Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120427

Financial Crisis
»Eurozone: But Austerity is Necessary
»Greece: Tax Evaders to Have Accounts Seized
»Greece: Cabinet Prepares for Bank Recapitalization
»Greek Ferry Firms on the Verge of Bankruptcy
»Hollande Says Germany Can’t Decide for the Whole of Europe
»How Do You Say “Basta” In German?
»Iceland Leads the Way
»Italy: Confidence in Premier Drops
»Monti: Barroso Push Competitiveness to Spur Eurozone
»Ratings Agency Downgrade: Merkel Blasts Hollande as Spain Worries Increase
»Spain Downgraded Over Spiralling Recession
»Standard and Poor’s Knocks Spain Down Two Notches
»The Debt Drug: How Long Will Hollande’s Party Go on?
»U.S. Economic Growth Slows to 2.2% Rate, Report Says
»Wealth Gap in America Caused by Federal Reserve, Not Capitalism
»A Controversial “Ruling” That Threatens Your Job and the Economy
»But, What About Justice for Zimmerman?
»Coincidences, Truth, And Propaganda
»Dirty Tricks: NY GOP Chairman Lies to Voters, Says Ron Paul is Out of the Race
»DoD Confirms Russian Troops to Train on U.S. Soil
»Feds Criminalizing Small Family Farms Under Ridiculous ‘Labor Laws’ That Target Children
»George Zimmerman Bought Handgun to Defend Against Roaming Pit Bulls
»Health Blogger Threatened With Jail Time for Advocating Paleo Diet That Cured His Diabetes
»Judge Rules Enforcing Muslim Law on Everyone Not Establishment of Religion
»Marine Discharged for Slamming Obama on Facebook
»Military to Review Its Course Teaching: “U.S. Is at War With Islam”
»Ron Paul Has Been Quietly Piling Up Delegates — For a Brokered Convention?
»Suspect in Salt Lake City Store Stabbings in Jail a Week Earlier
»U.S. And Canada Conduct Major Military Exercise
»US ‘Discovers’ Its War is on Islam Not Terrorism
»USA Returns 7 Stolen Artworks From America to Italy
»White House Threat to Veto CISPA is a Crude Stunt
»Will the Media Carry Obama to Victory in November?
Europe and the EU
»Brussels Prepares New Rules on ‘Flexible’ EU State Aid
»Danish Police Arrest Three Preparing a “Terror Attack”
»EU Police Warn of New-Model Jihad Threat
»France: Le Pen Taunts Sarkozy for Wooing Her Voters
»France: Is This the Most Dangerous Man in Europe?
»France: Hollande Vows to Keep Burka Ban
»France: Hollande Also Courts Right With Burqa Ban
»Germany Announces Plans for Gun Registry
»Germany Will Work With Whoever Wins French Election
»German Islam Conference Ends in Failure
»Italy: Rosy Mauro to Resign Senate Deputy Leadership as Financial Police Seize Belsito Diamonds
»Italy: Finmeccanica Chief Probed for Northern League Bribes
»Italy: PDL’s Podesta Probed on False 2010 Electoral Petitions
»Norway Princess Moving to London With Family
»Norwegian Justice System ‘Not About Revenge’
»Pre-Tournament Terrorism: Four Blasts Hit Ukrainian City of Dnipropetrovsk
»Swiss Woman Dies After Attempting to Live on Sunlight; Woman Gave Up Food and Water on Spiritual Journey
»UK: Ken Livingstone: Fury at ‘Concentration Camp Guard’ Jibe Was a “Huge Fuss Over Nothing”
»UK: Man Arrested After Tottenham Court Road ‘Bomb Threat’
»UK: Muslims Question Militant’s Speech
»UK: Terror on Tottenham Court Road: 1,000 Workers Evacuated After Man With Gas Canisters Strapped to His Body Storms London Office Building, Takes Four Hostages and Threatens to Blow Himself Up
»UK: West End Siege Drama Ends in Arrest
»‘We Can’t be Indifferent to What Happens in Ukraine’
»Serbia: Luciano Benetton in Belgrade Soon for Investment
Mediterranean Union
»EU-Morocco: Rabat: Road Map of Future Relations Set
»Tunisia: EU: Call to Promote Cultural Activities Launched
»UFM: Schulz to EU Commission, Give Funds, Political Support
North Africa
»Prison Riot in Libya Kills 3, Injures 13
Israel and the Palestinians
»Caroline Glick: Post-Zionism is So 1990s
»Row Over Teenager’s Poem Overshadows Remembrance Day
Middle East
»Hamas Steers a New Course After Break From Syria
»Oman: Gentle Path to Islam
»Osama Bin Laden’s Family Expelled From Pakistan
»Turkey: 1st Province to Ban Alcohol Drinking in Public
»Muslim Lawyer Proposes Islamic Courts: Forced to Leave Russia
South Asia
»India’s Defense Deals Mired in Corruption
»Journalist Accused of Insulting Thai Royal Family Sets Precedent
»Mariners: Terzi: EU-ASEAN to Cooperate Against Piracy
»Six Sri Lankan Fishermen Held by Somali Pirates Are Rescued
»US Allows ‘Safe Passage’ To Afghan Taliban Leaders
Far East
»China’s Arctic Ambitions Spark Concerns
»US Said to Withdraw Troops From Japan’s Okinawa Island
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Uganda: Muslim War on Museveni
Latin America
»Argentina Criticises EU’s ‘Unacceptable’ Behaviour
»France 2012: Hollande: Fundamental to Limit Immigration
»Greece: New Ombudsman Website for Migrants
»International Law Stops Swiss Expulsion Plans
»Italy: Immigrants Say They Are Treated ‘Worse Than Animals’
Culture Wars
»Interfaith Service in Naperville Offers Earth Day Theme
»Elite Eugenicists Call for Mass Depopulation, Drastic Reduction in Energy Consumption
»Rio+20: Why Africans (And the World) Should Fear European Elite’s Green Agenda
»The Ugly American — Sex Trafficking and Our National Humiliation

Financial Crisis

Eurozone: But Austerity is Necessary

Die Zeit Hamburg

The Netherlands, France, and the ECB: Europe’s growing opposition to Germany’s strict austerity measures is threatening the survival of the fiscal pact. Nonetheless, Berlin should continue to insist on discipline both for itself and for Europe, argues a German business journalist.

Since when does the Netherlands lie on the shores of the Mediterranean? The euro crisis is back, and not just in the south. It has arrived on the northern shores too, which is where the good and the stable come together. Those who are like us.

Of course, the Netherlands is not Greece. The state however has gone into debt too quickly, and the private debt is immense. The government therefore has urged deeper cuts — and has been frustrated by the populists. Every case is different, though, from Madrid to Rome and now The Hague. The structure, still, is always the same: a stagnant economy and high unemployment leading to austerity cuts, which exact a price on economic vitality; the citizens get angry, the stock markets are rattled, and the politicians give way a little. Or — as in the Netherlands — sometimes they lose their offices too.

The United States has responded the same way as the opposition parties in Europe, accusing the Germans of ruining everything with their austerity. Berlin should rather take responsibility for its partners’ debts and free up money for new growth. Then calm would finally prevail in the shaky, much papered-over Euroland.

Such a solution would in truth suit the Americans, because as the world’s largest debtor they would then not be left standing so alone. But Europe is different from America. A bail-out in return for a little discipline has to be the deal here. Otherwise, one country after another will get sucked into the vortex of low ratings and high interest rates.

All eyes are on Germany now. But what is Berlin doing, except saving with great farsightedness in the midst of Germany’s economic boom? It’s planning new social services such as subsidised childcare and even coming up with pension increases into the bargain. No matter how one stands on the individual measures, the sums make Germany, whose debt amounts to approximately 80 percent of its current economic performance, less than credible as a role model in the European austerity pact…

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

Greece: Tax Evaders to Have Accounts Seized

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 27 — Tax evaders could find their bank deposits seized up to the amount they owe to the state if their debt from the non-payment of value-added tax exceeds 150,000 or they have issued fake tax documents valued at over 300,000 euros, as daily Kathimerini reports. Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis told Skai TV on Thursday that the relevant authorities have been instructed to seize the amount that account holders are suspected of owing to the state. The minister said that this would happen not just before suspected tax dodgers go on trial but also before they are informed of impending action, due to fears that this would allow them to transfer their deposits abroad. They will, instead, be informed up to 15 days after their deposits are seized. The measure forms part of the new monitoring program launched by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE), which has until June to perform extensive checks on the cream of taxpayers with suspicious transactions.

In this context wealthier suspects face the risk of having their bank accounts opened and their properties confiscated should they be found to be evading taxes.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Cabinet Prepares for Bank Recapitalization

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 27 — The heads of Piraeus Bank Michalis Sallas, Alpha Bank Yiannis Costopoulos, Eurobank EFG Dimitris Nanopoulos and National Bank Vassilis Rapanos are expecting to hear on Friday of a new set of measures from Cabinet on the context of the lenders’ recapitalization. As daily kathimerini reports, the government will proceed with a series of preparatory moves to ensure the strengthening of the credit system until the final structure of the recapitalization is determined after the May 6 general elections. Besides the four major commercial banks, Cabinet will also discuss the distribution of capital to other lenders, too, so as to have the funds set aside by the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility (HFSF) to immediately bolster local banks.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greek Ferry Firms on the Verge of Bankruptcy

Losses of more than 1bn euros in three years

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 23 — The future is looking very gloomy for many Greek coastal and maritime companies which manage the routes between the islands and the mainland after having accumulated losses of over a billion Euros in the past three years (2009-2011). The future situation for some of these companies right now appears to be extremely severe, also considering that the long awaited Easter surge in passenger travel was not even close to the range of what had been hoped for. The number of people embarked between Greeks and foreign tourists went down at least 50% compared to the same period of 2011. Another reason for the drop in ticket sales was the Greek ferry strike on April 11 and 12. If we just look at the top four companies, ANEK, Minoan, Lesbos Maritime and Attica Group (all on the stock market) these have suffered losses of 215 million euros only in 2009, rising to 345 million in 2010 and back down to 210 million in 2011.

Last year many companies managed to limit their losses by transporting Libyan citizens fleeing from the civil war raging in their country. The prospect of failure thus seems to hang more and more over the heads of these companies. The fault does not only lie in the Greek economic crisis though but also in the snail paced state bureaucracy. The Greek government in fact owes the ship companies 12 million euros dating back to transport services in 2011.

In the meantime the maritime sailing industry is finding itself with a series of mounting problems. The ferry services, due to a decreased expenditure by the population in the grip of the crisis is registering losses in ticket sales. If we compare 2011 to the previous year, business went down between 5% to 30% depending on the routes. Fuel prices have also risen in the first quarter of 2012. Oil has gone up to 640 euros per tonne compared to last year’s 500. Just this increase could mean that some ship owning companies or firms with fast boats sporting new technology would see a sharp rise in costs of even 30 million Euros per year.

Lastly, the banks, who have reduced their financing to maritime companies, down from 1.76 billion Euros in 2004 to 1.02 billion in 2010.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Hollande Says Germany Can’t Decide for the Whole of Europe

(AGI) Paris — Hollande has criticised Angela Merkel’s opposition to Eurobonds and re-negotiating the so-called ‘fiscal compact’. French presidential candidate Francoise Hollande said “Germany can’t decide for the whole of Europe.” ..

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

How Do You Say “Basta” In German?

El País Madrid

Notwithstanding its social and political consequences, the Bundesbank and Angela Merkel’s government are still advocating the austerity, which has been in force in Europe for the last two years. It is high time we stopped the damage, argues Spanish political analyst José Ignacio Torreblanca.

José Ignacio Torreblanca

According to Jens Weidmann, the young economist who became President of the Bundesbank after a meteoric political career in the shadow of Angela Merkel and is surely the most influential member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), some types of interest at a rate of six percent are not “the end of the world” and therefore are not sufficient grounds for the ECB to mobilise to relieve the pressure on Spain in the debt markets. One is curious to know just how far Weidmann is aware that Spain and Germany are in a monetary union and also the extent to which he shares in the concern that such spreads in the interest rates call into question the ultimate meaning and existence of that union.

