Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120703

Financial Crisis
»EU Summit: Monti’s Impetus Helps the Euro
»Greece to Present Debt Inspectors ‘Alarming’ Data
»Italy: New Northern League Leader Maroni Talks of Euro Exit
»Record Youth Unemployment in Greece and Spain
»The Hayek Effect: The Political Consequences of Planned Austerity
»Troika: Cyprus May Sign a Memorandum by End of July
»Value of Euro Drops
»Black Mobs Now Beating Jews in New York
»Carbondale Muslim Center Outgrows Space, Completes Project
»Ex-Norton Police Officer Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against City
»Far Side of the Moon Offers Quiet Place for Telescopes
»Muslims to Host Events During DNC; Up to 20,000 Could Attend
»Physicists Get Closer Than Ever to God Particle
»Sheriff Joe Set to Release More Obama ‘Shockers’
»Video: See Muslim Mob Stone Christians — In U.S.!
Europe and the EU
»Austria Celebrates ‘Model’ Law on Islam
»Common Parasite Found in Cat Litter May Increase Suicide Risk
»Crisis-Hit Cyprus Takes Europe’s Helm
»French Breathalyzer Law Takes Effect
»Germany: 500-Year-Old ‘Birth Certificate of America’ Discovered
»Ireland: Man Tells Jury He Had Consensual Sex With His Mother
»Milky Way’s Giant Black Hole to Eat Space Cloud in 2013
»UK Uncovers Al Qaeda Plot to Bomb US Plane Ahead of Olympics
»UK: 200 People Regularly Cram Into This Bungalow…Used as Illegal Mosque
»UK: Blitz on Child Sex Grooming Gangs to be Announced After No 10 Shocked by ‘Heartbreaking’ Stories of Abuse
»UK: Care Home Reforms Aim to Halt Child Sex Abuse
»UK: Child Sex Grooming ‘Not a Race Problem’, Yorkshire Police Chief Tells Muslims
»UK: Ethnic Minorities in UK Feel Most British, Research Finds
»UK: Muslims Are Well-Integrated in Britain — But No One Seems to Believe it
»UK: Neighbours’ Fury as Council Allowed Tiny Bungalow to be Used as an ‘Illegal’ Mosque for 200 Worshippers
»UK: Opening Ceremony for Broadfield Mosque
»UK: Police Investigate ‘Shooting’ Outside Jewish School on Upper Park Road, Salford
»UK: Sex Grooming Cases Spark Racial Tensions in UK
»UK: Views Aired at Islam Meeting
»Youths in Germany Turning to Jihad
»International Supervisors to Leave Kosovo in September
North Africa
»Obama Phones to Congratulate Muslim B’hood on Victory in Egypt’s ‘Milestone’ Election
Israel and the Palestinians
»UNESCO: Bethlehem Heritage Site, Palestinians Celebrate
Middle East
»Syria: Terrorists Kill Professor and His Family, SANA
»Syria: Italian SMEs Sink, While Tehran Muscles in
»From Farms to Factories, Russians Wary of WTO
South Asia
»Afghan Policeman Kills 3 British Troops in Checkpoint Clash
»Afghanistan: Kandahar Suicide Bomber Kills Seven People
»Afghanistan Accuses Pakistan of Rocket Attacks
»American Strategy in Afghanistan Flunks Sun Tzu
»Australian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Firefight
»‘Cocked and Locked’ Policy Considered for British Troops Working With Afghans
»Sikh Man Deported to Afghanistan Returned to UK
»Three British Soldiers Killed by Afghan Policeman After Argument
»Why Muslims and Chinese Hate Pakistan
Far East
»After Elections, Who Will Profit From Mongolia’s Boom?
»History Looms Behind Delay of South Korea-Japan Military Deal
»Japan: Record High Radiation Levels Detected at Fukushima Reactor
Australia — Pacific
»Burch Defends Mosque Consultation
»‘Racist’ Mosque Pamphlet Probed
»UK: Julian Mann: Jesus and the GCSE Generation
Sub-Saharan Africa
»9 Workers Butchered at Nigeria Mosque
»‘Iran Agents Planned to Hit US and British Targets in Kenya’
»Islamist Rebels Smash ‘Pearl of the Desert’
»Kenyan Muslims, Christians Vow to Prevent Violence
»Kenya: Muslim Terrorists Kill 17 in Church Massacre
»Uganda: Muslims Evicted From Mosque
»Croatia Rescues 65 Migrants at Sea
Culture Wars
»BRAVE Attacks Marriage Hastening Demographic Winter
»Down With Secularism!
»Gay Cruise Ship Turned Away by Morocco Docks in Spain
»Secularism Versus Democracy
»The Global Boom in Wind Energy
»UN Plans to Control the Arms Trade
»Why Smart People Are Stupid

Financial Crisis

EU Summit: Monti’s Impetus Helps the Euro

Europe’s responses to the crisis: growth, banks, anti-spread

(ANSAmed) — ROME — It would be an over-simplification to say that the Italian team beat the Germans in Brussels as well, after having knocked them out of the soccer championship so convincingly. But looking beyond the undoubtedly incisive role played by Mario Monti and the somewhat overcast expression of Angela Merkel — the real winner to emerge from the Justus Lipsius arena, that austere headquarters where the Euro summit was held, was the euro currency itself. It was a demonstration of what a few tugs at the bridle can do when one is directed headlong towards the edge of a precipice. The single currency will live on and survive the controversy of recent months and the Hamlet-like crises of doubt expressed by so many European leaders, with Angela Merkel at their head. The German Chancellor continued her attempts to curb and direct the natural evolution of this unfinished European project right to the bitter end. But the strongest political signal to emerge from Europe today is that of a willingness to press ahead, with ranks more or less united, along the road that will eventually lead to a true political union. Today, this path leads through the anti-spread shield so strongly desired by both Mario Monti and Mariano Rajoy, and over the bridge of a 120-billion-euro growth pact.

Tomorrow will see a European tax on gains from financial speculation, the so-called Tobin tax, and a banking union comprising shared vigilance and a sharing of the guarantees for the zone’s citizens.

If Europe had been called upon to provide a loud and clear reply to the markets and to International speculation, this reply has indeed been delivered: it may have come with the Byzantine meanderings so typical of Brussels negotiations, but delivered it was. Following months of debate over austerity and financial discipline, an initial growth pact has been launched: this may well prove insufficient, but it nonetheless marks a decisive turnaround in European strategy. The Tobin tax is to go ahead through strengthened cooperation — a key concept for the construction of a Europe of the future. Important steps have also been take towards a banking union: a fundamental pillar for a real common governance of the European economy. But above all, an important signal has gone out to the markets: virtuous countries that come under attack from international speculation will now be able to use a powerful instrument, with an ECB bail-out fund — even though controversy over the submission of sovereignty involved may return over the coming days. But the building blocks of a common European house have been brought on site and if Europe really wants to play a leading role in meeting the challenges of the coming years and wants to be a protagonist in this era of globalization, these are the ingredients it will need to have in place. In the rounding of this important strategic promontory in European policy, a leading role has been played by Italy in the person of its prime minister Mario Monti.

Italy has gotten what it wanted through taking a determined stance that is almost unprecedented among previous Roman ministers. The European match still has a long way to run, and many pages are yet to be written, with the role to be played by the ECB in debt sharing and the concession of important aspects of national sovereignty to Brussels being important ones. While the European Football Championships come to an end, Sunday’s final will feature the countries of the two winners in Brussels last night: Mario Monti and Mariano Rajoy. From their positions in the Kiev stadium, where they will be able to see another Mario who did so much to eliminate Germany from the competition, the two leaders will certainly be feeling a lot more relaxed at the prospect of the opening of the stock markets on Monday morning.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece to Present Debt Inspectors ‘Alarming’ Data

Greece’s new government will present “alarming” data on its recession and unemployment to international debt inspectors this week, in a bid to renegotiate the terms of its bailout agreements.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a television interview Tuesday that the data would demonstrate that the current austerity program was counterproductive.

Greece is relying on rescue loans from its partners in the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund to avoid bankruptcy. In exchange, it has made painful austerity cuts, such as tax hikes and cuts to public sector jobs, pensions and salaries.

Along with uncertainty over the country’s finances, those austerity measures have hit the economy hard — it is in a fifth year of recession, with unemployment topping 22 percent, roughly double the eurozone average.

The Greek government will argue that it cannot withstand the current pace of austerity terms. Debt inspectors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF are due in Athens Wednesday.

