Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120828

Financial Crisis
»Athens Closes in on Wealthy Tax Evaders
»Catalonia Seeks Eur 5bn Rescue From Spanish Gov’t
»ECB Laments Lacking Eurozone Lending to Private Sector
»Euro Crisis Weighs on Merkel’s China Trip
»Greek Trader Explains Why the Country is Heading for Rebellion or Civic Mutiny
»Obama’s Real Legacy — $10 Trillion in New Federal Debt Over Just Four Years
»Portuguese Budget Slips as International Auditors Arrive
»Unilever Sees ‘Return to Poverty’ In Europe: Newspaper
»Big Sis Begins Releasing Biological Agents Into Boston Subway
»Black Hawk Helicopters Over Minneapolis Worry Residents
»MSU Student Knocked Unconscious, Mouth Stapled Shut in Alleged Hate Crime
»Republicans Nominate Romney, Bash Obama at Convention
Europe and the EU
»Austria Completes Investigation Into Prince Friso’s Skiing Accident
»Denmark: Vollsmose Arrests Continue to Pile Up
»Denmark: Officers Draw Pistols in Nørrebro
»Finland: World’s Oldest Champagne: To Drink or Not Drink?
»France: Chinese Vineyard Buyer ‘Passionate’ About Wine
»France Opens Arafat Assassination Enquiry
»Germany: Berlin to Mark 100 Years Since Nefertiti Find
»Germany’s Secret Contacts to Palestinian Terrorists
»Germany: WWII Bomb Discovered in Munich City Center
»Germany: WWII Bomb Forces Central Munich Evacuation
»Norway: Stoltenberg Sets Out New Anti-Terror Plans
»Switzerland Buys 22 Swedish Fighter Jets
»UK: 850 Complain to PCC Over the Sun’s Prince Harry Naked Photos
»UK: Benefits Cheat Who Funded Sweden Suicide Bomb Attack is Jailed for Seven Years
»UK: Thugs Doused Family’s Border Collie in Lighter Fluid and Set it Alight
»Austrian, German Soldiers on Their Way to Kosovo
Israel and the Palestinians
»Israeli Court: Bulldozed US Woman Not Killed Unlawfully
Middle East
»Syria: Unprecedented Egypt-Iran Convergence to End Crisis
»Turkey: Private Security Officers Now Their Own “Army”
»Russia Must Counter Nationalist Threat, Putin Says
South Asia
»Indonesia: Religious Violence Kills 2 Shias
Far East
»China Cracks Down on Ai Wei Wei Protege Zhao Zhao
Australia — Pacific
»Australia to Link With EU Carbon Scheme From 2015
»Australians Urged to Stand Up to Racism
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Kenyan Rioters and Police Clash for Second Day
»Anti-Immigrant View Being ‘Legitimised’ In Greece
»DHS Official Says There Should be 100 Ports of Entry Between the U.S. And Mexico
»In Singapore, Vitriol Against Chinese Newcomers
»Madrid’s ‘Slum of Shame’ Faces Uncertain Future
»Sweden: Fake Work Permits a Growing Problem: Police
»Visa-Free Travel Between Russia and the EU Would Cause Crime to Go Up
Culture Wars
»Deliberate Destruction of Education in Tennessee
»Foreign Policy Editor Throwing a Fit Over Growing Resistance to Agenda 21
»Swedish Lesbians See Red Over Sperm Fee
»The American Planning Association and Its “Faulty” Handbook
»Cyborg Tissue is Half Living Cells, Half Electronics
»Sperm Quality & Quantity Declining, Mounting Evidence Suggests

Financial Crisis

Athens Closes in on Wealthy Tax Evaders

For years, Greece has been pledging to redouble its efforts against tax evasion. Only now, however, is Athens finally set to sign a tax deal with Switzerland in the hopes of generating billions in revenue. Critics, though, say the agreement won’t make much of a difference.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Catalonia Seeks Eur 5bn Rescue From Spanish Gov’t

Spain’s debt-struck Catalonia region announced Tuesday it is requesting a 5.0-billion-euro ($6.3-billion) rescue from the central government. The northeastern region’s government, facing huge repayments due on its 40-billion-euro debt this year, said it would tap an 18-billion-euro liquidity fund set up by Madrid to finance troubled regions.

“The government has decided to request participation in the liquidity fund,” Catalan government spokesman Francesc Homs told a news conference.

But the powerful region, responsible for one-quarter of Spanish economic output and which jealously guards its autonomy, would do so “without accepting political conditions,” he said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Madrid would extend a helping hand to Catalonia.

“We will help Catalonia as we help the rest of the regions,” Rajoy told a news conference. “The regions are also Spain so the Spanish government will not wash its hands of the regions.”

The debt burden of Spain’s 17 regional governments is a focus of market fears that the nation could be forced to seek a sovereign bailout, on top of a 100-billion-euro rescue loan for its banking sector.

Valencia and Murcia have already caved in, saying they, too, will need central government help to finance their operations through the rest of this year.

Catalonia’s announcement coincided with a visit by European Union president Herman Van Rompuy for the first of a series of meetings held by Rajoy to grapple with the crisis.

