Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120822

Financial Crisis
»Economically Motivated Suicides in Italy Up, Says Report
»Eurozone Crisis Adds to Japan’s Trade Deficit
»Expats’ Exodus as Brits Give up on North Cyprus
»Gigolo Gives Discounts During Economic Hard Times
»Greece: Over Half of Island Businesses Dodge Taxes
»Irish Banks Reject Most Loans After Greek Banks
»Italian Local Taxes ‘More Than Double in 15 Years’
»Samaras Says Greece Needs More Time
»Spain: Autonmous Communities Greatest Liability, Study Says
»Study: Spanish Regions Are Potential Budget Busters
»Turkish Families Deep in Debt, 2 Mln May Face Levies, MP
»Attorney Discovers Hundreds of Thousands of Invalid Voter Registrations
»Bacon in Park Was Not Actually “Islamophobic” Hate Crime, But Food Left for Animals
»DARPA Looks to Make Cyberwar Routine With Secret ‘Plan X’
»Has Niall Ferguson Jumped the Shark?
»Huma Abedin, Islamist Connections and Willful Blindness
»Location of the Mind Remains a Mystery
»More Reasons to Investigate Huma Abedin
»Planning Board OKs Mosque Expansion
»Prince Harry — Naked Photos During Vegas Rager
»Romney Banks on Ryan to Shore Up Conservative Base
»The End of the Alternative Media
»Victoria Muslim Community Shaken by Mosque Threats
Europe and the EU
»Finnish PM Wants Deeper EU Integration
»First UK Hydrogen Train Takes Passengers for a Ride
»France: Three Religions Meet in Suburban Paris Prayer Space
»France: Eiffel Tower Worth €434 Billion: Study
»France: Lyon Rabbi Sent Holocaust Photo Threat
»Germany: Europeans Converting to Islam and to Jihad
»Germany: Underground Workers Face Mammoth Tusk
»Higgs Boson Faces the Perils of Predictability
»Italy: Catholic Weekly Slams Religious Event for ‘Power Adulation’
»Italy: 90-Year-Old Beats Two Moroccan Muggers
»Jordanian Paralympic Athletes to Face Child Sex Charges in Northern Ireland
»King Intervenes in NI Assault Case
»Northern Ireland: Bail Granted to Paralympian Sex Charge Trio
»Norway: Billion-Dollar Price Tag for New Government HQ
»Norway: Forced Genital Exam on Girl ‘Was Discrimination’
»Romanian Power Struggle is Far From Over
»Sweden: Somali Community Under Threat by Local Gang
»Switzerland: Bern Upset by ‘Romney Girl’ Video
»UK: A Town Hall Spy on Every Corner …
»UK: British Pakistani Christian Association to Demonstrate Outside Pakistan High Commission …
»China Calls for Dialogue in Solving Kosovo Issue
North Africa
»Egypt: MB Leader Asks Democracy Advocates to be Tolerant of Sharia
»Egypt: Presidential Spokesman — Constitutional Court to Issue a Ruling on Shura Council on September 4
»Egyptian Ministry Warns Anti-Presidential Protesters
»Egypt’s New Democratic President is Indifferent to Genuine Democratic Reform
»Russia May Soon Resume Military Cooperation With Libya
»Stakelbeck on Terror Show: “Inside Jihad” With Tawfik Hamid
Israel and the Palestinians
»Abbas Denies the Jewish Connection to Jerusalem
»Ashton Warns Israel to Halt New Settlements
»EU’s Strategic Mistake
»New Vatican Ambassador to Tel Aviv Gets Bad Israeli Press
»West Bank: Crisis Does Not Spare Arafat’s Mausoleum
Middle East
»Bahrain: Mosque Open House Draws Thousands
»Chinese Muslims to Shine in Turkey Expo
»Deadly Fighting Over Syria Grips North Lebanon
»Death Toll From Lebanon Fighting Climbs to 10
»Dubai Helps Spread Humanitarian Message to 1 Billion
»Iran’s Supreme Leader Orders Fresh Terror Attacks on West
»Police Remove Drunkards From Kuwait Mosque
»Russia Warns on Unilateral Intervention in Syria
»Salafis in Lebanon Look Confidently Ahead
»Sunni Muslim Sheik From Sydney, Australia, Goes to Syria to Wage Jihad, Gets Rocketed
»Sydney Sheik Killed in Syria Rocket Attack
»Ten Killed in Sunni-Alawite Clashes in Lebanon
»Russia Becomes Last Major World Power to Join WTO
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Taliban Score Propaganda Coup With Rocket Attack on Top American Officer’s Plane
»Afghanistan’s Peace Hopes Rest on Taleban Deal
»In Pakistan, an Illiterate Child Has Been Jailed for Unknowingly Burning the Quran. …
»Malyasia: Pertim Allays Fears Over Chinese Mosque
»NZ’s Dilemma in Afghanistan
»US Troop Deaths Top 2,000 in Afghanistant
Far East
»China Increases Rare Earth Exports
»Chinese Medicine: Therapeutic or Dangerous?
»EU Group Slams Protectionism in China Wine Row
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Ethiopia: Death of Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi Plunges Country Into Uncertainty
»Ethiopia Commentary: Meles Zenawi Death a Headache for the West
»Nigeria: Gunmen Kill Two in Biu Mosques Attacks
»Thousands Turn Out to Mourn Meles Zenawi as Body Arrives Back in Ethiopia
»Two Jordanian Peacekeepers ‘Missing’ In Sudan’s Darfur
»Immigrants Protest ‘Illegal’ Label
»In Crisis, Greece Rounds Up Immigrants
»New Computer Database Launched to Track Down 150,000 Illegal Immigrants in Britain
»Swiss Implement 48-Hour Asylum Procedure
Culture Wars
»BBC Play School Presenters ‘Went On-Air Stoned’
»George Orwell is ‘Too Left-Wing’ For a Statue, BBC Tells Joan Bakewell
»Mister Gay Italy Finalists Prepare for Showdown Friday
»Modern Culture: Ugliness is Compulsory
»The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism
»Father’s Age is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia
»Mars Rover Aces First Test Drive on Red Planet

Financial Crisis

Economically Motivated Suicides in Italy Up, Says Report

Research examines years before and after crisis

(ANSA) — Rome, August 21 — A recent report by researchers at the University of Michigan said that they were able to calculate the number of economically motivated suicides in Italy between 2008-2010 and confirm that there was an increase.

In the study published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Associate Professor Roberto De Vogli looked at data comparing time trends for the so-called crisis years (2008-10) against those of the pre-crisis years (2000-07) and concluded that there were 290 excess suicides and attempted suicides attributable to economic reasons.

“These preliminary results have important policy implications,” De Vogli said. “They suggest that, as seen in other European countries — for example, in Greece — the recession and austerity packages designed to balance the budget deficit caused by the crisis are causing significant human suffering in the general population”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Eurozone Crisis Adds to Japan’s Trade Deficit

Japan has logged a huge trade deficit. Official figures for July indicate that slowing growth in Asia and the eurozone’s protracted debt crisis are taking a high toll on the country’s export abilities.

Japan’s foreign trade in July showed a shortfall of 517.4 billion yen ($6.5 billion, 5.21 billion euros), official data indicated on Wednesday. It was the largest ever deficit for the month and almost twice the 275 billion yen that had been forecast by analysts.

The figures also marked a drastic change from the previous month when Japan was still able to record a small surplus of 60.3 billion yen.

The marked change in July was attributed to Europe’s debt-stricken economies and lower growth rates in Asian nations, including China.

“The recent trend in which weakness in China and Europe has been putting major downward pressure on Japan’s trade is getting even more serious,” said Global Market Research Strategist Takahiro Sekido.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Expats’ Exodus as Brits Give up on North Cyprus

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, AUGUST 21 — British expatriates are leaving the north of Cyprus in record numbers according to reports in the Turkish Cypriot media. Economic difficulties, bureaucratic obstacles, poor utilities, animal welfare and increasing electricity prices are cited as the main reasons for the exodus of British retirees.

Daily Kibris reports a surge in homes put on sales by expatriates, most bemoaning that they are fed up with being ignored by the administration with “endless pointless bureaucracy.” Chubby Cevdet, the owner of a restaurant popular with British residents said: “Life for Brits living here can be challenging, no one listens to them,” he said. “The British Pound was hard hit… They want to escape. There are always problems with electricity and water, but they can never get these problems solved,” he added.

The recession has left some Brits trapped because their foreign property has lost value at the same time as their British savings have become worth less abroad. In some cases, Britons that could not sell their homes have simply locked them up and left.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Gigolo Gives Discounts During Economic Hard Times

Clients eligible for ‘frequent-user’ discounts

(ANSA) — Marina di Massa, August 22 — Some male practitioners of the oldest profession on earth have made it known that they will be giving discounts to help those watching their spending during the ongoing economic crisis.

Worker by day, gigolo by night, Simone distributed fliers advertising that he has slashed prices almost in half for all services and will also be providing “frequent user discounts”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Over Half of Island Businesses Dodge Taxes

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, AUGUST 22 — Over half of businesses in Greece’s popular tourist spots dodge paying their taxes, daily Kathimerini reports quoting figures from the financial crimes squad (SDOE), following a series of inspection raids across the country. SDOE reported that from July 6 to August 19, its officers inspected 4,067 businesses and found 55.7% to be in breach of taxation laws, writing up 2,266 establishments for a variety of violations, led by failure to issue receipts. In the same period last year, SDOE conducted 2,864 checks and found a slightly lower 53% of businesses to be dodging their taxes. The highest number of tax dodgers were discovered on the popular islands of Naxos (73.9%), Santorini (68.4%), Mykonos (64.5%), and Paros and Antiparos (63.7).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Irish Banks Reject Most Loans After Greek Banks

Banks in Ireland are second only to Greece in the EU in refusing the most business loan applications, reports the Irish Times. Small businesses are twice as likely to have their loans rejected than the EU average, according to a study published on Tuesday by the Central Bank of Ireland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Local Taxes ‘More Than Double in 15 Years’

Up 114.4% since 1996, says trade association

(ANSA) — Venice, August 21 — Italians have seen their local taxes more than double in the past 15 years, according to a study by trade association CGIA di Mestre.

