Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120730

Financial Crisis
»Corruption and Nepotism Haunt Southern Europe
»Lega Nord Says Strong Govt Needed to Beat Speculation
»Frank Gaffney: Anderson Cooper Crosses the Line
»Hundreds of Jacksonville Muslims Break Fast Together at Islamic Center
»Like Shooting and Hate Flies? This Might be the Gift for You — A Shotgun That Blasts Insects With Table-Salt
»Sharia Law, Super PACs Roil GOP Primary
»White House Admits it Did Return Winston Churchill Bust to Britain
»Worrying About an Influx of Muslims
Europe and the EU
»British Government to Allow Abu Hamza to Return
»German Government: New Coal and Gas Power Stations Needed
»Ireland: Lucky to be Alive After Bottle Attack Yards From Home
»Italy: Raid by GDF in Genoa: 78% of Shops Don’t Issue Sales Check
»UK: An Insider’s Exposé of Islamist Extremism
»UK: Councillor Hussain Should Resign
»UK: Expansion Plan for Blackburn Mosque
»UK: London 2012: How the Olympics Suckered the Left
»UK: Ministers ‘Pushed for Changes’ To Opening Ceremony
»UK: Olympics Opening Ceremony: Liberty Forgotten
»UK: Shouting ‘Fire!’ at the Policemen’s Ball
»Will the Portuguese be Extinct by 2204?
»Terzi Reiterates Importance of Partnership With Belgrade
North Africa
»Tunisia: Hardline Islam Threatens Democracy Gains
Middle East
»British Islamic Fanatics Blamed for Syria Kidnap
»Lebanon: Dispute Between Hezbollah, Sunni Endowment Over Baalbek Mosque
»Muslim Tourists to Spend $192 Billion Globally by 2020: Study
»Syria: France to Call Emergency UN Security Council Meeting
»Syria: ‘Militiamen Assassinate Top Pilot in Damascus’
»Yemen: Italian Paramilitary Police Officer Abducted in Capital
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Mosque Explosion Kill 5 People in Uruzgan Province
»Revolution of Nepalese Women: From Slavery of Hindu Culture to Flying Planes
»US Drone Kills Seven Militants in Pakistan
Sub-Saharan Africa
»26 Militants Killed in Deadly Somali Fighting, Says Official
»Battle Near Kano’s Mosque in Nigeria: Boko Haram Suspected
»Mali: Islamists: Couple in Northern Mali Stoned to Death
»Mali: Islamists Stone Unmarried Couple in Aguelhok
»Nigeria: Army Distributes Security Devices to Mosques, Churches
»South Africa: Political Murders — It’s About the Dough
»Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni Warns of Ebola Threat
Latin America
»Luis Fleischmann: The Salvadorian Constitutional Crisis, Democracy and the International Community
»Mexican Newspaper Attacked for Third Time in a Month
»Chinese Immigrants Finding Their Digs in Italian Textile Town of Prato
Culture Wars
»UK: Opening Ceremony Was a Trojan Horse for Socialist Values, Says Labour MP

Financial Crisis

Corruption and Nepotism Haunt Southern Europe

Jobs for your friends, contracts for your relatives, cash handouts for everyone: that’s how politics works in Sicily. Now the island is on the verge of bankruptcy. It’s an example of the underlying problem plaguing many parts of the southern European countries now struggling to contain the euro crisis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Lega Nord Says Strong Govt Needed to Beat Speculation

(AGI) Appiano Gentile — Lega Nord federal secretary Maroni said “any other government would be better than the one in office”.

“Speculation can be beaten with a strong and influential government, which means not with a government of technocrats, but with one elected by the people”, Roberto Maroni said shortly after arriving at the Lega Nord meeting in Appiano Gentile, in the province of Como, to take part in a rally.

“This is why we are calling for Monti to quit right now and for early elections to be held”, Maroni added.

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


Frank Gaffney: Anderson Cooper Crosses the Line

Anderson Cooper closed one of five segments of his weeknightly CNN show that he recently devoted to attacking principally Rep. Michele Bachmann with a genuflection towards an iconic newsman, Edward R. Murrow. He deployed against her the gauntlet Murrow threw down to Sen. Joseph McCarthy in March 1954: “The line between investigating and persecuting is a [very] fine one.” If anyone has stepped over that line, however, it is Cooper himself, rather than the Minnesota congresswoman.

