Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120802

Financial Crisis
»Liberty, Equality, Bankruptcy — The Future of France
»Obama Sticks Nearly 1m Small Businesses With New Taxes
»Why France is on the Road to Becoming the New Greece
»“I Hate Islam More Than You Do”: Tennessee Candidates
»Boisterous Yelling Dominates Meeting on Mosque
»Colorado Family Can’t Evict Illegal Squatters From Their Home After They File for Bankruptcy and Exploit Legal Loophole
»FBI: New York Police Violate Muslims’ Rights
»GOP Leaders Ignorant of Muslim Brotherhood’s American Influence
»Harvard University Holds Exhibition of Striking Chinese-Islamic Calligraphy
»Legal Eagles Say Anchor Babies Are Natural Born Citizens Too
»Mosque Certificate May Come Friday
»New Castle Mosque Protest Goes Digital
»Obama’s Signature Move: Unsealing Private Records
»Obama’s Assault on U.S. Energy
»Obama’s October Surprise May be His Ugliest Action Yet
»U.S. Jewish Groups Slam Bachmann Over ‘Witch Hunt’ Against Muslim Politician
Europe and the EU
»Anger as Pig Heads Dumped Outside French Mosque
»Free Speech is Still a Pipe Dream for British Writers
»French Swimmer Stuns Olympic Games With a Silent Tattoo
»Germany Tackles Islamic Radicalization
»Pigs’ Heads Dumped at Mosque in France Shooting Spree Town
»Spanish Police Foil Al-Qaeda Terror Attack
»UK: Muslim Polygamists to Get More Welfare Benefits
»UK: Mosque Protest Leader Gets Community Service and Fine
»UK: Olympics: Hijab No Hurdle for Muslim Sportswomen
»UK: Rochdale Sex Gang Leader Jailed for 22 Years
»UK: Waltham Forest Public Meeting Pledges to Defy the Racist EDL
»UK’s Energy Policy ‘Schizophrenia’ Spreads to Europe
North Africa
»Egypt: 16 Wounded in Sectarian Clashes Outside Cairo
»Muslims Attack Church in Egypt
Middle East
»Bahrain: Regime Gunmen Open Fire on Citizens in Salmabad
»Benjamin Netanyahu: Sanctions on Iran Are Not Working
»Christian Missionary Organizations in Saudi Arabia
»Israeli Leader Challenges U.S. On Iran
»Syria Crisis: Two New ‘Massacres’ Near Damascus — Live Updates
»Syria: Rebels Condemned Over ‘Execution’ of Assad Loyalists
»Taliban Opens Office in Iran
»US Bunker-Buster Bomb ‘Ready to Go’
South Asia
»23 Injured as Blasts Hit Pakistan’s Eastern City Lahore
»4 NATO Soldiers Killed in Blasts in Afghanistan
»Afghanistan: Insurgents Killed in Predawn Gun Battle in Kabul
»The Army is Paying $171.4 Million to Rosoboronexport FGUP of Moscow, Russia for Mi-17 Helicopters
»Why Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s Great Physicist, Has Been Written Out of History by His Own Country
Far East
»China Jails 20 Uighur-Muslims on Terrorism, Separatism Charges in Xinjiang
Australia — Pacific
»Anti-Mosque Flyer ‘Unlikely’ To be in Breach of Discrimination Laws
»Fiji to Scrap Holiday Celebrating Queen’s Birthday
»NSW Court Tells Man to Pay Islamic Divorce Dowry
»Sydney Islamic School Ordered to Repay $9m
»Union Scandal: “I’ll Come Clean.” Says Bagman Ralph Blewitt
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Muslim Protests in Ethiopia Reveal Religious Fault Lines
»Senegal Seen as US Partner in Fight Against Extremism
Culture Wars
»UK: Free Schools, Bad People and Evangelical Christians

Financial Crisis

Liberty, Equality, Bankruptcy — The Future of France

Whatever happens to the Eurozone in the short-term, the long-term looks truly grim. That, at least, is the case made by Thomas Pascoe in the Telegraph. The situation faced by peripheral Eurozone members is bad enough, but the underlying untenability of the situation also applies to France:

“The debt levels which the country has are as unsustainable as Britain’s, yet its policies are more irresponsible and its remedies more restricted. Although it is considered a core country in the eurozone, France’s economic profile now bears more resemblance to Greece’s the Germany’s.”

Pascoe admits that current French debt and deficit numbers are “not unusual in the context of eurozone economies in general”, but that “what distinguishes France is the lack of political will to address them and, as a consequence, a projected debt to GDP ratio which would place it firmly amongst the PIIGS grouping”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Sticks Nearly 1m Small Businesses With New Taxes

While Barack Obama was forced to move in the direction of extending the Bush tax cuts, he was also moving in another direction: hitting small business with a huge tax hike. While the number is disputed, and often is with Barack Obama, he claims that 3% of small businesses will be effected with the new tax hike. That’s a tax increase on 900,000 small businesses.

The absolute insanity of this administration to dig its way out of a recession is amazing. While Ronald Reagan did what was necessary following the detrimental economy left by president Jimmy “Peanut” Carter and by his third year the nation was producing nearly 300,000 jobs, Obama is struggling to produce 80,000 and he used $800 billion in stimulus to do that. The result is that most of those jobs are not even full time jobs.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why France is on the Road to Becoming the New Greece

by Thomas Pascoe

The euro is headed south today against all comers except The Great British Krona (as FT Alphaville calls sterling) which is engaged in a nosedive of its own. The reason this time? Spanish 10 year debt is yielding 7.5pc, half of what it ought to yield but enough to spook markets not yet ready to face the inevitable deflation of what has long been a bond super-bubble.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


“I Hate Islam More Than You Do”: Tennessee Candidates

An argument over who is more opposed to the Islamic faith and the construction of a mosque near Nashville has become an a Tennessee Republican congressional primary.