“We will present information that is astounding. It is alarming in terms of the recession and unemployment, and it shows beyond any doubt that the current policy does not bring results. It brings the opposite results,” Kedikoglou told private Antenna television.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: New Northern League Leader Maroni Talks of Euro Exit

Former interior minister replaces Bossi at scandal-hit party

(ANSA) — Rome, July 2 — Roberto Maroni said that the Northern League is ready to pull out from positions of power in Rome and that it might be better for Italy to leave the euro after taking command of the scandal-hit regionalist party.

The former interior minister was elected the party’s secretary by its congress on Sunday to end the era of Umberto Bossi.

Bossi, who in the 1980s spearheaded the movement that eventually became the Northern League, is being probed for alleged corruption and stepped down from the helm in April. The right-wing party, which until November was a government coalition partner with Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, has seen its support levels slashed since the scandal broke out.

“I will work to unite,” said Maroni. “We are ready to leave Rome and the Roman seats (of power). Bossi is a brother to me, but now it’s time for a new phase”.

Maroni, whose party is staunchly opposed to Premier Mario Monti’s emergency government of non-political technocrats, said that the European Union should change its handling of the economic crisis or it would be “better to leave the euro”.

Bossi was in tears when Maroni was elected as his successor.

“Now the baby is yours,” he said to Maroni.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Record Youth Unemployment in Greece and Spain

52.1% of under-25 Greeks are jobless

(ANSAMed) — BRUSSELS, JULY 2 — Unemployment figures for Greeks under 25 years of age reached 52.1% in March, up from 42.9% the previous year, according to figures released by Eurostat.

This is the same unemployment figure reached in Spain in May, up from 45.4% the previous year.

Also in May, the EU numbered 5.517 million unemployed youths under 25, or 22.7%, of which 3.412 million, or 22.6%, are within the euro zone. This is an increase of 282,000 people in the EU-27 and of 245,000 people in the euro-zone over May of last year, where the unemployment rates were 21% and 20.5% respectively.

Overall unemployment numbers were also up, with 24.868 million unemployed, or 10.3%, in the EU-27, and 17.561 million unemployed, or 11.1%, in the 17 euro-zone countries, up from 9.5% and 10% respectively in May of last year.

Spain and Greece still lead the pack in terms of overall unemployment as well as rate of job losses (24.5%, up from 20.9% and 21.9%, up from 15.7%, respectively). They are followed by Cyprus (10.8% against 7.5%).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Hayek Effect: The Political Consequences of Planned Austerity

by Lee Harris

My reading of Hayek, however, convinced me that this was a misleading, naive misinterpretation of the Soviet collapse. The lesson I drew applied not only to Soviet Communism, but to any form of centralized economic planning, including the kind favored under the European model. The problem with centralized planning is not that it makes bad decisions. The problem is that, even if it makes good decisions, these decisions will be made by a group of centralized planners and not by anonymous market forces. When these decisions demand austerity, loss of wages, higher prices, and cuts in social benefits, the people will resist them. And if the people get angry enough, they can bring down the government that has tried to impose an austerity regime on them, leading to both increased economic distress and political instability.

Even if the European austerity programs are right on the economics, they are politically disastrous. An oppressive totalitarian regime might try to impose them on its people against their will, through terror and intimidation, but no democracy can hope to do this. The political revolt in Greece, therefore, is not a fluke, but a harbinger of more revolts to come, along with more economic crises and more political paralysis. It would be absurd to compare the EU with the USSR in terms of their relative respect for freedom and democracy, but it is precisely the EU’s tradition of democratic principles that may well doom it to the same fate that befell the Soviet Union—a sudden and shocking collapse, followed by years of economic decline and political turmoil.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Troika: Cyprus May Sign a Memorandum by End of July

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, JULY 3 — A senior official with the Finance Ministry has not ruled out the possibility of Cyprus signing a Memorandum of Understanding by the end of the month with Troika (EU Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) as Famagusta Gazette reports today.

Finance Director of the Ministry of Finance Andreas Trokkos said Monday that a Troika delegation, already on the island, is here on a fact-finding mission to discuss the terms of a bailout.

“The mission is clearly exploratory at this stage. At the technocratic level, we attribute special importance to giving a complete picture to the delegation members in all areas, whether it concerns the financial sector or more widely budgetary issues and macroeconomics”, he said. This, he noted, would be the best way to develop a common approach with the Troika, on how to address the challenges facing the island’s economy. He explained that the Troika wishes to evaluate the situation of the banking system in Cyprus, which is highly exposed to Greece, either by holding large amounts of Greek government bonds or a large loan portfolio in Greece. On June 25 Cyprus became the fifth eurozone member-state to request financial aid from EFSF/ESM, after suffering big loses as a result of its large exposure to the Greek economy. Cypriot banks have been severely hit by a 76% write down of their Greek bond holdings as a result of the Greek sovereign debt haircut and have announced capital raising plans in March 2012 and November 2011 respectively, with a liability management exercise and a rights issue as their main components.

The government has decided to act as an underwriter of a 1.8 billion euro capital issue by CPB.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Value of Euro Drops

The euro dropped 0.7% to $1.2573 on Monday after it had gained 1.75% on Friday. Despite the initial positive gains following the EU summit on Friday, traders remain uncertain about future EU developments. “Everybody is sceptical,” a senior currency trader in New York told the Wall Street Journal.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Black Mobs Now Beating Jews in New York

Gruesome attacks leave broken bones, life-threatening injuries in their wake

If Chaim Amalek had his way, no one would know that mobs of black people are attacking and beating and robbing Jews in the New York area.

Or that they shout anti-Semitic epithets.

Or that they target Jews because “they don’t fight back.”

“Such information can only serve to heighten racial tensions between these two groups,” said Amalek, an alias for New York video blogger Luke Ford. “Let us all look beyond the issue of race (in any event a mere social construct) and instead celebrate our diversity.”

In this case, the New York Post saw a pattern that most other media outlets never see. To some, it was jarring.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Carbondale Muslim Center Outgrows Space, Completes Project

Carbondale’s Muslim Center recently completed an ambitious expansion project, nearly tripling the size of the community’s mosque located on North Wall Street, giving the faith community additional space for prayer and special events. The spiritual leader of the congregation said the additions were greatly needed. “We simply outgrew our space,” Imam Abdul Haqq said, adding hundreds of practitioners of Islam attend the regular prayer meetings at the center. He said during the observance of Ramadan, up to 1,000 people will pray at the mosque. The original mosque was constructed in 2000 and included a prayer hall and a multipurpose room. The new addition is almost 13,000 square feet and includes a banquet room to be used for weddings, dinners and other activities, as well as a warming kitchen and an additional space the congregation hopes to further develop into a school and learning facility.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ex-Norton Police Officer Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against City

Fired Norton police officer Nicholas Matheny has filed a federal lawsuit, contending city officials discriminated against him and violated his civil rights by terminating him because of his Muslim faith. The suit, seeking job reinstatement, a court injunction to end the alleged discrimination and damages for lost pay, was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

Matheny, 30, adopted the Muslim faith in early 2010 and initially kept the conversion quiet, according to the suit, because of anti-Islamic sentiment in the police department, including emails he said he received from his direct supervising officer. But in September 2010, when Matheny handed out wedding invitations to two colleagues, with the heading “May Allah Bless This Marriage,” the alleged discrimination came to a head, the suit said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far Side of the Moon Offers Quiet Place for Telescopes

To peer back to the universe’s earliest years will need sensitive telescopes in a place where Earth’s ionosphere and radio chatter cannot interfere

FORTY years after NASA ditched the idea of landing Apollo 17 on the far side of the moon, the forbidden fruit is being sought once again. Not by astronauts this time, but by astronomers seeking a quiet spot from which to observe the universe’s “dark ages”.

This was an epoch in the development of the cosmos, which lasted for a few hundred million years after the big bang, before stars and galaxies began to form. The only way to observe the dark ages is to look for faint radio signals from neutral hydrogen — single protons orbited by single electrons — which filled the early universe.

Telescopes on Earth, such as the Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia, are searching for such signals, at frequencies above 100 megahertz. This can probe the universe back to 400 million years after the big bang.