Night after night during the week of July 16th, the host of “Anderson Cooper 360” failed to meet even the most basic standards of investigative journalism. The irony is that, in his ill-concealed persecution of Mrs. Bachmann, Cooper has serially engaged in precisely the practices he pillories her and others for allegedly using, by his account, to destroy the reputation of the Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Muslim-American woman named Huma Abedin. Let us count the ways:

Anderson Cooper insists that Michele Bachmann (who he singles out for most of his criticism, despite the fact that she was but one of five Members of Congress to raise concerns not only about Ms. Abedin’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, but those of a number of others the Obama administration has enlisted as officials, advisors and/or liaisons to “the Muslim community”) failed to do her homework. Yet, Cooper repeatedly showed his ignorance of the extensive evidence cited by the legislators, even as he mentioned the website where some of it resides: the Center for Security Policy’s online video course at…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Hundreds of Jacksonville Muslims Break Fast Together at Islamic Center

The Muslim community talks about traditions at an event at the Islamic Center.

When Shakur Bolden first accepted Islam 30 years ago, he didn’t think much of the fasting during Ramadan. These days, Bolden said he realizes the tradition is much more demanding. Before a crowd of nearly 100 people, Bolden and several members of Jacksonville’s Muslim community discussed what Ramadan means to them. For Bolden, it meant abstaining from eating even when his parents, who are Christian, are celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. The discussion was part of a panel held at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida. The center held its “Sharing Ramadan” event Sunday, an event in which people of all faiths are invited to the center to learn about Muslim traditions.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Like Shooting and Hate Flies? This Might be the Gift for You — A Shotgun That Blasts Insects With Table-Salt

Fundraising websites — which raises funds for products through crowd-sourcing — have raised money for some very noble causes.

Whether this is one of them or not might depend on how you feel about killing insects, for avowed fly-hater Lorenzo Maggiore is seeking $15,000 for his ‘Fly Shotgun’, which uses nothing more than common table-salt to blast those pesky creatures into the next life.

He is using fundraising site IndieGoGo to get his product on the shelves, with a fully-featured ‘BugASalt’ prototype already proving its worth in the age-old Man vs Fly battle.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sharia Law, Super PACs Roil GOP Primary

Tennessee multimillionaire Andy Miller has been warning for years about the lurking threat he says Sharia law poses to America. But this summer, his anti-Islam campaign has become the main act of a riveting Middle Tennessee congressional race, as Miller has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a pair of super PACs aiming to take out GOP freshman Rep. Diane Black in her Thursday primary. Black’s sin, according to Miller, is not taking the danger of Islam seriously enough. And he has found an ideological soul mate in Lou Ann Zelenik, a tea party activist and former construction company executive who lost to Black in 2010 by a mere 283 votes.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

White House Admits it Did Return Winston Churchill Bust to Britain

Barack Obama’s White House has been forced to admit that it did return a bust of Sir Winston Churchill to British diplomats, after describing such claims as “100 per cent false”.

Aides to Mr Obama were furious after The Daily Telegraph disclosed last week that Mitt Romney planned to restore the Jacob Epstein sculpture to its home under George W Bush from 2001 to 2009. “I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again,” the Republican challenger confirmed at a fund-raiser at London’s Mandarin Oriental hotel. Dan Pfeiffer, the President’s communications director, said in a statement that widespread reports of the bust being returned to Britain’s embassy in Washington as Mr Obama took office were untrue.

“This is 100 per cent false,” Mr Pfeiffer said. “The bust is still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room”. Illustrating his statement with a photograph of Mr Obama inspecting it with David Cameron in 2010, he added: “Hopefully this clears things up a bit and prevents folks from making this ridiculous claim again”. British officials were surprised by Mr Pfeiffer’s statement and photograph, however, because the bust now resides in the residence of Sir Peter Westmacott, Britain’s ambassador to the US. Further inquiries led to the discovery that there are, in fact, two matching Churchill busts by Epstein.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Worrying About an Influx of Muslims

by Rekha Basu

“Go to hell, Senator. It’s time for you to take your final dirt nap.” Those scathing words from an Arizona Tea Party leader last week weren’t slung at a Democrat touting health care reform. They were aimed at another Arizona Republican, Sen. John McCain. Wes Harris, who said them, is launching a petition drive to get McCain recalled. What has McCain done to invite such a crude and contemptible rebuke? He defended a longtime Hillary Clinton aide against a smear campaign. Huma Abedin is the Muslim, Michigan-born child of Indian and Pakistani parents and wife of former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

British Government to Allow Abu Hamza to Return

By Glen Jenvey London

In a shocking report publishing the terms of extradition of Abu Hamza To America for terrorism charges by the European Court of Human Rights it reveals that the British Government to secure Extradition with their American counterparts have to agree to terms that allow the Radical Muslim Al-qaeda cleric to return to the UK after any trial or sentence is finished, leaving the cleric free to resettle back into the UK preaching hate.

In the long report it says “The Government of the United States assures the Government of the United Kingdom that if Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, aka Abu Hamza is acquitted or has completed any sentence imposed or if the prosecution against him is discontinued, not pursued or ceases for whatever reason, United States authorities will return Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, aka Abu Hamza to the United Kingdom, if he so requests.”