Freshman Republican Representative Diane Black is challenged by Lou Ann Zelenik, who lost to Black in a primary to represent the rural district two years ago by less than 300 votes.

The heart of the struggle is over the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Nashville, which has been controversial since construction began two years ago.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Boisterous Yelling Dominates Meeting on Mosque

Project goes to county planning commission Thursday

Nearly 200 South Santa Clara County residents attended a planning advisory meeting Tuesday night to voice an impassioned mix of concerns, opposition, support and questions regarding the proposed Cordoba Center mosque project which will be considered by the county’s planning commission Thursday. County staff began the meeting at the Grange Hall in Morgan Hill by announcing they decided since last week to recommend the planning commission postpone the project due to the high volume of concerns submitted by the public. While last week the staff recommended the commission approve the project when it takes up the issue Thursday, on Tuesday they said they will recommend the body continue the decision in order to allow further studies of the soil permeability and groundwater depth on the 15-acre San Martin site where the South Valley Islamic Center plans to build the Cordoba Center.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Colorado Family Can’t Evict Illegal Squatters From Their Home After They File for Bankruptcy and Exploit Legal Loophole

A Colorado family have been told they can’t evict squatters from their Littleton home after the two strangers used a legal loophole to stay.

Danya and Troy Donovan had secured a ruling from a judge in Arapahoe County to evict Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo from their home, which the squatting couple had been occupying for eight months.

However, by filing for bankruptcy, the squatters managed to halt a forced eviction the Donovan’s had secured which was due to take place last week.

‘The sheriff’s office will not proceed with an eviction if there is a bankruptcy in question.’ said Arapahoe County Under-sheriff David Walcher to a local CBS television station.

Last August, the Donovan’s moved out of their home to travel to Indiana with their two children.

Unemployed at the time and two months behind on their mortgage payments, the Donovan’s left their home of 13 years behind, locked and prepared for the brutal Colorado winter.

In March of this year, Danya Donovan claims that she had a ‘premonition’ that something was wrong with her home and upon calling a neighbour discovered that someone had indeed moved into their home.

Returning home to evict the squatters immediately, the couple called the police who arrived at the Littleton home to discover Fernandez-Beleta and Leyva-Caraveo claiming an affidavit proving ‘adverse possession’ of the property.

This is a Colorado law which states that adverse possessors who stake their claim to a piece of land for 18 years without any dispute can become the owners of that property.

The reason why the squatters did not see the need to flee was because they thought they had legally bought the property.

They were sold a deed of adverse possession by Alfonso Carillo.

Carillo, a real estate agent whose license has now been revoked, sold the couple the deed for $5,000.

Carillo has been connected to a number of similar cases, as CBS 4 discovered through court documents regarding the other homes, as the Donovan case is the latest in a long trend in Colorado.

He is now charged with criminal fraud and apparently focused his attention on targets who only spoke Spanish.

With the news of the latest setback in their quest to gain possession of their home of nearly 15 years, the Donovan’s were despondent.

‘It’s frustrating. It’s just one thing after another, after another,’ Danya Donovan told ABC News. “

‘We’ve lost two months’ time. It has been an absolute living nightmare and an emotional roller coaster.’

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

FBI: New York Police Violate Muslims’ Rights

Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. - The New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims violates their rights and produces no intelligence of any value, the FBI has found. The disclosure comes in an epilogue to the paperback edition of my book “The Secrets of the FBI,” to be published Aug. 7. Under Director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI not only trampled on Americans’ rights but often failed to focus effectively on real threats such as spies and terrorists. That was because Hoover did not distinguish between criminal conduct and constitutionally guaranteed expression of free speech.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

GOP Leaders Ignorant of Muslim Brotherhood’s American Influence

by John Guandolo

It has been said that the truth offends those who don’t have it. It would appear Senator John McCain and Speaker John Boehner do not have the truth and the facts showing the danger the Muslim Brotherhood’s Movement in America’s government poses today. Americans should be very concerned about this.

In letters dated June 13, 2012, five Members of Congress — Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) — requested that Inspector Generals from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, as well as the IG from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, investigate the penetration of senior Muslim Brotherhood operatives into our national security decision-making apparatus in America.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Harvard University Holds Exhibition of Striking Chinese-Islamic Calligraphy

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — The work of a master Chinese calligrapher is wowing Harvard in an exhibit titled “Arabic Islamic Calligraphy in the Chinese Tradition: Works by Master Haji Noor Deen.” Haji Noor Deen’s singular Arabic Islamic calligraphy in the Chinese style is being hosted by Harvard’s Center for Government and International Studies. The exhibit is sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Legal Eagles Say Anchor Babies Are Natural Born Citizens Too

Well, with the laundry list of political legal eagles lining up to claim that anchor babies like Marco Rubio are Natural Born Citizens too, one must assume that the RNC intends to place an anchor baby on the ballot with Romney and they are prepared to burn the Constitution to do it. Apparently, they are prepared to lose in November too…

In the latest RNC effort to redefine Natural Born Citizen, clearing Rubio for the GOP ticket, once respected Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson enters the fray. Thompson wastes no time regurgitating the same lies that have protected Barack Obama from “birthers” concerned with Obama’s real birth place for four years now.