The EU chief said his focus was on the entire Spanish economy, not specific regions. “From a European point of view we set targets for the entire country. How to achieve those targets it is up to Spain to organise itself.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

ECB Laments Lacking Eurozone Lending to Private Sector

Bank lending to the private sector in the eurozone is still insufficient despite moderate growth, the European Central Bank has warned in its recent money supply report. And a major improvement is not in sight.

The ECB report bore out that, by and large, the central bank’s cut in interest rates had not fed though to the real economy.

Analysts also expect the ECB to cut its lead interest rate once again, letting it sink to 0.5 percent from an already historically low 0.75 percent at the moment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Euro Crisis Weighs on Merkel’s China Trip

(BERLIN) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week makes her second trip of the year to China, with the eurozone debt crisis taking centre stage as it begins to drag on the two global economic powers.

Merkel was due to take nine ministers with her and a high-powered business delegation for the visit Thursday and Friday to Beijing and Tianjin which includes talks with Premier Wen Jiabao and a joint cabinet meeting.

And with the near three-year-old eurozone debt crisis showing signs of spreading even as far as China, Beijing increasingly sees Germany and Merkel as key players in tackling the problem, say analysts.

“The euro crisis seems to have led to an increased Chinese focus on Germany in particular,” Hans Kundnani from the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, told AFP.

Chinese officials “see Germany playing an increasingly decisive role in EU decision-making and therefore feel they have little choice but to approach Europe through Germany,” he added.

“We have noticed that there is a tendency for her to speak for Europe. China is increasingly looking to her for answers,” said the expert.

Europeans have expressed hope that China could deploy some of its huge foreign currency reserves to invest in EU bailout funds, although there is little sign of this happening as yet.

Nevertheless, at an EU-China meeting in Beijing in July, Dai Bingguo, the Chinese co-chair of the talks, pledged that “China is sincere and firm in supporting European efforts to deal with the sovereign debt problem.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greek Trader Explains Why the Country is Heading for Rebellion or Civic Mutiny

A trader in Greece gives Business Insider a grim assessment of the mood in the country right now.

Right now, I am afraid there is very little visibility regarding the political developments in the next few months. You might as well toss a coin.

At some point, however, I believe we shall reach some kind of ‘social tipping point’ regarding the ability of the Greek households and society to absorb more austerity measures, the consequential continuing steep decline in economic activity and ever rising unemployment. The result may well be social rebellion, maybe even civic mutiny and associated political and parliamentary instability. This is the the game plan that the neo-communists of Syriza have been preparing for over the past year or so and the one that they have actually reinforced whenever and wherever that was possible.

Unfortunately, I cannot see a ‘good ending’ scenario, under the present circumstances. Now when this tipping point may be reached, is anybody’s guess. It could very well be, as close as only a few months away. I do not believe that you can find anybody, within or outside Greece, that still sincerely and truly believes that the troika process of ‘internal devaluation’ shall lead to a positive socioeconomic outcome since no effective counter-balancing economic development measures and incentives were ever implemented, or even seriously considered.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Real Legacy — $10 Trillion in New Federal Debt Over Just Four Years

(NaturalNews) As Election Day nears, Americans certainly have some sobering choices to make. Whoever wins the White House has a monumental fiscal crisis to deal with — one that makes losses incurred during the Great Recession of 2008 look like pocket change.

Either way you cut it, the country has been, and will remain, on a path of unsustainable debt. Federal spending under George W. Bush added some $4 trillion dollars to the country’s already burgeoning national debt, but under President Obama that debt has skyrocketed to a staggering $16-plus trillion, and, if the current administration’s budget projections remain unchanged, Obama will have added an unprecedented, mind-numbing, calculator-busting $10 trillion in federal government debt that your children — and their children and their children — will likely have to pay off.

It’s stunning, really, to sit back and watch the country being spent into oblivion, but that’s what’s happening.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Portuguese Budget Slips as International Auditors Arrive

International creditor representatives were back in Portugal on Tuesday to check on its progress meeting budget targets that are proving elusive and might lead Lisbon to seek easier terms.

Like many heavily-indebted eurozone countries, Portugal is in an economic recession exacerbated by sharp budget cuts which took effect starting in May 2011 as Lisbon was granted a bailout worth 78 billion euros ($97 billion).

On Thursday, official figures indicated that the government would probably miss its target of cutting the public deficit to 4.5 percent of output this year unless it found ways to tighten the budget further.

Auditors from the so-called creditors troika of the European Central Bank, European Union and International Monetary Fund find themselves faced with the question of demanding more rigour or cutting Lisbon some slack. They could also compromise at the end of a two-week visit by doing a bit of both.

“Barring any new measures, the deficit could reach almost 6.0 percent of GDP,” or gross domestic product, this year, analysts at the French bank BNP Paribas said in a research note.

They forecast that Portugal’s current fiscal targets would probably be amended, but that “given the size of the slippage, new targets could be accompanied by additional savings” measures.

Eurozone countries are supposed to run public deficits of no more than 3.0 percent of GDP, and to work towards a balance or even a surplus in times of economic growth.

