Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120503

Financial Crisis
»EU Austerity is Feeding Racism, Report Says
»FAO Sees World Food Prices ‘Stabilizing at High Level’
»Italy: CGIA Reports Suicide of 32 Entrepreneurs This Year
»Italy: Monti Facing Pushback to House Tax
»Brookfield Residents Consider Mosque Proposal
»Cass Sunstein Advances One World Government & North American Union
»DOJ Refuses to Prosecute Palestinian Terrorists
»Facebook Sets I.P.O. Price Range
»Munch’s ‘Scream’ Fetches World Record Price
»No Jab, No Education
»One Gene Helped Human Brains Become Complex
»Red Dawn and the Chicago Spring
»Report: Public School Textbooks Whitewashing Islam
»Residents Worry About Traffic New Mosque Will Bring
Europe and the EU
»Al-Qaeda Rejects Anders Behring Breivik Comparison
»Asinine Proposal: Free College for All
»Baltic Sea Algae Could Help Fight Cancer
»Bats Carry More Viruses Than Thought
»Bronze Age Espionage: Did Ancient Germans Steal the Pharaoh’s Chair Design?
»EU Seeks US Help to Fight Cyber Criminals
»Europe to Explore Jupiter’s Icy Moons With JUICE Spacecraft
»European Intellectuals Warn of EU’s Demise
»France’s Hollande: No Laws to Satisfy Muslims
»France: Sarkozy Calls Hollande ‘Liar’ In Bitter TV Debate
»Germany: Saxon Scientists Make ‘Printable Speaker’
»Germany: 4 Men Charged Over Al Qaeda Terror Plot
»Greece: Elections: The Black Shadow of ‘Golden Dawn’
»Italy: Pedophilia: 9 Yrs and 6 Mths to Father Riccardo Seppia
»Italy: Arrest Sought for Senator Luigi Lusi
»Italy: Grappa Wins New Fans at Home and Abroad
»Jewish and Israeli Students Attacked at Toulouse University Event
»Mission to Mars: Austrian Cave Sets Stage for Red Planet Voyage
»Norway: Witness Tells of Breivik’s Island Arrival
»Swiss Must Stop Helping Tax Cheats: Top Banker
»The Unrivalled Power of the French President
»UK: Former MG Rover Workers to Receive Payout of Just £3 Each After Seven-Year Battle — Despite Its Former Owners Taking £42m
»UK: Londoners Choose Between Ken and Boris in Mayoral Election
»UK: Minicab Driver Raped Drunk Passengers and His Wife Even Tried to Bribe Victim to Keep Quiet
»UK: The Middle-Class Medievalism of the Murdoch-Bashing Set
»UK: Thief Who Wept at the Prospect of Prison Because He’s a ‘Fussy Eater’ Has Sentence Reduced
»Macedonia: Five Ethnic Albanians Charged With Terrorism
North Africa
»Egypt: Islamist MP Backs Bill Allowing Girls to Marry at 14
»Egypt: Bloody Protests 20 Days Ahead of Cairo Elections
»Libya: Life in Prison for Glorifying Gaddafi or Insulting Islam
»Tunisian TV Mogul Fined Over ‘Blasphemous’ Film
Middle East
»Bin Laden Files Reveal Al-Qaeda Leader Plotting New 9/11
»Dubai’s Next Big Thing: The Underwater ‘Discus’ Hotel
»Osama Bin Laden ‘Plotting to Relaunch Al-Qaeda With New 9/11-Style Spectacular’
»Syrian SSNP Leader’s Son Assassinated by Armed Hit Squad
»Yemeni Soldiers Repell Attack in South, 8 Al Qaeda Dead
South Asia
»‘Intolerant’ Indian State Mulls Ways to Curb Free Speech
»Taliban Attack Hotel in Kabul
Far East
»Japan: Video: Lost Budgie Reunited With Owner After Reciting Address
»US-Chinese Talks Open Under Shadow of a Dissident’s Fate
Australia — Pacific
»Blond Hair Evolved Independently in Pacific Islands
»Hunt for Aboriginal Men Who ‘Raped Two European Women Tourists at Gunpoint After Breaking Into Their Car’
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Nigeria Market Bombing Kills at Least 34
Latin America
»G-20 Summit is Not Just a Mexican Vacation
»Guns in Murder of Mexican Lawyer Traced Back to Operation Fast & Furious
»Luis Fleischmann: The Future of Venezuela: “Chavismo Without Chavez”
»Anti-Racists Criticise Norwegian Musician
»Deport the GOP Establishment
»UK: GPS ‘Threatened With Legal Action’ For Taking Failed Asylum Seekers Off Surgery Lists
»Al Qaeda Wants You to Know It’s Nothing Like Anders Breivik
»New ‘Unknowns’ Hacking Group Hits NASA, Air Force, European Space Agency

Financial Crisis

EU Austerity is Feeding Racism, Report Says

EU austerity measures are helping to feed racism and intolerance, according to a report by the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

In its annual survey out on Thursday (3 May), the council’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), said welfare cuts and shrinking job opportunities are factors behind the recent rise in intolerance and violence directed at immigrants and other vulnerable minorities.

“Immigration is (being) equated with insecurity, (that) irregular migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees either steal jobs or risk capsizing our welfare system, while Muslims are not able to integrate in Western societies,” the survey says.

It adds that talk by mainstream politicians of reintroducing border controls in the passport-free Schengen area is beginning to give xenophobia and far-right extremism a respectable face. “Political leaders must at all costs resist pandering to prejudice and misplaced fears about the loss of ‘European values,’ terrorism and common criminality,” it says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

FAO Sees World Food Prices ‘Stabilizing at High Level’

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has registered the first drop in global food prices in April after months of increases. Record crops this year are expected to meet rising global food demand.

World food prices were stabilizing at a “relatively high level” in April, after they had been steadily rising in the first three months of the year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Thursday.

FAO’s Food Outlook — a twice-yearly global market analysis — said food prices fell by 1.4 percent from March to April this year, driving down the organization’s Food Price Index to 214 points from 217 points registered in the previous month.

The FAO index measures monthly price changes for a food basket containing cereals, oilseeds, dairy products sugar and meat.

“Although the index is significantly down from its record level of 235 points in April 2011, it is still well above the figures of under 200 which preceded the 2008 food crisis,” FAO said in a statement.

In its forecast for the coming 12 month, FAO predicts generally higher food supplies, but also rising demand for various agricultural produce.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: CGIA Reports Suicide of 32 Entrepreneurs This Year

(AGI) Rome — The CGIA has reported the suicide of 32 entrepreneurs since the beginning of this year due to the economic crisis . Data was provided by the Mestre based CGIA.

The Region most affected by this tragedy has been the Veneto, where in the first 4 months of 2012, ten small entrepreneurs decided to end their lives following economic problems caused in recent years by the serious financial crisis. The CGIA, however, reported that it is difficult to identify the reasons for these tragedies, but that a lack of liquidity is the common denominator found in almost every case. Many entrepreneurs, fell into a profound crisis without managing to get back onto their feet following missed payments for goods or services provided. As already proposed a few weeks ago by the Veneto Region, the CGIA has asked for the creation of a national solidarity fund to issue loans to the entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized companies experiencing serious economic and financial problems and without access to bank credit, or to those whose loans have been called in. In the Veneto there have been ten suicides, with four in Apulia and four in Sicily. In Tuscany 3, 2 in Sardinia and 2 in Lazio, with 1 in Campania, Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo and Liguria respectively.

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

Italy: Monti Facing Pushback to House Tax

‘IMU is deadly’ says Bersani

(ANSA) — Rome, May 3 — Italian Premier Mario Monti is finding himself up against opposition from mayors and party leaders to a newly reinstated tax on first homes. “The weight of the IMU tax is truly deadly,” Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), said Wednesday.

Arguing that the measure unfairly hits the working class, Bersani called for a partial cut and to make up the difference with a new wealth tax on large estates “to redistribute the burden”. The house tax, which Monti reintroduced after his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi abolished it, has come under fire from all sides of the political spectrum. Graziano Delrio, president of the National Association of Cities (ANCI), has lashed out at the tax, accusing the government of a “shakedown”.

The rightwing regionalist Northern League party has recently launched a campaign against it, saying it was part of an effort to “send Monti home before the summer,” according to League No.2 and ex-interior minister Roberto Maroni. “The protest against IMU isn’t incitement to tax revolt, it’s a political initiative,” he added.

Monti fired back Wednesday, saying that the State would “rigorously” crack down on anyone who evaded the tax, as a growing number of citizens have openly promised. Mayors are expected to discuss the IMU tax at a conference in Venice on May 24. photo: Pier Luigi Bersani

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Brookfield Residents Consider Mosque Proposal

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — Brookfield residents gathered Wednesday night to discuss a proposed plan to build a local mosque. Brookfield officials and mosque representatives answered residents’ questions Wednesday. Some residents said the proposal made them feel uncomfortable. Most residents said they supported the mosque. “I’m hoping that we can move forward with it so that our community can learn more about the Muslim faith and the Muslim people,” Brookfield resident Diane Errath said. The plan commission is expected to make a recommendation on the proposal on May 7.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Cass Sunstein Advances One World Government & North American Union

The evil inside the White House operative, Cass Sunstein, is out this morning with a short essay in WSJ.