In a they did it, so can we, attempt to forever eliminate Article II Natural Born Citizen requirements for the offices of President and Vice President, Thompson repeats lies told by Heritage Foundation and left-wing lawyers for the Obama-nation in an overt attempt to silence the truth, that Marco Rubio and Barack Obama are both constitutionally ineligible for office, according to well-known constitutional history.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Mosque Certificate May Come Friday

MURFREESBORO — The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro applied Tuesday for final inspections for a certificate of occupancy to be held Friday morning, Rutherford County Building Codes Director David Jones said. “We have it set up for the state fire marshal and our inspectors to go out Friday morning to test the fire pump, the sprinkler system and the fire alarm system,” Jones said during a Wednesday interview in his office on the south side of the Public Square in Murfreesboro. “If they pass all of the building inspections Friday and we confirm with all the other agencies that they have completed their inspections, we would issue a temporary certificate of occupancy to occupy the building.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Castle Mosque Protest Goes Digital

NEW CASTLE, N.Y. — The protest against Upper Westchester Muslim Society’s (UWMS) proposed New Castle mosque has gone digital. A group calling itself DenyUWMS has created a website calling for the Zoning Board of Appeals to reject the proposal at 130 Pinesbridge Road. The group describes itself as a “consortium of friends and neighbors” who currently stand in opposition against the mosque. A sign promoting the website was placed at the corner of Station and Millwood roads on Wednesday.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Signature Move: Unsealing Private Records

Mitt Romney presents one enormous problem for Barack Obama’s campaign: No divorce records. That’s why the media are so hot to get their hands on Romney’s tax records for the past 25 years. They need something to “pick through, distort and lie about” — as the Republican candidate says.

Obama’s usual campaign method, used in 100 percent of his races, has been to pry into the private records of his opponents.

Democrats aren’t going to find any personal dirt on the clean-cut Mormon, so they need complicated tax filings going back decades in order to create the illusion of scandal out of boring financial records.

Romney has already released his 2010 tax return and is about to release his 2011 return. After all the huffing and puffing by the media demanding those returns, the follow-up story vanished remarkably quickly when the only thing the return showed was that Romney pays millions of dollars in taxes and gives a lot of money to charity.

Let’s take a romp down memory lane and review the typical Obama campaign strategy. Obama became a U.S. senator only by virtue of David Axelrod’s former employer, the Chicago Tribune, ripping open the sealed divorce records of Obama’s two principal opponents.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Assault on U.S. Energy

The President and his minions are weakening a nation that sits atop some of the world’s greatest energy reserves

For the second time in two days, hundreds of millions of people across India have been plunged into darkness when its electrical grids collapsed. This is a warning of what could occur here in America.

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”—Barack Obama

In a war one of the first targets are the power plants in order to deny the energy a nation requires to function. Obama declared war on coal during the 2008 campaign and few were paying attention. In 1985 coal accounted for 57 percent of all power generated in the U.S. By 2011, it was down to 42 percent.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s October Surprise May be His Ugliest Action Yet

If you think the illegal aliens problem in this country is bad; if you think the outrageous amounts of our legal citizens’ tax paid dollars is unfair to legal citizens; and if you think that all the other free benefits such as welfare, housing, clothing, food, education even into the post high school years and preferences in employment are too burdensome now, as the saying goes, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

In the Vision to America (VTA) July 27, 2012 online Newsletter an article titled “Obama Plans Massive 2nd Term Amnesty for Illegals“. A follow-up sub-heading read, “Program would immediately register new Americans to vote.“ How does that grab you?


Before you start packing your duffel bag, let me state that Obama himself did not make that horrifying statement or statements on the illegal aliens in this country and the millions more soon to be crossing a U. S. border near you; according to the Vision to America, “The schemes and many more are documented in the soon-to-be-released book “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed.”

The book, by New York Times bestselling authors Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, uncovers the template for Obama’s next four years — the actual, extensive plans created by Obama’s own top advisers and progressive strategists.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. Jewish Groups Slam Bachmann Over ‘Witch Hunt’ Against Muslim Politician

Minnesota congresswoman accuses Huma Abedin, top aide to Clinton, of ties to Muslim Brotherhood, spurring condemnation from Reform Movement, ADL, and some Republicans.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has incurred the wrath of leading Jewish groups and some Republican leaders, even though she may be one of Israel’s staunchest defenders in Congress and one of its best-known Republicans. The reaction was spurred by the Minnesota congresswoman’s call for an inquiry into allegations that Huma Abedin, a top aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Some of the toughest condemnations of Bachmann have come from major Jewish groups.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Anger as Pig Heads Dumped Outside French Mosque

French Muslim and Jewish groups were united in outrage after two pig heads were dumped at a mosque in a town where an Islamist gunman killed two paratroopers in March.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith described Wednesday’s defilement of the mosque in the town of Montauban as “a racist and xenophobic provocation” and urged the authorities to bring those responsible to justice swiftly. Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims, who are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan. France’s Union of Jewish Students said it was appalled by an incident that had occurred in a “worrying climate of hatred”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Free Speech is Still a Pipe Dream for British Writers

by Rachel Ehrenfeld

So effectively do British libel laws favour the plaintiff that London has become a mecca for libel tourism.

London, the host of the 2012 Olympics, has long since won the gold medal as the capital of “libel tourism”. I was made aware of this in 2004 when a libel suit was brought against me and my book Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed — and How to Stop It, in London’s High Court. The suit was brought by Khaled bin Mahfouz — the Saudi plutocrat and libel tourist nonpareil. Before his death in 2009, Mahfouz had brought or threatened to bring more than 40 similar lawsuits before that plaintiff-friendly court, and he was totally successful in silencing the critics of his infelicitous career, which had, it was claimed, included terrorist financing.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

French Swimmer Stuns Olympic Games With a Silent Tattoo

The IOC’s refusal to permit a minute’s silence for victims of the Munich terror attack 40 years ago has already provoked a protest from the Italian team, who staged a minute’s solidarity silence outside the Israeli team’s quarters.

