Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120821

Financial Crisis
»Banks Can Legally Steal Customer Funds From Private Checking Accounts
»European Markets Up: Italy and Spain Lead
»Fed Court Rules Banksters Can Steal Pensions
»Finland Preparing for ‘Full-Blown Currency Crisis’ And Collapse of Eurozone
»German Solar Company Sovello to Sack All Employees
»Italy: Fitch Calls on Monti to End Austerity
»Milan Stock Market Outperforms Europe
»Spread for German/Italian Bonds Now Below 410 Basis Points
»America Celebrates Eid: Outstanding Examples of National Unity and Cohesion
»Bacon Found at NY Muslim Celebration Probed as Possible Hate Crime
»Cops Interrogate Family for Allowing Kids to Play Outside
»FBI Investigated Congressional Skinny Dipping in Israel
»Former Marine Indefinitely Detained in Psychiatric Ward Over 9/11 Facebook Posts
»Hip-Hip Hooray! Murfreesboro, TN Opens New Mosque After Two Years! (Details)
»Muslims Gang Rape Colorado Woman
»NASA Renews Caltech Contract to Oversee Jet Propulsion Laboratory
»NYPD Probing a Possible Bias Crime That Could Have Marred Ramadan Celebration on Staten Island
»NYPD: Spying on Muslims Led to No Leads
»Obama Still Decimating the Military
»Plan for Building a Mosque in Conservative San Martin Divides Community
»Soros-Funded Marxists to “Occupy the RNC”
»The Misogynist Party and the Stupid Party
»The Scarecrow of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
»Third Critical Bill for Your State Legislature — 2013 Session
»US Farmers Pray for Rain as Cornfields Perish
»US Teen Invents Advanced Cancer Test Using Google
»Canada ‘Caved in to Racism’ In Banknote Design
»Charity Donations Stolen From Mosque
Europe and the EU
»Austria: Far-Right Austrian Leader Criticised for ‘Anti-Semitic’ Facebook Picture
»Denmark: Odense Hospital Invaded
»Denmark: Discoveries Change Copenhagen History
»France: Aubry: Give State Land to Evicted Roma
»Germany: One in Two Turks Wants Muslim Majority
»Italian Temperatures ‘Exceptional’ But Not at 2003 Levels
»Italy: Steaming-Hot Summer in Italy Threatens Wine Harvest
»Italy: Man Arrested After Raping Woman in Roman Park
»Somalia Olympic Runner Drowns Reaching Europe
»Spain: The Medics Seeking Life Abroad
»Swedish Divers Find Ancient Viking ‘Marketplace’
»UK: ‘Do What We Say and if You Try to Run We’ll Get You’: Police Hunt Two Men After Boy, 14, Was Threatened and Raped in City Centre Department Store on a Saturday Afternoon Boy Was Attacked in Toilet of a Debenhams Store in Manchester
»UK: Navy ‘Running Out of Sailors to Man Submarines’
»UK: Racist Abuse Hurled at Two Muslims on Train to Sheffield
»Croat, Serb Leaders Trade Barbs
North Africa
»Egypt: Amid the Intrigue
»Egypt to Send Aircraft and Tanks to Sinai First Time Since 1973
»Egypt: Fully Veiled and on Air
Israel and the Palestinians
»Bonobo Genius Makes Stone Tools Like Early Humans Did
»Constant Threats Loom on Israel’s Borders
»Israeli Settlers Construct Chicken Farm on Palestinian Land
»PNA: EU Funded Training in Territories, From Fashion to Food
Middle East
»A Tourist’s Iranian Surprises
»Anger as Iran Bans Women From Universities
»Bomb in Turkey Kills Eight
»Daniel Pipes: Stay Out of Syria: Intervention is a Trap
»Germany Keeps Quiet on Reported Spy Ship Off Syria
»Iran, Saudi Arabia Fight Proxy Conflict in Syria
»Kurds See Increasing Influence in Middle East
»Syria: Alawites Might be Driven in Enclave Post-Assad, Expert
»Syria: Barack Obama ‘Red Line’ Warning Over Chemical Weapons
»Turkey: Car Bomb Kills Seven in Turkey
»Turkish Industry Exports to 60 Countries
South Asia
»In Rising U.S. Military Death Toll, Signs of Changing Afghan Conflict
»India — Pakistan: Muslim Threats, Nationalist Fantasies and the ‘Great Assam Exodus’
»India: How the Assam Conflict Creates a Threat to All India
»India: Is it Muslims Only Who Have Feelings: Bal Thackeray
»India’s North-Eastern Naga Groups in ‘Evict Muslims’ Call
»Indonesia: Despite Limits, Mosques Remain Popular Way to Channel Alms
»Romney, Obama Spar on War in Afghanistan
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Ethiopia: ‘Eid Shows Ethiopia Muslim Grievances
»Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi: A Renaissance Leader With an Iron Fist
»Ghana: Bawumia Greets Muslims on Ramadan
»Ghana: Volta Minister Dazzles Muslims
»Islamists in Timbuktu Mali Becomes Infected by the Somali Virus
»Kenya: Veiled Muslim Women and Boozing Western Intellectuals
»Rwanda: Fundraising for Peace
»Rwanda: Islamic Nyamirambo and Eid al-Fitr That Was
»Somalia: UN Chief Welcomes Inauguration of New Somali Federal Parliament as ‘Watershed Moment’
»South Africa: Muti ‘Protected’ Miners
»Tanzania: Continent’s First Dreamliner Lands in Kilimanjaro
»Uganda: Gunmen Kill Muslim Cleric
»Zambia: Sata Hails Muslim Community
Latin America
»Ecuador’s President: Raiding Embassy to Snatch Julian Assange ‘Suicidal’
»Luis Fleischmann and Nancy Menges: The Assange Case and Ecuador: Correa Positions Himself as Chavez’s International Successor
»Nyad Quits Swim After Storm, Jellyfish Stings
»About 80 Immigrants Rescued by Italian Navy
»Italy: Police Injured During Migrant Revolt
»Melilla Border Police Beefed Up, Mass Migration Feared
»Somali Olympic Sprinter Died at Sea Trying to Reach Italian Shores
»Spain: Valencia Ties Doctors’ Hands Over Free Healthcare for Immigrants
Culture Wars
»Love, American Style: Polygamy Gets Sizzle
»Apple World’s Most Valuable Company Ever Recorded
»Drought Only One Factor Behind High Food Prices
»Glowing Insects Evolved Surprisingly Recently
»How a Mars Sample Return Mission Can Go Electric
»The Rise of the Affluent Muslim Traveller

Financial Crisis

Banks Can Legally Steal Customer Funds From Private Checking Accounts

In 2007, the Sentinel Management Group (SMG) collapsed, leaving many customer segregated funds lost after they had been used as collateral. After a plethora of lawsuits and creditor claims, a decision earlier this month in the 7th Circuit Court placed the banking cartels ahead of customer claims for funds returned. Essentially, the Bank of New York Mellon (BNYM) sued to be first in line for return on stolen customer account monies — and won the right by the US court system.

In the mainstream media (MSM), the SMG collapse and subsequent ruling in favor of BNYM was touted as a difficulty “for customers to recoup money lost”.

SMG, a Chicago-based futures broker, had stolen more than $500 million in segregated customer funds to use as collateral on a loan to BNYM for in-house proprietary trading operations. Their books were audited by the National Futures Association (NFA), however the NFA admitted that they could not understand the convoluted mess they were provided by SMG to sign off on. And yet they did; and approved the audit.

BNYM sued SMG to re-coup any monies owed to them. However, these monies were customer segregated funds that SMG stole and re-hypothecated.

In federal court, John D. Tinder, US Circuit Court Judge ruled “that Sentinel failed to keep client funds properly segregated is not, on its own, sufficient to rule as a matter of law that Sentinel acted ‘with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud’ its customers.”

This means that once a banking customer deposits their money into an account with a bank, the funds become property of the bank. The customer, at the point of deposit, relinquishes all rights to that money regardless of any laws in place, legal assurances, claims or guarantees; and this extends from investments to private checking accounts.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

European Markets Up: Italy and Spain Lead

Spread drops below 410

(ANSA) — Milan, August 21 — Markets surged across Europe on Tuesday, led by Milan’s FTSE MIB index, and the Italian spread dropped below 410 points amid investor expectations European leaders will take concrete action to combat the ongoing economic crisis, aided by the introduction of public debt-reduction measures from the region’s central bank. The Milan bourse jumped 2.4% to 15,330 points, leading the European stock gains.

Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, advanced 7.2% to 0.24 euros, lifting the whole Italian banking sector.

Some 370 million shares in the bank exchanged hands during the day’s trading, for a total of about 3.1% of the bank’s share capital.

Some 10.7% of Monte dei Paschi’s share capital has exchanged hands in the past three trading days after its chief Alessandro Profumo would not exclude the possibility of a reduction in the stake held by Monte dei Paschi’s largest shareholder, a local banking foundation.

Italy’s stock market watchdog has said it is closely monitoring the bank’s shares. The yield spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark fell, as investor concern about the ongoing debt crisis was pared by the possibility of concrete action by the region’s political leaders in conjunction with the European Central Bank.

The spread, a barometer of Italy’s borrowing costs in the eurozone crisis, closed at to 407.8 basis points, with Italian yields dropping to 5.6%.

Spain sold bonds for a total of 4.5 billion euros, and its 12-month bonds posted yields of 3.2%, down from the 4% of a previous July auction.

Madrid’s Ibex index advanced 1% to 7,544 points, making it the second-best performer in the region.

The Frankfurt bourse gained 0.9% to 11,255 points, while the Paris CAC 40 index advanced 0.9% to 3,513 points.

London’s Ftse-100 stock market rose 0.6% to 5.875.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Fed Court Rules Banksters Can Steal Pensions

In a court case glossed over by the corporate media earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit has ruled that individual segregated bank accounts may be turned into the property of a third-party under circumstances of duress.

“In other words, if a financial institution fails, clients, depositors and pension funds may not get some or all of their money back in a bankruptcy,” writes Dominique de Leveling de Bailleul for Beacon Equity Research.

The Sentinel ruling has legalized the theft of segregated customer funds and pensions by large banks and financial institutions.

