Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120515

Financial Crisis
»Belgian Minister Warns of ‘Catastrophic’ Grexit
»EU Ministers Strike Deal on Tougher Bank Capital Rules
»Germany Says Greek Issue ‘Not a Matter of Generosity’
»German GDP Surges as Euro-Zone Split Widens
»Germans Fret About Their Foreign Gold Reserves
»Italian Among the Protesters Arrested in Syntagma Square
»Italy: Businesses and People Targets of Moody’s ‘Aggression’
»Juncker: Eurogroup Wants to Keep Greece in Euro
»Juncker Slams Greek Euro-Exit ‘Propaganda’
»Kosovo: UNDP Report: 73% Unemployed Between 15 and 24
»Moody’s Downgrades 26 Italian Banks
»Scottish Pensions Crisis: Scots Born Today ‘Will Retire at 77’
»UK: Drivers Face a 50 Per Cent Rise in Fuel Duty to Make Up Tax Shortfall From ‘Green’ Cars
»US Treasury Chief Hails Growth Debate in Europe
»“Dangerous Walking” Crackdown: Pedestrians Who Write Text Messages When Crossing Road to be Fined
»Convenient Lies and Governance of the Earth
»Global Agenda: Centralized Money, Power and Tyranny
»In CBS/NYT Survey: Romney 46% and Obama 43%
»Mind Control and Smart Growth
»Patriarach Rai Encourages Interfaith Unity, Visits Dearborn Mosques
»US: Nuclear Reactor Found in a Kodak Plant
Europe and the EU
»Anti-German Rant ‘Worse Than Euro Crisis’
»Coffee Shop for Cat Lovers in Vienna
»Conflict With Far-Right Party: Young German Muslims Defend Right to Protest
»Denmark: Two Passports and Still No Way Out
»France: Boy Missing After River Jump to Flee Police
»France: New French President is Soaked on Champs Elysee and Then is on Plane Hit by Lightning
»French President Inaugurated
»Germany: European Names Don’t Make Muslims European
»Greece to Hold Fresh Polls After Talks Break Down
»Hollande Sworn in as French President Amid Euro Turmoil
»Italy: Police Arrest 11 in Prostitution and Slavery Ring
»Lightning, Rain Buffet Hollande’s Presidential Debut
»Norway: Man in Flames Tried to Enter Oslo Court
»Reinfeldt Slammed for ‘Ethnic Swedes’ Comment
»Rich French Head for the Exits
»Scotland: Bare Buff Offers Naked Cleaning Service
»Slovenia, Croatia Play Down Bank Savings Row
»Spain: Married Couple ‘Plotted Kidnap of Oldham Schoolboy Sahil Saeed’ Court Hears
»UK: Corrupt Police Chief Ali Dizaei Loses His Job for a Second Time Following Disciplinary Tribunal
»UK: Controversial Plan to Strip Middle-Class Parents of Child Benefit Will be a ‘Disaster’, Say Accountants
»UK: Deport Rochdale Child Rapists, Demands Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff
»UK: Damning Report Condemns Unclear British Foreign Policy
»UK: Horrendous Injuries of Boy, 4, After Doctor Injected Him With 16 Times the Correct Dose ‘Acid’ Which Burned a Hole Down to His Spine
»UK: Nick De Bois MP: Electoral Fraud — the Government is Locking the Back Door While Leaving the Front Door Wide Open
»UK: Plans for ‘In or Out’ EU Referendum
»UK: Police Missed Chances to Catch Takeaway Owner Who Groomed Girls as Young as 12 for Sex After Victims’ Complaints Went Unheard
»UK: Takeaway Boss Who Branded Girls as Young as 12 He Groomed for Sex ‘White Trash’ Is Investigated Over Possible Links to Rochdale Gang
»UK: Why Should an Insult be Against the Law?
»UK: Why Repealing the Law Against ‘Insulting’ Language Would be a Victory for Free Speech and Common Sense
»You Can’t Defend Free Speech by Labelling Your Oponents ‘Bigots’ And ‘Extremists’
»Young Muslims in Germany: “Berlin Needs You!”
»Kosovo: Minister Denies Syrian Rebels Training in Ex-KLA Camps
North Africa
»Belgium Court Charges Six People in Deadly Exorcism of Muslim Woman
»Egypt: Liberal Party Warns of Campaigning in Mosques
»Father Zerai: Little Has Changed in New Libya
Israel and the Palestinians
»After Reversal: Kadima Falling to Pieces
Middle East
»Five Die in Clashes Between Sunnites and Alawites in Lebanon
»Gulf Council to Give Jordan Half Billion Dollars Annually
»Iran Hangs Man for Killing Nuclear Scientist
»Not Guilty’ Plea on Blasphemy Charge
South Asia
»Indonesia: Lady Gaga Concert Cancelled, Dangerous for Indonesian Culture
»Indonesia: Lady Gaga Show at Risk After Permit is Denied
»Indonesian Police Veto Lady Gaga Show
»Islamabad is Ready to Move on, Says Pakistani FM
»Pakistan: Muslim Leaders Exonerate Young Christian From False Blasphemy Charges
Sub-Saharan Africa
»EU Anti-Piracy Force in First Attack on Somali Land Base
»EU Launched Its First Air-Raid Against Pirates in Somalia
»Hunger Jeopardizes Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa
»4,000 Foreign Criminals the Government Wants to Deport Are at Large in Britain…and 800 Have Been Here More Than Five Years
»Italy: Seven North African People Trafficking Suspects Arrested in South
»Libya: Tragedy for Migrants is Not Over, Hein (CIR)

Financial Crisis

Belgian Minister Warns of ‘Catastrophic’ Grexit

“It’s a choice of Greece if it holds new elections in June. It would be a catastrophe for Greece to leave the eurozone, also with high contagion risks for the rest of the euro area,” Belgian minister for foreign affairs Didier Reynders told reporters on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Ministers Strike Deal on Tougher Bank Capital Rules

European Union finance ministers have finally agreed to support higher risk buffers for the continent’s banks. The move is to ensure that lenders will in future be better positioned to survive financial crises.

European banks will have to accumulate a higher level of core capital, EU finance ministers decided at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. It brings the 27-nation bloc closer to adopting the international Basel III guidelines which include stipulations for larger buffers against risk.

Tuesday’s breakthrough came after months of bickering over the deal, with Britain torpedoing a possible settlement two weeks ago when London was not content with the size of the suggested requirements.

Some 8,300 banks will be affected by the new rules which still have to be negotiated with the European Parliament. The regulations would force banks across the continent to hold 7 percent core capital by 2019 to safeguard against future crises, up from just 2 percent right now. The measure would be phased in gradually from next year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Says Greek Issue ‘Not a Matter of Generosity’

“It is not a matter of generosity for Greece, but to have an economic programme in place that is convincing for the markets,” German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said ahead of the eurogroup. Greek anti-bail-out parties have refused to join a government, paving the way for early elections in June.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

German GDP Surges as Euro-Zone Split Widens

The German economy powered ahead in the first quarter with 0.5 percent GDP growth, far more than expected, while other countries in the euro zone stagnated or sank deeper into recession. The gap could could fuel calls for Chancellor Angela Merkel to soften her stance on austerity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germans Fret About Their Foreign Gold Reserves

A large portion of Germany’s massive gold reserves are stored abroad, mainly in the Federal Reserve in New York. But are the bars really where they are supposed to be? A dispute has broken out over whether the central bank needs to check on its gold, or if Germany can trust its international partners.

Germany has gold reserves of just under 3,400 tons, the second-largest reserves in the world after the United States. Much of that is in the safekeeping of central banks outside Germany, especially in the US Federal Reserve in New York. One would think that with such a valuable stash, worth around €133 billion ($170 billion), the German government would want to keep a close eye on its whereabouts. But now a bizarre dispute has broken out between different German institutions over how closely the reserves should be checked.

Germany’s federal audit office, the Bundesrechnungshof, which monitors the German government’s financial management, is unhappy with how Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, keeps tabs on its gold. According to media reports, the auditors are dissatisfied with the fact that gold reserves in Frankfurt are more closely monitored than those held abroad.

In Germany, spot checks are carried out to make sure that the gold bars are in the right place. But for the German gold that is stored on the Bundesbank’s behalf by the US Federal Reserve in New York, the Bank of England in London and the Banque de France in France, the German central bank relies on the assurances of its foreign counterparts that the gold is where it should be. The three foreign central banks give the Bundesbank annual statements confirming the size of the reserves, but the Germans do not usually carry out physical inspections of the bars.

According to German media reports, the Bundesrechnungshof has now recommended in its confidential annual audit of the Bundesbank for 2011 that Germany’s central bank check its foreign gold reserves with yearly spot checks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Among the Protesters Arrested in Syntagma Square

(AGI) Athens — The Greek police has arrested 16 young activists of the ‘indignados’ movement from different European Countries.

The protestesters had marshalled in Syntagma Square during the night to protest against the economic crisis and the austerity measures imposed by the European Union. The young activists allegedly refused to clear the square. Among them is also an Italian national, as confirmed by the Italian Embassy in Athens. In addition to the Italian, the Greek police also arrested other protesters from Greece, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, France and Belgium. . .

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

Italy: Businesses and People Targets of Moody’s ‘Aggression’

Rome, 14 May (AKI) — Italy’s main banking trade group on Tuesday lashed out at the downgrade of 26 Italian banks, calling the move by Moody’s Investors Service “irresponsible, incomprehensible and unjustifiable.”

The rating agency once again demonstrates that it is a partial and contradictory destabalizing element in the market,” the Italian Banking Association (ABI) said in a statement on Tuesday.

Moody’s late Monday downgraded the long-term debt and deposit ratings for 26 Italian banks, citing the country’s recession and rising bad debt levels.

A downgrade generally means that its subject must pay more to service debt.

The value of Italian economy in the first quarter shrank 0.8 percent from the final three months of last year. It was the third-consecutive quarter of economic contraction. The eurozone’s third richest country’s debt in March rose to a record 1.946 trillion euros.