Now a French swimmer has found another method of commemoration. Fabien Gilot, a member of the gold medal-winning 4 x 100 team raised his arm in triumph to reveal a tattoo in Hebrew reading: [] — in English: I am nothing without them.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

Germany Tackles Islamic Radicalization

by Soeren Kern


The German state of Lower Saxony has published a practical guide to extremist Islam to help citizens identify tell-tale signs of Muslims who are becoming radicalized.

Security officials say the objective of the document is to mitigate the threat of home-grown terrorist attacks by educating Germans about radical Islam and encouraging them to refer suspected Islamic extremists to the authorities.

The move reflects mounting concern in Germany over the growing assertiveness of Salafist Muslims, who openly state that they want to establish Islamic Sharia law in the country and across Europe.

The 54-page document, “Radicalization Processes in the Context of Islamic Extremism and Terrorism,” which provides countless details about the Islamist scene in Germany, paints a worrisome picture of the threat of radical Islam there…

[Return to headlines]

Pigs’ Heads Dumped at Mosque in France Shooting Spree Town

Muslims attending morning prayers Wednesday were confronted by two pigs’ heads in the entrance to their mosque in a French town where an Islamist gunman killed two paratroopers in March. The incident in Montauban was described as a “racist provocation” by a watchdog which monitors anti-Islamic actions in France and as an “odious and blasphemous act” by the Montauban mayor, Brigitte Bareges. It was the first of its kind in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne region but officials refused to speculate on a possible link to the March tragedy.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Spanish Police Foil Al-Qaeda Terror Attack

Spanish police have arrested three suspected members of al-Qaeda who had amassed explosives and were thought to be targeting military bases, including Gibraltar.

The three — a Russian, a Russian of Chechen descent and a Turk, according to Spanish police — were detained Wednesday. Two of the terror suspects had practiced flying light aircraft.

The Turk was arrested in the southern city of La Linea bordering the British colony of Gibraltar, while the other two were picked up near the central city of Ciudad Real as they traveled toward a northern Spanish town near the border with France.

The Turkish suspect, described by police as a “facilitator”, worked in Gibraltar.

Enough explosive material was found in the house in La Linea where the Turk lived to blow up a bus, and the material could be especially dangerous if combined with shrapnel, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, Spain’s interior minister said.

Investigators found no indications that the three were targeting Gibraltar, he said, declining to offer specifics on possible targets, except that “there are clear indications they could have been planning an attack in Spain and/or another country.”…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Polygamists to Get More Welfare Benefits

Muslim immigrants with more than one wife will see an increase in their social welfare benefits beginning in 2013, when reforms to the British welfare system come into effect.

Although polygamy is illegal in Britain, the state effectively recognizes the practice for Muslim men, who often have up to four wives (and in some instances five or more) in a harem.

Currently the state pays extra wives in polygamous households reduced amounts of individual income support, in addition to the normal amount received by the husband and his first spouse. Under the new rules, however, the extra wives will be eligible to claim a full single person’s allowance (despite being married), while the original married couple will still receive the standard married person’s allowance.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Protest Leader Gets Community Service and Fine

THE leader of a racist BNP protest has been fined and ordered to carry out community service after he was found guilty of disturbing public order outside a former councillor’s house.

Kieren Trent was found guilty last month at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court for his part in causing former Councillor Mike Galloway ‘undue distress and alarm’ as he and a group of others protested outside Mr Galloway’s home in Wolverton last April. The protest, led by Trent, was against the decision to give the go-ahead for a mosque to be sited at the former Plough pub in Bletchley. Mr Trent, who claims not to be a member of the BNP any more, must pay £500 compensation to Mr Galloway, £500 in legal fees and serve 18 hours community service.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Olympics: Hijab No Hurdle for Muslim Sportswomen

Sports committees at the Olympic Games have started removing restrictions on women wearing headscarfs during competitions.

Headscarf-wearing Muslim women are making strides at the Olympic Games, a year after the Iranian women’s soccer team broke down in tears at having to withdraw from a qualifying match because they wore hijabs. Worn under a fencing mask, wrapped tightly in an elasticated bun for weightlifting or styled into a cap for shooting, the controversial headgear is finally winning acceptance from sporting associations. This week judo sports authorities and the Saudi Olympic Committee confirmed they had reached an agreement allowing a Saudi judoka to compete with her hair covered, and last month soccer’s rule makers also lifted their ban on the hijab.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rochdale Sex Gang Leader Jailed for 22 Years

The leader of a grooming gang which preyed on underage white girls was jailed for 22 years today after being convicted of a “campaign” of 30 sex attacks on a child.

Taxi driver Shabir Ahmed, 59, was already serving a 19 year sentence from May for conspiracy, two rapes, aiding and abetting rape, sexual assault and sex trafficking. His domineering temper earned him the nickname “Daddy” by the white teenage victims.

The ringleader, who called the judge a ‘racist b———’, was one of nine men jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for a total of 77 years for passing round the youngsters and plying them with drugs and drink.

Judge Khokhar jailed Ahmed for another 22 years, to run alongside the previous sentence, after a jury at Manchester Crown Court convicted him of repeatedly raping an Asian child for over a decade.

The divorced father-of-four was ordered to the cells halfway through his sentencing after telling the judge he was “talking s—-”.

