Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120514

Financial Crisis
»Eurozone in ‘Very Political’ Meeting on Greece and Spain
»Greece and Europe Fall Victim to the Socialist Cargo Cult
»Greece Headed Into ‘Out of Control Bankruptcy’ — Govt. Salaries and Pensions Soon to Go Unpaid
»Greek Electricity Market Desperate for Liquidity
»Greek Hoteliers Fear a Further Drop in Arrivals
»Italy: Hanged Dummies in Front of Catania Internal Revenue Office
»Italy: Petrol Prices Have Climbed Over 20% Says ISTAT
»Leading German Economist: Higher Inflation ‘Would Not be a Disaster’
»Obama Pushes Billion-Dollar Stimulus Plan
»Return to Drachma Would Cost €276bn
»Spanish Banks Agree to Set Aside More Risk Provisions
»Time to Admit Defeat: Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit
»Van Rompuy ‘Very Concerned’ About Greece
»World Stocks Drop as Worries Over Greece Intensify
»“Winds of Revolution”
»At Disney World’s ‘Living With the Land’ Exhibit, Teaching Children About GMO Agriculture is a Fun Activity for the Whole Family
»Che Guevara Adorned Reno-Tahoe Airport
»Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America Celebrates 50 Years
»Focus on Faith: Combating Islamophobia
»Houston Lawyer on Quest for Missing Moon Rocks
»Imam in Strip Mall Mosque Stresses Social Services
»Muslim Working to Educate, Dispel Myths
»Obama and DOJ Lawsuit Claims Arizona Sheriff Arpaio a Racist
»US Veterans Return Home to a Difficult Future
»Video: Why Are Soldiers Dying in Their Sleep?
»War Against Muslims Started Even Before 9/11
Europe and the EU
»EU Anti-Fraud Chief: We Can Improve Brussels’ Image
»France: One Year on: Things Only Get Worse for DSK
»Germany: Protecting the NPD
»Germany: Baader-Meinhof Member Speaks to Deny Murder
»Greek Poll Reveals Left-Wing Syriza Has 20.5% Support
»How Rich Are European Socialists and Marxists?
»Islamophobia: Europe’s New Political Disease
»Italy: Expert Reports Temperature Changes Typical of US Climate
»Italy: Sabina Rossa States ‘Unfair Society Encourages Terrorism’
»Italy: Interior Minister Ready to Use Army to Defend Finmeccanica
»Malaysians to Bring Islamic Banking to Germany
»Norway’s Telenor Warns India on Telecom Impasse
»Norway: Breivik Victim Removed Bullet and Swam to Safety
»Sea Shepherd Founder Arrested in Germany
»Sweden: Jail for Heads of Massive Sex Trafficking Ring
»Sweden: Malmö Sniper Suspect ‘Not a Racist’: Lawyer
»UK: ‘A Hand for a Hand’: Burglar’s Chilling Words to Helpless Grandmother Who He Slashed With Machete Because Her Dog Bit Him
»UK: BBC Expresses Regret Over Suggestion Sikhism is ‘Made Up of Other Religions’
»UK: Butetown Faith March Boosts Image of Islam
»UK: Claiming Rochdale Grooming Not About Race is ‘Fatuous’ — Trevor Phillips
»UK: Now They’re All Laughing Out Loud at Trendy Dave
»UK: Oxford Center for Islamic Studies Granted Royal Charter
»UK: Promoting an Archival Culture
»UK: Raw and Real: Boris Calls for Tory to Run Statist, Corporatist, Defeatist, Anti-Business, Europhile and Leftist BBC
»UK: Rochdale is a Lesson to All of Us
»UK: The Statist, Defeatist and Biased BBC is on the Wrong Wavelength
»US Envoy Visits Jailed Ex-PM in Ukraine Clinic
»Yes Campaign Leads Ahead of Irish Referendum
»Macedonia Protests Signal Surge of Radical Islam
»Turkey to Foster NATO Bid for Balkan Nations
Mediterranean Union
»Lindh Foundation Seeks Youth Activists for Forum
North Africa
»Algeria Now ‘Anchor of Stability’ In Region
»Libya: NATO Accused of War Crimes Over Civilian Casualties in Libya War
»One Year Later — Egyptians Embrace Democracy, Islam in Political Life
»Tunisia: Classes in Mosque, New Defeat for Secularists
Israel and the Palestinians
»NGOs Highlight Israeli Destruction of EU-Funded Projects
Middle East
»Food: Near East Countries Not Able to Feed Population, FAO
»Iran: Senior Iranian Cleric: Hijab is the Symbol of Anti-Hegemony
»Islamic Clocks Stolen From UAE Mosques
»The Power Elite and the Muslim Brotherhood, Part 12
»Two Dead, 20 Hurt in Lebanon Clashes — Medics
»UAE: Italian Style Graces Abu Dhabi Mosque
»‘Sharia Judge, ‘ 2 Others Killed in Dagestan
»‘Accidental War’ Waiting to Happen on EU Periphery
»Azerbaijan Police Thwart Pre-Eurovision Protest
South Asia
»Afghanistan: British Servicemen Shot Dead Named as Lee Davies and Brent McCarthy
»Dirty Work of Manually Cleaning Latrines Continues in India
»Indonesia: Local Protestant Church Torched in North Sulawesi
»Justice for Sahar Gul: Justice for All Afghan Women
»Nepal Muslims Want Greater Say as Constitution Deadline Looms
»Pakistani Officer Accused of Terrorism Calls for Ties to US to be Cut
»Pakistan: Muslims Not to Tolerate New US Threats — Hafeez
Far East
»China Tensions Spur Deeper Ties Between U.S., Philippines
»Poker Video Throws South Korean Monk Order Into Crisis
»UN Cap-and-Trade System: Good for China and India, But Who Else?
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Ghana: Muntaka Picks 17-Year-Old Wife
»Nigeria Reveals Algerian Groups Fund ‘New’ Boko Haram
»South Africa’s ANC Woos White Minority
Latin America
»Mexico Drug Wars: 49 Headless, Dismembered Bodies Found Dumped Along Highway
»Mexican Jihad
»What Illegal Immigration Costs You the Taxpayer
Culture Wars
»Franklin Graham: Obama Has ‘Shaken His Fist’ At God
»Italy: Rome’s Anti-Abortion March for Life Faces Feminists
»A Startling Thesis on Islam’s Origins
»Christians, Jews to Unite Against Islam?
»The Vatican and Islam: Has Dhimmitude Prevailed?

Financial Crisis

Eurozone in ‘Very Political’ Meeting on Greece and Spain

BRUSSELS — Eurozone finance ministers are to hold a “very political” meeting on Monday (14 May) amid intensified speculation of a Greek exit from the single currency and worries over the deficit implications of the Spanish bank rescue.

While no decisions are expected from the meeting, which starts at 3pm Brussels time, ministers are likely to make statements on the necessity for Greece to form a government. “It will be a very political meeting,” one eurozone official told journalists in Brussels ahead of the event.

A last-ditch attempt by former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos failed over the weekend, with the country’s president set to try on Monday afternoon to reconcile anti-bail-out parties with the outgoing coalition.

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the radical left Syriza party which came in second in the 6 May elections, has already declined to show up to the talks. Failure to form a government would lead to early elections in June. Opinion polls put Syriza in the lead, which would give it even an stronger mandate against the austerity measures attached to the €130 billion international bail-out agreed in March.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece and Europe Fall Victim to the Socialist Cargo Cult

by Norman Tebbit

The Greek tragedy continues towards its inevitable end. Whether a coalition of parties in fundamental difference about what to do next is cobbled together this week, or whether another election brings about a government firmly committed to the repudiation of the deal by which Greece is being kept financially afloat at mainly German expense, it cannot be long before the eurozone loses its first member state. Monetary union cannot last without fiscal union. Fiscal union cannot be achieved without political union. Political union is not acceptable to the peoples of Europe. If the cultures and economies are sufficiently alike, monetary union may be used to back nations into a political union, but Germany and Greece are simply not sufficiently alike. Indeed here in these islands a 300-year-old union is in danger of coming apart in a spasm of incompatibility.

Of course the exit of Greece from the Eurozone will not of itself solve its problems. Those spring from a more extreme version of the socialist delusion all too common here, and which has now propelled M. Hollande into office in France. It rests upon a sense of victimhood. It deludes its victims into the belief that they have less because others have more, and that if “the rich” were to be relieved of their riches for the consumption of the poor, the curse of poverty and inequity would be overcome.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Greece Headed Into ‘Out of Control Bankruptcy’ — Govt. Salaries and Pensions Soon to Go Unpaid

(NaturalNews) The financial crisis in Greece is reaching an explosive tipping point, with the youth unemployment rate now exceeding a startling 50 percent and the government itself announcing it will be forced to stop paying salaries and pensions by June:

“We will be in wild bankruptcy, out-of-control bankruptcy,” said Theodoros Pangalos, the deputy prime minister of Greece. “The state will not be able to pay salaries and pensions. We have got until June before we run out of money.”

The problem is that, like most of the western world, Greece has been living on borrowed capital for decades. The left-leaning social programs, government handouts, bloated salaries of outrageously corrupt government officials and failed economic policies have thrust Greece into economic despair. And unlike the USA, Greece cannot simply print its way out of its debt crisis. So it is headed into an era of what can only be called a financial implosion that may ultimately lead to mass rioting, social unrest and potentially even revolution.

California follows in the footsteps of Greece

Back in the USA, the state of California is accelerating toward much the same outcome. Suffocated by the terminal financial burden of leftist social programs, welfare handouts, runaway social services and health care costs for its millions of undocumented residents, California is also headed for its own financial implosion.

“We are now facing a $16 billion hole, not the $9 billion we thought in January,” said Gov. Jerry Brown in a recent New York Times article. “This means we will have to go much further and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Greek Electricity Market Desperate for Liquidity

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, MAY 14 — One of the most pressing issues Greece’s next government will have to tackle is that its electricity sector is desperately short of liquidity. In fact, as daily Kathimerini reports, the country was saved from a blackout shortly before last Sunday’s election when the Public Power Corporation (PPC) received an urgent rebate of 200 million euros. The country’s Electricity Market Operator (HEMO) needs an urgent infusion of a 350-million-euro loan from the Loans and Deposits Fund in order to pay mainly foreign fuel suppliers.

Approval of the loan has been delayed by the country’s international creditors, who demand commitments that electricity tariffs be raised as of July 2012 and that guaranteed prices for power produced from renewable sources be reduced. Other pressing energy issues are the sale of lignite mines owned by PPC, which seems to have stalled since mid-2010, and the part-privatizations of the Public Gas Corporation, PPC and Hellenic Petroleum.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greek Hoteliers Fear a Further Drop in Arrivals

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, MAY 14 — Greek hoteliers are projecting a fall in arrivals this year in most of the country’s regions, with the country’s tattered image abroad, the lack of promotion and the recovery of north African destinations seen as the chief factors behind lower demand. As daily Kathimerini writes, declines in bookings are reported in Greece’s traditional tourist markets, such as Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium, but demand is reported higher from other Balkan countries, Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Turkey. Hoteliers in Iraklio, Crete, say the bookings picture shows stabilization from June. On Paros, the fall is around 20-30% for May and June, while on Zakynthos bookings are at much lower levels from all markets except Russia. On Naxos, many hotels have not even opened yet and local hoteliers consider a 20% drop forecast as optimistic. The Lefkada Hoteliers Association sees bookings down 25% as the island has been hit hard by the abolition of domestic, government-subsidized tourism. Hoteliers in Halkidiki say that without any more political upheavals the drop may be trimmed to single digits from the current 15%. Many hotels in northern and southern Corfu are still shut. Lower foreign bookings are also the case in the island of Evia and Porto Heli, Argolida, which have the advantage of accessibility by road. In Laconia, southern Peloponnese, hoteliers also report much fewer booking calls. The islands of Kos and Cephalonia seem to be the exceptions, as business is projected to rise.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Hanged Dummies in Front of Catania Internal Revenue Office

(AGI) Catania — Six cardboard dummies were hung with a noose around their necks in front of Catania’s Internal Revenue Office. They portray the six persons that have committed suicide during the last few weeks because of the economic crisis. The dummies, each individually bearing the name of one of the persons who committed suicide, were left hanging on a fence by Forza Nuova, which also put up a streamer displaying a Celtic cross and the writing: “Italians, don’t kill yourselves, rebel!”:

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

Italy: Petrol Prices Have Climbed Over 20% Says ISTAT

Biggest year-on-year increase since 1983

(ANSA) — Rome, May 14 — Petrol is over 20% more expensive in Italy than it was a year ago, Istat said on Monday when releasing figures that look set to feed public anger about fuel prices.

The national statistics agency said petrol prices were 20.9% higher in April with respect to the same month in 2011, the biggest year-on-year increase since May 1983.

Consumer groups have accused petrol companies and distributors of unfairly jacking up prices over the last year, with prices approaching two euros a litre.

Several companies cut their prices by up to two euro cents last week after the government made a “firm” call for them to bring their prices into line with the European average.

Istat confirmed its provisional forecasts for the overall rate of inflation, which it said remained steady at 3.3% in April.