Portugal is one of three eurozone countries now receiving international financial aid, along with Greece and Ireland.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Unilever Sees ‘Return to Poverty’ In Europe: Newspaper

Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever expects poverty to rise in Europe as a result of the eurozone crisis and is therefore rethinking its marketing, according to a newspaper report Monday.

“Poverty is returning to Europe,” the head of Unilever’s European business, Jan Zijderveld, told the Financial Times Deutschland in an interview.

“If a consumer in Spain only spends 17 euros ($21) when they go shopping, then I’m not going to be able to sell them washing powder for half of their budget,” Zijderveld noted.

Unilever would therefore use marketing strategies that it used in developing countries in Asia, he suggested.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Big Sis Begins Releasing Biological Agents Into Boston Subway

The Department of Homeland Security will begin releasing a dead bacteria into the Boston subway tomorrow in an operation it says will test sensors designed to detect biological agents that could be released as part of a terrorist attack.

Little is known about what exactly the bacteria consists of, and the DHS has not been very forthcoming with information, saying only that it is a “non-infectious” material that has been “approved as a food supplement”.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Black Hawk Helicopters Over Minneapolis Worry Residents

Black Hawk military helicopters are flying low over Minneapolis this week as part of an exercise being overseen by the U.S. Special Operations Command, increasing concerns that Americans are being prepared for a state of martial law.

The video above shows the helicopters being filmed from the 28th floor of the Wells Fargo Building on 90 S. and 7th St.

Despite the fact that the urban exercises have been ongoing since August 19th, authorities only decided to properly inform residents after police and media outlets received calls from worried residents last night.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

MSU Student Knocked Unconscious, Mouth Stapled Shut in Alleged Hate Crime

Michigan State University, MSU EAST LANSING (WWJ) — A Michigan State University student is recovering after he was beaten up and had his mouth stapled shut during what investigators are categorizing as a brutal hate crime.

Zachary Tennen, a 19-year-old sophomore in MSU’s journalism program, said he was at a house party on the 500 block of Spartan Avenue early Sunday morning when two men approached him and asked if he was Jewish. When he responded “Yes,” the two men raised their arms into a Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler” before knocking him unconscious, according to Tennen’s mother, Tina.

About 20 people reportedly watched as the men proceeded to staple Zachary Tennen’s mouth shut at the lips and gums. His jaw was broken in two places during the attack.

“They knocked me down really hard … and I assumed someone would help me,” Zachary Tennen said in a statement. “But after some guys at the house basically kicked me out, I had to get a cab.”

Tina Tennen told the Detroit Free Press her son took a cab to Sparrow Hospital in East Lansing for initial treatment, but underwent surgery in metro Detroit Monday night to have his jaw wired shut. He is now recovering at his home in Franklin.

“It almost seemed like they tried to kill me, and to think about that in my brain, physically — it isn’t very pleasant,” Zachary Tennen told campus newspaper The State News.

Tina Tennen said they have filed a report with East Lansing Police in hopes of finding her son’s attackers and have contacted the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the FBI…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Republicans Nominate Romney, Bash Obama at Convention

(Reuters) — Republicans nominated Mitt Romney on Tuesday to challenge President Barack Obama for the White House, kicking off their storm-delayed convention with a barrage of sharp attacks on the president’s economic leadership.

The formal nomination of Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, sets up an unpredictable two-month dash to the November 6 election. Opinion polls show Romney running even with or slightly behind Obama.

The convention’s opening was pushed back a day by a storm threat, but Republicans wasted no time in condemning Obama’s economic record and accusing him of failing to create enough new jobs or rein in the budget deficit.

“We can do better. We can do a lot better. It starts with throwing out the politician who doesn’t get it, and electing a new president who does,” House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said.

Republicans repeatedly accused Obama of being hostile to small business owners and smothering them with high taxes and excessive regulations. His signature healthcare overhaul, they said, was an example of big government run amok.

“Unlike President Obama, I know that small businesses are the true engine of our economy — not the government — and what businesses need to grow and create jobs is less taxes and regulation, not more,” said U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.

But as Republicans tried to show a united front against Obama, it was clear the bitter party divisions evident in the bruising presidential primary battle have not been resolved.

Supporters of libertarian congressman Ron Paul of Texas and other conservative activists briefly disrupted the opening session, booing a decision to unseat Paul delegates from Maine and institute rules changes they believe will weaken their power in the next election cycle.

The rules changes, approved by the convention on a voice vote, will bind delegates to the results of a statewide vote and reduce the role of smaller state-level conventions where Paul had success.

Opponents of the move said Romney’s operatives and the party’s establishment were trying to freeze them out. Some noted that during the state-by-state roll call of delegates to count votes for the nomination, only Romney’s vote totals were announced from the podium…

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Austria Completes Investigation Into Prince Friso’s Skiing Accident

The Austrian authorities have completed their investigation into the skiing accident which left Dutch prince Friso in a coma for the past six months, according to media reports.

The report has been sent by local officials to the public prosecution department but nothing further is known about its contents or if anyone will face legal action, news agency ANP said.