He told the court: “It is all lies concocted by the police. What are you all looking at, eh? You will all rot in hell.”…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

UK: Waltham Forest Public Meeting Pledges to Defy the Racist EDL

Waltham Forest has sent a message of defiance to the racist English Defence League (EDL), which plans to march in the east London borough next month.

Over 120 people packed into a We Are Waltham Forest public meeting on Tuesday evening. They pledged to build the biggest possible counter demonstration and to prevent the EDL from taking to the streets. Speakers included local MP Stella Creasy, Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism, and author Owen Jones. They talked about how the EDL targets areas with Muslim populations and uses its demos to spread hatred and fear.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK’s Energy Policy ‘Schizophrenia’ Spreads to Europe

Who’d have thought it? The medievalists at Greenpeace have finally made a useful contribution to the energy debate by insisting Britain has two energy policies. They’re right. As the ideological fault-line in the UK coalition government is increasingly laid bare by the in-fighting between (Conservative) Chancellor George Osborne’s Treasury Department and (Lib Dem) Ed Davey’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the signs are that a new economic energy realism is also biting in Europe.

In late July Ed Davey’s DECC won a pyrrhic victory against the UK Chancellor’s Treasury Department keeping a proposed cut of 25 percent to wind subsidies to a mere 10 percent. But the price for Davey was green-lighting a UK government push in support of natural gas; a move the that will, ultimately, prove devastating to the anti-fossil fuel ambitions of Davey and his Lib Dem colleagues anti-fossil fuel policies—although not for the free market and the UK economy.

UK onshore wind farms still depend on the lifeline of 100 percent taxpayer subsidy, with offshore running at around 200 percent. In 2012, UK wind farm subsidies will hit £1 billion for the first time. With end consumers footing the tab for this exercise in ideological economic plunder, power companies and wind farm developers alike are clearly greatly ‘incentivized’ to maximise their windfall ‘dividend’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: 16 Wounded in Sectarian Clashes Outside Cairo

CAIRO — Angry Muslims attacked a church and Christian homes outside Cairo on Wednesday, sparking clashes that wounded 16 people, a security official said, after a Muslim died of wounds from a fight with a Christian. Police fired tear gas to prevent the mob setting fire to the church but the crowd returned and torched several homes in the village of Dahshur as well as three police cars, the official said. Six villagers and 10 police were wounded in the violence. It was the second assault on the village following last week’s fight between the Muslim and the Christian, a laundry worker whom he accused of singing his shirt while ironing it.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslims Attack Church in Egypt

Muslims have attacked a church and Christian homes in a village close to the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The BBC reports that at least 16 people were wounded in the unrest in Dahshur, around 40km (25 miles) south of Cairo. The attack was triggered by the death of a Muslim man as a result of wounds sustained in clashes on Friday. According to the Associated Press, the Coptic Archbishop of Giza reports that the town’s Christian community has now fled. Christians have experienced deadly attacks in recent years. Last October, a church in the village of Elmarinab in Edfu, Aswan province, was demolished and set alight. In May last year, 12 people were killed and two churches set on fire during violent clashes in Cairo’s Imbaba district. That followed a New Year’s Day bombing on a church in Alexandria, which killed 23 people and injured 97.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Bahrain: Regime Gunmen Open Fire on Citizens in Salmabad

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — Eyewitnesses in Salmabad confirmed that a group of gunmen in a civilian car fired live rounds throughout the area on Tuesday morning. The incident happened whilst there were no protests going on in the area. These gunmen, who the people now refer to as “Darkness Gangs” have previously and repeatedly targeted unarmed protesters and citizens with live ammunition. Salmabad has already witnessed the killing of citizen journalist Ahmed Ismail through the use of live ammunition by regime gunmen.

He was killed in April whilst filming regime forces attacking pro-democracy protesters. Despite the killing of Ismail, the regime continues to allow its gunmen to act with complete impunity by refusing to even document the real cause of death in his death certificate.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Benjamin Netanyahu: Sanctions on Iran Are Not Working

Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up pressure on the United States to take military action against Iran by openly declaring that the Obama administration’s strategy of sanctions against Tehran was not working.

With America’s visiting defence secretary, Leon Panetta, standing next to him, the Israeli prime minister criticised US policy towards Iran in the bluntest terms, demonstrating the growing gulf between the two allies.

“However forceful our statements, they have not convinced Iran that we are serious about stopping them, he said. “Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear programme.”

Mr Netanyahu again hinted that Israel could take matters into its own hands as he accused Washington of taking too long to move on to a war footing.

“You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act,” he told Mr Panetta. “But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their programme.

“This must change, and it must change quickly because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out.”…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Christian Missionary Organizations in Saudi Arabia

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) — The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia emphasized that the so-called Saudi Christians House of Peace Organization is in no way related to the Saudi society and it does not represent it in any way. Upon his participation in a missionary meeting, the Mufti said that the so-called Saudi Christians House of Peace Organization will not have any influence on the Saudi society, considering that the websites launched in the name of this organization are but attempts to break through the Saudi society. The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission had blocked the website of a Christianization organization called the “Saudi Christians House of Peace Organization”, and many local news reports in the past few days discussed the work of this organization, warning against its attempt to infiltrate the Saudi society.

