, defines the plane of reinstatement “an insult to the People’s Liberation Army and the war that allowed the liberation of Nepal. He points out that the Maoists “can not surrender to the elite who for years have oppressed minorities and the weakest”. “The leaders announced a general strike in view of the delivery of the new constitution, whose term expires May 27.

The 11 year civil war in Nepal pitted the army and the Maoist guerrillas, who fought with the aim to overthrow the kingdom and establish the People’s Republic of Nepal. The conflict ended with the fall of the absolute Hindu monarchy which was followed by a comprehensive peace agreement between the army and Maoists signed November 21, 2006 in front of UN and international community. The war has claimed more than 12,800 lives and created about 100 thousand refugees.

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

Sri Lanka Backs Monks in Fight Over Mosque

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s government has advised the trustees of a 60-year-old Muslim mosque north of the capital to relocate the structure after angry protests by Buddhist monks.

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne reacted after demonstrations by monks and their followers on Friday triggered tension in the pilgrim town of Dambulla. “The prime minister as minister of Buddhist and religious affairs advised the trustees to have their mosque elsewhere,” the premier’s spokesman Sisira Wijesinghe told AFP. “They have been offered the choice of three alternate locations. Steps are being taken to immediately shift the mosque.” The Indian Ocean island nation, emerging from decades of ethnic war, is a majority Buddhist nation where monks are politically influential.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Finalized

With the Chicago NATO summit approaching, the US and Afghanistan have put the finishing touches on a strategic partnership to govern their relations after the 2014 troop withdrawal. The agreement comes despite tensions.

The United States and Afghanistan on Sunday finalized an agreement on a strategic partnership, after months of negotiations that nearly broke down under the pressure of rising tensions between the two nations.

The text, which was initialed by the countries’ top negotiators, still has to be signed by US President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Washington has said it hopes to ratify the pact before the NATO summit in Chicago next month.

The US has agreed to provide military and financial support to Kabul for the decade after international forces withdraw in 2014. Despite the planned troop withdrawal, Washington is expected to maintain a large presence in Afghanistan, including special forces, military advisors and governance programs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Pyongyang Threatens to Turn Seoul to Ashes

North Korea has threatened to turn its southern neighbor to “ashes.” Pyongyang is apparently miffed at comments made by South Korea’s president about the North’s recent failed rocket test.

A military statement released by North Korea’s official state news agency said it would reduce the government of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak as well as the country’s media outlets to ashes” through what it described as “unprecedented, peculiar means.”

“The special actions of our revolutionary armed forces will start soon to meet the reckless challenge of the group of traitors,” the statement said.

The statement represented a new spike in tensions between the communist North and capitalist South following Pyongyang’s unsuccessful rocket launch on April 13, which had been timed to coincide with celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung. The rocket exploded a couple of minutes after lift-off.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tension is Expected to Remain in the South China Sea

The United States and Philippines have started joint naval manoeuvres as the diplomatic row between Manila and Beijing continues over territorial claims in the South China Sea. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea go way back. The riparian states — Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Brunei — lay claim to some of the same islands and reefs there.

China lays claim to almost all of the territories in the South China Sea. That led in 1974 to a military conflict between China and Vietnam over the Paracel Islands. Now the Islands, which are called Xisha in Chinese and Hoang Sa in Vietnamese, are administered by China, although Vietnam still claims the islands as part of its territory.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Jihadists in Mali Ready to Release Kidnapped Swiss Woman

(AGI) Bamako — The Swiss woman kidnapped in Mali may be in the hands of Islamist group Ansar Dine. The Swiss woman who was kidnapped one week ago in Mali’s northern city of Timbuktu is said to be in the hands of Islamist group Ansar Dine (whose name translates as ‘Defenders of the Faith’) which helped Tuareg separatists take control of northern Mali. The kidnappers are said to be ready to release her. It was revealed by sources of Mali’s security forces who explained that the woman, identified as Beatrice Stockly, was initially kidnapped by “members of a private militia who wanted to sell her to the Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb, a regional branch of the terror network. The woman is in her forties and is believed to be a missionary.

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

Sudan President Bashir Vows No Peace Talks as Missles Strike

Sudanese war jets launched four missiles into this key South Sudanese state capital Monday, killing at least one and wounding 10 others as tensions continued to rise along the disputed South Sudan-Sudan border.

The jets appeared to be targeting a bridge on the only road linking Bentiu with the conflict zone to the north, where Sudanese and South Sudanese troops last week fought a pitched battle for control of Heglig, an oil town that had long been controlled by Sudan.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Brazil: Actor Playing Judas Dies After He Accidentally Hanged Self in Passion Play

SAO PAULO — A Brazilian actor playing Judas who accidentally hanged himself during a scene in “The Passion of Christ” has died. A hospital in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state confirms on its website the death of 27-year-old Tiago Klimeck. An autopsy is being performed Monday following his death the previous day. The actor had been in a coma since the accident on Good Friday earlier this month in the city of Itarare.