Prince Friso was hit by an avalanche while out skiing off-piste with friend and guide Floriaan Moosbrugger on February 17. He was unconscious for some 50 minutes and has been in a coma ever since suffering from severe brain damage. He is being cared for at a hospital in London.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Vollsmose Arrests Continue to Pile Up

Police doubtful that everyone involved in the Vollsmose saga will be brought to justice

Another arrest has been made in connection with the attack on the emergency department at Odense University Hospital. This time it was a 19-year-old man who faced the court in connection with the violence.

The trouble started during Eid celebrations in Vollsmose, an Odense suburb, when a 26-year-old man was shot in one leg and stabbed in the other, and another man, a 24-year-old, was hit by a car which fled the scene.

Police said the violence was likely the result of long-simmering conflicts between two rival gangs in the area.

After the shooting victim was brought into the emergency department at the Odense University hospital, a group of between 60-80 people stormed the hospital in an attempt to reach the shooting and hit-and-run victims. The group threatened hospital staff and police and vandalised vehicles. An ambulance and four police cars were destroyed.

A 26-year-old and a 20-year-old man are already in custody, charged with attempted murder for the shooting.

A 35-year-old man is being held for kicking the wounded man while he tried to hide behind a officer’s leg, and an additional 19-year-old man has been arrested for vandalism and making threats at the hospital.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: Officers Draw Pistols in Nørrebro

Attempt to drive down an officer, guns drawn to keep youths at bay.

A police patrol ran into severe difficulties in Copenhagen today when it tried to stop a Swedish registered vehicle in Lundtoftegade in the Nørrebro Quarter.

The driver of the vehicle refused to stop and according to initial reports attempted to drive into one of the officers.

At the same time, a group of youths armed with stones attempted to push back officers, who used pepper spray and drew their pistols during the incident. No-one was hurt in the incident in which two youths were arrested.

The vehicle that made off was found close by, and one person near the vehicle was arrested. A large number of officers have been sent to the neighbourhood.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finland: World’s Oldest Champagne: To Drink or Not Drink?

In Finnish Aland, bottles of the world’s oldest drinkable champagne was found. It fetched a record price at auction. But according to a UNESCO convention, the bottles should never have been sold.

The bosses of the fine French sparkling wine house Veuve Clicquot thought Christian Ekström was a prankster when he first called them in 2010.

The professional diver and brewery owner discovered dozens of bottles of exclusive champagne at the bottom of the Baltic Sea in a schooner wreck, most likely sunk in 1840 close to Aland.

Now eight bottles of the select antique cargo are being auctioned in Mariehamn, the capital of the 6,700 autonomous Aland Islands which belong to Finland.

But more significant than the auction is the dispute over the exclusive drinks: Should the bottles of champagne be auctioned at all? Are they not historical artifacts, just like the shipwreck and the plates, jars and nautical instruments found with them?

“Clearly yes! There is no doubt about that,” said Kerstin Odendahl, a professor of international law at the University of Kiel and a specialist on the issue of the international protection of cultural objects.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Chinese Vineyard Buyer ‘Passionate’ About Wine

A Chinese businessman who sparked a bout of anxious introspection in France with his purchase of an historic Burgundy vineyard is a low-profile casino executive with a passion for wine, friends and analysts said.

Louis Ng has shunned the French media spotlight since buying the 12th-century Château de Gevrey Chambertin for €8 million euros ($10 million) earlier this year, an investment that sent shockwaves through the French wine industry.

A top executive for Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, the 60-year-old has pledged via a representative in France to invest significant sums to restore the château and upgrade its wine production.

But the investment, which includes two hectares (five acres) of vineyards in one of Burgundy’s top appellations, triggered an angry backlash from local winemakers and the far-right Front National, which said the property should stay in French hands.

Hong Kong-based wine expert and author Jeannie Cho Lee, who is friends with Ng, said the businessman had a genuine passion for wine and could be trusted to manage the estate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Opens Arafat Assassination Enquiry

French prosecutors have opened a murder enquiry into Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s 2004 death near Paris, sources close to the matter told AFP Tuesday. The probe comes after Arafat’s family launched legal action in France last month over claims the veteran Palestinian leader died of radioactive polonium poisoning.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Berlin to Mark 100 Years Since Nefertiti Find

Berlin’s Egyptian Museum said on Monday it will celebrate the centenary of the discovery of the 3,400-year-old fabled bust of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti amid an ongoing feud with Cairo over its ownership.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany’s Secret Contacts to Palestinian Terrorists

Eleven Israelis and one German police officer died in the Munich massacre of 1972, when Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage at the Olympics. Now, government documents suggest that Germany maintained secret contacts with the organizers of the attack for years afterward and appeased the Palestinians to prevent further bloodshed on German soil.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: WWII Bomb Discovered in Munich City Center

Bomb disposal experts in Munich are struggling to defuse a World War II-era explosive discovered in the city’s trendy Schwabing district. Some 2,500 people have had to leave their homes for safety reasons. The problem of unexploded ordnance remains a serious one in Germany, even 67 years after the war.