Under the guise of filling us all in on what his White House department is doing to “clear away red tape”, the evil bastard is really informing his followers about the advancements in one world government and a North American union:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

DOJ Refuses to Prosecute Palestinian Terrorists

by Adam Turner

In a prior column, I introduced you to Ahlam Tamimi. Tamimi is a Palestinian terrorist, responsible for the 2001 suicide bombing at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people and injured another 132. Among the American victims of this terrorist act: Judith Greenbaum and Malka Roth, who were both killed; and David Danzig, Matthew Gordon, Joanne Nachenberg, and Sara Nachenberg, all of whom were injured. Malka Roth was only fifteen years old at the time of her death, and was one of eight children killed in the bombing. In late 2011, Tamimi was released by Israel as part of the trade of over one thousand Palestinian terrorists for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was being held by Hamas. Tamimi is now hosting her own television show for Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV station from her new home in Jordan. Tamimi was released even though she has admitted — on television — that she participated in the Sbarro terrorist bombing. In the interview, she even expressed her delight at the number of children among the dead.

On March 1, 2012, 52 U.S. Congressmen, acting on a bipartisan basis, sent a letter to the Attorney General, and the Department of Justice (DOJ), calling upon the DOJ to “(1) investigate those cases (in Israel or the Palestinian Territories) involving the murder of or infliction of serious bodily injury on American citizens ; (2) where evidence supports, indict those individuals complicit in the deaths of or infliction of serious bodily injury on Americans, (3) seek the extradition of, (4) try in American federal courts, and (5) punish these individuals.” (Full disclosure — the organization I work for, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, initiated this letter at the behest of many American victims, and their families.) This letter referenced the 1991 Anti-Terror Act, which allows the United States to prosecute those who commit acts of terror overseas against Americans, and the large number of American victims of attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories, which stands at (at least) 54 killed and 83 wounded. It also castigated the Department for its non-existent record of indictment and prosecution of these terrorists, in both successive Republican and Democratic administrations. The letter made note that this poor record “is particularly disappointing given that, in 2005, Congress specifically created a unit within the DOJ, called the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT), whose entire purpose “is to ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against American citizens overseas remain a high priority within the Department of Justice.” Finally, the letter’s appendix listed several Palestinian terrorists who deserved prosecution, including Ahlam Tamimi.

On April 5, 2012, the DOJ sent its response. This letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, claimed that “there are significant impediments to bringing prosecutions in the United States for attacks that occur overseas.” The main impediment mentioned was “(t)he crime scenes are located in places that are not under the United States’ control and, therefore, the United States is entirely dependent on the sovereign country where the attack occurred for assistance and cooperation in these investigations.” Therefore, the DOJ could not guarantee that everything would be done by the letter of U.S. criminal law, and that there would be no resulting problems with the chain of custody of the evidence and the admissibility of confessions.

This DOJ letter echoed a statement that was sent in an email last month to the Parents Forum for Justice, a group of American citizens and parents whose children were killed or wounded by Palestinian terrorists in Israel. It also echoed what the DOJ and OJVOT have been saying — both on and off the record — to the American victim’s families since 2005, when the OJVOT came into existence. And it even mirrored the complaints of the DOJ prior to the creation of the OJVOT. Since the DOJ letter never mentioned nor referenced any of the specific terrorist cases that the earlier letter had listed, we have to assume that the DOJ believes it is unable to prosecute all of the Palestinian terrorist cases, including Tamimi’s, for the reasons stated in their response letter.

Now, I don’t normally give out free legal advice on legal matters. After all, it isn’t considered proper to do so, and, besides which, I am not a practicing attorney. But this Justice Department argument, in reference to the Tamimi case, is patently ridiculous. It is certainly true that Tamimi’s terror attack occurred in Israel, and that the Israelis may not have been as careful with the crime scene, for evidentiary purposes, as the American police would have been. However, remember this video. Tamimi has actually admitted to her crime! And under U.S. law, this taped admission is not banned “hearsay” by Tamimi and may be used in court to convict her. This is because Tamimi, as the defendant in a U.S. criminal prosecution, would meet the definition of a “party opponent,” and thus, under the federal rules of evidence, anything she says would be admissible in court. See FRE 801(d)(2)(A):…

[Return to headlines]

Facebook Sets I.P.O. Price Range

Facebook on Thursday set the estimated price for its initial public offering at $28 to $35 a share, according to a revised prospectus. At the midpoint of the range, the social networking company is on track to raise $10.6 billion, in a debut that could value the company at $86 billion.

[Return to headlines]

Munch’s ‘Scream’ Fetches World Record Price

The only privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” — one of the most recognizable paintings in history — set a world record Wednesday when it sold for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York. Heated competition between seven bidders took the price to the highest for a work of art at a public auction in just 12 minutes, sparking applause.

“World record,” announced auctioneer Tobias Meyer after bringing down the hammer. The previous record was held by Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust,” which sold in 2010 for $106.5 million.

“The Scream” is one of four versions of a work whose nightmarish central figure and lurid, swirling colors symbolized the existential angst and despair of the modern age. It was sold by Norwegian Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and supporter of the artist. He plans to establish a new museum in Norway.

On two occasions, other versions of the painting have been stolen from museums, although both were recovered. Copies have adorned everything from student dorms to tea mugs and the work has the rare quality of being known to art experts and the general public alike.

“We’re delighted to say that this magnificent picture, which is not only one of the seminal images of our history, but also one of the visual keys for modern consciousness, achieved a world record,” Simon Shaw, head of the Impressionist and modern department at Sotheby’s, said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

No Jab, No Education

A new amendment to California’s Health and Safety Code as it relates to vaccinations will take effect this fall for the 2012-2013 school year, and will require all incoming seventh graders, as well as eighth and twelfth graders for the first year, to get a Tdap booster vaccination for pertussis (whooping cough) before being admitted to school. The website of the Marin County School District, which includes the city of San Francisco, literally states “No shot, No School!” in an apparent attempt to strong-arm parents into complying with the new provision.

Even though students in California can be exempted from any and all vaccinations for medical or personal reasons, most parents are largely unaware of this fact. And because of the 2010 whooping cough outbreak in California, many parents will likely just comply with the new Tdap requirement simply out of fear that their child could be the next victim of the disease, even though the Tdap vaccine itself has been shown to be ineffective at protecting against whooping cough

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

One Gene Helped Human Brains Become Complex

When it comes to brain development, slow and steady wins the race. A single ancestral human gene that made two copies of itself may have helped the evolution of our large brains 2.5 million years ago, as our ancestors were diverging from australopithecines.

Paradoxically, it seems the effect of the extra copies was to slow down individual brain development. This allowed time for neurons to develop more and better connections with one another.

Gene duplications are rare in human history: only about 30 genes have copied themselves since we split from chimps 6 million years ago. Few have been studied, but those that have encode genes that are very exciting, says human geneticist Evan Eichler of the University of Washington in Seattle. Many are involved in brain development.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Red Dawn and the Chicago Spring

Is the US military and the Bankster controlled federal government on a collision course? When one begins to connect the dots, with each dot representing a critical intersect point between the two entities, it strongly appears that an irrevocable bifurcation between the two is underway and the point of no return may have already been reached. Why else would we be witnessing the training of Russian troops to carry out policing activities in and around the Colorado Springs area later this month?

A report from the Daily Caller noted that the Labor Department has withdrawn a highly controversial Obama administration order which would’ve outlawed any form of child labor on family farms. This regulation would have dealt a death blow to the economic viability of America’s small farmers. As a result, food prices would have astronomically skyrocketed because all food production would have subsequently emanated from the large corporate owned farms. As an aside, the large corporate owned farms were exempt from this Labor Department restriction and of course, illegal migrant labor would be permitted on the corporate farms as well. To many, the defeat of this illegal and unconstitutional child labor regulation marked a victory for the average American. However, there may be a more ominous message behind the rescinding of this policy as it becoming clear that the Obama administration is seeking to conceal the rift between its bankster benefactors and the US military as it is becoming clear that Obama suddenly backed away from a policy that the military refused to support.


Curiously, the enforcement mechanism for this insane policy would’ve fallen to Homeland Security and amazingly, to the military. This means that forces of our military would have faced off against American farmers. There can be no doubt that many farmers would have defended to the death their historical right to property and parenting rights. The real reason for the withdrawal of the child farm labor policy has to do with the fact that the US military was not willing to murder American farmers on behalf of the Wall Street bankers and their large agricultural partners. The Obama administration is concealing this serious rift from the American people!