The overall amount has risen 114.4% to a record high of 102 billion euros, according to calculations carried out by the association that represents artisans and small companies in the northern Italian Mestre area.

The report was drawn up by examining Italian taxpayers’ filings to regions, provinces and local city councils in the 1996-2011 period. Local taxes totaled 47.6 billion euros in the first year the study examined.

CGIA said each taxpayer today is accountable for an average of 1,684 euros in local taxes, adding that the situation is expected to worsen in 2012.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Samaras Says Greece Needs More Time

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has made the strongest indication yet that he plans to ask euro-zone leaders this week for more time in implementing further austerity measures. With patience wearing thin, however, the answer is likely to be “no”.

As he was campaigning ahead of June elections, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras promised voters that he would request extra time to make an additional €11.5 billion ($14.3 billion) in cuts necessary to qualify for the next tranche of international aid. This week, he is taking steps to fulfil that promise.

Ahead of a Wednesday meeting with Euro Group President Jean-Claude Juncker and further talks later this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, Samaras told the German daily Bild that his country needed “breathing room” to get the economy back on track.

While he did not identify how much more time he would like, he has indicated previously that he would like an additional two years to implement the spending cuts. Greece’s international creditors have made next month’s crucial aid payment worth €31.5 billion dependent on concrete steps toward further austerity.

“We are not asking for additional money,” Samaras said. “We stand by our commitments and to the fulfilment of the guidelines. But we have to stimulate the economy because that will shrink the deficit. All we want is a little breathing space to get the economy going and increase state revenues.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Autonmous Communities Greatest Liability, Study Says

Just 3 will make deficit 2012 reduction targets, economists say

(ANSAMed) — MADRID, AUGUST 21 — Spain’s autonomous communities are “the major risk factor” undermining the country’s efforts to reduce the deficit to 6.3% of GDP this year, according to a Foundation for Applied Economics Studies (FADEA) study of regional 2012-2014 budgets released on Tuesday.

If the autonomous provinces adhere strictly to the central government’s austerity measures and withhold year-end public employee bonuses, they will at best reduce their deficit to 1.92% of GDP, four tenths above the central government’s 1.5% target, according to the study.

Only Galicia, Navarre and La Rioja will make the government-mandated 2012 target, while Castille-La Mancha and Catalonia will probably overshoot it by the most points, according to FADEA.

“Serious doubts exist as to the autonomous communities’ ability to implement their own budgets, and that these will contribute to a consolidation,” the report said.

The autonomous communities have cut just 136 million euros on public employee spending in the first quarter of 2012, a far cry from the 3.636 billion euros in cuts needed for the year. The autonomous communities were responsible for 70% of the nation’s excess deficit in 2011, according to the report.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Study: Spanish Regions Are Potential Budget Busters

A study conducted by the Spanish non-profit, the Federation of Applied Economic Studies (Fedea), claims Spain’s 17 regions are the principle risk factor for the central government’s budget deficit target. Spain aims to reduce its budget deficit from 8.9 percent to 6.3 percent this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Turkish Families Deep in Debt, 2 Mln May Face Levies, MP

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, AUGUST 21 — Turkish families are deep in debt as their financial responsibilities have jumped 18 times in the past nine years while their income has only doubled in the given time, according to an opposition lawmaker, who warns about the risks of levy for millions. The rate of family debt has exceeded 50% of spendable income and the ratio of debt to financial assets has hit 45%, according to a study revealed by Sinan Aygun, a member of Parliament from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), who was also the head of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce for many years. “Developments in the last 10 years show that the debts of families are growing like a snowball. A smaller debt rate compared with some European countries should not fool anyone. Turkey is approaching European countries in this field. Citizens are financing their expenditures with debt, and trying to pay debts with new ones as their real income keeps falling,” he said. “More than 2 million people are facing risks of levy because of their debt to banks.” Figures provided by Aygün mainly compare the current situation with the period before Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule, which began in 2002, as daily Hurriyet reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Attorney Discovers Hundreds of Thousands of Invalid Voter Registrations

Besides the more than 720,000 registrations without a birth date, Taitz and her NATO expert said there were over half a million registrations without a country of origin. Additionally, employees of offices of several registrars admitted that in some cases, where the databases did not contain a birth date, they simply created one, assigned a birth date such as 01.01.1850 (Jan. 1, 1850) or 01.01.1900 (Jan. 1, 1900).

The attorney also told Geraldo Rivera’s audience that thousands more “potentially invalid registrations are contained in the databases, where data shows individuals, who are 150 years old and 200 years old still voting.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Bacon in Park Was Not Actually “Islamophobic” Hate Crime, But Food Left for Animals

What is amazing about this story is the amount of official attention it got. Yesterday we saw the New York City Police Commissioner commenting on it and announcing that it was a “bias event.” Today it seems otherwise, although I am sure more taxpayer money will be expended in order to find this caller and interrogate him in order to make sure he’s not just trying to cover his “Islamophobic” tracks.

It is also illustrative of the Islamic supremacist avidity to find hate crimes against themselves, so as to portray themselves as victims and deflect attention away from jihad activity, that they see bacon on the ground in a park and think “Hate crime!” instead of “Some guy is feeding the animals.”

Meanwhile, genuine acts of hate, such as the ongoing vandalism of our AFDI Islamorealism ads in New York, goes ignored by police officials and is celebrated by the New York Times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

DARPA Looks to Make Cyberwar Routine With Secret ‘Plan X’

The Pentagon’s top research arm is unveiling a new, classified cyberwarfare project. But it’s not about building the next Stuxnet, Darpa swears. Instead, the just-introduced “Plan X” is designed to make online strikes a more routine part of U.S. military operations. That will make the son of Stuxnet easier to pull off — to, as Darpa puts it, “dominate the cyber battlespace.”

Darpa spent years backing research that could shore up the nation’s cyberdefenses. “Plan X” is part of a growing and fairly recent push into offensive online operations by the Pentagon agency largely responsible for the internet’s creation. In recent months, everyone from the director of Darpa on down has pushed the need to improve — and normalize — America’s ability to unleash cyberattacks against its foes.

That means building tools to help warplanners assemble and launch online strikes in a hurry. It means, under Plan X, figuring out ways to assess the damage caused by a new piece of friendly military malware before it’s unleashed. And it means putting together a sort of digital battlefield map that allows the generals to watch the fighting unfold, as former Darpa acting director Ken Gabriel told the Washington Post: “a rapid, high-order look of what the Internet looks like — of what the cyberspace looks like at any one point in time.”

It’s not quite the same as building the weapons themselves, as Darpa notes in its introduction to the five-year, $100 million effort, issued on Monday: “The Plan X program is explicitly not funding research and development efforts in vulnerability analysis or cyberweapon generation.” (Emphasis in the original.)

But it is certainly a complementary campaign. A classified kick-off meeting for interested researchers in scheduled for Sept. 20.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Has Niall Ferguson Jumped the Shark?

by Tim Stanley

Newsweek’s anti-Obama Hit The Road Barack cover has caused quite a stir. For a long time now the magazine has been regarded as solid, liberal airport reading: something you can flick through during a flight to Aspen prior to a week’s skiing with the Kennedys. But the choice of author for this surprising smackdown is even more shocking. Niall Ferguson is one of our greatest living historians and while it’s perfectly acceptable for a Marxist professor to spend his tenure writing sympathetic pamphlets about the Khmer Rouge, no one expects to see a Harvard academic attack a Democratic president in this overt and conservative manner. Yet that’s what Niall has done — and the consequences for him and Newsweek could be significant.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Huma Abedin, Islamist Connections and Willful Blindness

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and New York Times bestselling author who put the Blind Sheik behind bars in the first World Trade Center bombing. He is the author of Willful Blindness and, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

FP: Hi Andy, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.

You are carefully following the controversy over Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, and her ties to Islamic supremacism. Give us an update on your findings. Walid Shoebat has discovered something quit startling lately, yes?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Location of the Mind Remains a Mystery

Where does the mind reside? It’s a question that’s occupied the best brains for thousands of years. Now, a patient who is self-aware — despite lacking three regions of the brain thought to be essential for self-awareness — demonstrates that the mind remains as elusive as ever.

The finding suggests that mental functions might not be tied to fixed brain regions. Instead, the mind might be more like a virtual machine running on distributed computers, with brain resources allocated in a flexible manner, says David Rudrauf at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who led the study of the patient.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

More Reasons to Investigate Huma Abedin

by Diana West

At his Iftar dinner, President Obama prasied Huma Abedin as “nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.” Walid Shoebat disagrees, writing: “The Abedins for decades were actually serving a foreign entity, the government of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and not American Democracy as President Obama stated.”


Andrew C. McCarthy is interviewed at Frontpagemag today under the headline, “Huma Abedin, Islamist Connections and Willful Blindness.” Because of the absenteeism of the MSM and all politicians (save Rep. Michele Bachmann and her four conservative House colleagues), the scope of the blazing national security scandal the interview takes in can seem overwhelming. Synthesizing reportage and analysis by Walid Shoebat, Andrew Bostom, Patrick Poole, Paul Sperry and others, Andy clearly and concisely presents the material.