Moreover, the ruling overrides protection afforded by Federal Deposit Insurance and other government insurance programs and leaves “millions of investors, depositors and retirees unaware that they are no longer account holders of their own funds, per se, but, instead, have suddenly become stockholders of the institution with which they have deposited their money,” de Leveling de Bailleu writes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Finland Preparing for ‘Full-Blown Currency Crisis’ And Collapse of Eurozone

(NaturalNews) In a shocking admission that shows just how serious the ongoing “Eurozone” crisis truly is, a Finnish official has come forward with information about how his country, which is among the strongest in the European Union (EU), plans to deal with a potential break-up of the euro. Erkki Tuomioja, Finland’s Foreign Minister, openly admits that his country is preparing for an eventual collapse of the Eurozone, and has contingency plans in place that may include reverting from the euro back to the country’s former currency.

Though Finland is relatively strong compared to many other EU member countries, it is weaker than its non-EU Scandinavian neighbors, which include Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Each of these countries still has its own unique currency, and all of them are growing and thriving much faster than Finland, which is bound to a currency and economic union that is constantly being dragged down by Greece, Spain, and other economically-failing countries.


“There are no rules on how to leave the euro but it is only a matter of time,” said Timo Soini, leader of the True Finn party, to the U.K.’s Telegraph. “Either the south or the north will break away because this currency straitjacket is causing misery for millions and destroying Europe’s future. It is a total catastrophe. We are going to run out of money the way we are going. But nobody in Europe wants to be the first to get out of the euro and take all the blame.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

German Solar Company Sovello to Sack All Employees

Another German solar module maker, Sovello, has fallen victim to fierce global competition. Insolvency adminstrators say the firm based in eastern Germany’s “solar valley” will stop production within the next two weeks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Fitch Calls on Monti to End Austerity

Rome, 21 Aug. (AKI) — Ratings agency Fitch called on Italy to end austerity programs that are crimping possibilities of growth for the eurozone’s third-largest economy.

“Italy doesn’t need more austerity measures, those that have been launched are enough, now reforms are necessary,” said the agency’s sovereign-ratings chief, David Riley, in a Tuesday interview with Bloomberg TV.

The Italian economy has contracted for four consecutive quarters as the emergency government passed measures to boost taxes and cut spending.

The moves by prime minister Mario Monti and other so-called technocrat ministers were designed to lower Italy’s 1.95 trillion euros in debt and create investor confidence. But with fewer euros in their pay, Italians have reeled in household spending sending waves into the economy that has hurt businesses and boosted unemployment.

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

Milan Stock Market Outperforms Europe

(AGI) Milan — The Milan stock exchange rebounded in a lively trading day making it Europe’s best performing. The FTSE MIB was up 2.4% to 15,330 points and the All Share gained 2.25% to 16,217. The market’s optimism is buoyed by the European Central Bank’s next moves. As the spread between 10-year German and Italian bonds drops below 410 points, bank shares rose, led by MPS, energy, industrials and insurance stocks did well. Today’s trading was worth 1.7 billion euro.

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

Spread for German/Italian Bonds Now Below 410 Basis Points

(AGI) Rome — The spread between German and Italian 10-year government bonds has fallen to 409 basis points, with yields at 5.66%, thanks to market expectations that the ECB will soon intervene. The spread between Spanish and German 10-year government bonds is now 469 basis points with yields at 6.25% after a day’s low of 464 basis points.

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


America Celebrates Eid: Outstanding Examples of National Unity and Cohesion

by Dina Malki

America celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr over the weekend to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. New York’s State Empire building glowed green in celebration with the city’s sizeable Muslim population, a tradition that has been carried on for several years. Here in Dallas, 20 thousand Muslims gathered in downtown Dallas to celebrate by praying and attending a public sermon. Across the DFW metroplex, Islamic centers and mosques were packed with thousands of worshipers celebrating the day of Eid. There are about 35 mosques in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Mike Ghouse wrote on his daily Ramadan blog. A member of the Texas Faith Panel at the Dallas Morning News and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Ghouse is a prolific Muslim writer, public speaker, activist, and initiator. He maintains over 27 blogs and four websites, indexed at, mostly around the subjects of pluralism, interfaith movement, justice, politics, Islam, India, hope, and world peace. This Ramadan, Ghouse has visited over 15 mosques where he broke his fast and socialized with Muslim communities.


[JP note: World peace.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Bacon Found at NY Muslim Celebration Probed as Possible Hate Crime

(Reuters) — Authorities were investigating as a possible hate crime the discovery of uncooked bacon scattered on the grounds of a New York City park where Muslims gathered to celebrate the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, police said on Monday.

Festivities to mark the close of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, on Sunday had been publicized in local media and drew 1,500 participants to New Dorp Beach Park on Staten Island, said Cyrus McGoldrick, spokesman for the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Cops Interrogate Family for Allowing Kids to Play Outside

A family has been harassed by social services and police for the egregious crime of allowing their children to play outside in another example of how the nanny state is running wild in America.

Lenore Skenazy, editor of the Free Range Kids website, was contacted by a mother in Virginia who related her story of how she was interrogated by police four times and visited by social services twice after her children were spotted playing outside unsupervised.

The mother said that despite the fact she is careful about allowing her kids to stay over at other people’s houses because of a related childhood trauma of her own, she is being harassed by authorities because she is “one of only two families that allows my children to play outside at all in our neighborhood (which is very safe).”

“Just today, I allowed all four of my children (they were all together) to go play in the field adjacent to my house. I could literally see them outside my kitchen window. My 10 year old ran home to tell my husband and I that a cop had stopped and was interrogating my oldest daughter,” the mother writes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

FBI Investigated Congressional Skinny Dipping in Israel

The FBI launched an investigation after Republican congressmen on a fact-finding mission to the Holy Land took part in a late-night skinny-dip in the Sea of Galilee, it has emerged.

Several prominent politicians and their families joined in the after-dinner swim, prompting concerns among American law enforcement officials that compromising behaviour might have occurred. Kevin Yoder, a Kansas Republican, admitted stripping off and jumping in alongside clothed colleagues such as Ben Quayle, the Arizona congressman and son of former vice-president Dan Quayle.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Former Marine Indefinitely Detained in Psychiatric Ward Over 9/11 Facebook Posts

Raub isn’t the first person who has suffered this fate. Claire Swinney was also held in a psychiatric ward and called “delusional” for claiming government liability for 9/11. Others have been committed for the same reason over the last decade.

Surely the Feds are right … that kind of talk is crazy, right?

Maybe. But many of the 9/11 Commissioners themselves don’t buy what the government says about 9/11, they say that the government has covered up the state sponsorship of the 9/11 hijackers, and Al Qaeda flying planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon was entirely foreseeable .

Indeed, while they obviously haven’t said that the government was involved, 9/11 Commissioners have said we need further investigation and that the American people should question 9/11. Does that mean they should they be committed to the same psych ward which Mr. Raub and Ms. Swinney enjoyed? Of course not.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Hip-Hip Hooray! Murfreesboro, TN Opens New Mosque After Two Years! (Details)

After two years, the Muslim community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. can finally rejoice after Ramadan’s month-long observance of fasting and sacrifice, as they can now occupy their new mosque this month.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslims Gang Rape Colorado Woman

Court documents reveal that the victim of an alleged vicious sexual assault remembers some of the suspects telling her about being unhappy with the way they were treated in the United States. Five Iraqi nationals were arrested in connection with the case.

Two are charged with the crime while all five are charged as accessories with the crime. Some of the victim’s injuries were described by police as being “rarely seen.”

“I can tell you this is one of the most horrific sexual assaults I’ve seen in my career as a police officer,” said Lt. Howard Black with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NASA Renews Caltech Contract to Oversee Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The California Institute of Technology will manage NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for at least five more years, the space agency has announced.

The $8.5 billion contract runs through Sept. 30, 2017, ensuring that Caltech will be at the helm when NASA’s newest mission to Mars — a JPL-led lander called InSight — arrives at the Red Planet in 2016. The Pasadena-based university has managed the nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1958, when the lab was transferred from military to NASA jurisdiction.

“We are very pleased to be continuing our partnership with NASA,” Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau said in a statement announcing the deal Friday (Aug. 17). “Through this sustained collaboration, we ensure that JPL continues to be a national resource for space exploration, scientific leadership, technology and discovery, as well as an inspiration for young scientists and engineers.”

JPL is NASA’s lead center for unmanned planetary exploration, and it also manages NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. The space agency currently has two orbiters observing the Red Planet from above and two robots active on its surface, including the 1-ton Curiosity rover, which landed on Aug. 5.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NYPD Probing a Possible Bias Crime That Could Have Marred Ramadan Celebration on Staten Island

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It’s being investigated as a hate crime — someone scattered pieces of bacon over the New Dorp Beach field where the borough’s Muslim community celebrated the end of Ramadan Sunday morning. But that act of desecration failed to ruin what organizers described as a successful celebration — about 1,500 worshipers gathered at the John D’Amato Field at New Dorp Lane and Cedar Grove Avenue, unaware of the early morning police investigation that preceded the ceremony.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

NYPD: Spying on Muslims Led to No Leads

Admits police gathered information simply because of their ethnicity and native language

New York: In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighbourhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday. The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying programme, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanised surnames.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Still Decimating the Military

Obama era combat Rules of Engagement can only be described as genocide, an intentional effort to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq by making proper combat rules of engagement a crime, leaving soldiers totally vulnerable on the battle field, or incarcerated at Ft. Leavenworth for doing what they are trained to do.

During the eight years that George W. Bush prosecuted the war in Afghanistan, we lost 630 American heroes. Obama’s insane rules of engagement have cost us more than 1470 soldiers in just three years, with those numbers climbing to a record level in 2012.

Both here and abroad, we are experiencing an increasing level of Green on Blue murders in which foreign Muslim troops are killing American soldiers who work beside them, or trained them. Muslim infiltrator Nidal Hassan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the murder of unarmed service members at the Fort Hood Texas complex.

Despite Hassan screaming “Allah Akbar” as he fired into a crowded lunchroom of unarmed American soldiers, the Obama Administration has labeled the Hassan killings as “work place violence…” and Hassan has still not faced justice.