It is also no secret that in recent months, America has positioned its military in the Gulf region to launch military strikes upon Syria and Iran. It is also no secret that the Russians have threatened our government with war if America attacks its two aforementioned allies. This clearly casts Russia into the role of being a military enemy of the US. Why then, would the federal government mandate that enemy Russian paratroopers be trained at Fort Carson Army base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in late May and early June of this year? Yet, this is an undeniable fact as Defense Department spokesperson, Commander W. L. Snyder, told the New American, that Russian troops would be training in southern Colorado for three weeks in which they would be allowed to provide security at local baseball games and to participate in roadside checkpoints as well as to conduct war game military raids on local terrorist base camps. The unmistakable conclusion is that our enemies are being trained to interact with the American public and to participate in policing activities on American soil. Are you baffled? Well, so was I, until I realized that the Russian troops are only the enemy of our military and US citizens, not the enemy of the banksters who run the government!

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Report: Public School Textbooks Whitewashing Islam

Through the years, American public schools have taught students that Nazism, communism, and other totalitarian ideologies should be opposed.

But when it comes to the current war with Islamic jihadists, public schools are taking a much different course.

According to a new report, students are getting a white-washed version of what our enemies believe, and it could have dangerous implications for America’s future.

For students in America’s middle and high schools, 9/11 is a distant memory. Some were still toddlers when the World Trade Center towers fell.

But if they’re looking for answers in their history textbooks about who attacked the United States and why, they may be disappointed.

One 2003 world geography textbook widely used in public schools gives the following explanation for the 9/11 attacks:


Yet another text taught that Muslims were “extremely tolerant of those they conquered” and “allowed Christians and Jews to keep their churches and synagogues and promised them security.”

Rodgers says such teachings are factually and historically incorrect.

“There’s nothing in Sharia law that requires Muslim leaders to extend tolerance to Christians and Jews,” Rodgers said.

“And this idea that there was full religious freedom granted? Well, let me refer to one Muslim historian — he estimated that some 30,000 Christian churches were destroyed during the first two centuries of jihad after (the Islamic prophet) Mohammed died,” he added.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Residents Worry About Traffic New Mosque Will Bring

Henrico County, Va. (WTVR) — There’s a debate over plans to build a new mosque in the 81-hundred block of Hungary Road in Henrico County. The Islamic Center of Richmond has been given green light to build a two story 30,299 square-foot place of worship, with a daycare and school. The center’s volunteer Salman Lateef says they are filling a need in the west end of town. For one year, they’ve been worshiping in a small building, and there’s never been enough room for members. “People standing outside and praying, sometimes in the sun, some times in the snow, sometimes in the rain,” said Lateef. He says the project is in the planning stages right now, and nothing is concrete.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Al-Qaeda Rejects Anders Behring Breivik Comparison

al-Qaeda has rejected the claim by Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik that he was following a model set by the Islamic terror network, claiming the difference between the two groups “is like day and night”.

An article in this month’s Inspire Magazine, reportedly published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, argues that a true Islamic ‘mujahideen’ would never target a youth camp, as Breivik did.

“The [difference in the] moral code of war between the two groups is vast,” the article argues. “In our eyes going after women and children is not only forbidden in the Shari’ah, but also a useless form of slaughter.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Asinine Proposal: Free College for All

I call your attention to a scientific paper by a British researcher, Bruce Charlton. Charlton observed in 2007 that “adults in modernizing liberal democracies increasingly retain many of the attitudes and behaviors traditionally associated with youth.” In other words, they don’t grow up. He theorized “that the major cause of PN [Psychological Neoteny—a slowing of maturity] in modernizing societies is the prolonged duration of formal education.”

Charlton thought this might not be so terrible, “because people need to be somewhat child-like in their psychology in order to keep learning, developing and adapting to the rapid and accelerating pace of change.” Meanwhile, they don’t work, marry, or raise children.

As we cannot help seeing from the escapades of the Occupy This-or-That movement, prolonged formal education also lumbers its recipients with some other “youthful” traits that are not so desirable—petulance, wishful thinking, excessive credulity, self-absorption, an inability to distinguish wisdom from sophomoric jaw-flapping, creative thought from pretentious twaddle, or coherent ideas from neo-marxist drivel; and, above all, a monumental sense of entitlement.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Baltic Sea Algae Could Help Fight Cancer

In addition to being nutritious and tasty, algae are increasingly used in cosmetics and may even help fight cancer. Biologists from northern Germany use the domestic brown algae for their research. Biologists from the northern German city of Kiel get their research material from the Baltic Sea. With a special boat designed for harvesting aquacultures, they set out on a regular basis to collect brown algae — Saccharina latissima by its Latin name.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Bats Carry More Viruses Than Thought

Bats play a key role in ecosystems and are threatened worldwide. But, new findings by German scientists indicate that bats also host a broad range of viruses — important for epidemiology and bat conservation.

A research team led by scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany has found that bats host a surprising range of viruses. Although most of the viruses are probably not communicable to us, some — such as mumps — are similar enough to be passed directly to humans.

Published last week in the journal “Nature Communications,” the findings point to new research directions for virology, while including significance for how to fight the spread of disease. But bat conservationists are concerned about the effects of the study on protection for these flying mammals, which are in trouble around the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Bronze Age Espionage: Did Ancient Germans Steal the Pharaoh’s Chair Design?

Roughly 3,500 years ago, folding chairs remarkably similar to ones found in Egypt suddenly became must-have items in parts of northern Europe. Scholars are now looking into this potential case of ancient industrial espionage.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Seeks US Help to Fight Cyber Criminals

The EU wants to work closer with the United States’ department of Homeland Security and the FBI to help plug gaps on protection against cyber crime — a sector worth €388 billion a year in illegal revenue worldwide.

“To overcome this growing global threat, EU-US cooperation is not a choice, but a necessity,” EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told US officials and policy experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Wednesday (2 May).

“I am convinced that in the coming months and years we will be able to report back to our citizens on many more successful joint operations between FBI and Europol,” she added, citing an EU-US working group, launched in November 2010, on cyber-security and cyber crime as an example.

The working group is headed by Malmstrom and includes the US secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano. Both intend to launch an EU-US cyber exercise in 2014.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe to Explore Jupiter’s Icy Moons With JUICE Spacecraft

The European Space Agency will launch a deep-space mission to explore the icy moons of Jupiter in 2022, agency officials announced Tuesday (May 2). The ambitious space mission, called the Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE), is expected to reach Jupiter in 2030 and spend at least three years studying the gas giant’s major moons, ESA officials said.

The JUICE mission to Jupiter is the first major mission selected by ESA under the agency’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. It beat out two other proposed missions; a space observatory to hunt gravity waves and an advanced high-energy astrophysics telescope.

“Jupiter is the archetype for the giant planets of the Solar System and for many giant planets being found around other stars,” said Alvaro Giménez Cañete, ESA’s director of Science and Robotic Exploration, in statement. “JUICE will give us better insight into how gas giants and their orbiting worlds form, and their potential for hosting life.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

European Intellectuals Warn of EU’s Demise

Around 90 intellectuals have warned of Europe’s demise and appealed to European governments to create a volunteer service that all Europeans could take part in — regardless of age or experience.

The signatories to the appeal, which was published on Thursday in numerous European newspapers, blames European elites for a political system that they describe as rescuing indebted banks and squandering young people’s future in the process.

“(The) top-down Europe, the Europe of elites and technocrats that has prevailed up to now …considers itself responsible for forging the destiny of the citizenry of Europe — if need be, against its will,” the manifesto says. “(It) is this unspoken maxim of European politics that is threatening to destroy the entire European project.”

The declaration, entitled “We are Europe! Manifesto for rebuilding Europe from the bottom up,” proposes expanding the European Voluntary Service, which pays for 16-to-30-year olds to spend up to a year doing non-profit work abroad. It calls for people of all ages to be eligible to take part. The idea is that this will help “democratize the national democracies in order to rebuild Europe.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France’s Hollande: No Laws to Satisfy Muslims

PARIS, France (AP) — French presidential front-runner Francois Hollande says he would not allow separate menus in public cafeterias or separate hours in swimming pools for men and women to satisfy demands of the Muslim community. Hollande, the Socialist facing off against conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s presidential election runoff, also said he would firmly support France’s ban on the face-covering Islamic veils. Hollande’s positions are unusually firm for a leftist in France. He spoke during a televised debate with Sarkozy. Hollande said if he is elected president, “I will apply the law” on the face veils. He said different swimming pool hours “will not be tolerated.” Sarkozy also has criticised demands for special treatment from France’s large Muslim community.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Sarkozy Calls Hollande ‘Liar’ In Bitter TV Debate

Nicolas Sarkozy made a last-ditch effort to revive his struggling re-election bid Wednesday, branding Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande a “liar” in the campaign’s only live television


Both men came out in determined mood as the debate kicked off, with Hollande accusing Sarkozy of dividing the French and vowing that if he wins on Sunday he would be a “president who brings people together”.