It is worth mentioning that the fears of Christianization recently heightened and took over the Saudi general opinion, after several local media outlets covered the news of the Christianization of a girl from the city of Al-Khubar, and her parents filed a lawsuit against a Saudi citizen and another Arab citizen residing in Saudi Arabia, accusing them of Christianizing their daughter. The criminal court summoned the resident and he was detained pending investigation. On his part, the girl’s father demanded the authorities to help him to bring his daughter back, confirming that she is still communicating with him and with her mother, and that currently she is in a charitable Christian association in Sweden and she is prevented from going out or contacting anyone.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israeli Leader Challenges U.S. On Iran

ASHQELON, Israel-Israeli leaders dismissed the chances that a U.S.-led sanctions campaign would convince Iran to give up its nuclear program, but U.S. officials said they were hopeful Israel wasn’t planning a unilateral strike for now after receiving assurances the U.S. would be prepared to act militarily in the future.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria Crisis: Two New ‘Massacres’ Near Damascus — Live Updates

Scores of bodies found in two suburbs of Damascus

10:06 am

The government news agency, Sana, reports on yesterday’s celebrations to mark the 67th anniversary of the Syrian army: With his forehead trickling with sweat and his body burdened with military costume and outfit, smile shines on the mouth of soldier Ahmad from the Syrian Arab Army while the passers-by are waving their hands in salute and raising their voices with prayer for God’s protection of all his colleagues. “I am from Syria and my duty is to protect people,” said Ahmad briefly to Sana reporter when asked from which city he comes, standing alert at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Damascus on his mission to protect tens of people in their cars against terrorists and any booby-trapped car. Holding his weapon tight, Ahmad, like all of his colleagues, seems saturated with determination and readiness to repel any attempt at attack by the armed terrorist groups that have been wreaking havoc in some areas in the country perpetrating heinous acts of killing, abduction and sabotage …

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: Rebels Condemned Over ‘Execution’ of Assad Loyalists

Syria’s rebels have been widely condemned after a video emerged showing the execution of four leaders of a pro-regime militia.

The footage shows a crowd of insurgents wielding Kalashnikov rifles gathered outside a building as four men are hustled down the steps. They look confused, but also resigned about what is about to happen. One, who appears to be their leader, has blood pouring from a head wound. He is wearing nothing but black underpants. Amid chants of “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), the four men disappear behind the crush of onlookers. The sound of automatic gunfire is unmistakable, and by the time focus is restored, four corpses lie in a heap.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Taliban Opens Office in Iran

Iran has increased its support for the Taliban by allowing the militants to open an office in the country while considering the supply of surface-to-air missiles, according to Afghan and Western officials.

By helping the Taliban, Iran aims to derail a decade-long “strategic partnership” signed between Afghanistan and America in April. Tehran would also have the option of stirring violence in Afghanistan in retaliation for any US strike on its nuclear facilities. A member of the Taliban’s “Shura”, or ruling council, was allowed to set up an office in May in the eastern Iranian city of Zahedan. Two months later, intercepted communications showed members of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps discussing plans to send surface-to-air missiles to Afghanistan, although there was no evidence of the weapons actually being dispatched.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US Bunker-Buster Bomb ‘Ready to Go’

The US Air Force’s massive 30,000lb bunker-buster bomb critical for striking heavily fortified Iranian nuclear facilities is “ready to go”

Michael Donley, the US Air Force Secretary, said that the bomb “if it need to go today”, would be available.

“We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities, and that is ongoing,” he said “We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today.”

The endorsement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) — the world’s largest conventional bomb — comes after concerns were raised that the weapon still needed refining if was to be effective against Iran’s deepest installations.

Last February Congress agreed to an “urgent” Pentagon request to divert $81.6m (£52m) into improvements for the 14-ton MOP.

The 20ft long, 1ft wide weapon will be delivered by the B2 stealth bomber, is the critical piece of military hardware that underwrites American assurances to Israel that it will neutralise Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomacy and sanctions fail…

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

South Asia

23 Injured as Blasts Hit Pakistan’s Eastern City Lahore

ISLAMABAD, August 1 (Xinhua) — At least 23 people were injured when two blasts hit a fruit market in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday night, reported local media.

Local Urdu TV channel Geo quoted police as saying that the blasts took place at about 10:00 p.m. at a fruit market in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore, the largest city in eastern Pakistan, which is close to Indian border. According to local media reports, one bomb was planted under a fruit cart inside the market while another was planted insider a car nearby the entrance of the market. Both bombs were detonated simultaneously through a remote controlled device, said police.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

4 NATO Soldiers Killed in Blasts in Afghanistan

KABUL, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) — Four NATO soldiers were killed in separate bomb blasts in Afghanistan on Wednesday, the military alliance confirmed in separate statements issued here.

“An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in southern Afghanistan today,” the NATO-led ISAF said in a statement. Earlier Wednesday, the NATO confirmed losing two service members in an IED explosion in eastern Afghanistan. “A local Afghan interpreter, contracted by ISAF, also died following the IED attack.” in eastern part of the country, the ISAF statement said. Another ISAF soldier was killed in similar incident also in restive southern Afghanistan.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: Insurgents Killed in Predawn Gun Battle in Kabul

Five insurgents planning a suicide attack in Kabul have been killed in a predawn gun battle in the capital, an Afghan security official said on Thursday.

At least two others were still holed up in a house in the east of the city and the fighting was continuing, National Directorate of Security spokesman Lutfullah Mahsal told AFP. A spokesman for NATO’S military in Afghanistan confirmed that “an incident of that nature is currently happening in Kabul”, without providing further details. “A group of insurgents armed with suicide vests, rockets and machineguns planned to seize a tall building in Kabul’s (central) Shar-i-Naw area,” Mahsal said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Army is Paying $171.4 Million to Rosoboronexport FGUP of Moscow, Russia for Mi-17 Helicopters

Sounds weird, right? These are almost certainly going to Afghanistan. While allegedly some Special Forces units have considered using the Mi-17, the U.S. has bought many Mi-17 attack helicopters from Rosoboronexport for use in Afghanistan’s military.