The UK government asked for assures into the treatment of the Al-qaeda cleric who is charged with a string terrorist offences the British public will be up in arms when they learn this hate peddler will be welcome back into the UK by David Cameron Government, for years people across the UK have campaigned against the Radical cleric being allowed to preach his islamic hate messages.

Abu Hamza is a household name no one wants back in the UK once he is sent to American he should stay there and never return whichever Government is in power,the present agreements where Hamza is allowed to return to the UK are typical backroom political discussions kept from the general public as there will be uproar.

America also had to say the following on supermax prisons “The constitution of the United States of America guarantees not only ‘due process’, but it also prohibits ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. As part of the judicial process prisoners, including those incarcerated in Supermax prisons, are entitled to challenge the conditions in which they are confined, and these challenges have, on occasions, met with Hamza protested over being held in such a prison.but what is a supermax prison ?

There is no limit on inmates’ correspondence with family members and special administrative measures could be modified to allow correspondence beyond the immediate family. There were also no limits on correspondence with legal representatives and access to a law library for up to two hours at a time. Inmates received a free, daily copy of USA Today. They had access to fifty television channels and seven FM radio channels. They can speak to inmates in adjacent cells using the air ventilation as a voice conduit. They have regular contact with prison staff — a member of the Unit Team visited every inmate every day — and there are visits from medical, education, religious service and psychology staff, including two Arabic speakers. Inmates could request to speak with an officer at any time. so what was Hamza complaining at !

The Appeal still goes on at the European Court of Human Rights today as Abu Hamza has again put in a last minute appeal about being shipped out to America to face terrorism charges but will he return to the UK ? Lets all hope America gives him life without parole or he will be heading back to the UK to preach his Islamic hate messages.

           — Hat tip: GM[Return to headlines]

German Government: New Coal and Gas Power Stations Needed

(AGI) Berlin — Germany needs new coal and gas power stations in order to successfully complete a change in its energy system.

In an interview with Die Zeit, environment minister, Peter Altmeier (CDU), said that the German government’s aim is to reduce the country’s energy consumption by 10% in 2020 compared to 2008.

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

Ireland: Lucky to be Alive After Bottle Attack Yards From Home

THESE are the shocking injuries suffered by a young man in a savage, random attack on our streets. Kieran Broderick (25) was just yards from his home when he was viciously assaulted by a man armed with a heavy object. The young man feared for his life as he was knocked to the ground and beaten repeatedly.

As his assailtant hit him with what’s believed to have been a bottle tied in a sling, two men in the company of the attack stood by watching the incident. Kieran today tells how he pleaded with his attacker to stop but received several blows before he managed to flee.

It’s understood that one line of inquiry is that the trio had travelled from Dublin. Speaking to the Herald today, Kieran said he is “hopeful” the men will be caught. “It was a scary enough incident and the injuries were brutal. But I’m going to the doctor again this week and I’m on the mend,” he said.

“I was just minding my own business on my way home having returned from Dublin City. I was close to my home when I saw three black men walking towards me. When I was walking past them I felt a severe blow to my head and it knocked me to the ground,” he added.

A passerby who saw Kieran’s injuries immediately alerted the emergency services.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Raid by GDF in Genoa: 78% of Shops Don’t Issue Sales Check

(AGI) Genoa -78% of the retail shops in the province visited by the Guardia di Finanza during the weekend don’t issue sales checks. The figures are the outcome of a carpet control by the Genoa-based Guardia di Finanza during the weekend. 57 patrols (with 120 agents) checked 340 retail stores where they reported 267 cases of failure to issue the required sales-checks. A perfume shop even had a “ledger” of unrecorded revenue from 2007 to 2012. A crystal shop issued apparently lawful sales checks but were only kept for internal use. 14 shops concealed 17 illegal workers, including 10 Italians and 7 foreigners (6 non-EU nationals). Controls also focused on unauthorized stall-holders. During the controls, the Customs and Excise Police agents confiscated a total of 72,066 products with a counterfeit trademark, reported 8 non-EU citizens to the Judicial Authorities and seized 25,721 costume jewellery items non-compliant with the security standards established by Community legislation and therefore considered to be a potential health hazard. The impounding of counterfeit goods occurred in the city of Genoa and in the area of Tigullio and mainly involved footwear, hand-bags, glasses and a wide variety of leather goods.

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

UK: An Insider’s Exposé of Islamist Extremism

Charles Moore reviews Radical by Maajid Nawaz (W H Allen).