But the index for the ‘trolley’ of most-frequently bought goods by consumers was up by 4.7%, its biggest increase since September 2008.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Leading German Economist: Higher Inflation ‘Would Not be a Disaster’

In a SPIEGEL interview, Peter Bofinger, a prominent economic adviser to the German government, argues that the country could handle higher inflation. Rising prices in Europe’s biggest economy could put crisis-stricken neighbors on the road to recovery, he says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Obama Pushes Billion-Dollar Stimulus Plan

Putting pressure on Congress to approve parts of his latest economic stimulus plan, President Obama urged Americans Saturday to push lawmakers to approve his multibillion-dollar “to-do list” for creating jobs.

“Each of the ideas on this list will help create jobs and build a stronger economy right now,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. “Let’s push Congress to do the right thing. Let’s keep moving this country forward together.”

The president’s list includes an expanded program to help homeowners refinance their mortgages, a proposal to give small businesses tax breaks for hiring more workers, a program that would help veterans find jobs, and an extension of tax credits for clean-energy companies.

He lobbied for the refinancing plan Friday in a speech in Reno, Nev. — a state that ranks second in the nation in mortgage foreclosures.

All told, the proposals on the president’s list could cost up to $34.7 billion: They are part of a more comprehensive $447 billion jobs package that Congress mostly has resisted.

Mr. Obama didn’t discuss in his address the cost of his proposals or how to pay for them. The refinancing plan, for example, would likely include a fee charged to homeowners.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Return to Drachma Would Cost €276bn

German weekly Wirtschaftswoche has calculated the cost of an eventual Greek return to the drachma. Combining the losses for the euro-bail-out fund EFSF, the IMF and ECB loans the paper estimates the euro-zone could lose €276bn, of which €77bn would be have to be covered by German tax-payers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spanish Banks Agree to Set Aside More Risk Provisions

Spain’s largest banks have announced plans to use more provisions to cover default risks to real-estate loans. The additional funds come on top of billions already called for by the government in Madrid.

Spain’s biggest lenders agreed to billions of euros in provisions they would set aside to protect against default risks. Spanish bank BBVA announced on Monday it would come up with an additional 1.8 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to cover risks to loans it had made to the real-estate sector.

Santander, which is the biggest eurozone bank by market capitalization, said it would provide an extra 2.7 billion euros, with the partly nationalized Banka and CaixaBank also making additional provisions to the same end.

The announcements came in response to a government reform last Friday which asked Spanish banks most exposed to bad loans to set aside a new 30-billion-euro cushion and to remove risky property assets from their accounts. The new provisions will come on top of the 53.8 billion euros the banks were told to come up with to comply with reforms announced in February 2012.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Time to Admit Defeat: Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit

After Greek voters rejected austerity in last week’s election, plunging the country into a political crisis, Europe has been searching for a Plan B for Greece. It’s time to admit that the EU/IMF rescue plan has failed. Greece’s best hopes now lie in a return to the drachma.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Van Rompuy ‘Very Concerned’ About Greece

“I am very concerned about the situation in Greece. This is a defining moment for the country,” EU council chief Van Rompuy said Friday as coalition talks in Athens were stalling. He told Greek politicians to stick to the bail-out as the prospect of a euro-exit is being floated again.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

World Stocks Drop as Worries Over Greece Intensify

World stock markets dropped sharply Monday as worries intensified over the condition of the eurozone and whether Greece is edging towards exiting the single currency union. In Athens, Greek party leaders struggled for a ninth day to form a coalition government. As the political wrangling dragged on, markets contemplated the threat that the crisis-stricken country would not meet the terms of its bailout and drop out of the currency club.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


“Winds of Revolution”

Yes, America, you are watching the suicide of a great country Mr. Obama and his Progressive Socialists supporters/followers, union and radical thugs, and ardent admirers. They are self-destructing from corruption and ineptitude but are not giving up on fundamentally changing America. We must understand that they have an “Agenda” and are following that “Agenda”. I am finally sensing that Americans are starting to wake up and the winds of a new revolution are swirling to save the country.

What does a country and its citizens do as their nation continues to decline in power, financial stability, its culture and the security of its people. At this time, we do not have the leadership to right our ship in time to save the Republic from severe damage it appears. Mr. Obama, the great reader/orator continues to show his socialist agenda of spending the American peoples’ money first and misleading our country down a path of continual destruction instead of curtailing the cancerous cause of over-spending, rabid regulations, and class warfare. Instead of working to uphold his oath, he chose to set up a straw man in the person of the House of Representatives, specifically, the Republicans and the Tea-Party Caucus. His message is, and has always been, do as I like, or we will crucify you with labels and crass abasement.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

At Disney World’s ‘Living With the Land’ Exhibit, Teaching Children About GMO Agriculture is a Fun Activity for the Whole Family

(NaturalNews) Biotechnology has made its way to “the happiest place on earth,” with an exhibit at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) theme park now featuring genetically-modified (GM) fruits and vegetables, some of which are shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. According to several different reports, the agricultural exhibit, called Living with the Land, takes parents and their children on a tour through “living laboratories” that highlight “the wondrous ways scientists are helping farmers prepare for the food needs of our world’s nations.”

With over 2.5 million square feet of greenhouse space, Living with the Land is a behemoth display of agricultural technology, including a giant gravity-defying tomato “tree” with thousands of tomato fruits, and various displays of unique growing techniques like hydroponics. But according to Jill Fehrenbacher from Inhabitat, a tour guide explained to her that most of the food grown in these greenhouses, which is also fed to park guests in restaurants and cafeterias throughout the parks, has been genetically-altered in some way.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Che Guevara Adorned Reno-Tahoe Airport

A painting of Che Guevara subtitled “Revolucion!” by a Mexican—American artist was on display for over three months at the International Airport in Reno, Nevada, USA. On May 9th it was taken down by airport officials as originally scheduled. Complaints by outraged airport patrons had nothing to do with this removal.

“The painting of Ernesto “Che” Guevara will remain on display through May 9 with the other nearly 100 items in the employee art exhibit,” was how airport spokesman Brian Kulpin answered the complaints.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America Celebrates 50 Years

The Islamic Center of America has seen a lot in the past half-decade, and is looking forward to serving the community for at least another. The center, which is the largest mosque in the U.S., will celebrate its 50th anniversary over a four-day series. A black tie gala will kick off the celebration at 6 p.m. Thursday (5.17), followed by a special congregational prayer Firday. On Saturday, a carnival with free admission will be open to the public for rides, games and food. The carnival will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; wristbands will need to be purchased for the rides. Finally, a community fundraising dinner at 5 p.m. Sunday (5.20) will conclude the festivities. The center was founded in 1962 by a small group of Muslim families “who really didn’t have a central place to practice their faith,” said ICA executive administrator Kassem Allie. They invited Imam Mohamad Jawad Chirri to lead the congregation, and ground was broken for the Islamic Center of Detroit in November, 1962. A year later, the mosque, which contained only a prayer room, lecture hall, kitchen and office, opened. Since then, the ICA has undergone significant expansion, including moving in 2005 from its prior location in Detroit on Joy Road near Greenfield to its present home at 19500 Ford Road in Dearborn. “We’ve had a lot of people in our community join our mosque,” Allie said, “and we’ve had many, many new arrivals, immigrants, who came to the United States over the past 50 years that we consider part of our mosque here.” He estimated that the mosque serves about 10,000 families. The center, which is now led by Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, is home to a youth organization, women’s club and private school that educates 350 children.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Focus on Faith: Combating Islamophobia

Huntsville, AL — On Thursday, May 17th, people representing a cross-culture of Madison County will come together to learn more about Islam. “Combating Islamophobia: Truths and Myths About Islam” is a community engagement workshop sponsored by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Justice, UA-Huntsville, and the Huntsville Islamic Center, among others. Aladin Beshir, director of community outreach for the Huntsville Islamic Center, hopes the event will help build bridges in the community. “This is a very, very small step and a very focused and great grand scheme of cooperation among law enforcement and the Muslim community, sending the message that we are all united to protect America.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Houston Lawyer on Quest for Missing Moon Rocks

The dark suit and tie that Joe Gutheinz wore set him apart from other customers inside a Texas eatery where the usual attire is jeans and cowboy hats.

An appetite for down-home cooking wasn’t what brought the former NASA investigator to the Pitt Grill recently. He was on a quest to identify and maybe recover some of the rarest treasure brought to Earth and then lost: moon rocks.

“We’re educating the states and countries of the world about how much they’re worth on the black market and we need to increase the security in museums and need to put them back on display,” Gutheinz said.

The rock samples were collected by the dozen American astronauts who walked on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972. U.S. states, territories, the United Nations and foreign governments received them as gifts. The samples, which also were loaned to museums and given to scientists for research, range from dust particles to tiny pebbles.

“A lot of them are in storage. And we need to put them in an inventory control system. And that’s what’s really lacking,” said Gutheinz, a Houston lawyer who also teaches college classes in investigative techniques.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Imam in Strip Mall Mosque Stresses Social Services

Standing behind the pulpit, addressing his modest 25-member congregation, Imam Khalis Rashaad preaches about time management, nutrition and economic empowerment at his new mosque in Houston’s Third Ward — a largely uncharted territory for Islamic centers. The rhetoric there is different from the more abstract spiritual sermons of its counterparts — the dozens of long-established suburban mosques in Sugar Land, Katy, Spring and Clear Lake. Leased in a strip mall on Almeda Road, the mosque is just getting by with member fees and donations that come in through the center’s Facebook page.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslim Working to Educate, Dispel Myths

Leaders from the Iowa City Mosque have been doing more recently to reach out to the community in hopes of teaching more locals about Islam and setting straight some of the rampant misconceptions about their faith. “If you just listen to Fox News, you don’t get the right idea,” said Abdullah Naayer, an Iowa City resident who’s active at the mosque.

More than a dozen people gathered at the Iowa City Public Library on Sunday afternoon, where representatives from the mosque, 1812 W. Benton St., were ready to teach them about the basic tenets of Islam and answer questions. Although many of the guests were Muslim, non-Muslims had been encouraged to attend.


[JP note: I wish these good Muslims success in their endeavours, but I fear they will eventually have to adopt more coercive methods to ‘encourage’ people to attend.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama and DOJ Lawsuit Claims Arizona Sheriff Arpaio a Racist

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced the intent of Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, Thomas Perez to file a civil suit against Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio for alleged racial profiling, according to the DOJ press office.

Holder had previously requested that Arpaio cooperate in the implementation of a court monitor inside Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office who would have the authority to clear the activities of the patrol officers and the sheriff’s deputies assigned to the county jail and detention facilities.

Arpaio categorically denies all of the profiling allegations and said he will never allow the Obama Administration to “call the shots in his department.”

DOJ officials stated that Arpaio’s refusal to agree to a court monitor ended those negotiations.

“I do not tolerate racist attitudes or behaviors. We at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office do not foster a ‘culture of cruelty,’“ Arpaio stated.

Many of Arpaio’s colleagues nationwide claim that this latest action by Holder and the DOJ is political in nature and an abuse of power by a supposedly federal law enforcement official.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US Veterans Return Home to a Difficult Future

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for over 11 years. More than 2.2 million Americans have been deployed there to date. 360,000 of those returning require psychological assistance — and the tendency is growing.

Some 700,000 veterans returning from overseas have sought medical treatment, over half for mental problems such as depression and aggression. These figures from the US Department of Veterans Affairs amount to those troops who have turned to the authority for assistance. But just how many former soldiers seek psychological support from non-governmental organizations is unknown.

“It is likely though that this figure is also very high,” said Barbara Van Dahlen. The psychologist based in Washington DC founded the nonprofit organization “Give an hour” seven years ago. It organizes volunteers to help returning veterans and their families.

Psychologists but also non-experts who would like to volunteer can register on the organization’s website. This enables former soldiers to easily locate contacts in their vicinity should they require psychological support. Some 6,000 volunteers are meanwhile registered with “Give an hour.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Video: Why Are Soldiers Dying in Their Sleep?

[Scroll down the page to the section on Soldiers to see the video.]

While lobbying may have its place—when done in a transparent and legal way to inform legislators, and not to simply buy their votes by any means necessary— the practice has deteriorated to the point that it is endangering the health and welfare of people everywhere. Dangerous drugs are brought to market and used in lieu of harmless alternatives, and polypharmacy, the taking of too many drugs, is becoming ever more dangerous.

A case in point is the growing problem of U.S. soldiers literally dying in their sleep…

They survived the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But instead of bombs and guns, a growing number of U.S. veterans of these wars, whether they’re still deployed or back at home, are being downed by something else. They die in different ways but they all have one thing in common—at the time of their deaths they’re on a cocktail of drugs prescribed for them by military doctors.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

War Against Muslims Started Even Before 9/11

Reports about a Virginia military course that taught officers to prepare for a total war on Islam indicate the US right wing agenda even before 9/11, an analyst tells Press TV. Press TV has interviewed Dr. Kevin Barrett, author of ‘Questioning the War on Terror’ about the orchestrated campaign against Islam since September 11th, 2001. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: The Virginia (military) course that was mentioned there in our report has also warned officers between the link of the Muslim Civil Liberties Advocacy organization, which is known as CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) and other such groups, and Hamas, which is referred to as the enemy.

Why have these rights groups been targeted?