Hardly a week goes by in Germany without an unexploded bomb from World War II being found at a construction site or in another location. Very often it happens in the center of densely populated cities — like Munich, where 2,500 people had to be evacuated following the discovery of a 250-kilogram (550 pound) bomb on Monday night.

Monday’s find resulted in a mass evacuation of apartments and office buildings in Munich’s popular Schwabing district, only a short walk from the city’s world-famous tourist attractions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: WWII Bomb Forces Central Munich Evacuation

Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in Munich on Monday night after the disposal of a 250-kilo World War II bomb proved more complicated than expected. “It could go off at any time,” said a fire department spokesman.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Stoltenberg Sets Out New Anti-Terror Plans

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced new anti-terror measures Tuesday to improve shortcomings highlighted by Anders Behring Breivik’s twin attacks, and said he would not resign despite criticism.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland Buys 22 Swedish Fighter Jets

The sale of 22 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden to Switzerland was confirmed on Tuesday for a price of more than 3 billion francs ($3.1 billion). The first delivery will take place in mid-2018, with all 22 planes to be delivered by 2021 at a cost of 3.126 billion francs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: 850 Complain to PCC Over the Sun’s Prince Harry Naked Photos

More than 850 complaints have been made to the press watchdog about naked photographs of Prince Harry that were published in today’s Sun.

The tabloid became the first British newspaper to carry the pictures, arguing the move was in the public interest and a “crucial” test of the country’s free press.

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) said all the complaints it has received came from members of the public and none had come from St James’s Palace or any other representatives of the royal.

Nearly all of the complaints are about invasion of privacy and are to be investigated in due course.

The Palace said it had no further comment on the matter after previously saying that it was down to the editors of Britain’s newspapers to decide whether they printed the controversial pictures.

A Palace spokesman added: “We have made our views on Prince Harry’s privacy known. Newspapers regulate themselves, so the publication of the photographs is ultimately a decision for editors to make.”

The Palace said Harry, 27, an Army officer and Apache helicopter pilot, remains on a period of leave and will return to his military duties shortly. He does not have any public engagements within the coming days.

The pictures of him frolicking in the nude with an unnamed woman while on holiday in Las Vegas made headlines around the world but until now no papers in the UK had used them following a request from St James’s Palace, made via the PCC, to respect Harry’s privacy.

But The Sun said it printed them in today’s edition so the millions of people who get their news in print or have no internet access could “take a full part in that national conversation”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Benefits Cheat Who Funded Sweden Suicide Bomb Attack is Jailed for Seven Years

An Algerian asylum seeker who financed a suicide bomber using illegally claimed benefits was yesterday jailed for seven years.

Nasserdine Menni was living in Glasgow and sending cash to Taimour Abdulwahab, whose botched attempt to kill Christmas shoppers in Sweden in 2010 led only to his own death.

Police investigating the bomber’s background discovered the connection with Menni, who was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act at his 19th floor flat in Whiteinch last year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Thugs Doused Family’s Border Collie in Lighter Fluid and Set it Alight

[** WARNING ** : Disturbing content.]

These shocking images show a beloved pet that was tortured by being doused in lighter fuel and set on fire.

Cody the Border Collie, only three-years-old, was burnt so badly that its ribs and joints were visible through its charred flesh.


Police found two bottles of barbecue lighting fluid from a quarry near to the family home in the village of Maghaberry, outside Lisburn City.

Witnesses, including one of Mrs Agnew’s two young sons, described seeing two boys, one wearing a black hoodie, in the area of the family farm prior to the attack.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland are searching for the attackers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Austrian, German Soldiers on Their Way to Kosovo

NATO security forces in Kosovo view the situation there as unstable even more than a decade after the end of open war there. That’s why 550 German and 150 Austrian troops are on their way to tense northern Kosovo.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israeli Court: Bulldozed US Woman Not Killed Unlawfully

A court in Haifa has rejected allegations of negligence in a civil lawsuit over a 23-year-old woman killed as she sought to block the path of an armored bulldozer in 2003. Rachel Corrie’s parents filed the suit.

The court in the northern Israeli city of Haifa ruled against all claims of negligence filed by Craig and Cindy Corrie, whose daughter Rachel was run over by an armored bulldozer aged 23.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Syria: Unprecedented Egypt-Iran Convergence to End Crisis

After proposed plan with Riyadh and Ankara, Morsi in Tehran

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 27 — Solving the crisis in Syria and boosting their role in the Arab world appears to be the top foreign policy objective for Egypt and Iran. Two countries which have not been on speaking terms for over three decades now appear ready to let old disputes rest, in particular following Cairo’s accord with Israel in 1979 slammed by the Ayatollahs.

Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi is expected in Tehran to take part in a summit of the Non Aligned Movement at the end of August in the first visit by an Egyptian head of state to the Islamic Republic in 30 years. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were interrupted in 1980. A spokesman for Morsi, Yasser Ali, however has said that the complete restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries is not on the horizon, according to The New York Times.

In the past few days during the Islamic Conference at the Mecca, the Egyptian president launched his plan to end violence in Syria — a joint initiative with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia — in which Cairo means to play the lead role.