To the white majority, who even now think of this country as a placid place, it will seem extraordinary that the author of this dramatic memoir was born in Southend. Maajid Nawaz is still only in his mid-thirties. He was brought up in a prosperous, middle-class, anglophile household of Pakistani origin. In his teens, he became an Essex “b-boy”, and got into fights with Paki-bashing skinheads. In college in London, and later at its renowned School of Oriental and African Studies, he was an extreme Islamist activist. He was present when one of his fellow extremists stabbed an African student to death. He married at 21, and had a son.


It is also clear that, at almost every turn, those in authority in white Britain were grotesquely ignorant, overindulgent or just plain scared about what organisations like HT were up to. The liberal Left were particularly credulous: “How we Islamists laughed at their naivety.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Councillor Hussain Should Resign

The news that Labour councillor Aftab Hussain has been ‘promoted’ to Chairman of the Pennines Township Committee has outraged the people of Rochdale. Councillor Hussain gave a positive character reference for Abdul Qayyum, who was later convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. Hussain, however, remains in his role as a Labour councillor in the Firgrove and Smallbridge ward, and is now chairman of a township committee. A typical reaction from a local resident came from A Harris, who said: “It’s just Rochdale all over, it’s an absolute joke. He should have been sacked, never mind standing down. It infuriates me.”

We conducted a poll of councillors and asked them two questions:

  • Do you think Labour councillor Aftab Hussain should resign as a councillor?
  • Do you think Labour councillor Aftab Hussain should have been ‘promoted’ to Chairman of the Pennines Township Committee?

Of the 59 councillors questioned only seven were prepared to answer.

Of those seven (Conservative councillors Janet Darnborough, Ian Duckworth and Ann Metcalfe; Labour councillors Lil Murphy and Shaun O’Neill; Liberal Democrat councillors Dale Mulgrew and Hilary Rogers), six felt that Husaain should resign as a councillor and five that he should not have been ‘promoted’ to Chairman of Pennines Township Committee.

Councillor Ann Metcalfe gave her reasons saying: “After much consideration I certainly feel Councillor Aftab Hussain has been proved to have shown extremely poor judgment of character. On such a sensitive issue as the case in question, in my opinion, he should have had regard for the statements of the young girls. As councillors we all have a duty of care as Corporate Parents and to have taken sides in this way was insensitive and thoughtless.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Expansion Plan for Blackburn Mosque

One of Blackburn’s largest and oldest Mosques has applied for a major extension to improve facilities at its school for young Muslims. The Jaame Masjid in Cumberland Street wants to put up a new three storey building, a third-storey on an existing one, alter its entrance minarets and provide a bridge walkway from the upper car park to the first floor of the school. Started in 1962, the mosque had a major extension in 1995 and another in 1998. It now wants to improve facilities for the 405 students in its madrasa or religious school which provides evening, weekend and holiday classes for youngsters in Islamic teachings. There will be 16 new classrooms and a new library.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London 2012: How the Olympics Suckered the Left

by Andrew Gilligan

The London Olympics are the most Right-wing major event in Britain’s modern history. Billions of pounds are taken from poor and middle-income taxpayers and service users to build temples to a corporate and sporting elite. Democratic, grassroots sport is stripped of money to fund the most rarefied sport imaginable. The police and the state are turned into the enforcement arm of Coca-Cola. How did this event suddenly become the toast of the Left?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Ministers ‘Pushed for Changes’ To Opening Ceremony

Danny Boyle and Lord Coe faced pressure from Cabinet ministers to change elements of the controversial Olympic opening ceremony.

“Suggestions” were made after senior ministers saw a 20-minute video of highlights of rehearsals of the director’s Isles of Wonder spectacular — which won praise on Friday night for its eccentric celebration of British life. At a meeting around the turn of the year ministers were, bizarrely, asked to rate the video with marks out of 10 — at which point some objections were understood to have been made. In one account of the meeting Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, was said to have scored the ceremony just four out 10, a claim his spokesman denied last night. Mr Gove was also said to have objected to the absence of Winston Churchill from the ceremony.


[Reader comment from markfromleeds on 30 July 2012 at 3:10 am.]

The opening ceremony was a complete work of political fiction that Stalin or Goebbels would have been proud to produce (or the BBC). It did however give me a scary insight into the minds of our political elite who actually believe we live in this multicultural utopia. They must have been patting themselves on the back watching afar from the Ivory Towers when that production went live on air. Meanwhile, in the real world! I get to live with the consequences of an open door immigration policy on a daily basis and it’s not mixed race families dancing around all happy like on that stage. The whole production was just un-British. All our great history and they produce that! No wonder we don’t have any pride in ourselves or our country.

[Reader comment from Nicholas Greg on 29 July 2012 at 4:18 pm.]