Dr. Barrett: Well, that’s a good question and another good question is why is Hamas considered America’s enemy? Hamas is not opposed to America; Hamas is opposed to Zionists in Israel. So, this leads us to the real reason for this wave of Islamophobic hysteria that’s swept over the USA since 9/11 and that is, to sum it up — September 11th was a coup d’etat by extreme right wing forces in the US military particularly with dispensation of Christian extremists at the top of the air force. It was overseen by Cheney and the Israeli MOSSAD with its assets in the New York crime scene blew up the World trade Center… deceptively blamed it on Muslims to launch a war against the religion of Islam.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

EU Anti-Fraud Chief: We Can Improve Brussels’ Image

The head of the EU anti-fraud office, Giovanni Kessler, has said he can improve Brussels’ reputation so long as the work of his institution is not obstructed. Set up in 1999 after a corruption scandal which led to the en-masse resignation of the European Commission, Olaf is supposed to investigate in cases where EU money is suspected of being defrauded. It is also tasked with looking into the “serious misbehaviour” of EU institutions’ employees.

“Over the years Olaf has developed a bigger capacity and know-how. We gained the confidence not only of the institutions themselves, but also by the people in general who come to us, as well as police, national authorities or private companies,” Kessler told this website.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: One Year on: Things Only Get Worse for DSK

On Monday, exactly a year will have passed since Dominique Strauss Kahn’s arrest on charges of trying to rape a maid in a luxury New York hotel room. Those charges were dropped and in September the French politician and freshly resigned head of the International Monetary Fund returned to Paris a free man.

Supporters thought this consummate mover and shaker could still recover, perhaps become champion of France’s Socialist Party and defeat the vulnerable President Nicolas Sarkozy in upcoming elections. A Socialist did beat Sarkozy last week — but it wasn’t Strauss-Kahn. Instead, Strauss-Kahn will watch Francois Hollande sworn in as president on Tuesday, and will only be able to think: “That could have been me.”

The fabulous life of power and privilege Strauss-Kahn enjoyed up to May 14th last year has been firmly yanked away. He has not set foot again in the United States, where he once enjoyed a luxury lifestyle as head of the IMF. And while the criminal charges have been dropped, the maid’s dogged lawyers are pursuing a civil lawsuit for unspecified damages.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Protecting the NPD

European Court Could Thwart Bid to Ban Far-Right Party

Germany is currently preparing an attempt to ban the far-right NPD party. But a German legal expert has warned that the bid may be blocked by the European Court of Human Rights, which has even higher hurdles to outlawing parties than Germany does.

Pressure to ban the far-right National Democratic Party has been building ever since the revelation last November that a neo-Nazi terrorist cell was behind a series of murders of mainly Turkish immigrants.

The German government is preparing a new legal bid to outlaw the party, which the German domestic intelligence agency has described as being a “racist, anti-Semitic, revisionist” party bent on overthrowing Germany’s democracy and setting up a Fourth Reich.

The hurdles are high, though, and authorities want to avoid a repeat of their failed first attempt to outlaw the party in 2003, when Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, threw out the case after it turned out that several NPD officials were informants for the intelligence service.

In preparation for a new ban attempt, the national and regional governments in Germany have severed ties with informants in the NPD’s leadership. Their aim is to prove that the NPD poses a threat to the democratic constitution. The NPD has said it will file a suit with the European Court of Human Rights against a ban. Now, an expert on party law says the party may well succeed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Baader-Meinhof Member Speaks to Deny Murder

A former member of the notorious Baader-Meinhof gang that terrorised Germany in the 1970s and 1980s on Monday denied taking part in the group’s most high-profile murder, breaking a long silence.

“I was not there,” Verena Becker, 59, told the higher regional court in the western city of Stuttgart, where she is on trial for complicity in the murder of then West Germany’s top prosecutor, Siegfried Buback, in 1977. “These accusations are false and I cannot let them stand as they are,” she added, in her first comments on the trial for more than 18 months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Poll Reveals Left-Wing Syriza Has 20.5% Support

(AGI) Athens — If elections were held today in Greece, the radical left-wing Syriza coalition would take 20.5% of the votes, a RASS poll for the daily paper Eleftheros Typos and reported by the magazine Ekathimerini. The party, led by Alexis Tsipras, 37, took 16% of the vote in the May 6 elections. The poll also reports the New Democracy party in second place with 19.4%, it took 19.2% in the elections, while the socialist Pasok party dropped to 11.8% from 13.6%.

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

How Rich Are European Socialists and Marxists?

The Socialist Francois Hollande is a very rich man. The newly elected president of France has three holiday homes on the Riviera, north of Cannes. Pretending to “dislike the rich,” the “gauche caviar” Hollande is very rich himself.

According to the London Evening Standard and the Official Journal, he has assets of one million British pounds. In addition, the “champagne Socialist” owns a “palatial villa in Mougins, the hilltop Cannes suburb where Pablo Picasso used to live” and two apartments close to the promenade in Cannes. The three villas in Cannes were valued at 800,000 Euros, 230,000 Euros, and 140,000 Euros. Hollande lives with his girlfriend in a well-appointed apartment in Paris.

Attacking the rich who “do not pay their fair share” is just a campaign ploy to pretend that a president cares for the poor. In reality, he is only interested in sharing other people’s money and wealth, not his own.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Islamophobia: Europe’s New Political Disease

by Muhammad Abdul Bari

A new wave of anti-Muslim intolerance and antagonism is sweeping Europe. The far right political gains seen in some parts of the continent are alarming. Anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and extreme right parties seem to be cashing in on economic hardship and austerity measures. In a blinkered world of ‘us’ and ‘them’ they have found in Europe’s Muslim citizens the ‘others’. In this fevered atmosphere of rising nationalism Islam, the religion of its most-impoverished people, is taking over the continent. Never mind the agonies such sentiments caused when acted upon by the Norway killer, Anders Breivik last year. “Racism is the lowest form of stupidity; Islamophobia is the height of common sense!” said one group in 2008.

To any person with a modicum of common sense such attitudes are absurd and bordering on a mythical view of reality. We must check their rise. In a powerful indictment, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, posted a blog about how European Muslims are stigmatised by populist rhetoric (October 2010). “European countries appear to face another crisis beyond budget deficits — the disintegration of human value. One symptom is the increasing expression of intolerance towards Muslims. Opinion polls in several European countries reflect fear, suspicion and negative opinions of Muslims and Islamic culture,” he wrote.

He was not alone in giving Europeans this warning; many people across British politics and media have shared similar sentiments for some time. Amnesty International has shared this concern. In its April 2012 report Choice and prejudice: discrimination against Muslims in Europe Amnesty exposes the impact of discrimination on Muslims. Marco Perolini, Amnesty’s expert on discrimination, says: “Muslim women are being denied jobs and girls prevented from attending regular classes just because they wear traditional forms of dress, such as the headscarf. Men can be dismissed for wearing beards associated with Islam. …. Rather than countering these prejudices, political parties and public officials are all too often pandering to them in their quest for votes.”

Amnesty International has accused France, Belgium and the Netherlands of failing to implement proper laws banning discrimination in employment. It is disheartening that a continent that had learnt many lessons in such a hard way, after the devastation of the two World Wars, and which prides itself in equality and human rights, is allowing itself to be influenced by the forces of intolerance and hate. It is now open season to malign Muslims because of their religious and cultural practices. Yet Muslim immigrants arriving after the war joined in the effort to rebuild the economies of war-torn Europe in the 1950s. In almost every field of life, Muslims have been an integral part of the European tapestry. Muslims are today at home in Europe, have been contributors to its past and are stakeholders in its future.

Yet the language and rhetoric used by the Far Right and the level of political expediency in mainstream European politics is mind boggling. The hate mongers are apparently succeeding in swapping a racist agenda for an Islamophobic one. The lacklustre response from European leaders has paved the way for anti-Muslim bigotry to move closer to the mainstream.

It took a cold-blooded massacre of 77 Norwegian youths by a far-right ‘Christian’ extremist, Anders Behring Breivik last summer, to shake the conscience of Europe’s political class. It was a horrendous wake-up call to home-grown far-right violence and ideology, inspired by the rhetoric of vote-chasing politicians, pseudo academics, media analysts and hate groups like the English Defence League (EDL) in Britain. Breivik, in his recent trial, has made vitriolic attack on European leaders for their ‘impotence’ to stand up against Muslim ‘conquest’ of Europe. In this, he is propounding the ‘Eurabia’ fantasy that is central to the so-called ‘counter jihadist’ movement propelled by ideologues in the USA.

Elsewhere, in countries like France, the shockwave of the far-right Front National polling nearly one fifth of French voters in the first round of the presidential elections is still reverberating. Both the socialist candidate and the incumbent President are now wooing the supporters of Marine le Pen.

We should not be complacent in Britain. The recent news that the EDL has joined hands with the British Freedom Party (BFP) is going to have political implications. The BFP was formed in 2010 by disaffected members of the BNP and whatever its stated objectives, its main target is the Muslim community. It wants to ban the Niqab, stop the building of new mosques and Islamic schools and outlaw Sharia (as if it runs Britain!) including Islamic finance. The news that EDL head Tommy Robinson is to be appointed Deputy Leader of the British Freedom Party has alarmed anti-racist groups like HOPE not hate and others.

The alliance of EDL and BFP would be more dangerous than the BNP: the current EDL head ‘Tommy Robinson’ (real name: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a tanning salon manager from Luton) has a better media presence than the Holocaust-denying Nick Griffin. In focusing on Islam and the threat of ‘Islamist extremists’ they can have a bigger appeal than the simple racist agenda of the BNP. With political trust at an all-time low, this far right alliance may take advantage of voter apathy in national and local politics to advance their cause.

Be that as it may, we must stand firm and not let our country and continent slip into the intolerant past. We must join hands to slay the dragon of Islamophobia and help build Europe again with everyone’s help, Muslim and non-Muslim, alike. It is time we listen to the voices of sanity, not hate.

Follow Muhammad Abdul Bari on Twitter:

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Expert Reports Temperature Changes Typical of US Climate

(AGI) Rome — An expert has reported that sudden change in the weather and the 15 degree drop in temperatures that has surprised many Italians on Sunday in northern regions, are typical of the US climate. “Just as happens when the cold fronts pass over the great American plains,” explained weatherman Daniele Berlusconi on, “the Veneto and Eastern Lombardy are the most affected by the bad weather, with thunderstorms and even hail. Strong winds of up to 100 km/h are blowing over Trieste and the Upper Adriatic.” On Sunday afternoon the cold front will spread to the rest of Italy with the worst storms in the Marche, the Apennines and the Abruzzo.

Here too the temperatures will fall with the arrival of the storms. The south too will see heavy rain between Sunday night and Monday especially in Campania and Apulia. Sardinia and centra-southern Sicily are expected to miss the bad weather ..

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

Italy: Sabina Rossa States ‘Unfair Society Encourages Terrorism’

(AGI) Rome — Speaking on Lucia Annunziata’s TV show ‘In Mezzi’Ora’, PD representative and daughter of trade-unionist Guido, killed in the eighties by the Red Brigades, Sabina Rossa said today that “Enrico Berlinguer once said ‘Consensus and great political credibility is needed as well as the capability to remove intolerable privileges, when asking people to make sacrifices, otherwise the operation will not work.” “These are words,” she said, “are a lesson in humility badly needed today.” When asked what should be done to address the current emergency, Sabina Rossa said, “We are experiencing a serious economic crisis, the world of politics is finding it hard to provide answers and remain credible. We need to generate non-violent anti-bodies to act as a defence. We need the means to create a fairer society. There is no doubt that a society creating injustice and allowing privileges can become a fertile breeding ground for terrorism.”

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

Italy: Interior Minister Ready to Use Army to Defend Finmeccanica

(AGI) — Rome, May 13 — Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri has given two interviews to the ‘Corriere della Sera’ and the ‘Repubblica’ newspapers following the attack on the Ansaldo manager, Roberto Adinolfi, stating that she intends to use the army to defend “sensitive sites” such as Finnmeccanica or Equitalia. The minister said, “ We have sent out a circular in recent hours requesting greater attention be paid to sensitive sites throughout the country.” She continued, “There will be a meeting on Thursday of the Committee for Order and Security at which a series of proposals will be presented.” Until Thursday, she added, “Defense strategies for all targets, obviously starting with Finnmeccanica offices all over Italy and its managers will be implemented.,” The minister also said, “This will be an enormous effort that will also involve Finnmeccanica’s security offices, and for which we need a very large number of men.” There has also been talk of the army, because, “we cannot take offices away from investigations and from controlling the country and running the risk of creating other emergencies.” To overcome this crisis the minister has appealed for “national cohesion” and said the government “believes that it can manage, but cannot do it alone. We can only achieve results with support from all political parties, which must help us lower social tension. “ The minister also spoke to citizens saying that taxes must be paid, since this a duty, and added that Italy is not Greece” and that although “ we are experiencing a dramatic moment, we will over come it if everyone makes an effort to contribute to the nation’s stability.” ..

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

Malaysians to Bring Islamic Banking to Germany

Islamic investing represents a 1.2 trillion euro market. Now one Malaysian firm wants to bring the trend to Germany. Others have tried and failed before, so it could be a struggle. Confident and professional, the female chief executive of Malaysia-based CIMB-Principal recently gave a press conference in Frankfurt about the only registered Islamic investment fund in Germany.