“For ABI, Moody’s decision is an aggression against Italy, its businesses, families and its citizens,” ABI said.

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

Juncker: Eurogroup Wants to Keep Greece in Euro

Greek politicians urged to be responsible. Focus on crisis

(ANSAMED) — BRUSSELS — Europe is united and wants to keep Greece in the Eurozone, said Eurogroup president Jean Claude Juncker after yesterday’s meeting of finance ministers of the 17 countries that have already adopted the euro. “We want to keep Greece in the euro and we’ll do all we can to make it so,” said Juncker. “We have not discussed the option of Greece leaving the eurozone, nobody has mentioned it.” EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn also talked about Greece, turning to Greek politicians: “Now more than ever,” he said, “it is their responsibility to play their part and respect the solidarity pact closed with the EU.” Because solidarity, he explained, is a commitment that works if both parties respect the agreements. Today “all 16 eurozone countries have expressed their solidarity with Greece.” Juncker guaranteed that another 1-billion euro aid tranche will be allocated to Greece by June, and spoke out against those who speculated in the past days that Greece may have to leave the eurozone to put pressure on the country. Talking about that “makes no sense, it is mere propaganda, I am against this way of treating the Greeks. They have voted, we’ll wait for the formation of a new government and then we’ll talk with them. I don’t like this way of threatening Greece this way.” Regarding the option of giving Greece more time to implement the restructuring programme and reforms agreed with the EU, Juncker said: “if there were to be dramatic changes in the circumstances, we wouldn’t preclude a debate about an extension of the period. But it wasn’t discussed today and the question is not on the agenda.” According to the Eurogroup president, the time has come to discuss how to re-launch growth on EU level. “We will discuss the issue in depth in the coming two weeks,” he said, without mentioning the proposal made by Italian Premier Monti to exclude investments in production from the debt calculation. The proposal is an indirect response to the White House, which pointed out that “more must be done” after recognising that Europe has already made significant progress. The Eurogroup has responded positively to Spain’s measures to solve its national banking crisis. Spain was urged to speed up the external verification of its banking assets, announced by the council of ministers on Friday. But Juncker said that he is certain “Spain will do all it can” to restructure its banking sector, cut the deficit and start growing again.” Today, waiting for the result of the meeting between the new French president, Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU finance ministers will meet once again in Ecofin formation to discuss the application of Basel 3 rules and the possibility of negotiating an agreement with Switzerland to fight tax evasion. The finance ministers will be hoping that the markets will turn around after a bad day, in which all stock markets plunged, spreads with the German bund soared — reaching 500 in Spain, the highest level since the introduction of the euro — and the euro weakened further.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Juncker Slams Greek Euro-Exit ‘Propaganda’

Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday (14 May) lashed out at EU politicians talking “nonsense” about a Greek euro exit, and hinted at possible adjustments in the austerity programme if Greece forms a government. “I don’t envisage even for one second Greece leaving the euro-area. This is nonsense, this is propaganda,” Juncker said during a press conference after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

“We have to respect the Greek democracy. I am against this way of dealing with Greece, provoking the Greek public opinion and giving advice and indications to the Greek sovereign (state). “We don’t have to lecture Greece, but the Greek public has to know we have agreed on a programme and this programme has to be implemented,” Juncker said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kosovo: UNDP Report: 73% Unemployed Between 15 and 24

Average wage 260 euros, 44.5% hired through contacts

(ANSAmed) — PRISTINA, MAY 15 — The unemployment rate among young people aged between 15 and 24 stands at 73%, while the figure for the 25-54 age group is 42%. These are among the figures in the latest report on human development in Kosovo published in Pristina by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The average monthly wage in the private sector is 260 euros, half of the total in neighbouring Macedonia, the report says, adding that 44.5% of staff in the private sector are assumed through contacts, with 34% of employers who offer jobs doing so through family contacts. Tax evasion, corruption and crime remain very high.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Moody’s Downgrades 26 Italian Banks

Rating agency Moody’s on Monday downgraded the credit ratings of 26 Italian banks, including Italy’s largest lenders Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, making it more expensive for them to finance their activities via the capital markets. Moody’s is also expected to cut the ratings of Spanish banks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Scottish Pensions Crisis: Scots Born Today ‘Will Retire at 77’

SCOTS infants will be forced to work until they are 77 years old before they become eligible for a state pension, according to a new report that paints a grim picture of aged toil.

The age at which the public becomes eligible for a state pension is set to rise to 77 for today’s children, with the following generation likely to work until they are 85.

As the UK government announced in the Queen’s Speech that the state pension age will now be linked to how long the average person lives, and will rise to 67 in 2028, the new study predicts it will go up again to 68 by 2031, adding an extra year of work for those aged 48 or younger.

The report, by the world’s largest accountancy firm PwC, also states that people in their late 30s today can expect to work until they are 70 before they can claim their state pension.

However, the most striking prospect is that faced by children born this year who, according to PwC, will be working a full 17 years longer than their grandmothers, who were fortunate enough to retire at 60.

Meanwhile, the generation born in 2050 to those who are infants today can expect to work until they are 84 years old.

The reason for the rise in pensionable age is to ensure that the average period of time in which people live in retirement is maintained at an affordable level of 20 years.

PwC’s projections are based on the rate the state pension age has been accelerating and analysis of future life expectancies. It has taken into account recent figures from the Office for National Statistics that one-third of babies born in 2012 are expected to survive to celebrate their 100th birthday.

PwC’s research highlights that, while people born today will be working for longer, increased life expectancies mean they can expect to spend as long in retirement — around 20 years on average — as previous generations.

Alison Fleming, head of pensions at PwC in Scotland, said: “The era of retiring in your 60s is facing extinction with many people born today facing a future of work from 17 through to 77. People may want to stop working sooner, but the challenge will be whether they can afford to bridge the gap until the start of their state pension.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

UK: Drivers Face a 50 Per Cent Rise in Fuel Duty to Make Up Tax Shortfall From ‘Green’ Cars

Motorists could face a 50 per cent rise in fuel duty in future years to cover a £13 billion hole in Treasury coffers caused by the increased use of environmentally friendly cars, according to a report.

The gap in public finances will come from increasing use of more fuel-efficient cars and a switch to electric vehicles, the RAC Foundation-commissioned report claims.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US Treasury Chief Hails Growth Debate in Europe

(WASHINGTON) — US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday welcomed the debate stirring in Europe over the need for economic growth, as the eurozone grapples with a public debt crisis and stagnant economic expansion. “We should welcome this new debate about growth in Europe,” Geithner said at a think tank conference in Washington.

Geithner’s remarks came in the context of Francois Hollande’s inauguration as president of France on Tuesday. The Socialist leader has vowed to make economic growth a key component of eurozone austerity efforts to reduce debts.

Meanwhile, the European Union announced the 17-nation eurozone barely escaped recession in the first quarter, with zero growth, after a 0.3 percent contraction in the final three months of 2011.

Though growth stalled, the data was better than an outright two consecutive quarters of negative growth; analysts had penciled in a 0.2 percent contraction in the January-March period.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


“Dangerous Walking” Crackdown: Pedestrians Who Write Text Messages When Crossing Road to be Fined

Pedestrians who write text messages on their mobile phones while walking in the street are facing a crack- down in a NJ town.

The police chief in Fort Lee, New Jersey, has instructed his officers to issue fines of $85 to anyone they consider to be engaging in ‘dangerous walking’, citing texting while crossing the road as a prime example of the offence.

Thomas Ripoli decided to act after noticing an increase in car accidents involving pedestrians.

More than 20 people have been hit by cars this year in the town which has a population of about 35,000, some of whom were absorbed in a text message or phone call when the accident occurred.

One person was killed while using a mobile phone while crossing the road, the chief said.

His officers spent two weeks handing out pamphlets warning of the dangers of ‘jaywalking’ — crossing a road at a point other than a designated crossing — before bringing fines into play.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Convenient Lies and Governance of the Earth

While the people of Tombstone, Arizona, are waiting to get water back on line, the federal government is asking them for $80,000 in order to tell them why they cannot have it back unless they use only simple tools to do it with, like hand tools and wheelbarrows. Boulders the size of Volkswagens are trapping the waterlines, buried in some places under 12 ft of mud.

USDA Forest Service alludes to provisions in the Wilderness Act, which forbids the use of heavy machinery. According to Joe Wolverton, II, “water rights granted to Tombstone by the previous title owners predate the enactment of the Wilderness Act by about 80 years.” (The New American)

“The Town too Tough to Die” of 1,600 inhabitants had found itself in the middle of a terrible life and death quandary as a result of the Monument Fire in 2011 which destroyed the Huachuca Mountains pipelines carrying water to the town from the source in the Miller Canyon Wilderness Area. (Joe Wolverton, II, The New American)

According to Hugh Holub, water rights expert, quoted by Joe Wolverton, II, “Though the water may originate on National Forest lands, Bureau of Land Management lands, and other federally managed lands, the rights to that water belongs to the farms and ranches and cities.” Lawyers for this administration and environmentalists disagree.

Water shortages can be real or government manufactured like the case of Tombstone, Arizona. The EPA started a “green war” against farmers in the fertile San Joaquin Valley in California; it left one of America’s main agricultural regions a dust bowl in 2009. The EPA-made drought put many farmers out of business, thousands became jobless, and millions of Americans paid higher prices for fruits and vegetables imported from other countries that could have been grown in California. EPA and the environmentalists protected a tiny fish, the delta smelt, while endangering humans.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Global Agenda: Centralized Money, Power and Tyranny

The more things change, the more they stay the same! Communism and socialism have always been sold as populist theories and advanced by those seeking to serve only themselves.Nothing has changed in that regard, as Obama-Clinton deploy The Cloward-Piven Strategy via social networking and communal organizing of leftists across the country and around the world.

By democracy, they mean Democratic Socialism. By progressive, they mean regressive Marxist principles and values aimed at stripping every citizen here and abroad of their God given rights to freedom, liberty and personal achievement.