Massive numbers of military veterans are being dumped out on the streets after 10, 20, even 30 years of honorable service. Obama is cutting experienced veterans who have deployed numerous times in order to screw these soldiers out of the retirement benefits they earned, while recruiting a new kind of young inexperienced soldier focus only upon social justice and potential domestic terrorists.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Plan for Building a Mosque in Conservative San Martin Divides Community

by Joe Rodriguez

SAN MARTIN — One thousand years ago, the rich and populous city of Cordoba, Spain, could claim to be the medieval capital of intellectual freedom and religious tolerance. The children of Abraham, protected by an enlightened, Moorish caliph, lived peacefully and prospered together there as never before, and some today would add ever since. “Jews, Muslims and Christians flourished there during the Dark Ages of Europe,” said Hamdy Abbass, an Egyptian-American insurance agent. “The three religions got together and did a magnificent job in science and everything else.” So when Abbass’ small community of American Muslims proposed building a new mosque, they chose to name it the Cordoba Center. They hoped to resurrect the old city’s religious harmony for post-9/11 America in San Martin, a tiny, unincorporated town of about 7,000 people south of San Jose.


[JP note: Lies, all lies, as is everything else concerning tolerant and peaceful Islam.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Soros-Funded Marxists to “Occupy the RNC”

This is a Special Report from the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism

Republican delegates arriving in Tampa for the convention this week will likely find one thing more oppressive than the humidity: hordes of motley Occupiers, political puppeteers, Teamsters, Code Pink activists dressed as giant female body parts, open-borders extremists, vegan Marxists, and tattooed anarchists, all assembling for their quadrennial temper tantrum.

One major target is the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and anything ever associated with him. Plans include a tent city called “Romneyville” and protests against any companies assisted by Romney’s old firm, Bain Capital.

The purpose, in line with the campaign against the Republican Party being waged by the Obama presidential campaign and its Super PACs, is to depict Romney as a heartless capitalist, oblivious to the suffering of people who can’t make it in the modern economic system.


The following is a partial list of the organizations that have signed on to Occupy the RNC. Among them are the usual anti-Democracy, pro-totalitarian useful idiots, people who believe that terrorists, cop-killers, and Chinese dictators are the good guys, while Staples is said to be evil because it is associated with Bain Capital:

  • Occupy Wall Street [and several other locations]
  • Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • Veterans for Peace
  • Industrial Workers of the World—Gainesville Area General Membership Branch
  • Vietnam Veterans Against The War/Old School Sappers
  • Earth First!
  • The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
  • Campaign for Labor Rights
  • Food Not Bombs [and several chapters]
  • Alliance for Global Justice
  • Nicaragua Network
  • A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
  • March Forward!
  • Party for Socialism and Liberation
  • The Green Party of Florida [and other locations]
  • Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
  • Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  • National Immigrant Solidarity Network
  • May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights
  • Decentralized Non-Violent Resistance Movement
  • Socialist Alternative

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Misogynist Party and the Stupid Party

by Diana West

Today’s New York Times print edition, front page, lead story headline:


How about this, circa 1997, for a headline?



But still I wonder, particularly in the churning wake of efforts to deep-six the candidacy of muddled Mr. Akin: Do the names Juannita Broddrick, Kathleen Willey, Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, etc., ring any bells anywhere? They weren’t hurt by “remarks” but by Bill Clinton himself. Then again, how about trading secret missile technology to China for illegal campaign contributions?


Missed that, too…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

The Scarecrow of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

The chief function of a Vice President is making the President look good, and by that measure Joe Biden is one of the best vice presidents who ever lived. The rule of thumb is that the more incompetent the man at the top is, the more of a buffoon the man just below him needs to be to make him look good. And again Biden does this job brilliantly.


Joe Biden, never a serious candidate, was the perfect match for Obama. A dumb old white man to confirm all the dirty impulses of the left while mockingly giving mainstream Democrats someone they could relate to. Biden’s gaffes aren’t an embarrassment, they are the whole point, signaling the end of the old American era of leadership. Their implicit message is that you can choose a McCain or Biden, another old white man, or the savvy multicultural representative of a new generation that looks like the America of 2050.

Obama and Biden are both symbols of the Post-American America. Biden represents the outgoing American administration and Obama represents the incoming Post-American administration. It is vital to make the American administration look weak, foolish and useless so as to affirm the right of the Post-American administration to seize power from it.


Biden’s ego has made it impossible for him to understand the uses he has been put to. And that is part of the joke. Joe Biden wasn’t selected despite his penchant for saying stupid things in public. He was selected because of it. He is there to project incompetence in order to make Obama look better. He is there to make the idea of white male leadership look like a joke. That is his one and only job and he has succeeded at it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Third Critical Bill for Your State Legislature — 2013 Session

The one thing the power brokers do not want is for the states to flex their sovereign power and reject what’s coming out of Washington. The shadow government does not want the other 49 states to do as Alabama did in June of this year: Pass a law stopping Agenda 21 and UN for their whole state. The amount of information out there on Agenda 21 and ICLEI is absolutely overwhelming. But, key documents like this one prove this is a UN project, who the players are and how they plan to destroy us:

The Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide (180 pages). Forward by globalist Maurice Strong, Chairman Earth Counsel.

As I have said in the two previous columns with bills to challenge the non-ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment and a constitutional money bill — time is not on our side. It is the 2013 session for our state legislatures that is either going to stop the tyranny or we probably will not make it. All of the foreign entanglements (financial as well as treaties) will destroy us if we do not succeed in getting critical bills passed and signed by our governors. That is the bottom line.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US Farmers Pray for Rain as Cornfields Perish

Across the agricultural heartland of the US, the worst drought in at least 50 years is shrivelling crops, baking pastures and running livestock farmers out of business. DW visited with farmers struggling to cope.

The flat, almost treeless plains of eastern Colorado are dry in a good year. This summer has been one of the hottest and driest on record and the crops are devastated. Dale Mauch runs a large farm near Lamar, Colorado. He’s not used to seeing deep cracks in the earth.

“This corn right here is dead,” he he told DW, looking out over the field of stunted, dried-out stalks. “You can see by the cracks in the ground how dry it is.”

This scene is repeating itself across thousands of kilometers of farmland in the Midwestern United States. Corn is the big cash crop here. This past spring, US farmers planted more of it than any time since before World War II. They anticipated a recordbreaking harvest. Instead, half the crop is dead, or badly battered by the drought conditions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Teen Invents Advanced Cancer Test Using Google

Fifteen-year-old high school student Jack Andraka likes to kayak and watch the US television show Glee.

And when time permits, he also likes to do advanced research in one of the most respected cancer laboratories in the world.

Jack Andraka has created a pancreatic cancer test that is 168 times faster and more than 1,000 times less expensive than the gold standard in the field. He has applied for a patent for his test and is now carrying out further research at Johns Hopkins University in the US city of Baltimore.

And he did it by using Google.

The Maryland native, who won $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May for his creation, cites search engines and free online science papers as the tools that allowed him to create the test.

The BBC’s Matt Danzico sat down with the teenager, who said the idea came to him when he was “chilling out in biology class”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Canada ‘Caved in to Racism’ In Banknote Design

The head of Canada’s central bank has apologised for a decision, made in 2009 based on feedback from focus groups, to remove the picture of an Asian-looking woman on its new 100 dollar banknote.

Canada’s central bank has apologised after it emerged that the image of an Asian woman on its new 100 dollar banknote was changed, three years ago, to a picture of a Caucasian-looking woman.

The new polymer banknote, in circulation since November 2011, shows a female scientist peering down a microscope, as well as a bottle of insulin. The image was supposed to celebrate Canada’s medical innovations.

But in 2009 the bank made the decision to change the picture fearing that it would “racialise” the note.

Before it was released, eight focus groups tasked with examining the public reaction to the new note decided that it showed “an inappropriate stereotype — that Asians have an affinity for the sciences.”

“Some (members of the focus groups) have concerns that the researcher appears to be Asian,” said a 2009 report commissioned by the Bank of Canada from The Strategic Counsel, which was obtained by the Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

“Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes. Other ethnicities should also be shown.”

The revelation caused outrage in the country’s large Asian community — 1.4 million Canadians can trace their ancestry to China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Charity Donations Stolen From Mosque

A thief walked into a southeast Edmonton mosque last week and stole thousands of dollars that members donated to charity during the holy month of Ramadan. “They wanted to give this money to poor people not to the person like this,” said Muhammed Siddiqui from the Markaz Ul Islam Mosque.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Austria: Far-Right Austrian Leader Criticised for ‘Anti-Semitic’ Facebook Picture

The leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) has come under criticism from the Jewish community and politicians after posting on Facebook an apparent anti-Semitic caricature.

The cartoon, posted on Saturday by Heinz-Christian Strache and since slightly amended, showed an overweight man with a crooked nose and cufflinks with the Star of David in front of plates of food, while an emaciated man looked on. The fat man represented the banking system and his thin companion the people, according to the legend. But the resemblance to old anti-Semitic cartoons drew severe condemnation Monday.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Odense Hospital Invaded

There was chaos yesterday evening at the Odense Hospital emergency ward after some 70 men, some of whom were armed with cudgels, swarmed into the ward to collect a man who had been knifed, shot and wounded earlier in the evening.

“We are shocked. We have never experienced this before and hopefully will never do so again,” Hospital CEO Jane Kragelund tells, adding that hospital employees were not hurt in the tumult.

“At the moment, the staff who were on duty are at home as they were on night duty. We will be taking care of them as best we can, as well as the patients who had a violent experience,” Kragelund adds.

According to staff, the men ripped paintings off the walls as well as breaking other items of inventory.

“They wanted to get hold of the victim. Personnel had to jump aside and some of my colleagues had to draw their pistols as they were threatened,” says Funen Police Duty Officer Erik Halkjær.

Unable to find the man they were looking for, and evicted by the police, the men left the building, smashing vehicle and other windows on their way.

According to the reports, the 26-year-old man who was shot, fell victim to an attack during an Eid al-Fitr feast at the Vollsmose Estate in Odense. The reason for the attack has not been made public.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Discoveries Change Copenhagen History

When archaeologists started their dig at Town Hall Square in Copenhagen 18 months ago, conventional wisdom said they were unlikely to find traces of 12th century life as the town had simply not stretched that far.