Could the producers of the opening ceremony make sure that there are more ethnic faces actually watching the events. There were very few at the side of the road when the cyclists passed by.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Olympics Opening Ceremony: Liberty Forgotten

by Bruce Bawer

The Olympics hadn’t even started yet when the disgraces began to pile up. First the International Olympic Committee, plainly loath to offend Muslim governments, ruled out a moment of silence at the opening ceremony for the Israeli athletes murdered in Munich forty years ago. Then last Wednesday, when South Korea’s flag was mistakenly displayed instead of North Korea’s at a women’s soccer game, Olympics officials fell all over themselves apologizing to baby tyrant Kim Jung-un’s henchmen for the error. On the same day, it emerged that Taiwan’s flag, which has been barred from Olympic venues since the 1980s for fear of offending Communist China, was also removed, on the advice of the same Olympics officials, from a display on Regent Street in downtown London — that is to say, not at an Olympic venue. And on Friday, hours before the opening ceremony, Lebanon’s judo team refused to share a training space with its Israeli counterpart — so officials, rather than telling the Lebanese to go peddle their papers, obligingly put up some kind of screen to separate them from the offending Jews.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Shouting ‘Fire!’ at the Policemen’s Ball

In Britain, if a member of the public essays a mild jest about bombs or terrorism to the authorities, he faces seven years in jail. But, if a Muslim police officer does it in Dorset, where Olympic events are being held and where the constabulary is stretched to the limit by the biggest security operation in years, it just shows what a great sense of humor the guy has:


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Will the Portuguese be Extinct by 2204?

Expresso Lisbon

Portugal is being emptied of its population. Its people are getting older, the birth rate is falling and immigration is receding. And that’s without the added pressure of the crisis which is pushing young graduates to seek a better future abroad.

João Silvestre

The headline is deliberately provocative. It is also an exaggeration, but the goal is to call attention to a serious threat facing Portugal. For if the Portuguese population fell in 2010 and again in 2011, there is every indication that this trend will continue. Over the past two years, between a negative natural balance (the difference between the number of births and of deaths) and a negative migration balance (the difference between the number of people immigrating and those emigrating), Portugal has lost 85,000 inhabitants.

Population levels had not dropped since the 1990s. The natural balance was negative once in 2007 but that was compensated for by the rate of immigration. The shift towards a long-term trend came in 2010. There is a series of bad news on the demographic front, be it in terms of birth rates or of migratory flows.

Foreigners returning to home countries

According to the latest available data (based on the number of Gutherie tests made on new born babies), a drop in the birth rate is expected this year. In 2011, 97,000 births were registered in the country, the lowest figure in decades and it could fall further in 2012, to 89,000.

At the same time, the number of deaths has always exceeded 100,000 per year — 104,000 on average since 2007. These figures negatively affect the natural balance which was -6,000 in 2011 and could fall to -12,000 this year if the trend, is confirmed…

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


Terzi Reiterates Importance of Partnership With Belgrade

(AGI) Belgrade — After a long meeting with the newly elected Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, sworn in on Friday, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi reiterated the importance of having a strategic partnership with Belgrade. The Minister had also met with President Tomislav Nikolic, and also added that “Italy was the first to untiringly support the need for Serbia to have candidate status for the E.U.,” and now that this had been achieved, “We hope that negotiations for Belgrade’s membership will start very soon. Terzi added that this process will be developed on the basis of reform in Serbia and continuity in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on Kosovo. . .

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

North Africa

Tunisia: Hardline Islam Threatens Democracy Gains

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Thousands of hardcore Muslims chant against Jews. Youths rampage through cities at night in protest of “blasphemous” art. A sit-in by religious students degenerates into fist fights and the desecration of Tunisia’s flag. In the birthplace of the Arab Spring, the transition from dictatorship to democracy has been mostly smoother than in neighboring countries, with no power-hungry military or armed militias to stifle the process. But as a moderate Islamist party rules with the help of secular forces, an unexpected threat has emerged: the increasing boldness of ultraconservative Muslims known loosely as Salafis, who want to turn this North African country of 10 million into a strict Islamic state.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

British Islamic Fanatics Blamed for Syria Kidnap

BRITISH Muslim extremists are infiltrating the uprising in Syria with gunmen drawn from London and Birmingham, it emerged yesterday.

The revelation came after British journalist John Cantlie was released by members of the Free Syrian Army after being kidnapped by “foreign jihadists” in Syria earlier this month.