With uncovered hair, red lipstick and silver earrings, Noripah Kamso said, “I want to share the new i-word with you. It doesn’t stand for iPad, iPhone or inflation-but for Islamic banking.” The firm’s goal is to win over Germany’s roughly 4 million Muslim residents, along non-Muslims, to the bank’s strategy of investing in accordance with the Koran.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway’s Telenor Warns India on Telecom Impasse

India will lose vital foreign investment if state-run Norwegian telecom giant Telenor has to exit the country nursing multi-billion-dollar losses, a Norwegian minister warned on Saturday. Telenor, which has a strong balance sheet, can absorb the $3 billion investment write-off it would face if it quits India due to telecom licensing problems, Trade Minister Trond Giske told reporters in New Delhi.

But Telenor’s loss — which would “probably be the biggest” a Norwegian company has ever lost in a foreign investment — would make other firms think twice about putting money in India, Giske said.

“It would be fair to say it would influence the view of India as an investment country,” said Giske, who was in India to push the government to ensure the survival of Telenor’s Indian unit which has 17,000 workers and 40 million clients.

“If a company like Telenor can lose $3 billion in India, it has an effect on other foreign investors. They ask if your (state-controlled) company can lose that money, how will private companies be treated?” he said.

The problems roiling the telecom sector come as India is also under strong investor attack over retroactive legislation that could force British phone giant Vodafone to pay $3.7 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Breivik Victim Removed Bullet and Swam to Safety

Young Norwegians injured in Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting rampage on Utøya island testified for the first time on Monday, describing how he calmly hunted them down, but also taunting the killer of 77 people.

“We won, he lost. Young Norwegians know how to swim,” Frida Holm Skoglund, a slender 20-year-old, told the Oslo district court when asked if she had anything she wanted to say to Breivik, who was watching her testimony by video link from a separate room.

In a welcome change from the sobs that so often have filled Courtroom 250 since the trial of the 33-year-old right-wing extremist began on April 16th, Skoglund’s words drew discreet laughter from the onlookers.

Visibly nervous, she told the court how she had been shot in the thigh last July 22nd, and how she herself had pulled out the bullet. “A friend told me I had been hit in the thigh. I thought it was a joke, that it wasn’t a real bullet,” she said, her voice barely audible.

To escape Breivik, the young woman and several friends dived into the icy water surrounding the small, heart-shaped island, and she recalled seeing the killer, dressed as a police officer, standing on shore shooting at the people swimming away as he shouted: “Stop! Come back!”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sea Shepherd Founder Arrested in Germany

(AGI) Sydney — The founder of the environmentalist group Sea Shepherd,Canadian Captain Paul Watson, was arrested in Germany.

He was arrested for a sea accident occurred in Costa Rica, off the coast of Guatemala, in 2002, when the NGO was protesting against the illegal and barbarous practice of “finning” sharks.

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

Sweden: Jail for Heads of Massive Sex Trafficking Ring

Two Romanian men were sentenced on Monday to six years prison for smuggling eleven women to Sweden as part of a brutal and far-reaching prostitution ring. The case has been labelled as Sweden’s biggest human smuggling case, and at least four other men were involved, each of whom were jailed as well for aggravated pimping.

The eleven women at the centre of the case, all from Romania, were brought to Sweden by the two 45-year-old men in charge of the ring, and who were also responsible for controlling the work of the prostitutes while in Sweden. The other four men received varying sentences for their participation, from three years to four and a half years in prison.

The women, who are aged between 20 and 30, were brought to Sweden to work in a prostitution ring in Gothenburg’s Rosenlund district, western Sweden. All but 16 of the 141 men who bought sex from the women have also been convicted for illegally purchasing sex.

According to statistics from the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, 36 percent of these men were born in the 1960s, 30 percent in the 1980s, and 21 percent in the 1970s. The youngest was 17 and the oldest was 76.

“We have found what many people have often predicted, that there was organized crime that lay behind this case, and that people have made economic gains by exposing women to this undeserved treatment, said Per Ottosson of the Gothenburg police.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Malmö Sniper Suspect ‘Not a Racist’: Lawyer

The Swedish man accused in a deadly shooting spree against immigrants in Malmö had no motive for shooting the victims, according to his lawyer, who did his best to cast doubt on the case against his client on the opening day of the highly-anticipated murder trial. Through his lawyer, Peter Mangs, 40, denied 19 of 20 charges against him but pleaded guilty to vandalism for shooting two signs in the southern Swedish city.

Mangs stands accused of three counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder in a string of shootings many observers insist were racially motivated, something his defence lawyer Douglas Norking denied.

“Peter Mangs is not a racist. He doesn’t have anything against other cultures,” the lawyer told the court on Monday afternoon, according tothe Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper. “There is no motive. He doesn’t have a relationship with any of the plaintiffs. He hasn’t met them and he doesn’t have anything against them.”

Defence attorneys also pointed out that there is no DNA or fingerprint evidence supporting prosecutors’ case against Mangs. “Peter Mangs hasn’t fired any of the gunshots which hit any of the plaintiffs,” said Norking, adding that investigators lack evidence tying Mangs to the crime scenes.

Mangs was arrested in November 2010 following a massive police manhunt amid the string of attacks on immigrants in Sweden’s third largest city of Malmö.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘A Hand for a Hand’: Burglar’s Chilling Words to Helpless Grandmother Who He Slashed With Machete Because Her Dog Bit Him

When Alison Belmont was attacked at home by a knife- wielding burglar, her loyal dog saved her life by biting the thief and chasing him away.

But the thug was so angry at being bitten on the hand by the alsatian that he returned three days later to take his revenge.

After sneaking up on Mrs Belmont in her garden, the burglar — this time joined by an accomplice — slashed her hand with a machete, saying: ‘A hand for a hand.’

Yesterday the terrified grandmother, who needed 11 stitches for cuts to her face and arm after the first attack, said she is frightened to leave the house she shares with her dog, Pip, following the ordeal at her home in Baguely, Greater Manchester.

Police have issued an e-fit of the suspect, who was wearing a grey hoodie, in the hope that some of his friends will be sickened enough to turn him in.


Mrs Belmont’s ordeal began at 3pm on Friday, April 13 when she discovered the burglar rifling for cash in her kitchen. Realising he had been caught, the thug grabbed a kitchen knife and started lunging at her indiscriminately.

Fearing her mistress was in grave danger, 10-year-old Pip, who has three legs after being injured in a road accident eight years ago, jumped up and attacked the thief. He picked up a kitchen knife from the draining board and hit me just under my eye,’ said Mrs Belmont.

‘He went to stab me again and slashed my arm, but Pip jumped up to protect me and bit him on the arm. He dropped the knife, ran and jumped over the fence in the garden.

‘I fell to the floor and then the next thing I know Pip was licking my face, presumably to clean up the blood.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: BBC Expresses Regret Over Suggestion Sikhism is ‘Made Up of Other Religions’

The BBC has expressed regret to Sikhs over comments on a radio discussion suggesting that their faith is “made up of other religions” such as Islam and Hinduism.

Sikh leaders accused the corporation’s Asian Network of displaying “irresponsible and misleading” attitude and suggesting that their religion was simply a “hotchpotch” of other faiths.

It followed a phone-in broadcast in March in which the presenter DJ Nihal Arthanayake — best known as a Radio 1 DJ — touched on the relationship between Sikhism, which was founded in Punjab in the 15th Century, and the other two predominant religions in India at the time. A text message from a listener was read out complaining about the “incredibly offensive” way the presenters had suggested that Sikhism was “made up from other religions ie Islam and Hinduism”. The DJ, known simply as Nihal on air, replied: “I’m sorry with all due respect, it is, absolutely it is.” He added: “It came around in the 15th and 16th Centuries in India, how could it not be influenced?” He went on: “A Muslim laid the stone to the holiest places, with all due respect I know more about your religion than you do.” The comment was a reference to the tradition that a Muslim divine was asked to lay the foundation of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the centre of Sikh worship.

But the Network of Sikh Organisations, headed by Lord Singh — who is himself a regular on the BBC, as a contributor to Radio 4’s Thought For the Day — complained, accusing the programme of a “skewed” approach. They asked: “Is the BBC similarly willing to take the view that Islam is a religion made up of Christianity and Judaism?” The corporation initially responded that they would “bear in mind he complaint” in future but did not apologise. Following a second complaint, the channel’s head of news, Kevin Silverton, wrote to the Network admitting that the discussion had been “less than satisfactory”. “The Nihal phone-in deals with difficult subjects on a daily basis and very occasionally we don’t get the tone exactly right. In this case at the end of an hour of challenging debate, the presenter was unusually forthright about a point of view that some listeners have contacted us about concerning the influence other religions had on Sikhism … We’ve stressed to him and the team the importance to retain an impartial tone on these kind of matters and to back up assertions with solid research where at all possible (considering the live and unpredictable nature of such a show). We will monitor both these points closely.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Butetown Faith March Boosts Image of Islam

Walkers enjoyed the sunshine yesterday as they took part in an interfaith march designed to boost the image of Islam in Wales. Between 40 and 50 took part in the event, a revival of a tradition instigated in Cardiff by the late Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, who served the Muslim community of Butetown for over 60 years. Alice Street Mosque imam Zane Abdo organised the event in honour of Sheik Ismail. Mr Abdo said: “Right now, Cardiff has been in the media because of Muslims for the wrong reasons. I want to put Muslims in Cardiff in the limelight for the right reasons. The arrests to do with the extremism in South Wales — that is not representative of Muslims in the community. This march was a reflection of the true nature of the community and what this community is about. I hope that the media will do it justice and give credit to what we did today.”


[JP note: Risible.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Claiming Rochdale Grooming Not About Race is ‘Fatuous’ — Trevor Phillips

Attempts to claim that race was not a factor in the Rochdale sexual grooming case are “fatuous”, the head of the equalities watchdog has insisted.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the fact that the gang of nine men convicted of abusing girls as young as 13 were Asian and their victims white must not be ignored. He said it would be a “national scandal” if the authorities had failed to intervene to protect the children because of fears that it would lead to the “demonisation” of the Muslim community. And he voiced fears that the “closed community” the men came from may have turned a blind eye to their activities, either out of fear or because the girls concerned were from a different background. A gang of nine Muslim men from Pakistan and Afghanistan was last week found guilty of plying girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs so they could “pass them around” and use them for sex. Judge Gerald Clifton, who heard the case, said in his sentencing remarks that they had treated their victims as “worthless and beyond all respect” at least in part because “they were not of your community or religion”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Now They’re All Laughing Out Loud at Trendy Dave

How embarrassing for David Cameron that his fond text messages, ending ‘lol’, to ex-News International boss Rebekah Brooks are now a huge joke among those for whom the abbreviation means ‘laughing out loud’ and not, as he’d imagined, ‘lots of love.’ They’re now laughing out loud at the Prime Minister. It couldn’t happen to a least deserving trendy. Cameron makes a point of keeping up to date with trends. He was quick to dispose of his tie, including a black one at dress-up occasions, even though he risked offending older generations by appearing scruffy.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Oxford Center for Islamic Studies Granted Royal Charter

LONDON, 21 Jumada Al-Thani /12 May (IINA)-The Oxford Center for Islamic Studies (OCIS) has been granted the Royal Charter and this will be celebrated at an event hosted by the center’s patron, the Prince of Wales, Tuesday. Royal Charters, granted by the sovereign on the advice of the Privy Council, have a history dating back to the 13th century. They are now normally granted only to institutions that work in the public interest and which can demonstrate pre-eminence, stability and permanence in their particular field. The University of Oxford, and many of the Oxford Colleges, as well as a number of other leading British academic institutions, are similarly incorporated by Royal Charter.


[JP note: Bought rather than granted might be a more accurate term.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Promoting an Archival Culture

MCB’s ReDoc working with its affiliate the London Muslim Centre and in partnership with specialist history bodies brought together mosque representatives to increase awareness of record keeping and preservation of archives.

Perhaps for the first time, representatives from about ten mosques in London met specifically to discuss matters relating to their institutions’ records and archives. The event on 28th April 2012, held at the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre (ELM/LMC) in Whitechapel, was organised by the ‘Building on History: Religion in London’ project of the Open University in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) , the East London Mosque (ELM) and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The programme brought together professional historians and mosque imams and trustees and community volunteers. The aims of the ‘Building on History’ project were conveyed by Professor John Wolffe in his introduction, which include promoting stronger interaction between academic historians and projects on the ground, as well as activities that in the long term promote wider community engagement and awareness of the the rich and diverse religious heritage of London.

On behalf of the MCB’s Research & Documentation Committee, AbdoolKarim Vakil described mosques as more than just places of worship but fulfilling multi-faceted functions in a community’s life. Moreover, “a history of a mosque is not just local, but national and diasporic” and the history of mosques in Britain should be a natural part of the broader narrative of British religious history. Shaynul Khan, Assistant Director of the ELM/LMC outlined the efforts of the East London Mosque to preserve its records that date back to 1910. The programme included a keynote speech by Professor Humayun Ansari on ‘The value and significance of history for mosques’. He stressed the need to avoid “historical amnesia” when documenting the history of mosques in Britain and accepting the diversity and expressions that have surfaced over the decades — an example being the Liverpool mosque’s adopting an organ for its services! He noted that it is enriching to “look at Muslim identity formation through the prism of mosque building”. He also emphasised the importance of history for developing a sense of belonging and for busting the myths that can lead to unfounded prejudices based on ‘hearsay’.