Global Socialism is the plan and UN Agenda 21 is the strategy for implementing that plan all the way down to every local community across America. This agenda is not designed to sustain the freedom, liberty, security and sovereignty of the United States or our Constitutional Republic.

It is instead, designed to replace the sovereign United States with a Global Community with Centralized power, and replace our Constitutional Republic with Democratic Socialism.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

In CBS/NYT Survey: Romney 46% and Obama 43%

(AGI) Washington — Mitt Romney has a slight advantage over Obama, according to a CBS/New York Times survey. The survey was published after Ron Paul’s withdrawing from the presidential campaign, paving the way to former governor of Massachusetts to run for the White House for presidential elections convened on November 6. The survey reports that Romney now has 46% against Obama’s 43%.

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

Mind Control and Smart Growth

Joseph Goebbels once said “It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion.”

“[I]f the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.” -Candidus, Pen name of Samuel Adams during the era of the Sons of Liberty. Source: in the Boston Gazette, 1772

Do you cherish your God-given constitutional right to own property? So do I! UN Agenda 21’s Smart Growth is in full bloom across our nation. In East Tennessee the five county local “Regional” program is called Plan East Tennessee, (Regional Plan for Livable Communities), a plan which will eliminate private property rights in these five counties. [Link] It is a plan for Smart Growth. Rosa Koire, author of, “Behind the Green Mask,” defines Smart Growth on her website, as “Human habitation as it is referred to now is restricted to lands within the Urban Growth Boundaries of the city. Only certain building designs are permitted. Rural property is more and more restricted on what uses can be on it.”

[Comment: article provides an inside view of how Agenda 21 plans are being implemented at the local level.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Patriarach Rai Encourages Interfaith Unity, Visits Dearborn Mosques

Today, His Beatitude Mar Bechara Peter Rai who’s the head of the Maronite Catholic Church worldwide visited the Islamic Center of America and the American Muslim Center in Dearborn. During his appearances at both mosques Patriarch Rai encouraged interfaith unity between Muslims and Christians through dialogue. Religious leaders from both communities were present and echoed Patriarch Rai’s message. After visiting the mosques the patriarch attended a reception at the Bint Jebail Cultural Center in Dearborn held in his honor by Houssam Diab, the Consul General of Lebanon, where he was given special proclamations by Diab and several other local, state and national leaders.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US: Nuclear Reactor Found in a Kodak Plant

(AGI) New York — Mystery in Rochester, New York. A hidden nuclear reactor, as big as a refrigerator has been working for some 30 years in a Kodak plant basement. It contains 1,5 kg of enriched uranium, the same material used to build atom bombs and produce medical isotopes. The reactor is the only one known to belong to a private company and only a few people knew of its existence. It was isolated in a room with half a meter thick concrete walls .

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

Europe and the EU

Anti-German Rant ‘Worse Than Euro Crisis’

The Swiss tourist trade is continuing to suffer the ill effects of a far-right politician’s claim there are too many Germans in Switzerland. Cancellations have poured in ever since Natalie Rickli of the Swiss People’s Party made her comment last month on live television, as more and more Germans decide against Switzerland as a holiday destination, online news site 20 Minuten reported.

“The whole thing is far worse than the euro crisis. Many guests from Germany have taken these criticisms personally,” Philipp Frutiger, head of the Giardino Hotel Group, told the website. Frutiger said he had had to reassure many guests personally.

On Tuesday morning, tourist industry leaders are meeting in Luzern for a crisis meeting to discuss how to minimize the damage. One organization, the Swiss Hotel Association (Hotelleriesuisse), has already written to Rickli warning her of the kind of damage such comments make and pointing out that much of the industry depends on foreign workers to run successfully.

But it appears that the damage has already been done. “Long-term regular customers have told me that they no longer want to take their holidays with us,” Urs Zenhäusern, director of tourism in the Valais, told the website. The comments, said Zenhäusern, were “downright xenophobic”. “It can’t go on like this.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Coffee Shop for Cat Lovers in Vienna

A cat-themed coffee shop has opened in Vienna, where visitors can eat a piece of cake and have a cup of coffee while surrounded by the popular pets.

The coffee shop, “Café Neko”, was opened by Takako Ishimitsu, 47, who is from Japan but moved to Vienna 20 years ago. It took her three years of negotiations with the authorities to open the establishment, since the city officials had voiced concerns regarding hygiene with so many cats on the premises.

Cat coffee shops are common in Japan, and Ishimitsu said that she wanted to introduce this phenomenon to Vienna. She also said that she wanted to bring happiness to those who do not themselves have cats.

There are now five cats in the 50-seat café, and they were all brought from a nearby animal shelter supported by Ishimitsu. “Neko” means “cat” in Japanese, and the café has — since its opening — been a hit with both locals and tourists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Conflict With Far-Right Party: Young German Muslims Defend Right to Protest

A debate about violent Salafists has erupted in Germany after radical Muslims clashed with supporters of the anti-Islamic Pro NRW party during its recent election campaign. Three young Muslims who took part in a demonstration against the party in Cologne described their pious worldview to SPIEGEL.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Two Passports and Still No Way Out

Government powerless to help Danes with dual citizenship imprisoned abroad

There is not much that the government can do to help Danes with dual citizenship who find themselves detained in their second country.

The Foreign Ministry has received several requests for help from people who were prevented from leaving their other country of citizenship. Ole Mikkelsen from the ministry said that since the detainee is also a national of another country, the Danish government has limited authority.

“Under international law, countries are not even required to give us what is called consular access or even allow us to talk to the detainee,” Mikkelsen told DR news.

Thami Najim, the Danish-Moroccan citizen who has been imprisoned in Morocco since February, was recently denied permission to see his Danish attorney, Bjørn Elmquist. Najim is charged with threatening the security of Morocco and receiving foreign funds intended to be used for terrorist activities. Elmquist said he plans to ask the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), to pressure Moroccan authorities to allow him to see Najim.

Even PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) has not been able to prevail in the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, perhaps the most well known dual-citizenship Dane being imprisoned in his original homeland. Al-Khawaja, who holds dual Danish and Bahraini citizenship, is serving a life sentence in Bahrain for demonstrating against the incumbent government and organising protests during the Arab Spring uprisings. He has been on a hunger strike and was recently granted a new trial. Thorning-Schmidt said that she has written a letter to both the king and the prime minister of Bahrain demanding al-Khawaja’s release to no avail.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported that Bahrain’s Supreme Judiciary Council had decided that Denmark’s demands were not in keeping with international law.

Mikkelsen strongly urged travellers to think twice before travelling back to a country where they may have unfulfilled obligations. He cited the case of a Danish citizen called ‘Hassan’.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Boy Missing After River Jump to Flee Police

A 13-year-old boy is still missing after he jumped into the river Loire while trying to escape police after a dramatic crash in a stolen car with a road block. The boy was part of a gang of teenagers in the western town of Nantes who had stolen two cars on Sunday. The group drove one of the cars into a police road block, injuring seven officers.

After fleeing police, the 13-year-old jumped into the river at around 1am on Monday morning. Police have been searching for him ever since but the public prosecutor confirmed on Monday that he had still not been found. “These were extremely violent acts,” said public prosecutor Brigitte Lamy, according to local newspaper Le Telegramme.

“From the moment they saw the road block, the driver of the stolen car increased his speed, screeching his tyres and and hitting the two police vehicles at high speed.” “One officer was thrown ten metres in the air,” said a police union representative.

Five other children, one of them a girl, were involved in the incident. All of them are under 16 years old and three of them already well known to police for previous charges involving stolen cars and driving without licences.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: New French President is Soaked on Champs Elysee and Then is on Plane Hit by Lightning

Francois Hollande’s first official day as French president descended into farce today when he was soaked on the Champs Elysee and then his plane was hit by lightning.

The 57 year-old was inaugurated in a simple ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, nine days after defeating the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy in a nationwide election.

But then everything started to go downhill for the committed Socialist who has styled himself as an ‘enemy’ of the world of finance.

During a ‘triumphant’ drive up France’s most famous avenue the heavens opened, and he was soaked in front of a live audience of millions.

Then, a few hours later, his plane was hit by lightning as he flew to Berlin for a crisis meeting about the imploding Eurozone with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

It meant that the presidential jet had to return to Paris, where Hollande had to transfer to a stand-by aircraft.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

French President Inaugurated

Hollande Under Pressure to Score Quick Victories

François Hollande, sworn in as French president on Tuesday, will have no time to savor the moment. He will dash to Berlin to challenge Angela Merkel’s austerity policy on Tuesday evening. Then he has to form a cabinet and honor his pledge to cut ministerial salaries. He urgently needs to score successes ahead of parliamentary elections in June.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: European Names Don’t Make Muslims European

Reuters has recently reported that a family from Azerbaijan (formerly a republic of the Soviet Union) that lives in Germany as refugees could not change their Muslim names to German even at court. The news triggered a wave of criticism of the German justice. Many people were saying that Germany was not democratic enough as long as the country failed to help the family in need. However, a closer look at the issue shows that the problem is not worthy a twopence.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Greece to Hold Fresh Polls After Talks Break Down

Greek voters are set to go to the polls for the second time in the space of a few weeks. Efforts by the president to broker a compromise to form a government broke down on Tuesday. Greece voters are set to go the polls for the second time in a matter of weeks after a last-ditch attempt to form a government broke down on Tuesday.

A spokesman for President Karolos Papoulias told reporters in Athens that his latest efforts to broker a compromise among the parties that finished strongest in this months elections had been fruitless. He did not give a date for the new polls but elections rules suggest it should be in about a month’s time.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Hollande Sworn in as French President Amid Euro Turmoil

(PARIS) — Francois Hollande was sworn in as president of France on Tuesday with a solemn vow to find a new growth-led strategy to end the debt crisis threatening to unravel the eurozone.

After brief ceremonies and a rain-lashed walkabout, the 57-year-old Socialist was to dash to Berlin to confront Chancellor Angela Merkel over their very different visions as to how to save the single currency bloc.