What We, the People first need to understand for ourselves (since our leaders are AWOL) is that just as once upon a time the Soviet Union labored mightily for world revolution — “right up to the eve of its collapse,” as Robert Conquest has written — the drive for world Islamization is no pipe dream, either. Some years ago, federal investigators discovered a Muslim Brotherhood manifesto for “grand jihad” against the United States by destroying it “from within.” Earlier this month, Walid Shoebat discovered what amounts to a companion document online — an extraordinary book in Arabic, which he calls a “Saudi manifesto” for global Islamization commissioned by King Fahd (d. 2005). Among the sources it draws upon is a work by Sayed Zaynul Abedin, Huma Abedin’s father, called “Muslim Minorities in the West.” The book lays out a sweeping Saudi program to mobilize colonies of “Muslim Minorities” throughout the West to introduce, to entrench, to elevate sharia (Islamic law) above all other law.

One strategic point the Saudi plan puts forward is the need to prevent “Muslim Minorities” from assimilating into the cultures of host nations. As Shoebat notes, the document mentions “already established centers, educational programs, mosques and organizations in the United States” as being “geared towards hindering any Western plan for Muslim assimilation in a non-Muslim host nation. He continues: “It mentioned The Muslim Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA), established in the United States in 1962? (p. 65), as key agents to protect Muslims from assimilation.

Andy’s interview, with links to relevant works, is here.

The Abedin family business, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, and its related Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, present the perfect vehicle for the drive to Islamize the West from the inside out…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Planning Board OKs Mosque Expansion

Neighbors express mixed reactions to board’s unanimous decision

MIDDLETOWN — Following three planning board hearings and multiple revisions, the Islamic Society of Monmouth County has received unanimous approval for an expansion of its mosque on Red Hill Road. In the wake of the decision, handed down by the Middletown Township Planning Board on Aug. 15, the applicant’s engineer Sharif Aly was both relieved and satisfied. “It worked out pretty well,” he said. “We definitely want to be neighborfriendly, so we tried to do our best to please the neighbors. But we do have a limited budget like any other religious organization. I think [the board] did a great job agreeing to what the neighbors wanted to have.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Prince Harry — Naked Photos During Vegas Rager

Prince Harry put the crown jewels on display in Vegas this weekend … getting BARE ASS NAKED during a game of strip billiards with a room full of friends in his VIP suite.

It all went down Friday night during a raging party in a high rollers hotel suite. We’re told Harry, along with a large entourage, went down to the hotel bar and met a bunch of hot chicks … and invited them up to his VIP suite.


A rep for the Royal Family tells us, “We have no comment to make on the photos at this time.”

[JP note: Readers of a sensitive disposition be warned that disturbing images are shown.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Romney Banks on Ryan to Shore Up Conservative Base

In an era of deep partisanship in the US, Mitt Romney has chosen rising conservative star Paul Ryan as his running mate. Romney is hoping that the party base can deliver him with the White House.

With the Republican Party convention in Tampa, Florida less than a week away, presumed presidential candidate Mitt Romney has sought to unite a party badly bruised during a brutal primary process by selecting conservative icon Paul Ryan as his running mate.

“The old Romney was a moderate centrist Republican who would not have liked a Paul Ryan type figure,” Darrell West, an expert on US domestic politics at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C., told DW.

“But the political landscape has changed dramatically and Romney has concluded that he has to move to the right to win this election,” West said. “The new Romney is much more conservative than the old Romney was.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The End of the Alternative Media

The death of the Village Voice has drawn out a coterie of mourners bowing their heads over the venerable radical rag, but their orations at its funeral are completely wasted. The death of the Voice is not due to mismanagement, the right wing or its complicity in human trafficking. After all, its former competitor, the New York Press, which forced it to go free instead of charging a buck fifty, died fairly recently. The end of the Village Voice has to be seen in the context of the death of alternative media.

The passing of the Village Voice, its thick greasy pages smudged with desperate cries for attention in between glossy cigarette ads and phone sex ads, also coincides with the passing of the bohemian nature of the East Village, now little more than tall glowering condos and coffee shops. To those residents who showed up there in the ‘70s and ‘80s bearing art school portfolios and a burning desire to be part of the “Scene”, it’s one more triumph of the capitalist running dogs over the “People”.

But the real reason that the Village Voice is dead is because the alternative media is dead and the alternative media is dead because there is nothing for it to be an alternative to. New Yorkers can just as easily read shrill rants about the NYPD in the Daily News, pretentious movie reviews for artsy films at The Onion and leftist denunciations of the War on Terror in the New York Times.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Victoria Muslim Community Shaken by Mosque Threats

A commissionaire for the Victoria Coast Guard has been suspended with pay after allegedly posting threatening comments on Facebook directed at a new mosque.On the Facebook page “I Love Downtown Victoria,” someone who identified as Dan Speed commented on a post that mentioned a new mosque set to open in Victoria in November. “That’s not good… Blast it with an 84 mm Carl Gustaf,” he wrote in one post, referring to an anti-tank artillery capable of firing explosives. The posts, which have since been removed, also mentioned an issue with “noise pollution for that neighbourhood,” apparently referring to the Muslim prayer schedule. His final comment was “A call to Alah (sic).” According to the poster’s Facebook profile, he is a former military member. John Dewar, CEO of Commissionaires BC, confirmed that the individual who made the post is currently working as a Commissionaire for the Canadian Coast Guard base in Victoria, and has been suspended with pay as police investigate the postings. The individual has expressed remorse for his comments, Dewar added.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Finnish PM Wants Deeper EU Integration

Finland’s prime minister Jyrki Katainen on Tuesday said Europe should strive for deeper integration and common rules in order to strengthen the euro, reports the Wall Street Journal. “We need deeper integration and not the opposite,” he said. He also voiced his support to impose sanctions on profligate member states.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

First UK Hydrogen Train Takes Passengers for a Ride

It may not be the most luxurious of trains, but the first hydrogen-powered locomotive in the UK has now shown that it can haul up to 4 tonnes for 2.7 kilometres.

Built by a team led by Stuart Hillmansen from the University of Birmingham, UK, for a competition, the hybrid design uses a hydrogen fuel cell to power electric motors and charge batteries similar to those used in cars. The batteries help keep the train going while it is accelerating, which requires more power than when it’s coasting along.

The locomotive stores hydrogen in a tank that can hold over 5000 litres at low pressure, but it could carry two more tanks to increase its range. A hydrogen-powered canal boat at the university has 10 such tanks.

The team hopes that railway operators will be inspired to consider hydrogen power on non-electrified routes. Despite being a clean source of energy, the high price of fuel cells is still one of the main hurdles to overcome. The power system used in this locomotive would cost around £5500 to buy.

If you enjoyed this post, check out a robot jellyfish powered by hydrogen or watch a hydrogen-powered city car in action.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Three Religions Meet in Suburban Paris Prayer Space

(Reuters) — Chief Abbess Manchen Shih gazed through a first-floor window of her vast wood and concrete temple as shaven-headed nuns in mustard robes prepared for midday prayers, cooking rice as an offering to the Buddha.

“Look! You can see the mosque and the Laotian temple,” she said, gesturing at two half-finished buildings rising from a weed-ridden site in Bussy-Saint-Georges, 30 km (20 miles) east of Paris. Like many of the new towns that have sprung up since the 1960s to ease urban overcrowding, more than half of Bussy’s 25,000 residents are immigrants. Local mayor Hugues Rondeau says around 40 percent of the town’s population is Asian. With France — a secular nation with a long Roman Catholic history — battling to come to terms with its increasingly multicultural identity, Rondeau believes Bussy can set an example.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Eiffel Tower Worth €434 Billion: Study

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most valuable monument in Europe, worth some €434 billion, according to a new study.

Paris’ iconic skyline feature is estimated to be worth six times the Colloseum in Rome, according to study published by the Chamber of Commerce of Monza and Brianza in northern Italy.

The study has compared and assessed the financial value of various historical European monuments, according to a report in the website. The study is based not on any material value, but on image, branding and aesthetic qualities.

What’s more the value of the tower, nicknamed the Iron Lady and erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the World Fair, is the equivalent of 25 percent of France’s GDP or almost the entire capacity of the European Financial Stability Fund.

The Eiffel Tower comes out top in the rankings, followed by the Colloseum in Rome, estimated to worth some €91 billion, and Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral masterpiece La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona at €90 billion.

Other celebrated monuments in the list include the Dome of Milan, worth some €82 billion, the Tower of London at €70.5 billion, The Prado museum in central Madrid at €59 billion, and Stonehenge in western England worth €10.5 billion.

According to the study Europe’s leading monuments are worth a total of €700 billion.

The Italian study also put a price on the White House in Washington DC — some €81 billion.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Lyon Rabbi Sent Holocaust Photo Threat

French anti-terrorist authorities have been alerted after the Chief Rabbi of Lyon was sent a threatening letter accompanied by images of Jewish children being marched to World War II concentration camps.

The Rabbi, Richard Wertenschlag, told AFP on Wednesday he had brought the missive to the attention of the authorities because of its particularly offensive and menacing content.

“One could brush it off as the work of one rogue individual but we have to envisage the worst scenario — prevention is better than a cure,” he said.

In the letter, which was sent to Lyon’s main synagogue on August 10, the author complained: “More and more frequently we are having ideas imposed on us that have as their goal to apologise for the Jew, the so-called Shoah (holocaust), the evil Palestinians.

“From now on we will punish a Jew … each time that you go on television to complain.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Europeans Converting to Islam and to Jihad

From the Gatestone Institute:

Germany: “Islamists Want to Bring Jihad to Europe”

by Soeren Kern

German Intelligence Chief Gerhard Schindler has issued a warning saying that Europe is at great risk of terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. In a wide-ranging interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, Schindler said the German foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), is particularly concerned about the threat posed by homegrown terrorists, individuals who are either born or raised in Europe and who travel to war zones like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia or Yemen to obtain training in terrorist methods.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Underground Workers Face Mammoth Tusk

Workers on the underground network in the western city of Düsseldorf stopped work after digging up a 34-kilo woolly mammoth tusk more than 10,000 years old, city officials said on Tuesday.