“I will be a president of justice because we are going through a difficult crisis, a serious crisis that hits the most humble among us, so I want justice to be at the heart of the republic,” Hollande said.

Sarkozy said voters were facing a “historic choice” and: “France cannot make a mistake — we are not in a crisis, we are in many crises.”

Polls show Hollande, 57, is the favourite to win in Sunday’s run-off vote after he came out ahead of Sarkozy in an April 22 first round that left eight

other candidates behind.

The debate turned quickly to the economy, with tensions rising as the two candidates sought to speak over each other.

“Our unemployment has risen, our competitiveness has worsened and Germany is doing better than we are,” Hollande said, slamming Sarkozy’s economic record.

“Why is Germany doing better than us? Because Germany has done the opposite of the policies you are proposing to the French people,” Sarkozy hit back.

“With you it’s very simple. Nothing is ever your fault. Whatever happens you’re happy.” Hollande said, as the debate became heated and Sarkozy accused Hollande repeatedly of “lying” and “slander”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Saxon Scientists Make ‘Printable Speaker’

Chunky, space-stealing speakers could become a thing of the past, thanks to scientists in eastern Germany who have made the world’s first printable speaker. Paper-thin, they promise to make noise in the tech world and beyond.

A team from the Institute for Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology, Saxony, had been working on the project for just two and a half years when they managed to make a successful prototype. It involves printing layers of polymers and conductive chemicals onto a single piece of paper to create a speaker.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: 4 Men Charged Over Al Qaeda Terror Plot

Prosecutors have formally charged four men with membership in a terrorist organization after allegations they planned to carry out an Al Qaeda attack in Germany.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday the group’s leader — 30-year-old Moroccan national Abdeladim El-Kebir — is also accused of undergoing training at a terror camp in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

They say he recruited and indoctrinated the group’s other members, whose last names were not provided in line with German privacy laws.

The 32-year-old German-Moroccan Jamil S. was accused of being responsible for helping produce explosives, while 20-year-old German-Iranian national Amid C. and 27-year-old German citizen Halil S. are alleged to have had mostly logistical tasks. The men were arrested last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Elections: The Black Shadow of ‘Golden Dawn’

Far-right party soars in the polls driven by fear and crisis

(ANSAmed) — ROME — A black shadow is rising over the Greek elections: the extreme-right party of Chrysi Avgi, literally “Golden Dawn”, a name which bears a luminous symbol but whose ideas originate instead from a rather dark past. This is a faction which goes proud of presenting itself with thinly-veiled neo-nazi symbols and whose programme, due to the growing crisis, immigration and general fear, many Greeks seem to find attractive: that is, the hard-line against crime, expulsion of illegal immigrants, all in the name of a “clean” Greece.

Militants of Chrysi Avgi are dressed in black, have their heads shaven and boast an all too familiar logo (the Greek “meander” of which Chrysi Avgi’s version resembles a swastika) and are tireless in bringing forth their message of a secure and clean society with thousands of flyers sent round those areas of Athens where crime is on the rise and residents are exasperated.

They distribute food, clothes and shoes to the poor. Their proposals are very precise, such as putting landmines on Greece’s borders in order to stop immigrants from entering (90% of illegal immigration towards the EU passes through Greece).

They oppose themselves to traditional parties and believe that “the people responsible for the crisis must remain in jail”. The result is that polls appear to favour them: Chrysi Avgi , after 20 years at the margins of Greek politics, should probably gain 5% of the votes in the May 6 elections, compared to the 0.23% of 2009. In order to enter parliament all a party needs is 3%.

Golden Dawn are presenting 220 candidates in these elections.

The groups for the defence of migrants are accusing the members of Chrysi Avgi to have beat up several foreigners, also UNHCR in Greece reports an increase in racist aggressions, although every question on the use of violence is handily avoided: “ We do nothing more than protect Greeks” said one of the party’s candidates Epaminondas Anyfantis in a recent interview. “Now, if in protecting Greeks a foreigner gets a slap or a kick, I believe it’s all part of the plan for protection… simply because Greeks by now have to turn to Golden Dawn for protection. We’re not politicians, we’re soldiers who are fighting for a cause.” If accused of simply being masqueraded neo-nazis, the militants of Chrysi Avgi reply saying that they are simply “nationalist Greeks” and that many of their fathers took part in the resistance against the Nazis. Their leader Nikolas Mihaloliakos, who in 2010 won a seat in the Athens council, shocked the public by making a fascist salute at his first appearance in the committee. Later, he was quoted with statements such as “Hitler is one of the great personalities of history”, whereas in a video in support of his electoral campaign, he affirmed his intention to reintroduce the death penalty for drug dealers and to ban trade unions. Extremist messages which, in this extreme situation for many Greeks, could gather an unexpected popular support.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Pedophilia: 9 Yrs and 6 Mths to Father Riccardo Seppia

(AGI) Genoa — The preliminary hearings magistrate Roberta Bossi of the Court of Genoa has sentenced this morning Father Riccardo Seppia, former parish priest of the Spirito Santo parish of Sestri Ponente to 9 years and 6 mths in prison.

Father Riccardo Seppia will be prosecuted. He is sentenced for attempted sexual violence on minor, attempted prostitution of minors, attempted cession of drugs to minors and the detention of pedophile pornographic material. The preliminary hearings magistrate has almost entirely met the demand of public prosecutor Stefano Puppo for 11 years and 8 months in prison.

Father Riccardo Seppia has been acquitted for only one offence, the detention of pedophile pornographic material. The preliminary hearings magistrate has considered the attempted sexual violence as an offence that has been committed. Father Riccardo Seppia’s lawyer, Paolo Bonanni had asked for the acquittal of all charges except for the cession of drugs.

Father Riccardo Seppia is also accused of having touched an alter boy and of having offered drugs to a minor in exchange of sexual intercourse and of giving drugs to his friend Emanuele Alfano. The former parish priest has been in jail since May 2010. Starting from today he will have to stay in prison for 8 years and 6 months.

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

Italy: Arrest Sought for Senator Luigi Lusi

Wife, two associates under house arrest

(ANSA) — Rome, May 3 — Rome prosecutors on Thursday requested that the Senate authorize the arrest of Senator Luigi Lusi for alleged fraud after placing his wife and two of his associates under house arrest. Lusi, of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), is suspected of embezzling millions of euros out of the coffers of La Margherita, a party that merged with the reformed rump of Italy’s old Communist party in 2007 to form the PD, when he was its treasurer.

His wife Giovanna Petricone and two accountants were charged with conspiracy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Grappa Wins New Fans at Home and Abroad

Spirit increasingly being used in cocktails

(ANSA) — Pavia, May 3 — Gently press a dozen mint leaves, a spoonful of lime juice, and a healthy dose of sugar together at the bottom of a glass, and you are on your way to a refreshing summer cocktail. “Just add soda, ice and grappa,” says Cesare Mazzetti, president of Italy’s National Grappa Institute. “Not rum. That would be a mojito. This is a moschito,” he tells ANSA in an interview. The drink is among the many new cocktails popping up in Italy that are made with grappa, the traditional grape-based brandy made by distilling the skins, pulp, seeds and stems left over from wine-making after pressing the grapes. Enjoyed straight, grappa packs a potent punch with an alcohol content of 35%-60% alcohol by volume, or 70 to 120 proof, prompting most consumers to drink it after a hefty meal.

Like wine, quality and price can vary, with finer varieties fetching over 100 euros, while most bottles cost less than 15 euros. Long a household item in Italy, a surge in international popularity — and overseas imitation — is bringing grappa into the mainstream. “Probably 10% of grappa on the market is not really grappa, but counterfeit,” says Mazzetti. He says there are myriad producers spanning from the US to South Africa who are cashing in on the grappa name. According to the European Union and the Italian government, only grappa made in Italy can rightfully be called grappa. The trademark is protected by the EU’s prestigious PGI certification, short for Protected Geographical Indication, which guarantees the unique qualities of foodstuffs and specialities which are made or grown according to traditional methods in specific areas. “Foreign producers might call it grappa, and it might even resemble grappa,” says Mazzetti, “but if it’s made outside of Italy it is by definition not grappa”. The distinction is one that most wine enthusiasts recognize when it comes to more famous examples. Champagne, for instance, is not really champagne unless it is produced in the northeast French region by the same name, according to the Franco-Italian agreement of 1948. The same agreement applies to cognac, which only really comes from the French town of Cognac. Yet countries outside the EU do not always abide by the distinctions. To raise awareness and to protect the 136 grappa distilleries in Italy, Mazzetti’s National Grappa Institute recently relaunched the website where visitors can read, in both English and Italian, about the history, laws and upcoming events regarding the iconic Italian spirit.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Jewish and Israeli Students Attacked at Toulouse University Event

Toulouse — The president of the French Jewish student organisation has called on the University of Toulouse to combat antisemitism after a talk by Israeli students last week was disrupted by protesters shouting abuse, making threats and singing antisemitic chants.