18 months later, views have changed. Skeletons, craftsmen’s refuse and traces of the herring trade have emerged that contradict what the history books tell us of the Danish capital.

“We are now going to have to rewrite the pre-Absalon history of Copenhagen. A very interesting set of discoveries,” says Copenhagen University History Ass. Prof. Carsten Jahnke.

The history books have all previously said that Archbishop Absalon founded Copenhagen in the second half of the 12th century. But the new discoveries mean his role should be played down.

“What our dig confirms is that Copenhagen was a real city before Absalon received it from King Valdemar,” City Hall Square dig leader Hanna Dahlström says. “It wasn’t just a little village, but an important regional node in the Sound at the beginning of the 12th century,” Dahlström says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Aubry: Give State Land to Evicted Roma

Martine Aubry, the head of the French Socialist Party and mayor of Lille, has called for state land to be provided for the resettlement of Roma left homeless after the dismantling of camps in the city.

“Land is not hard to find. The state owns lands everywhere,” Aubry stated in a press conference in Lille on Monday.

The Socialist Party leader denied reports that she had fallen out with the interior minister Manuel Valls over the dismantling of Roma camps in the city, arguing that it is the manner of the closures that she objects to, according to an AFP news agency report.

“We have demanded that this evacuation would be carried out with the relocation to another site outside of the urban area, but this has not been done,” she said.

She furthermore rejected any parallels between current government policy with that of Francois Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, praising Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault for taking a tough stance on Romania and Bulgaria.

Aubry is not opposed to the camp closures in themselves but has demanded that they are carried out with more “dignity” and that alternatives are provided.

“We are working with the prefect to find land outside the city,” she said, referring to the state representative in the region.

With Francois Hollande’s blessing, Interior Minister Manuel Valls has continued the previous government’s policy of dismantling camps and repatriating hundreds of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria.

In preparation for deportation, there are plans to house the Roma in so-called integration villages, slammed as little more than “ghettos” by government critics.

The hardline stance is however popular with the public and makes political sense, according to analysts.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: One in Two Turks Wants Muslim Majority

Shocking resuls are being produced by a current representative study by the Info Institute for Opinion Research Info GmbH regarding the attitude of Turks living in Germany. According to the study, 46 percent of Turks in Germany would like sometime for more Moslems than Christians to live here. Also, the religious resentment by Moslems toward “infidels” is increasing more and more according to the study.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Temperatures ‘Exceptional’ But Not at 2003 Levels

Earlier-year highs ‘much more persistent’

(ANSA) — Rome, August 20 — Whilst exceptional, the temperatures Italy has experienced in the past few months do not match those suffered by the nation in 2003, when they reached the highest levels in two centuries.

“That year, between the months of May and August, we experienced the highest temperatures since 1800,” said Michele Brunetti, of the Institute of Atmospheric Science and Climate. “The high temperatures in 2003 were much more persistent: the result was an exceptional situation that dragged on for months.” The Institute of Atmospheric Science and Climate is a unit of Italy’s public-funded Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Cnr) thinktank.

The comparable data could be revised in early September, when a complete set of August temperature data will be available. “This year, we have suffered from two and a half months of penetrating heat as a result of travelling anticyclones arriving in Italy from Africa,” Brunetti added. “Today’s situation is very different from that of 2003, when the heat waves rose up from the Mediterranean into Northern Europe.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Steaming-Hot Summer in Italy Threatens Wine Harvest

Up to 30% loss in of crops to drought, farmers fear

(ANSA) — Rome, August 20 — As the thermometer remains stubbornly high in much of Italy, energy bills are soaring and the fall harvest is threatened. Consumers are using record amounts of energy to run air conditioners and fans to keep cool, farmers fear they will lose as much as 30% of their crops to drought and the ill and elderly are trapped inside their homes.

One man died near his tractor while working in the heat in the fields near Francica, in the southern area of Calabria. Fortunato Mondella, 73, is believed to have died from an illness worsened by the extreme heat.

Another heat wave boiling up from Africa continues to menace much of the country.

The latest, dubbed Caligula, led the ministry of health to issue a red alert early this week for several Italian cities, including Rome, where temperatures were expected to hit 37 degrees Celsius, and Verona, where the temperatures would feel like 38 degrees.

Still, record-keepers say this year’s heat has not beaten the 2003 mark for heat. “That year in each of the four months between May and August, the recorded temperatures were the warmest since 1800,” says Michele Brunetti, an atmosphere specialist at the National Research Council.

That is no comfort to Italian farmers whose losses could reach 1.2 billion euros this year, according to the Italian Confederation of Farmers.

“The poor weather conditions are leading to a generalized decline in production volumes in excess of 25-30%, with peaks of 50% for certain sectors,” says the agricultural organization. Add in rising input and labour costs, and farmers are facing a very difficult time, says the organization.

White grapes for the production of sparkling Oltrepo Pavese and Franciacorta face a 20% drop in production, adds Coldiretti, representing farmers across Italy.

Reductions in wine production are also expected in the rest of Lombardy, Puglia, Veneto, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, and Friuli Venezia-Giulia, says Coldiretti.

Tomato and corn crops could drop as much as 30% this year, soybeans could be down 40% and forecasts are for a cut by half in sugar beet production. Meanwhile, temperatures reaching 36 degrees in Italy’s northern mountain region are creating unusual hazards, says the Safe Mountain Foundation.

While the Western Alps are currently very dry, changes in temperatures are causing poor conditions and such hazards as falling rocks, glaciers and problems with snow bridges.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Man Arrested After Raping Woman in Roman Park

(AGI) Rome — A 24-year-old African citizen has been arrested on rape and mugging charges. Having spotted his victim sitting on a park bench late in the evening yesterday the man — identified as M. B. — chatted her up and on being turned away proceeded to rape and rob the woman of her possessions. The man was arrested shortly after the rape.

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

Somalia Olympic Runner Drowns Reaching Europe

Somalia’s Olympic runner in China’s 2008 games, Samia Yusuf Omar, died attempting to reach Italy from Libya on a migrant boat in April, reports the BBC. She reportedly drowned when the boat sank. Omar had faced death threats from Islamist militia al-Shabab for participating in the games.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: The Medics Seeking Life Abroad

Growing numbers of Spanish healthcare professionals are looking for work in other parts of Europe

Eskilstuna is an attractive town around 120 kilometers west of the Swedish capital of Stockholm, the headquarters of car maker Volvo, and the home of Abba singer Frida Lyngstad, the brunette. Soon it will be the home of pediatrician Jorge Sotoca and opthalmologist Mercedes López, a Spanish couple both aged 32. Next February they will begin working at Eskilstuna’s hospital, which has a catchment area of 400,000 people. They have already arranged nursery care for their one-year-old baby.

Their reasons for leaving Spain are simple: “Job insecurity, uncertainty and fear about where Spain is heading, few opportunities for career growth, and the chance to give our daughter a good start in life,” explains Sotoca.

Spain’s worsening economic crisis — coupled with deep spending cuts in health that mean working under temporary contracts with little hope of a permanent position in a hospital — is prompting growing numbers of young medics whose training has cost the country millions of euros to leave to work abroad.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swedish Divers Find Ancient Viking ‘Marketplace’

Divers off the coast of Birka, an ancient Viking village near Stockholm, have uncovered 100 metre long jetties suggesting the village was even bigger than previously imagined. The team found that jetties stretching off the coast of the Björkö island were actually significantly longer than they initially believed, and could provide valuable information about the Vikings and their habits.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Do What We Say and if You Try to Run We’ll Get You’: Police Hunt Two Men After Boy, 14, Was Threatened and Raped in City Centre Department Store on a Saturday Afternoon Boy Was Attacked in Toilet of a Debenhams Store in Manchester

A 14-year-old boy was raped in a city centre department store on a busy Saturday afternoon, police revealed today.

Detectives have released CCTV images of two men they want to question in connection with the attack, which happened in Manchester.

The boy’s ordeal began when he went to the toilets in the Arndale Centre, one of Manchester’s largest shopping complexes.

He was approached by two men — one Asian, one white — who stared at him.

One of the men said to the boy: ‘Come with us, do what we say and if you try to run we’ll get you.’

The boy was then grabbed by the arm, led out of the Arndale Centre and taken to a nearby Debenhams store.

Greater Manchester Police said he was taken upstairs and marched to a toilet, where he was raped by the Asian man.

The attack took place at about 5.45pm on June 2, but detectives have only now released details after working for months with the victim to build up a picture of what happened.

Police also waited for forensic results before deciding to make an appeal to the public for information.

Detective Sergeant Liam Boden, of North Manchester CID, said: ‘This young victim has been absolutely devastated by what happened to him.

‘As a result we have ensured that he has been supported by officers who are trained in dealing with victims under this type of terrible circumstances.

‘What makes this incident doubly shocking is that he was marched across a busy part of the city centre during the late afternoon on Saturday.

‘However, this means I am confident that shoppers may have seen the offenders either before or after the incident.

‘I want people to take a good look at the men in these images and tell me who they are.

‘A Debenhams spokesman said: ‘We were shocked to hear about this incident and would like to reassure shoppers this is an isolated case.

‘We are working closely with the police and are appealing for anyone who has any information to contact them.’

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Navy ‘Running Out of Sailors to Man Submarines’

Britain’s nuclear deterrent is at risk because the Navy does not have enough sailors to man its submarines, Ministry of Defence officials admit.

Internal documents warn that a lack of recruits for the Submarine Service may leave attack submarines and boats carrying the Trident nuclear missile stranded in port. A separate threat comes from a predicted 15 per cent shortfall in engineers by 2015. One in seven posts for weapons officers at the rank of lieutenant will also be vacant, raising operational questions over the boats equipped with nuclear and cruise missiles.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Racist Abuse Hurled at Two Muslims on Train to Sheffield

A POLISH woman launched a racist attack on two young Muslim women wearing hijab headscarves on a train, a court heard. Beata Jopek shouted at the two women: “Go back to your own country, no-one wants you here, you are disgusting.” The women were left ‘fearing for their safety’. Jopek, aged 30, who was pregnant, then ripped the headscarf from one of the women. The drunken tirade ended with Jopek and her partner Maciej Matysniak, 32, were arrested for their behaviour towards Hana Farah and Ithil Ibrahim. Jopek was spared prison after her victims said they would rather the couple recognised what they did was wrong than be jailed.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Croat, Serb Leaders Trade Barbs

Zagreb, 21 Aug. (AKI) — Croatian president Ivo Josipovic and Serb leader Milorad Pupovac are accusing each other of political profiteering, local media reported on Tuesday.