The reasoning is that Afghan pilots are short in supply and have strong familiarity with the Mi-17 over domestic models. Moreover, the Mi-17 is evidently better suited for Afghanistan’s environment.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s Great Physicist, Has Been Written Out of History by His Own Country

by Rob Crilly

Professor Abdus Salam was one of Pakistan’s finest minds. His work in the field of theoretical physics, on unifying the electromagnetic and weak forces, earned him the country’s first — and only — Nobel prize for physics in 1979. He died in 1996 but his name has resurfaced in recent weeks, a reminder of his work in characterising the then hypothetical Higgs boson in the 1960s. In any other country his incredible achievements would be celebrated. In Pakistan, however, his memory is shunned. His gravestone has been altered so that he is no longer described as a Muslim and his house, bought by the government, stands unmaintained and forgotten.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Jails 20 Uighur-Muslims on Terrorism, Separatism Charges in Xinjiang

BEIJING: Courts in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang have jailed 20 people for up to 15 years on charges of terrorism and separatism, state media said on Thursday, as the heavily Muslim area marks the fasting month of Ramazan.

The three courts in the cities of Urumqi, Kashgar and Aksu also leveled charges of making explosive devices, promoting religious extremism and plotting “holy war”, Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily said on its website (


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Anti-Mosque Flyer ‘Unlikely’ To be in Breach of Discrimination Laws

The ACT Human Rights Commissioner has found a flyer opposing a mosque development in Canberra’s north is unlikely to have breached the Discrimination Act. The flyer was distributed by a group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Canberra. It outlined a number of worries about a proposal for the mosque in Gungahlin including the social impact.

The flyer raised doubts whether the mosque’s proponents would be good neighbours in the community. ACT Multicultural Affairs Minister Joy Burch declared the Government supported the mosque and referred the flyer to ACT Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs. In a decision handed down today, Dr Watchirs found the flyer was concerned with religious issues rather than race and it was also unclear whether it breached vilification provisions. Dr Watchirs said a complainant might have more success in the federal jurisdiction where there was a lower threshold to establish racial hatred.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Fiji to Scrap Holiday Celebrating Queen’s Birthday

Fiji’s military government has scrapped an annual public holiday celebrating the Queen’s official birthday, claiming it is no longer relevant.

The former British colony in the South Pacific, which became a republic in 1987, said it expected the move to boost economic output. “The Queen’s birthday’s importance disappeared from Fiji when we became a republic and now our status is an independent nation,” said Jone Usamate, a spokesman for the Labour Ministry in the capital, Suva. “There is a focus on more productivity and growth, so as a result the decision was made to cut down on the number of holidays in Fiji, as holidays can be a burden on business and government.” Those to suffer most from the decision will be the islands’ largely impoverished workforce, who will enjoy only nine public holidays a year from 2013.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

NSW Court Tells Man to Pay Islamic Divorce Dowry

A SYDNEY man who agreed under an Islamic marriage contract to pay his wife a $50,000 “deferred dowry” if he ever left her has been forced by the NSW Supreme Court to honour their agreement.

In a decision believed to be an Australian first, the court ruled there was no public policy reason not to enforce the dowry. Mostafa Mohamed had argued the dispute could be resolved only by an Islamic court. But associate judge Joanne Harrison ruled the deferred dowry, known as “moackar sadak” was enforceable under Australian law.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sydney Islamic School Ordered to Repay $9m

Sydney Islamic school Malek Fahd has been forced to repay $9 million in NSW government funding because it was found to be transferring money to a Muslim organisation. The NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli has written to the school asking it to repay the money because it had breached requirements preventing it from operating for profit. Mr Piccoli said the school did not receive services in return for money it gave to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils. “I have instructed the NSW Department of Education and Communities to terminate the school’s funding,” Mr Piccoli said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Union Scandal: “I’ll Come Clean.” Says Bagman Ralph Blewitt

THE former union official and alleged bagman for a financial scandal linked to the then boyfriend of Julia Gillard wants to give evidence for the first time to police and prosecutors about his role and the conduct of others.

The Australian can reveal that Ralph Blewitt, a one-time branch head for the Australian Workers Union, is seeking immunity from criminal prosecution in return for breaking a 17-year silence and providing a statement to police.

In interviews with The Australian, Mr Blewitt has spoken of his past actions and those of his then best friend and AWU boss Bruce Wilson.

He has also discussed the Prime Minister’s relationship with Mr Wilson and her simultaneous legal work for the union in her 1990s role as an industrial lawyer and partner at Slater & Gordon solicitors.

“I could face criminal charges,” he said. “My lawyers have told me that if I seek to tell the whole story, they will seek immunity from prosecution for me.

“If I get that, I am more than prepared to tell the whole story to the best of my ability. I will make myself available (to police) on that one condition — that I have immunity from prosecution. Then the whole story can be put to bed once and for all.”

Mr Blewitt is the former legal owner of a house in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Fitzroy that was used by Mr Wilson and allegedly bought with misappropriated AWU funds in a transaction handled and part-financed by Slater & Gordon.

The terrace house in Kerr Street later became part of a major police and union investigation as Mr Blewitt and Mr Wilson were accused of illegally siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the AWU, including funds companies such as Thiess handed over in the belief it was to pay for members’ courses and training.

Most of the funds that allegedly went missing had been paid into an entity, the AWU Workplace Reform Association. Ms Gillard did legal work associated with establishment of the association as part of her role working for the union. At the time, Mr Wilson and Ms Gillard were in a close relationship. The Prime Minister has repeatedly and strenuously denied that she had any knowledge of what the association was going to be used for, and has also denied receiving any benefit.