We might suppose that for Weidmann, whose mandate includes neither growth nor employment, merely price stability, it would be an inflation rate of six percent that would spell out the end of the world for sure. Fortunately, the President of the Bundesbank can sleep easy, as the average inflation in the eurozone is 2.7 percent. In Spain, moreover, for greater peace of mind for Weidmann, inflation is at 1.8 percent and in Greece at 1.4 percent, which is lower even than in Germany (2.3 percent).

The value of that statement by Weidman, so sincere and yet so clumsy, is that it explains with total clarity what is happening to Europe, and very directly and particularly to Spain.

German has yet to learn the lessons of Weimar

The lack of insight and sensitivity that is bogging us down dates back to the blindness of the French elites at the end of World War I, who stifled any chance of recovery and economic growth in Germany by imposing punitive war reparations. Some of the reparations, while fair, since Germany had started the war, gave way to a mixture of populism and irredentism that lit the fuses of Nazism and World War II. It’s still an irony that Germany, which has admirably overcome Nazism, could not do the same with the inflation that brought down the Weimar Republic. Undoubtedly, if the euro ends up collapsing or if the European Union itself falls apart, historians will reach for phrases like this to explain what went wrong in Europe and to describe the errors that were made.

With its blind spots and with a similar attitude (do the right thing though the world perish), the German government is not only endangering the European Union but is also encouraging the emergence of anti-German sentiment. One example: although in Spain the image of Germany as a country is still good, the most recent poll by the Real Instituto Elcano shows that three out of four Spaniards (73 percent) believe that Germany does not take Spain’s interests into account, and even more unanimously, 87 percent believe that “the country in command in Europe is Germany”. Note: not the country that commands “more”, but the country that commands, full stop…

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

Iceland Leads the Way

By Roger Kimball

Fiduciary responsibility: remember that? I didn’t think so. Nobody around here does either. But Iceland does, and it has just provided the rest of us with a brisk reminder that the people we entrust to be public stewards have a responsibility to be, you know, public stewards.

The Financial Times (registration req’d) reports today that Geir Haarde, former prime minster of Iceland, has been found guilty of negligence in his handling of the economic crisis that engulfed the U.S. and most of Europe late in 2008. (Perhaps I should say, “began to engulf”: we aren’t out of the woods yet, not by a long shot.)

Mr. Haarde was cleared of other charges — eating dogs was not, apparently among them — and he faces no jail time or other punishment. Still, it is good to know that the habit of holding public servants (how quaint that phrase sounds in the age of the Imperial Motorcade) responsible for their actions has not, not quite, passed out of existence.

Barack Obama has added more than $7 trillion to the federal deficit since he took office. That’s 7,000,000,000,000. How’s that for negligence — or maybe something far worse? Is it time to think about the Icelandic Option?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Confidence in Premier Drops

Monti’s ratings fall as austerity measures bite

(ANSA) — Rome, April 27 — Approval ratings for Italian Premier Mario Monti are plummeting, falling five points to 40% in one week, a survey said on Friday.

When Monti’s government of non-political technocrats took over from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned amidst economic crisis in November, the premier’s ratings stood at 71%.

Tough austerity measures and labor-market reforms currently under review by the Italian parliament, have put the fix-it premier and his emergency government at the center of controversy.

The premier stands by his government’s plan to technically balance Italy’s budget in 2013 despite the deepening recession which has led some commentators to doubt the likelihood.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Monti: Barroso Push Competitiveness to Spur Eurozone

‘Borrowing not the way to growth’

(ANSA) — Brussels, April 27 — Italian Premier Mario Monti and EU Commission President Jose’ Manuel Barroso said Friday that stimulating economic growth must occur through increased competition and targeted investments, not through raising debt levels.

“Boosting growth must come through a relentless focus on improving competitiveness and not through elevated borrowing,” said Monti and Barroso in a joint statement.

Meeting in Brussels, they said there was a “need to further develop the single market” in Europe and to spur competitiveness in the digital, energy and service sectors.

“Fiscal consolidation should then proceed together to targeted investments to enhance competition and at the same time helping to boost demand in the short term,” they said. Monti has been pressing EU leaders this week to adopt a greater emphasis on growth, which most economists and heads of government now agree is necessary after having first implemented austerity packages.

On Wednesday European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi, who is Italian, called on Europe to agree on a pact for growth and on individual member states to be more ambitious in introducing structural economic reforms to promote it.

The Italian premier’s emergency government of non-political technocrats has made fixing the economy its top priority in the wake of the euro crisis which led to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation last November. After introducing economic liberalizations and measures to cut red tape, Monti’s government has now presented controversial labor-market reform in Italy that would make it easier to fire workers with the aim of spurring growth and new hiring.

The premier and EU Commission president said Friday they would meet again on May 15 ahead of a European Council meeting on June 28-29.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Ratings Agency Downgrade: Merkel Blasts Hollande as Spain Worries Increase

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear on Thursday that she was not prepared to renegotiate the European Union fiscal pact as demanded by French presidential candidate François Hollande. Her comments come as ratings agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded Spain two notches.

With the dark clouds of the ongoing euro crisis thickening over Spain this spring, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday staunchly defended her focus on euro-zone austerity and once again insisted that the EU fiscal pact, signed in March, would not be revisited.

In comments clearly aimed at French presidential candidate François Hollande, Merkel told Germany’s WAZ media group that the pact “cannot be renegotiated.” The Socialist Hollande has suggested that, if he emerges victorious over French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round of elections on May 6, he would ask for changes to the agreement. The fiscal pact, which imposes strict new rules governing budget deficits and sovereign debt, was signed by 25 of the 27 European Union member states. The UK and Czech Republic declined to join.

Hollande’s reply was not long in coming. Speaking to broadcaster France 2 on Thursday evening, he said: “It is not Germany that will decide for the entirety of Europe.” When asked what he plans to say to Merkel should he win the election, he said: “I will tell her that the French people had made a decision that envisages a renegotiation of the pact.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain Downgraded Over Spiralling Recession

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgraded Spain by two notches on Thursday (26 April) in a sign of persistent investor concern over the stability of the eurozone. “The downgrade reflects our view of mounting risks to Spain’s net general government debt as a share of GDP in light of the contracting economy, in particular due to the deterioration in the budget deficit trajectory for 2011-2015,” S&P said in a statement announcing the downgrade to BBB+ from A.

It also said further downgrades may come down the line, as Spain’s economy is expected to shrink by 1.5 percent this year, as opposed to 0.3 percent growth predictions a few months earlier.

Banks may also need to be given “further fiscal support” from the public sector, the agency said. Plans are reportedly under way to allow Spanish banks to tap money from the €700-billion-strong bail-out funds to be set up this summer, Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote on Thursday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Standard and Poor’s Knocks Spain Down Two Notches

Standard and Poor’s has reduced Spain’s debt rating for the second time since January. Madrid may see its debt burden grow as it slips back into economic recession and contemplates lending more help to banks.

The US credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) slashed Spain’s sovereign debt rating by two notches on Thursday, citing Madrid’s slip back into recession as a factor that could exacerbate its budget woes.

S&P bumped Spain’s rating down from “A” to “BBB+” and gave the country a negative outlook, suggesting that its rating could be downgraded again. The agency Moody’s had taken a similar step in February.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Debt Drug: How Long Will Hollande’s Party Go on?

François Hollande is predicted to win France’s presidential election, but his victory could endanger the euro zone’s carefully negotiated fiscal pact. He also wants to water down the European Central Bank’s statutes, forcing it to lend more to promote economic growth. But his plans would do little more than borrow time — and they could be very dangerous for Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

U.S. Economic Growth Slows to 2.2% Rate, Report Says

The economic output of the United States grew at an annualized rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, easing from the prior quarter’s growth rate of 3 percent, as expected, but maintaining what many economists have started to call a “sustainable” pace of recovery.

[Return to headlines]

Wealth Gap in America Caused by Federal Reserve, Not Capitalism

The real cause of the increasing disparity in income levels in the U.S. is not capitalism, but central planning from the Federal Reserve. Continuing expansion of the money supply and artificially low interest rates are maintained by a process in which the Fed buys assets from the major banks and the richest Americans at inflated prices, or lends money to them at low rates that they can then use to buy assets at inflated prices.

This process naturally enriches all of those who are participating in it, as well as harming the rest of us by creating an economy full of mal-investment and waste. Capital is used up in finance and other “service” sectors instead of being invested in manufacturing and other productive sectors of the economy. Continuing price inflation in the asset markets also drives up prices for basic commodities, which in turn raises the price of all the things average people buy, especially food and gas. Economist Mark Spitznagel recently had an editorial in the Wall Street Journal making many of these points. This is further evidence that the realities pointed out by Austrian economists are breaking into the “mainstream” once dominated by Keynesian apologists for Leviathan.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


A Controversial “Ruling” That Threatens Your Job and the Economy

Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for various air pollutants, ozone included.

But their latest ruling on ozone is riddled in controversy, as opponents state it is not only unsupported by scientific evidence but also set to cost the United States dearly in the form of a trillion dollars and millions of lost jobs.


The standard is also moving closer to background levels that exist naturally in the environment, making it difficult if not possible to attain in some areas The costs are going to be extraordinary no matter what, with one study by Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI suggesting the stricter ozone standard could cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion per year from 2020 to 2030 while cutting 7.3 million jobs.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

But, What About Justice for Zimmerman?

I keep thinking of an episode of the 1973 TV show, “Kojak: The Marcus-Nelson Murders.” Homicide detective Kojak suspects that the black teenager accused of murdering two white girls is being framed by his fellow detectives.

The case gets a lot of media attention; politics and careers enter the mix. The frightened accused black kid pleads his innocence to detective Kojak who believes him. Kojak educates the defendant to the cold harsh reality of the situation. Kojak informed the kid that despite his innocence, the case had become such a political hot button and because the police held the kid in jail for so long, he must be found guilty of something.

I see this same scenario developing in the Martin/Zimmerman case.

Most Americans desire a fair and just outcome of this tragedy. But, Lord help us if the evidence proves Zimmerman to be innocent. If Zimmerman is ruled not-guilty and allowed to walk, I foresee Rodney King-type riots in the streets. Thus, is Zimmerman’s fate already sealed? Will a jury decide Zimmerman must be declared guilty of something?

While Al Sharpton, New Black Panthers and all of the other racist race-hustling usual suspects clamor for justice for Trayvon Martin, I wonder if justice is even possible for George Zimmerman.

Will political correctness ensure that Zimmerman be found guilty of something regardless of the evidence?

Tragically and frighteningly, we live in a time in which the law and truth appears to be losing relevance in America.


If those threatening Zimmerman’s life are black, Attorney General Eric Holder has pretty much given them a pass. In 2010, Justice Department whistle-blower, J. Christian Adams said word came down from above to, “Never bring another lawsuit against a black or other national minority, apparently no matter what they do.”[url]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Coincidences, Truth, And Propaganda

On April 18th I received an email from the Sierra Club announcing that “We’re endorsing President Obama for reelection. We’ve made too much progress over the past four years to give it all back to Big Polluters.”

Among the Sierra Club’s many projects to plunge the nation back to the golden days of reading by candle light and transportation by horse has been “Beyond Oil.” It praised the President for implementing “the toughest fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks in history.” Never mind that this has driven up the cost of cars and trucks or that the price of gasoline at the pump is headed toward historic highs.

The Center for Automotive Research has warned that overly stringent standards could add $10,000 to the cost of a new car, thereby decreasing sales, reducing production, and thereby destroying as many as 220,000 jobs. A 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that CAFÉ’s downsizing effect makes cars less safe and contributed to as many as 2,600 deaths per year.