Pupovac, a university professor, whose Serbian Democratic Independent Party (SDSS) has three deputies in the Croatian parliament, last week accused Josipovic of granting business friends preferential treatment and getting rich.

The text in the weekly Novosti, published by the Serbian National Council, controlled by Pupovac, provoked angry reaction by Josipovic who accused Pupovac of being a false tribune of Serbs in Croatia and of using political power for his own interests.

“When his party formally participated in the government, he did very little for Serbs, but a lot for himself,” Josipovic said. Pupovac used his political position to promote his own “ethnic business”, using government funds allocated for Serb minority, he added.

Instead of working on reconciliation following 1991-1995 war, Pupovac fostered a policy of “low intensity national conflicts” in order to present himself as the “only protector” of minority Serbs, Josipovic said.

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

North Africa

Egypt: Amid the Intrigue

Al-Ahram Egyptian newspaper, 16-22 August:

Dina Ezzat examines the links between the visit of the emir of Qatar to Egypt this week and President Mursi’s planned visit to Iran later this month

Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa’s brief but intriguing visit to Cairo began on Saturday afternoon, a little before Iftar. Long kept at arm’s length by the Mubarak regime, Khalifa arrived at the presidential palace at 6.30pm. For a little over two hours Mursi, Khalifa and their staff shared Iftar before the two heads of state began a closed meeting. What has been publicly acknowledged of the bilateral talks is less than striking: Qatar promised a less than headline making $2 billion in economic support to Egypt. Plans were mooted to activate already existing trade and investment agreements, though no details were provided, and the Qataris promised greater employment opportunities in the emirate for Egyptians, though without providing a timetable of when these jobs will be available. Far more significant than the so far nebulous details of actual policies is the shift in relations between Cairo and Doha, which for the last five years of Mubarak’s rule had been mired in antagonism. Some diplomatic sources go so far as to suggest an alliance is in the making.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt to Send Aircraft and Tanks to Sinai First Time Since 1973

For the first time since the October war of 1973, Egypt is preparing to send aircraft and tanks to Sinai as part of its offensive against militants in the border area. At the same time, Israel also announced it will deploy an air defense system near the Egyptian border. Both countries are beefing-up military presence in the often lawless border area in northern Sinai. On 5 August, 16 border agents were killed in an attack.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Fully Veiled and on Air

Maria TV in Egypt has been on air for a month. Women completely covered in veils go on camera to deliver tips on topics like marriage and beauty. The ultra-conservative broadcaster suggests a turn in Egyptian society.

It’s just her brown eyes that viewers see — no part of her body. Abeer Shahin is clothed from head-to-toe in a black garment. Gloves cover her hands, and a scarf known as a niqab conceals her face.

Abeer Shahin works day to day as a moderator at Maria TV, a broadcaster for and by deeply conservative Muslim women. Maria TV has been on air for a month, and its employees wear the niqab both on and off camera. Under Hosni Mubarak’s rule, that would have been unthinkable. Abeer Shahin views maria TV as proof that the revolution in Egypt was a success.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Bonobo Genius Makes Stone Tools Like Early Humans Did

Kanzi the bonobo continues to impress. Not content with learning sign language or making up “words” for things like banana or juice, he now seems capable of making stone tools on a par with the efforts of early humans.

Eviatar Nevo of the University of Haifa in Israel and his colleagues sealed food inside a log to mimic marrow locked inside long bones, and watched Kanzi, a 30-year-old male bonobo chimp, try to extract it. While a companion bonobo attempted the problem a handful of times, and succeeded only by smashing the log on the ground, Kanzi took a longer and arguably more sophisticated approach.

Both had been taught to knap flint flakes in the 1990s, holding a stone core in one hand and using another as a hammer. Kanzi used the tools he created to come at the log in a variety of ways: inserting sticks into seams in the log, throwing projectiles at it, and employing stone flints as choppers, drills, and scrapers. In the end, he got food out of 24 logs, while his companion managed just two.

Perhaps most remarkable about the tools Kanzi created is their resemblance to early hominid tools. Both bonobos made and used tools to obtain food — either by extracting it from logs or by digging it out of the ground. But only Kanzi’s met the criteria for both tool groups made by early Homo: wedges and choppers, and scrapers and drills.

Do Kanzi’s skills translate to all bonobos? It’s hard to say. The abilities of animals like Alex the parrot, who could purportedly count to six, and Betty the crow, who crafted a hook out of wire, sometimes prompt claims about the intelligence of an entire species. But since these animals are raised in unusual environments where they frequently interact with humans, their cases may be too singular to extrapolate their talents to their brethren.

The findings will fuel the ongoing debate over whether stone tools mark the beginning of modern human culture, or predate our Homo genus. They appear to suggest the latter — though critics will point out that Kanzi and his companion were taught how to make the tools. Whether the behaviour could arise in nature is unclear.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Constant Threats Loom on Israel’s Borders

Israel’s fragile borders are vulnerable to a number of threats. Jihadists’ recent attack on an Egyptian outpost in the Sinai region demonstrated the danger on that front. War with Iran could also cause a chain reaction.

It was an unexpected attack. The policemen of a district in the Egyptian part of the city of Rafah were sitting at the table during their nightly fast breaking of Ramadan. The gunfire with Islamist extremists claimed the lives of 16 policemen in early August. The security situation on the Sinai peninsular has become fragile again. When there were several attacks last year, Israel built a high security fence along the 300 kilometers of the border.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israeli Settlers Construct Chicken Farm on Palestinian Land

IMEMC & Agencies: A number of Israeli settlers constructed a chicken farm on a privately-owned Palestinian land, in Khallit Ein Masour area, near Al-Khader city in the Bethlehem district. Ahmad Salah, member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, told the Quds Press news agency that a number of extremist Israeli settlers stole land that belong to members of Sbeih family, and installed their chicken farm.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

PNA: EU Funded Training in Territories, From Fashion to Food

Programme of four years implemented by German agency

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, AUGUST 20 — The European Union is funding a programme to improve Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Palestinian territory, aiming for a better match-up between training and labour market demand.

According to the Enpi website (, the EU and the Palestinian Authority signed five implementation agreements for TVET development projects in the following fields: car mechatronics, food production & waitering, air conditioning & refrigerating, office & home appliance, and fashion designing.

With a budget of 4 million euros, this four-year EU funded programme is being implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). It aims at strengthening and scaling up TVET institutions in three pilot regions of the Governorates of Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron, as well as encouraging partnership between local institutions for technical and vocational education and labour market (LET Councils) and the private sector. It will focus on curriculum development, training of trainers and teachers, the upgrading of equipment, and capacity building in educational administration, with the aim of making TVET institutions more effective and attractive learning places, which are relevant to labour market demand.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

A Tourist’s Iranian Surprises

Robin Millican, Director of Federal Affairs for the Institute for Energy Research, appeared on the Willis Report with Gerri Willis to discuss the Obama Administration’s plans surrounding the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. Her opening statement is below.

Jamie Maslin is a British travel writer, but when he told friends that he intended to hitch-hike the Silk Road route of Marco Polo, one that would take him through Iran, they warned him against it, fearing he would be arrested as a spy and likely killed. Instead, he ended up writing an amusing and revealing book, “Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn” ($16.95, Skyhorse Publishing, softcover).

Maslin writes mostly of the various sites he visited in that ancient nation, but his interaction with Iranians, rich and poor, reveals that the regime that has been in control since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the hated Shah and his despotic rule is just as hated by ordinary Iranians. The mullahs that support the regime are routinely subject to verbal abuse in the streets and, in Tehran and other cities, taxi drivers refuse to pick them up.


Reports about Iran suggest that Iranians are fanatically Islamic, but this, he discovered, as not the case. One Iranian friend said, “Look at the mosques on Fridays; they are all nearly empty.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Anger as Iran Bans Women From Universities

In a move that has prompted a demand for a UN investigation by Iran’s most celebrated human rights campaigner, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, 36 universities have announced that 77 BA and BSc courses in the coming academic year will be “single gender” and effectively exclusive to men.

It follows years in which Iranian women students have outperformed men, a trend at odds with the traditional male-dominated outlook of the country’s religious leaders. Women outnumbered men by three to two in passing this year’s university entrance exam.

Senior clerics in Iran’s theocratic regime have become concerned about the social side-effects of rising educational standards among women, including declining birth and marriage rates.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Bomb in Turkey Kills Eight

Eight people died and another 60 were wounded when a car bomb detonated on Monday in Gaziantep, a town in south-eastern Turkey on the Syrian border. No-one has claimed responsibility but a senior Turkish politician says the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist group, carried out the attack.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Daniel Pipes: Stay Out of Syria: Intervention is a Trap

Bashar al-Assad’s wretched presence in the Presidential Palace of Damascus may, contrary to Western assumptions, do more good than harm. His murderous, terroristic, and pro-Tehran regime is also non-ideological and relatively secular; it staves off anarchy, Islamist rule, genocide, and rogue control of Syria’s chemical weapons.

As Syria’s civil war intensifies, Western states are increasingly helping the rebels overthrow Assad and his henchmen. In doing so, the West hopes to save lives and facilitate a democratic transition. Many Western voices call for more than the non-lethal aid now being offered, wanting to arm the rebels, set up safe zones, and even join their war against the government.

Helping the rebels, however, neglects a fundamental question: does intervention in Syria against Assad promote our own interests? This obvious question gets missed because many Westerners feel so confident about their own well-being that they forget their security and instead focus on the concerns of those they perceive as weak and exploited, whether human (e.g., indigenous peoples or the poor) or animals (whales and snail darters). Westerners have developed sophisticated mechanisms to act on these concerns (e.g., responsibility to protect, animal rights activism).