The incident, which happened on April 25, occurred just over a month after three Jewish students and a rabbi were shot by an Islamist gunman in Toulouse.

The delegation of Israeli students from a non-political organisation were midway through a tour of French universities and had held successful events in Lille and Lyon before visiting Le Mirail campus, in the area where the Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah grew up.

They were at a stall on the campus and were handing out leaflets and chatting to students when a group of protesters arrived and began shouting at them through a megaphone.

“They began shouting anti-Israel slogans and saying that Israel was a criminal state,” said Sacha Reingewitz, vice president of the UEJF. “They said Jews should be exterminated and that Israel commits genocide.”

The protesters demanded that the Israeli group remove the Israeli flag from their stall and when the group refused, they took it down by force.

“Security had to intervene — it was very upsetting,” said Mr Reingewitz. “The protesters were saying ‘get out of here’ and they sang an antisemitic slogan in Arabic: Khaybar Khaybar is Yahud, Jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya’ud” (Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return).”

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Mission to Mars: Austrian Cave Sets Stage for Red Planet Voyage

Volunteers and professionals at the Austrian Space Forum are testing a prototype Mars space suit in a series of ice caves that provide conditions similar to those on the Red Planet. Humanity is still far away from a manned mission to the planet, but the enthusiasts here believe it will actually happen one day.

Schildhammer, who at 178 centimeters (5 foot 10 inches) tall and with a shoe size of 43 (US size 9) has the perfect dimensions for wearing a space suit, isn’t a real astronaut. In this case, he is able to get help from someone else, because he’s on Earth and not on the Red Planet. He is actually shuffling through a cave in Austria’s Salzkammergut region. Two assistants are able to easily remove his protective headgear and fix the problem.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Witness Tells of Breivik’s Island Arrival

Oslo — A witness in the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, who is charged with the attacks in Norway that left 77 people dead, on Thursday testified how he had allowed him to board a ferry to the island where 69 of the victims were gunned down.

The 33-year-old Breivik has admitted to carrying out the bomb attack in Oslo and the shooting on the island of Utoya on 22 July but pleaded not guilty.

Simen Braenden Mortensen was serving as a security guard, stationed on the quay that links the mainland to the island of Utoya at the time.

“I remember I reacted when he arrived in a little van,” Mortensen said. “He was very calm and I noticed he had pistol strapped to his thigh.”

He said Breivik, who was wearing a fake police identification tag, told him he had been assigned to secure the island in the aftermath of the bombing that targeted government offices in Oslo.

Mortensen said he heard gunshots shortly after the ferry carrying Breivik arrived at the island about 650m from the mainland.

The court has earlier heard testimony that the manager of the island and an off-duty police officer acting as a security guard at a summer camp for Labour Party youth were the first victims.

The captain of the ferry, police crime scene technicians and survivors are among those called to the witness stand in the trial, which opened on 16 April.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Swiss Must Stop Helping Tax Cheats: Top Banker

Switzerland must shed its role as a bank haven for tax cheats and end disputes with foreign tax authorities, the chairman of the country’s biggest bank UBS said on Thursday. “Switzerland ought not to be a financial centre for tax evaders. The financial sector cannot become involved in tax crimes,” said Kaspar Villiger, chairman of the board at UBS, in prepared remarks for the bank’s annual general meeting.

“For years, banking confidentiality was a key part of the Swiss financial centre’s appeal,” he added. “Other states are no longer prepared to accept their citizens evading tax in this way. This paradigm shift occurred unexpectedly quickly and with enormous force. Switzerland was forced on the defensive and has had to ward off attacks from all sides. “Banking confidentiality is increasingly losing its legitimacy.”

Switzerland has come under attack in recent years for the secrecy of its banking sector and charges it helped foreign clients evade taxes at home.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Unrivalled Power of the French President

The French president enjoys powers unequalled in the democratic world, a situation strengthened by a decade-old reform that reduced the chances of “cohabitation” with a government of a different political hue.

France’s Fifth Republic in 1958 replaced a parliamentary system, which had suffered from a weak executive and governments falling in quick succession, with a system of strong presidents elected for seven-year mandates.

The president was initially chosen by an electoral college but, after a 1962 referendum, this was changed to direct election. The president of the republic is the head of the armed forces and has control of France’s nuclear deterrent. He or she negotiates with foreign powers and ratifies treaties.

The president can organise referendums on laws or on constitutional changes. He can dissolve parliament, and nominate the prime minister, ministers and other senior figures in the administration.

He also names three of the nine members of the Constitutional Council, including its president, which he can call upon to decide on the constitutionality of a law.

When the majority at the National Assembly is of the same political persuasion, the president is the effective head of the executive and can impose his views on the prime minister.

But during periods of “cohabitation”, as happened in 1986-1988, 1993-1995 and 1997-2002 when the president was from a different political party than the majority of deputies, it is the prime minister who has this role. Even then the president still controls foreign and defence policy.

The presidential term was reduced in 2002 from seven to five years to match that of the parliamentary mandate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Former MG Rover Workers to Receive Payout of Just £3 Each After Seven-Year Battle — Despite Its Former Owners Taking £42m

Former workers at MG Rover are to receive compensation of just £3 each after fighting a seven-year battle for redundancy payments.

Campaigners fighting for more money for the 6,500 employees who lost their jobs following the collapse of Britain’s last major car maker were told of the tiny payout this week.

When the firm collapsed in 2005, workers were told by the company’s owners that millions of pounds would be available for them in a compensation fund.

But, as reported by The Guardian, the fund has instead just £22,000 which needs to be shared among the thousands of workers whose jobs were lost.

Following news of the payouts on Monday, campaigners are now calling for personal donations to the workers’ fund from the ‘Phoenix Four’ — made up of John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and Peter Beale.

The businessmen bought the company for just £10 in 2000 and then paid themselves and Kevin Howe, the managing director, a total of £42m.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Londoners Choose Between Ken and Boris in Mayoral Election

Londoners are going to the polls to decide who should run the British capital just months ahead of the 2012 Olympics there. Two of the country’s most colorful politicians have gone head-to-head for a second time.

Around 5.8 million voters have the choice of seven candidates, though the real race is between Conservative incumbent Boris Johnson, and veteran Labour mayor Ken Livingstone, among the few politicians known across the country simply by their first names. Some call the race the Ken and Boris show.

Local elections are underway in 180 municipalities nationwide, in which Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives are expected to lose hundreds of seats. But the scenario appears to be different in London, where most polls put Johnson ahead of Livingstone by 12 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Minicab Driver Raped Drunk Passengers and His Wife Even Tried to Bribe Victim to Keep Quiet

A married taxi driver who raped two drunken passengers has been jailed for 12 years.

Asif Iqbal, from Newport, South Wales, was convicted of raping the passengers — but police fear many more women may have been attacked on late-night rides home.

And his wife was also jailed for six months after admitting to perverting the course of justice by offering one of the victim’s money to withdraw her complaint.

Iqbal targeted women outside pubs and nightclubs, because he knew they would be drunk.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: The Middle-Class Medievalism of the Murdoch-Bashing Set

by Brendan O’Neill

The best way to understand the Culture Committee’s ferociously worded report on News Corp is to see it as modern-day dunking of a witch. This “nakedly ideological” document (as The Daily Mail describes it this morning) is the culmination of two years’ worth of Murdoch-mauling among the political elite and chattering classes. They have turned Murdoch into the cause of every ill in modern Britain, treating him as the corruptor of our body politic and the defiler of our public life. And now they have seen their favourite bogeyman finally humiliated, in unprecedented fashion, by a committee of MPs. The committee could have saved a lot of paper by just publishing the words: “Ding dong, the witch is dead!”

There is a medievalism to the fashion for bashing Murdoch. The way in which he is treated as the cause of political and social disarray, as the architect of modern Britain’s “heartlessness, coarseness and spite”, echoes the way “witches” were once held responsible for everything from crop failure to the waning of moral values. Reading the commentary of the anti-Murdoch set, it seems there’s nothing bad he isn’t responsible for. We are told that he has had a “malign influence on our politics for the past 30 years”; that he destroyed poor Neil Kinnock and with him the old Labour Party; that he has enslaved and brainwashed politicians, corrupted the cops, dumbed down British culture; that he has, in the somewhat barmy words of Tom Watson MP, created a “shadow state” which “intimidates parliament”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Thief Who Wept at the Prospect of Prison Because He’s a ‘Fussy Eater’ Has Sentence Reduced

A young thief who whinged that he could not go to prison because he is a ‘fussy eater’ today had his sentence slashed by appeal judges.

Unemployed dad-of-one Patrick Fairley, 20, burst into tears when told he might be jailed, saying it was impossible because he would not like the food.

But Fairley, from North Shields, was locked up for six months at Newcastle Crown Court in March after pleading guilty to theft.