The enemy for the Sierra Club and others like Friends of the Earth has long been coal and oil, but coincidentally on the same day, the U.S. Department of the Interior, no friend to either energy source, released its “Global Estimate for Undiscovered, Technically Recoverable Conventional Oil and Gas Resources.” It is an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The estimate, however, excluded data on the U.S. resources. In March 2011, however, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report that revealed that America’s combined energy reserves are the largest on Earth. We sit atop an estimated 163 billion barrels of oil, domestic and offshore. The U.S. accounts for more than 28% of the world’s coal reserves, at least 262 billion tons. Natural gas? We have, conservatively, an estimated 2,047 trillion cubic feet.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dirty Tricks: NY GOP Chairman Lies to Voters, Says Ron Paul is Out of the Race

One day before the NY GOP Presidential primary, Vincent Reda, the First Vice Chairman of the NY Republican Party, made robo calls to voters declaring that all other candidates had dropped out of the race except Mitt Romney. Doug Wead, Paul campaign advisor, notes that some GOP leaders have stooped pretty low trying to stop the Ron Paul campaign. Although many sources report that the GOP race is effectively over, some local GOP leaders appear to be worried that Mitt Romney’s nomination is not quite as certain as is supposed. Throughout the primary, there have been various charges, made by Paul supporters, of fraud, unfair treatment, and miscounts. But two recent and well-documented incidents are especially notable.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

DoD Confirms Russian Troops to Train on U.S. Soil

The Department of Defense has confirmed foreign media reports that Russian troops are set to target terrorists on Americans soil as part of an unprecedented joint drill with the United States which will take place in Colorado next month.

As we reported yesterday, Airborne troops from Russia are set to take part in drills focused around targeting terrorists at Fort Carson between May 24 and May 31. The soldiers will also be mingling with the local community, attending a baseball game in Colorado Springs during their stay.

Although it marks the first time Russian troops will train on U.S. soil, soldiers from a plethora of different nations have been involved in similar drills for well over a decade.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Feds Criminalizing Small Family Farms Under Ridiculous ‘Labor Laws’ That Target Children

(NaturalNews) For civilization to persist, each subsequent generation must be equipped by the previous one with the knowledge and skills to grow food, which traditionally occurs on family-scale farms from parent to child, or from seasoned expert to young amateur. But new labor laws being proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) would prohibit children from performing many of the routine farm chores they have been involved with for centuries, which some see as a direct attack on small-scale agriculture.

The Daily Caller reports that the DoL, under the guidance of the Obama Administration, is proposing that child labor laws be modified to prohibit children under the age of 16 from working with animals, for instance, or from being allowed to work with food storage bins. The proposal also seeks to prohibit children from “being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials,” which essentially makes it a crime for farmhands to touch produce once it has been picked.

Originally put forward by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis last fall as a way to further protect children from unsafe working conditions, the proposal threatens unprecedented government overreach into the normal operating procedures of private farms. And while the new provisions would reportedly contain an exemption for children working on farms owned by their parents, they would still drastically limit the freedom of children to learn about agriculture from a young age.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

George Zimmerman Bought Handgun to Defend Against Roaming Pit Bulls

A pit bull named Big Boi began menacing George and Shellie Zimmerman in the fall of 2009.

The first time the dog ran free and cornered Shellie in their gated community in Sanford, Florida, George called the owner to complain. The second time, Big Boi frightened his mother-in-law’s dog. Zimmerman called Seminole County Animal Services and bought pepper spray. The third time he saw the dog on the loose, he called again. An officer came to the house, county records show.

“Don’t use pepper spray,” he told the Zimmermans, according to a friend. “It’ll take two or three seconds to take effect, but a quarter second for the dog to jump you,” he said.

“Get a gun.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Health Blogger Threatened With Jail Time for Advocating Paleo Diet That Cured His Diabetes

(NaturalNews) Internet free speech is under assault in America, and a dangerous new trend has surfaced that threatens to throw nutritional bloggers in jail for advocating healthy diets on their blogs or websites. As you read this, a blogger who wrote about using the Paleo diet to overcome diabetes is being threatened with jail time in North Carolina, where the state Board of Dietetics / Nutrition claims his nutritional advocacy is equivalent to the crime of “practicing nutrition without a license.”

His name is Steve Cooksey, and his website is

He’s being targeted by state “dieticians” (which is another word for “nutritional moron” as you’ll see below) who say that Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition.” His website’s advocating of the Paleo diet for individuals who have health challenges is, they claim, a violation of law.

So they’ve threatened him with arrest if he does not take down his website… or at the very least stop advocating the Paleo diet to readers.

But wait a second. People give nutritional advice on their websites all the time. Millions of websites and blogs, in fact, currently offer advice on fitness, nutrition, disease prevention, natural remedies and more. Are all those people now criminals if they live in North Carolina?

And even worse, could this censorship insanity spread to other states? Might such censorship be pursued at a federal level?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Judge Rules Enforcing Muslim Law on Everyone Not Establishment of Religion

A federal judge says an Ohio prison that forces all inmates to adhere to a strict Islamic diet is not an establishment of religion because everyone eats the same food.

A federal judge recently threw out prisoner James Rivers’ lawsuit against Ohio Prison director Gary Mohr’s decision to ban pork from kitchens in all prisons under control of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Mohr made the decision to stop serving pork products after a Muslim on death row filed a lawsuit against the prison system.

Abdul Awkal, an inmate on death row, argued in his lawsuit that the prison’s failure to provide halal meals violated his religious freedoms.

Despite Awkal’s claims, Islamic teaching says it is perfectly acceptable to eat non-halal meat if there is no halal food available.

Islam teaches that meat such as pork is considered unclean and not to be eaten. This would include all pork products including sausage and bacon.

Awkal was later joined by a second Muslim who is not on death row. Prison authorities had argued that they provided non-pork and vegetarian options for Muslims. The Muslims said that was not good enough and still insisted that the food they were given meet halal standards.

Despite Awkal’s claims that eating halal meat is a requirement of his faith, Islamic teaching says it is perfectly acceptable to eat non-halal meat if there is no halal food available.

Prison authorities had argued that providing halal meet for the thousands of Muslims in prison would bankrupt the system.

In response to the lawsuit, prison officials stopped serving pork products to everyone; including atheists and those whose religion contains no such prohibition.

Former Navy chaplain Dr. Gordon Klingenschmitt says while the judge ruled it is acceptable to force all non-Muslims to adhere to a Muslim diet, Christians have no dietary rights.

“This is another example of the Islamicization [sic] of America. It’s establishing Islam as the state religion of the prison system,” Klingenschmitt contends. “The judge’s reasoning is this: He said as long as all of the prisoners are forced to eat the same food, then there’s no discrimination taking place. In other words, if he enforces Muslim law equally, then there’s no establishment of religion. I think that’s wrong, and I pray this is overturned on the appeal.”

           — Hat tip: Van Grungy[Return to headlines]

Marine Discharged for Slamming Obama on Facebook

The U.S. Marine Corps has decided to discharge a sergeant for criticizing President Barack Obama on Facebook.

The Corps says Wednesday that Sgt. Gary Stein will be given an other-than-honorable discharge for violating Pentagon policy limiting speech of service members.

The discharge will mean he loses all benefits.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Military to Review Its Course Teaching: “U.S. Is at War With Islam”

The top military officer ordered a review of training material after a course for officers was found to espouse the view that the United States is at war with Islam, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

… The review, which was first reported by, was prompted by a complaint by a soldier who had recently completed an elective course entitled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamite Radicalism” at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.

… One example of objectionable material, presented in a power point slide for students, was an assertion “that the United States is at war with Islam and we ought to ought to just recognize that we are war with Islam,” Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Ron Paul Has Been Quietly Piling Up Delegates — For a Brokered Convention?

Two networks yesterday, CNBC and MSNBC, broadcast a little known fact — Ron Paul appears to be winning the Republican nomination for President. When the popular Texas Congressman repeatedly assured supporters that the race was about delegates, not beauty contests, he apparently knew what he was talking about. Now, after three more states locked in delegates to the GOP nominating convention — CO, MN and IA — indicators point to a brokered convention with a possible, even probable, Ron Paul victory.

Mitt Romney in a panic

The only report announcing the news of another Paul victory yesterday was the Doug Wead Blog. That write-up, which included the headline, ‘Romney in a Panic’, was picked-up and reprinted by a number of independent news outlets like RT News and The Daily Paul. Wead’s conclusion is based on a number of factors. First and foremost, Ron Paul continues to win more delegates than Mitt Romney during each state’s respective slating processes. Additionally, the writer points to drastic, last-minute changes to GOP procedure showing an attempt to limit the Paul vote. Some measures include a new poll tax in Washington and robo-calls in New York telling Republican voters that only Mitt Romney remains in the race.

What has the GOP power-brokers and their candidate in such a panic? In three short words — Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa.

Keep in mind that every major US news outlet continues to show Texas Congressman Ron Paul in last place for the GOP nomination and with only 75 delegates. View Politico’s delegate tracker as an example. They show Rep. Paul winning 3 delegates in Colorado, 17 in Minnesota and 1 in Iowa. Those networks however, have based their numbers on which candidate each state’s delegates are pledged or likely to vote for. The more important number is who they actually do vote for. And in that race, the only race that matters, Ron Paul is shocking the political world.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Suspect in Salt Lake City Store Stabbings in Jail a Week Earlier

The man accused of stabbing two people Thursday outside a Salt Lake City grocery store had been released from jail earlier this week.

Kiet Thanh Ly, 34, was booked back into the Salt Lake County jail Thursday night and is being held without bail on suspicion of assault and attempted murder.

On Monday, Ly pleaded guilty in state court in Salt Lake City to misdemeanor counts of joyriding and possessing someone else’s identifying documents, a court docket shows. He was transported from the jail for that hearing, and Judge Denise Lindberg freed him until sentencing on June 18.

Also in state court in Salt Lake City, Ly has pending misdemeanor charges of sexually battery and lewdness.

Ly also has misdemeanor convictions in Utah for attempted assault, attempted assault against a police officer, theft and drug possession.

Salt Lake City police suspect Ly of stabbing two people at random Thursday and threatening others.

Police Lt. Brian Purvis said about 5:20 p.m., a man, identified this morning as Ly, entered Smith’s Marketplace at 455 S. 500 East and purchased a kitchen knife. He said Ly exited the store along 600 East.

A police news release this morning said Ly stabbed a 30-year-old man “several times” in the abdomen then attacked a 45-year-old man who suffered cuts to his arms and head.

A 47-year-old man with a man with a concealed-carry permit drew his pistol, ordered Ly to stop and held him at gunpoint until officers could arrive.

Both stabbing victims were considered to be in critical condition Friday morning, according to the police.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

U.S. And Canada Conduct Major Military Exercise

On April 24, NORHTCOM announced Ardent Sentry 2012, billed as a “major exercise… focused on Defense Support of Civil Authorities.” It will be held on May 2 — 9, 2012, according to the U.S. Northern Command website.

Ardent Sentry will consist of command post and field training exercises that will be held in North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Alaska, Connecticut and Nova Scotia. The exercises will include both United States and Canadian military units.

Ardent Sentry 2012 “will validate existing plans, policies, and procedures, including the Federal Inter-agency Response Plan, as well as state and regional plans,” according to NORTHCOM.

NORTHCOM describes the exercises as follows:…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US ‘Discovers’ Its War is on Islam Not Terrorism

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon announced Wednesday it was investigating how a claim that the United States was at war with Islam had been used in training course materials for mid-ranking army officers. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, ordered an inquiry “to determine how this material got into the course and what we need to do to move forward,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby. The course, “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” taught at Joint Forces Staff College to lieutenant colonels, has been suspended, he told reporters. “In some of the course material that was presented to the students in the form of powerpoint slides, there were some inflammatory ideas. One idea, it was presented as an assertion, was that the United States is at war with Islam.” […]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

USA Returns 7 Stolen Artworks From America to Italy

(AGI) Washington — The United States has returned seven stolen artworks to Italy from America. The ceremony took place in the Italian Embassy in Washington, in the presence of the Minister of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and the Italian Ambassador, Claudio Bisogniero. Among the recovered works is an oil painting on copper (Leda and the Swan) from the 16th century, attributed to Lelio Orsi. The painting, which left Italy illegally in 2008, was put up for sale for about one and a half million dollars. The other works include a 2,000 year old ceramic ship and a marble sculpture.