“Power will be exercised at the summit of the state with dignity and simplicity,” Hollande declared in an inaugural address to Socialist leaders, trade unionists, military officers, churchmen and officials.

“Europe needs plans. It needs solidarity. It needs growth,” he said, renewing his vow to turn the page on austerity and invest for the future, and implicitly underlining his differences with Merkel.

“To our partners I will propose a new pact that links a necessary reduction in public debt with indispensable economic stimulus,” he said.

“And I will tell them of our continent’s need in such an unstable world to protect not only its values but its interests.”

Hollande was also to make the much-anticipated announcement of who will lead his government as prime minister, with Jean-Marc Ayrault, the head of the Socialists’ parliamentary bloc, tipped as favourite.

The new president was welcomed to the Elysee Palace by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who led him to the presidential office for a private head-to-head and to hand over the codes to France’s nuclear arsenal.

Then Hollande ushered Sarkozy to his car for a final farewell, outgoing first lady Carla Bruni exchanging kisses with successor Hollande’s partner Valerie Trierweiler, elegant in a dark dress and vertiginous heels.

Hollande then signed the notice of formal handover of power — becoming the seventh president of the Fifth Republic and only the second Socialist — and then headed back in to the palace ballroom.

No foreign heads of state were invited to what was a low-key ceremony for a post of such importance, leader of the world’s fifth great power.

After the swearing in, Hollande rode up the rainswept Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe in a modest open-topped Citroen DS5 hybrid, a symbolic break with the flashy style of his predecessor.

Soaked to the skin, Hollande laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and shook hands with veterans before greeting the sparse crowd of wellwishers who braved the bad weather and returning to the Elysee Palace.

But the real work was to begin later in the afternoon, when Hollande was to fly to Berlin from an airbase north of Paris, for tense talks with Merkel, the leader of Europe’s biggest economy and France’s key ally.

Merkel was a Sarkozy ally and the architect of the European Union’s fiscal austerity drive. Hollande opposed the speed and depth of the cutbacks demanded by Berlin, and wants to renegotiate the eurozone fiscal pact.

Germany is committed to budgetary discipline, and Merkel has repeatedly insisted since Hollande’s election that the pact, signed by 25 of the 27 EU countries and already ratified in some, is not open to renegotiation.

But observers say there is room for compromise, with Hollande likely to agree to additional stimulus measures without a rewrite of the pact.

And with political paralysis in Greece raising the spectre of the country being forced from the eurozone, the heads of Europe’s two largest economies will be keen to reassure worried markets they can work together.

New figures released Tuesday showed France’s economy still stagnant, with official statistics agency INSEE saying it recorded no growth in the first quarter of 2012.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Arrest 11 in Prostitution and Slavery Ring

Women ‘won’ in gambling matches and branded, say investigators

(ANSA) — Rome, May 15 — Police in the town of Tivoli near Rome on Tuesday arrested three women and eight men allegedly running a prostitution and human slavery ring. Investigators say that the victims, all Romanian women, were trafficked into Italy on the promise of employment and work documents, then forced into prostitution.

After being stripped of their passports, the women were allegedly auctioned off or given as gambling prizes and in one case, branded with the initials of her “owner,” police said

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Lightning, Rain Buffet Hollande’s Presidential Debut

(Reuters) — A mid-air lightning strike forced Francois Hollande’s French presidential jet to turn around and land on Tuesday and he was repeatedly drenched to the skin by torrential downpours as freak weather gave him a punishing first day in the job.

Hollande, who paints himself as a man who leads an everyday life, had to change suits twice after he was first soaked by a summer rainstorm while standing in an open-topped car for an inaugural parade in Paris then again a few hours later when the heavens again opened during an outdoor ceremony.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Man in Flames Tried to Enter Oslo Court

A man set himself on fire on Tuesday outside the Oslo courthouse where Anders Behring Breivik is on trial for killing 77 people last year, but there was no evidence the two events were linked, police said.

The man, whose identity was not known, suffered serious injuries, Norwegian police said.

“The man crossed the street and set himself on fire,” Kjell Jan Kverme, head of police security operations outside the courthouse, told AFP. “Police officers pulled off his clothes and put out the fire.”

Commercial broadcaster TV2 quoted witnesses as saying the man had shouted in Swedish: “Shoot me! Shoot me!”

The incident took place outside the large security tents equipped with metal detectors set up outside the Oslo district court for the 10-week duration of Breivik’s trial.

In a video published on the website of the Verdens Gang tabloid, a man can be seen spraying himself, probably with a flammable liquid, before running with his head and sweater on fire towards one of the tents.

Police officers can been seen tackling him and pulling off his sweater which continues to burn on the ground, not far from the man who is howling in pain.

Police, who said they believed the man was a Norwegian citizen, confirmed that he had shouted something but could not confirm what he had said.

Kverme said the man was seriously injured, adding that his motive was not known and that there was no evidence so far to say it was linked to the Breivik trial.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Reinfeldt Slammed for ‘Ethnic Swedes’ Comment

Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is facing a storm of criticism from several quarters after using the term “ethnic Swedes” in response to a question about Sweden’s high level of unemployment.

“It is not correct to describe Sweden as a country in a situation of mass-employment. If one looks at ethnic Swedes at the prime of their life, we have very low unemployment,” Reinfeldt said to a reporter from news agency TT on Monday.

The comment was made in answer to a question based on a report carried out by the Swedish Fiscal Policy Council (Finanspolitiska rådet), which had criticized the government’s overly cautious fiscal policy.

Reinfeldt’s choice of words soon kicked off a political firestorm with commentators on both sides of the political spectrum questioning his use of the term “ethnic Swedes” and speculating as to what he might have meant.

Two hashtags quickly emerged on Twitter, #ReinfeldtTT and #Svenskarmittilivet, with many questioning whether it was appropriate from the prime minister to speak of “ethnic” Swedes.

At first it was mainly left-leaning commentators that reacted to the statement and started to question what Reinfeldt’s motives. “The right-wing government’s ethnification of our societal problems is worrisome…” tweeted Daniel Swedin, editorial writer at social-democrat leaning tabloid Aftonbladet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Rich French Head for the Exits

On the day Socialist president Francois Hollande takes power, there are signs that wealthy French citizens are thinking about moving abroad to escape tough new tax rules. A survey by London-based real estate agent Knight Frank recently reported it saw inquiries about expensive London properties from French residents spike by 20 percent.

That was at the same time that inquiries from other European countries in general fell by 10 percent. Francois Hollande has pledged to introduce a 75 percent tax on earnings about €1 million ($1.3 million).

“Seen from abroad, France is the last country where an entrepreneur wants to go,” said Marc Simoncini, founder of French dating site, on BFM TV. “I don’t know any British person who’s come to set up a business in France. But I know plenty of young French people who’ve gone to London to do that.”

A property lawyer in the Belgian capital of Brussels confirmed the trend. “Since Monday it’s been a rush,” he told Le Parisien newspaper. “In two and a half days I’ve received fifteen new applications. I have a huge number of meetings.”

A Swiss lawyer has a similar story, claiming to have dealt with as many serious inquiries in the last three months as he usually would in a year. In England, Alexander Kraft, president of Sotheby’s International Realty France told the newspaper there had been “several” wealthy French people who had shown an interest in moving to London since the first round of the presidential elections.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Scotland: Bare Buff Offers Naked Cleaning Service

MOVE over naked chef, take a seat nudey rambler . . . now its the turn of the steamy cleaners.

A new firm of starkers domestic helpers is dropping jaws across the Capital with its offer of house-sprucing services that is guaranteed to send pulses racing.

City-based Bare Buff Home Services is billed as a “cheeky cheeky” commercial cleaner that will “get your chores done with a difference”.

A husband and wife team — nicknamed Ken and Barbie — can be booked to perform all-manner of annoying household tasks from cooking to ironing in their birthday suits.

Since opening on Monday, the service has already attracted ten bookings, with more thought to be in the pipeline.

Co-owner Ken — not his real name — explained that while customers would enjoy an eyeful, the prime focus of the business was to leave homes spotless.

“We wanted to bring something that is unique to Edinburgh, even country-wide to our knowledge,” he said. “The inspiration came from Spartacus, with the naked slaves, and housekeepers, that was the thought process initially. My wife has a background in theatre so there was also a theatrical element as well.

“We don’t know how it will go but we may at some stage have to look at taking on more staff.”

Ken, who is in his forties and has young children, said he and Barbie are conscious there could be an element who may try to book their £30-an-hour cleaning service for the wrong reasons but said there were strict ground rules to deter the wrong kind of clientele.

The company’s rules insist that all clients must remain fully clothed throughout the cleaning process and no children are allowed to be present. Furthermore, no video recording or photography is permitted.

Ken said he realised the service is likely to be a hit with stag and hen parties but said he and Barbie would decline such offers and were focused on carrying out a thorough job…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Slovenia, Croatia Play Down Bank Savings Row

(MARIBOR) — Slovenia and Croatia played down media speculations Tuesday that an old dispute over bank savings has erupted again, insisting it would not affect Zagreb’s planned 2013 entry into the EU. “We were glad to receive the Croatian prime minister’s assurances that Croatia’s position remains unchanged from its EU accession talks,” Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa told a joint news conference with his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanovic. “This solves all those issues that have appeared recently” in the media, he added.

Earlier this month, Ljubljana sought clarifications from Zagreb after Croatian media reported the government was backing legal procedures against Slovenia’s Ljubljanska Banka to recover savings deposited by Croatian customers before the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Over 130,000 Croatians have claimed that they deposited 160 million euros ($210 million) in savings in Ljubljanska Banka before 1991. But in a bid to secure EU accession, Zagreb in 2010 agreed to resolve the issue through internationally brokered talks on the distribution of the former Yugoslavia’s wealth, rather than through separate legal proceedings.

On Tuesday, Milanovic pledged to adhere to Zagreb’s commitment. “We have to respect the commitments Croatia had to take as a condition to conclude (EU accession) negotiations,” Milanovic told journalists.