Excavation work at the new Pempelforter Strasse underground station was stopped immediately while the 1.20-metre-long tusk was gently removed and taken away for scientific study.

A search was conducted to see if the rest of the skeleton was somewhere nearby, but only the tusk could be found.

The theory is that the tusk was probably carried to its final resting spot by melt waters from a glacier thousands of years ago when the Rhineland area was still tundra.

DNA analysis should help determine how old the mammoth it came from was. The Ice Age creatures died out about 10,000 years ago.

Rolf Lommerzheim from Düsseldorf authorities said that workers had initially thought the tusk was an old piece of pipe. “But it quickly became clear that it was something special,” he told Die Welt newspaper.

The tusk will eventually be put on display in an underground station, when everything is finished, the paper said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Higgs Boson Faces the Perils of Predictability

Fulfilling expectations is normally a good thing. But the fact that the newly discovered Higgs boson is behaving exactly as expected is cutting its chances of lighting a path to new physics.

The world rejoiced in July when physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN announced a new particle with some, but not all, of the properties predicted for the Higgs. It was the final member of the standard model of particle physics left to be discovered.

Questions quickly followed the confetti. The particle was not observed directly but through the particles it should decay into, not all of which were seen. This raised hopes that the Higgs might have different properties to those prescribed by the standard model. Because the model is known to be lacking — it offers no explanations for gravity or dark matter — such deviations might provide clues to these mysterious entities.

Now results from Fermilab’s Tevatron collider in Batavia, Illinois, which shut down last year, show the Higgs decaying into one of the missing particle sets, a pair of bottom quarks.

This boosts the standard model status of the Higgs. “In my view, it’s important evidence that the particle which has been seen is the standard model Higgs boson,” says Dmitri Denisov of the Tevatron’s D0 experiment. “It’s not something else.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Catholic Weekly Slams Religious Event for ‘Power Adulation’

Comunione e Liberazione courts elite, Famiglia Cristiana claims

(ANSA) — Rome August 21 — Italian Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana slammed audiences at an annual conference organized by an influential lay religious body for allegedly applauding certain speakers simply because the powerful figures were paying homage to the movement with their presence, and not for the messages they were conveying.

The top-selling weekly made the strong statements on audience reaction at the annual meeting of the Catholic movement Comunione e Liberazione held in the north-eastern coastal town of Rimini each August in an editorial after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was applauded.

“All past Meeting attendees, at each annual event, have always been welcomed in this way,” Famiglia Cristiana said in its editorial. “Little does it matter if the nation is on the brink of a precipice: it would appear the point is to keep on dancing, but only because the powerful figure is there, paying homage to the people of Comunione and Liberazione.” The magazine went on to cite concrete examples, including the ways in which former prime ministers and central and local government officials such as Francesco Cossiga, Giulio Andreotti, Silvio Berlusconi and Bettino Craxi were welcomed.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: 90-Year-Old Beats Two Moroccan Muggers

Turin, 22 Aug. (AKI) — A 90-year-old man in Turin beat two men with a stick for stealing his gold necklace in the northern city of Turin on Wednesday. The two alleged thieves, both Moroccans, were arrested.

The elderly man was walking to the news agent when the pair, 28 and 30 years old, used an excuse to pull him over to steal his gold necklace. The victim violently beat them, causing one of them to drop the necklace and run. The other criminal managed to pick the necklace up and escape.

A passer-by who had witnessed the scene from his car calmed the 90-year-old man and followed the two delinquents while talking with the police on the phone until they stopped in a bar. The police arrested the two Moroccans and returned the necklace.

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

Jordanian Paralympic Athletes to Face Child Sex Charges in Northern Ireland

THREE members of the Jordanian Paralympic team will appear in court in Northern Ireland today charged with sexual offences.

The Jordanian squad is one of several Paralympic national teams based in the region and has been using the Antrim Forum as a training base in advance of the Games beginning next week.

A 23-year-old-man was charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual assault against a woman and voyeurism.

A 35-year-old man was charged with two counts of causing sexual activity with a child.

The third man charged, a 36-year-old, faces one count of sexual assault against a woman.

They were arrested in Antrim, which is around 22 miles from Belfast, on Monday night following claims of indecent assault.

Interpreters had to be called in to help police with their questioning of the three men.

They are due to appear in Coleraine Magistrates’ Court in Co Derry.

[Return to headlines]

King Intervenes in NI Assault Case

The king of Jordan has personally intervened in the case of three members of the Jordanian Paralympic team accused of sex offences at a pre-Games training camp in Northern Ireland, a Jordanian government representative has told a court.

The Arab administration promised to bring the defendants back before the court in Coleraine, Co Derry, during a bid for bail.

Two wheelchair-using power-lifters — one a bronze medal winner at the Beijing Games — and a trainer appeared at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court today facing charges including sexual assault and voyeurism.

The squad was training at Antrim Forum in Antrim.

The trio were arrested in Coleraine on Monday night following claims of indecent assault made by two girls and two women.

It is understood the alleged incidents took place at the Antrim Forum leisure centre.

[Return to headlines]

Northern Ireland: Bail Granted to Paralympian Sex Charge Trio

The King of Jordan has taken a personal interest in the case of three members of the Jordanian Paralympian squad facing sex charges, a court has heard.

A Jordanian embassy official offered bail sureties at the hearing in a court in Coleraine, County Londonderry.

Faisal Hammash, Omar Sami Qaradhi and Motaz Al-Junadi are charged with sex offences in Antrim.

Bail of £500 was granted with a surety of £5,000 from the Jordanian government for each defendant.

The case had been adjourned while the judge considered the bail applications.

The squad is one of several international teams using the Antrim Forum sports complex as a training base in advance of the Games which begin in London next week.

The three men, two of whom compete in wheelchairs, are all members of the Jordanian Paralympics power-lifting team.

Faisal Hammash, 35, faces two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, is charged with three counts of sexual assault and one of voyeurism. At least two of the assaults were against children.

Motaz Al-Junadi, 45, faces one charge of sexual assault. All the offences took place between 16 and 20 August.

King Abdullah’s interest in the case was reported by one of his government officials who promised to return the accused men to Coleraine Court following the games if bail was granted.

The Jordanian Embassy in London has released a statement saying it regretted the incidents that had led to the charges of the three members of the paralympic team.

           — Hat tip: Barry Banter[Return to headlines]

Norway: Billion-Dollar Price Tag for New Government HQ

Construction on Norway’s new government offices to replace those bombed by Anders Behring Breivik last year will take up to ten years and cost more than $1 billion, officials said on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Forced Genital Exam on Girl ‘Was Discrimination’

Norway’s child protection services broke the law when they ordered the genital examination of a Norwegian-Somali girl, the Norwegian Equality Tribunal has found.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Romanian Power Struggle is Far From Over

Suspended Romanian President Traian Basescu can return to office. The country’s highest court has decided that a recent referendum on the question had failed. But the power struggle continues.

The debate about Romania’s president has gone on for two months. In early July, Traian Basescu was suspended by parliament. Now, he has been allowed by the Constitutional Court to return to the presidential palace. On Tuesday (21.08.2012) the court ruled that the July 29 referendum on Basescu’s suspension was invalid due to insufficient turnout. But the power struggle between the government and the head of state has not been laid to rest by this decision — it merely enters the next round.

Romanian Interim President Crin Antonescu and the country’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta both said they would accept the court’s ruling, but added that the decision was “not fair” and “not correct,” and that it “ignored the people’s will.” Ponta said he had not made a final decision on his future political cooperation with Basescu. Antonescu called on the citizens to publicly protest against the court decision.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Somali Community Under Threat by Local Gang

A Somali community in Foresrum, in southern Sweden, is being terrorized by a local gang to such an extent that the local Somali association has urged all its members to move away.

“We escaped from a country at war to be exposed to this in peaceful Sweden,” said Abdula Abdi Dhinbil to national broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT).

According to SVT, one year ago there used to be 160 Somali families living in Forserum, near Jönköping in southern Sweden. Today, that number has dwindled to 95 families.

The reason that so many of the Somalis in Forserum are choosing to move is that they feel under threat from a local gang.

The group’s windows have been smashed for the third weekend in a row, Somalis resident in the area have been beaten up and many have been subjected to racist remarks.

According to daily Svenska Dagbladet, the perpetrators are a small group of younger males between 17 and 22, making the community feel unsafe.

According to the local Somali association, the police are not doing enough to come to terms with the harassment.

Somali children in the area are being kept home from school since yesterday, as parents are too worried to let them out on their own.

According to one school principal, Annika Bertling, the local community had been unaware of how serious the harassment of the Somalis had become until last Thursday when a church in the area held a meeting to address the problem.

“They were worried about how they are being treated in society in general,”said Bertling to SvD, stressing that there are no reports of harassment reported in school.

According to the paper, police and local politicians will be holding a crisis meeting on Wednesday and a press conference is expected at 3pm.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Bern Upset by ‘Romney Girl’ Video

An online music video that uses a “Swiss Miss” to mock US Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his “taxless” wealth has drawn the ire of Switzerland’s diplomats.

The satirical YouTube video features a plaited blonde dressed like a scantily-clad Heidi who sings about how great Romney’s life is, replete with tax shelters and all the trappings of being super-rich — fur coats, hot tubs and luxury sports cars.

“I’m a Romney girl, in a Romney world,” the woman sings to the tune of “Barbie Girl,” while cavorting with an actor playing the Republican candidate.

“Life is taxless. It’s fantastic.”