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

White House Threat to Veto CISPA is a Crude Stunt

Even as drones are deployed domestically to spy on American citizens, Barack Obama is posing as a champion of privacy and civil liberties by threatening to veto the CISPA web snooping bill, just as his administration pretended to be hostile to the National Defense Authorization Act before signing it anyway.

An email released by the White House this afternoon claims the administration is unhappy with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act because it fails to include proper “privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties safeguards.”

“If H.R. 3523 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” states the email.

This is another crude stunt to lull civil libertarians on the left into a false sense of security.

As we documented earlier, Obama pulled precisely the same trick with the NDAA ‘indefinite detention’ bill, when for months he threatened to veto it while his administration secretly lobbied for the most draconian provisions to be added. When push came to shove, Obama signed the bill on New Year’s Eve while everyone’s attention was diverted.

Indeed, the real reason behind the administration’s hostility to CISPA is revealed later in the email — that it doesn’t give the Department of Homeland Security enough power over Internet traffic.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Will the Media Carry Obama to Victory in November?

In a recent interview with Accuracy in Media, Richard Benedetto, a retired White House correspondent and columnist for USA Today, said that “the media have been a huge factor in President Obama maintaining the job approval rating that is not at 50%, but just a little bit below. I think he works very hard at courting that,” said Benedetto. “He knows how the media cover him. He takes full advantage of it. He makes sure that he’s out there all the time — and that’s part of the game.”

Benedetto was part of the White House press corps from Presidents Reagan through George W. Bush, and covered every presidential campaign over that period since 1984, and every national political convention since 1972. He teaches courses on politics and elections at American University, and still writes commentary, most recently for Real Clear Politics, The Washington Times, and Politico. He is also the author of Politicians Are People, Too, which was published in 2006.

Benedetto describes the media today as being “so far to the Left that if you just try to be fair, and say, to do a certain thing, ‘Let’s be fair, let’s cover this fairly,’ or ‘Let’s analyze this objectively,’ you run the risk of being accused of being a Right-winger.”


In a wide-ranging discussion, Benedetto said that he doesn’t believe that respect around the globe for America has increased under the Obama administration, and that support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped significantly during that period. He also believes that Obama has “repeatedly divided the nation and helped create resentment between classes.” Below are excerpts from the interview, which took place on April 12th. You can read the transcript or listen to the complete interview here. [url]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Brussels Prepares New Rules on ‘Flexible’ EU State Aid

(AGI) Brussels — An internal EC memo has Brussels poised to review its policy on state aid with a view to promoting growth.

The prospective review is due up for formal discussion and approval during the European Commission’s May 8 competition meetings chaired by Commissioner and EC Vice-President Joaquin Almunia. The internal memo points to “an overall reform” of rules concerning state aid oversight, “focusing on growth-promoting subsidies.” .

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

Danish Police Arrest Three Preparing a “Terror Attack”

(AGI) Copenhagen — Danish police arrested three people in Copenhagen suspected of preparing a “terrorist attack,” a press release from the Danish secret service (PET) reports. A 22-year-old Jordanian, a 23-year-old Turk, both Danish residents, and a Dane with Egyptian residence were arrested.

The three are alleged to have illegally obtained automatic weapons and ammunition with which they were “preparing a terror attack,” the press release states.

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

EU Police Warn of New-Model Jihad Threat

The EU’s joint police body, Europol has noted there were no succesful Islamist attacks in Europe last year, while warning about future Toulouse-type ‘lone wolves.’

Its report, out on Wednesday (25April), highlighted that “member states have not reported a single al-Qaeda affiliated or inspired terrorist attack actually carried out in 2011.”

The development comes not for want of trying. “The al-Qaeda-affiliated or inspired threat towards Scandinavia and Germany rose steadily during 2011, whilst other member states, such as France, Spain and the UK, remained constant targets and centres for radical activities,” it added.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania also registered jihadist activity.

Police forces arrested 17 people for planning Islamist attacks, down from 89 in 2010. One man tried to bomb Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten, which published cartoons making fun of Mohammed in 2005. Another man tried to poison water supplies in Spain to avenge Osama bin Laden.

More than 60 arrests concerned suspected membership of groups such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) or the Somalia-based al-Shabab. Another 40-or-so related to “terrorist propaganda,” illicit financing or possession of arms and explosives.

The Europol survey came out one month after a man in Toulouse, France shot dead two French soldiers, three Jewish children and a Jewish schoolteacher. It also coincided with the trial of Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in Norway last year in the name of “counter-jihad.”

It made no mention of Toulouse, but it warned that one important future threat is “lone actors” inspired by jihadist websites, even though most loners are “largely amateur” and “impulsive” in their methods.

Other trends include kidnapping of EU citizens in Afghanistan-Pakistan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Nigeria and Morocco, as well as link-ups between jihadist groups and organised crime in eastern Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Le Pen Taunts Sarkozy for Wooing Her Voters

National Front leader Marine Le Pen on Thursday mocked Nicolas Sarkozy for veering ever further to the right to woo the millions who plumped for her in round one of the French presidential vote.

The taunt came as Sarkozy and his front-running Socialist rival Francois Hollande prepared to take their duel to the airwaves to sell their competing plans for France if they are elected in the final round on May 6.

Le Pen, who failed to break through to the run-off but got 18 percent, or 6.4 million votes, in Sunday’s first round, said that until a few days ago Sarkozy and his “clique” had attacked her party on all fronts.

“We were xenophobes, anti-Semites, racists, national preference was a terrible shame… and all of a sudden, there is no more of that,” the 43-year-old National Front (FN) leader told RTL radio.

Sarkozy, the first sitting French president to lose a first-round vote, has tilted further to the right since Sunday, vowing to “defend the French way of life”, drastically reduce immigration and secure France’s borders.

Both he and Hollande are battling to woo the millions who plumped for Le Pen and are seen as key to winning the second round, which the latest opinion poll predicted Hollande will take with 54 percent to Sarkozy’s 46 percent.

Sarkozy on Wednesday ruled out any pact with the FN, saying he would give the party no ministerial posts if re-elected, but Hollande still accuses his rival of going too far to woo the extreme right.

The centre-left daily Le Monde agreed with that assessment, writing in a front-page editorial in its edition dated Thursday that since Sunday “the president… has crossed the line between comprehension and compromise”. It argued that he has “adopted the language, the rhetoric and the ideas — or rather the obsessions — of Ms Le Pen”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Is This the Most Dangerous Man in Europe?

The Economist London

The socialist candidate is set to become the next French president, but his refusal to reform would be bad for his country and most of all for Europe, argues the London weekly.

It is half of the Franco-German motor that drives the European Union. It has been the swing country in the euro crisis, poised between a prudent north and spendthrift south, and between creditors and debtors. And it is big. If France were the next euro-zone country to get into trouble, the single currency’s very survival would be in doubt.

That is why the likely victory of the Socialist candidate, François Hollande, in France’s presidential election matters so much. In the first round on April 22nd Mr Hollande came only just ahead of the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy. Yet he should win the second round on May 6th, because he will hoover up all of the far-left vote that went to Jean-Luc Mélenchon and others and also win a sizeable chunk from the National Front’s Marine Le Pen and the centrist François Bayrou.

Mr Sarkozy has a mountain to climb. Many French voters seem viscerally to dislike him. Neither Ms Le Pen (who, disturbingly, did well) nor Mr Bayrou (who, regrettably, did not) is likely to endorse him, as both will gain from his defeat. So, barring a shock, such as an implosion in next week’s televised debate, Mr Hollande can be confident of winning in May, and then of seeing his party triumph in June’s legislative election…

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

France: Hollande Vows to Keep Burka Ban

France’s socialist presidential candidate has said that, if elected, he will not seek to overturn a law banning face-covering Muslim veils enacted by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives. Francois Hollande, who leads Mr Sarkozy in all polls, and most other Socialists abstained from the 2010 vote in the National Assembly to ban mesh-screen burkas and niqabs, which have slits for the eyes. He said today that he would keep the ban, but “have it applied in the best way”. Controversy surrounded the law, that took effect last year.

Islamic leaders say it unfairly stigmatises Muslims. Supporters insist it helps defend France’s secular state. Only a tiny number of women wear the veils. The presidential election run-off is on Sunday May 6.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Hollande Also Courts Right With Burqa Ban

(AGI) Paris — In a less ostentatious way than Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande has also begun to court right wing voters.

Hollande is attempting to win over the 6.4 million voters who supported the extreme right leader Marine Le Pen on Sunday. The weapon is still the same: the flow of immigration and the rights-duties of immigrants. On the latter subject the Socialist candidate announced that were he elected, he would confirm the ban on wearing the burqa or niqab in public, adopted in 2010, which Holland abstained from voting on at the time. And not only this. The Socialist leader is not a do-gooder with the intention to welcome any immigrant with open arms. “In a period of crisis such as that which we are experiencing, limiting immigration is not just necessary, but essential,” he said, considering adopting the 20,000 a year limit of 20,000 already established by Sarkozy, even if he is open to a discussion on the number.

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

Germany Announces Plans for Gun Registry

Germany’s parliament is establishing a weapons registry. The decision came on the tenth anniversary of a school massacre, but is part of an EU plan for Europe-wide gun registration.

On the morning of April 26, 2002, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from Gutenberg High School in the eastern German city of Erfurt began a deadly rampage. Over the course of two hours, he systematically stalked his former school’s corridors and classrooms. The perpetrator killed 12 teachers, one secretary, one police officer and two students before taking his own life. Germany’s first school shooting put the country into a state of shock, and triggered an earnest debate on how to toughen gun laws.

Exactly ten years after the massacre, Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, decided to establish a central weapons registry. It will gather information from the 600 offices that issue weapons permits throughout Germany in one place.

The Erfurt massacre was not in fact the main impetus for the registry. Rather, the Bundestag is aiming to follow a European Union directive calling for every member country to set up a computerized, constantly updated weapons register by 2014.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Will Work With Whoever Wins French Election

(AGI) Berlin — The German government and its chancellor “will work well and reliably with who ever” wins the French presidential elections, said Steffen, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, playing down her support for Nicolas Sarkozy, which has put her against his socialist rival, Francois Hollande. Reliability and close cooperation, added Seibert are “the nature of the special friendship between France and Germany.”

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

German Islam Conference Ends in Failure

Muslim representatives insisted instead that the German government amend its “misguided” approach to Muslim immigration. Many want to establish a “Koran-state” in Germany; they believe Islamic Sharia law is a divine ordinance that will replace democracy, a man-made form of government.

Senior German officials gathered in Berlin with Muslim leaders from around the country on April 19 for the seventh annual German Islam Conference. The official focus of this year’s forum — aimed at furthering Muslim integration in Germany — was finding ways to deal with the spiraling rates of forced marriages and domestic violence among the estimated 4.3 million Muslims who now reside there. The main topic for discussion at the conference, however, was not on the official agenda: it was the unprecedented nationwide campaign by Islamic radicals to distribute 25 million free copies of the Koran, with the stated goal of placing one Koran into every home in Germany. Muslim representatives attending the forum this year were in no mood for compromise, and refused to accept responsibility for any of the myriad irritants in German-Muslim relations, insisting instead that the German government amend its “misguided” approach to Muslim integration. German officials were left trying to put the best spin on this year’s event, which ended without a joint press conference, reportedly because of lingering Muslim pique at “offensive” comments which were uttered at the press conference that ended last year’s event.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Rosy Mauro to Resign Senate Deputy Leadership as Financial Police Seize Belsito Diamonds

Officers receive jewels from former Northern League treasurer but one is missing

MILAN — The Milan financial police has seized the eleven diamonds returned last week by former Northern League treasurer, Francesco Belsito. The operation was carried out when the party informed the public prosecutor that the jewels had not been purchased for the party. But there is a mystery within the mystery. Only eleven diamonds were returned while case file documents indicate that twelve were purchased. One diamond is missing. Last Friday, Senator Piergiorgio Stiffoni spoke about diamonds to magistrates. His lawyer, Agostino D’Antuoni, explained: “I handed over his bank accounts to demonstrate that it was a personal investment made with personal funds”. The senator also gave magistrates papers that are alleged to prove the repeated requests for clarification made to Mr Belsito during internal auditing of the Northern League’s accounts.