Today, he appealed and had the sentence cut to 16 weeks by top judges, Lord Justice Davis, Mr Justice Treacy and Judge Peter Collier QC.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Macedonia: Five Ethnic Albanians Charged With Terrorism

Skopje, 3 May (AKI) — Macedonian police have charged five ethnic Albanians over a recent multiple murder and arrested 20 others in a series of raids, MIA news agency reported on Thursday.

The arrests were made in several villages around the capital, Skopje, police said.

Police found weapons, explosive devices, radio transmitters and uniforms of the ethnic Albanian guerrilla group the Kosovo Liberation Army which rebelled against Serb rule in 1998-1999.

The charging of the five suspects, the police raids and arrests were carried out in connection with the killing on 12 April of four Macedonian youths, aged between 18 and 22 and a middle aged man who were fishing at a lake near Skopje.

Of the five suspects charged with terrorism, three were ordered to be detained for 30 days while two others were still on the run, police said.

Macedonia’s state prosecutor Ljupco Svrgovski told media he would demand a maximum life imprisonment term for the five suspects if they are convicted.

Police minister Gordana Jankulovska told media the April murders were carried out in an effort to destabilize the small multi-ethnic Balkan country.

Ethnic Albanians make about 25 per cent of Macedonia’s two million population and mostly inhabit the western part of the country and the area around Skopje.

Ethnic Albanians rebelled in 2001, demanding more rights and regional autonomy, but the conflict was resolved through international mediation with the Skopje government agreeing to most of the ethnic Albanian demands.

Ethnic Albanian extremists in Macedonia have stepped up their activities in recent years, encouraged by Kosovo Albanians’ secession from from Serbia in 2008.

Serbia opposes Kosovo independence, but it has been recognized by over eighty countries, including the United States and 22 out of 27 members of the European Union.

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

North Africa

Egypt: Islamist MP Backs Bill Allowing Girls to Marry at 14

Cairo, 3 May (AKI) — A bill to allow girls as young as 14 to marry should not be rejected out of hand, as girls in some areas of the country mature earlier, according to a Salafite member of Egypt’s parliament

“The bill to lower to 14 the minimum age at which girls can marry is plausible and is linked to traditions and the natural environment,” Abdel Hakim Masoud told Adnkronos International.

“There are areas of the country where girls reach physical maturity earlier,” Masoud said.

The bill was tabled by several lawmakers from the parliament’s religious affairs commission. Under current Egyptian law, girls may not marry before the age of 18.

“The idea of lowering the marriageable age is one to be explored, but the current climate in Egypt is not the the most favourable one for such projects,” said Masoud.

Tensions persist between the Islamist-dominated parliament elected in staggered polls last November and the ruling military council.

Two leading Islamist candidates suspended their campaigns on Wednesday ahead of this month’s presidential election after at least eleven people were killed and more than 160 wounded near Egypt’s defence ministry in central Cairo after armed men assaulted protesters demanding an end to army rule.

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

Egypt: Bloody Protests 20 Days Ahead of Cairo Elections

Armed group attacks Salafists outside ministry, dozens dead

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — There have been fresh protests and further bloodshed during another day of violence in Cairo.

Between 20 and 30 people are reported to have died — the official count stands at just 12 — while between 50 and 100 were injured in the clashes, which have come around 20 days before the election on May 23 and 24 of Egypt’s first President since the end of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. The bloodiest episode involved a medical student, who had his throat slit by a large group of “baltageya”, hired small-time criminals, who attacked protesters staging a sit-in at the top of the main road leading to the Ministry of Defence. The same attackers also laid waste to the waiting room and the emergency unit of a hospital in the area where some of those seriously injured were being treated. Clashes also occurred in the city of Alexandria.

Hundreds of demonstrators, who had been protesting since Friday evening in Cairo’s central Abbasseya Square, were attacked at dawn by “unknown” assailants, as the official Egyptian media has described them, armed with sticks, knives, Molotov cocktails and rocks. The protesters, many of them Salafist supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail, the fundamentalist candidate excluded from the presidential race, others young revolutionaries from Tahrir Square, responded with rocks and Molotov cocktails of their own.

Many were seriously injured and some later died.

Only halfway through yesterday did soldiers and security forces intervene to break up the clashes, though rocks continued to be thrown beyond security lines, after news arrived from medical sources at field hospitals set up in the area that the number of dead and injured was growing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Libya: Life in Prison for Glorifying Gaddafi or Insulting Islam

The National Transitional Council adopts new laws. Assets belonging to the Gaddafi family and officials in his regime are seized. The Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic extremists determine the country’s political line.

Tripoli (AsiaNews/Agencies) — The Islamisation of Libya puts national reconciliation in jeopardy. Yesterday, the National Transitional Council (NTC) adopted a number of laws that include life in prison for glorifying Moammar Gaddafi, insulting Islam or denigrating the 17 February Revolution. For the Libya’s rulers, the country is still at war and such restrictions are needed to prevent it from beings destabilised ahead of next June’s parliamentary elections.

According to one law, disseminating information that harms state-building is an insult to the people that deserves incarceration. Another law seizes the assets of the late dictator’s relatives and those of former regime officials.

Experts note that since Gaddafi’s death and the capture of his son Saif al-Islam, Libya has fallen to Islamist extremists inside the NTC who want to impose Sharia on the country.

At the same time, Libyan villages and towns are flooded with weapons, local sources say.

As insecurity persists, people take the law into their own hands.

In the prevailing legal and law enforcement vacuum, organised criminal gangs are taking advantage of the situation to traffic in food, weapons and money, as well as control aqueducts.

In order to stop extremism and tribal revenge, NTC leaders issued a law last week that bans political parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity. Groups close to the Muslim Brotherhood have come out against it and tried to get the NTC to change the law.

Like in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists are imposing their line.

Outlawed under the old regime, they quickly took over oil installations, presenting themselves as strategic partners to foreign companies brought to Libya by Gaddafi.

Backed and funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Brotherhood will run in the June election. Given its organisational strengths, it is likely to win.

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

Tunisian TV Mogul Fined Over ‘Blasphemous’ Film

A Tunisian court on Thursday fined a television mogul for airing an animated film construed as blasphemous by hardline Islamists, denting the country’s religiously tolerant image.

Nabil Karoui was found guilty of “disturbing public order” and “violating sacred values” after his television station Nessma aired the Iranian coming-of-age film Persepolis, which includes a brief scene depicting God.

The controversial case has polarised Tunisia, exposing a deep rift between the country’s secular and religious populations, and ripples from the verdict are likely to be felt across the region.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Bin Laden Files Reveal Al-Qaeda Leader Plotting New 9/11

Osama bin Laden planned to start a “new phase” for al-Qaeda a year before he was killed and wanted to launch another attack similar to 9/11, newly released documents from his hide-out show.

In a 48-page memo to Atiyah al-Rahman, one of the organisation’s senior commanders who was killed last year, bin Laden told him it would be “nice” if he could nominate “one of the qualified brothers to be responsible for a large operation in the US.”

The document was written in late May 2010 and was among a number published by the US Government’s Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dubai’s Next Big Thing: The Underwater ‘Discus’ Hotel

The indebted shipbuilding arm of Dubai World, the conglomerate that triggered Dubai’s debt crisis four years ago, signed a deal to develop undersea hotels with a Swiss firm yesterday. Only a month after it sought insolvency protection in Dubai and Singapore to push through a $US2.2 billion ($A2.13 billion) debt restructuring, Drydocks World unveiled an agreement with BIG InvestConsult, which holds the technology rights, to build the World Discus Hotel.

The hotel, featuring a discus-shaped residential underwater building connected to another discus above water, will be funded by BIG, which is in talks with other investors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Osama Bin Laden ‘Plotting to Relaunch Al-Qaeda With New 9/11-Style Spectacular’

Frustrated by a series of setbacks and a western world distracted by the economic crisis, the al-Qaeda chief wanted a sharply honed comeback, which is detailed across 175 pages of plans and memos sent between the top echelons of his terrorist network and released by the US yesterday.

To bring down the infidel “tree”, bin Laden wanted disciples to “focus our saw on its American root”, ignoring even its “British branch” to avoid wasting limited resources. He also called on lieutenants to abandon plans for moves into Iran and possibly scale back operations in Pakistan and Yemen.

“I plan to release a statement that we are starting a new phase to correct the mistakes we made,” he said in a 2010 memo. “We shall reclaim, God willing, the trust of a large segment of those who lost their trust in the jihadis.” He lamented the PR disaster of killing Muslim civilians.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Syrian SSNP Leader’s Son Assassinated by Armed Hit Squad

(AGI) Damascus — Pro-Assad daily al-Baath reports the killing of SSNP Syrian Social Nationalist Party leader Ali Haidar’s son. Ismail and a friend were attacked by an armed commando at the al-Mahnaya junction along the road connecting Homs and Masyaf. Interviewed by press agency Sana the Ali Haidar dismissed condolences, arguing that “my son’s blood in worth just as much as that of any other Syrian citizen.” The SSNP leader also said “those who challenge us with weapons cannot scare or silence us, and will not put an end to our night and day work to restore peace and stability in Syria.” Haidar and three other leading anti-Assad figures signed a joint manifesto for “national dialogue, without foreign interference.”