Mr Cantlie was blindfolded and repeatedly threatened with death by a group whose members had distinctive Birmingham and South London accents.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Lebanon: Dispute Between Hezbollah, Sunni Endowment Over Baalbek Mosque

A mosque in the Bekaa Valley city of Baalbek has become the center of controversy between a Sunni endowment and Lebanon’s Shia group Hezbollah, An-Nahar newspaper reported Monday.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslim Tourists to Spend $192 Billion Globally by 2020: Study

Global spending by Muslim tourists is expected to reach $192 billion a year by 2020, claimed a new study cited by AFP on Monday, with the growing affluence of Muslims in the Middle East set to spark a boom in Muslim travel over the next decade. According to Singapore-based halal travel specialist Crescentrating and US-based firm DinarStandard, who tracks the Muslim lifestyle market, Muslims in the Middle East are now travelling like never before, with other Muslim-majority states such as Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia seen as popular destinations.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: France to Call Emergency UN Security Council Meeting

(AGI) Paris — France, which will take over the United Nations Security Council rotating presidency in August, will call an emergency meeting of foreign ministers, said French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius. Mr Fabius said he would chair the meeting himself and that it had to be held not only to stop the “massacre” in Aleppo and in the rest of the country, but also to prepare for the political transition in Damascus.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: ‘Militiamen Assassinate Top Pilot in Damascus’

Damascus, 30 July (AKI) — Militiamen on Monday killed Syrian airline pilot Faris Ibrahim al-Safi in a dawn ambush on his car as he drove to Damascus airport, satellite TV network al-Maiadin reported.

Al-Safi was a union representative for the national carrier and was considered one of the top pilots in Syria’s civil aviation sector.

His was due to be buried Monday in his native city Latikiya, on the northwestern Syrian coast.

Al-Safi’s father Imad Ibrahim Safi held senior military posts during the rule of authoritarian Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s late father Hafez al-Assad.

Rebels seeking to end the decades-long rule of the Assad family are mired in a 16-month conflict with the army. Opposition groups estimate 19,000 people have been killed in the conflict which the Red Cross has described as a civil war.

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

Yemen: Italian Paramilitary Police Officer Abducted in Capital

Rome and Sanaa, 30 July (AKI) — Diplomats are working to secure the release of an Italian paramilitary policeman kidnapped in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday, Italy’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The safe release of the 29-year-old Carabiniere police officer named as Alessandro S. was the Italian government’s top priority, foreign minister Giulio Terzi told his Yemeni counterpart Abu Bakr al Qirbi by phone on Sunday.

“Al Qirbi confirmed his government’s total willingness to give its full cooperation to achieve a positive outcome to the incident and said his country’s police and intelligence services had immediately been ordered to follow the case extremely closely,” the Italian foreign ministry statement said.

Al-Qirbi said the kidnapping was an illegal and un-Islamic act that all Yemenis condemned, Yemen’s Saba news agency reported.

Terzi has assured Yemen’s president Abdo Rabbo Mansour and his government of Rome’s full backing for the fight against terrorism and crime, according to Saba.

Alessandro S. was seized as he was shopping in an area of Sanaa close to the Italian embassy, where he heads the embassy’s security detail.

Yemeni security services believe a criminal gang is behind the kidnapping, which has not been claimed by any jihadist group or by local tribesmen.

Kidnappings of foreigners are common in Yemen, both by criminal gangs demanding a ransom and by disgruntled tribesmen seeking concessions from the central government.

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

South Asia

Afghanistan: Mosque Explosion Kill 5 People in Uruzgan Province

According to local authorities in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan, at least five people including an Afghan judge was killed following an explosion in this province. The officials further added the incident took place early Monday morning in Tarinkot district after an explosive device went off in a mosque, killing the Afghan judge Taj Mohammad and four civilians.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Revolution of Nepalese Women: From Slavery of Hindu Culture to Flying Planes

Until a few decades ago, women were burned on the pyre of their deceased husband as a gesture of submission. Their emancipation is the visible sign a secular state and the presence of associations for women’s rights in the territory. The story of Anusha Udas, a girl of 22 who become pilot thanks to perseverance and family support.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — For centuries relegated to the margins of society and considered inferior to men, Nepali women have succeeded in emancipating themselves during these years of secular democracy. Some of them now occupy important positions once unthinkable and this is due to the gradual opening of the country to foreign organizations and associations for women’s rights.

Anusha Udas, 22, works as a co-pilot for Fishtail Air, a small Nepalese airline. The girl is among 28 women pilots employed in about 400 airports and runways spread across the country, where the airplane is one of the main means of transport.

The young woman says: “As soon as I saw a plane take off into the sky at a speed that I had never seen before, I knew I was destined to fly. My heart started pounding and that was a sign to me, so I decided to follow my dream. “ To achieve this dream, Udas faced the harsh dictates of the Hindu society of Nepal, where until a few decades ago Sati-pratha was practiced, where widows were burned on the funeral pyre of their husband.