BELSITO QUESTIONED BY MAGISTRATES — Meanwhile, the written report of Mr Belsito’s questioning during the morning remains confidential. Mr Belsito is under investigation on suspicion of fraud and embezzlement in the context of investigations into election grants. This could be taken to suggest that the former treasurer has adopted a collaborative stance with magistrates, an inference confirmed by Mr Belsito’s lawyer, Paolo Scovazzi, who said that his client was cooperating with magistrates but had not attempted to shift blame onto others. Mr Scovazzi added that “it is a little strong to talk about collaboration, at least in the sense in which this is usually understood in Italy, which is to say committing a crime and then passing the buck. In this case, it is correct to call it collaboration, in the sense that we are at the magistrates’ disposal to throw light on Mr Belsito’s role”…

English translation by Giles Watson

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

Italy: Finmeccanica Chief Probed for Northern League Bribes

Defense giant allegedly paid out millions

(ANSA) — Naples, April 24 — The chairman and CEO of defence giant Finmeccanica was placed under investigation Tuesday for allegedly paying millions of euros in bribes to the scandal-plagued Northern League party. Judicial sources stressed that the probe into Giuseppe Orsi is a formality in response to allegations from Lorenzo Borgogni, a former external relations director at Finmeccanica. The Northern League and Finmeccanica both denied kickbacks reports Tuesday. “Regarding the insinuations in some newspapers today, the Northern League has nothing to do with this affair and has never taken bribes from Finmeccanica or anyone else,” read a party statement.

The statement added that anyone “who associates the Northern League with this affair will be prosecuted in the civil and criminal courts”. Finmeccanica has been hit by an investigation into allegations that its managers were involved in issuing false invoices and the creation of slush funds to bribe politicians.

Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, who had been Finmeccanica’s chairman and chief executive since 2002, was forced to resign in December after being named as one of the managers being probed.

The Northern League is at the centre of a separate probe into alleged fraud by former treasurer Francesco Belsito that led to Umberto Bossi quitting as leader at the start of this month and other party heavyweights resigning from their posts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: PDL’s Podesta Probed on False 2010 Electoral Petitions

(AGI) Milan — Milan’s Province governor Podesta’ is formally subject to investigation on false electoral petitions allegations. The allegations relate to the 2010 Lombardy regional government elections, at which time Guido Potesta’ held both PDL party management and province government appointments. Podesta’ — who personally informed of the judicial developments — is being probed on allegations that his party tampered with electoral petitions by attaching false signatures. Commenting developments Podesta’ clarified that the inquest “has no bearing” on his appointment as province governor.

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

Norway Princess Moving to London With Family

Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise and husband Ari Behn have announced plans to move to London with their three daughters. The royal palace on Thursday confirmed the couple’s intentions to leave Norway. The three girls, Maud Angelica, who turns nine on Sunday, Leah Isidora (7) and Emma Tallulah (3), are to be enrolled in an English school, newspaper VG reports.

Despite the proposed change of scene, the princess — who also claims to be able to talk with angels — will continue to run her own English-language school in Norway, Astate Education. The palace could not give an exact date for the move and said it did know how long the royal family intended to stay in the British capital.

“Princess Märtha Louise will continue to have her official duties, for which she will commute,” palace spokeswoman Marianne Hagen told news agency NTB. The princess will also continue her work with people with disabilities, Hagen added. “And it’s therefore very appropriate that the Paralympics will be held in London.”

The 40-year-old princess married the author Ari Behn, 39, in 2002. That same year she renounced the title Her Royal Highness, preferring instead to focus on her activities as an independent businesswoman. The princess and Ari Behn have lived in Lommedalen, south-eastern Norway, since 2003.

Earlier this year, Princess Märtha Louise saw her second book about angels storm to the top of Norwegian bestsellers’ lists. The princess, who also has an alternative medicine business, wrote the book with fellow author Elisabeth Nordeng. “There are an infinite number of angels all around us who want to help us in all circumstances and at all times,” the princess and Nordeng wrote in their introduction to the book “the Secrets of Angels”. “They are there for us. They are real. They exist,” they added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norwegian Justice System ‘Not About Revenge’

Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in attacks last July, remained emotionless in the face of witness testimony that opened up this week. Despite the gruesome nature of the crimes, Norwegians aren’t seeking revenge.

The lack of angry reactions to Breivik’s complete lack of remorse to his extreme violence has puzzled many international observers at this trial. Yet one Norwegian author and commentator who is following the case, Anders Giaever of the Oslo daily Verdens Gang (VG), told DW the reaction was “typically Norwegian.”

“We have no tradition for the whole system of punishment. And the justice system is not about revenge — it’s about a healing process, I guess that is part of it. “Breivik is such an extraordinary crime, it’s the first time we experience anything like it. If something like this were to happen again I think the mood would change,” Giaever said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pre-Tournament Terrorism: Four Blasts Hit Ukrainian City of Dnipropetrovsk

A series of explosions rocked the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk on Friday injuring dozens, at least three seriously. Authorities spoke of a terrorist attack but it remains unclear who might be responsible. The blasts come just weeks before the country co-hosts the European Football Championship tournament.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swiss Woman Dies After Attempting to Live on Sunlight; Woman Gave Up Food and Water on Spiritual Journey

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reports that a woman starved to death after embarking on a spiritual diet that required her to stop eating or drinking and live off sunlight alone.

The Zurich newspaper reported Wednesday that the unnamed Swiss woman in her fifties decided to follow the radical fast in 2010 after viewing an Austrian documentary about an Indian guru who claims to have lived this way for 70 years.

Tages-Anzeiger says there have been similar cases of self-starvation in Germany, Britain and Australia.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Ken Livingstone: Fury at ‘Concentration Camp Guard’ Jibe Was a “Huge Fuss Over Nothing”

by Andrew Gilligan

Ken Livingstone has said that his likening a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard caused “a huge fuss over nothing” and attacked the Jewish community for being “obsessive” about his relationship with the extremist preacher, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Mr Livingstone, Labour’s candidate at the London mayoral election next week, said being criticised for his links with Islamist extremism was the “burden” he carried for “being ahead of my time.” In a combative performance before a Jewish audience in Hampstead this week, Mr Livingstone also accused Jewish Labour supporters of telling a “tissue of lies” about a meeting last month at which he said that rich Jews did not vote Labour. The March meeting caused a major row after many of the participants wrote to the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, saying they felt Mr Livingstone did not “accept Jews as an ethnicity and a people” and that he had “suggested that as the Jewish community is rich, we simply wouldn’t vote for him.” Mr Livingstone said at the event this week: “I came out of that [meeting] thinking it was heavy going but at least it’s cleared the air. Then I read the letter and thought, what a tissue of lies. [The writers] must have been at a different meeting. I was so angry.” Mostof the signatories of the letter issued another statement yesterday saying that they would still be voting for him.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Man Arrested After Tottenham Court Road ‘Bomb Threat’

A man has been arrested after London’s Tottenham Court Road was evacuated amid reports of a bomb threat.

Police were called just before noon after computer equipment and office furniture was thrown from the fifth floor of an office building.

Witnesses claimed there were hostages however police said no hostages were in the building when the 49-year-old man was arrested at 15:00 BST.

Negotiators had been brought in as police attempted to arrest the man.

Witnesses reported seeing a shirtless man in “green Army trousers” being led away.

‘Ordered to throw’

The Metropolitan Police said officers were carrying out a search of Shropshire House, the building the man entered, and the surrounding area and would be there until they were sure it was safe to reopen it.

Armed police enter a building on Tottenham Court Road Commander Mak Chishty said police had been concerned the man may have had explosive or flammable liquids.

An internal email sent within Camden Council, seen by the BBC, had earlier described the incident as “a hostage situation”.

“Hostages have been ordered to throw computers from the window by the suspect,” it said.

Ben Dunn, who works in a building opposite, told the BBC: “The people who were throwing things out of the window were shouting, ‘We are being forced to do this’.”

Scotland Yard said a 300m (1,000ft) cordon had been put in place.

Tottenham Court Road was evacuated while Goodge Street and Warren Street Tube stations were closed as a precaution.

‘Looking for me’

Eight bus routes were also diverted.

It led Transport for London (TfL) to urge people to avoid the area.

The Metropolitan Police said the man had a grievance against the company.

A filing cabinet was among the objects from the building He is said to have stormed Advantage Training Services, a company which offers HGV courses.

In a video posted on YouTube by the Huffington Post UK news website, which is based in a nearby office, Abby Baafi, 27, who works at the HGV company, said: “I recognised him because he was one of our previous customers.

“He turned up, strapped up with gasoline cylinders, and threatened to blow up the office.

“He doesn’t care about anything, he is going to blow up everybody.

“He was specifically looking for me but I said ‘My name’s not Abby’ and he let me go.”…

           — Hat tip: Seneca III[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslims Question Militant’s Speech

A radical Muslim preacher was allowed to speak at a Cambridge mosque, sparking outrage. Moderate Muslims are appalled that Dr Haitham al-Haddad, who is a judge on a Sharia law court in London, was allowed a platform at the Mawson Road prayer centre. He spoke to students from Cambridge University’s Islamic Society in a packed room, and has previously told Muslims “to prepare themselves for jihad, all over the world”. Hasan Afzal, director of the anti-extremism monitoring group StandforPeace, who was alerted to the visit by a concerned Muslim attending the mosque, said: “I understand the mosque is looking to expand and this has been a bone of contention with the local community and has attracted the ire of far-right groups, including the English Defence League. We feel that the mosque owes the citizens of Cambridge, Muslim or non-Muslim, a duty of care to ensure that these kinds of preachers are not welcome to their mosque.”

The preacher was recently prevented from speaking at the London School of Economics. A majority of Dutch MPs also called for him to be banned from a talk in the Netherlands for comments he is alleged to have made about Jews. Dr al-Haddad had been invited to a symposium at Amsterdam’s VU University but the authorities cancelled the event. Dr al-Haddad told the News: “I don’t understand what the problem is. If they disagree with my views, that’s fine. “All of us disagree with people. I have never spoken about suicide bombings because people can misunderstand the meaning. I am not a hate preacher. I think I am a pretty nice guy.”

Hicham Kwieder, a member of the mosque’s committee, said: “We were not aware that he was a speaker at the event. We allowed the students to use the mosque and there were a number of speakers. We did think the students should have been more aware of who they ask as speaker.” Ahsan Mohammed, a Newmarket Muslim leader, said: “I am torn in that I want freedom of speech and think that is what makes Britain great but when the views are bonkers and dangerous we have to draw the line somewhere.” The Federation of Student Islamic Societies London hosted the event at Cambridge’s Abu Bakr Jamia Mosque on Saturday.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Terror on Tottenham Court Road: 1,000 Workers Evacuated After Man With Gas Canisters Strapped to His Body Storms London Office Building, Takes Four Hostages and Threatens to Blow Himself Up

Thousands of people were evacuated from one of Britain’s busiest shopping streets today after after a suspected bomber said to be carrying gas canisters and a blow torch stormed an office and threatened to spark a deadly blast.