To explore even earlier times, telescopes need to receive radio waves at frequencies below 100 megahertz. Interference from radio sources on Earth such as FM radio and the planet’s ionosphere can mess up these signals. “You get to the point where the ionosphere is just a hopeless barrier,” says Dayton Jones of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “You have got to go to space, and the most promising location by far is the far side of the moon.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Muslims to Host Events During DNC; Up to 20,000 Could Attend

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A national Muslim American organization plans a series of events to coincide with the Democratic National Convention in September. The kick-off for its three days of events begins with a jummah prayer, the weekly mid-afternoon Friday prayer, at Marshall Park in uptown. Other events include an Islamic issues conference and banquet, and a cultural festival held in different parts of the city, including at the Park Expo and Conference Center off Independence Boulevard. At a news conference Monday at Marshall Park, Jibril Hough, a local Muslim activist and spokesman for the nonprofit Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs, said the events will be open to anyone. Hough, who expects up to 20,000 Muslims to attend the events, said he spoke to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe about the public prayer in particular and was told to go ahead with it.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Physicists Get Closer Than Ever to God Particle

American scientists have found strong hints that the rumored Higgs boson particle exists, and has been created inside an atom smasher in Illinois.

The news comes just days before big news on the search for the Higgs is expected to be delivered by physicists from the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

“This is a very exciting week — it may be the most exciting week in physics since I became a physicist,” Joe Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Ill., said during a news conference today (July 2).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sheriff Joe Set to Release More Obama ‘Shockers’

Arpaio schedules another news conference on eligibility

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse investigating Barack Obama’s presidential eligibility have been promising more major revelations since their March 1 press conference, and now another event has been scheduled to unveil new information.

Arpaio told WND a press conference will be held July 17 at 2:30 p.m. local time at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix, Ariz.

WND will once again provide live Web streaming of the event.

The evidence will include information gathered in the posse’s recent investigative trip to Hawaii as well as an update on the ongoing investigation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Video: See Muslim Mob Stone Christians — In U.S.!

Hundreds chant, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ while hurling urine, eggs, bottles, concrete

It happened in an American city: Hundreds of angry Muslim children and adults rioted against Christians, throwing chunks of concrete and eggs at their heads, spraying them with urine and cursing at them — while police stood by and threatened the victims with “disorderly conduct.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Austria Celebrates ‘Model’ Law on Islam

By Bethany Bell BBC News, Vienna

Austria has had a checkered history when it comes to relations with Muslims, but its 100-year-old Law on Islam is seen as a symbol of tolerance.

The law gives Muslims the same rights as other officially recognised religions in Austria, such as Catholicism, Lutheranism, Judaism and Buddhism. At the weekend senior members of the Austrian government and the country’s Islamic Community attended ceremonies to mark the centenary. So Islam has been an officially recognised religion in Austria for 100 years.

Yet another historical event is probably more familiar to most people — the 1683 Siege of Vienna, when the Muslim Ottoman army’s advance on Christian-controlled Europe was halted. And in recent years, the anti-Islamic rhetoric of some Austrian far-right politicians has made the headlines.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Common Parasite Found in Cat Litter May Increase Suicide Risk

Women infected with a common parasite called toxoplasma gondii may be more likely to attempt suicide, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at the health records of more than 45,000 Danish women and concluded that over a 14-year period, women with toxoplasmosis, as infections with the parasite are called, were 53 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their uninfected counterparts. The likelihood of making a suicide attempt increased with the levels of parasite-fighting antibodies, suggesting that the stronger the infection, the larger the risk, the researchers said.

The link between the parasite and suicide attempts held when the researchers took into account other factors that may have affected the results, such as the women’s mental health and socioeconomic class.

The study showed an association, but does not prove that toxoplasmosis infections might cause women to attempt suicide, the researchers said.

But if a causal relationship was found, researchers might be able to predict who is at an increased risk for attempting suicide, and find ways to intervene, study author Dr. Teodor Postolache, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Further research on the topic could lead to a new vaccination against the parasite, avenues for treating people with toxoplasmosis, or increased efforts to teach people how to reduce transmission, Postolache told MyHealthNewsDaily.

Toxoplasma parasites affect a third of people worldwide, and healthy people may develop no symptoms. The parasite is spread through undercooked meat, unwashed vegetables or contact with fecal matter from cats, as the feline family is the only animal host that allows the parasite to reproduce.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Crisis-Hit Cyprus Takes Europe’s Helm

The island republic of Cyprus has taken over the EU’s rotating presidency at a particularly inauspicious moment. Not only does it have an ongoing dispute with Turkey, but the euro-zone member has just requested a bailout. But the small country is determined to show that it can perform its EU duties with aplomb.

A steel-and-glass palace stands at the gateway to the Cypriot capital Nicosia. The headquarters of Laiki Trapeza, or People’s Bank, is directly next to the expressway. It’s a futuristic building, but bankruptcy lurks behind the façade.

Laiki Bank, which made unwise investments in Greece, urgently needs €1.8 billion ($2.25 billion). Because the bank was unable to raise the money itself, despite weeks of efforts, Cyprus has had to ask for help from its international partners. Last week, the country applied for aid from the EU bailout fund and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The call for help could hardly come at a worse moment. As of July 1, the Republic of Cyprus has assumed the rotating European Council presidency for six months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

French Breathalyzer Law Takes Effect

All vehicles travelling on French roads must carry a chemical or electronic breathalyzer test from Sunday, under new rules aimed at reducing alcohol-driven accidents.

“Alcohol has been the main cause of mortality on roads since 2006,” according to road security authorities.

The rules, well publicized in France, take place just ahead of the summer holiday season, and look certain to catch out many of the hundreds of thousands of foreign drivers taking to the French roads in the coming months.

About a third of fatalities on French roads is due to drink driving, a rate that far surpasses the 17 percent recorded in Britain or 10 percent in Germany.

According to a survey published Sunday, just over half of respondents — 57 percent — said they have yet to equip their vehicles with breathalyzer tests.

Those who fail to do so risk a fine of 11 Euros ($14) from November 1, 2012, when the penalty comes into force.

Drivers are split over the measure.

“I find it absurd to be booked for that. But it’s the law, so I’ll be subject to it,” said Hamou Louachiche, 38, who still does not have a test in his car.

He believes that such tests would be more useful in bars or nightclubs.

Others however welcome the measure, saying it would reduce drink driving.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Germany: 500-Year-Old ‘Birth Certificate of America’ Discovered

A version of a 500-year-old world map that was the first to mention the name “America” has been discovered in a German university library.

Experts did not even know about the existence of a fifth copy of the map by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller until it showed up a few days ago, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich said. The discovery is much smaller and thought to have been made after the 1507 original version, which Germany officially handed over to the United States in 2007 and now lies in the Library of Congress in Washington. The newly unearthed map, one of the so-called globe segments, is believed to have been produced by Waldseemueller himself, who died in 1522. These were “at least as important for the dissemination of geographical knowledge in his own time” as the world wall map, which is UNESCO-registered and often dubbed “America’s birth certificate”, the university said. The new find shows the world divided into 12 segments which taper to a point at each end and are printed on a single sheet, which, when folded out, form a small globe, with the three rightmost segments depicting a boomerang-shaped territory named America.

Only four copies of the segmental maps were previously known about, the university said in a written statement. One of the four was sold at auction for $1 million in 2005.

The fifth was found by a bibliographer, who was revising the catalogue, “in an otherwise unremarkable volume that had been rebound in the 19th century”, it said. It was nestled between two printed works on geometry from the early 16th century. “Even in our digital age the originals have lost none of their significance and unique fascination,” Klaus-Rainer Brintzinger, the head of the library, said in the statement. “We intend to make the map accessible to the public in digital form in time for the Fourth of July, Independence Day in the USA,” he added.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ireland: Man Tells Jury He Had Consensual Sex With His Mother

A man accused of raping his 65-year-old mother says he had consensual sex with her and denies taking advantage.

The 45-year-old Dublin man has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping the woman at her home between March 2 and 3, 2008.

The man told Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, defending, that he and his mother had been drinking for a number of hours on the evening of Mother’s Day when his mother began dancing with him.

He said his mother began saying she loves him before putting her hands on the sides of his face and kissing him.

He said: “It got more intense. We were dancing and holding each other and touching each other. I was touching her body, on her sides and on her breasts.

“The kissing became more intense and serious and we got down on the floor and sexual intercourse occurred.”

He said he believed his mother wanted sex and said that she never said “leave me alone” during the sex.

He said: “She was as much a part of it as I was.”

He said his mother, who had already had a knee replacement and was waiting on a hip replacement, couldn’t get up off the floor afterwards. He said they both laughed about this.

He said he put cushions under her head and she told him to leave her there. He said she was falling asleep there.

He told defense counsel that his mother did not show affection for him when he was a child and that she would sometimes beat him with a leather belt to discipline him.

He told Gerard Clarke SC, prosecuting, under cross-examination, that he didn’t think it was strange at the time when he and his mother began kissing and continued on to have sex.