“Coming at a moment of acute hand-wringing in the Western capitals over how an Islamist leadership of the largest Arab state might alter the American-backed regional order, Mr.

Morsi’s focus bisects Washington’s customary division of the region, between Western-friendly states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the one hand and Iran on the other”, the New York Times quoted political scientist Emad Shahin as saying. The Nyt news analysis was published yesterday and quoted today by Egypt’s Mena news agency.

The initiative also highlights the recent climate of détente, also observed during the conference in Mecca, between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which had so far divided, among other things, on the Syrian crisis. Tehran is the only staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

But the gravity of the crisis in Syria is leading former enemies to work closely for a solution, the New York Times observes in its report. “The unorthodox combination of players in the proposed working group is a measure of the changing dynamics within the region. Mr. Morsi comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, a pan-Arab Islamist movement that has long been opposed to Saudi Arabia’s Western-friendly monarchy, which has outlawed the group as subversive”, writes David Kirkpatrick on the US newspaper. “Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been fierce rivals of Iran. And while Iran has provided military and logistics support to the Assad government, both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have helped arm the rebels trying to bring it down”. Egypt is not the only country with a plan to halt violence in Syria. Tehran has announced it has an exit strategy which could be presented at the summit of non-aligned countries in the Iranian capital. The details of the initiative have not been announced yet though the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said the proposal is “sweeping” and will be “hard to refuse” for Assad.

Iranian media have reported that Russia supports the unspecified plan while the Mehr news agency has quoted the president of the foreign commission of Iran’s Parliament, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, as saying that Assad is be ready to meet representatives of the opposition. Boroujerdi met with the Syrian president yesterday.

The next few days will be key for Syria as the upcoming fall of the Assad regime is fast becoming the occasion for new geo-political power shifts in the Arab world.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Private Security Officers Now Their Own “Army”

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, AUGUST 28 — The number of Turkish private security officers has reached 217,000, greater than the combined military forces of Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Holland, Norway and the Czech Republic, Anatolia news agency reports quoting data from a sector organization. “Even though there aren’t specific figures as to the size of the sector’s economy, we believe that in general it ranges between 3-6 billion USD,” Private Security Associations Federation President Bulent Perut told Anatolia news agency.

In Turkey, 886,000 people hold private security certificates, confirming that one has received appropriate education and training in the field. Some 604,000 of these people also hold a security ID, the state authorization to work as a guard. Perut said that many security guards preferred other jobs when they are available, because of the low wages and poor level of social rights in the security sector.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Russia Must Counter Nationalist Threat, Putin Says

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia must counter a serious threat from nationalists he said were taking advantage of democratic freedoms to gain influence in a country with a fragile mix of ethnic groups.

He rebuked local authorities, saying recent outbreaks of ethnic violence were “primarily the result of the inaction of law enforcement organs and irresponsibility of bureaucrats”.

“Today more and more often, under the guise of development of democracy and freedom, various ethnic nationalist groups are raising their heads. They take part in rallies, work on the Internet and among teenagers and students,” Putin said,

“In essence they all are pushing, provoking separatist tendencies inside Russia,” the president said, addressing the first meeting of his Council on Inter-Ethnic Relations. “It is important to confront their dangerous influence.”

Russia has seen several outbreaks of ethnic violence in recent years, including December 2010 riots near the Kremlin in which thousands of nationalist soccer fans attacked non-Slavic passers-by and clashed with police.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Indonesia: Religious Violence Kills 2 Shias

Jakarta, 27 Aug. (AKI/Jakarta Post) — Two Indonesian Shias were killed in the latest religious violence involving Shia community members and an anti-Shia group in Sampang regencyEast Java, on Sunday.

The victims have been identified as Mochamad Kosim, 50, and his brother Tohir, 46. They died of machete wounds. At least four other Shiites were injured during the attack.

At the height of the violence, the mob also set alight dozens of houses belonging to Shiite members in Nangkernang hamlet, Karang Gayam village, in Sampang.

The majority of Indonesians are Sunni Muslims.

Kulsum, the wife of incarcerated Shiite leader Tajul Muluk, confirmed that one Shiite follower was hacked to death and, according to reports from human right activists on the scene, another man, identified as Tohir, was also killed.

“One man died after being attacked with a machete, while all I knew at the time was that Tohir was dying. I haven’t heard if he eventually died because I am now separated from the others,” Kulsum said.

Kulsum and some 40 Shiite followers are currently sheltered inside an elementary school east of Nangkernang village, where the Shiite community lives.

“I don’t know the whereabouts of the other members. There were around 500 of us. We were being chased, so we ran for our lives,” Kulsum said.

Nia Syarifudin of the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika National Alliance Forum (ANBTI) claimed that the violence was triggered by the anti-Shia group, which tried to stop a number of Shiite students from returning to their boarding school in Bangil, East Java, on Sunday after spending their Idul Fitri holidays at home, on Sunday morning.

“The children later reported the threatening behavior to police, and the anti-Shia group responded by coming to the Shiite village and setting it ablaze,” Nia said.