Dr Norman James, Head of Private Archives at the National Archives, addressed the seminar on the topic ‘Developing mosque archives: general principles and practical issues’. He circulated a draft schema for classifying mosque archives, prepared with his colleague Phillip Gale, for comment from the mosques. He also noted that mosques, as registered charities, need to comply with record-keeping requirements of the Charities Act. Shahed Saleem, who is writing an English Heritage commissioned book on mosques in Britain presented a case study on the architectural history he has been able to draw out from the ELM/LMC archives.

The seminar was further enriched by the presence of some mosque pioneers as well as community organisers like Mobeen Butt who has recently completed a project with Croydon Mosque, the Asian Youth Alliance and Croydon Museum on recording and presenting the mosque’s 50 year history. Participants in the seminar included representatives of English Heritage and the Religious Archives Group. The seminar has prepared the ground for the emergence of a fruitful alliance of experts and community bodies which hopefully in time will lead to a further consultation with mosques on their preferred scheme for record classification, the contents of a toolkit for non-professional archivists dealing with mosque archives and opportunities for receiving training and managing oral history projects.

Norman James & Philip Gale: to view the draft for discussion — schema for mosque archives, click here

Some feedback:

“The workshop was productive and should help to move forward, with some useful ideas, those who are engaged in archival work with mosques.”

“I thought this event went off very well on Saturday. The attendance was good.”

“Congratulations on the sucess of this very well attended event.”

Further Information:

For ReDoc’s project see also Page 210 of the new Muslim Directory

For details of the ‘Building on History: Religion in London’ project of the Open University’ follow this link

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Raw and Real: Boris Calls for Tory to Run Statist, Corporatist, Defeatist, Anti-Business, Europhile and Leftist BBC

by Tim Montgomerie

Boris Johnson — the man who has already given up on the Today programme — is in blistering form about the BBC in his Telegraph column:

“The prevailing view of Beeb newsrooms is, with honourable exceptions, statist, corporatist, defeatist, anti-business, Europhile and, above all, overwhelmingly biased to the Left… Eurosceptic views are still treated as if they were vaguely mad and unpleasant, even though the Eurosceptic analysis has been proved overwhelmingly right.”

He also attacks the Corporation’s relentless coverage of Rupert Murdoch:

“In all its lavish coverage of Murdoch, hacking and BSkyB, the BBC never properly explains the reasons why other media organisations — including the BBC — want to shaft a free-market competitor… The non-Murdoch media have their guns trained on Murdoch, while the Beeb continues to destroy the business case of its private sector rivals with taxpayer-funded websites and electronic media of all kinds.”

London’s Mayor goes on to express his deep frustration at the obsessions of the BBC. Why, he asks, does the Corporation never cover the dizzying variety of business start-ups across Britain and particularly in London? “Fully 75 per cent of the London economy is private sector,” he writes, “and yet it is almost completely ignored by our state broadcaster.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale is a Lesson to All of Us

By Martin Bright

The coverage of the appalling Rochdale grooming case has been, for the most part, well-informed and responsible. In the Times today David Aaronovitch takes on the cultural issue directly (£) and should be saluted for so doing.

‘So here are the bald facts about this specific kind of abuse. Men, many middle-aged and most of previous good character, and largely from one community, have been committing a particular series of sexual crimes almost entirely against young girls. Why? Almost certainly because of their attitudes towards women and sex.’

But he saves his most important point for the end of his article when he says: ‘we ought to be mad as hell about the neglect of our most vulnerable kids.’


[Reader comment by Rhoda Klapp on 10 May 2012 at 3:16PM.]

It’s just so gracious of the gentlemen of the press to notice this sort of thing, discuussion of which has been common in the community of real people for a number of years. Now Martin, don’t tell me any more about the latest bus you’ve missed, do your job and tell me about something that you are exposing to the light.

[Reader comment by In2minds on 10 May 2012 at 3:49PM.]

So this abuse case really is the fault of the white majority then?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Statist, Defeatist and Biased BBC is on the Wrong Wavelength

by Boris Johnson

What is needed is a Tory at the top to help Britain rediscover its spirit of enterprise, writes Boris Johnson.

‘So what do you think, eh?” I turned to the BBC’s art critic, the brilliant, bulging Professor Branestawm lookalike Will Gompertz. We were standing on the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford; London was spread beneath us like a land of dreams — was that France I could see in the distance? — and yet I was nervous. This sculpture is a masterpiece, far better and more rewarding up close than it appears at a distance. The steel loops are an arterial red, writhing and shifting against each other beneath the blue sky. Anish Kapoor already has many fans, but he has excelled himself with this vast fallopian ampersand, this enigmatic hubble bubble, this proud vertical invitation to London 2012.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US Envoy Visits Jailed Ex-PM in Ukraine Clinic

A US State Department envoy visited Ukraine’s jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko in hospital on Monday amid mounting Western criticism over her prosecution and treatment. Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Melia from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor became the second foreign official to visit Tymoshenko in the state hospital, where she agreed to be moved last week for back pain treatment.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she was “deeply concerned” about 51-year-old Tymoshenko, questioning the conditions of her confinement and calling for her release.

The 2004 Orange Revolution leader has been behind bars since August and is now serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power while prime minister, a charge that Western states view as politically motivated.

Tymoshenko was moved to the hospital last week under an agreement that will see her treated by a German doctor rather than Ukrainian medics, whom she does not trust.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Yes Campaign Leads Ahead of Irish Referendum

Despite postponement of ratification of the EU fiscal treaty in Germany and France, a majority (53%) of Irish voters are set to vote Yes, while a third will vote No (31%), a new opinion poll for The Sunday Business Post show. The Irish EU referendum is on 31 May.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Macedonia Protests Signal Surge of Radical Islam

Ethnic Albanians rallied in several Macedonian towns on Friday (11 May) to protest against a police operation that saw suspects arrested in the deaths of five people. The regional press saw the protests as a sign of rising radical Islam in the country. Thousands of ethnic Albanians demonstrated against the arrest of three men charged over the killing of five Macedonians last month. Photos from the scenes showed that many of the protestors waved Saudi flags and that some wore T-shirts with inscriptions such as “Islam will dominate the world”.

On 13 April five slain Macedonian fishermen were discovered beside a lake in the village of Smiljkovci north of Skopje. Four of the victims were in their late teens or early 20s. The fifth was a man in his 40s. On 1 May, police arrested 20 people, including radical Islamists who reportedly fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan, as suspects in the murders.

Demonstrators shouting slogans such as “UCK” (the now-defunct liberation movement in Kosovo in the late 1990s), “See you in the mountains” and “Greater Albania”, threw rocks at police, the SETimes reported. The news site also reported that protestors attacked the offices of Skopje’s Chair municipality whose mayor, Izet Medziti, belongs to the ruling Albanian party Democratic Union for Integration (DUI). “Clearly they do not want co-existence — their slogans betray the goal to misuse Islam to create an ethnically pure state, which means conflict in the region. Slogans in support of the Democratic Party of Albanians also betray the involvement of some political parties to benefit from such an abuse of religion,” Ivan Babanovski, a former security studies professor, told SETimes.

The Serbian news agency Tanjug reported that protestors also carried banners against the Macedonian government and Prime Minster Nikola Gruevski, whom they called a “terrorist” and a “Chetnik”, a reference to the Serbian nationalist movement that collaborated with the Nazis and used terror tactics against Muslims. They shouted “murderers” at the police.

The demonstrators also carried banners saying that “Serbs and Macedonians” were responsible for the murder of the five men. Protests were also reported in the towns of Gostivar and Tetovo.

There is widespread belief among analysts and the Macedonian public that the protests are intended to destabilise Macedonia prior to the NATO summit in Chicago on 20-21 May. Macedonia’s bid to join NATO was blocked in 2008 by Greece over the long-standing name dispute between Athens and Skopje. Some analysts in the region now worry of renewed attempts to carve out an ethnic Albanian state in western Macedonia. According to security experts, there are an estimated 5,000 battle-hardened Islamists from the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and a past conflict in Macedoniа living in the region. Dzevad GalijaÅ¡evic, a member of the Southeast Europe Expert Team for the Fight against Terrorism and Organised Crime, told SETimes the number of Wahabbis followers is far greater. He argued that regional countries should cut off the Wahabbis’ financial channels, and arrest the leaders and most prominent members who espouse violence.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey to Foster NATO Bid for Balkan Nations

One of the priorities Turkey will bring to the agenda for the NATO Chicago summit is the promotion of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, as well as Georgia’s bid to join the alliance, as their membership is tied with the peace and stability seen in both the fragile Balkan and Caucasus regions. Though the summit will not focus on, nor make a landmark decision on enlargement, Turkey will still strongly urge allies not to slow this process down but make commitments that the invitations to join the alliance would be offered at the next summit, of course in line with their progress in meeting criteria. Diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News over the weekend that Turkey will convey the message that “as NATO we should also give the sign that our Open Door Policy is still valid” during the summit.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Lindh Foundation Seeks Youth Activists for Forum

Meeting in Istanbul at the end of June to prepare the event

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, MAY 14 — The Anna Lindh Foundation has launched a call for participation for members of its national networks in the build-up to the “Anna Lindh Forum 2013” for a preparatory meeting focused on Youth.

According to the Enpi website (, the meeting will be organised in Istanbul, Turkey, from 28 June to 1 July 2012 with the aim of contributing to the formulation, development and implementation of the Programme of the ALF Forum 2013 by articulating a Youth Perspective on broad social, cultural, economic and political challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean context in the wake of the major changes experienced by the region.

In the framework of the Foundation’s ‘4D’ strategy (Development, Dialogue, Diversity and Democracy), the meeting will seek to identify thematic priorities for action through the Intercultural Dialogue approach in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The Pre-Forum Youth Preparatory Meeting will gather around 45 participants from the Euro-Mediterranean region and the deadline for submitting applications is wednesday 23 of May 2012.

The Anna Lindh Foundation for Inter-Cultural Dialogue, co-funded by the EU, promotes knowledge, mutual respect and inter-cultural dialogue between the people of the Euro-Mediterranean region, working through a network of more than 3,000 civil society organisations in 43 countries.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria Now ‘Anchor of Stability’ In Region

There’s little sign of the Arab Spring in Algeria. The ruling parties won the recent election handily, with Islamists a distant third.

Isabelle Werenfels cannot believe it. Not long ago, the researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs visited Algeria, and to her horror realized that nothing had changed. “It just can’t be true that the Arab Spring has passed over a country without leaving a trace,” she said in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

Algeriahas voted, and nothing has changed. As always, the National Liberation Front (FLN) of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was the clear winner. Bouteflika has been in office since 1999. Together with the RND, the party of Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, the mildly conservative FLN earned a comfortable absolute majority in parliament, which anyway is largely powerless. The Islamists ended up relegated to third place.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Libya: NATO Accused of War Crimes Over Civilian Casualties in Libya War

Human Rights Watch reports the death of 72 innocent civilians during NATO operations against non-military targets. The military alliance says no to an investigation. At least eight sites hit in air strikes were residential compounds without signs of hostile or military activity.

Tripoli (AsiaNews) — NATO does not want to investigate civilian casualties during the Libya War. According to the North Atlantic alliance, air strikes were aimed only military targets and civilian deaths were an unfortunate consequence. For this reason, an investigation is unwarranted for the organisation, this according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that accuses NATO of war crimes in the case of the death of 72 civilians, including 24 children, in raids that had no military-strategic importance.

“NATO took important steps to minimize civilian casualties during the Libya campaign,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch.

According to UN Resolution 1973, which authorised Operation Unified Protector, only military targets were allowed.

To avoid civilian casualties, NATO pilots were under the obligation to divert their mission if there were uncertainties about the nature of the target.

Civilian casualties during operations against military targets can be tolerated and sanctions cannot be imposed on pilots, nor is there any obligation to compensate the families of those who were killed.

However, if the operation did not have any clear military necessity, NATO should open an investigation to punish the culprits and compensate the victims’ families.

According to the HRW report, at least eight NATO air strikes hit residential areas that showed no signs of hostile or military action.

The most serious incident occurred in the village of Majer, 160 kilometres east of Tripoli, the capital, on 8 August 2011, when NATO air strikes on two family compounds killed 34 civilians and wounded more than 30, Human Rights Watch said.

A single military-style shirt was found in the rubble. Such items of clothing were commonly worn by ordinary Libyans under the Gaddafi regime.

NATO leaders have refused so far to open an investigation into suspicious civilian deaths.

Officials who led the military operations against Gaddafi have justified their refusal by saying that Libya’s Transitional National Council (TNC) has refused to allow the presence of foreign investigators on its territory.

However, TNC sources have said that NATO has not asked for any official investigation in Libya.