He said: “We got lost in it. I didn’t think about it at all. It was two people together.”

The man’s brother gave evidence that he had noticed the accused and their mother acting in an intimate way before at a social event.

He told defense counsel: “They were looking into the eyes. There was a touching of hands. It didn’t seem right”.

Evidence has finished in the case. The jury of four men and eight women will begin their deliberations tomorrow after Mr Justice Barry White has charged them.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Milky Way’s Giant Black Hole to Eat Space Cloud in 2013

The colossal black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy will soon to get a big, tasty meal, astronomers say. A humongous gas cloud is on a collision course for the Milky Way’s core — the home of Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”), which scientists suspect is a supermassive black hole with the mass of 4 million suns.

When the huge gas cloud arrives in the vicinity, which it will appear to us to do in mid-2013, it will surely be swallowed up by the hungry black hole, scientists say.

Astrophysicist Stefan Gillessen of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Munich, Germany, has been observing the Milky Way’s center for about 20 years. So far, he’s seen only two stars come as close to Sagittarius A* as the cloud will.

“They passed unharmed, but this time will be different: the gas cloud will be completely ripped apart by the tidal forces of the black hole,” Gillessen said in a statement.

The cloud is due to pass within about 36 light-hours (about 25 billion miles, or 40 billion kilometers) of the black hole. Its speed, which is now more than 5 million mph (8 million km per hour), has nearly doubled in the last seven years as it approaches its doom. It has already started to shred, and is likely to break up completely before it hits the black hole.

While black holes themselves are impossible to see — they are objects whose gravitational pull is so strong, even light cannot escape — astronomers can watch what happens when matter falls into one. The areas around some active supermassive black holes are so bright, in fact, that they are visible across the universe.

Scientists are looking forward to the rare chance to see something fall into our own galaxy’s black hole. As it falls nearer and nearer, the cloud is expected to heat up and release bright X-ray radiation that should be visible from Earth.

The collision-bound cloud was discovered by a team of astronomers led by Reinhard Genzel at the European Southern Observatory.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK Uncovers Al Qaeda Plot to Bomb US Plane Ahead of Olympics

British intelligence officials have discovered a new Al Qaeda plot to bomb a US plane, the Sunday Times of London reports.

The officials said the attack was scheduled to happen before the London Olympics and was planned by Al Qaeda in Yemen. The terror group recruited Abu Abdurrahman, a Norwegian convert with no criminal record, to play a role in the plot, the New York Post reports, citing the Sunday Times of London.

The plot has no ties to the Olympics other than the timing, a British intelligence official said. Al Qaeda in Yemen has tried unsuccessfully to bomb three US planes since 2009.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: 200 People Regularly Cram Into This Bungalow…Used as Illegal Mosque

AN Islamic group has been told to clear out of an illegal mosque in a small bungalow after residents complained it is regularly crammed with as many as 200 people. Southend Council has received 150 complaints from angry residents in Fairfax Drive, Westcliff, since September 2010. The Jaafriya Islamic Welfare Centre did not apply for change of use when it took over the two-bedroom chalet bungalow and began holding regular meetings. In December 2010 the owner of the site also built an extension without planning consent.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Blitz on Child Sex Grooming Gangs to be Announced After No 10 Shocked by ‘Heartbreaking’ Stories of Abuse

Action to tackle child sexual exploitation will be announced this week after No 10 was shocked by ‘heartbreaking’ stories of abuse. The move follows the conviction of nine Asian men for systematically raping and abusing underage girls in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and claims by a Government expert that abuse was taking place ‘all over the country’. On Tuesday, Ministers will launch an urgent review of the quality of care provided in children’s homes — which were at the heart of the Rochdale scandal — and publish a progress report on an ‘action plan’ designed to tackle child exploitation.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Care Home Reforms Aim to Halt Child Sex Abuse

By Judith Burns Family reporter, BBC News

The government has published plans to combat the sexual exploitation of children in care homes in England by gangs.

The move acts on recommendations made by the deputy children’s commissioner in a report on sexual exploitation. The conviction this year of nine men in a child sex ring sparked concerns about the safety of children’s homes. Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said: “These are big changes to a system, which has been letting down too many.” In May nine men were jailed for being part of a child sex ring in Rochdale — one of the girls was in care at the time and all were said to have been known to social services at some point.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Child Sex Grooming ‘Not a Race Problem’, Yorkshire Police Chief Tells Muslims

GROOMING children for sex is a growing scourge that cuts across all communities, West Yorkshire’s chief constable warned yesterday as he met Muslim community leaders at a summit to tackle the problem. Sir Norman Bettison insisted the crime was not a racial or cultural issue. The type of exploitation seen in cases such as the recent Rochdale scandal, in which a gang of Asian men preyed on vulnerable young white girls, was just one of its many faces, he said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ethnic Minorities in UK Feel Most British, Research Finds

Muslims were most likely to say being British was important

Ethnic minorities living in the UK feel more British than their white counterparts, research has revealed. Muslims are the most likely of all groups to identify with the concept of “Britishness”, the Institute for Social and Economic Research found. The report’s authors say the results rubbish suggestions that ethnic groups are unwilling or unable to integrate into British society and show that fears over the negative impacts of immigration on cultural identity are overstated.


[JP note: See also and for details of presentation by Dr Alita Nadi — How diverse is Britain?]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslims Are Well-Integrated in Britain — But No One Seems to Believe it

by Leon Moosavi

British Muslims often express a stronger sense of belonging than other citizens, so why are they still seen as outsiders?

In Britain today there is a mismatch between how non-Muslims often perceive Muslims and how Muslims typically perceive themselves. This disconnect is down to a tendency by non-Muslims to assume that Muslims struggle with their British identity and divided loyalties. These concerns were challenged a few days ago,in a report by the University of Essex that found Muslims actually identify with Britishness more than any other Britons. This study is just one of several recent studies that have consistently found that Muslims in Britain express a stronger sense of belonging in Britain than their compatriots. Consider the following examples:

  • 83% of Muslims are proud to be a British citizen, compared to 79% of the general public.
  • 77% of Muslims strongly identify with Britain while only 50% of the wider population do.
  • 86.4% of Muslims feel they belong in Britain, slightly more than the 85.9% of Christians.
  • 82% of Muslims want to live in diverse and mixed neighbourhoods compared to 63% of non-Muslim Britons.
  • 90% of Pakistanis feel a strong sense of belonging in Britain compared to 84% of white people.


[Reader comment by CongestionCharge on 3 July 2012 at 1:22 PM.]

No wonder people look askance at Muslims; all this enthusiasm for being British — its just not British! The rest of the article is a bit tendentious; he mentions a racist murder but neglects to point out that it happened in Germany, and my understanding is that Anders Breivik slaughtered young white students, who were highly unlikely to have been Muslims.

The history of his country shows that the British are tolerant of anybody who accepts their values and way of life; as DisaffectedYouth shows above, thats not always been the case where young Muslims in particular are concerned.

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

UK: Neighbours’ Fury as Council Allowed Tiny Bungalow to be Used as an ‘Illegal’ Mosque for 200 Worshippers

  • Islamic group insisted two-bedroom property was a home ‘used for the occasional meeting’
  • Now they say it is being used as a community centre — and apply for taxpayer funding to put on classes
  • Property was extended without planning permission
  • Neighbours have complained about noise, rubbish and extra traffic

A council has come under fire after an Islamic group extended a tiny two-bedroom bungalow to turn it into an ‘illegal’ mosque for 200 worshippers. Residents are furious after being forced to endure noise at all hours of the day, congestion and bin bags strewn across the front garden. The group started using the property in Westcliff, Essex, as a mosque after moving in almost two years ago.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Opening Ceremony for Broadfield Mosque

AFTER three years of construction work costing more than £1million, the Broadfield Mosque will be officially opened. The work, which included five new classrooms, a library, two halls, the Imam’s flat and a new kicthen, was paid for with private donations and costs £1.2million. The formal opening ceremony will be held on Saturday July 7 starting at around 2pm with speeches in Urdu and Arabic. People of all faiths are invited to attend the event at the Mosque in Broadwood Rise, Broadfield.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Investigate ‘Shooting’ Outside Jewish School on Upper Park Road, Salford

Police are investigating a possible shooting outside a Jewish college in Salford in the early hours of this morning. Officers were called to Upper Park Road in Broughton at 2.35am to reports a shot had been fired. No-one has been injured but police were unable to confirm if any ammunition or bullet holes had been found at the scene. A GMP spokesman said: “At around 2.35am on Sunday, police were called to an incident on Upper Park Road, Broughton. It would appear at this stage there may have been a firearms discharge. No-one was injured. Inquiries are ongoing. This is a very early stage of the investigation and a team of officers is working to establish what happened.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Sex Grooming Cases Spark Racial Tensions in UK