Croatia still needs Slovenia and the other EU members to ratify its European Union accession treaty so that it can join the 27-member bloc by mid-2013 as planned. Jansa meanwhile vowed that ratification would come “within the deadline that has been set.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Married Couple ‘Plotted Kidnap of Oldham Schoolboy Sahil Saeed’ Court Hears

A married couple plotted the gunpoint kidnapping of five-year-old Oldham schoolboy Sahil Saeed in Pakistan from a Mediterranean seaside town, a court heard. Muhammad Zahid Saleem, the alleged mastermind behind the kidnapping, and his wife Gianina Monica Neruja went on trial with flatmate Muhammad Sageiz at the provincial court in Tarragona, on Spain’s north eastern coast. The two Pakistani men and Neruja, from Romania, who lived in Tarragona before their arrest, deny charges of kidnap of a minor, conspiracy, robbery in conjunction with a crime of trespassing and eight charges of unlawful arrest in connection with Sahil’s 13-day ordeal. The Oldham youngster was snatched by an armed gang at his grandmother’s home during a holiday with his father in Jhelum, in Pakistan’s Punjab province, on March 3, 2010. After a ransom of £110,000 was collected by Saleem and Neruja in Paris, the boy was taken to a school in Pakistan during the early hours of March 16, left alone and then wandered into a field where he was found unharmed by locals.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Corrupt Police Chief Ali Dizaei Loses His Job for a Second Time Following Disciplinary Tribunal

Corrupt police chief Ali Dizaei has lost his job at Scotland Yard for a second time.

The 49-year-old, who has twice been jailed for corruption, was dismissed from his post as commander after an internal disciplinary tribunal.

A spokesman for Dizaei confirmed the ruling but added: ‘His case against the Metropolitan Police Service and his conviction is not over.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Controversial Plan to Strip Middle-Class Parents of Child Benefit Will be a ‘Disaster’, Say Accountants

Government plans to strip middle-class parents earning more than £50,000 of child benefit will be a disaster for the coalition, a group of leading accountants has said.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales says that ‘as currently set out, the legislation is seriously flawed in principle and in practice’.

The body has urged the coalition not to stop child benefits to families where one parent is earning more than £50,000, warning that not to do so ‘could be an operational and reputational disaster for the government and HMRC.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Deport Rochdale Child Rapists, Demands Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff

AN INNER city Birmingham MP has made an outspoken call for nine men responsible for abusing girls as young as 13 to be deported after serving their sentences — even if they are now British citizens. Hall Green Labour member Roger Godsiff has written to the Home Secretary demanding tougher action after a judge sentenced the men to a total of 77 years between them. They targeted vulnerable girls, some of them in the care of social services. He said any of the Asian men who were born overseas should be deported, even if they were now British citizens. On sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Gerald Clifton said the convicted men treated the girls “as though they were worthless and beyond respect”.

Mr Godsiff’s plea goes far beyond existing government policy. Ministers say they support deporting foreign criminals, meaning those that are not UK citizens, although like the last Labour government they have found this is not always easy to do in practice. The nine men convicted in Rochdale were Muslims of Pakistani ethnic origin. Mr Godsiff said Birmingham Muslims in his constituency had led condemnation of the men.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Damning Report Condemns Unclear British Foreign Policy

Britain has no coherent foreign policy strategy, with budgets cuts and government decisions threatening to leave it isolated and weakened, a report has said.

The scathing assessment, published days ahead of a meeting of Nato leaders, found the country’s ‘special relationship’ with the United States was under threat, with a “worrisome” outlook for the future of military capability. The report, conducted by the US-based think tank Atlantic Council, found the “deep defence reductions” risked undermining the UK’s “special status as one of Nato’s most capable members”. Led by R. Nicholas Burns, the former US ambassador to Nato, the document condemned the “weakened” state of military capabilities at least until 2020. It added Prime Minister David Cameron’s attitude to Europe “threatened to leave London isolated” and ruled: “British foreign policy vision and strategy remain unclear”. The ‘Anchoring the Alliance’ report reads: “The UK must not let shrinking defence budgets shrink its global ambition.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Horrendous Injuries of Boy, 4, After Doctor Injected Him With 16 Times the Correct Dose ‘Acid’ Which Burned a Hole Down to His Spine

A four-year-old boy was left fighting for life after a doctor injected him with a potentially-lethal dose of acid which burned a hole through his skin down to his spine.

The boy sustained the horrendous injuries after a blunder at the former Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in Pendlebury in 2009.

He was treated there after his parents noticed he had a small haemorrhoid.

Consultant surgeon Dr Gyorgy Rakoczy removed the lump and asked a nurse to bring him Phenol — also known as carbolic acid — to put on the wound.

A five per cent solution should have been used — but when the nurse returned with an 80 per cent solution, Dr Rakoczy injected it into the boy without checking its concentration.

It was 16 times the correct dose and four times the level of a potentially- lethal dose, a General Medical Council hearing was told yesterday.

Dr Rakoczy, who qualified as a doctor in Egypt in 1979, is facing a fitness to practice hearing before the General Medial Council.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Nick De Bois MP: Electoral Fraud — the Government is Locking the Back Door While Leaving the Front Door Wide Open

Nick de Bois is the Member of Parliament for Enfield North.

Paul Goodman’s recent ConHome article was absolutely right: the Government mustn’t park the problem of electoral fraud just because Boris won the Mayoral election. As has been consistently raised by the indefatigable Cllr Peter Golds, Britain’s electoral system is wide open to fraud. Peter has catalogued the extent to which the abuse of our democratic system is taking place in one London borough, and his accounts show how such practises can be replicated anywhere. Indeed, the problem is not confined to the nation’s capital; across the UK, electoral fraud is infecting British politics.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Plans for ‘In or Out’ EU Referendum

CAMPAIGNERS for a referendum on Britain’s ties to Brussels stepped up pressure yesterday. The People’s Pledge, a cross-party organisation demanding a vote on EU membership, unveiled plans to hold polls in three Parliamentary constituencies. A 39-strong shortlist included Mid Bedfordshire, where Nadine Dorries is MP, or the Corby seat of fellow Tory Louise Mensch. Last night Tories Anne Marie Morris, in Newton Abbot, and Mike Freer, in Finchley and Golders Green, brought to 68 the number of MPs backing The People’s Pledge.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Missed Chances to Catch Takeaway Owner Who Groomed Girls as Young as 12 for Sex After Victims’ Complaints Went Unheard

Police missed chances to bring a takeaway owner to justice earlier for a string of sexual offences against under-age girls, a judge said today.

Several witnesses, including a 12-year-old girl, complained about Azad Miah pestering them for sex in exchange for money but no action was taken and he continued his “corrupting and degrading” sexual exploitation for several years.

Judge Peter Hughes QC said Cumbria Constabulary needed to learn lessons and be ‘ever vigilant’ to detect signs of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people and to take seriously what they say ‘however chaotic their lives may be’.

Miah, a 44-year-old Bangladeshi, was jailed today for 15 years for paying under-age girls for sex, inciting others to become child prostitutes and running a brothel at his former Spice of India establishment in Carlisle city centre.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Takeaway Boss Who Branded Girls as Young as 12 He Groomed for Sex ‘White Trash’ Is Investigated Over Possible Links to Rochdale Gang

An Asian takeaway owner groomed vulnerable white girls as young as 12 for paid sex and told one of his five child victims: ‘In my country it doesn’t matter about age’. Bangladesh-born Azad Miah, 44, saw the girls as ‘fresh meat’ and sent hundreds of text messages promising to give them drugs, alcohol and money in return for sex. Those who defiantly resisted his advances were branded ‘white trash’ . Last night, as detectives investigated his possible links to an Asian child sex ring jailed last week, the police were accused of missing three vital opportunities to bring him to justice. His youngest victim said she eventually gave up talking to officers in 2008 — three years before his eventual arrest in March last year — because they failed to take any action. She and her mother both complained to police on several occasions but nothing was ever done and Miah’s abuse of young white girls was allowed to continue. ‘We’d complained loads of times but they never did anything,’ she said. ‘We showed them all the texts on my phone as well, but they still did nothing. I was only 12 years old.’


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Why Should an Insult be Against the Law?

by Philip Johnston

With the gay marriage debate heating up, freedom of speech is back on the agenda.

What matters most: free speech or public order? And how much of the former must we sacrifice to ensure the latter? This question has vexed our legislators for many years. In 1936, with Mosley’s Blackshirts on the march in London’s East End, a new Public Order Act criminalised behaviour that was not of itself violent but was “threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly” and that was intended or likely to cause a breach of the peace. The aim was to stop fascists screaming abuse at Jews in the streets; and while most civilised people wanted to shut the thugs up, there was a good deal of agonising over whether the wording was an unwarranted restriction of free speech, the beacon of liberty that marked us out from what was happening in Continental Europe at the time. On the other hand, the fear perpetrated by the Blackshirts was itself a threat to essential British liberties. A balance had to be struck and Parliament endeavoured to do so.


In a free and civilised country, people should not be abusive or gratuitously offensive to each other; but they should be entitled to voice an opinion that someone else might find insulting. It is a hallmark of liberty that it allows a person to say something that is provocative, otherwise it is no freedom at all. John Milton put it best: “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

[Reader comment by george_floorwell on 15 May 2012 about 10 AM.]

Personally I think the traitor party LibLabCon are all worthy of being arrested for hate crimes against the indigenous people of Britain, especially the English who they hate with a vengeance simply because we exist.

Personally, I think the treasonous LibLabCon find that the English are only good for three things. i.e. Sending to war (when they suddenly become patriotic), working their guts out on minimum wage as an economic slave, or staying on unemployment benefit to be called a scrounger. All of which ENTITLES the LibLabCon traitors to demand we make a choice for them at election time regardless that all three of them have suppressed their legitimate right to political protest.