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

One Year Later — Egyptians Embrace Democracy, Islam in Political Life

Muslim Brotherhood and military receive positive ratings

Last year, Egyptians took to the streets to protest their dissatisfaction with then-President Hosni Mubarak, as one of many events that became known as the “Arab Spring.” A new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project finds two-in-three Egyptians want democracy in their country, saying it is the best form of government and 52% are optimistic about the nation’s future. Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society, and most believe the Quran should shape the country’s laws. A growing number sees Islam as playing a major role in the political life of the country — 66% currently compared with 47% in 2010. At the same time, a larger minority expresses reservations about religion’s increasing influence in politics. By a margin of 61% to 17%, Egyptians say Saudi Arabia is a better model than Turkey for the role of religion in government. However, most also endorse specific democratic rights and institutions that do not exist in Saudi Arabia, such as free speech, a free press, and equal rights for women.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Classes in Mosque, New Defeat for Secularists

Zitouna is country’s main mosque, Salafis celebrate

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, 14 MAY — Another piece of a fiercely, ferociously, professedly secular Tunisia is soon to disappear: teaching will be resumed in the mosque of Zitouna, the largest in Tunis and the most important mosque in the country. The decision is included in a document signed by Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Noureddine Khademi, Minister of Education, Abdellatif Abid, and Minister of Secondary level Teaching, Moncef Ben Salem (on behalf of the Tunisian government) and by Sheik Houcine Labidi (on behalf of the mosque).

This agreement might prove to be a milestone in the history of Tunisia’s Islam, because it provides for a role in teaching for Zitouna after the mosque had been deprived of it fifty years ago, under Bourghiba’s presidency, in order to reduce the excessive power of the clergy and to weaken a significant point of reference for the Islamic world, not only for Tunisia, but for the entire Maghreb. A danger for the “lay revolution” which had gained the country’s independence; Bourghiba had no intention to run such risk. In order to fully understand this assumption, it is necessary to consider that Zitouna contended with El Azhar for the role of spiritual driving force of Sunni Islam in Africa and beyond Africa’s borders, until the Bourghiba’s lay revolution affected the mosque, banning it from being also a school. Indeed, the secularization process fostered by Habib Bourghiba, left Zitouna with a marginal role, making the mosque a place exclusively for worship, not for teaching. Today, Zitouna gained back its role as a school; however, such role seems to be actually or potentially affected by the atmosphere currently setting in the country. Such atmosphere could be experienced even inside the mosque, while the agreement was being signed: outside, tens of Salafis were celebrating, as if it were their own victory. The Salafis were waiving their flags at the sound of youyous (the traditional Arab women’s chanting) chanted by their own worship sisters. Maybe this does not mean anything, but, while the Salafis were loudly expressing their joy, Muslim worshippers who do not agree with the Salafos’ strict fundamentalism and journalists were denied access to the mosque. Even if the three ministers having signed the agreement, each within his competences, reiterated that Zitouna will only act in the religious and teaching field, it is now necessary to understand how this provision will be complied with inside the mosque’s closed halls. The building covers an area totalling 5,000 and was built between 692 and 734 (exact dates are unclear) over the remnants of a former Christian church which had previously been an olive-tree field (Zitouna means “olive” in Arabic). During a recent demonstration organised by Salafis in support of the sharia, some imams from Zitouna were demonstrating in the square too; their presence had been presented as an implicit sign of support for the movement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

NGOs Highlight Israeli Destruction of EU-Funded Projects

NGOs have highlighted Israel’s ongoing campaign to ethnically cleanse occupied territories as EU ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the problem.

Data compiled by the European Commission, the UN and local activists shows that in the past year Israeli authorities demolished 22 water cisterns and 37 residential and agricultural structures funded by EU member states.

They have also issued demolition orders and “stop-work” orders against a long list of other EU-funded schemes, including: 14 water cisterns; 34 water sanitation facilities; eight solar energy schemes; two schools and a medical centre.

In one example on 13 February, Israeli bulldozers damaged Polish-funded repair work to an ancient well in the “illegal” Palestinian village of El Rahawia in the West Bank at the same time as flattening the village itself and making 83 people homeless.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Food: Near East Countries Not Able to Feed Population, FAO

Rome, 31st Regional Conference begins. “Too much waste”

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 14 — Fragile and limited natural resources, a rapid population increase and demand for food on the rise. On its own the Near East region, which stretches from Morocco to the Arabian peninsula and Iran, will not be able to feed its people: too much waste and food loss straight after its harvesting which reduce the available food sources enormously but also the problem of climate change, desertification, urbanisation, intensive farming and drought. What is needed is a series of strategies which consent an improvement in technical knowledge, a better handling of food product sales and commercialisation and public policies which can reduce these losses. This in summary is the framework around which the 31st FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Regional Conference for the Near East will be structured. The conference opens today in FAO’s headquarters in Rome and will end May 18.

According to the Organization, there are many problems afflicting this vast region which data from 2010 reports to have today 380 million inhabitants. It is in constant increase and FAO predicts a rise to 445 million by 2020, soaring to a record 502 million in 2030. The population increases also as the unemployment both in rural and urban areas. The unemployed are especially the younger population (between 15 and 24) who in 2005 represented about 27% of men and 33% of women in the region. In the same year, youth unemployment was at 26% making the Near East the worst region in the world for youth labour.

Population and unemployment increase also help to contribute to the increase in food insecurity and food shortages in the region. In 2010 the number of inhabitants who were suffering from under-nourishment was attested by FAO to be 37 million people.

This is a 17 million increase compared to what had been registered at the World Food Summit of 1996, but there is also a drop of 5 million compared to 2009. The reduction is also in farmable land, now around 55.5 million hectares. Today official reports say that this available land constitutes only a quarter of the actual farmable land. This productive inefficiency deriving from a reduction of farmable land has brought the Near East region to increase its food imports, much more than any other developing area in the world. For example, the United Arab Emirates have increased their import by 100 times, Yemen 20 times, whereas Egypt has remained the largest importer of food products in the region and in the world for the whole period 1960-2005. Reducing the waste of food sources, FAO claims, is mandatory should this region want to succeed in fighting food shortage.

According to the Organization every year about 15% to 30% of food sources are lost: fruit, vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish. There are 5 methods of intervention considered a priority for the Near East. For the 2010-2019 period, the objective is to stimulate agricultural production and rural development in order to increase food and nutritional security; manage the natural resources in a long-term way; react against climate change and elaborate strategies for adaptation, prepare also for future food shortage and agricultural emergencies.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Iran: Senior Iranian Cleric: Hijab is the Symbol of Anti-Hegemony

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Western countries are intimidated by Hijab (veil) inasmuch as it is the symbol of Anti-hegemony,” said the deputy of the Head of the Judiciary, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi. Speaking in a Seminar on Hijab and chastity held in Tehran, Raeisi underscored,” Hijab and chastity is the right of family and is not just related to an individual and a woman. Although Hijab is a cover for women but it is actually the sign of piety in the society,” he said. “Hijab speaks volume about abiding by Islamic rules and standing against the arrogant world,” Raeisi went on. “Fortunetly, recent movements and uprisings in the region reveal this fact that no longer Muslim nations take western women as their models,” he spotlighted. “The issue of Hijab does not just a matter of covering, it is a symbol against arrogance and hegemony,” the Islamci scholar underlined. The Islamic scholars underscored that western countries do their best to destroy the value of Hijab in Muslim womens’ eyes, so it is the duty of each Muslim to deal with this issue seriously.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Islamic Clocks Stolen From UAE Mosques

Seven prayer timing panels disappear from mosques in Dibba Al Hosn

Unknown thieves targeting holy sites stole seven Islamic clocks from several mosques in Dibba Al Hosn worth nearly Dh14,000 and all of them disappeared almost at the same time.

Police, quoted by the semi official daily Alittihad, said they had summoned preachers, Imams and mosque guards to investigate the disappearance of the beautiful round-shaped panels which show the timings of prayers through the day and were hung inside mosques in the eastern port. Police said seven clocks, worth Dh2,000 each, disappeared on Saturday during the period between the noon and afternoon prayers. The endowments and Islamic affairs office in the town in the Gulf of Oman is also investigating the incident. “Police are continuing their investigation into this mystery incident, which is the first flagrant aggression against worshipping places,” the paper said.

[JP note: Islamic time, dead time.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Power Elite and the Muslim Brotherhood, Part 12

The PE is using the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to take control of the nations which have had these revolutions by appealing to their desire for a New World Order based upon Islam. In 1944, Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote The New World Order, in which he professed: “There is but one faith, Islam, which has been able to weld different nations into one homogeneous whole; and this, therefore, is the New World Order on which depends the advancement of man towards a higher goal.”

This is why it was important that the PE made sure Barack Obama, who was raised as a Muslim in his youth, would be president of the United States at this time. As leading terrorism and national security expert Steve Emerson told Newsmax.TV on January 14, 2012, the MB came here in 1963 (2 years after Barack Obama was born) setting up front groups all around the country. Emerson explained that the MB front groups’ infrastructure “dominate 99% of the (Muslim) leadership here, unfortunately. So they disenfranchise a lot of moderates… They’ve got the money, the organization… The Muslim Brotherhood’s radicalism is basically cloaked in deception when they say they’re for peace and justice and moderation… And with this [Obama] administration, I first thought they were sort of dupes or unwitting collaborators. I don’t believe that any longer.”


According to Steve Emerson’s NEWSMAX column of February 11, 2011, FBI Director Robert Mueller on February 10 of last year told the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that elements of the MB were in the U.S. and that the MB’s ideology had inspired terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. Also addressing the committee was U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick (NC), who related: “I’m concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood is using peaceful protests in Egypt for a power grab, and our government doesn’t seem to grasp their threat. The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t a danger because they are terrorists, but because they push an extremist ideology that causes others to commit acts of terrorism. The danger of the Muslim Brotherhood is not just encouraging terrorism through their ideology, but also trying to take over government, so everyone has to succumb and live under their ideology.”

Concerns regarding the threat posed by the MB are also evident in the Middle East, as Dubai’s police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan, claimed on March 25 that the “Brotherhood was plotting to change the regimes in the Gulf (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). My sources say the next step is to make Gulf governments (their ruling families) figurehead bodies only without actual ruling. The start will be in Kuwait in 2013 and in other Gulf states in 2016.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Two Dead, 20 Hurt in Lebanon Clashes — Medics

(Reuters) — Two men were killed and at least 20 were wounded in clashes between Alawite supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Muslim fighters in the Lebanese city of Tripoli, medical sources said on Monday. Fierce clashes overnight shook the northern port city and sporadic fighting continued on Monday morning, with fighters firing machineguns and rocket propelled grenades. Tension between the Alawite and Sunni communities in Tripoli has been fuelled by the unrest in neighbouring Syria, where Assad is seeking to crush a 14-month-old uprising which began with largely peaceful protests but has become increasingly militarised.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UAE: Italian Style Graces Abu Dhabi Mosque

Abu Dhabi (CNN) — An Abu Dhabi mosque is being adorned with beautiful new mosaics — thanks to some traditional Italian craftsmanship. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is first and foremost a place of worship, but in less than five years it has become synonymous with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Enrico Fantini is a fourth-generation Italian mosaic artisan who was recruited to work on the vast exterior ground and key parts of the grand interior. “We are very proud to have an Italian tradition — the mosaic started in the Byzantine world, the Roman world,” Fantini told CNN’s John Defterios.

That tradition is on vivid display in the flowers and fauna of the courtyard, made with marble of all shades, sourced from up to 15 countries, including Turkey, Italy and India. Each month, more than 300,000 visitors from around the world come here to take in what Fantini himself says is something unique. “It is not a traditional mosque, it is modern, it is open — a completely different idea,” said Fantini. His company was started by his great grandfather in 1904. “Fantini Mosaici” made its name discretely, working behind the scenes for royal families of the Middle East, including for the Emir of Qatar, the King of Morocco and members of the Saudi Royal family. A son of the late founder of the United Arab Emirates, for whom the Grand Mosque is named, urged Fantini to ply his trade on a much grander scale.

Fantini Mosaici has built a reputation in the Middle East and has trained craftsmen from South Asia to bring to its workshop in Abu Dhabi. Under a United Nations development program, the company trained Pakistani nationals from Lahore and then brought them to the Emirate. Today, they sit side by side with other South-Asian craftsmen after word spread of expansion. It is labor-intensive, painstaking, detailed employment — cutting marble, designing panels and working the inlay. Fantini employs 90 people in the Emirate, nearly double the team back home in Italy. Some of their work will stay in the region, while some is exported back to Europe. Another huge project for the company, the Palazzo Versace complex, is underway in neighboring Dubai. It’s another grand opera requiring the “Made-in-Italy” brand keeping alive a trade that stretches back four generations, and a craft that stretches back for millennia.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


‘Sharia Judge, ‘ 2 Others Killed in Dagestan

Three Islamist insurgents, including a man tasked with delivering judgment according to sharia law, were killed by law enforcement officers in Kizlyar forest in the Russian province of Dagestan on Friday. The sharia judge, Magomed Makhmudov, found dead with a machinegun next to him, was the only militant to be identified so far, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee said. He was on a wanted list since 2011. Heavy gunfire on the outskirts of the forest prevented the law enforcement personnel from picking up the other two bodies for identification, a law enforcement source said earlier. The special services located the so-called “Kizlyar gang” near the eponymous village earlier on Friday, reports said. Attempts were made to detain them, but the insurgents fought back with automatic rifles and a grenade launcher, injuring three policemen and four army soldiers, two of whom were hospitalized. An operation to detain or eliminate them was in progress.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


‘Accidental War’ Waiting to Happen on EU Periphery

YEREVAN — If or when a full-blown conflict erupts between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it will probably begin like this. According to a senior source in the Armenian defence ministry, on 27 April Azerbaijani troops sneaked over the Armenian border in the north-east province of Tavush and took up positions on either side of a road connecting the villages of Movses and Aygepar.