For those of us not so confident, however, fending off threats to our security and our civilization remains a top priority. In this light, helping the rebels entails multiple drawbacks for the West.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Germany Keeps Quiet on Reported Spy Ship Off Syria

The German government has refused to comment on a report that information gathered by its intelligence operatives is being passed to Syrian rebels. Meanwhile, the US repeated a warning about any use of chemical weapons. The German government did not comment on a report that information being gathered by the BND foreign intelligence agency is being indirectly passed on to Syrian rebels fighting to bring down the regime of President Bashar Assad. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman told reporters in Berlin on Monday that it was government policy not to publicly comment on the activities of Germany’s intelligence services. At the same time though, Steffen Seibert said that the government would respond to any questions posed by the parliamentary committee responsible for overseeing intelligence agencies.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Iran, Saudi Arabia Fight Proxy Conflict in Syria

While there is much talk of shared values and Islamic unity between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two countries are engaged in a bitter rivalry to expand their influence in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two rivals over the leadership role in the Islamic world, were eager to project harmony — at least when it came to outside appearances — at this week’s summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Mecca, the holy city of Islam.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got a seat right next to the host, King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia. In his speech, Ahmadinejad stressed that the shared belief in one religion, a shared prophet and one holy text outweighed the countries’ differences with each other.

But neither the seating arrangement nor the amicable speeches nor the heated debates behind closed doors could influence the outcome of the summit: the suspension of Syria from the organization — and the diplomatic defeat it represented for Iran, which is Damascus’ closest ally in the region.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kurds See Increasing Influence in Middle East

As the Assad regime loses ground in the Syrian civil war, ethnic Kurds are gaining more and more leverage. Kurdish leaders have not been able to unify, but neighboring countries are already alarmed.

For a long time it was relatively quiet in Syria’s Kurdish regions. As people in the south and west of the country took to the streets to protest against President Bashar Assad, there were few such demonstrations in northeastern Syria, which is home mostly to ethnic Kurds. Young Kurds soon joined the rebellion against the regime, but most of the rest of the population took a wait-and-see approach.

As an ethnic minority, the Kurds did not want to end up between the front lines. For many years, the Assad regime discriminated against the Kurds and even denied their existence in Syria. But as the pressure on the regime grew, Assad offered them Syrian citizenship, hoping to buy their neutrality. It now appears as though a large portion of the Syrian Kurds have not openly come out against Assad because his government tolerates that they have a considerable degree of autonomy in their region of the country.

The Kurds are considered to be the world’s largest ethnic minority without their own country. Population estimates range widely from 30 million to 38 million Kurds with most of them living in Turkey (13 million to 16 million), Iran (6 million to 8 million), Iraq (roughly 6 million) and Syria (1.5 million to 2.0 million). The fifth largest population of Kurds lives outside the region in Germany (650,000). Other, traditional, population centers can be found in Azerbaijan and Armenia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Syria: Alawites Might be Driven in Enclave Post-Assad, Expert

Guilty of ethnic cleansing in Hula, possible target for revenge

(ANSAMed) — ROME, AUGUST 21 — The collapse of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will lead to new massacres by the oppressed Sunni majority and other Islamic opponents of Assad, and could drive the country’s Alawite minority to an enclave between the coast and the Orontes river in western Syria, French Professor Fabrice Balanche told ANSA in an interview on Tuesday.

This would amount to ethnic cleansing, “as has already happened following the slaughters in Hula, Quseyr and Tall Kalakh Balanche,” said Balanche, who is an expert on the Alawite sect.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Barack Obama ‘Red Line’ Warning Over Chemical Weapons

President Barack Obama has warned that the use or movement of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be a “red line” that could trigger an American intervention.

Mr Obama said that Bashar al-Assad would face “enormous consequences” if he deployed chemical weapons as he battles to put quell the 17-month uprising against his regime.

The threat of chemical weapons could “change the calculus” on the need to intervene, Mr Obama warned.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Car Bomb Kills Seven in Turkey

A car bomb believed to have been planted by Kurdish separatists has killed seven people in the Turkish city of Gaziantep after it exploded close to a police station.

The explosion was caused by a remote-controlled car bomb, Turkey’s Dogan news agency quoted Gaziantep’s governor Erdal Ata as saying. “Kurdish militants are believed to be behind the attack,” a security source told the Reuters news agency. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but southeastern Turkey has seen frequent attacks by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union. The group launched a separatist insurgency in the region 28 years ago.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkish Industry Exports to 60 Countries

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 20 — Turkish defense industry exported its products worth 1 billion USD to nearly 60 countries in 2012.

Otokar, one of Turkey’s leading design and production centers for armoured vehicles, exports tactical wheeled vehicles to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bangladesh, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Romania, Turkmenistan, Algeria, Iraq, Britain and the United States as Anatolia news agency reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

In Rising U.S. Military Death Toll, Signs of Changing Afghan Conflict

In a grim milestone in the fighting in Afghanistan, the United States military has reached 2,000 dead in the nearly 11-year-old conflict, based on an analysis of Department of Defense records. While it took nearly nine years for American forces to reach their first 1,000 dead in the war, the second 1,000 came in just 27 months, according to the analysis, a testament to the intensity of fighting prompted by President Obama’s decision to send 33,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in 2010, a policy known as the surge.

Three out of four were white, 9 out of 10 were enlisted service members, and one out of two died in either Kandahar Province or Helmand Province in Taliban-dominated southern Afghanistan, according to the analysis. The average age of those killed was 26, and the dead were disproportionately Marines. Included in the special report are a list of the names of the 2,000 killed.

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India — Pakistan: Muslim Threats, Nationalist Fantasies and the ‘Great Assam Exodus’

Almost 300,000 people from north-eastern India flee Karnataka and Maharashtra. New Delhi blames Islamabad for circulating revenge text messages following sectarian violence between tribal Bodos and Muslims settlers in Assam. For activist Raghuvanshi, the problem is rooted in tensions generated by Hindu nationalist forces.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — New Delhi and Islamabad could be facing another diplomatic crisis as a result of a recent major population displacement within India. Hundreds of thousands of people from Assam have in fact fled Bangalore (Karnataka), Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra) after they received death threats via the Internet. The messages, which were posted mostly on Facebook and Twitter, warned workers from north-eastern India that Indian Muslims would take revenge against them for sectarian clashes last month in the state of Assam. For India, Pakistan is behind this hate campaign, but Islamabad has denied any involvement, calling on New Delhi to back up its claims with evidence.

In Assam, violence between tribal Bodos and Muslim settlers left 80 people dead in July. This has sparked the panicked flight of about 400,000 people from both communities, some finding shelter in refugee camps set up by the local Catholic Church. Tensions eventually spread to other Indian states where Bodos and other ethnic groups moved in search of work.

Last week, panic began spreading when text messages and photos on social networks began fuelling rumours. About 300,000 people from north-eastern India, mostly students, crammed railway stations trying to escape, fearful they might be targeted by Muslims for retaliation.

At present, the exodus has stopped and things are getting back to normal thanks to cooperation among the various Indian states involved. However, it is unclear who posted the first intimidating messages online. For New Delhi, the culprits are in Pakistan. Islamabad has denied the accusations, calling on India to show its evidence, which has not been forthcoming.

“Violence in Assam is localised with its particular history and context,” human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi told AsiaNews.

However, for Raghuvanshi, who is director of the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), such conflicts “have repercussions that explode in internal conflicts fuelled by the nationalism of fascist forces.”

In his view, “India’s greatest threat is an internal exodus provoked by internal nationalist groups (supporters of the Hindutva ideology) or external groups like Muslim fundamentalists.”

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

India: How the Assam Conflict Creates a Threat to All India

More than 300,000 refugees are in relief camps in India’s north-eastern Assam state after recent clashes between indigenous tribals and Muslim settlers. And migrants from the north-east have fled other Indian cities fearing reprisal attacks. The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder reports from Assam, where the unrest began.

In an open field next to a railway track in Basugaon, Assam, several hundred Muslims kneel in prayer to mark the end of Ramadan and the festival of Eid. This should have been a time for celebration. But many of the worshippers are visibly upset, some are crying. The cleric raises his hands and prays for peace — for Assam and for India. Some in the congregation break down completely, their eyes streaming. “What is there to celebrate?” asks Zia Ali Sheikh. “We have nothing left, nothing to give our children.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Is it Muslims Only Who Have Feelings: Bal Thackeray

Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday hit out at the Maharashtra Government for handling of the Azad Maidan violence and accused commissioner Arup Patnaik of demoralising the police force.

“When police were being attacked, when women police personnel were being molested, Mumbai’s police commissioner Arup Patnaik was growling at those who were trying to control the radicals indulging in violence. The morale of Mumbai police has been dented because of such a police commissioner,” Thackeray alleged, in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India’s North-Eastern Naga Groups in ‘Evict Muslims’ Call

By Subir Bhaumik

Tribal groups in India’s north-eastern Nagaland state have said they will evict Muslim Bangladeshi migrants “illegally settled on our lands”.

Tensions have been rising in the north-east following clashes between indigenous Bodos and Muslims in neighbouring Assam state in July. Thousands of people from the north-east have also fled many Indian cities after threats of revenge attacks by Muslims. Over the years, the Bengali Muslim population in Nagaland has grown.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Despite Limits, Mosques Remain Popular Way to Channel Alms

Come Ramadhan, mosques in Indonesia bustle with people donating and collecting alms, or zakat, for the fasting month. On the porch of one mosque in Condet, East Jakarta, a banner read: “Accepting zakat, infaq, and sedekah”. At another mosque in West Jakarta, three youngsters were seen setting up a post to receive alms. In Central Jakarta, after tarawih, or Ramadhan evening prayers, an official of another mosque reviewed his logbook on alms collection. Islamic law obliges Muslims who are able to give two types of zakat. The first is zakat fitrah, or donations of food (or of cash earmarked for food), given at the end of Ramadhan. In Indonesia, recipients of zakat fitrah typically take home about 3.5 liters of rice. The second type of alms, zakat maal, comprises at least 2.5 percent of a person’s earnings and assets. Infaq and sedekah, meanwhile, are voluntary donations.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Romney, Obama Spar on War in Afghanistan

MANCHESTER, N.H. — When it comes to a host of major domestic issues in the 2012 presidential campaign, a wide chasm separates President Obama from his presumed Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. That’s less true when it comes to foreign policy, especially the war in Afghanistan, where both candidates now favor a drawdown of American troops by the end of 2014.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia: ‘Eid Shows Ethiopia Muslim Grievances

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian Muslims have used the prayers of ‘Eid Al-Fitr, which crowns the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, to express anger at government interference in their religious affairs. “The people want the Majlis to step down,” chanted thousands of Muslim worshippers following the prayers, referring to the umbrella Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi: A Renaissance Leader With an Iron Fist

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, an intellectual ex-rebel vilified by some as a dictator but praised by others as a visionary, dominated politics at home and in the region for over two decades.