Insp. Gen. Bambang Suparno, an official with the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, confirmed that nearly 1,000 people took part in the destruction of property belonging to the Shiite community.

“A local police chief also sustained a head injury as the mob started throwing stones,” he said.

Hendardi, the chairman of human rights watchdog the Setara Institute, said what happened in Sampang was not a conflict but a systematic attack that was planned beforehand.

“It has become yet another appalling example of the lack of freedom of religion in this country,” he said.

According to Hendardi, the East Java Police chief should be removed for his inability to maintain security. Having failed to protect people in the area, he added, the National Police chief should immediately step in to deal with the extremists who had repeatedly committed attacks against the Shiites.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Ma’arif Institute, Fajar Riza Ulhaq, said the attacks against the Shiite community in Sampang were criminal acts against a minority group.

“We have to act against the increasing acts of terror being meted out to minority groups. It reflects the escalating terror tactics being used against people of different faiths,” he said in a statement.

Hostility against minority groups would flare up unless the government took stern action against the perpetrators, Fajar added.

Kulsum’s husband, Tajul Muluk, was sentenced by Sampang District Court on July 12, after presiding judge Purnomo Amin Tjahjo declared him guilty of blaspheming Islam.

Tajul, whose house and pesantren (Islamic boarding school) were burned down by an angry mob in December, was accused of preaching to his followers that the Koran was not the original scripture, and that the true version of the Holy Book would only be revealed to Imam Mahdi

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

Far East

China Cracks Down on Ai Wei Wei Protege Zhao Zhao

Life for modern artists in China is not easy. Imprisonment, hefty fines and travel bans are just some of the intimidation tactics the state police use to silence those critical of the regime. But Beijing artist Zhao Zhao, once an assistant to artist Ai Weiwei, refuses to bend to the pressure.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Australia to Link With EU Carbon Scheme From 2015

(SYDNEY) — Australia announced Tuesday it will link its hard-fought carbon pricing scheme, aimed at combating climate change, with the European Union’s from mid-2015.

Australia introduced the first stage of its plans to put a price on carbon dioxide pollution in July with a so-called “carbon tax”, which charges big polluters Aus$23 (US$23.81) per tonne for their emissions of the gas.

The government has always said it would move to an emissions trading scheme after three years with a floating price set by the market. Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said this would be linked to the EU’s scheme from 2015.

“This means that from July 1, 2015, Australia’s carbon price will effectively be the same as that that operates in our second largest trading bloc,” he told reporters.

A full two-way link in which there would be mutual recognition of carbon units between the two cap and trade systems would begin no later than July 1, 2018, he added.

The minister said a previous commitment to set a floor price of Aus$15 per tonne for the first three years to avoid price shocks would be scrapped.

“We now look forward to the first full inter-continental linking of emission trading systems,” European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, said in a joint statement with Combet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australians Urged to Stand Up to Racism

Australians are being urged to stand up to racism in their daily lives.

Launching a new national strategy to combat racism on Friday, federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon called on individuals to call out bad behaviour wherever they encounter it.

“It does require people to stand up when they see something that’s wrong and like in all other areas of bullying, the silence of the majority allows bullies to get away with bad behaviour,” Ms Roxon told reporters in Melbourne.

The strategy comes on the heels of a random survey of 2000 people last year, in which one in seven Australians reported experiencing discrimination based on their colour or background, a figure that has risen steadily in recent years.

Federal race discrimination commissioner Helen Szoke said racism was more prevalent in Australia than people believed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenyan Rioters and Police Clash for Second Day

Riots have rocked Kenya’s second-largest city for a second day. The violence was triggered by the killing of a Muslim cleric accused by the United States of aiding Islamist militants in Somalia.

Police battled stone-throwing youths on Tuesday, firing tear gas and warning shots as the rioters barricaded streets with burning tires in Majengo.

The district is a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city. Looting was also reported.

In support of the rioters, Islamist militant group al-Shabaab called on Kenyan Muslims to “take all necessary measures” to defend their religion.

“Muslims must take the matter into their own hands, stand united against the kuffar (unbelievers) and take all necessary measures to protect their religion, their honor, their property and their lives from the enemies of Islam,” the group said in a statement posted on Twitter. Al-Shabaab is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and the US.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anti-Immigrant View Being ‘Legitimised’ In Greece

Anti-immigrant and nationalistic discourse has existed in Greece since the 1990s, say experts, but has become more radical with the economic crisis. For Golden Dawn, the neo-facist movement that scooped 6.9 percent of the vote in the June election, the simmering discontent has proved fertile ground.

“People can now stand up in the middle of a cafeteria and start declaring without a thread of shame that they voted for the Golden Dawn,” says Aristotle Kallis, a professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Lancaster University.

“The Golden Dawn does not create a new phenomenon in Greece. The Golden Dawn, through its radical action, through its very populist action, are legitimising a particular anti-immigrant rhetoric and anti-immigrant point of view in Greece,” said Kallis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

DHS Official Says There Should be 100 Ports of Entry Between the U.S. And Mexico

Saying “we are all border-landers,” Alan Bersin told members of the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association on Friday that the number of ports of entry between the two countries needs to more than double to 100.