Investigator Jose Victor Bacetti told the G1 news website Klimeck accidentally hanged himself during a scene in which his character Judas commits suicide. About four minutes passed before anyone noticed, believing he was playing his role. Police are examining the security apparatus that was meant to support Klimeck during the scene. It’s unclear if any charges will be filed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


France and Germany Push to Suspend Free Movement

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 20 April 2012

France and Germany want to limit the free movement of people in Europe. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has published a joint letter from the French and German interior ministers calling for “the possibility of re-establishing internal border controls.” The matter could be raised at the next meeting of European politicians on April 26.

In the letter Claude Gueant and Hans-Peter Friedrich suggest that suspension of the Schengen treaty is justified where security is insufficient at some of the EU external borders, and to address internal security matters and safeguard national sovereignty, the Munich daily writes.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung adds that the resumption of border monitoring would aim to combat economic migration, and suggests this could foster anti-European political sentiment —

What is the value of it, open borders without restrictions? […] What is the point of freedom of movement if European governments are able to limit it? If member states withdraw into their national territory when there are problems, they are demonstrating that they believe their small nation state is far better than Europe. In this case we should not be surprised if nationalist parties, populist and the extreme right are on the rise throughout Europe. The temporary closure of internal borders is a continuous advertisement for the enemies of Europe.

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

Immigrants Deported, Algiers Complains With Rome

Italian ambassador summoned, ‘unacceptable and humiliating’

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Algeria has complained with Italy over the treatment of two of its nationals deported last week on an Alitalia Rome-Tunis flight, the photos of which — showing the men with scotch tape over their mouths — went viral on the web and sparked a great deal of heated debate in Italy as well. The Algerian Foreign Minister has today summoned the Italian ambassador to the country, Michele Giacomelli, to “protest vehemently on behalf of the Algerian authorities” against the treatment which Algiers called (according to the Algerian foreign ministry spokesman) “violent, humiliating and unacceptable”. The incident — with the two seated in the last row of the plane with plastic handcuffs on, mouths taped shut with packaging tape and a protective mask lowered over their faces — is one which Rome has already announced that it will be looking into thoroughly. This was reiterated yesterday by the Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, who wrote to the Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni — who had expressed “profound consternation” over the case — saying that the Italian government has already opened an administrative investigation into the matter and that the magistrature began a judicial one. This was in line with what had been said by Interior, Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri, who in reporting before the Chamber of Deputies on the events said that the use of “coercive measures” such as scotch tape on mouths was an “extemporaneous” behaviour, and above all one that is “offensive to personal dignity”. “It is entirely in the police’s interest” to make sure that light is shed on the case in all of its aspects, said the head of the interior ministry in announcing that an inquiry would take place.

It is a matter that the Algerian government has now asked to know more about, calling Ambassador Giacomelli to the foreign ministry, where he met with the Secretary of State for the National Community Living Abroad, Benattallah Halim. Reporting this was the spokesman for the Algerian ministry himself, saying that during the meeting “protest” had been expressed over the treatment suffered “by two of our fellow countrymen”, treatment called “violent, humiliating and inacceptable”, and that ambassador had been urged to “convey to the Italian authorities” Algiers’ position while awaiting “clarification”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Cop Blames Colleagues’ Racist Slurs on ‘Stress’

Racist slurs uttered by Malmö police officers while responding to disturbances in the city’s Rosengård district can be attributed to “stress”, according to an officer who was present at the December 2008 incident. “It was an expression of extreme stress,” police officer Paul Juhlin said on Svergies Television (SVT), which on Tuesday will start airing a reality television series about the Mälmo police force.

Juhlin was one of the officers present during the Malmö police’s response to December 2008 disturbances in the city’s Rosengård district, which is home to a high concentration of immigrants. During the police action, riot police called young people “blattajävlar”, an ethnic slur which translates roughly into “damn coloured people” or “damn immigrants”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Berne Closes the Door on East Europeans

Tribune de Genève, 19 April 2012

Starting on 1st May, workers from eight EU countries (Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic) will be once again subject to quotas, reports the Tribune de Genève. Berne has decided to reactivate the “safeguard clause” included in the Swiss-EU agreement on the free movement of people signed a year ago. The Swiss Federal Council, which is hoping to reduce immigration from the EU (EU nationals now account for 1.1 million of the country’s 7.9 million population), believes that the annual influx of 38,000 additional EU migrants have prompted difficulties with regard to integration, as well as respect for working conditions and the minimum wage.