Mr Meles, a sharp-witted and charismatic player in the volatile Horn of Africa region, died overnight Monday at the age of 57. Iron-fisted and austere, Meles was propelled into the club of African rulers in power for more than 20 years by a landslide victory in 2010 elections, where he won 99 per cent of the vote. From the revolutionary who fought to topple Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, Meles created a new persona for himself as the champion of Africa’s economic and environmental rights on the international scene.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ghana: Bawumia Greets Muslims on Ramadan

On behalf of the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo and on my own behalf, I am pleased to congratulate all Muslims throughout our country and the world over on the successful completion of our month-long sacred Ramadan fast. The past 30 days have been a period of great sacrifice, a time we have abstained from the physical pleasures of life in order for us to seek immeasurable blessings from Allah, our Maker.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ghana: Volta Minister Dazzles Muslims

The Volta Regional Minister Henry Ford Kamel last Sunday amazed Muslims and other persons gathered at the Regional Police Training School Park in Ho for the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers. Mr. Kamel, who is noted for addressing Voltarians in English, dramatically addressed the hundreds of Muslims in Hausa to their astonishment and excitement. His perfect presentation in Hausa made many people turn to each other in astonishment amidst murmurings about how he learnt the language. Some of the Muslims who spoke to Daily Guide speculated that he might be a Muslim, while others opined that he used to be one because they know him to be a staunch Christian. Another group also believed that he might be a Zongo boy or might have lived with some Muslims or Hausa speaking people at one point in his life.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Islamists in Timbuktu Mali Becomes Infected by the Somali Virus

Mali was once a model of African democracy. But ever since a military coup in March, Islamists have been on the march and have already imposed Sharia law in the country’s north. There are fears that Mali could join Somalia as another failed state.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Veiled Muslim Women and Boozing Western Intellectuals

by Andre Vltchek, Nairobi, Kenya

I am scared. As I am writing this essay, the Eid-ul-Fitr is approaching; festivities that will mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan are about to start. Some 20 percent of the world population, which is Muslim, is now cooking, doing last-minute wrapping of the gifts, getting ready to forgive the loved ones, its neighbors, and to disburse the charities.

For many it is just a routine, an obligation. But for some, perhaps for the majority of Muslims that I know, it is one important and beautiful event, an opportunity to become better and more caring people.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Rwanda: Fundraising for Peace

A project to construct a peace-building centre under the Kigali Genocide Memorial received a major boost, Sunday night, when local business men and women in close partnership with Friends of Rwanda raised more than $100,000. The Center will offer anti-Genocide education programs with an initial target of two million young Rwandans. The money was raised in both cash and pledges during a White Rose Gala Dinner organised by Aegis Trust, which manages the Kigali Memorial Centre.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Rwanda: Islamic Nyamirambo and Eid al-Fitr That Was

On a chilly Sunday morning, Muslim faithful turned up in droves at Nyamirambo stadium. By 5:30am, the place is filled to capacity. Welcome to Eid-al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of Ramadan, a holy month on the calendar of Islam during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset. Although it is a time of deprivation, Muslims consider Ramadan to be a joyful season. The football field, pavilion, open stands and the esplanade of the stadium were literally all donned white. On such important occasions Muslims put on white.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Somalia: UN Chief Welcomes Inauguration of New Somali Federal Parliament as ‘Watershed Moment’

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the inauguration today of the New Federal Parliament of Somalia as a major milestone in the nation’s peace and reconciliation process, according to his spokesperson. “He congratulates the people of Somalia on reaching this watershed moment on their road to peace, stability and political transformation,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson added in a statement. “The Somali people have waited twenty years for peace to take root in their country. Now is the time to begin a new chapter in their history.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Africa: Muti ‘Protected’ Miners

A MYSTERY sangoma is believed to be behind the foolish courage displayed by striking miners during Thursday’s deadly standoff. Undeterred by water cannons and tear gas, the miners crept through the bushes towards the police and charged straight into a heavy line of fire.

The surviving miners are not talking, but union officials, residents of Marikana and the police confirmed the presence of the unidentified sangoma, who carried out rituals on the hill and dished out muti where workers had gathered throughout the week.

It is said the man, who is from the Eastern Cape, had provided muti to the protesters and made them believe it would make them invincible.

Senzeni Zokwana, president of the of National Union of Mineworkers, said the strikers had to fork out R500 before being sprinkled with ntelezi. He said the workers were cut with razor blades and then had the muti smeared on their bleeding wounds.

Several of the strikers the Sunday Times spoke to yesterday were reluctant to talk about the sangoma, and some even denied his existence.

“I heard about that, but I don’t want to talk about it,” said one before walking away. Another, who had camped on the hilltop for three days, did not deny the presence of the medicine man. “I’d rather not respond to that one, please,” he said.

A senior policeman who was in one of the police helicopters told the Sunday Times that they had recorded the muti rituals on camera. “One by one, in a queue, they were sprinkled with muti,” he said.

The strikers regarded the hilltop as a sacred place. Women were not allowed near, and the men were not allowed to wear hats.

Several other senior police officers who had been in helicopters that monitored the koppie during the week also confirmed spotting the ritual.

While some may argue that it was stupid to brave automatic gunfire in the manner in which the workers did on Thursday, some locals believe that, if it hadn’t been for the muti rituals, many more would have been killed.

“I believe that more could have been killed. We saw what happened. Most of the leaders basetshenziwe (they’ve had muti rituals performed on them), so they can’t be hit by a bullet at all,” said a young woman who refused to be identified.

Another told the Sunday Times: “They can’t be shot, because a strong ritual makes it impossible for them to be hit by a bullet.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tanzania: Continent’s First Dreamliner Lands in Kilimanjaro

Arusha — KILIMANJARO International Airport became the first African destination for the Ethiopian Airlines’ newly acquired and highly coveted Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner dubbed ‘Africa’s First,’ taxied at KIA runaway on Monday, afternoon, amid cheers from spectators who gathered at Tanzania’s second largest airport to witness the historic event, where the 389-seater aircraft landed for the first time. Speaking during the occasion, an Ethiopian Airlines representative, Ms Nadia Ahmed, said the choice of Kilimanjaro as the Dreamliner’s first destination only goes to reinforce the company’s commitment in connecting Tanzania’s Northern Zone Circuit to the world.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Uganda: Gunmen Kill Muslim Cleric

The Police in Bugiri district have started investigating the murder of an Imam (Muslim cleric) by gunmen on Saturday evening. Sheikh Yunusu Abubakari was shot dead by unknown people as he moved towards his home in Bugiri town at around 8.30p.m after conducting night prayers at Masjid Umaru Mosque belonging to the Salafi sect in Bugiri in which he is the leader. According to an eyewitness, Geofrey Musoga the deceased who was accompanied by a colleague identified as Issa Hamisi was attacked by two men on a motorcycle.

The assailants were reportedly carrying a big bag in which they hid the gun and they fired three bullets at Abubakari killing him instantly and two bullets at Hamisi who sustained serious injuries and was taken to Fast Line Medical Centre in Bugiri town.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Zambia: Sata Hails Muslim Community

By Jimmy Chibuye

PRESIDENT Sata has praised the Muslim community’s contribution to the country’s achievements in his message of goodwill as they celebrate Eid, which marks the end of fasting.

The President is hopeful the Muslim community in Zambia will support Government programmes aimed at improving the lives of Zambians. This is contained in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by special assistant to the President for press and public relations George Chellah. “I wish to congratulate all Muslims in Zambia on this day of Eid-ul-Fitr, a joyous occasion which marks the end of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan,” President Sata said.

He said fasting has been an opportunity for the Muslim community to reflect upon the universal religious values of compassion, sharing, unity and co-operation. Mr Sata said the universal religious values are driving his Government to strive to raise the living standards and provide adequate services to the least advantaged in the larger Zambian family. He said Muslims have always been an important part of the Zambian family and have contributed to the country’s strength of character and achievements. “It, therefore, gives me great joy to share in the festivities and wish all Muslims Eid Mubarak.” Eid Mubarak means blessed festival.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Ecuador’s President: Raiding Embassy to Snatch Julian Assange ‘Suicidal’

It would be “suicide” for Britain to enter Ecuador’s embassy in London to arrest Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, the South American country’s president has warned.

Rafael Correa warned such a provocative precedent would leave British embassies across the world facing similar “violating”moves by foreign governments. In an interview with his country’s state television, Mr Correa continued his strong rhetoric suggesting the diplomatic impasse with Britain was no closer to being solved. He said that because British diplomats had yet to apologise or retract its threat to enter the central London embassy, the “danger still exists”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Luis Fleischmann and Nancy Menges: The Assange Case and Ecuador: Correa Positions Himself as Chavez’s International Successor

Ecuador’s decision to grant political asylum to the computer hacker, Julian Assange, is very revealing in relation to the character and aspirations of the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa.

Assange was the man who succeeded in disclosing American state officials’ and diplomats’ conversations through Wikileaks as well as releasing thousands of pages of top secret documents. However, Assange besides being suspected of having raped two women in Sweden is also a man that has become an ideological symbol.

This is the reason why Assange was granted political asylum. Such status is usually given to people who have been persecuted for political or ethnic reasons. Assange, although the disclosure of secrets would make him an offender under U.S. laws if so charged, sought asylum over alleged sex crimes committed in Sweden…

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Nyad Quits Swim After Storm, Jellyfish Stings

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad’s latest attempt to swim across the Straits of Florida ended Tuesday morning after severe jellyfish stings and a lightning storm put her off course, her team said.