The song’s allusions to Switzerland as a place where rich people escape paying taxes has riled Presence Switzerland, a part of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which aims to foster a positive image of the country.

The three-minute ‘Romney Girl’ video, launched earlier this month, is the latest American political ad to sully the Swiss as aiders and abettors of tax evasion.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: A Town Hall Spy on Every Corner …

Town halls have launched an astonishing 9,600 spying missions on the public in the past three years. The surveillance operations exploit anti-terror laws but many are targeting minor offences such as flouting the smoking ban, dog fouling and dropping litter. Council officers have also gone undercover to carry out ‘test purchases’ at local escort agencies, it was revealed last night.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: British Pakistani Christian Association to Demonstrate Outside Pakistan High Commission …

Rimsha Masih is the 11 year old Christian girl with Downes syndrome who, along with her mother and aunt, is currently in prison (ostensibly for her own protection from the mob) after it was alleged that she (albeit unwittingly) damaged some pages of a koran. This is the information released by BPCA tonight.

Date: Wednesday 22nd August 2012

Time: 7pm — 9pm

Location: Pakistan High Commission, 34- 36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 9JN Getting there: Nearest Station Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line) Follow this link for a map and bus directions At our protest Catholic Band Oooberfuse said to be “the Pope’s favourite Electro-pop Band” will be performing songs to remember Asia Bibi, Shahbaz Bhatti and now young Rimsha. The High Commission for Pakistan in United Kingdom After coming out of the station follow the directions (marked with green line) on following map to reach the High Commission


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


China Calls for Dialogue in Solving Kosovo Issue

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) — China Tuesday called on relevant parties to solve the Kosovo issue through dialogue and avoid any move to deteriorate the current situation in the region. Speaking to an open Security Council meeting on Kosovo, Wang Min, Chinese deputy permanent representative to the UN, said the situation in northern Kosovo continues to be tense in recent times and the number of voluntary returnees of displaced persons has declined remarkably. “China expresses its concern in this regard,” he said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: MB Leader Asks Democracy Advocates to be Tolerant of Sharia

Deputy of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Essam al-Erian, criticized opposition to, what he described as, the right of the “majority” to apply Sharia (Islamic law), asking pro-democracy advocates to be tolerant. On Twitter, the prominent MB leader insisted that it is illogical to separate religion from the lives of Egyptians. Commenting on the anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations scheduled for August 24, he argued that if protesters were peaceful in their demonstration, others will be forced to respect them.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Presidential Spokesman — Constitutional Court to Issue a Ruling on Shura Council on September 4

Presidential Spokesman Dr. Yasser Ali said that there is no intention to transfer the legislative power to the Shura Council in the coming period. In statements to “Al Gomhuria” newspaper on Monday 20/08/2012, Ali noted that the Shura Council may be dissolved like the People’s Assembly, adding that the Constitutional Court will issue its ruling on the Shura Council on 4 September. Ali stressed that the power of legislation will remain in the hands of President Mohamed Morsi until finalizing the Constitution and holding parliamentary elections.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egyptian Ministry Warns Anti-Presidential Protesters

(AGI) Cairo- Egypt’s Interior Ministry issued a sharp warning to organizers planning a campaign of protests. Said protests are scheduled to take place the day after tomorrow, against President Mohamed Morsi. Should any violent episodes emerge from the events, protesters will be held personally responsible. Indeed, law enforcement officers have been give orders to “decisively and legitimately confront any attempt to storm or attack any public or private installation, detain workers in them or cause chaos”, according to a ministry statement.

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

Egypt’s New Democratic President is Indifferent to Genuine Democratic Reform

President Morsi is moving rapidly to create an Egyptian state of his own vision and that of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Less than 60 days ago in the presence of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Mr. Morsi swore an oath to uphold the Egyptian constitution.

He has already broken that promise by illegally amending the constitution to extend the powers of the executive office. He is now unilaterally exercising his expanded authority to tighten his grip on Egypt’s media and military.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Russia May Soon Resume Military Cooperation With Libya

MOSCOW, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — Russia may soon resume military-technical cooperation with Libya, a federal agency supervising the country’s international military cooperation said.

In an interview published on Wednesday, Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy director of the Federal Service for military-technical cooperation told Interfax news agency that a Libyan delegation was to visit Moscow “in the nearest future” to discuss possible cooperation.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck on Terror Show: “Inside Jihad” With Tawfik Hamid

Dr. Tawfik Hamid knows the enemy of radical Islam firsthand. As a young man, he was a follower of Islamist ideology and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

A native of Egypt, Dr. Hamid has since left the world of Islamism behind and is author of the book, Inside Jihad.

He is a leading authority on the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, and the global Islamist movement.

I sat down with him recently on the Stakelbeck on Terror show for an in-depth interview about the latest events in Egypt and the broader Middle East.

Click the link above to watch.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Abbas Denies the Jewish Connection to Jerusalem

As Israel’s leaders continue Id al-Fitr phone diplomacy, PA president refers to “alleged” Temple in speech.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denied the Jewish connection to Jerusalem on Tuesday, the same day he spoke by phone with both Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho. Abbas issued a statement Tuesday, marking the 43rd anniversary of an attempt by deranged Australian Christian Denis Michael Rohan to set fire to al-Aksa mosque, saying that Jerusalem’s Arab and Islamic identity was a Palestinian red line.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ashton Warns Israel to Halt New Settlements

Concern over 130 new houses in East Jerusalem

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, AUGUST 22 — Israel must immediately stop all new settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which are illegal and damage prospects for peace, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said in a note.

Ashton expressed “serious concern” over the implications of a recent announcement by Israeli authorities about a tender to build 130 new homes in the Har Homa settlement

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

EU’s Strategic Mistake

Op-ed: Jewish communities in West Bank will continue to grow with or without the business, blessing of the EU

David Ha’ivri

Thanks to the European Union, the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria has grown by 10% this week. Modi’in, Maccabim and Re’ut are three Jewish communities on the road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In 2003, the three neighbor communities merged to form a joint municipality, and were organized by Israel’s Ministry of Interior into a city, known as Modi’in. The new city’s population numbers over 80,000 residents.

Last week, the European Union issued a statement declaring this city a “West Bank settlement,” and as such, products manufactured there will be hit with a special tax, if imported and sold in the EU. This action falls under the European effort to discourage its citizens from supporting what they consider “illegitimate Jewish settlement activity” in the areas captured by Israel from Jordan in the Six Day War of 1967.

The EU ignores the fact that a boycott of products from Judea and Samaria hurts local Arab workers who are getting Israeli salaries and work benefits for their ability to work in industries in the Jewish communities. They don’t bother asking themselves where the billions of Euro they have been supplying to the Palestinian Authority have disappeared to, or why the PA has not used that international aid to develop workplaces for the people those funds were meant to assist. But now, the EU is adding additional workplaces to the list of those to be boycotted.

Hasty population growth

The bright side of this policy statement by the EU is a very quick growth of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria. If, the day before, we knew that there were 750,000 Jews living beyond the pre-1967 lines in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, that number has now risen to 830,000. Population growth of a little more than 10% in one day is amazing, by any standard…

           — Hat tip: TV[Return to headlines]

New Vatican Ambassador to Tel Aviv Gets Bad Israeli Press

Lazzarotto appointment ‘a slap in the face’

(ANSA) — Rome, August 22 — The appointment of a new Vatican ambassador to Israel could spark a row between the two states, local press said Wednesday. An article in Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, written by the paper’s Rome correspondent, called the appointment of Monsignor Giuseppe Lazzarotto as new papal nuncio, as the Ambassador is known, to Israel and apostolic delegate in Jersaulem and Palestine “a slap in the face to Israel”.

The paper said the appointment, made official by Pope Benedict XVI on August 18, was “an embarrassment and humiliation” to Israel because Lazzarotto’s name has been tied to the case of pedophile priests that exploded in Ireland in 2005 and whose culprits “he did everything possible to defend”. In 2008, the year before an official Irish commission published its findings, Lazzarotto was sent “by surprise” to Australia, “as far away as possible,” Yediot Ahronot writes.

The decision to appoint the 70-year-old Lazzarotto is a “painful slap,” the paper’s Rome correspondent Menachem Gentz wrote, adding that it “demonstrates the secondary character the Vatican places” on its relations with Israel.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

West Bank: Crisis Does Not Spare Arafat’s Mausoleum

Repairs needed, anti-corruption activists call for investigation

(ANSAMed) — ROME, AUGUST 22 — Palestinian West Bank citizens are tired of corruption and government waste, which have not spared the late Arafat’s pharaonic mausoleum.

Built in 2008 to the tune of 1.125 million euros, the tomb is already showing signs of damage it will take 500,000 euros to fix. This is an unjustifiably huge sum for Palestinians, whose heavily indebted government, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), is on the brink of bankruptcy, according to some analysts.

A week ago, an anti-corruption watchdog group called Aman, led by former legislative councilmember Azmi Shuaibi, organized a public hearing into what it alleges was “shoddy” construction leading to “a waste of public money.” The tomb was built out of sub-standard stones, some of whom were cracked and others hollow, and which were not the ones listed on the construction brief, according to Aman.

The mixed public and private company that built the tomb said in its own defense that the mausoleum was damaged by the weather, and that a small maintenance job would suffice to repair it.

Aman’s activists hope the public hearing, which local and international media reported as “the first of its kind,” will spark a government investigation into what it says is mismanagement of public funds.