At around 2am local time — the source said — they opened fire from close range at the windscreen of an approaching car carrying out-of-uniform Armenian soldiers. The ambush killed 28-year-old David Abgaryan, 21-year-old Arshak Nersisyan and 26-year-old father-of-one Aram Yesayan. The killing is a “clear provocation,” the source told EUobserver in Yerevan on 5 May. He added: “We have not reacted yet. I underline ‘yet’.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Azerbaijan Police Thwart Pre-Eurovision Protest

BAKU — Police in Azerbaijan on Monday broke up an attempt to hold an opposition protest in Baku as the city gets ready to hold the prestigious Eurovision song contest later this month. Small groups of activists from the Public Chamber opposition alliance chanted “Freedom!” as they tried to gather for the unauthorised rally in the city centre. Police quickly moved in and brief scuffles broke out as officers pushed those detained on to buses, opposition Musavat party leader Isa Gambar told AFP.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: British Servicemen Shot Dead Named as Lee Davies and Brent McCarthy

Two British servicemen shot dead by the Afghan policemen they were training in Helmand have been named by the Ministry of Defence.

Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies, 27, from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was killed alongside Corporal Brent John McCarthy, 25, of the Royal Air Force at a patrol base in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province. The servicemen were providing security for a meeting with local officials when two people wearing Afghan police uniforms opened fire. One of the policemen was shot dead in an ensuing gunfight and the other fled and has yet to be caught. Today, the family of Cpl McCarthy said: “Brent was a loving, sensitive young man. He excelled at sport and had the whole world in front of him. He loved his family dearly and will always be a hero to his niece Miajay. Brent will be sadly missed, not only by us but also by his loving partner Sarah and her devoted family. Life will never be the same for any of us. We will love you always. God bless.”

Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence, said: “I send out my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Corporal Brent McCarthy and Lance Corporal Lee Davies whose lives were cut tragically short by a cowardly act of aggression. Both servicemen were performing an invaluable role, training and mentoring Afghan police, helping to ensure that Afghanistan will never again be a place from which international terrorists can launch attacks on our society. Their sacrifice will not be in vain and we will never forget them.”

The two servicement were part of an advisory team providing security at a meeting with local officials near patrol base Attal, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defence. Corporal Brent John McCarthy, who was born into a Service family in Hannover, Germany, joined the Royal Air Force in 2008, training at RAF Halton and the Defence College of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park.

Known by friends as “Mac”, he is survived by his father John, mother Sarah, sister Jodie, his partner Sarah and his niece Miajay and nephew Kyron. Lieutenant Colonel Alex Potts, Commanding Officer, Combined Force Lashkar Gah, said: “He was a fine ambassador for The Royal Air Force and we will remember him for his professionalism, physical toughness, but above all, for his unbeatable smile and sense of humour.” Corporal Kriss Gray, RAF Police, Afghan Police Mentor, Theatre Provost Group, said: ““Corporal McCarthy always put others before himself and had the strongest love for his family and would always go out of his way to see a smile on others faces before his own. I had the honour to have served with him and I am also very privileged to have been his friend.”

Lance Corporal Lee Davies was trained at Catterick before joining the Welsh Guards in April 2010. In March 2012, he was deployed to Afghanistan as part of a Police Advisory Team, based in the Lashkar Gah District of Helmand Province. A statement from the Ministry of Defence said he “had a bright future ahead of him — his professionalism, leadership and unswerving sense of duty would have carried him far. He will, justly, be remembered among the ranks of the bravest of the brave.” Lieutenant Colonel Dino Bossi, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said: “Lance Corporal Lee Davies loved being a soldier — it was who he was. He was a formidably talented team commander, in his element in this complex and unforgiving environment. The Welsh Guards have lost a man of inestimable promise, a fine Guardsman who lived and breathed the values and standards of the Foot Guards.” Guardsman Jonathon Reeves, Police Advisory Team, Number 2 Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, said: “Words cannot express how I feel at this sad time. Lance Corporal Lee Davies was a very good friend, a great leader and an astonishing soldier. His loss is huge to me, the boys and the Battalion. Most of all though is the loss to his family who my condolences go out to. Our thoughts are with you at this time. Rest in peace, mate.”

The killings in Helmand came less than two months after two other British servicemen were shot dead by an Afghan soldier in Lashkar Gah after an apparent quarrel. A total of 414 British troops have died in the Afghan campaign. Around 20 coalition troops have been shot dead in 2012 so far by their allies and many more wounded. The toll of the “green on blue” attacks has risen steeply in the past year, leading commanders to enforce new safeguards against infiltration and assassination, including “guardian angel” sentries to watch over soldiers as they eat or sleep. The reasons for the killings remain unclear. While some appear to be assassinations by Taliban sympathisers, many appear instead to be due to disputes and arguments. Coalition commanders seeking to play down the significance of the killings have said there are many more incidents where Afghan police or soldiers shoot each other due to feuds or grievances. They also claim the increase in the number of shootings only mirrors the rapidly growing size of the Afghan police and army.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Dirty Work of Manually Cleaning Latrines Continues in India

Though officially banned, the practice of manual scavenging — cleaning human waste latrines by hand — continues in many parts of India. The women who do it say they have no other means of feeding their families. Women and children in bright red, blue, and yellow Indian dress gathered to talk near a pond. Buffaloes and donkey carts plastered with mud and manure surround it.

Like many places in India, Mudali — a village in the country’s north — has no sewage system. Here, this group of women goes house to house every day to pick up human waste by hand. The work is known as manual scavenging. While officially banned in 1993, thousands of people still do it in places that lack plumbing. And by doing a job no one wants, the women are looked down upon by the rest of Indian society.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Local Protestant Church Torched in North Sulawesi

The attack took place last Wednesday in a village called Picuan (East Minahasa). No one knows why the attack was carried out, but some blame outsiders who also set fire to some local houses and cars parked in front of the local police station.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Someone set fire to a local church in Picuan, East Minahasa (North Sulawesi). Scores of homes and cars were also torched. The incident took place on Wednesday but local media just reported it.

The small Protestant church is the only Christian place of worship in the area. Local authorities do not understand why it was the target of an arson attack. However, some residents blame Islamists coming from outside the area.

Dozens of car parked outside the local police station were also set on fire.

Picuan is located in a mineral rich area and is a strategic site for developing mining activity.

A new mine opened recently, generating tensions within the community, with Christians also caught up in the confrontation.

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

Justice for Sahar Gul: Justice for All Afghan Women

An Afghan woman sued her husband and his family for torturing her. In a unique trial, a court has found them guilty and sentenced them to prison. It’s a rare verdict as most women generally keep quiet. Sahar Gul was treated like a prisoner in her own home for six months. Now 15 years old, she was forced by her brother into marriage.

Her husband and his family had tried to coerce her into prostitution. But she refused. They responded by locking her up in the basement, burning and beating her and ripping out her fingernails.

The scars were fresh when police found her in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan in December last year and set her free. The case sparked a storm of international condemnation. Gul’s husband’s father, mother and sister were each sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by an Afghan court on Tuesday, May 9.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Nepal Muslims Want Greater Say as Constitution Deadline Looms

LUMBINI and KATHMANDU, Nepal: Crossing the rickety steel wire bridge, Sheikh Islam puts his arm forward, showing the expanse of the valley that unfolds here in the Kathmandu Valley just south of Bandipur, a few hours from Nepal’s capital city. “We are Muslim, but we are Nepali as well,” the sheikh, the local community leader here in this small village an hour’s drive and walk from the main highway. But we are a growing segment of society and we hope to have our voices heard as political leaders write a new constitution.”

According to recent government statistics, of the 30 million Nepalese in the country, some five percent are Muslim. With a Constituent Assembly currently drafting a new constitution that will lead the country into its latest democracy effort, 6 years on from the end of the Maoist “insurgency” the Muslim population feels ostracized and absent from the proceedings.

“Here in our village, we are struggling to make life tolerable and our community has hopes that Muslims will have a voice in the drafting process,” his English near flawless after having spent three years studying in the UK in the late 1990s, at the height of the Maoist war with the government. “I learned a lot from London and believe that we can have a representative democracy for all of Nepal.” But his optimism is not shared by the wider Muslim community. In the impoverished southern Terai region near Lumbini, Yussuf and his family of 7 are not convinced the politicians understand Muslims and fears their prejudice toward Islam will prevail in the constitution, which is to be completed by the end of this month.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistani Officer Accused of Terrorism Calls for Ties to US to be Cut

From his prison cell, a senior Pakistani officer accused of plotting an Islamist takeover of the military high command has issued a call for the army to break its anti-terror alliance with the United States, which he contends is forcing Pakistan to fight its own people.

“This may help us redeem some of our lost dignity and we badly need that,” Brig Ali Khan writes in the six-page document obtained by The Associated Press. The US might retaliate by cutting military and economic aid, but “do they not always do this at will? … Our fears that the heavens will fall must be laid to rest.” The manifesto reveals the ideological underpinnings of the most senior Pakistani military officer detained for alleged ties to Islamist extremists. The accusations against Khan go to the heart of a major Western fear about Pakistan: that its army could tilt toward Islamic extremism or that a cabal of hardline officers could seize the country’s most powerful institution, possibly with the help of al-Qaida or associated groups like the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani leaders dismiss such worries as ungrounded. Khan, who was arrested a year ago, faces charges of conspiring with four other officers and a British member of Hizb ut-Tahrir to recruit officers to the group including the commander of the army’s 111 Brigade, which covers the capital and has been historically linked to army coups.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Muslims Not to Tolerate New US Threats — Hafeez

NOWSHERA: Ameer Jammat-ud-Dawah Hafiz Saeed has said that the Ummah would not tolerate the threats to assault Mecca and Madina from the USA, which has imposed “War of Crusade” on Muslims. He was speaking to Chairman of Difa-e-Pakistan Council, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq at Dar-ul-Uloom Haqania Akora Khattak on Sunday. On the occasion the leaders of Jammat-ud-Dawah and JUI(S) were also present. Both the leaders discussed restoration of NATO supplies, increasing trade with India and giving her most favourite nation status and the anti Islam syllabus was came under discussion in detailed. It was alo decided during the meeting to convene the meeting of Difa-e-Pakistan Council on 19 May at the Center of Jammat-e-Islami Mansoora under the chairmanship of Maulana evolve future strategy regarding these issues. Hafiz Saeed said that all the nation knows that some paid agents of America in Pakistan are proliferating baseless propaganda against Difa-e-Pakistan Council to sabotage its endeavour, but they would be frustrated. “It is the track record of USA, that after facing defeat in battlefield, she always tried to create mayhem among the ranks and file of Muslims”, he added. Earlier speaking to the congregation of students at Dar-ul-Uloom Haqania Dar-ul-Khattak Hafiz saeed said that it is the duty of the Muslims to thwart the malicious intentions of USA and her allies against holy places of the Muslims, as if these would be harmed, no one would remain safe. He said that it is the duty of Muslim rulers that they unit whole Ummah on a platform to protect two holiest cities. He said that the rulers of Muslim countries should quit the alliance on the name of so called war against terrorism. “To face the challenges of the modern times, Muslim world has to craft a joint line of action seriously”, he said by adding if America can not hold Afghanistan despite the coalition of 40 countries, then how India can stay in occupied Kashmir for a long time. He said that although the policies of Musharraf caused great loss to the Muslims, but present government is one step ahead of him. Now the rulers are committing blunders by singing new agreements with USA after its defeat in Afghanistan. He also lauded the role of Dar-ul-Uloom Haqania in promoting spirit of Jihad among Muslim youth.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Tensions Spur Deeper Ties Between U.S., Philippines

China’s assertive behavior is breathing life into America’s historically tumultuous relationship with the Philippines.

With Washington turning its attention more to the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. and the Philippines last week held the first joint meeting of their top diplomats and defense chiefs. The U.S. increased military aid and resolved to help its ally on maritime security.

The steps came with the Philippines locked in a standoff with China over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea that has stoked passions on both sides. The U.S. is a walking a delicate diplomatic line. It doesn’t want the dispute to escalate, but it is showing where its strategic interests lie.

The relationship between the U.S. and its former colony thrived during the Cold War but ebbed after nationalist political forces prompted the closure of American military bases in 1992. As the U.S. seeks to build a stronger presence in Southeast Asia, a region it neglected during the past decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the alliance is assuming growing importance.

For its part, the Philippines is looking to Washington and its allies to help equip and train the nation’s bedraggled military, to put up a show of resistance to Chinese vessels that frequently sail into waters Manila considers to lie within its exclusive economic zone.

Ernest Bower, director of the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it is very important for the U.S. to solidify its ties with its traditional allies in the region.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Poker Video Throws South Korean Monk Order Into Crisis

The largest Buddhist order in South Korea has apologized after a video showed its monks playing poker for eye-watering stakes, and drinking. The revelation is the latest incident in a feud over the group’s leadership.

South Korea’s largest Buddhist grouping, the Jogye order, issued a public apology on Friday over a scandal in which secret video footage was released showing its monks gambling, smoking and drinking.

Order leader Master Jinje said he would make a vow of “self-repentance” on behalf of the monks involved. A day earlier, six leading figures had resigned from the order’s executive committee in light of the revelations.