She had been in the water for 60 hours and was about halfway through her swim from Cuba to Florida.

Nyad was stung by jellyfish overnight, and a major lightning storm put anyone in the water in extreme danger, said Mark Sollinger, Nyad’s operations chief. He said the 62-year-old exhausted swimmer was pulled out as the dangers mounted.

“With all the threats continuing, Diana decided that it was not a risk that we wanted to take,” Sollinger said.

Nyad’s lips and face are swollen, but she is holding up “as well as someone who just spent 63 hours” performing a “monumental and extremely dangerous” feat, Sollinger told CNN’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”

Sollinger described her achievement as “huge,” despite having to stop before she reached Florida.

“It’s a cross between being down, being so tired because everyone wanted this so much, and a huge sense of accomplishment,” he said. “Nobody in the world would even attempt this, but we did.”

Nyad was making her fourth attempt to swim across the Straits of Florida. The full distance from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Florida, is 103 miles.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


About 80 Immigrants Rescued by Italian Navy

(AGI) Rome — About 80 migrants have been rescued by the Italian Navy some 70 miles south-west of Malta. The rubber dinghy carrying the migrants was spotted by patrol boat Spica, within the Maltese search and rescue area, some 70 miles off the island.

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

Italy: Police Injured During Migrant Revolt

Ragusa, 21 Aug. (AKI) — Two police were hospitalised with minor injuries in southern Italy following a revolt by more than a dozen Tunisian migrants who feared they would be sent home.

The 14 migrants were arrested in the Italian southern region of Sicily after destroying the detention centre in the city of Ragusa where they were held.

The men, who had only arrived by boat to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa a couple of weeks before, were arrested by the police and accused of resistance and violence towards authorities in Ragusa, a city in southwestern Sicilian where the migrant centre was located.

In an attempt to escape the men “destroyed the housing where they were staying and the video-surveillance system, flooded some rooms with fire sprinklers, and destroyed computers and other objects belonging to the police and the civil protection agency ,” according to the police.

The men used the glass from the broken windows as weapons and climbed on the roof to throw fire extinguishers, chairs, shoes, light bulbs and anything else they could find against police to stop them. Two policemen were taken to hospital, one was hit in the face by a sharp object and the other by a glass bottle that fractured his cheek bone.

The violence comes after their recent failed escape attempt prior, when they were immediately stopped and returned to the centre.

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

Melilla Border Police Beefed Up, Mass Migration Feared

1000 migrants ready to enter Spanish enclave

(ANSAMed) — MADRID, AUGUST 21 — Authorities have beefed up police presence at the border between the Spanish city of Melilla and Morocco, where hundreds of Sub-Saharan migrants are trying to make the crossing into Europe, Spanish media reported Melilla government officials as saying on Tuesday.

About 1,000 people willing to risk arrest in hopes of a better life are currently massed at the border, according to estimates by local authorities.

Approximately 60 people managed to push their way through the barrier when 500 migrants stormed the double metal fence separating the 10-square-km border area on Saturday. Guardia Civil gendarmes protecting the Spanish enclave within Morocco flew a helicopter over the area yesterday in an attempt to dissuade the migrants. The situation is similar to that of the summer and fall of 2005, when thousands of migrants massing at Spanish borders in Ceuta, Melilla and the Canaries repeatedly stormed the crossings and at least 3.500 people made their way through, local media said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Somali Olympic Sprinter Died at Sea Trying to Reach Italian Shores

Mogadishu, 21 Aug. (AKI) — A Somali Olympic sprinter died in April during an attempt to reach Italian shores aboard a migrant boat, according Italian news reports, citing Somali National Olympic Committee.

Samia Yusuf Omar, born in 1991, departed from Libyan shores but the boat she travelled in sank.

“Samia died for trying to reach the West. She took a boat from Libya to reach Italy. But she never arrived,” announced Abdi Bile former Somali 1,500 meter champion Abdi Bile during a meeting of the Somali Olympic Committee.

Thousands of migrants risk their lives aboard rickety vessels to reach Europe from North Africa. According Human Rights Watch, 170 deaths have been registered as a result of the attempt during the first six months of this year. Up to many 13,500 people died in such since 1998, including at least 1,500 in 2011, the deadliest on record, the report said.

Omar was a member of the Somali Olympic team during the 2008 Games in Beijing where she took part in the 200 meter event.

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

Spain: Valencia Ties Doctors’ Hands Over Free Healthcare for Immigrants

Doctors working in the public health service in the region of Valencia who object to the removal of free healthcare services for undocumented immigrants will have to attend to such patients outside their working hours and without using public facilities, the regional commissioner for health, Nela García, said Monday.

As part of the government’s austerity drive to rein in the public deficit, as of the start of September, some 150,000 immigrants who do not have residency papers will no longer have access to the free treatment they have been entitled to on the public health system.

Those immigrants who wish to continue to receive medical care are likely to have to pay 710 euros a year in order to do so under government plans. Over-65s will have to pay double, although pregnant women, minors and those with refugee status will continue to receive free care.

A total of 77 doctors in the Valencia health system have so far signed up as conscientious objectors to the new policy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Love, American Style: Polygamy Gets Sizzle

by Chelsea Schilling

Is polygamy becoming the new “gay” movement in America? With television shows such as HBO’s “Big Love” and TLC’s “Sister Wives,” polygamy is the once-taboo lifestyle that appears to be gaining wider acceptance — especially on the heels of homosexual marriage victories across the nation. Just this weekend, the website declared Aug. 19 the 12th annual Polygamy Day. According to the site, since it began, “the annual celebration grew into a widespread and religiously-neutral individual celebration around the country among all forms of consenting-adult pro-polygamists.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Apple World’s Most Valuable Company Ever Recorded

Apple Inc. became the world’s most valuable company ever recorded on Monday when surging stock pushed its value up to $621 billion. Microsoft previously held the record for its value of $850 billion in 1999.

On Monday, its surging stock propelled the company’s value to $621 billion, beating the record for market capitalization set by Microsoft Corp. in the heady days of the Internet boom.

Apple’s stock has hit new highs recently because of optimism around what is believed to be the impending launch of the iPhone 5, and possibly a smaller, cheaper iPad.

Apple Inc. has been the world’s most valuable company since the end of last year. It’s now worth 53 percent more than No. 2 Exxon Mobil Corp.

The comparison to Microsoft does not take inflation into account. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the software giant was worth about $850 billion on Dec. 30, 1999. Microsoft is now worth $257 billion.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Drought Only One Factor Behind High Food Prices

The severe drought in the US has been blamed the rising prices of agricultural commodities. But that is only part of the story: Biofuels, financial speculation and changing dietary habits are also playing a role. The global food supply faces pressure from all sides.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Glowing Insects Evolved Surprisingly Recently

Fireflies, one of the most conspicuous of nocturnal insects, are a relatively recent addition to the twilight world. A new analysis of all bioluminescent species suggests that those living on land might be mere tens of millions of years old — a fraction of the age of bioluminescing marine groups.

Bioluminescence serves many purposes, from communication to finding mates, scaring off predators to attracting prey. Yet while many marine species bioluminesce, very few terrestrial animals have evolved the ability. Besides fireflies and a few other insects, only one snail, a few earthworms and a handful of millipedes can produce light.

To better understand this striking difference between land and sea Peter Vršanský, a palaeobiologist at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, and his colleagues, studied the evolutionary history of all known marine and terrestrial groups of bioluminescent species.

Their results show that most marine light-producing animals can trace their origins back to the Devonian period, at least 400 million years ago. Bioluminescent landlubbers are all much younger — no more than 65 million years old.

“There are unexpected, but very important indications for a modern origin of luminescence on land,” says Vršanský.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

How a Mars Sample Return Mission Can Go Electric

Solving the mystery of life on Mars requires robots to collect Martian samples for a return to Earth — a mission that may come with the astronomical price tag of $5 billion to $10 billion. That round trip to the Red Planet could become cheaper by using electric propulsion.

The Mars sample return (MSR) mission would require powerful electric thrusters and efficient solar panels which are presently under development worldwide or even already existing. Such technology would allow the Mars mission to lighten the load of chemical propellant carried by traditional rockets and spacecraft — and it’s within reach for a mission to try recovering Martian rocks and soil in the next decade or two.

“The chances of having a reliable technology available for MSR in the timeframe beyond 2020 appear good,” said Wolfgang Seboldt, a physicist at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Having electric propulsion could also speed up the round trip to Mars. The total mission time could prove especially helpful for any eventual human missions to Mars because of the risk that, for example, high-energy cosmic rays pose to astronauts during the journey.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Rise of the Affluent Muslim Traveller

by Navid Akhtar

Muslims are predicted to make up almost one in three of the world’s population by 2025, and increasing numbers of well-heeled, well-educated Muslims are already seeking out goods and services that meet their needs — not only at home, but also when they travel.

An early morning call from Malaysia. It’s an old friend enquiring about London’s best halal hotel. Enthused by the coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and Mo Farah’s double gold wins, he has decided to visit London with his family as soon as Ramadan finishes this month. He would like to stay in a Muslim-friendly hotel, do I have any suggestions?

I ask a few friends and search some Muslim websites — only to draw a blank. The closest London can offer is a vegetarian-friendly hotel. But it’s not just the assurance of halal food that my friend is hoping for. He’d like to go somewhere which is considerate of his family’s other needs as Muslims, such as guidance on finding the direction of Mecca inside the hotel room for prayer times, alcohol-free dining areas, perhaps separate spa facilities for men and women.


[JP note: Only a question of time.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

Solution to shortage of engineers in RN sub service - use bonobos.

Anonymous said...

Flabberghasted to read the piece about the Eid celebrations in the US, including the Empire State Building lit up in green. Here in Europe we think that we are fighting a losing battle against the onward march of Islam. However, most British and Europeans in general probably have no idea that Islam is conquering America as well, even in such a Republican and presumably Methodist state such as Texas. Texas is being taken over by these people!!??. There has to be a backlash soon and I can't imagine Texans letting themselves be done down. By the way, where are all your nuclear missiles? Don't let a muslim near them or you are sunk.
This is so surreal and insane that it is hard to get to grips with.