The Palestinian National Authority has been struggling with chronic cash flow problems since 2011, when international aid dried up in the wake of the global economic crisis. The outlook, analysts say, is grim. “If the current trend continues, the PNA won’t survive another year,” said economist and former minister Samir Abdullah.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Bahrain: Mosque Open House Draws Thousands

THOUSANDS of visitors attended the first day of the Eid open house yesterday at the Ahmed Al Fateh Islamic Centre (Grand Mosque), Juffair. The two-day event ends today and is being organised by the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry. The event is open to all and is held from 9am to 4pm. “We are expecting a record turnout of over 2,000 visitors during the two-day open house,” said religious tour guide and co-ordinator Nejma Mohammed Naeem. She said close to 1,500 people yesterday attended the Eid Open House at Bahrain’s biggest mosque, which has been running regular tours for non-Muslims since 1998.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Chinese Muslims to Shine in Turkey Expo

Beijing, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — Chinese Muslims will bring their unique culture to Turkey in an Islamic cultural pageant to be held in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, on Aug. 31, according to the Islamic Association of China (IAC). The China-Turkey Islamic Cultural Expo and Performances 2012, jointly organized by China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs and Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs to mark the China-Turkey Cultural Year, will include an exhibition of Chinese Islamic culture, Quran chanting, a symposium on China-Turkey Islamic exchanges, and Islamic singing and dancing shows, according to Zhang Guanglin, deputy secretary-general of IAC.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Deadly Fighting Over Syria Grips North Lebanon

There have been more clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Lebanon’s northern town of Tripoli. At least seven people have been killed and more than 70 people have been wounded. The clashes are the result of hostility between the two communities due to tensions over the war in Syria. The BBC’s Barbara Plett, who is in Beirut, said since the conflict in Syria began existing tensions between the two groups had intensified.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Death Toll From Lebanon Fighting Climbs to 10

Aug 22 (Reuters) — The death toll from fighting between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Tripoli climbed to at least 10 overnight, medical sources said on Wednesday, in clashes that the city’s residents described as some of the heaviest since Lebanon’s civil war.

More than 100 people have been wounded in the fighting which erupted this week along a sectarian fault line between the Sunni district of Bab al-Tabbaneh and the Alawite area of Jebel Mohsen. The sectarian tone of the fighting reflects the Syrian conflict that increasingly sets a mainly Sunni Muslim opposition against President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Dubai Helps Spread Humanitarian Message to 1 Billion

(MENAFN — Khaleej Times) On the first day of Eid Al Fitr, the emirate of Dubai, known for its humanitarian initiatives, became part of one of the largest humanitarian campaigns in the world. It has reached out to over one billion people through social media. Celebrated on August 19, the United Nation’s (UN) initiative World Humanitarian Day (WHD) honours humanitarian workers who risk their lives to help people who suffer due to calamities, conflicts and hunger. Initiated in 2008, the WHD public outreach campaign also urges everyone to help others in their daily lives in whatever way they can, big or small. Thousands of people, who were celebrating the festival of giving at the foot of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, in Downtown Dubai, witnessed the screening of a WHD special video at the Burj Steps on Sunday evening. The music video by Beyoncé, titled “I Was Here”, was part of the WHD celebrations that aimed at reaching out to one billion people, on one day, with one message. The video was recorded during the live performance of Beyoncé held at the UN General Assembly in New York on August 10 to inspire people to leave their mark on the world and say “I Was Here”.


[JP note: Kilroy: I was here too.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Iran’s Supreme Leader Orders Fresh Terror Attacks on West

Iran’s Supreme Leader has ordered the country’s Revolutionary Guards to intensify its campaign of terror attacks against the West and its allies in retaliation for supporting the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

According to Western intelligence officials, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the order to the elite Quds Force unit following a recent emergency meeting of Iran’s National Security Council in Tehran held to discuss a specially-commissioned report into the implications for Iran of the Assad regime’s overthrow.

Damascus is Iran’s most important regional ally, and the survival of the Assad regime is regarded as vital to sustaining the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia which controls southern Lebanon.

The report, which was personally commissioned by Mr Khamenei, concluded that Iran’s national interests were being threatened by a combination of the U.N. sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear programme and the West’s continuing support for Syrian opposition groups attempting to overthrow the Syrian government.

Intelligence officials say the report concludes that Iran “cannot be passive” to the new threats posed to its national security, and warns that Western support for Syrian opposition groups was placing Iran’s “resistance alliance” in jeopardy, and could seriously disrupt Iran’s access to Hizbollah in Lebanon.

It advised that the Iranian regime should demonstrate to the West that there were “red lines” over what it would accept in Syria, and that a warning should be sent to “America, the Zionists, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others that they cannot act with impunity in Syria and elsewhere in the region.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Police Remove Drunkards From Kuwait Mosque

Duo entered mosque to freshen up and take a short nap

Manama: Police in Kuwait have arrested a man and are looking for another after the duo was found sleeping in their underwear inside the women’s section of a mosque. The imam of the mosque in the Sa’ad Al Abdullah area alerted the police after he discovered the two men sleeping soundly, local Arabic daily Al Anba reported on Wednesday. However, when the police tried to wake them and hear their story, one of them ran away and climbed over the mosque wall. The second man, a Gulf national, was arrested, a security source told the daily. “He explained that he and his Kuwaiti friend got drunk and went to the mosque to drink water and wash up,” the source said. “Once inside the mosque, they noticed that the door to the women’s praying area was open and they thought about taking a short nap. However, they slept soundly until they were woken up by the police.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Russia Warns on Unilateral Intervention in Syria

Russia has warned Western powers against acting unilaterally on Syria amid growing fears over Syria’s weapons capability. The comments, by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, follow remarks by US President Barack Obama in which he indicated that the US would not hold back from responding if Syria used chemical weapons against rebel forces.

Mr Lavrov, speaking during a meeting with a Chinese envoy, said that diplomatic co — operation should be based on “the need strictly to adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the UN Charter”.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Salafis in Lebanon Look Confidently Ahead

The situation in Lebanon is getting increasingly out of control as radical Sunnis openly challenge the dominant Shiite militant group Hezbollah. Many Lebanese sympathize with the Sunni hardliners.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Assir, a Sunni cleric, has a clear goal. He does not just want to see the end of the Hezbollah militant group’s supremacy in Lebanon. Al-Assir wants the Shiite group to completely lose power.

The sheikh isn’t afraid of using drastic means to achieve his goal. For several weeks, he and his followers have blocked the main route to southern Lebanon, which goes directly to the city of Sidon.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sunni Muslim Sheik From Sydney, Australia, Goes to Syria to Wage Jihad, Gets Rocketed

As reported by the ABC this morning.

‘Sydney sheik killed in Syria rocket attack’. Syrian-born Sheik Mustapha al-Majzoub was reportedly in the country to assist with the delivery of humanitarian aid amid ongoing violence between rebels and forces loyal to president Bashir al-Assad.’

‘Humanitarian aid’. Maybe. To his fellow Sunni Muslims; I severely doubt he would offer humanitarian aid to an Alawite, a Shiite or a Syrian Christian. Basically, he was there to egg on and assist the attempt by Sunni Muslims, in Syria, to overthrow the heretical Alawites and install a Sunni Muslim state within which Alawites, Shiites and Christians would be made to know their place: under the Sunni boot and scimitar. — CM

‘He was a teacher at the Islamic College of Australia at Lakemba and was married with three children. He was also the brother of sheik Fedaa Majzoub, the only Australian (member of the opposition Syrian National Council.

‘Australian’. Australian-born? — Australian-raised? But I doubt he could be called ‘Australian’ in any meaningful sense of the word, his Australian passport being obviously just a temporary and tactical convenience. If he is a member of the Syrian National Council, then his loyalty is to Syria, or more correctly, to the Sunni Muslim Ummah in Syria and for that matter anywhere else — not to the Infidel nation state of Australia — and dar al Islam is where he and his family, if any, belong. — CM


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sydney Sheik Killed in Syria Rocket Attack

A Sydney Islamic teacher has been killed in a rocket attack in Syria. Syrian-born Sheik Mustapha al-Majzoub was in the country to assist in the delivery of humanitarian aid amid ongoing violence between rebels and forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad. He was a teacher at the Islamic College of Australia at Lakemba and was married with three children.

He was also the brother of Sheik Fedaa Majzoub, the only Australian member of the opposition Syrian National Council. Keysar Trad, the founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, says Sheik al-Majzoub was killed in an attack by pro-regime forces on Monday. “People in the community have confirmed the sad news that… Assad regime soldiers brutally… shelled the pound where this man was ministering to the people’s spiritual needs and they killed him,” he said. Mr Trad says Sheik al-Majzoub will be missed. “He was a very nice man, very down to earth, very helpful,” he said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ten Killed in Sunni-Alawite Clashes in Lebanon

Armed conflict resumes

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, AUGUST 22 — The death toll from sectarian clashes between Sunni and Alawite Muslims which have been ongoing since Monday in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city in the North, has risen to ten. According to the official Lebanese Nna news agency, two people died last night from serious injuries reported during clashes between the two groups.

Meanwhile the conflict between two rival districts in the city, the Sunni-majority Bab al Tabbane, and Alawite-majority Jabal Mohsen Alawite have just resumed and the Lebanese army is finding it difficult to maintain order.

Longstanding rivalries between Sunnis and Alawites have been fuelled by the war in Syria where the Alawite President Bashar al Assad is fighting against Sunni-majority rebels.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Russia Becomes Last Major World Power to Join WTO

Russia, the world’s ninth largest economy, has joined the World Trade Organization more than two decades after the collapse of Soviet communism. Some Russians are concerned that protected industries are now at risk.

Russia officially became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday, making it the last major economy to join the global free trade body after 18 years of negotiations.

Many Russians are concerned that joining the WTO will undercut domestic industries that benefit from import tariffs and subsidies. The function of the 157-member WTO is to reduce trade barriers and facilitate global commerce through negotiations and the arbitration of trade disputes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban Score Propaganda Coup With Rocket Attack on Top American Officer’s Plane

The Taliban scored another propaganda coup yesterday after damaging the aircraft of America’s top military officer as he visited Afghanistan.