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND: She was lonely in the way only an adolescent girl can be: No friends, no boyfriend, not much of a relationship with her parents. So she felt special when a man decades older paid attention to her, bought her trinkets, gave her free booze. Then he took her to a dingy room above a kebab shop and said she had to give something back in return. His demands grew: Not just sex with him, but with his friends. It went on for years, until police charged nine men with running a sex ring with underage girls.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Views Aired at Islam Meeting

MEMBERS of Luton’s Muslim community packed into the Crescent Hall in Bury Park on Saturday night for a meeting aimed at tackling Islamophobia. Guest speakers included journalist Yvonne Ridley, and Cherie Booth’s sister Lauren Booth, both converts to Islam. Also speaking was political commentator Mohammed Ansar, and Luton Borough Council leader Hazel Simmons. Lauren Booth, who spoke on the topic of Women and Islam, told the audience: “I’m not sure we can call the reaction we get in Luton ‘Islamophobia’. People here base their reactions on a lot of reading, they will be sure they have a full and rounded definition of what Islam is. People might be wishing to rescue you from something they genuinely believe is bad. As women we are like celebrities, we are the front page of Islam. We can see ourselves as ‘Brand Islam’. We need to be bastions of the community and share the good values of Islam.”

Mohammed Ansar warned that Luton, as in the days of football hooliganism, was being threatened by “dark shadows of intolerance and hatred”. He said anti-Muslim discourse was increasingly being seen as legitimate, and said the country was in the middle of “a Muslim civil rights crisis”. But accused Muslims of being their “own worst enemies”, saying: “We have the best product but the worst salesmen.” He continued: “It is not right to abuse troops, it is not right to deny children a proper education, it is not right to threaten homosexuals or others.” English Defence League leader Stephen Lennon was denied entry to the meeting by security staff. He said on Monday: “It was supposed to be a public meeting but it wasn’t. All we hear is that we need to sit down and talk but no-one wants to talk to us.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Youths in Germany Turning to Jihad

From Wuppertal to Waziristan: Ever more young men living in Germany are traveling to conflict zones to become jihadi fighters. Though numbers remain small, security services are taking the problem very seriously.

Based on the recollection of Friedrich Bleckmann, the two “lads,” as he called them, were as different as only brothers can be. Bünyamin E. was described as “polite, studious and humble,” his older brother “highly aggressive and unreliable.” Their father worked at Bleckmann Farm, close to the small western German city of Velbert. His sons helped out there on weekends and during school vacations.

The farmer could never have envisaged the path the two Turkish-German Wuppertal brothers took. In 2012, both brothers went to join Islamist fighters in the mountainous Pakistani region of Waziristan on the Afghani border. Bünyamin was killed by a U.S. drone attack shortly after his arrival. Emrah continued to fight until June 2012.

Cases of young Muslim men living in Germany becoming jihadi combatants are rare, but increasing in number. German security services believe that since the beginning of the 1990s, around 235 “people with German connections and Islamic terrorist backgrounds” have at least attempted to obtain paramilitary training. There is concrete evidence that around 100 were actually trained or engaged in military operations. More than half of those are said to be back in Germany, and around 10 have been imprisoned.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


International Supervisors to Leave Kosovo in September

The international administration overseeing Kosovo’s internal affairs announced on Monday it would leave in September. An International Steering Group had been supervising Kosovo since it broke away from Serbia some five years ago. Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci called it an “historic day” and a “new step for Kosovo”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Obama Phones to Congratulate Muslim B’hood on Victory in Egypt’s ‘Milestone’ Election

President Obama phoned the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi on Sunday evening to congratulate him on becoming Egypt’s new president, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said in a Twitter message around 7 PM eastern time.

Earlier, White House press secretary Jay Carney in a statement called the Islamist’s election a “milestone” in Egyptians’ transition to democracy.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

UNESCO: Bethlehem Heritage Site, Palestinians Celebrate

First site in occupied territories; US: ‘deeply disappointed’

An exterior view of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM — Following a secret ballot with 13 votes cast in favour, 6 against and 2 abstentions the twenty-one member Unesco heritage committee has accepted the urgent proposal by the Palestinian National Authority that the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrim Way in Bethlehem should be listed as World Heritage sites. This is a first time ever for a monument situated on the West Bank and the decision opens fresh political controversy following Palestine’s entry into the UN organisation for science, education and culture in October of last year. The accession itself triggered strong opposition from both the USA and Israel. The Bethlehem proposal was presented by the Palestinians to the Unesco committee, which is currently meeting in St Petersburg — grounding an urgent process with the site’s state of “ dilapidation and degradation”. One of the reasons given for this was the impositions of the Israeli “occupation forces”. Although it has no objection to the listing of the site, Israel objected to the proposal as an urgent measure, with its overtones that they had not afforded the church sufficient protection. Today’s decision has been greeted by the Palestinians, who expressed their pride, while the USA said it was “deeply disappointed”.

Speaking in the name of the PLO, Hanan Ashrawi said “the Palestinian people welcome this decision with joy as a moment of national pride and a confirmation of their identity and of their heritage”. Speaking in Paris, US Unesco Ambassador David Killion noted that this site “is sacred to all Christians and it should not be politicised”. Ambassador Killion went on to note that the urgent procedure adopted in this case should be reserved for sites threatened with destruction. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad — cited on the Ynet website — noted that Unesco’s decision underlines Palestinian determination to create an independent state within its 1967 borders. No reaction has come today from the Israeli government, as it is observing the pre-Sabbath repose. Today’s listing includes the Church of the Nativity, which dates back to Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century and which was renovated in the 6th century under Justinian, as well as three nearby monasteries and the Pilgrim’s Way. Around two million tourists visited Bethlehem in 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Syria: Terrorists Kill Professor and His Family, SANA

Shelling resumes, activists

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, JUNE 29 — A “group of armed terrorists” including two from other Arab countries have killed a university professor, his parents and the three children of his sister in an attack on his house in the Syrian province of Homs, according to reports from the state-run news agency SANA. According to a source from the local prefect’s office quoted by the agency, afterwards security forces managed to intercept the terrorists and kill ten of them, including the two foreigners.

SANA claims that the action is part of the terrorists’ strategy of “hitting the experts and intellectuals” in the country. The attack was carried out in Al Hossn on the house of Ahlam Imad, a professor of petrochemical engineering at the Baath university of Homs. Meanwhile the Local Coordinating Committees of the opposition have this morning reported a resumption of government forces’ shelling on a number of locations, in particular Deir Az Zor and Homs. The same source said that security forces had opened fire on a funeral procession in Dumeir, a Damascus suburb.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Italian SMEs Sink, While Tehran Muscles in

Italian energy and manufacturing. Berlin to help more, sources

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS/AMMAN, JUNE 28 — Italian small and medium-sized businesses in Syria have “sunk”. Over the last year, losses have hit double figures, while Iran defies the measures wanted by the international community by pocketing billions worth of contracts.

The phenomenon has been reported to ANSA by well-placed sources.

Italian affairs in Syria are centred around electricity and the manufacturing industry, but Italy is also well represented in market shares connected to olive oil or marble cutting, while industrial equipment in the oil sector is also important. Syria is the world’s 34th largest oil producer, with more than 400,000 barrels per day, half of which are exported.

The resources of the so-called “black gold” are concentrated in the region of Homs, which has been the setting in recent weeks for furious clashes, and in the region of Deir ez-Zor, which has reserves that it is estimated could see Syria enter the list of top 10 oil producers.

Around five kilometres outside the city’s built-up areas, Ansaldo is currently building an electric power stations with gas turbines, a partnership with the Greek group Metkal. But with the complete embargo on oil and the partial embargo on electricity, “it has become impossible to operate in Syria,” sources say.

“Contracts can be signed, but there is no support from the banks, who effectively no longer want to operate in the country,” where credit cards are also blocked and only cash can be used, and where “contracts cannot be made operational”. “The problem is not only in Europe,” the sources add, “there are also problems in Lebanon and in Gulf states, as banks have taken up a position that is even more inflexible than that demanded by the sanctions”.

“There is a risk of reaching a situation such as that in Iran, where no bank is willing to operate”. Tehran, meanwhile, “continues to purchase new orders, in the electronic sector, for example, with new plants that are banned by the latest sanctions”. The Iranians are therefore “free”, purchasing without competition.