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

Yemeni Soldiers Repell Attack in South, 8 Al Qaeda Dead

(AGI) Sanaa — Yemeni soldiers have killed 8 Al Qaela of the Arab Peninsola militants who attacked their positions. The attack took place in the southern province of Abyan. The report came from sources inside the Defense Ministry, who clarified that the soldiers responded to fire from an encampment near Bajday, near Zanjibar, the provincial capital. The fighting between the army and the integralist militants Monday left 21 dead, of which 18 were Al Qaeda militants, in the area of the city of Abyan which the terrorist were attempting to seize.

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

South Asia

‘Intolerant’ Indian State Mulls Ways to Curb Free Speech

Media activists in India say the Indian state is increasingly becoming ‘intolerant’ as the government finds ways to regulate media, in particular the social networking websites.

Last year, a Delhi court instructed social networking sites to remove derogatory content for allegedly webcasting objectionable material. India’s telecom minister Kapil Sibal faced a deluge of protests in the online world after he threatened that the government would be forced to take remedial steps if social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google failed to screen offensive material from their sites.

After a series of protests, the Indian government had to clarify its position by saying it was not planning to introduce a “Chinese-style” web censorship in the country.

Regulation of online content has been a hot topic in India for a while. In contrast to China, internet users in India enjoy largely unhindered access to the internet.

But in May last year, the Department of Information Technology brought in new rules placing the onus on social networking sites, such as Facebook, to “act within 36 hours” of receiving information about offensive content.

“The Indian state is becoming increasingly intolerant of criticism,” Sevanti Ninan, editor of the media watchdog The Hoot, told DW. “Last year, Google reported that it received requests from the Indian government to take down material related to criticism of certain politicians,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Taliban Attack Hotel in Kabul

Bombers target guesthouse after Obama visit

Taliban bombers killed seven people after a suicide car bomb exploded outside a heavily fortified guesthouse used by Westerners in Afghanistan’s capital yesterday.

Attackers in burqas also clashed with guards at Kabul’s Green Village complex used by the European Union, the United Nations and aid groups, officials said.

The terrorists announced the start of their annual “spring offensive” despite US President Barack Obama’s claims that the 10-year war was ending.

It raises fresh concern about insurgents’ resilience on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, as Nato winds down its combat presence in the next two years and hands responsibility for security to Afghan forces.

The Taliban said the assault was a riposte to Mr Obama, who hours earlier signed a new partnership pact in Kabul to govern Afghan-US relations after 2014 — a deal the insurgents dismissed as “illegitimate”.

Mr Obama said: “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end,” after bin Laden plotted the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Mr Obama flew into Kabul in secret on Tuesday night and signed the deal with President Hamid Karzai, cementing 10 years of US aid for Afghanistan after Nato combat troops leave in 2014. Most Afghans were asleep during the visit and he left after about six hours.

The Taliban said Mr Karzai had no right to sign the deal and accused him of selling Afghan sovereignty to the Americans. They vowed to continue their armed struggle “against all the contents of this illegitimate document until the full withdrawal of all invading forces and their puppets” — referring to the Karzai government.

The Green Village assault began some two hours after Obama left. Police said three attackers wearing burqas struck at 6.15 a.m. (01.45a.m. GMT), detonating a car bomb before clashing with guards. The interior ministry said seven people died, including at least six Afghans.

Mangled bodies were seen in the road, two vehicles were destroyed and nearby windows were blown out.

Health ministry spokesman Kargar Noorughli said 18 people were wounded and eight admitted to hospital.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said it was a message to Mr Obama that militants would continue to fight until all foreign forces had left the country.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Far East

Japan: Video: Lost Budgie Reunited With Owner After Reciting Address

The two-year-old budgie escaped from his cage in Sagamihara city, Kanagawa prefecture in Japan on Sunday when his owner accidentally left his cage door open.

Landing in the room of a nearby hotel, the bird was turned into the authorities before suddenly beginning to recite his precise address.

Brought along to a press conference by relieved 64-year-old owner of Fumie Takahashi, Piko-chan was asked by reporters, “What’s your address?”.

The budgie replied “Sagamihara-shi, Hashimoto” with no hesitation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US-Chinese Talks Open Under Shadow of a Dissident’s Fate

Senior officials from the US and China opened two days of strategic and economic talks on Thursday. But nobody wanted to mention what must have really been on their minds — the fate of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, along with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is representing the US at the conference, raised the issue of human rights in her opening speech but did not refer to dissident Chen Guangcheng by name.

The US believes that “all governments have to answer our citizens’ aspirations for dignity and the rule of law and that no nation can or should deny those rights,” Clinton said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s tone was considerably more conciliatory than that of a Foreign Ministry spokesman who on Wednesday had demanded an apology from the US for allowing Chen to shelter at the country’s embassy in Beijing. President Hu said that given the two countries’ different perspectives, it was impossible for them to agree on all issues.

“We should properly manage the differences by improving mutual understanding so the differences will not undermine the larger interests of China-US relations,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Blond Hair Evolved Independently in Pacific Islands

Science can’t yet tell us whether they have more fun — but it has uncovered a new genetic change that makes people blond. And contrary to long held belief, it seems golden hair hasn’t simply been introduced across the globe by travelling tow heads, but instead evolved separately in different human populations.

Indigenous people of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific have some of the darkest skin pigmentation outside of Africa. But unlike most other tropical populations, they also have a high prevalence of blond hair. Up to 10 per cent of the population is fair haired, the highest proportion outside of Europe. Until now, this odd trait had generally been attributed to the introduction of blond genes by European explorers and traders in preceding centuries. “We originally thought, well that must be a Captain Cook allele,” says Carlos Bustamante at Stanford University.

Yet a closer look revealed that the genetics behind blond hair in Brussels are distinct from those leading to flaxen locks in the South Pacific.

Bustamante, Sean Myles and colleagues at Stanford discovered this after analysing saliva samples from 43 blondes and 42 dark-haired Solomon Islanders. A genome-wide scan pointed to a single strong difference between the groups at a gene called TYRP1. Further analysis revealed that a single-letter change in the gene accounted for 46 per cent of the population’s hair colour variation, with the blond allele being recessive to the dark hair allele. The blond mutation wasn’t found in any of the 900 other individuals sampled from outside the South Pacific (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1217849).

TYRP1 is known to be involved in skin and hair pigmentation in several species. In normally black mice, for example, a mutation in the gene produces light brown coats. A rare kind of human albinism is also caused by mutations in TYRP1, which produces reddish skin colour and ginger hair. TYRP1 isn’t, however, one of the genes that produces blond hair in Europeans. The novel blond mutation in Solomon Islanders is likely to have cropped up around 10,000 years ago, and it appears to be the same one behind blondness in Fiji and other regions of the South Pacific.

“Before this, everybody would have thought, blond hair evolved once in humans,” says Bustamante. “This tells us we can’t really assume that even these common mutations are common across different human populations. Non-European populations are critical to study to find mutations that may be underlying the vast phenotypic variation of humans.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Hunt for Aboriginal Men Who ‘Raped Two European Women Tourists at Gunpoint After Breaking Into Their Car’

A huge manhunt has been launched for three Aboriginal men who allegedly raped two European women tourists at gunpoint in central Australia.

The women, aged 21 and 28, were sleeping in their car near Alice Springs when the attackers broke into their car in the dead of night and sexually assaulted them.

Police declined to say which European country the women were from, but outback Australia is popular with young Britons seeking adventure in the dusty heart of the country.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria Market Bombing Kills at Least 34

An attack on a cattle market in northeastern Nigeria by gunmen armed with explosives has left at least 34 dead and the toll is likely to climb, an emergency source said.

“Thirty-four bodies were deposited at the hospital,” the official said on condition of anonymity of the attack late Wednesday in Potiskum because he was not authorised to speak publicly. He said the toll was likely to be more than 50 dead because families were also burying relatives’ bodies without bringing them to the hospital.

The attack Wednesday night in the city of Potiskum was said to be in reprisal for an incident earlier in the day, when a gang sought to rob the market but was fought off by traders who caught one of the attackers, police said.

The man who was caught was doused in petrol and a tyre was placed around his neck before he was burnt to death, according to police and residents.

“A group of gunmen armed with around 20 explosives and assault rifles attacked the Potiskum cattle market,” police spokesman Toyin Gbadegesin.

“They threw explosives and shot indiscriminately, setting fire to the market, killing lots of livestock and wounding many people, mostly cattle dealers.”

Police have not provided a death toll, but an emergency official said on condition of anonymity that 34 bodies were brought to a local hospital and some 22 other people were being treated for injuries.