Two insurgent rockets hit Bagram Airfield as the C-17 transporter was parked overnight and one caused shrapnel damage to its door. Gen Martin Dempsey, the visiting chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his team were asleep in quarters away from the aircraft at the time, and were at no risk, officers said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan’s Peace Hopes Rest on Taleban Deal

(MENAFN — Arab News) IN the cloistered circles of the Taleban high command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar had no equal.

As military chief of the hard-line Islamist movement that once ruled Afghanistan and was ousted by a US-led alliance, he oversaw the campaign of ambushes and roadside bombings that proved his fighters could threaten the most advanced armies. When the powerful leader was caught in the Pakistani city of Karachi in 2010, some Afghan officials hoped the magnetism he forged in war would persuade his former comrades to start talking peace. Indeed, news that Islamabad had allowed Afghan officials to visit Baradar two months ago sparked speculation in both countries of the prospects for a settlement. Instead, Pakistan’s refusal to hand him over to Afghanistan symbolizes one of the biggest obstacles to negotiations: A legacy of bone-deep suspicion dividing the neighbors.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

In Pakistan, an Illiterate Child Has Been Jailed for Unknowingly Burning the Quran. …

by Michael Burleigh

The jailing for blasphemy of the girls of Pussy Riot led to protests from almost every superannuated rocker one could think of. There has been no such concern about Rimsha Masih, a young Christian girl who lives in a slum area called Meharbadi on the outskirts of Islamabad. Or rather lived, since she is currently in an insalubrious adult jail in Rawlpindi, apparently for her own protection. Her family have also fled their home, along with about a thousand of their (Christian) neighbours.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Malyasia: Pertim Allays Fears Over Chinese Mosque

MALACCA: The Malacca Chinese Muslim Association (Pertim) has allayed any fear Muslims may have over ethnic-based mosque in the state, saying it does not undermine Islamic solidarity in the country. Pertim president Mohd Mansor Yap Abdullah said the Chinese mosque, to be built at a cost of RM7.5 million on a 2.5ha site near the 1Malaysia Square here, was representative of all the communities.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

NZ’s Dilemma in Afghanistan

The news yesterday that another three New Zealand soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan was shocking and sickening. Still reeling from the deaths in a gunfight a fortnight ago of Lance-corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, the army and the nation have taken another heavy blow. The latest deaths — of Lance-corporal Jacinda Baker (26), a medic, Private Richard Harris (21) and Corporal Luke Tamatea (31) — happened when their Humvee was hit by a roadside improvised explosive device. Lcpl Baker was the first New Zealand woman to die in war since the Vietnam conflict. Their deaths took the number of New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 10.

A widespread reaction two weeks ago, including this newspaper’s editorial response, was New Zealand should see out its commitment and stay the distance — expected to be until the end of next year — as planned. Whatever the imperfections of the mission and the fears for its aftermath, New Zealand should be good for its word and its international undertakings and should honour what the soldiers had died for.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

US Troop Deaths Top 2,000 in Afghanistant

The number of U.S. military members killed in the war in Afghanistan has surpassed 2,000, with more than half the deaths coming in the past 27 months. The increased casualty rate came after U.S. President Barack Obama sent thousands of extra troops into the country to intensify the U.S.-led NATO coalition’s battle against insurgents. Those troops are withdrawing, along with their international counterparts, as Afghan forces take increasing security control ahead of a 2014 deadline for foreign combat troops to leave Afghanistan.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Increases Rare Earth Exports

China has raised its export quotas for small rare earth minerals as the country remains at odds with foreign trading partners over the limits. Analysts say the small increase does not necessarily herald a policy change.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday it had granted a slight increase in its export quota for rare earth minerals — a group of 17 elements which are crucial for the manufacture of electronic, automotive, energy and medical equipment.

Beijing announced an additional volume of 9,770 tons for the export of rare minerals, with the full-year total now standing at 30,996 tons, up from last year’s 30,184 tons. The 2.7 percent increase appears marginal, but is the first since 2009.

The announcement comes on the back of massive complaints by China’s main trading partners, who have accused the Asian giant of unfairly choking off exports of the commodities to benefit domestic industries. The World Trade Organization (WTO) upheld an international complaint on the matter prior to Wednesday’s decision, saying China’s export restrictions violated its binding trade rules.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Chinese Medicine: Therapeutic or Dangerous?

Chinese herbal medicine is becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands. Practitioners claim this 5000-year-old tradition can restore the natural balance in people’s bodies. Boasting descriptions such as natural, biological and therapeutic, Chinese herbs claim properties unknown to the drugs produced by the Western pharmaceutical industry.

However, unlike Western medicines, these herbal mixtures — in natural form, capsules or powders — are not subject to any kind of quality control or Dutch regulation. Anyone can buy them in any quantities in Chinese shops or on the internet.

So are these Chinese herbs really safe and do they really promote good health?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Group Slams Protectionism in China Wine Row

A European business group on Wednesday criticised Chinese calls to probe EU wine imports as “protectionist”, as a dispute between the major trading partners threatened to escalate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia: Death of Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi Plunges Country Into Uncertainty

The sudden death of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s prime minister, plunged one of the West’s key African allies into a succession crisis and raised fears of increased insecurity in a volatile region.

Ethiopian state television announced early on Tuesday that Meles Zenawi had died from a “sudden infection” following treatment for a mystery illness in a Brussels hospital. He was 57. He had not been seen in public since June and speculation over his health had increased, despite consistent statements from his government that he was “resting” and would return to work “soon”. “He has been struggling to be healthy in the last year,” Bereket Simon, the communications minister, said as he confirmed Mr Meles’ death. “One of the best things about him was that he never considered that he was ill and he was up to the job every time, every day, every evening.” Mr Meles led the continent’s second-most populous country — with a population of 84 million people comprised of 87 different ethnic groups — for more than 20 years, after marching into its capital at the head of a guerrilla army to oust dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ethiopia Commentary: Meles Zenawi Death a Headache for the West

by Mike Pflanz

The death of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s prime minister has thrown his country into turmoil, but also raises questions over the future of the West’s security policy for the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia is a key friend of Britain, Europe and the US in a region beset by growing security threats. Ethiopia’s neighbours include Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. Across the Red Sea lies Yemen. Few of the leaders of those countries harbour any love for the West. In Yemen and Somalia, al-Qaeda’s new affiliates are gaining ground. Ethiopia has consistently been willing to send its soldiers to fight and die against foes it considers a domestic threat, who are at the same time enemies of the West. Chief among them has been al-Shabaab.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Gunmen Kill Two in Biu Mosques Attacks

Maiduguri — Two persons were killed, yesterday, at two different Mosques in Biu, Borno State. Biu is 187 kilometres South of Maiduguri metropolis and is a stronghold of the Boko Haram Islamist sect. A resident told Vanguard: “Two gunmen joined our Mosque for the early morning prayers and shot a worshiper at close range. He died on the spot. Two hours after the incident, a local Islamic cleric was trailed to another mosque by separate gunmen, who opened fire on the worshippers. The worshippers had to run for safety. But the cleric was shot dead before men of Joint Task Force, code-named Operation Flush II arrived at the scene and condoned off the area to prevent further attacks and killings.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Thousands Turn Out to Mourn Meles Zenawi as Body Arrives Back in Ethiopia

Thousands of mourning Ethiopians turned out Wednesday as the body of Meles Zenawi, the country’s leader for 21 years, arrived at Addis Ababa airport following his death in a Brussels hospital at the age of 57.

A military band played as the coffin, draped in the national flag, was taken from the Ethiopian Airlines flight in the early hours of the morning in a ceremony attended by political, military and religious leaders as well as diplomats. Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, 47, who has also been foreign minister since 2010, will take over interim power, according to government officials.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Two Jordanian Peacekeepers ‘Missing’ In Sudan’s Darfur

(MENAFN — Jordan Times) Two Jordanian officers from the UN peacekeeping contingent in Darfur went missing on Tuesday in Kabkabiya town, according to a Public Security Department (PSD) statement sent to The Jordan Times. The Jordanian peacekeepers are from the African Union-UN mission (UNAMID) in the Darfur region of western Sudan, Agence France-Presse reported. The two Jordanians were with a team of peacekeepers who went to buy some supplies for their camp from a market in Kabkabiya of the North Darfur state capital El Fasher and were reported missing after they failed to join their colleagues after two hours, the PSD said.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Immigrants Protest ‘Illegal’ Label

A small group of immigrants gathered in Woodbury Monday to protest the use of the word “illegal” to describe those who have entered the United States without documentation.

“By saying illegal, they’re assuming that we broke a criminal law,” said Jackeline Saavedra, 27, of Bay Shore, a Touro Law Center student who identified herself as undocumented. “Not everybody enters illegally.”

Coordinators said they prefer the phrase “undocumented immigrant.”

Osman Canales, 23, an immigrant rights advocate in Huntington who organized the protest, said using the word “illegal” criminalizes a whole community. “It’s a racist word against our community, so we’re just here to raise awareness,” he said.

The protest mirrored a larger effort nationwide to push media outlets and people in general to stop using the word “illegal” when referring to immigrants.

The “Drop The I-Word” campaign was organized by The Applied Research Center, a New York City-based racial justice think tank. Its goal, according to its news website,, is to “eradicate the slur ‘illegals’ from everyday use and public discourse.”

Campaign coordinator Monica Novoa said that in two years, 14,000 people have signed the group’s pledge.