Then there are unilateral acts, such as that by the US Treasury, which has decided to penalise some of the private banks operating in Syria, a measure that will “further freeze” the situation.

Overall, at least 50 registered companies were operating in Syria up until 2 years ago, on top of major groups like Ansaldo, Fiat, Benetton, Stefanel and Diadora.

“The Italian government has left us on our own”, where as the German government has helped companies that were able to sign new contracts “just in time”, before the new sanctions were approved at the end of 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


From Farms to Factories, Russians Wary of WTO

Migrant workers, some stripped to their underwear in the sweltering heat, pick fragrant strawberries from the sprawling fields of Lenin State Farm, a former collective that has become one of the most successful farms around Moscow.

Director Pavel Grudinin says his strawberries are better than anything else in the Russian capital because they go from field to shelf in under 24 hours.

But with Russia joining the World Trade Organization next week, Grudinin worries that rules designed to ensure fair trade will put him at a disadvantage. He says it will be hard for him to compete with U.S. and European producers who can offer lower prices — because they don’t have to deal with corruption and bureaucracy.

Thousands of businesses across Russia are fearful as the country — after 18 years of negotiations — is set to join the WTO, which restricts import duties and subsidies in an effort to even the playing field for international trade. Parliament needs to approve the ascension by July 10, something almost sure to happen as Russian President Vladimir Putin — whose party controls parliament — says WTO membership will bring increased foreign investment and make Russian companies more competitive.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghan Policeman Kills 3 British Troops in Checkpoint Clash

THREE British soldiers were shot dead by a rogue Afghan policeman in a “cowardly act”, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said yesterday.

The soldiers, two from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and one from the Royal Corps of Signals, were killed on Sunday evening at a checkpoint in central Helmand province. The men, who were serving as advisers to Afghan police, were gunned down as they left a meeting of local elders. A fourth British soldier was wounded. The soldiers’ families have been informed. The gunman almost certainly used an AK47 from a sentry post overlooking the checkpoint. Other Afghan police returned fire and wounded him. He is being given treatment under guard at Camp Bastion. The attack, which came on the day Afghan forces took the security lead in southern Afghanistan, is said to have followed a noisy argument at the checkpoint. Mr Hammond described the attack as a “cowardly act by a man wearing an Afghan uniform” but said it “will not derail the mission”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Kandahar Suicide Bomber Kills Seven People

At least seven people have been killed and many more wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in the Afghan city of Kandahar, police have said.

The bomber rammed an car packed with explosives into a vehicle carrying workers from a nearby US base, a local official said. The attack happened in front of Kandahar university.

On Sunday, a policeman shot dead three UK soldiers serving with Nato forces in neighbouring Helmand province. The base near the attack on Monday is now used by US special forces, provincial police chief General Abdul Razaq told AFP news agency.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan Accuses Pakistan of Rocket Attacks

Afghanistan and Pakistan have traded diplomatic barbs, accusing each other of cross-border raids. Kabul has threatened to refer Islamabad to the UN Security Council if bilateral talks do not defuse the situation.

Afghanistan accused Pakistan on Monday of shelling its territory, threatening to report Islamabad to the United Nations Security Council if bilateral talks between the uneasy neighbors do not show progress.

Kabul has accused Islamabad in the past of supporting Taliban militants who oppose the US-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. But it was the first time that Afghanistan blamed Pakistan for hundreds of rocket attacks on a heavily forested area in Kunar province. Four civilians have died in the attacks since March.

Pakistan has accused Afghanistan of not doing enough to eliminate militants in Kunar province.

“We now have enough evidence that proves the rockets used in these attacks belong to the Pakistani army,” the spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, Shafiqullah Taheri, told the Reuters news agency.

“Pakistan has never had such brazen courage in its history,” Taheri said. “They know that Afghan security forces can’t react so they outrageously and indecently attack us.”

Afghanistan’s foreign minister threatened Islamabad with a referral to the UN Security Council if bilateral talks did not resolve the issue.

“If diplomatic discussions bring no positive results we will refer the issue to the U.N. Security Council,” Faramarz Tamana said.

Unnamed Pakistani intelligence sources, meanwhile, told the AFP and Reuters news agencies that Afghan soldiers crossed in Pakistani territory on Sunday, killing two tribesmen.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

American Strategy in Afghanistan Flunks Sun Tzu

by Gian Gentile

Proof of counterinsurgency’s failures is the current state of affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American-style counterinsurgency does not work. It has failed in Iraq and it is currently failing in Afghanistan. In war, strategy should look to policy — which gives war its direction — and then apply the tools of war, like military tactics, to achieve policy aims in the most cost effective way in blood and treasure. Proof of counterinsurgency’s failures is the current state of affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Iraq, the United States spent 8.8 years nation-building, resulting in 4,773 Americans killed, thousands and thousands more with life-changing wounds, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, close to a million more Iraqis displaced from their original homes with only a handful being able to return to them. Of course there is the billions and billions of American funds spent as well. And from all of that expenditure what appreciable strategic and policy gains has the US achieved? Not much. The country is still mired in low grade war and one dictator has been replaced with another — the latest one allied closely with America’s strategic enemy in the region Iran.

In Afghanistan, and like Iraq, the US has invested heavily since the beginning in a hefty nation-building endeavor. Yet after 11 years of nation-building, the country is still in tatters (if it ever wasn’t), its nascent political institutions are corrupt, the Taliban enemy is still as strong as ever and, despite rosy proclamations by NATO officials, objective reports show a steadily rising level of overall violence in the country despite increased American troop numbers and a so-called new counterinsurgency strategy.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Firefight

EMILY BOURKE: A Special Forces soldier on his 7th tour of duty to Afghanistan has been killed during a mission to track down an insurgent leader in the Chora Valley, in Uruzgan province. The 40-year-old was shot in the chest during a firefight. The soldier had been part of a joint Australian-Afghan National Security forces operation in the valley. The Prime Minister says she knows the death will prompt many to ask why Australians are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘Cocked and Locked’ Policy Considered for British Troops Working With Afghans

Three British soldiers have been shot dead by an Afghan policeman at a checkpoint, sparking calls from senior officers for a reappraisal of how troops work alongside local forces.

The murders, which took place on Sunday, mean that this year a quarter of all British troops killed in Afghanistan have died at the hands of their Afghan allies. The policeman opened fire after a heated argument with the British forces according to witnesses, before he was himself shot and captured. Two of the soldiers were from the Welsh Guards and the other was from the Royal Corps of Signals, the Ministry of Defence said. A fourth British soldier was wounded but is thought to be stable. It is unclear if they were wearing body armour at check point Kamparack Pul, in Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand. Senior officers told The Daily Telegraph that a new “cocked and locked” policy — already adopted by US forces — should be implemented. “We should be looking at adopting the American policy of having a soldier permanently on overwatch during any meeting with Afghan security forces with his weapon cocked and locked,” one officer said.


[JP note: Cocked and locked — this should be the West’s policy to Islam in general.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sikh Man Deported to Afghanistan Returned to UK

Baljit Singh was jailed in Kabul, accused of falsely claiming to be Afghan, and says he was tricked into converting to Islam

A Sikh man who was jailed in Kabul for “falsely claiming” to be an Afghan when he was deported from the UK, and says he was bullied and tricked into making a televised conversion to Islam, has been flown back to Birmingham by the British government. The case of 23 year-old Baljit Singh highlights concerns about the justice system and the status of religious minorities in Afghanistan as the withdrawal of western troops gathers pace. Singh was deported from the UK nearly two years ago and was spotted by Afghan government officials as soon as he stepped off the chartered aeroplane that carried the failed asylum seekers, marked out by his distinctive Sikh turban. He was taken aside for questioning and then was put in prison for 18 months during which he never received a charge sheet, let alone a conviction. Prosecutors told him informally that his crime was falsely claiming to be Afghan.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Three British Soldiers Killed by Afghan Policeman After Argument

Three British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan by a local policeman following an argument, the Ministry of Defence has said.