We are highly offensive just because we exist, and being English in England is the worst possible thing one can be. Certainly don’t think for one moment you can celebrate being English as that will be a crime. However if you’re Scottish, Welsh or Irish then the traitors will support you wholeheartedly.

This is the truth so if you’re offended by it then don’t read it. Turn it off as you keep saying.

[Reader comment by imnokuffar on 15 May 2012 at 08:46 AM.]

There is no free speech in this country. What we have in its place is censorship and self-censorship in that anything you say can and will be taken down in evidence and used against you.One cannot make rational arguments against any minority group without being stigmatised as a “racist” or an “Islamophobe” or Homophobic, Disablist, anti-Semitic or any of the other labels that are thrown about with gay abandon if you will pardon the expression. The recent cases of Muslim grooming of young women and girls is a classic instance of this. The police, social services, politicians and media were all afraid to take action or report on this for 10 years and the leadership of the BNP were nearly thrown into jail for exposing this practice. Meanwhile thousands of young women and girls were abused, raped, sold and treated like trash. The powers that be knew all about this situation as Anne Cryer had been working on the issue for 15 years and still no action was taken. Why ?

Because certain issues relating to minority “rights” are completely excluded from being debated in any rational manner because it might offend some people no matter the evidence presented. Thus the rights of those offended against are treated as less worthy than those who offend and in my opinion this is because they were white and according to Multicultural theory are inherently racist and therefore not worthy of having their basic human rights defended. Another facet of the child grooming issue is that because of political correctness (that is another facet of Multiculturalism) the word “Islam” has not been used in relation to it. This, despite the fact that virtually all of the pedophiles involved were and are Muslim and I am not saying that all Muslims are pedophiles. However the fact of the matter is that this particular practice of gang-pedophilia was and is carried out by Muslims. Whose overall attitude to womens rights , child marriage, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, cousin marriage and Honor killing do not exactly fill me with hope for the future integration of this particular community. But a significant proportion do not want to integrate with us, we must integrate with them.

Why then, are they referred to as “Asian” ? This is a direct insult to other Asians such as Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and others from minority groups, some of whom have also been victims of Muslim grooming — particularly the Sikhs who have also been targeted. This example of the lack of free speech is just one of many and will inevitably lead to major social disruption because, try as they might the Multiculturalists cannot stop people from talking amongst themselves and organising independently if they feel that the elites and the police have lost touch with their concerns. By the way where are all the Feminists when they are needed?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Why Repealing the Law Against ‘Insulting’ Language Would be a Victory for Free Speech and Common Sense

The Public Order Act rightly makes it a criminal offence to behave in a manner which is threatening, disorderly, abusive, or which constitutes harassment. However, section 5 of the Act also makes it an offence to use words which anyone within earshot might find ‘insulting’.

This is a step too far, and it has had troubling consequences.

When an Oxford University student out celebrating the end of his exams asked a policeman ‘Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?’ it should have been ignored as a daft comment. Instead police first tried to fine the student £80, then locked him up overnight and took him to court after he refused to pay. Eventually prosecutors dropped the case, having wasted plenty of taxpayers’ money in the process.

After a 16-year-old from Newcastle said ‘woof’ to a labrador within earshot of police officers, he was hauled in front of magistrates and fined £200, a decision later overturned by a jury.


By including the word ‘insulting’ in the legislation we have effectively created a new right to not be offended and risked silencing legitimate campaigners, protestors and activists but done nothing extra to protect people from unacceptable behaviour.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

You Can’t Defend Free Speech by Labelling Your Oponents ‘Bigots’ And ‘Extremists’

by Ed West

In a rare show of solidarity, the National Secular Society has expressed its support for the Christian blogger Archbishop Cranmer, who is being asked by the Advertising Standards Authority to justify the adverts which 10 complainants have said is “offensive” and “homophobic”. The NSS states:

The NSS wants to announce its support for the Archbishop Cranmer blog. Although it disagrees with this blogger profoundly on so many issues, it agrees with him entirely that the Advertising Standards Authority is overstepping the mark and posing a rather sinister threat to freedom of expression.

Good on them. However, don’t all get your hankies out just yet, for they then argue:

Let’s make it clear before we get into this that the NSS has no sympathy with the aims of the “Coalition for Marriage” — an ad hoc linking of some of the most extreme and unpleasant religious bigots in Britain (see NSS council member Adrian Tippetts’ investigation into who is behind C4M). However, in a democracy we believe that they have the right to express their opinion so long as it doesn’t incite violence. The fact that some people find those opinions “offensive” is not reason enough to silence them.

People have the right to express their opinions, as they rightly say. But if you label those opinions as motivated by extremism and bigotry, then we have a problem — because simply by saying that, you are creating an atmosphere in which certain opinions become less acceptable to express. Over the course of the past 20 years the scope of freedom of speech in Britain and across western Europe has shrunk quite considerably, from laws denying historical untruths to “offensive” beliefs about religious or sexual minorities; the law itself rarely comes down with an iron fist, but the real threat comes from the chilling effect.

We saw this after the court case between the Canadian Islamic Congress and Mark Steyn, as Steyn wrote the other day in an article about Geert Wilders:

After I saw off the Islamic enforcers in my own country, their frontman crowed to The Canadian Arab News that, even though the Canadian Islamic Congress had struck out in three different jurisdictions in their attempt to criminalize my writing about Islam, the lawsuits had cost my magazine (he boasted) two million bucks, and thereby “attained our strategic objective — to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.” In the Netherlands, Mr. Wilders’ foes, whether murderous jihadists or the multicultural establishment, share the same “strategic objective” — to increase the cost of associating with him beyond that which most people are willing to bear.

Wilders is doubly persecuted: he was on trial for almost two years for insulting Islam, and has effectively lived like a Mafia informer for the past decade, such is the threat level against him from extremists. I personally don’t share Wilders’s view on Islam, and think people have falsely come to see the issue of mass immigration as a grand conflict between Christendom and Islam, because they have been unable to articulate their legitimate grievances about wildly unsettling demographic change in any other way. But Wilders has nevertheless been heroic in speaking out. In contrast his critics, in the Netherlands and across Europe, are cowards. I accept their physical cowardice in not criticising Islam — I share it — but less understandable is the moral cowardice in trying to turn Wilders into a monster. It’s far easier if the man who’s under armed guard 24 hours a day is called an “extremist”, “Islamophobe” or even a “far-Right politician”, because if one was to question these labels, the situation he was in would be an extremely disturbing precedent for a free country. That’s why it’s always more important to defend the free speech of the guy you disagree with. Instead the Dutch put him on trial.

But such attacks on political and religious freedom would not have been possible if people had not created the atmosphere by the promotion of hate words: calling your opponent a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, an Islamophobe or any of the other phobias that have sprung up in recent years sends a message that, whatever their argument, they have been corrupted by some hateful mental defect, and can therefore be discounted. And if they are motivated by hate, and their opinions are worthless, then isn’t the next logical step that the law should protect people from their bile?

The real Cranmer died in the conflict between the two rival worldviews of the 16th century, which ended in victory for the former minority radical group, with followers of the old religion being excluded from public life, unable to teach their values or express their beliefs. Protestants and Catholics could not share the country because at the time the idea of a “neutral” national culture would have been absurd; but even today public life is difficult when one half of the country think the other are “bigots”.

It’s one thing to defend an opponent’s right to free speech, but wouldn’t free speech be better protected if people accepted that their opponents had legitimate arguments, instead of calling them moral deviants?

[Reader comment by josiexureb on 15 May 2012 at 01:02 PM.]

Geert Wilders has a book coming out this month entitled : “Marked For Death” Islam’s War Against the West and Me.” It can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

As I was unable to comment on Mr West’s blog about child grooming I would just like to mention this: As a child attending a girls Grammar school in Cardiff in the 1950s, we were warned by the school not to go into the grounds of Cardiff Castle because of the “Mohammedan seamen” who frequented them. The number of muslims in Britain at that time was negligible and tended to be confined to seaports like Cardiff but it is significant that those in authority recognised that these men posed a risk to young girls and found it necessary to warn them of it. They were of course, in those days, not hampered by Political Correctness and fear of being labelled racist and Islamophobic.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Young Muslims in Germany: “Berlin Needs You!”

“While the debate about Muslim integration in Europe sometimes seems dominated by fears and division, Berlin-based writer Julia Hoffmann highlights one German effort to help promote diversity in the public sector

“Islam is not a part of Germany” read a headline in the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung before the start of a high-profile conference on Islam sponsored by Germany’s Ministry of the Interior. Headlines like these show how controversial political discourse on Muslim integration is in Germany. But these do not represent the whole reality of Muslim integration in the country. There are many examples of initiatives on both local and regional levels that are successfully addressing integration in Germany — especially when it comes to young people. One of these initiatives is “Berlin needs you!”, a campaign borne out of the need to support immigrant youth, including 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants, in Berlin. The majority of participants come from Muslim backgrounds, and the programme helps them navigate the German vocational training system and find careers in the public sector.


[JP note: Like a hole in the head.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: Minister Denies Syrian Rebels Training in Ex-KLA Camps

New York, 15 May (AKI) — Kosovo backs the struggle of Syrian rebels but is not training them in former Kosovo Liberation Army camps, foreign minister Enver Hoxhaj has stated.

Quizzed by Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin during a United Nations Security Council debate on Kosovo late Monday, Hoxhaj denied reoprts that Syrian rebel troops were being trained in former KLA camps.

“This is not at all true,” he stated, adding that Pristina maintained good diplomatic relations with the Syrian rebels.

Churkin said he was concerned by reports that Kosovo might be becoming a training ground for Syrian rebels and called on the UN to prevent such activities,.

“They could be a serious destabilizing factor in the Balkans and beyond,” Churkin stated.

According to media reports, a Syrian opposition delegation visited Kosovo last month to discuss plans for training rebels and learn from the experiences of the KLA in its struggle against Serbian rule.

Kosovo majority Albanians declared independence in 2008, which Serbia opposes, but it has been recognized by more than eighty countries, including the United States and 22 out of 27 European Union members.