“Using a phrase like ‘illegal aliens’ or ‘illegals’ . . . reinforces the notion that you could treat another individual as less than a human being,” said Alina Das, assistant professor of clinical law at New York University. “One action — whether it’s a crime — shouldn’t be used to define a whole group of people or one individual.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

In Crisis, Greece Rounds Up Immigrants

Border police jeeps hurtle along hot, dusty tracks past potato fields on their way to the river that marks the Greek-Turkish border. Sirens blaring, the convoys have been repelling wave after wave of migrants.

Greece’s remote Evros region has turned into Europe’s main battleground against illegal immigration; more than two-thirds of people making the clandestine journey into the European Union pass through here from neighboring Turkey.

Greece launched an aggressive campaign this month to try to seal its 130-mile northeastern border, as it faces a debilitating financial crisis that has caused a swell in joblessness and a surge in racist attacks against immigrants with dark skin.

The police operation has brought nearly 2,000 additional border guards to the Turkish frontier previously manned by about 500 officers. They fanned out with dogs, night vision equipment and flat-bottomed boats for 24-hour patrols of the Evros River that forms a natural border. At least 21 people have drowned or died of exposure crossing the river this year, while several have been listed as missing.

In Athens, the operation is being bolstered by mass roundups of suspected illegal immigrants. They are seen lined up on the streets of the capital every day, many in handcuffs, waiting to be put in detention until they can be deported. In the first week of the crackdown in early August, police said they apprehended nearly 7,000 people for identification checks; nearly 1,700 were slated for deportation.

Anwar, a 22-year-old man from Bangladesh, walked across the border near Orestiada, a small town wedged between Turkey and Bulgaria. Unaware of the immigration clampdown, he said he is looking for police so he can turn himself in. It’s a well-worn ploy: Migrants have actively tried to get themselves taken to detention centers near Athens, assuming they will be released due to overcrowding and allowed to blend into the chaotic capital.

“I’ve come here to work,” Anwar, who declined to give his full name because of his illegal status, said moments after crossing the border. “I know what will happen to me: They might keep me in detention for around three months, but then they’ll let me out and I’ll go to Athens.”

Now, however, authorities are determined to swiftly deport illegal migrants they round up.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

New Computer Database Launched to Track Down 150,000 Illegal Immigrants in Britain

An immigration computer database is being set up to track down the 150,000 people who are staying in Britain illegally, it was revealed yesterday.

Border chiefs are due to launch the project next month to deal with the huge backlog of foreign nationals who have overstayed their student or temporary work visas. Letters will be sent to those in the ‘migration refusal pool’ warning that they will be deported and barred from entering the UK if they do not leave within 28 days.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Swiss Implement 48-Hour Asylum Procedure

The vast majority of asylum requests to Switzerland from certain European countries are bogus and from now on will be processed within 48 hours, Swiss authorities said on Wednesday.

“Until now there was no specific deadline,” Federal Office of Migrations (ODM) spokeswoman Gaby Szollosy told AFP.

The introduction of the fast-track procedure follows a “surge” in requests this summer from so-called visa-exempt countries, particularly Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, according to the migration office.

“After speaking with reception centres we know that the majority of arrivals are Roma people,” said Szollosy, who added that the measure was not aimed against one ethnic group.

Requests from Macedonia for July were up 83 percent on June, followed by Serbia (68 percent), according to the ODM.

Of 4,593 applications for asylum between January 2011 and July 2012 from Bosnia, Macedonia and Serbia only 20 were successful, the ODM said.

Nationals from these countries had “very little chance of gaining asylum in Switzerland”, the ODM said, adding that these “safe countries” guaranteed minorities adequate protection against persecution.

“Nearly all these requests were unfounded and overwhelmed Swiss reception centres,” said the ODM.

“No (Swiss) help can be offered to asylum-seekers who make a clearly unsubstantiated application. They must leave (Switzerland) quickly,” it added.

The 48-hour procedure only applies if the application does not require any further investigation, although an appeal to the Federal Court of Administration was still possible, the statement added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

BBC Play School Presenters ‘Went On-Air Stoned’

BBC staff openly smoked marijuana at the corporation’s headquarters during the 1960s and 70s and Play School presenters even went on-air stoned, former stars have disclosed.

The corridors of Television Centre often reeked of the class B drug as BBC employees and visiting pop groups regularly smoked joints. On one occasion, Rick Jones and Lionel Morton, presenters of Play School, got stoned before filming the children’s programme, it is claimed. As well as drugs, the BBC was apparently also a hot bed of sex with staff “b****** all over the place”. Recalling his time on Play School for a BBC documentary, former presenter Johnny Ball revealed that drug use spilt on screen in a nativity scene.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

George Orwell is ‘Too Left-Wing’ For a Statue, BBC Tells Joan Bakewell

When the George Orwell Memorial Trust proposed a statue of the writer for outside the BBC’s new headquarters it expected an enthusiastic response.

However, not everyone appeared enamoured of the plan. According to Baroness Bakewell, who is backing the campaign, Mark Thompson, the Corporation’s outgoing director general, said the statue could not be erected on BBC premises because Orwell was “too Left-wing”. Orwell worked as a BBC journalist, producing radio programmes at Broadcasting House during the Second World War before leaving to publish Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Mr Thompson’s remark will surprise critics of the BBC, who have long accused the corporation of liberal bias.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mister Gay Italy Finalists Prepare for Showdown Friday

Annual beauty pageant in its 16th year

(ANSA) — Torre del Lago, August 22 — Finalists in the 16th edition of Mister Gay Italy are spiffing up and getting ready for the showdown Friday when this year’s winner will be crowned.

The event, organized by and under the patronage of the leading Italian gay association Arcigay, will feature contestants from 14 regions and from all walks of life, including a divorced father of a three-year-old boy.

Participants will model casual clothes, classic wear and swimsuits for a jury composed of personalities from the worlds of culture, journalism, politics and entertainment.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Modern Culture: Ugliness is Compulsory

London 2012 was a triumph. The best Olympics ever. Apart from the closing ceremony, of course. Oh, and one other embarrassment — that twisty-turny tower of bright-red girders that was supposed to be the centrepiece of the Olympic Park. Most of the time, the cameras managed to ignore it, but like the some drunken uncle in your wedding snaps it occasionally stumbled into view.

Officially known as the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the tower is not generally regarded as a great success. To be fair, there were some problems with the execution of the concept. Intended as a piece of monumental sculpture, it also had to function as a public building — requiring various design concessions to the health-and-safety police and all the rest of it.

And yet, the creation of a sense of imbalance was always the intended effect of the work. As such, it is not especially original — indeed it is thoroughly typical of the modernist tradition.

The latter is the subject of a superb essay in the New English Review, in which the authors — Mark Anthony Signorelli and Nikos Salingaros — contrast contemporary high culture with what preceded it:

“Whereas earlier traditions of artistic creation embraced symmetry within complexity, modernism has embraced extreme simplicity, dislocation, and imbalance. Whereas earlier traditions sought to bring pleasure to an audience — “to teach and delight,” as Horace’s famous dictum would have it — modern art attempts to “nauseate” or “brutalize” an audience (the terms are from Jacques Barzun’s The Use and Abuse of Art). Whereas pre-modern architecture employed scale and ornament, modern architecture aggressively promotes gigantisms and barrenness. Whereas classical literature was grounded in regular grammar and public imagery, modern literature routinely resorts to distortions of syntax and esotericism.”

Though cultural modernism is often associated with expressions of anti-authoritarianism and disdain for establishments, Signorelli and Salingaros believe this to be hypocrisy


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism

by Mark Anthony Signorelli and Nikos A. Salingaros

We who live in the Western world at the present time continue to suffer under the reign of a great tyranny — the tyranny of artistic modernism. The modernist aesthetic, which dominates our age, takes a variety of forms in the respective arts — in architecture, a lack of scale and ornamentation combined with the overwhelming deployment of materials like glass, steel, and brutalist concrete; in the plastic arts, a rejection of natural forms mixed with an unmistakable tendency towards the repulsive or meretricious; in literature, non-linear narrative, esoteric imagery, and an almost perfect lack of poetic form and diction. Yet common now to the practice of all these arts are certain primal impulses which may be said to form the core of the modernist aesthetic — a hostility and defiance towards all traditional standards of excellence, discovered over millennia of craftsmanship and reflection; a notion of the artist’s freedom as absolute, and entirely divorced from the ends of his art; and, as Roger Scruton has so clearly demonstrated, a refusal to apply the category of beauty to either the creation or the estimation of artwork. Standing behind this aesthetic is an ideology supported by nearly the entire institutional structure of the Western world — the universities, the publishing houses, the galleries, the journals, the prize committees, the zoning boards. Books that evince a fidelity to modernist principles are the ones that get published. Buildings that conform to the brutal codes of modernism and its derivatives are the ones that get built. Whatever creative efforts spring from other sources of inspiration other than modernist aggression are invariably ignored and dismissed as something antiquated or reactionary. This is the great totalitarian system of our times — the dictatorship of modernism.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Father’s Age is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia

Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age, scientists reported on Wednesday, in the first study to quantify the effect as it builds each year. The age of mothers had no bearing on the risk for these disorders, the study found.

Experts said that the finding was hardly reason to forgo fatherhood later in life, though it may have some influence on reproductive decisions. The overall risk to a man in his 40s or older is in the range of 2 percent, at most, and there are other contributing biological factors that are entirely unknown.

[Return to headlines]

Mars Rover Aces First Test Drive on Red Planet

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity took its first halting steps on the Red Planet today (Aug. 22), snapping photos of its tracks to commemorate the test drive milestone.

The 1-ton Curiosity rover moved about 15 feet (4.5 meters) forward, turned in place 120 degrees and then backed up 8 feet (2.5 m), mission team members announced today. The maneuver began at 7:17 a.m. PDT (10:17 a.m. EDT; 1417 GMT) and lasted 16 minutes, though the six-wheeled robot spent most of that time taking pictures.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]