Unlike other families, the girl’s parents are part of a more open generation. They have lived through the period of civil war between the monarchy and the Maoists that in 2007 led to the fall of the Hindu kingdom and the proclamation of a secular state. However, Udas also needed to great perseverance and determination to convince her father to send to her to South Africa for a pilot’s course. In Nepal there are no schools of aviation, the only option is to go abroad, with costs which may extend to 58 thousand dollars.

After the course, Udas returned to Nepal in search of work, knocking on the doors of all the airlines in the country, only to hear each and every time that this was not a woman’s work, flying is too strenuous. After nine months of repeated disappointments, Fishtail Air, a small short-staffed local transport company took her on and in a short time she became a co-pilot. “Now my dream is to become a captain — she says — the next goal is to reach the thousands of flight hours required by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

Born in the 50s, the Nepal Air Force has always been a place for men only. The first woman to enroll in a course for pilots was Prabha Vaidya in 1979. The course was organized by the Canadian government, which had offered the opportunity to train Nepalese pilots. Vaidya presented herself along with 24 other candidates, but her application was denied because of her gender. She never became a pilot, but was the first woman air traffic controller in the history of Nepal.

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

US Drone Kills Seven Militants in Pakistan

A US drone attack Sunday killed at least seven militants in Pakistan, officials said, days before the country’s intelligence chief visits Washington with the contentious raids likely to be discussed. Attacks by unmanned American aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but US officials are said to believe the attacks are too important to give up.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

26 Militants Killed in Deadly Somali Fighting, Says Official

Mogadishu — At least 26 Al shabab militants have been killed and many others were injured in a deadly battle between pro-government soldiers with the backing of Kenyan military and Al shabab, a governor said on Sunday. Mohamed Abdikalil, Gedo governor says that fierce clashes in Somalia’s southwestern state of Ged have killed at least 26 Al-Qaeda-allied Al shabab militants. The combat raged on for several hours and the town is under government control, according to locals.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Battle Near Kano’s Mosque in Nigeria: Boko Haram Suspected

(AGI) Kano — More violence in Northern Nigeria: a real battle took place near a mosque in Kano and two gunshots caused 8 casualties at least. It is not clear who is behind these attacks which occurred in the largest city in the main Muslim area of the country, but similar attacks were led by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the past. The most severe incident happened on Sunday night when a number of armed men opened fire in an area surrounding a mosque which was full of worshippers praying for the Ramadan.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mali: Islamists: Couple in Northern Mali Stoned to Death

A spokesman for the radical Islamic group controlling northern Mali says a couple who had an adulterous relationship was stoned to death this weekend in the town of Aguelhok.

Sanda Abou Mohamed, a spokesman for the group Ansar Dine, told The Associated Press by telephone on Sunday that the couple was executed according to Shariah law.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mali: Islamists Stone Unmarried Couple in Aguelhok

(AGI) Bamako — The Islamists occupying northern Mali have stoned an unmarried couple before a crowd of 200 people.

Offical sources made the report. The execution took place Sunday in the city of Aguelhok. “I was there. The Islamists brought the couple to the center of Aguelhok. The put them in two holes and there they hit them with rocks until they died,” a local official reported. A second functionary confirmed the incident. The Al Qaedist militants have occupied the north of Mali since the end of March. In recent months they have sewn terror in the ancient caravan city of Timbuktu’, destroying the most important mausoleums of the Muslim saints.

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

Nigeria: Army Distributes Security Devices to Mosques, Churches

The Nigerian Army has distributed 162 vehicle-stoppers to mosques and churches in Abuja as part of measures to protect places of worship against attack. A total of 18 religious insti-tutions consisting of nine mosques and churches were given the equipment during a brief ceremony at the army headquarters in Abuja. The Army Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, Major General Bitrus Kwaji, said the stoppers were made by the army engineers and that they were “so unique and can stop any vehicle that comes in contact with them from any direction.” He said the innovation was to bar suspected bombers from reaching their targets.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Africa: Political Murders — It’s About the Dough

Johannesburg — Political killings in South Africa are not about political dominance but about getting to the trough first. “Some of these guys literally come out of severe poverty and if they get kicked out they will be back there.” said deputy CEO of the SA Institute of Race Relations Frans Cronje. “The stakes are high… it’s about money.” The number of politicians murdered the past five years has escalated, especially between 2010 and 2012. KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga seem to be the worst affected — with 41 and five killed respectively.

Around the country, at least 46 officials from various political parties have been gunned down around the country.






           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni Warns of Ebola Threat

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has called on people to avoid physical contact, after the deadly Ebola virus spread to the capital, Kampala.

Fourteen people have died, including one in Kampala, since the outbreak began in western Uganda three weeks ago, he said in a special broadcast.

Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases in the world. It is spread by close personal contact and kills up to 90% of those who become infected.