The Security Council discussed Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s quarterly report on the situation in Kosovo, which said interethnic tensions have been on the increase and threatened to undermine stability in the region.

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

North Africa

Belgium Court Charges Six People in Deadly Exorcism of Muslim Woman

A court in Brussels opened on Monday the trial of six people charged in connection with the 2004 murder of a young Muslim woman in a deadly act of exorcism, a practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person believed to be possessed.

The woman was reportedly deceived into believing that she could not have children because she was possessed and that she had to undergo a practice of exorcism. But the woman apparently could not stand the severe punishment the exorcism allegedly entails to scourge the demon out of the body, and she lost her life.

The detainees in the case include two self-appointed exorcists, the victim’s husband and three female members of a radical Muslim group, (I would like to know what radical group) will be standing trial for three weeks and facing charges of “torture leading to death.”

Hours after Latifa Hachmi, 23, died in the evening of Aug. 5, 2004, her husband, Mourad Mazouj, made an emergency call reporting that his wife was feeling ill and stuck in the bathroom. But the hypothesis of a natural death was quickly dismissed, as her body was found covered with bruises and her lungs filled with water.

Her husband later admitted to investigators that his wife was subjected month-long sessions of exorcism to evict from her body the demons that “prevented her from becoming pregnant.”

The practice was conducted in the couple’s apartment in Brussels by Abdelkrim Aznagui, a Moroccan self-proclaimed “Sheik” and his “disciple,” Xavier Meert, a Belgian native who converted to Islam. They were reportedly assisted by the woman’s husband and three Muslim “sisters” of the victim.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Liberal Party Warns of Campaigning in Mosques

The liberal Al-Masryeen Al-Ahrrar party has warned of the “dangerous implications” of the large-scale exploitation of mosques for presidential campaigning. In a statement, the party suggested that May’s presidential election will take place under a corrupt atmosphere where transparency and integrity are in question if religious slogans remained loud and preachers continued to publicly manipulate the masses by convincing them to vote for an Islamist candidate. The liberal party held the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (SCIA) accountable for protecting mosques, pointing to the importance of committing to decisions of Azhar, Dar Al-Iftaa and the SCIA to forbid the use of worship houses for political purposes. The statement called on the government and Presidential Elections Committee to immediately take all the necessary legal steps to halt the violations.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Father Zerai: Little Has Changed in New Libya

Horror continues in Sinai, situation also critical in Yemen

(ANSAmed) — ROME, MAY 15 — The “new” Libya “does not appear too different from the previous version under the Gaddafi regime, according to reports arriving from Benghazi and Kufra”.

So said Father Mussie Zerai, head of the Habeshia Agency for cooperation and development, who made the comments in a statement in which he also underlined problems in Yemen, Djibouti, Tunisia and the Egyptian Sinai.

The religious leader, who lives in Rome, says that “hundreds of refugees are being held in slave conditions in Kufra”, where he says “they are forced to work by armed men, who forced them to handle heavy weapons, clean tanks, without food and water, beating them constantly”. Those who are able to pay up to 800 dollars are accompanied “by armed men as far as Tripoli, so trafficking continues to flourish as it did under Gaddafi”.

Father Zerai also spoke of refugees in detention centres in Benghazi, “who are complaining of mistreatment” and a lack of food, drinking water and medical treatment. In Yemen, Father Zerai condemned the detention in prison of around 240 Eritrean refugees “in inhumane conditions”, saying that they are thought to have contracted a contagious illness.

Acts of intolerance have also been carried out against Christians in the Shousha refugee camp in Tunisia, close to the Libyan border, for which Father Zerai has asked the UNHCR to intervene.

As far as the Sinai is concerned, the Habeshia agency continues to report “human trafficking” and the smuggling of organs from refugees hoping to reach Israel. In the area, there are said to be “around 2,000 prisoners in the hands of traffickers” responsible for atrocities, which have been carried out without the Egyptian government “making the slightest effort to tackle them”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

After Reversal: Kadima Falling to Pieces

Centrist unease grows at alliance with right on settlements

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, MAY 11 — Kadima, the centrist party that has enjoyed a relative majority in Israel in the last two terms, is at risk of breaking up, after the sudden about-turn that has seen the new party leader, Shaul Mofaz, lead the party into the right-wing dominated majority that supports the government of Binyamin Netanyahu. The claims are made in the latest reports published today by the Israeli media.

The political turnaround led to the immediate resignation of Haim Ramon, who had been serving as chair of the party’s national council, and who decided to follow the example of the former party leader and ex-Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, who withdrew from the party after beating defeated by Mofaz in the party’s primaries in April.

The discontent centres on economic policy issues, until now the subject of serious debate between Kadima and the Netanyahu government, and on settlements. At least 5 other deputies of the 28 who make up Kadima’s parliamentary group have already stated their unease and have said that they are ready to follow Livni of she decides to set up a new party. These include well-known figures such as Majalli Wahabi, a Druze, Shlomo Molla, a prominent Ethiopian Jew and Nino Abesadze, a popular figure from the significant Russian-speaking community in Israel, who was formerly a journalist at Israel’s main Russian language television station).

Mollla said that the centrists would “turn their backs on all of their principles” if they were to approve moves such as the controversial law bill recently presented to the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) by Miri Reghev (a staunch nationalist from Netanyahu’s Likud party), which calls for “balancing” constructions erected by ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers in settlements in private Palestinian areas in the occupied territories, a move that violates Israeli law. Abesadze, meanwhile, branded some emerging deputies on the radical wing of Likud as “Bolsheviks, lunatics and fanatics”. According to a number of analysts, Mofaz’s about-turn has saved Kadima from a certain humbling in case of early elections. But the move is likely eventually to mark the end of the centrist party founded by Ariel Sharon — with the separation of the more pragmatic members of Likud and their merger with a small group of former Labour party figures led at the time by Shimon Peres — to force the clearing of settlers from the Gaza Strip, a move opposed by Netanyahu and allies. The likeliest scenario is that Kadima moves closer to the right, perhaps slightly watering down its ideological stance.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Five Die in Clashes Between Sunnites and Alawites in Lebanon

(AGI) Tripoli — The toll of the clashes between members of the Sunnite and Alawite communities in Lebanon rose to five dead, while twenty other people were injured. The clashes broke out in Tripoli, the second largest city of the Country, fuelled by the violence in neighbouring Syria, according to local security sources, who made known that four men were killed in Jabl Mohsen, a quarter mainly inhabited by members of the Scythian Alawite sect minority, the same to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs; the fifth victim was in Bab al-Tebbaneh, an area inhabited by a Sunnite majority. According to press sources on the spot, burst of automatic weapons and explosions of granades were heard the whole day.

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

Gulf Council to Give Jordan Half Billion Dollars Annually

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, MAY 15 — The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has agreed to provide Jordan with financial assistance of half a billion Usd annually to help sustain the country’s anaemic economy, an official said today.

The Council, which includes the giant oil producer Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait Bahrain and Oman, voted unanimously in favour of the five year long initiative.

The decision has been adopted to speed up economic reform policies and help the government trim the large budget deficit.

Officials from the GCC said Morocco will also benefit from the decision. Jordan has boosted its ties with the Gulf countries after the kingdom sent its well trained troops to help local authorities in Bahrain to quell protests that call for wide reforms in the gulf country. Jordan has expressed strong desire to be member of the Gulf council in a bid to tackle its mounting economic troubles, exasperated by worldwide economic meltdown and rising fuel prices.

Last year the club of the rich countries have said no to a request that would have seen the cash strapped kingdom join the council with objection from key member states of the Council.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Iran Hangs Man for Killing Nuclear Scientist

Iran has hanged a man who was sentenced to death for the killing of a nuclear physicist in 2010. He was also found guilty of being an agent for Israeli’s spy agency Mossad. Majid Jamali Fashi was hanged early Tuesday morning, according to Iran’s state TV news broadcast.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Not Guilty’ Plea on Blasphemy Charge

A KUWAITI man charged with defaming the Prophet Mohammad on Twitter and insulting the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will plead not guilty at his trial on 21 May.

The case of Shiite Muslim Hamad al-Naqi, who faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted, has caused uproar in the Gulf Arab state, where activists have called for him to be put to death.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Indonesia: Lady Gaga Concert Cancelled, Dangerous for Indonesian Culture

Under pressure from Islamic parties, the police in Jakarta called the singer’s show incompatible with the moral values of the country. Pop concerts at risk in Indonesia. Moderate leaders fear a radical turn in the country.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Indonesian authorities have cancelled the concert of popular American singer Lady Gaga, scheduled for next June 3, because it goes against Indonesian law. The decision was announced today by the police in Jakarta who judged the show “to be incompatible with the culture and moral values of the country.”

The cancellation of the concert has sparked much debate within Indonesian society and has also involved members of parliament. For months, the Ulema Council (MUI) and Islamist organizations have sought a ban on the artist’s concert (pictured), who is very popular among young Indonesians. According to Islamic radicals Lady Gaga is an “admirer of Lucifer” and her sexy performances are dangerous for the people of Indonesia, especially the male audience.

Gamawan Franzi, the interior minister, responded to the criticism of fans of Lady Gaga, stressing that “the country must defend its national interests. Police in Jakarta have acted in the interests of the state, protecting them from potential dangers.”

For the leaders of the moderate parties this indicates a radical turn in the country. In fact, the cancellation of the singer’s concert is a serious precedent. Benny K Harman, MP and activist of the Legal Aid Foundation (Ylbhi) declares that “freedom of expression has been violated” and accused the police of promoting the ideas of the Islamists, who represent the majority of the population.

With the climate of moral austerity promoted by Islamic extremists performances by Indonesian artists of “dang dut”, will also soon become illegal. The dang dut is a traditional Indonesian musical genre, which over the years has taken on pop and dance music connotations borrowed from the West (video), including the use of short skirts and skimpy clothes by the singers.