He added that the toll was likely to be more than 50 because families were also burying relatives’ bodies without bringing them to the hospital.

Residents described a terrifying scene at the market usually crowded with traders, with scores of cattle burnt, the market razed and dozens of people killed.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Latin America

G-20 Summit is Not Just a Mexican Vacation

Although Los Cabos, Mexico is a fabulous vacation destination, Americans will pay no attention to the activities of the G-20 Summit there because they do not understand what G-20 members do or care, but they should. Even Congress pays scant attention to this group that was established in 1999.

Rebecca M. Nelson, an analyst in International Trade and Finance, made a wise suggestion in her report, “The G-20 and International Economic Cooperation: Background and Implications for Congress.” (Congressional Research Service, April 12, 2012)

“Congress may want to exercise oversight over the Administration’s participation in the G-20 including the policy commitments that the Administration is making in the G-20 and the policies it is encouraging other G-20 countries to pursue.”

Keeping in line with the idea of legislating retroactively, ex-post facto, the author suggests, “legislative action may be required to implement certain commitments made by the Administration in the G-20 process, and commitments made at the G-20 may shape the congressional legislative agenda.” In other words, unelected bureaucrats with agendas determined by lobbying groups have made promises at previous G-20 meetings. Said bureaucrats may now force legislators to implement their promises into law.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Guns in Murder of Mexican Lawyer Traced Back to Operation Fast & Furious

After a thorough investigation, Mexican officials have determined that the firearms used in the 2010 killing of lawyer, were connected to U.S. Operation Fast and Furious.

On October 21, 2010, drug cartel members kidnapped lawyer, Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez from his office. Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez, sister of the victim, was attorney general of the state of Chihuahua at the time of the kidnapping.


So far, weapons traced back to Fast and Furious have been recovered in eight Mexican states, many of which included the territory of the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Luis Fleischmann: The Future of Venezuela: “Chavismo Without Chavez”

Ever since announcing that he has cancer, the status of Hugo Chavez’s health and longevity has been an issue of great interest for those concerned about the future of Venezuela.

Understandably, it is logical to hope that Chavez’s death will lead to a better future as he is considered to be a man who carries a very dictatorial and inflexible ideology. Such ideology guides Venezuela’s domestic and foreign policy. Therefore, it is hoped that the death of the Bolivarian leader may lead to a more pragmatic approach with more democracy and less anti-Americanism as well as a more positive foreign policy.

This type of argument has no sufficient foundation on which to be sustained. Looking at history, we see that, in those countries where the death of a leader led to radical change was, in fact, an exception…

[Return to headlines]


Anti-Racists Criticise Norwegian Musician

Norwegian NGOs are censuring singer-songwriter Hans Rotmo for being immigrant and Muslim-hostile following release of his new composition.

Mr Rotmo’s song, ‘Vi fra andre’, is allegedly a pastiche on a poem by Norwegian writer Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845) from 1841 called ‘Vi ere en Nation, vi med’, which advocates 17th May — Norway’s National Day — should also be for children.

However, the connections with Wergeland’s work become more clouded in the singer-songwriter’s version. Norwegian Centre Against Racism director Kari Helene Partapuoli thinks the text is mostly in “extremely bad taste” and “malicious at times.”

“The entire text is based on quite a few simplistic prejudices against immigrants and Muslims in Norway,” she tells Adresseavisen, “it is a cheerful mixture of misguided xenophobia and incorrect assumptions about the Muslim revolution.”

Mr Rotmo’s text reads, “We are from other states, we rejoice in our new country and will never leave it. We are from distant skies but are not visiting, even if we smell of marijuana and onion and speak strangely when we talk.”

Still intending to be satiric, it also mentions Norway having the bluest sky and most peaceful life, the good welfare state through NAV, and that Norway is a country where one can keep religion, tradition get a free phone, and housing.

“We cut and slice in mushrooms and vaginas, on girls and boys, and new converts. Circumcision is our culture, and we have more in store. We are a nation with the nation within the nation.”

“In a few years, you will see that we will start the revolution that many have talked about, yes talked about but that never arrived. Bash the bankers — to jest moy dom insch Allah — come on, then. We work hard and p**s and s**t, more than both the Norwegians and Brits. Every Turk, Mexican, and Pole is always broke,” the song concludes.

In an email to The Foreigner, Kari Helene Partapuoli writes, “Ridiculing immigration and criticism of Islam’s role in society is fine, of course, but I think Mr Rotmo is wide of the mark here. Although ridicule should have some basis in reality, Norwegian Muslims are also used to both hearing and enduring a lot.”

“I also think it is appropriate to remind Mr Rotmo that the vast majority of immigrants to Norway are immigrants from Poland and the Baltic countries. They come to work, and not to go to the NAV offices as he writes. Some are also badly exploited by the Norwegian employment market. Moreover, the trade union movement, which Mr Rotmo has sung so positively about before, has also involved itself in Eastern European workers’ rights.”…

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Deport the GOP Establishment

Nearly three times as many Americans support reducing immigration as want it to stay the same, according to Gallup polls. A grand total of 5 percent of the population want to increase legal immigration — 10 times less than want to decrease it. I myself would like to deport the people responsible for our current immigration policies.

Our official policy is to turn away scientists in order to make room for illiterate Pakistani peasants who will drop out of high school to man coffee carts until deciding to plot a terrorist attack against the United States. That’s this week’s immigration poster boy, Najibullah Zazi.

Zazi’s own step-uncle said of him: “He was a dumb kid, believe me.” Our immigration officials said, WELCOME, ZAZI!… Oops, sorry Swedish scientists and nuclear engineers — no room for you.

In February, Zazi pleaded guilty in a plot to bomb the New York City subway.

One of his co-conspirators, Zarein Ahmedzay, was welcomed from Afghanistan to America because he was willing to do a job no American would: drive a cab. Where are you going to find an American with a driver’s license?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: GPS ‘Threatened With Legal Action’ For Taking Failed Asylum Seekers Off Surgery Lists

GPs have been threatened with legal action after removing failed asylum seekers from their surgery lists, research has revealed.

It emerged in an investigation which revealed that more than £40 million is owed to NHS hospitals by foreign patients who were not eligible for free care, research indicates.

The report by Pulse, a magazine for doctors, found that one surgery in Essex had been threatened with legal action after removing a Nigerian couple from their list after their asylum application had been turned down.

After receiving a letter from a firm of solicitors the doctors backed down and reinstated them. The manager of the surgery said they had been urged to do so by their local primary care trust.

The unnamed staff member said: “Someone at the PCT read the letter and panicked. Do we just register everyone who is illegal?”

Another practice in Leeds was also told not to remove illegal immigrants from its list when faced with a similar threats.

Freedom of Information requests by Pulse revealed the average unpaid debt for the provision of care to foreign nationals was £230,000 in the 35 trusts which responded.

If this figure was the same across all 168 English acute trusts, the total debt would be almost £40 million, the magazine claimed.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]


Al Qaeda Wants You to Know It’s Nothing Like Anders Breivik

Infamous terrorist network Al Qaeda may be many terrible things but it’s no Anders Breivik.

That’s the message, at least, in the latest issue of Inspire, the English-language magazine published by the terror group and delivered to The Atlantic Wire by the Middle East Media Research Institute this afternoon. In the new issue, Al Qaeda editors devote an entire article to contrasting its brand of terrorism with the Norwegian mass killer in a piece titled “Do the mujahideen and Christian terrorists have similar goals?”

It’s pretty morbid stuff, but it’s hard not to chuckle at the straightforward way in which the Islamic terrorists try to calmly distinguish their killing of innocent civilians with Breivik’s killing of innocent civilians. Apples and oranges, they insist!

The argument consists of three points: First among them being the targeting of women and children. “It’s not like we target daycare centers and children schools or gatherings known to hold only women and children!” reads the article. Sensing a counter-argument, the writer prefaces that, “If someone says that our bombings in London and Madrid for example is proof that we target women and children then we say that we purposely target specialized institutions to not only send political messages, but to damage their economies.” It’s sort of pointless to debate the finer points of this but interesting, nevertheless, to see how delusional the Al Qaeda propagandists are.

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

New ‘Unknowns’ Hacking Group Hits NASA, Air Force, European Space Agency

A new hacking group calling itself “The Unknowns” has published a list of passwords and documents reportedly belonging to NASA, the European Space Agency and the U.S. Air Force, among other high-profile government targets.

The group’s Pastebin post, released yesterday (May 1), includes names and passwords reportedly belonging to NASA’s Glenn Research Center as well as the U.S. Military’s Joint Pathology Center, the Thai Royal Navy, Harvard University, Renault, the Jordanian Yellow Pages and the Ministries of Defense of France and Bahrain.

Softpedia reports that the hackers also posted screenshots of some of the sites they breached, and that although the post was made public yesterday, some of the hacks date back to March.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]