As relations with local forces continue to deteriorate the deaths mean that a quarter of all British fatalities this year have been caused by Afghans soldiers with seven murdered at the hands of allies. The soldiers, two from the Welsh Guards and one from the Royal Corps of Signals, are understood to have become involved in an argument with one of the Afghan policemen. The officer opened fire, probably with an AK47 machine gun, and hit three of the soldiers. It is unclear if they were wearing body armour at check point Kamparack Pul in Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand. A fourth British soldier was wounded but is thought to be stable. The Afghan policeman was then shot and wounded. He is now in custody. In a statement the MoD said: “The soldiers were serving in an Afghan Police Advisory Team and had been to the check point to conduct a shura (meeting). On leaving, they were engaged by small arms fire by a man wearing an Afghan Police uniform. During this exchange of fire the three soldiers were wounded and despite receiving first aid at the scene, they died of their injuries.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Why Muslims and Chinese Hate Pakistan

Rakesh Krishnan Simha

Pakistanis evoke highly negative emotions worldwide, including in Muslim majority countries, says a US survey. Not just the elites but the common Pakistani too is culpable in the country’s spectacular failure.

It has never been easy being a Pakistani. Pick a terrorist act committed anywhere in the world and chances are it has Pakistani fingerprints all over it. In many places, the word ‘Pakistani’ is a four-letter word. So it must be a nasty kick in the guts for the Pakistanis to learn that their only allies, the Chinese, as well as the majority populations of several Muslim countries, including Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon, see them as a bunch of baddies. A survey of 21 countries released on June 27, 2012 by the United States-based Pew Research Center suggests that Pakistan is not only a universally disliked country but the Pakistanis themselves have learnt nothing from their history, continuing to support the very actors who are responsible for their country’s negative image.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

After Elections, Who Will Profit From Mongolia’s Boom?

Only 65 percent of Mongolian voters turned out to the country’s most recent parliamentary election. Mongolians are disappointed in the politics of their country, where the vast resources only benefit few.

The newest political curve is representative of the fast-paced development the country — with its small population of around three million people — has been experiencing since it was reformed 22 years ago.

Visitors experience Mongolia as a country of great change and extremes. Thanks to the export of natural resources, the country’s economy is booming with two-figure growth rates. The skyline of capital Ulan Bator is changing just as rapidly. As soon as one newly built district is up, the next one is already being constructed. The apartment buildings with rent prices comparable to other international metropolises are just as symbolic of the country’s progress as are its five-star hotels and its high-end shopping paradises.

“You don’t even see as many luxury ‘Hummers’ in Munich as you do in Ulan Bator,” a German businessman remarks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

History Looms Behind Delay of South Korea-Japan Military Deal

South Korea has put off signing a military deal with Japan that would have seen the countries sharing more information. Despite important mutual interests, the shadow cast by history makes for a troubled relationship.

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae said that the government had been asked to delay the signing of the agreement only hours before it was due to take place in Tokyo.

The request came from South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party. The deal, known as the South Korea-Japan General Security of Military Information Agreement, allows for the sharing of military intelligence on North Korea.

“It seems that the big thing they wanted to share was satellite imagery of North Korea and its nuclear sites,” said Jason Strother, DW correspondent in South Korea.

The presidential cabinet had approved the signing of the agreement on Tuesday, with the assembly still in recess. Japan’s government sanctioned it on Friday. But in a country where memories of a decades-long Japanese occupation still run deep, the policy soon attracted criticism.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Japan: Record High Radiation Levels Detected at Fukushima Reactor

TEPCO engineers reportedly gathered samples from the basement after inserting a camera and consulting measuring instruments through a drain hole located in the ceiling of the basement.

The company said radiation levels above radiation-contaminated water in the basement measured as high as 10,300 millisievert per hour — a dose plenty high enough to kill human beings in short order after making them sick within minutes.

Radiation levels even higher than anticipated

Put another way, the annual allowable dose for plant workers at the site is reached in just 20 seconds. One report said the dose was enough to kill humans in less than an hour.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Burch Defends Mosque Consultation

ACT Multicultural Affairs Minister Joy Burch has defended the public consultation process surrounding a mosque in Canberra’s north, and urged opponents to have their say through official channels. Thirty people attended a closed door meeting in Gungahlin on Sunday after a flyer was distributed by a group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Canberra. Labor backbencher John Hargreaves has described the flyer as a KKK attack on the Muslim community.

Ms Burch says no one from the Government was invited to attend the meeting. “The tone of this flyer is most unfortunate,” she said.

“I certainly wouldn’t go as far as Mr Hargreaves but the tone of the flyer where it makes an inference that they’re not going to be good neighbours because they haven’t spoken to people and they have, and then they carry on their communication behind closed doors, is of concern to me. If you’ve got legitimate concerns then stand up and have the conversation.”

Ms Burch has asked the Human Rights Commission to investigate the flyer. “I am more than happy to stand up and say this government is behind the development of a mosque in Gungahlin and that’s why I’ve indicated I’ll refer it to the Human Rights Commission,” she said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘Racist’ Mosque Pamphlet Probed

The ACT government will refer a pamphlet opposing the construction of a mosque in Gungahlin to the Human Rights Commission for investigation amid concerns that the flyer was racially motivated. The flyer was distributed to Gungahlin residents this week, urging them to oppose the development on The Valley Avenue because of its “social impact” and raising concerns about traffic and noise, “public interest” and size. In a multi-party post-budget estimates hearing yesterday, Labor backbencher John Hargreaves said the pamphlet should be “condemned by the entire community of Canberra as a KKK attack on the Muslim community”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Julian Mann: Jesus and the GCSE Generation

Julian Mann has been vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire since 2000. Before getting ordained he was a reporter for Retail Week. He is married to Lisa and they have four teenage sons.

A survey of Christian knowledge in a local community has exposed disturbing ignorance of the basics in teenagers of the GCSE generation. The ‘Jesus Survey’ is an idea that originates in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney as an unthreatening form of evangelism. It involves asking respondents a series of factual questions about Jesus with the offer of a copy of a canonical Gospel at the end of the interview.

I have adapted the survey for use in the South Yorkshire parish where I serve as an Anglican vicar and have been asking non church-going parishioners who they thought Jesus was historically, what his message was, whether it differed from that of other religious teachers such as Muhammed or Buddha and finally why they thought Jesus got killed.

Because pupils from the local comprehensive are currently off school having recently finished their GCSEs, most of the day-time interviewees were teenagers. Whilst most had a very vague idea of what Jesus’ message was and no idea why he was crucified, they were agreed on this: his message did not substantially differ from that of Buddha or Muhammed. This would lend grass-roots support to the view that religious education under the GCSE regime since the late 1980s has been greatly more successful in inculcating the idea that the world religions are spiritually and morally homogeneous than in teaching the actual content of their various beliefs.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

9 Workers Butchered at Nigeria Mosque

Unknown assailants have slit the throats of nine construction workers at a mosque in the northeastern Nigeria city of Maiduguri, the Army says. The men, who were working on the Shehu of Borno Central Mosque in the city, were butchered at about 01:45 a.m. local time (0045 GMT) on Monday, said a statement from the Nigerian military’s Joint Task Force (JTF), AFP reported. “JTF troops rushed to the area/compound and saw the dead bodies and they were deposited at the mortuary Borno State Specialist Hospital,” the statement added. No further details have surfaced regarding the victims, and no one has yet claimed responsibility for the bloodshed. The Army has blamed the attack on “terrorists,” without naming any party in particular.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘Iran Agents Planned to Hit US and British Targets in Kenya’

Two Iranian agents arrested with explosives planned to attack US, British, Israeli or Saudi Arabian targets in Kenya, officials have claimed.

Officials told the Associated Press news agency that the plot appears to fit into a global pattern of attacks or attempted attacks by Iranian agents, mostly against Israeli interests.

Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi were arrested last week with 33 pounds of RDX, a powerful explosive, in the coastal city of Mombasa. Several hotels on the coast are Israeli-owned. One official said the Iranians are members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, an elite and secretive unit. Mohammad last week said the two were interrogated by Israeli agents, a claim that, if true, would suggest security officials believe the Iranians might have been targeting an Israeli-owned property. Iranian agents are suspected in several attacks or thwarted attacks around the globe over the last year, including in Azerbaijan, Thailand and India. Most of the plots had connections to Israeli targets. Several resorts on Kenya’s coast are Israeli-owned. Militants in 2002 bombed an Israeli-owned luxury hotel near Mombasa, killing 13 people. The militants also tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner at the same time. An al-Qaeda operative was linked to those attacks.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Islamist Rebels Smash ‘Pearl of the Desert’

Despite international condemnation, Islamic militants in Mali continue to destroy historic sites in the city of Timbuktu. The International Criminal Court has described the destruction as a war crime.

It was supposed to be business as usual when representatives of the UN cultural organization UNESCO met in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on Saturday. They were to decide which places around the globe should be recognized as World Heritage Sites.