Mr Museveni said health officials were trying to trace everyone who had had contact with victims so that they could be quarantined. People should avoid shaking hands, kissing or having sex to prevent the disease from spreading, he added.

Mr Museveni said relatives and friends should not bury anyone who is suspected to have died of Ebola. “Instead call health workers because they know how to do it,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Luis Fleischmann: The Salvadorian Constitutional Crisis, Democracy and the International Community

Last month El Salvador experienced one of its most dramatic constitutional crises of the past 20 years.

It began when the Constitutional Chamber of the country declared as unconstitutional all the appointments of Supreme Court judges made in 2006 and 2012. The rationale for this decision was that the Legislature that made these appointments had already done so once before at the beginning of the legislative session. The chamber ruled that these second appointments were unconstitutional. The ruling also included another decision that declared unconstitutional the Legislature’s initiative to transfer the current president of the Supreme Court to another chamber and ordered the president to keep his position as President until the end of his term.

The Chamber had ordered the current Legislature to elect judges for nine years and also provided instructions to the Legislature on how to proceed in the future with regard to Supreme Court appointments. Such guidance by the Constitutional Chamber included elements such as transparency, access to information to citizens regarding the qualifications of the nominees; and documented information on the nominees so that the government could justify these appointments on the basis of merit and achievements.

These developments prompted the government of President Mauricio Funes of the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Party (FMLN) to refuse to accept the ruling. Funes proceeded to mobilize national as well as international support against the Supreme Court decision…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Mexican Newspaper Attacked for Third Time in a Month

The offices of a major Mexican newspaper were attacked on Sunday for the third time in a month.

Several masked, armed men broke into a branch office of the El Norte newspaper near the northern city of Monterrey, poured out gasoline and ignited it. The newspaper’s website said none of the 15 people working in the Sierra Madre office were injured. Firefighters in the municipality of San Pedro Garza Garcia quickly extinguished the blaze. Monterrey-based El Norte is part of the Reforma Group which publishes newspapers around the country. The office attacked on Sunday puts together a weekly society insert covering weddings, parties and the doings of local celebrities.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Chinese Immigrants Finding Their Digs in Italian Textile Town of Prato

The city of Prato in Tuscany is warming up to its Chinese population. Little by little, Chinese immigrants have taken over the low-end garment industry and adapted to the Italian way of business

Marco Alfieri

For the first time, in the city of Prato, in central Italy, a Chinese businessman, Wang Li Ping, has just been named deputy president of the Cna, the local association that represents small business owners.

Anselmo Potenza is the president of the Cna. Around his warehouse, the buildings that once housed Italian weavers are today all owned by people of Chinese descent. They possess restaurants, grocery stores, cafes, hairdressers, jewelry stores, but mostly low-end garment factories which produce more than one million items of clothing a day. T-shirts are sold for around three euros, shirts and jeans are sold for around six euros. Prato’s Chinese business owners control every single step of the production: from importing the fabrics, cutting, stitching, dyeing, to the sale. Black-market and undocumented and exploited workers are often part of the process too.

The small businesses organization did not elect Li Ping just to send a message. “Years ago we already had a Moroccan lady as deputy president,” explains Potenza. “We have around 3,000 businesses in our association, and around 50 of them are Chinese,” he adds.

Fifty-four-year-old Wang Li Ping has been in Prato for 22 years. “Chinese businessmen and the Cna are working together to eradicate illicit work,” says Wang, “Laws must be respected, Chinese workers must be documented, and to insure this, we have to use the carrot and stick method,” he says.

Integration and business opportunities

There are already some results. “When police checked 15 companies which are members of our association, they found that 13 of them were operating within the law,” he states proudly. Some Chinese businessmen have started to buy local fabric instead of importing it; others are involved in a plan to improve and save the fashion district. Wang is putting together a group to consult the Chinese community on taxation, laws and bureaucracy. His goal is to associate Cna to another 150 Chinese-owned small businesses. Two worlds that up to now have been apart — the Italian textile industry and the Chinese tailoring sector — are coming closer…

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

Culture Wars

UK: Opening Ceremony Was a Trojan Horse for Socialist Values, Says Labour MP

Backbencher Paul Flynn praises Danny Boyle for ‘smuggling’ ideas on NHS and pacifism into Olympic show

A backbench Labour MP has fuelled a row over political bias in the Olympic opening ceremony by claiming the event was used as a “Trojan horse” for socialist values. Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, praised Danny Boyle for highlighting the NHS, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the futility of war. “Wonderfully progressive socialist sentiments and ideas were smuggled into the opening romp,” he wrote during a weekend that saw Prime Minister David Cameron and Tory loyalists distance themselves from a tweet by Tory MP Aidan Burley, who called the event “leftie multicultural ****”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]