The man, who identified himself as Michael Green, is understood to have taken four hostages after entering the offices of an HGV driver training firm on London’s Tottenham Court Road amid claims he had twice failed tests and wanted his money back.

Officers, including marksmen, explosives experts and police negotiators, rushed to the scene shortly after 12pm and ordered the evacuation of at least 1,000 office workers and many more shoppers and tourists in the area.

As they cordoned off the scene, the man started hurling objects — including computers and filing cabinets — came flying from a fifth-floor window as terrified workers left the building with their hands up.

Goodge Street tube station has also been closed.

The man has now been in the building for two-and-a-half hours, and negotiators are believed to be talking to him by telephone.

A police spokesman said: ‘Officers are in attendance at an incident in Tottenham Court Road where a man, believed to be aged 49, is causing a disturbance.

‘Police were called at 11.59 on Friday 27 April to an office building. Items, including electrical equipment, have been thrown out of a fifth-floor window.

‘A 300m cordon has been put in place and a negotiator is on scene.’

Bystanders, some of whom reported hearing shots being fired, have now been pushed back to Euston Road, which is about half a mile from the scene.

Witnesses say snipers have also been seen on adjacent buildings.

Abby Baafi, 27, the head of training and operations at Advantage, a company which offers HGV courses, said the man had targeted her offices and was currently holding four men hostage.

She told the Huffington Post: ‘We were in the office and someone came in. I recognised him because he was one of our previous customers.

‘He came in with big gasoline cylinders strapped to his body and threatened to blow up the office.

‘He said he doesn’t care about his life, he doesn’t care about anything, he just wants to blow up the office.

‘He was specifically looking for me but I didn’t say my name was Abby and he let me go because I am three months pregnant.’

A KFC worker, Arti Pal, 23, said: ‘It all kicked off at about 12.30. Police came in and told customers they could no longer order food and that they had to get out.

‘About 15 minutes later the came back and told us to get out as soon as possible. All our stuff is still in there.’

‘The police came in to our reception and told us we had to evacuate the building immediately.

‘We have been getting moved further and further back by the police.

‘There are all sorts of rumours going around about what is happening. We think it is some sort of recruitment or training agency.’

Sarah O’Meara, who works for the Huffington Post, said they evacuated their offices in nearby Capper Street after being alerted by a woman who ran into the building.

‘A woman ran in off the street saying “There is a guy with a bomb and he is threatening to blow himself up” and that we needed to evacuate,’ she said.

‘Everyone got out. The police have been moving people back street by street. It is now at Grafton Way.’

Images on the social networking site Twitter showed various items being thrown from the building, including computer monitors and piles of paper.

Ms O’Meara said the atmosphere had been ‘tragi-comic’ until the police arrived and it turned serious.

‘He was throwing stuff out of the windows, it looked like someone with a grievance,’ she added.

‘But then the police arrived and started telling everyone: “This is serious, this is for your own safety. He has got gas”.’

A police cordon was in place from Store Street to the south of the incident.

Dozens of onlookers watched and took photographs with their mobile phones.

Five marked police cars and vans could be seen lining Tottenham Court Road, as well as four ambulances.

Unmarked police vehicles also drove up to the scene and three London buses were stopped in the road with their amber lights flashing.

A police negotiator was seen speaking to the officers guarding the cordon, and he was given directions to the scene.

Speaking from Tottenham Court Road, Alan Edwards, who works in the building, told SkyNews rumours were that he was aggrieved because he had been denied an HGV licence.

The man apparently stormed into the logistics office yelling: ‘I have nothing more to live for.’

Stephen Hull is executive editor of the Huffington Post UK website, which is in the same building, although unconnected to the attack, which is though to involve a logistics business.

He posted on Twitter: ‘Just interviewed woman who was target of attack. Man came into logistics office strapped up with 4 canisters threatening to blow himself up.

‘Abby Baafi told us she told suspect she was three months pregnant to escape.

‘Abby told us she’d met suspect before. He said he didn’t have anything to live for and wanted to blow the place up.’

Paul Smith, 55, who works at University College London, said: ‘I heard shouting and banging and then we got an email saying there was an incident occuring across the road.

‘I looked the window and I saw people chucking computer screens, boxes and paper out of the window.

‘Apparently this man was holding staff hostage and making them do this. I could see from their faces they didn’t look happy about it.

‘There are police marskman on top of our building and hostage negotiators have gone in. All we have heard is that it’s a man claiming he has got a makeshift bomb strapped to his body.’

Richard Webb, 26, who works at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: ‘I saw the SWAT team going in and four people coming out with their hands above their head.

‘People were running about in the street and police were pulling motorists out of cars. Their cars are now abandoned in the street.’

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

UK: West End Siege Drama Ends in Arrest

A man who brought central London to a halt after he stormed offices and threatened to explode a bomb was arrested after a four hour stand-off this afternoon. He was arrested by armed police after the siege in Tottenham Court Road. Central London was brought to a halt just after midday as police surrounded the 49-year-old who had gas cannisters strapped to his chest. Snipers were stationed around the fifth-floor Tottenham Court Road office and police negotiators were brought in to talk to the man. It is not known if he gave himself up or if armed officer stormed the building.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘We Can’t be Indifferent to What Happens in Ukraine’

Germany is putting increasing pressure on the Ukrainian government over its treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, whose home city of Dnipropetrovsk was shaken by a series of explosions on Friday. German commentators applaud Berlin’s hard line on the case.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Serbia: Luciano Benetton in Belgrade Soon for Investment

Italian textiles group looking to expand activities, Tadic

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, APRIL 27 — Over the next few days Luciano Benetton will be in Serbia to come to an agreement on the details of his group’s expansion activities in the Balkan country, announced Serbian president Boris Tadic. “I have spoken to Luciano Benetton, and I am expect to see him soon in Serbia with the aim of expanding his group’s activities and building new plant facilities,” Tanjug quoted Tadic as saying. New investment and the building of facilities, he added, are necessary for Serbia since this leads to job creation. Over the past few months an agreement was drawn up for the building of new Benetton group production facilities in the southern Serbian city of Nis which will employ 2,700 workers.

Investment is expected to total around 43 million euros. Boris Tadic, who resigned from his role as president before his term in office was to end (February 2013) in order to hold presidential elections at the same time as the legislative and local ones on May 6, had immediately announced afterwards that he would be running for a second term.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

EU-Morocco: Rabat: Road Map of Future Relations Set

Amrani, Possible model for other countries in region

(ANSAmed) — LUXEMBURG, APRIL 23 — “Today the European Union and Morocco have agreed on their road map” for the future of bilateral relations. This is the main outcome of the tenth meeting of the Council of the EU-Morocco Association, according to Morocco’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Minister for Cooperation Youssef Amrani, speaking in Luxemburg today. “We are making progress and Morocco is committed to exploring every possibility in this new strategy for relations with the EU”. Today’s meeting supplied Rabat with an opportunity to “show Morocco’s special nature in the context of a turbulent region through its reforms and its constitution”. According to the former general secretary of the Union for the Mediterranean, this meeting with the EU “comes at a time in which important deals are being signed: following that on agriculture, we have talks under way on fisheries and on services”. Rabat’s objective is then to “take this as far as possible: successful relations between Morocco and the EU can constitute an example to other countries in the region”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: EU: Call to Promote Cultural Activities Launched

Infoday on the 14th May and deadline on 15th June

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, APRIL 24 — The EU Delegation to Tunisia has launched a call for proposals in the framework of its support to cultural projects in Tunisia, with a budget of 120,000 euros.

According to the Enpi website (, an information day to explain the procedures and modalities of how to present the proposals will be held on 14 May at 10:00 a.m. at the EU Delegation headquarters in Tunis. Registration is required by 7 May by writing to the following email:delegation-tunisia-communication-information@eeas.europa.e u.

The objectives of the call are many: to further involve the cultural players in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and contribute to the promotion of the common cultural space by facilitating contacts between Tunisian and European artists or cultural organizations; to stimulate the access of Tunisians to their own culture, especially in the interior regions of Tunisia, and to income-generating activities through the dissemination of cultural and traditional heritage; to promote the conservation and dissemination of cultural diversity at local and national levels, reinforcing artistic and technical local skills in the field of performing arts and the capacity of artistic operators to deal with administrative and financial management of long-term cultural and artistic projects; to promote intercultural dialogue at all the levels as well as South-South cooperation, respecting cultural diversity, gender equality, religion and ethnic affiliation. The deadline for receipt of applications is 15 June 2012 at 04:00 p.m.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UFM: Schulz to EU Commission, Give Funds, Political Support

Responsibility to invest in future, even at time of crisis

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — The European Commission must give funds and political support to the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM), which four years on from his creation finds itself “in a woeful state”. So said in Brussels today the head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, during a meeting with the EU executive.

A few weeks after his election as rotating chair of the Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary assembly, Schulz has delivered a damning account of a UFM experience that he calls “stagnant”.

“There has not been so much as an integration project, meetings of ministers have begun increasingly less frequent, while the second summit of heads of state and of government has not gone ahead,” the chair of the European Parliament said. The paradox, Schulz continued, is that all of this occurs “at a time of incredible political and social upheaval in the Mediterranean region”. As well as having a duty to accompany countries in the region on their journey towards democracy, “together we must overcome obstacles to peace, the protection of the environment, access to drinking water and sustainable development,” he continued.

As a result, Schulz has called on the EU Commission to ensure that the UFM receives “the political support that it deserves” and “adequate financing” with which to launch projects that might generate growth and jobs. At a time of crisis, he remarked, the responsible choice by the EU is not to cut funds where they are most needed, “when it is a case of investing in our future”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Prison Riot in Libya Kills 3, Injures 13

(AGI) Benghazi — At least three people have been killed in Libya and 13 injured in a prison riot that broke out in the oasis town of Kufra. According to press reports, a group of armed men attacked the prison to free a prisoner involved in the death of Gen. Abdel Fattah Younes, commander of Libya’s rebel army, killed July 28 last year in Benghazi in circumstances that have remained unclear. A fire fight broke out in the prison after the prisoners armed themselves causing killing a guard and two prisoners.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Caroline Glick: Post-Zionism is So 1990s

You can learn a lot about a nation’s health by watching how it celebrates its national holidays. In Israel’s case, compare how we celebrated our 50th Independence Day in 1998 to what celebrations involve today.

During the 1990s, Israel’s elite took a vacation from reality and history and they brought much of the public with them.

Then-foreign minister Shimon Peres said that history was overrated. The so-called “New Historians,” who rummaged through David Ben-Gurion’s closet looking for skeletons, were the toast of the academic world. Radicals like Yossi Beilin, Shulamit Aloni and Avrum Burg were dictating government policy.

The media, the entertainment establishment, and the Education Ministry embraced and massively promoted plays, movies, television shows, songs, dances, art and books that “slayed sacred cows.” Everywhere you turned, post-Zionism was in. Post-Judaism was in. And Zionism and Judaism were both decidedly out…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Row Over Teenager’s Poem Overshadows Remembrance Day

A poem by a 15-year-old Dutch boy about his uncle who joined the SS will not be part of next week’s Remembrance Day commemorations following boycott threats from several organisations.

Auke de Leeuw had been invited to read his poem after winning poetry competition for schools organised by the May 4 and 5 organising committee. Pupils were invited to write a poem about the after-effects of the Second World War.

De Leeuw’s poem focuses on his uncle who served as one of 20,000 Dutch volunteers with the military wing of the SS. He died on the Eastern Front.


But a group representing Auschwitz survivors said they would boycott the event if the poetry reading went ahead. The Israel information centre Cidi also criticised the decision to allow De Leeuw to read his poem.

Cidi spokeswoman Esther Voet told the NRC the piece is inappropriate for such an occasion and an insult to survivors. ‘As long as there are survivors, Remembrance Day should be about them and those they lost,’ she said.