“The high-ranking monks tendered their resignation en masse earlier in the day because they need to take responsibility for the incident that should not have taken place,” the country’s Yonhap news agency reported one senior monk as saying.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UN Cap-and-Trade System: Good for China and India, But Who Else?

The United Nations-administered cap and trade system to reduce planetary greenhouse gases through investment in “green” projects in developing countries has directed most of its billions of dollars in investments to China and India, two of the world’s most notorious polluters.

Indeed, China and India together have gotten more than 70 percent of the more than 4,100 projects so far registered for the system, while most developing nations, aside from a handful, have gotten hardly any at all, according to the system’s own accounts.

At the same time, critics are charging that the system established under the controversial Kyoto Protocol to combat greenhouse gas emissions, and known as the Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM, is “costly, unpredictable, unreliable, prone to gaming,” and “counter-productive due to perverse incentives,” according to a consultants’ report prepared for the European Commission in Brussels last December.

The question of whether it has, in fact, reduced global greenhouse emissions by the equivalent of some 927 million tons of carbon, as heralded by the carbon reduction certificates tallied on the CDM website is also open to vigorous dispute.

In all, “one gets the impression of a mechanism that has not delivered on its objectives as well as many had hoped,” as the European Commission consultants delicately put it, while they critiqued the cap and trade system’s “lack of transparency,” “inconsistency of decisions,” “conflicts of interest,” and extensive support for “unsustainable technology for emissions reduction.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghana: Muntaka Picks 17-Year-Old Wife

It was a moment of merrymaking at Asawse, a Zongo community in Kumasi when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for the area took a second wife. Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak went to the altar for the second time by tying the knot with a 17-year-old Senior High School (SHS) graduate at the forecourt of the Kumasi Central Mosque yesterday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the former Minister of Youth and Sports paid the bide price of the youngster, Memunatu Abdul Wahab, at her parents’ residence at New Zongo, opposite Otec FM in Asawase.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria Reveals Algerian Groups Fund ‘New’ Boko Haram

(AGI) Abujia — Nigerian intelligence sources have revealed to the online newspaper Premium Times that Algerian terrorist groups also fund the ‘new’ Boko Haram. The report, a product of a joint police and military investigations and raids, carried out in Kano and Sokoto in December 2011, indicates that the Algerian sect gave out the funds as its first installment in a planned long term partnership with Boko Haram providing 200,000 euros in financing. The Boko Haram sect and the unnamed Algerian terrorist group have met a number of times in their bid to hammer out modalities for a long term partnership. The document quoted some arrested members of the sect as having made the confession. The partnership would see the richer, more influential, and more organized Algerian terror gang mentor members of the Boko Haram through trainings in activities that will help it fortify its financial base locally. The article states that the Algerian sect is also expected to train the Boko Haram insurgents in hostage taking and weapon handling.

The report provides an insight into how the dreaded Nigerian sect has been funding its activities. The sect members have been fingered for a string of bank robberies, and there is also deep suspicion that they receive discreet support from local politicians. But it has never been this established that the group receives donations from overseas. The partnership would see the richer, more influential, and more organized Algerian terror gang mentor members of the Boko Haram through trainings in activities that will help it fortify its financial base locally.

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

South Africa’s ANC Woos White Minority

The African National Congress has held talks with Afrikaner community groups after a report found that many Afrikaners living in South Africa feel alienated and disillusioned.

“Whether they vote for us or not, we have an obligation to understand where they are coming from and their concerns,” ANC Secretary general Gwede Mantashe said after the meeting with 19 Afrikaner organisations on Tuesday, May 8.

The black-led ANC say they will continue to hold talks with Afrikaner groups over the next months.

Afrikaners are descendents of mainly Dutch and French settlers, whose presence in South Africa dates back to the 17 century. The white minority group makes up less than six percent of South Africa’s population.

Some analysts say the ANC’s renewed interest in wooing Afrikaners is in response to the rise of the Democratic Alliance opposition party which secured more than 20 percent of the vote in last year’s municipal elections.

The Freedom Front Plus political party, which represents Afrikaner interests, said Tuesday’s meeting had ulterior motives.

“(It) has more to do with the ANC’s forthcoming election conference, and the political survival of Mr Gwede Mantashe, than it has to do with a real concern for the interests of minority groups and Afrikaans people,” FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Mexico Drug Wars: 49 Headless, Dismembered Bodies Found Dumped Along Highway

Forty-nine headless, dismembered bodies were found along a stretch of highway in Mexico on Sunday. The mutilated bodies “scattered in a pool of blood”—some with their hands and feet “hacked off,” according to the Associated Press—were discovered by local authorities on the edge of the town of San Juan on a road that connects Monterrey to the Texas border.

The bodies were thought to have been dumped there by a drug cartel, authorities said. A welcome sign near the killing field was filled with graffiti with the message, “100% Zeta.” Zetas is one the two largest drug cartels in Mexico. The other is the Sinaloa Cartel.

“This continues to be violence between criminal groups,” Jorge Domene, a state security spokesman, said a news conference on Sunday. “This is not an attack against the civilian population.” But the escalating violence between the two cartels has resulted in a recent rash of symbolic slayings.

On April 17, according to the AP, mutilated bodies of 14 men were left in a minivan in downtown Nuevo Laredo. On May 5, the bodies of 23 people were found, some hanging from a bridge and others decapitated and dumped near city hall. On May 9, 18 dismembered bodies were discovered outside Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city.

Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey are considered Zetas territory, while Guadalajara has been controlled by the Sinaloa cartel. In September, a Sinaloa drug gang dumped 35 bodies in Veracruz, Mexico. In August, a Zetas attack on a Monterrey casino left 52 dead.

Domene said Sunday’s victims—43 men and 6 women—would be hard to identify because of “the lack of heads, hands and feet.” Since 2006, when Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown on cartels, more than 47,500 people have been killed in drug-related violence.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Mexican Jihad

by Raymond Ibrahim

As the United States considers the Islamic jihadi threats confronting it from all sides, it might do well to focus on its southern neighbor, Mexico, which has been targeted by Islamists and jihadists, who, through a number of tactics—from engaging in da’wa, converting Mexicans to Islam, to smuggling and the drug cartel, to simple extortion, kidnappings and enslavement—have been subverting Mexico in order to empower Islam and sabotage the U.S.

According to a 2010 report, “Close to home: Hezbollah terrorists are plotting right on the U.S. border,” which appeared in the NY Daily News:

Mexican authorities have rolled up a Hezbollah network being built in Tijuana, right across the border from Texas and closer to American homes than the terrorist hideouts in the Bekaa Valley are to Israel. Its goal, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper that reported on the investigation: to strike targets in Israel and the West. Over the years, Hezbollah—rich with Iranian oil money and narcocash—has generated revenue by cozying up with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs and people into the U.S. In this, it has shadowed the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Tehran, which has been forging close ties with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who in turn supports the narcoterrorist organization FARC, which wreaks all kinds of havoc throughout the region.

Another 2010 article appearing in the Washington Times asserts that, “with fresh evidence of Hezbollah activity just south of the border [in Mexico], and numerous reports of Muslims from various countries posing as Mexicans and crossing into the United States from Mexico, our porous southern border is a national security nightmare waiting to happen.” This is in keeping with a recent study done by Georgetown University, which revealed that the number of immigrants from Lebanon and Syria living in Mexico exceeds 200,000. Syria, along with Iran, is one of Hezbollah’s strongest financial and political supporters, and Lebanon is the immigrants’ country of origin.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


What Illegal Immigration Costs You the Taxpayer

Each year, according to the Edwin Rubenstein report, illegal aliens cost American taxpayers $346 billion across 15 federal agencies. (Source: That includes breakfasts and lunches for their children. It includes English as a Second Language. It includes free education from K-12. It means free and unlimited medical care paid for by your wallet. It means you pay for insurance rates by unlicensed drivers and the list grows.

According to the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles, an average of 57,000 cars are stolen annually. It is now the car-jacking capital of the world. Most are SUV’s and pickup trucks. At a conservative average of $20,000.00 per vehicle, owner losses exceeded $1.1 billion. Insurance companies in the state suffered incredible claims from policyholders.

Where did those vehicles go? Who stole them? Take a guess. Arizona is the home of 1,000,000 illegal aliens. Hopefully the Supreme Court supported S.B. 1070 to rid the state of alien migrants. They cost Arizona taxpayers over $1 billion annually in services for schools, medical care, welfare anchor babies, loss of tax base and prisons. Illegals use those vehicles for smuggling more people and drugs from around the world into our country. When the vehicles are recovered, they are smashed-up wrecks in the desert. If not found, they have new owners south of the border as thieves drive the cars through the desert and into Mexico as easily as you drive your kids to soccer practice.

The chilling costs of illegal migration reach like an octopus into every aspect of our lives. Illegal aliens displaced American workers at a cost in excess of $133 billion dollars according to Harvard Professor George Borjas. College and high school kids cannot find a summer job in yard care, landscape, fast food or service jobs. Why? Illegal aliens work them at a third the wage and often, under the table. Not only do your kids not have jobs; you’re paying taxes for illegal aliens who are not paying taxes.


The lifetime net fiscal drain—taxes paid minus services used—for an adult immigrant is $55,200.00 according to Carrying Capacity Network. Who makes that money up? You do! Your work! Your taxes!

What are the consequences? One in two adult African-Americans in New York is unemployed. African-American children’s poverty grew by 50 percent since 1999. Why? Their dads can’t find work.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Franklin Graham: Obama Has ‘Shaken His Fist’ At God

By Andra Varin

Evangelist Franklin Graham said President Barack Obama has “shaken his fist at God” by voicing support for gay marriage.

In an interview Wednesday with ABC News, Obama said his opinions had evolved and he now believes same-sex couples should have the right to wed.

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.

Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, said the president was defying God’s will by changing his opinion on the issue.

“President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more,” Graham said in a statement.

“This is a sad day for America. May God help us,” he said…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

Italy: Rome’s Anti-Abortion March for Life Faces Feminists

(AGI) Rome — The “March for Life” proceeded between counter-protests and flyers left during the night by feminist groups following recent political controversy. The March for Life made its way through the center of Rome amidst controversy with slogans against the state massacre allowed by law 194 written on the posters carried by thousands of people all over Italy, contrasting with the banners hung by feminists on walls and monuments stating “clandestine abortions profits millions, these are the morals of priests and masters” and “the ways of the Lord are infinite, those of advice centers are guaranteed.” Rome’s PD’s section in the capital opposed the fact that this protest was sponsored by the municipality of Rome and that today’s march was led by Mayor Gianni Alemanno, who carried the Italian flag.

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


A Startling Thesis on Islam’s Origins

by Malise Ruthven

Until recently, it was generally considered that Islam, the youngest of the great world religions, was born “not amidst the mystery which cradles the origin of other religions, but rather in the full light of history,” as Ernest Renan, the French scholar of Middle East civilizations, put it in 1883. Most textbooks and popular biographies still take Renan’s line: Islam originated among the tribal Arabs of the Hijaz (the coastal region of western Arabia that includes both Mecca and Medina) who heeded the divine messages of Muhammad. Fired by religious enthusiasm, they conquered much of the world of late antiquity, from Spain to the Indus valley and beyond, in the decades that followed Muhammad’s death in 632 A.D. Modern scholarship, however, has challenged this view, which is based exclusively on Muslim sources dating some two centuries after the events they purport to describe.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Christians, Jews to Unite Against Islam?

Op-ed: Will Jews, Christians finally join forces in battle against genocidal Islamic hatred?

The Coliseum, where thousands upon thousands of “Judaeis” have been massacred by the Roman emperors, became for one night an arena for alliance between Christians and Jews against “odium fidei,” or religious hatred.

Last Wednesday in Rome, Jewish leaders for the first time rallied alongside Christians in a candlelit vigil to denounce the attacks in the Middle East and Africa. It was “interfaith” or “ecumenical” dialogue at its best. Forget the theological questions, which remain unsolvable. There is an urgent mutual solidarity about the single most defining issue of our time: religious freedom…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

The Vatican and Islam: Has Dhimmitude Prevailed?

By Andrew Bostom

Where are the heirs of Pope Pius V and the heroes of Lepanto?

Professor Sergio Itzhak Minerbi was a senior lecturer at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at Hebrew University and Professor in the Department of Political Science at Haifa University. His scholarly research has focused upon the relations between the Catholic Church and the Jews. He also served as an Israeli diplomat within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assuming many ambassadorial positions. Professor Minerbi is the author of numerous books, including The Vatican and Zionism (1990) and, most recently, The Eichmann Trial Diary: A Chronicle of the Holocaust (2011).

Minerbi has just contributed a very thoughtful, if depressing essay to the latest issue (not yet online) of The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs [2] (Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 63-73) entitled, “Benedict XVI and Islam.”

Minerbi’s essay opens by recounting the inchoate efforts of Benedict XVI to engage Islam unapologetically, during 2005 and 2006…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

On Bari's twisted article on
islamophobia, I would like this
fraud to know that we nationalists
have no intention of slipping back
into 'the intolerant past' as he calls it. We DON'T hate anybody, we only require ONE THING, that ALL
followers of Islam leave the island
and never come back. Now that's not
really much to ask is it?

kloutlichter said...

to any person with a modicum of comman sense,islam is absurd and bordering on a mythical view of reality........just an opinion muhammad bari.