Ms Gillard yesterday declined to respond to specific questions put to her office by The Australian and referred the newspaper to her previous strong denials of wrongdoing. Mr Wilson, who was ousted from the union, has in the past strenuously denied any wrongdoing and he was not charged after probes by the AWU and police into the matter.

Now a part-time cook at a club in NSW, he has declined to speak about his role and Ms Gillard.

Mr Blewitt has now engaged a criminal lawyer in Melbourne to help him negotiate a deal or plea-bargain with authorities. In the 1990s, police in Victoria and Western Australia spent significant time and resources investigating the allegations.

Mr Blewitt has been examining hundreds of documents relating to the claims, which the AWU’s former head, Ian Cambridge, now a Fair Work Australia commissioner, once pursued relentlessly through the courts and which he said required a royal commission. Other documents from police internal files, released last month under Freedom of Information laws and obtained by The Australian, show detectives pursued an investigation for almost three years. Police shelved the case on legal advice only after Mr Blewitt and Mr Wilson refused to co-operate or engage.

Mr Blewitt, now 66, told The Australian he “would like the whole thing to go away, quite frankly, but I don’t think it will”.

“I think that . . . the story needs to be told. I need to clear the air,” he said. “I do not want to be hounded about it forever . . . In the course of that, if certain people are embarrassed or worse, it’s too bad. I want to apologise to the AWU and its members — but at no time was it my intention to steal funds from the AWU. I never personally benefited from any of those funds in any way whatsoever.

“I have not spoken publicly about these issues before. I am not a member of any political party now and I have no intention of rejoining one.

“I left Australia (to live in Asia) in 1997 and I have not voted since. I have got no illusions about this. It’s not my objective to destroy the ALP. In fact, it hurts to be saying this about the ALP.”

The allegations have dogged Ms Gillard’s political career amid repeated attacks in state and federal parliament on her legal advice and actions, her connection to the players in the alleged fraud, and her close relationship with the AWU’s then up-and-coming Mr Wilson at the time Ms Gillard was seeking a political career for herself.

A fortnight before Labor’s 2007 election win, in a story headlined “A conman broke my heart”, she said of her relationship with Mr Wilson when she was at Slater & Gordon and in her early to mid-30s: “I was young and naive. I was in a relationship, which I ended, and obviously it was all very distressing.

“I am by no means the first person to find out that someone close turns out to be different to what you had believed them to be.

“I was obviously hurt when I was later falsely accused publicly of wrongdoing.”

Ms Gillard’s personal relationship with Mr Wilson and the legal relationship with the union ended amid turmoil as Mr Wilson came under police and AWU investigation.

Mr Wilson was subsequently ousted from the union. He was not charged after the police investigations.

Ms Gillard’s former federal attorney-general and cabinet colleague Robert McClelland, whom she sacked over his support for Kevin Rudd, raised the matter in June in federal parliament and in a subsequent interview with The Australian.

Documents obtained by The Australian show that as an AWU lawyer before entering politics, Mr McClelland fought to bring the alleged fraud to light in the 1990s.

In his pointed comments in parliament in June, he expanded on how his experience as an opposing lawyer to Ms Gillard in the matter had “coloured much of my thinking” about union cases.

Ms Gillard did not respond to Mr McClelland’s comments.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Muslim Protests in Ethiopia Reveal Religious Fault Lines

NAIROBI — An Ethiopian Muslim protest movement has quieted down since the arrests of key organizers two weeks ago in Addis Ababa. The government crackdown has aggravated tensions between Muslim and Ethiopian authorities. A small group of Muslims began organizing demonstrations at mosques in the Ethiopian capital earlier this year to protest the perceived interference by the Ethiopian government into religious affairs.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Senegal Seen as US Partner in Fight Against Extremism

Senegalese-born analyst Abdou Lo said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Senegal Wednesday indicates the United States views Senegal as a strong partner in the fight against the growing threat of extremists in West Africa. Lo, general manager of Primum Africa Consulting, which promotes and defends human rights in Senegal and Africa, attended Clinton’s speech to university students and officials in Dakar and said, while the United States cannot deploy troops to assist West African countries in dealing with the Islamist threat, it can help with intelligence and logistics.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

UK: Free Schools, Bad People and Evangelical Christians

Alan Judd advises the Government on the vetting of free schools. In an article for the Daily Telegraph — in part, a response to a scare story about creationism in the class room — he makes it clear that applying for free school status is an extremely demanding process:

“One applicant I spoke to described how his group fell apart through exhaustion after struggling nine-tenths of the way through the bureaucratic thicket, only to find that the premises they thought they’d got were abruptly sold off by an ideologically hostile local authority. Such antipathy from elements of the educational establishment, particularly the unions, won’t go away, as control is part of their raison d’etre and any freedoms that threaten it — no matter how beneficial to the children they’re supposed to be educating — will be opposed.”

On the particular issue of faith schools, he makes another good point:

“To ban believers from setting up free schools would be to exclude a large number of able, well-meaning and experienced people who can do much to raise levels generally. The trouble is, as always, when it’s taken to extremes, whether it’s evangelical Christians, totalitarian Muslims or segregationist Jews.”

Well, quite. I’m sure that we can all agree — wait a second, what was that about evangelical Christians!? Just look at the context: in a list of religions gone wrong, the adjective ‘evangelical’ is used in same way as ‘totalitarian’ and ‘segregationist’ i.e. to indicate extremism. While there is something undoubtedly extreme about totalitarian or segregationist variants of any belief system, evangelical Christianity is represented in this country by mainstream denominations likes the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and large parts of the Church of England.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]