The organisers have now dropped the poem from the ceremony, which will be attended by queen Beatrix and members of her family. The Remembrance Day gathering on the Dam in central Amsterdam is ‘too important to be overshadowed by the discussion which the poem has created,’ the organisers said in a statement.

Everyone loses

The teenager at the centre of the row told the NRC he wanted to show everyone loses during a war, no matter what side they are on.

‘How can we learn from our mistakes if we are not allowed to name them,’ he said. ‘I was born in peacetime. It is hard enough for me to make the right choices, so how must it have been for people during the war?’

The wrong choice

My name is Auke Siebe Dirk

I was named after my uncle Dirk Siebe

A boy who made the wrong choice

Chose the wrong army

With the wrong ideals

Escaped poverty

Hoped for a better life

No way back

If a choice is made

Only a way forward

Which he cannot avoid

Fighting against the Russians

Fearing to die

Thinking of home

Where Dirk’s future is still to begin

His mother is torn apart by the war

A mother of 11 children, with four in the resistance

And one fighting on the eastern front.

She loved all 11 of them

Dirk Siebe never came home

My name is Auke Siebe Dirk

I am named after Dirk Siebe

Because Dirk Siebe should not be forgotten either

(Unofficial translation)

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

Middle East

Hamas Steers a New Course After Break From Syria

The ongoing violence in Syria is forcing the Palestinian Hamas to strike a new path. Initial steps indicate that the group will follow a more pragmatic course in the future.

Already in January, things in Syria had gone too far for Hamas. Even the most loyal allies could no longer accept the violence which the regime under President Bashar al-Assad was exerting on its own people.

There was no need for complex considerations to reach one simple conclusion: anyone who remained on Assad’s side would ruin its reputation in the Arab world for years to come — possibly even irreparably. There was only one option: to distance themselves from a man who is apparently willing to impose the greatest possible damage to his country and his people on the way to his political demise.

In January 2012, the Hamas leadership in exile under Khaled Mashaal left its longtime base in Syria because of this. Since then, he and Ismail Haniyeh, who leads Hamas out of Gaza, are in search of new allies.

They have been travelling through the entire region for talks with decision-makers in the most significant countries. A great many doors have been opened for them and many countries come into question as a new home base in exile for Hamas: Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain and also Turkey.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Oman: Gentle Path to Islam

In the deserts and souks of Oman, Lance Richardson gains some insight into the nation’s distinctive and defining faith.

He dips his feet in the water, rubbing between the toes. Then there are his hands and forearms, scrubbed as though by a surgeon prepping for theatre. His neck is doused, his face is splashed, his mouth is rinsed repeatedly. Yousuf Albalushi, my guide, is a dutiful Muslim and there are no short cuts in the ritual ablutions before prayer. Allah knows if you’ve washed behind your ears.

Albalushi’s practice would be repeated in any mosque, but the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, the capital city of Oman, calls for extra care. In a religion renowned for attention to detail, it stands as a supreme embodiment of determination and faith. The grounds cover 416,000 square metres and are marked by five lofty minarets. At full capacity, 20,000 people can pray here simultaneously, including 6600 men in the main chamber. That vast carpet covering the floor with Kashan and Isfahan designs? It took 600 women four years of weaving by hand to finish more than 1.7 million knots. The teak is from Burma and the sandstone imported from India. Dangling beneath an enormous dome, the chandelier has 1022 bulbs and looks like an illuminated heart.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Osama Bin Laden’s Family Expelled From Pakistan

The widows and children of Osama bin Laden leader have arrived in Saudi Arabia following their deportation from Pakistan. This comes ahead of the anniversary of bin Laden’s killing by US troops in Pakistan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkey: 1st Province to Ban Alcohol Drinking in Public

In Afyonkarahisar. Offenders to be fined 35 euros

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — The governor of the Turkish province Afyonkarahisar, 250 km south of the capital Ankara, has banned alcohol consumption in all locales and public places, claiming that he is “acting in the interests of the community”. This is the first decision of the sort to be made in a Turkish province, and those supporting the secular nature of the state say that the country is seeing “rampant Islamization” under the government of ‘moderate’ Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The banning of alcohol, revealed Hurriyet, follows on the heels of a recent appeal by the Islamic government’s Health Minister Recep Akdag in support of anti-alcohol consumption measures. Afyonkarahisar, 180,000 inhabitants and capital city of the province of the same name, founded by the Hittites and then conquered by Alexander the Great, was called Afyon (opium) until 2004 when the Parliament in Ankara changed its name.

The governor’s decree prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol in public places — including parks, picnic areas, cemeteries, bridges, historical sites and abandoned houses, as well as all public transport. Those breaking the law will be fined 82 YTL (about 35 euros). The decision, said the governor’s office, was made for the “public good” and will make it possible to “safeguard public order and prevent traffic accidents”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Muslim Lawyer Proposes Islamic Courts: Forced to Leave Russia

Dagir Khasavov invokes sharia law and threatens a bloodbath in the country. Chechen leader Kadyrov dennounces him. After intimidation, the man decides to take refuge in Europe.

Moscow (AsiaNews) — He called for the introduction of Islamic courts in Russia on TV, attracting the wrath of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, of powerful muftis and an investigation against him for “extremism”. Then, after receiving threats and intimidation, he chose to leave the country “urgently”. The hero protagonist who has sparked the wrath of the media and public opinion is the Muslim lawyer, Dagir Khasavov (pictured), “emergency” expatriate two days after his interview on television, which outraged Russia.

In his interview, broadcast on April 24 last by the independent channel Ren-TV, the Muslim lawyer warned: “You think we have come here from abroad, but perhaps you are the strangers in our house. If anyone opposes the introduction of the Muslim courts, there will be a second Dead Sea, we will carry out a bloodbath. “ Then he called for the establishment of an Arab Caliphate, which the Muslims of Russia must also obey.

The man’s statements sparked the ire of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who called the televised speech “provocative and populist”. According to the Chechen president — also engaged in the Caucasus republic to impose Islamic law among citizens — the man has been used to discredit Islam. Kadyrov’s views were echoed by the mufti of Chechnya, Sultan Mirzayev-Hadji, and that of Russia Talgat Tadzhuddin, for whom Khasavov can not speak for the whole community. The son of the lawyer , Arslan, thinks the opposite according to whom — as reported by Kommersant — his father was the victim of a trap concocted by Chechen authorities, who needed a “sacrificial victim” for the newly elected President Vladimir Putin, a few days after his inauguration in the Kremlin (May 7). Arslan points to the presence these days in Moscow of Kadyrov’s men who intercepted his father, “persuading him” not to give any more radio and television programs. According to BBC reports, citing the so-called Society of the Russian political refugees, Khasavov — founder of an organization defending the rights of Muslims — is now “in an unspecified European country”.

Meanwhile, an investigation has been opened by Moscow charging the lawyer for “extremism” and even the bar association has launched an investigation of possible violations of the code of ethics.

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

South Asia

India’s Defense Deals Mired in Corruption

A series of embarrassing corruption scandals plaguing the military establishment in India have been blamed on the role middlemen play in the procurement process. The issue is now the subject of intense debate.

A shocking revelation by India’s army chief General VK Singh last month that he was offered a hefty bribe by a lobbyist to approve a procurement deal has again raised the thorny issue of arms agents and their contacts to senior military and defense ministry officials.

The bombshell forced the government to institute a high-level inquiry and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is currently conducting a probe into whether a serving general was indeed offered a bribe to clear the purchase of substandard vehicles.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Journalist Accused of Insulting Thai Royal Family Sets Precedent

Chiranuch Premchaiporn is standing trial for slandering the royal family even though the words weren’t hers. She could face up to 50 years in prison. Activists say politicians abuse the law to silence critics.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn is an online journalist for the independent online newspaper “Prachatai”. She is accused of not removing insulting remarks about the king on the paper’s online forum in 2009. The comments were made anonymously. The lawsuit accuses of Premchaiporn of not removing them quickly enough. She now faces the possibility of up to 50 years in prison.

Thailandhas a strict lese majesty law, a law that prohibits any slander against the royal family. The Thai law punishes the offence more harshly than murder. Yet, since the coup in 2006, the government has used the lese majesty rules more often to crack down on critical voices, particularly on the internet.

More than 600,000 websites are currently blocked, most because of the suspicion of insulting the monarchy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Mariners: Terzi: EU-ASEAN to Cooperate Against Piracy

(AGI) — Bandar Seri Begawan — EU and ASEAN Foreign ministers met in Brunei and agreed to a closer cooperation against piracy. The urgency of strengthening the security at sea was one of the themed touched by the European representatives and the diplomats of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (it includes 10 countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).

A note issued by the Foreign minister Giulio Terzi indicates that “As happened at the G8, the Italian government has been able to insert, in two places within the final communique’e, a reference to the EU and ASEAN cooperation against piracy. This is not a generic remark but an explicit reminder of the legal international framework for such a cooperation”.

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

Six Sri Lankan Fishermen Held by Somali Pirates Are Rescued

All six are Catholic from Negombo. They disappeared six months ago. They were rescued by a Spanish naval vessel, the Infanta Elena, involved in anti-piracy activity with the European Union Naval Forces. Speaking about their government, some of the wives said, “No one helped us.”

Negombo (AsiaNews) — Six Sri Lankan fishermen held captive for six months by Somali pirates returned to the country yesterday morning after having being rescued by a Spanish ship a week ago. All of them are Catholic from the fishing village of Negombo, Western province. After meeting their family members at the Katunayake International Airport, they went straight to the St Anthony Catholic Church in Mankuliya to give their ‘thanks’ to God for saving their lives and bringing back them to the families.

Spanish Navy vessel ‘Infanta Elena’ spotted Sri Lankan dhow ‘Nimesha Duwa’ on 19 April and intercepted it 50 miles off the coast of Tanzania, finding on board seven suspected Somali pirates and the six captive Sri Lankan fishermen.

The six Sri Lankan fishermen had left port on 25 September 2011, and were captured by Somali pirates a month later when they entered Somali waters illegally. The pirates demanded US$ 6 million for their release. On several occasions, they called the families by phone threatening to kill their loved ones if the ransom was not paid.

“We were very scared,” Santhanam Kamala, 44, wife of one of the fishermen, Perumal. “We could hear shots in the background,” she told AsiaNews. “But we didn’t know what to do. We are poor people. If we had all that money, none of us would be fishing.”

Santhanam Kamala is Tamil. Together with Wathsala Madhusani, who is Sinhalese and wife of another fisherman, Levan Rodrigo, she prayed “for their release from the start. Every day, we met for an hour prayer, at 7 pm.”

“Sometimes, I thought I was going to lose faith,” said Wathsala, 23. “But again I thought: No! God will bring them back even after many years.”

The families and the Nimesha Duwa owner travelled across the country to prompt the government to act, but “No one helped us.”

Now that their husbands are home, “we don’t want to think about anything else. We thank God who heard our prayers. We thank the Spanish Navy, which brought them back to us.”

The Infanta Elena is part of the European Union Naval Force involved in anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia. It had been looking for the Sri Lankan fishing vessel since February 2012.

The srilankan Fisheries Ministry paid Rp 651.000 (about US$ 5000) for fishermen return flight from Tanzania to Sri Lanka, and other Rp 300.000 (about US$ 2.300) for the accomodation in Nairobi of two officials from Sri Lankan High Commission.

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

US Allows ‘Safe Passage’ To Afghan Taliban Leaders

The United States and Afghanistan have agreed to “give safe passage” to representatives of the Afghan Taliban to help them to enter future peace talks, officials announced Friday.

It may represent a significant step forward towards the resumption of peace talks that were suspended in Qatar last month, and comes just weeks ahead of a NATO summit in Chicago on the future of Afghanistan.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Far East

China’s Arctic Ambitions Spark Concerns

The Arctic and its vast energy reserves were a key focus of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent trip to Europe, fueling concerns about Beijing’s preparations for an ice-free Arctic Ocean.