“Switzerland closes the door on East Europeans”, announces the front page headline of the Tribune de Genève, which argues that the measure “amounts to grandstanding”, because “free movement needed to be subject to control to remain acceptable”. Le Matin argues that the initiative will have “little practical impact”, while Le Temps insists that it is a “purely cosmetic” measure —

In activating the clause included in the agreement on free movement with the EU, the Federal Council wanted to send a clear message to those who are increasingly concerned by the upsurge of European immigration in Switzerland.

In German-speaking Switzerland, the press is mainly concerned about the effect the move will have on EU relations. Tagesanzeiger predicts a decline “in good will towards Switzerland, which is increasingly perceived as recalcitrant”, while St-Galler Tagblatt remarks that for the Federal Council, it was important to show the people that it is not intimidated by the prospect “of upsetting the EU”.

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

We Only Deport a Third of Illegal Migrants We Catch: New Figures Deliver Another Blow to UK Border Agency

Fewer than one in three of the illegal immigrants caught last year have been deported, according to figures disclosed yesterday.

They showed that of 21,298 individuals discovered in Britain unlawfully, only 6,232 were returned to their countries in the same year.

The figures threatened to deepen the troubles at the UK Border Agency, the organisation responsible for policing immigration law.

Border officials have also been found to have abandoned checks on arrivals into the country without seeking the clearance of ministers.

The unapproved relaxation of passport controls meant 500,000 passengers who came on Eurostar trains entered the country without being checked against lists of suspected terrorists and criminals.

[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Professor Depicts Blood-Dripping Knife, Machine-Gun, While Talking Population Control

A video has popped up showing University College’s Emeritus Professor John Guillebaud, patron of the UK-based “Population Matters”, standing before a screen depicting among other things a machine-gun, a hospital bed, and a knife dripping with blood, as examples of “natural” population control as opposed to “artificial” methods such as contraception and family planning.

The professor also impressed upon his audience to hide the true nature of their efforts by never ever using the phrase “population control.”

Guillebaud gave the lecture on October 14 2010 in front of a group of scientists at Cambridge University’s Triple Helix Society. On the top of the screen of Guillebaud’s slide show we read the words: “guide to “population control” methods”, showing on the one hand a contraception pill, which is described as an artificial method of population control. On the right hand side we see the machine-gun, the knife, and the hospitable-bed as examples of “natural” methods of population control (from 1 minute onward).

“It either happens the gentle way, through family planning (…), or it happens the nasty ways (…) excessive heat, hurricanes, flooding and so on. To me that’s the ultimate inconvenient truth”, the professor stated.

This is classical neo-Malthusian talk we hear from the mouth of professor Guillebaud. Reduce human numbers voluntarily, or else… Also typical of modern-day eugenicists is the urge to conceal their true purpose (population reduction and control) with euphemistic phrases which vary from “family planning” to “reproductive health”. In this video the professor admits to this deception:

“Will you all undertake a little project today, for me, and that is never from the 14th of October onwards will you say those words up there (pointing towards the text on the slide: “population control”). You will never find me in any situation except in the context of this slide saying: population control. So will you for the rest of this meeting, and for the rest of your life, never put those two words together. They have been so damaging. They instantly make your hair up… think of India in the 1970s and of China at time present. Use any other way you would like to say, like my phrase “population matters”. Please don’t say “population control”. So there’s one thing you can all do.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Shaping America Into Progressivism

Liberals took control of education and imposed political correctness, which silenced conservatives and any possible opposition lest they be labeled racists and anti-children.

The curriculum changed from year to year, becoming more secularized and socialist, pushing religion completely out of the public schools. Prayer at football games, singing the national anthem, and the recitation of the pledge of allegiance to our country were scorned. Atheists objected to traditions that made this country great but interfered with their agenda. Being Green, the worship of Gaia, Mother Earth, and activist environmentalism became the new religion.

Teaching methodologies changed yearly, according to the latest fashion from teacher colleges in New York, Boston, California, like a new dress, more outrageous and less conducive to learning but easy on testing and highly experimental. The curriculum became more “socially just.” Standards were so relaxed that some students graduated who could not read or write on an elementary level. Education was dumbed down to include even the laziest students, test results worsened, dropouts increased, while knowledge retention declined.

Multilingual education and multiculturalism were forced upon schools in order to accommodate the burgeoning illegal immigrant student population.


I was shocked when the entire student body was required to attend two-hour indoctrination into the peaceful religion of Islam, presented by a Palestinian imam. A rapt audience of innocent and ignorant high school students was told how respected and cherished Muslim women were. The faculty did not protest but sat stony faced although they all knew the lack of rights and worth of Muslim women. Nobody asked questions about the hangings, stonings, decapitations, and cutting limbs of women under Islam. The religious presentation had been organized by the principal, the same person who said repeatedly that there is a separation of church and state, and refused to allow students to wear crosses to school because it might make students uncomfortable who did not believe in God.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]