In recent years, the Indonesian authorities have repeatedly succumbed to pressure from the MUI, which plays a role of “observer” of manners and morals in the archipelago. In Aceh region where the radical Islamic rule, women can not wear tight jeans or skirts. In March 2011, the MUI lashed out at the flag-raising “because Muhammad never did it”, and previously even launched anathemas against the popular social network Facebook as “amoral”, against yoga, smoking and the right to vote, for women in particular.

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

Indonesia: Lady Gaga Show at Risk After Permit is Denied

Jakarta, 15 May (AKI) — Pop star Lady Gaga may have to cancel a concert in Jakarta after police declined to give a permit for the sold out show amid protests from Islamic groups who say the 26-year-old New Yorker’s style puts the Muslim country’s morality at risk.

Protesters say Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, have a particular dislike of what they say is a provocative manner of dress and dance that should be considered un-Islamic.

“There is fear of the concert’s consequences, especially from her sexy way of dressing,” an unnamed police official told the al-Arabiya news channel.

The 3 June leg of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way Ball” tour sold out in around two hours when tickets went on sale in March.

Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) chairman Cholil Ridwan, who admitted that he had never watched the singer perform and only heard of her “reputation” second-hand, has said the concert intended to destroy Indonesian morality. MUI is Indonesia’s highest Islamic authority on morality.

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

Indonesian Police Veto Lady Gaga Show

Indonesian police on Tuesday refused to allow pop phenomenon Lady Gaga to perform in Jakarta after Islamic hardliners vowed to mobilise thousands of supporters against the “devil’s messenger”. The concert planned for June 3 in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country “will have to be cancelled”, national police spokesman Saud Usman Nasution told AFP. “We will not issue a permit for the Lady Gaga concert in Jakarta,” he said. Indonesia’s hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) had mounted protests in the capital, vowing to intercept the “Poker Face” singer at the airport and ensure she does not enter the country. “We’re very glad the police stopped this moral destroyer from coming to this country, where we believe in God. Of course we stand against her — she only wears panties and a bra,” FPI Jakarta chairman Habib Salim Alatas told AFP.


[JP note: The West’s secret weapon: perhaps Geert Wilders and Lady Gaga could perform together in a youtube clip featuring a song from the Rocky Horror show?]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Islamabad is Ready to Move on, Says Pakistani FM

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar has said her country is ready to ‘move on’ and repair relations with the US, a day after commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan met with the Pakistani and Afghan army chiefs in Islamabad.

Shakoor Rahim, DW correspondent in Islamabad, said it now seemed likely that the Pakistani government would finally reopen the key NATO supply route to Afghanistan, which Islamabad has kept closed off since November last year after a NATO airstrike near the Afghan border that killed 24 of its soldiers.

Rahim also said that Pakistani civilian and military officials had met on Monday to discuss a solution to the crisis and also to debate Pakistan’s participation in a key NATO summit coming up in Chicago next week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Muslim Leaders Exonerate Young Christian From False Blasphemy Charges

An altercation between Muhammad Boota and Asif Masih led to the accusations. The testimony of local landowners and residents end in the accused being released. The words of Chaudhary Khalid Cheema tipped the balance. For the latter, the charges against the Christian man were “repugnant.” Christian activist praises the action of local police and authorities.

Gojra (AsiaNews) — A controversial case that could have led to a death sentence or life in prison for a young Christian man accused of blasphemy was settled by Christians and Muslims working together, driven by a desire for the truth and a steadfast will to avoid sectarian violence. For Christian leaders, the outcome represents a major turning point that shows the importance of dialogue, harmony among believers of the two religions and the need to punish abuses committed under the ‘black law’. For the leaders of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), now it would be appropriate for the man who launched the false accusations to be forgiven, a gesture that would “bring the two communities closer,” NCJP secretary Peter Jacob said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

EU Anti-Piracy Force in First Attack on Somali Land Base

The EU’s Atalanta anti-piracy force Tuesday attacked Somali pirate assets on land for the first time since its mandate was expanded in March to include the coastline. The attack was carried out by helicopters and came four days after Somali pirates hijacked a Greek-owned oil tanker carrying crude oil.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Launched Its First Air-Raid Against Pirates in Somalia

(AGI) Brussels — For the first time, the EU’s anti-piracy force launched an air-raid targeting installations along Somali coasts. The news was reported in a communique’ by Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, the Commander of the navy mission. “The focused, precise and proportionate action was conducted from the air and all forces returned safely to EU warships on completion,” reads the communique’ which also specifies that the operation caused no casualties.

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

Hunger Jeopardizes Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa

Widespread malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly threatening the region’s economic development, says a report by the United Nations Development Program. Growth fails to translate into less hunger.

Above-average economic growth rates have done little to combat hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a United Nations survey released on Tuesday. The Africa Human Development Report 2012 by the UN Development Program (UNDP) stated that widespread malnutrition in the region continued to threaten the region’s economic prospects.

“Impressive growth rates in Africa have not translated into the elimination of hunger,” said UNDP Chief Helen Clark. The UN body claimed one in four of sub-Saharan Africa’s 856 million inhabitants were undernourished, making it the world’s most food-insecure region.

The International monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that sub-Saharan Africa will post 5.4 percent growth this year, on the back of a 5.1 percent GDP increase in 2011, driven largely by oil producing nations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


4,000 Foreign Criminals the Government Wants to Deport Are at Large in Britain…and 800 Have Been Here More Than Five Years

Nearly 4,000 foreign criminals whom the Government wants to deport are at large in the community, figures showed today.

Some 2,500 were released from jail more than two years ago and more than 800 have been out for more than five years, UK Border Agency (UKBA) statistics showed.

Rob Whiteman, the agency’s chief executive, admitted foreign criminals were not being deported quickly enough as he blamed the delays on the lengthy judicial processes, difficulties obtaining documents from other countries and deliberate attempts to frustrate the system.

The revelation is further embarrassment for the UKBA, which was heavily criticised by MPs last month after it emerged fewer than 40 per cent of 1,000 foreign criminals released from prison in a border scandal six years ago had been deported.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Italy: Seven North African People Trafficking Suspects Arrested in South

Bari, 15 May (AKI) — Police in southern Italy on Tuesday arrested seven people trafficking suspects of Egyptian and Tunisian nationality.

Police said the arrests came amid six-month probe that uncovered an international people-smuggling ring based in Egypt with cells across Italy.

The alleged ring had cells operating in Italy’s southern regions of Puglia — where police made Tuesday’s arrests — in Campania and Sicily as well as in the northern Lombardy region surrounding Milan.

During the so-called ‘Pyramid’ investigation, police identified 43 suspected people traffickers and 490 illegal immigrants who they were planning to smuggle to Italy for 2.5 million euros.

Police said they also seized 3 fishing boats and three motorised rubber dinghies the people-trafficking ring planned to use to transport the illegal immigrants to Italy from North Africa.

Italy last year overtook Greece as the number-one gateway for illegal immigration to Europe, following a massive influx of tens of thousands of migrants to Italy amid the unrest that ousted longtime authoritarian rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

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

Libya: Tragedy for Migrants is Not Over, Hein (CIR)

Positive signs from civil society, Tripoli needs them

(by Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) — ROME, 14 MAY — Not only potential migrants on board of boats heading to Europe and risking to die in the Mediterranean Sea, but also, in Libya, men and women who continue to fall prey of merciless traders, imprisoned in the same detention centres used by the former regime or victims of the same racist attitudes of the past.

These aspects were tackled by Christopher Hein, the Director of the Italian Council for Refugees (Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati-CIR), drawing inspiration from the other side of migration Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi was talking about in Brussels today.

In Libya, the CIR had started, in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a project aimed at the training, “but also at the assistance and direct action” for the protection of the rights of migrants who are currently residing in Libya or transiting through the country. Their situation “has not changed radically” from what they used to experience in Gaddafi’s Libya, Hein stated during an interview with ANSAmed: the country did not subscribe the Geneva Convention on refugees, it does not grant the right to asylum and it lacks specific legislation on migrants. Moreover, Hein continues, “some sadly renowned detention centres were re-opened”; together with political prisoners suspected of being supporters of the Rais overthrown by the revolution, also “migrants and refugees without rights” are kept in these centres.

Moreover, racism toward black-skinned people and feelings of hostility for potential mercenaries of the Colonel overthrown by the revolution have not disappeared. According to Hein, the trafficking of human beings news were reporting during the past also continues, with thousands and thousands of Sub-Saharian migrants being bought and sold again by traffickers during their attempts at reaching Libya’s coasts and frequently carried back to the South in long and troubled journeys.

Hein also emphasizes “the serious issue pointed out by IOM, that is the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women from Western Africa and Nigeria, managed by Libyans but structured at the international level.” However, many things are changing in a positive way in the new Libya, as proved, Hein points out, by a recent meeting summoned in Tripoli by the EU delegation, which has finally settled in the country. Some CIR representatives took part in the meeting and understood that “the civil society is advancing and there are initiatives for humanitarian aid and defence of women’s rights.” The CIR was already active in Libya during Gaddafi’s regime and is now managing the new project with a local organisation. It is difficult to get data on the current presence of migrants in Libya, as Hein states, after migrants moved in masses during the civil war, headed towards Tunisia and Egypt, not only to the Mediterranean Sea. Even the actual amount of flows of migrants coming from the border between Egypt and Libya mentioned by Libya’s Foreign Minister Ashour Bin Khayal in the past days in Italy is not known. “Before the revolution, one million and a half people were there,” he points out, “half of them were Egyptian, and many of them went back to their country of origin. What is certain is that Libya, with only 5 million inhabitants and its resources and infrastructures, is in great need of foreign workforce.” Due to the current economic crisis in Europe, Hein says, migrants could have better perspectives in Libya than elsewhere.

“As CIR,” Hein concludes,”we organise a programme for voluntary return to Libya, when conditions are good, for Sub-Saharian immigrants who are currently kept in reception centres in Italy.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

Strange to read about the blunder of a doctor with Hungarian name (Georgy Racoszy) who graduated in Egypt in 1979 (?!)