It may seem surprising that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, leader of the world’s most populous nation, should begin his Europe tour with a stop in Iceland, a remote island with a population of just 320,000. But the move is in line with a wider Chinese strategy to gain a strategic foothold in the Arctic. Global climate change is opening up the once inaccessible region for shipping and industrial development.

A 2011 report by the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program (AMAP) says that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Estimates suggest the polar ice cap might disappear completely during the summer season as soon as 2040, perhaps much earlier.

That would enable commercial shipping routes between Asia and Europe as well as between Asia and North America. Last year, international companies increasingly used the northern sea route along the Russian coast to transport gas and other goods to Asia.

But it’s not just shipping rights and trading interests which are driving China’s push in the Arctic. The area is also home to huge natural resources. Estimates suggest around 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and at least 30 percent of its gas are buried under the Arctic ice. As the world’s largest energy consumer, China is hugely interested in Arctic exploration. And the Arctic also has substantial reserves of gold, diamonds, zinc and iron.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Said to Withdraw Troops From Japan’s Okinawa Island

After years of wrangling, Japan and the United States have agreed to a withdrawal of 9,000 US soldiers from a military base situated on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

According to a joint statement published in Tokyo and Washington, the troops are now to be moved to Guam, Hawaii and Australia, giving no timetable for the move.

About 10,000 Marines will remain on Okinawa, which has been a key element of the US military presence in Asia for decades.

The United States had already reached an agreement with the previous Japanese government to create a new base on a less densely populated island on the west coast and to relocate the remaining US troops on Okinawa.

In recent years there have frequently been protests against the US Futenma Air Base on the island, where about half of the 47,000 US troops in Japan are stationed.

While the local economy on Okinawa benefits from the presence of troops, many residents blame the presence of the soldiers for a rise in crime, noise pollution and traffic accidents.

The protests began in 1995 when the rape of a twelve-year-old girl by three US soldiers in. This triggered mass demonstrations against the base, in which up to 85,000 people took to the streets.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: Muslim War on Museveni

Kibuli hill was yesterday engulfed in calls of “Allah Akbar” as Muslims declared President Museveni Islam’s ‘Enemy Number One’ in Uganda. Speaker after speaker told of how Museveni’s continued meddling in Muslims’ affairs has greatly divided their community. “I have seen several governments in this country, but none beats Museveni in harassing Muslims. He should receive a medal for that,” Sheikh Nuh Muzaata Batte, head of Dawa (chief preacher) in the Kibuli-based faction, said amidst applause from hundreds of followers that thronged Kibuli for afternoon prayers. Muslims had gathered to chart the way forward ahead of elections called by the Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje faction, which start today.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Argentina Criticises EU’s ‘Unacceptable’ Behaviour

“I find it unacceptable that you question the commercial policy of our country,” Argentina’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman has written in an open letter to EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht. Spain’s has stopped importing Argentine biodiesel following Argentina’s nationalisation of YPF, a subsidiary of Spain’s Repsol oil company.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


France 2012: Hollande: Fundamental to Limit Immigration

Parliament should set economic necessity figure every year

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, APRIL 27 — The Socialist candidate in France’s presidential election, François Hollande, has said this morning that a “limitation of economic immigration” is “indispensable” at a time of crisis, adding that, if elected, he will ask Parliament to provide a yearly figure regarding the workforce numbers needed by the French economy. “I believe that there will never be zero immigration and that legal immigration will also exist”, Hollande told the radio station RTL. “Can the numbers be reduced? We can discuss it. As far as foreign students are concerned, I am not in favour [of limiting numbers]. I believe that the presence of foreign students in our universities is an opportunity, not only for the students but also for us,” Hollande said. “Then there is the issue of economic immigration, and at a time of crisis such as we are currently experiencing, limiting economic immigration is necessary and indispensable,” Hollande said. The Socialist candidate added that he also wants to “combat illegal immigration from an economic point of view. It is not normal that some businesspeople cynically use an illegal workforce”. With regard to what he called “economic” immigration, Hollande also stated that “Parliament will set the figure of [the French economy’s] requirements every year”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: New Ombudsman Website for Migrants

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, APRIL 23 — The Greek Ombudsman is introducing a new website concerning immigration issues to replace the old one that has operated since 2005, as daily Kathimerini reported. According to the independent authority, that aims at counselling citizens on various legal issues and at protecting their rights, the new site contains special reports and bill proposals by the Ombudsman on general immigration, asylum and citizenship issues, as well as recent interventions, documents and views of the agency on specific cases it has been asked to mediate for. The aim is for the website to contribute in the improvement of information supplied and the upgrading of the service offered by the state to all immigrants, refugees and repatriated Greeks in this country. The site is at in Greek and at in English. The homepage also contains information in Albanian, Bulgarian, French, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian and Turkish.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

International Law Stops Swiss Expulsion Plans

The Swiss Minister of Justice has presented two proposals for the implementation of a controversial initiative to expel foreign criminals, both of which were rejected by the government. Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, a Social Democrat, went into Wednesday’s meeting reasonably secure in the knowledge that her proposals would not be accepted, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

Nevertheless, her department said that she had gone ahead anyway because she “wanted to show through the proposals that she takes the will of the people seriously”. The initiative for the expulsion of foreign criminals, launched by the far-right Swiss People’s Party, was accepted in a referendum 2010.

Since then, ministers have struggled to find a way to implement the provisions of the initiative, since the concept of automatic expulsion for foreign criminals runs contrary to a variety of international legal principles and obligations that Switzerland has signed up to.

Sommaruga has received criticism for the delay, criticism she will now be able to deflect since she can no longer be seen as the reason for the hold-up. One of the difficulties in framing the new law involves determining what the correct threshold should be in order for a foreign criminal to qualify for expulsion.

The Swiss People’s Party has sought automatic expulsion for any foreigner committing any level of crime, including minor offences. On this basis, an estimated 16,000 foreigners would have been expelled in 2009, including some 3,200 from EU countries.

The other alternative presented by Sommaruga is to expel only those foreign criminals who have committed serious crimes incurring jail sentences of six months or more. This would have affected 3,400 foreigners in 2009, only 790 of whom were EU citizens.

Many critics, including foreign minister Didier Burkhalter, are concerned that any such law would infringe the free movement of people and create further tensions with the EU. The government has asked Sommaruga to come back with a less severe proposal before the summer break.

Switzerland is not currently on the best terms with the EU, having announced recently its intention to invoke a safeguard clause in its bilateral agreement with the union, which will restrict the numbers of work permits granted to the citizens of eight East European EU member states.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Immigrants Say They Are Treated ‘Worse Than Animals’

Italian detention center visited by journalists

(ANSA) — Bari, April 26 — Immigrants held at a reception center in the southern Italian town of Bari said on Thursday that they were treated “worse than animals” by authorities at the structure.

The center for identification and expulsion, with a capacity of 119 people, is currently occupied by 196 foreigners awaiting deportation, the immigrants said.

A statement from the Left, Ecology and Freedom party Sel, signed by its leader and Puglia governor, Nichi Vendola, as well as the party’s national secretary Nicola Fratoianni, said that the centers “represent an intolerable suspension of democracy and civilization in the country”.

Speaking to journalists visiting the center, immigrants said that they were frequently sedated with “tranquilizers and other medicines” to avoid protests. Italian detention centers for immigrants have come under fire in the past by international observers like Amnesty International for overcrowding and poor conditions, while Italian authorities maintain that the treatment of migrants and refugees has always complied with international obligations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Interfaith Service in Naperville Offers Earth Day Theme

After its second successful event, it’s destined to become a tradition. About 220 people confirmed Congregation Beth Shalom’s interfaith service is worth an annual title. On Saturday, April 21, 30 different churches, mosques and faith organizations attended the second event. “The goal of the dinner was to encourage harmony and respect and diversity in the community,” said Bernarr Newman of the church. “We want to thank groups that have been doing interfaith work, and give them a boost of energy so they continue.” Impetus for the dinner began 18 months ago when the Islamic Center of Naperville held an interfaith Ramadan dinner.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Elite Eugenicists Call for Mass Depopulation, Drastic Reduction in Energy Consumption

Royal Society study yields unsurprising results, Ecoscience co-author calls for “move to population shrinkage as humanely and as rapidly as possible”

The Royal Society, an organisation made up of renowned eco-fascists and depopulation fanatics, has released a “major report” calling for the “stabilization” of global population and reductions in consumption in developed countries.

The report is the unsurprising result of a 21 month “objective” study on human population growth and its implications for social and economic development.


Renowned population alarmist Prof Paul Ehrlich weighed in on the matter, going even further than the Royal Society.

Ehrlich told the Guardian that the optimum population of Earth is 1.5 to 2 billion people rather than the 7 billion who are alive today or the 9 billion expected in 2050.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Rio+20: Why Africans (And the World) Should Fear European Elite’s Green Agenda

Take note — elite aspirations for environmentally-driven UN Global Government are no longer confined to realm of ‘conspiracy theory’, they are now out in plain view.

In their desire to become more fuller members of the brave new globally connected world village of politics, trade and culture, many Africans still remain naive as to the true dark agenda lurking behind the globalist green movement, and UN environmental conferences like Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

NeoLiberal and European progressives have long worked to portray their environmental politics as ‘utilitarian’, in other words, they claim to be advocating policies that provide “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”.

Their illusion of a future Utopia is based on global ‘green’ policies carefully constructed and groomed over the last 30 years, an ideology that hit its stride at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — and event led by UN and globalist operators Maurice Strong and Al Gore. Green tsars introduced global warming as their main binding cause which the progressive social democracies of the world could rally around in order for the global elite to expedite their new green agenda. The UN’s Agenda 21 initiative was also put into play at the same time, a UN program that is currently being rolled out not just in Africa, but also in Europe, North America, Australia and every other nation who is willing to comply.

The NeoColonial shape of this new ‘green’ agenda came into full view for the first time in 2009 at the UN Copenhagen Climate Summit as the infamous Danish Text Leak story broke detailing a secret US-European agreement would disband the old Kyoto Protocol’s original plan to have so called ‘developed’ nations like the US and Europe foot the bill for global emissions reductions, opting instead for poorer nations — like those in Africa, to not only foot the costs, but also suffer draconian restrictions on development and industry — effectively keeping them in the globalists’ economic cellar for the next 200 years. The clandestine elite western circle of green tsars also compiled a secret draft plan which would hand their new-found control of global “climate change finance” to none other than the World Bank. This would be the first lever of control in a new World Government.

The leak sent shock waves through the Copenhagen Summit and prompted numerous developing countries to withdraw from signing on to Europe’s binding agenda. This was the day the world got its first view of the true intentions behind decades of lobbying about global warming and climate change, and the UN’s obsession with implementing an international green agenda. Because of its exposure in 2009, their plan was put on hold, but it is now emerging through other globalist channels.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Ugly American — Sex Trafficking and Our National Humiliation

At one point in the sexual revolution, efforts were made to legalize prostitution as a “victimless crime,” a term that anyone could recognize as an oxymoron. Most of these efforts went nowhere in the United States and most of Europe, though “progressive” law enforcement officials often looked the other way and did little to curb the market for illicit sex.

Then something truly interesting started to happen. Influential forces in society began to notice the scale and magnitude of the market for sex. Law enforcement officials started to acknowledge the fact that women, along with under-age girls and boys, were being “trafficked” through international networks of gangsters. By the end of the last decade, American officials were aware that sex trafficking was taking place in cities large and small. Women, along with boys and girls, were being kidnapped in far parts of the world and on the streets of American cities, to be sold into what could only be considered as sexual slavery.

Over time, the shadow of international sex trafficking became evident in criminal networks that span the globe. Women and girls answering advertisements for models, maids, and child minders found themselves sold into slavery and transported around the world.

Wealthy Americans booked vacations to destinations where their sexual appetite of choice, including children, could be easily purchased. As recently as the 2012 Super Bowl, American officials warned that several hundred under-age sex workers might be brought into the host city. These developments make the international sex trafficking networks impossible to deny.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]