Then the news broke that Islamic rebels had started destroying ancient religious sites in the West African city of Timbuktu, which had been declared a World Heritage Site in 1988.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kenyan Muslims, Christians Vow to Prevent Violence

Kenyan clerics across the religious divide vowed Tuesday to not allow sectarian violence to erupt following attacks on churches over the weekend that killed at least 15 people.

The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya said Muslims will form vigilante groups alongside Christians to guard churches in Kenya’s North Eastern Province, where the latest attacks occurred.

Adan Wachu, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims and the chairman of Inter-Religious Council, said the weekend attacks, which are being blamed on an al-Qaida-linked militant group from Somalia, are meant to trigger sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims.

Wachu said clerics will actively preach against retaliation to prevent violence from spreading in Kenya like it has in Nigeria, where attacks on churches by a Muslim sect has ignited a spiral of violence

“This is not a religious war and it has to be addressed from a different paradigm shift,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Muslim Terrorists Kill 17 in Church Massacre

by Michael Carl

‘The Islamic radicals are growing bolder in their anti-Christian attacks’

Reports say the group killed the two soldiers guarding the Africa Inland Church, then entered the church and opened fire on the congregation. Church pastor Ibrahim Magunyi was quoted in a press statement saying others may succumb to injuries. “Many people were injured and rushed to Garissa Provincial hospital. More people might die as the undergo treatment,” Magunyi said in the statement. International Christian Concern’s Africa specialist Jonathan Racho says that al-Shabaab is targeting Kenya.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Uganda: Muslims Evicted From Mosque

Business in Soroti town came to standstill yesterday morning as the Police battled the Muslim community who were resisting eviction from Taqwa Mosque. Court bailiffs went to evict Muslims from the mosque for failure to pay rent. The row that started at around 7:00am, lasted for about four hours. The mid-eastern regional Police spokesperson, Juma Hassan Nyene, said the building that housed the mosque belongs to the Aga Khan. The rowdy Muslims poured fuel believed to be avigas (fuel for aircraft) around the mosque, threatening to set it ablaze. The protestors, armed with hammers, stones, bricks, bows and arrows, chanted “Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar (God is great)!” while trying to take their property back into the mosque after the bailiffs had thrown it out.

Police fired teargas to disperse the protesting Muslims who wanted to burn the mosque. By press time, three Muslims whose identities could not be readily established had been whisked away in a Police patrol vehicle.”These people had intentions to burn the town, so we intervened,” said the Soroti district Police commander, Richard Aruk Maruk. “The eviction was lawful but the Muslims resisted, it and turned rowdy. “This prompted the Police to intervene to quell the situation,” Nyene added. He said the Aga Khan was demanding over sh30m in rent arrears since 2005. Efforts to get comments from the Muslim leadership in the area were futile as they took off after the Police fired teargas.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Croatia Rescues 65 Migrants at Sea

Croatia’s coast guard Monday rescued 65 immigrants in the south Adriatic. The immigrants, from Somalia, Egypt, Syria and Afghanistan, were heading to Italy but got in trouble when their boat broke down. The coast guard have yet to decide whether or not to haul the boat from international waters.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

BRAVE Attacks Marriage Hastening Demographic Winter

The movie BRAVE tells the story of a young princess in Scotland who will do anything not to get married, including go to a witch to cast a heinous spell on her own mother who is the Queen. This self-defeating and unnatural message is being pushed by Pixar and the Walt Disney Company at a time when Europe is facing demographic winter. This is very irresponsible.

Several of us have just returned from speaking and teaching in Europe. In many countries, marriage is dismissed and demeaned. As a result, the very survival of these people groups is in question.

An article in the Christian Telegraph sets forth the extent of the problem.

According to a report recently released by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical service, the number of deaths will exceed the number of births by 2015, only three years from now! Also, by 2060, the ratio of working age people to people over 65 will be two to one.

The Christian Telegraph continues:…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Down With Secularism!

We all think it’s a good idea to keep religion away from politics, don’t we? Richard Smyth begs to differ

It compromises democracy, it promotes and rewards hypocrisy and doublethink, it reflects a crippling failure of imagination on the part of its proponents and it’s founded on principles that are cynical, unempathetic and deeply un-humanist. It’s called secularism, and I think it stinks. You may disagree. In which case, you may wish to say so. And this is where we run up face-first against the tenets of common-or-garden modern liberalism. The liberal lawyer David Allen Green recently articulated this position perfectly in 140 characters or less: “If you don’t want to have abortion, don’t have one; not want gay marriage, don’t have one; but you have no right imposing views on others.” Which is exactly what I mean by a failure of imagination.

Every citizen has every right to impose his or her views on others — and every other citizen has an equal right to tell him or her to take a running jump.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Gay Cruise Ship Turned Away by Morocco Docks in Spain

The cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam, on its present voyage catering to a gay clientele, docked Sunday in the southern Spanish port of Malaga after Moroccan authorities prohibited it from making its scheduled port of call in Casablanca.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Secularism Versus Democracy

Can you guess which publication the following came from?

“It compromises democracy, it promotes and rewards hypocrisy and doublethink, it reflects a crippling failure of imagination on the part of its proponents and it’s founded on principles that are cynical, unempathetic and deeply un-humanist. It’s called secularism, and I think it stinks.”

Was it, perhaps, the Catholic Herald, the Baptist Times or even the Al-Qa’eda Gazette? Nope, none of those. It was an opinion piece by Richard Smyth for the New Humanist, an organ of the Rationalist Association. So, why would an outspoken atheist be so opposed to secularism? It’s not because he’s one of those high church unbelievers with a penchant for the Common Book of Prayer, rather it’s because he’s a democrat:

“The basic premise of secularism is that religion should be kept out of politics… My premise is that people who get things wrong should be kept out of politics.

“How is that to be done? Why, by not voting for them, of course. Not by erecting self-serving and undemocratic Chinese walls between ‘church’ and ‘state’, ‘religion’ and ‘politics’.”

This is a really important point. Like it or not, we live in a plural society — in which different groups and individuals hold different, often conflicting, values. Not so long ago, the response of the liberal left to this state of affairs was to make us celebrate diversity for its own sake. But in more recent years (and especially since 9/11) we’ve seen a different, more intolerant attitude. Instead of allowing culture clashes to be settled at the ballot box (or through other public choice mechanisms ) aggressive secularists would like to exclude certain worldviews from the public square altogether — the democratic equivalent of pre-match fixing.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


The Global Boom in Wind Energy

Wind energy provides 3 percent of the global demand for electricity and will soon be delivering more electricity than nuclear power plants. Investment last year amounted to 50 million euros.

Wind energy is booming around the world. In Spain and Denmark, wind energy provides 20 percent of the electricity supply and in Germany 10 percent. Experts predict that the figure will rise to between 20 and 25 percent in Germany by 2020.

According to statistics released by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), wind turbines with a total output capacity of around 40 gigawatts were newly deployed last year. By the end of 2011, global output was around 237 gigawatts. This equates to the energy output of around 280 nuclear power plants. To compare: there are currently some 380 nuclear power plants around the world — but that’s a figure which will diminish as nuclear power plants are decommissioned over the next few years.

The increase in capacity is proceeding quickly: every year there are 20 percent more turbines and the WWEA forecasts that output will quadruple to over 1,000 gigawatts by 2020.

Chinais taking a leading role in this process: in 2011, almost half of the new capacity was created there and it’s now ahead of both the US and Germany as the leading wind-energy nation in absolute terms. But EU countries like Denmark, Spain and Germany beat China on wind energy per head.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UN Plans to Control the Arms Trade

The United Nations are negotiating a treaty to control the global arms trade for conventional weapons. Germany wants the regulations to cover the trade in small arms and ammunition.

The arms trade is, by its very nature, crisis-proof. Weapons manufacturers make more than six billion dollars a year from the sale of tanks and guns, ammunition and fighter jets. Dictators and conflict parties turn to the international market to supply the tools they need to wage wars, or oppress their people. Syria is one current example. The Assad regime is able to maintain its tyrannical rule thanks primarily to weapons imports from Russia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Why Smart People Are Stupid

by Jonah Lehrer

Here’s a simple arithmetic question: A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs ten cents. This answer is both obvious and wrong. (The correct answer is five cents for the ball and a dollar and five cents for the bat.)

For more than five decades, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton, has been asking questions like this and analyzing our answers. His disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way we think about thinking. While philosophers, economists, and social scientists had assumed for centuries that human beings are rational agents-reason was our Promethean gift-Kahneman, the late Amos Tversky, and others, including Shane Frederick (who developed the bat-and-ball question), demonstrated that we’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]