Bersin—the former superintendent of San Diego Unified School District now serving as the assistant secretary of international affairs for the Department of Homeland Security—kicked off the third binational summit of the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association alongside San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante.

Bersin spoke to a group of 22 mayors—13 from the U.S. and nine from Mexico— and said the relationships formed between the two countries will shape the “future” of the North American economy.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

In Singapore, Vitriol Against Chinese Newcomers

The accident, captured by the dashboard camera of another taxi, has uncorked long-stewing fury against the surge of new arrivals from China, part of a government-engineered immigration push that has almost doubled Singapore’s population to 5.2 million since 1990. About a million of those newcomers arrived in the past decade, drawn by financial incentives and a liberal visa policy aimed at counteracting Singapore’s famously low birthrate.

Tensions over immigration bedevil many nations, but what makes the clash here particularly striking is that most of Singapore’s population was already ethnic Chinese, many of them the progeny of earlier generations of Chinese immigrants. The paradox is not lost on Alvin Tan, the artistic director of a community theater company that takes on thorny social issues.

“Mainlanders may look like us, but they aren’t like us,” said Mr. Tan, who is of mixed Malay-Chinese descent and does not speak Mandarin. “Singaporeans look down on mainlanders as country bumpkins, and they look down on us because we can’t speak proper Chinese.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Madrid’s ‘Slum of Shame’ Faces Uncertain Future

Europe’s largest illegal settlement lies just outside the Spanish capital, Madrid. A sprawling tangle of tents and cement houses, Cañada Real is now home to over 40,000 people. But maybe not for long…

In Cañada Real, roads and alleyways are unpaved. Houses are made of corrugated metal or cement. Some lots are just piles of garbage.

Forty years ago, Cañada Real was built by peasants who moved to Madrid for jobs. With the economic crisis, the settlement has swelled to some 40,000 residents — a mix of North Africans, Roma people and other immigrants and Spaniards down on their luck.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Fake Work Permits a Growing Problem: Police

The sale of false work permits to immigrants is causing more problems for Swedish police, who claim that the documents are being sold for up to 250,000 kronor ($38,100) by criminals who are proving very difficult to catch.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Visa-Free Travel Between Russia and the EU Would Cause Crime to Go Up

Visa-free travel between Russia and the EU would increase criminality and make it more brutal, writes the Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet.

According to National Bureau of Investigation chief Rauno Ranta, in the wake of the easing of the visa requirement a crime wave can be expected on these shores. The NBI is Finland’s central criminal police arm. After the borders were opened to the Baltic States, there was a clear increase in violent crime in Finland.

Ranta believes that the same would happen in Russia’s case as well, should the mandatory visas be lifted. Finland’s National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero believes that visa-free travel between the EU and Russia will become reality within the next ten years. According to Paatero, at the planning level the police are already making provisions for the lifting of the visa requirement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Deliberate Destruction of Education in Tennessee

The Governor of TN is Bill Haslam. Haslam is co-owner of Pilot Oil/Flying J. He is a pro-UN Agenda 21 governor and like the rest of the phony right, he is in favor of vouchers, choice, and charter schools.

Prior to Haslam’s election as Governor in 2010, there was a moratorium on charter schools in the state of TN. He has now lifted that moratorium. Haslam’s bagman, Senator Mark Norris, carried the bill to passage allowing UNLIMITED Charter schools in the state of TN. Want ads in our local paper are now advertising for Knox County Schools to issue requests for charter school proposals. And, Governor Haslam is eyeing adding funding to pre-K and creating a larger voucher system in Tennessee.


In 1934, the Carnegie Corporation said we are going to use the schools to change the US from a free market system to a planned economy. In a planned economy, as in Communist countries, the administration chooses at an early age what your child will do all throughout their lives. They want your child to decide by 5th grade! I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

This plan was carried out with the signing of the education agreements by President Reagan with the Soviet Union in 1985 and 1988. The Soviet polytech system is being implemented right now with students being tracked into specific training at an early age to suit the needs of the corporate fascist global economy.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Foreign Policy Editor Throwing a Fit Over Growing Resistance to Agenda 21

An article published yesterday in the blog section of Foreign Policy magazine titled “Sinister globalist plot opposed in GOP platform draft” is yet another attempt by the establishment to put a halt to the anti-Agenda 21 movement increasingly saying no to the UN “action plan” and all the guises by which it attempts to slither its way into our personal liberties.

The article, written by Foreign Policy associate editor Joshua Keating, builds a classic straw-man by using the words “plot” and “sinister” in relation to Agenda 21- and by doing so, hoping to discredit the growing awareness of Agenda 21 by an increasing amount of people in the United States. Describing any opposition to binding or non-binding UN treaties “black helicopter territory”, Keating quotes the “Sovereign Americal Leadership” section of the draft GOP platform which reads as follows:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Swedish Lesbians See Red Over Sperm Fee

A lesbian couple in County Östergötland has reported the county council to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO), for making them pay 3,000 kronor ($457) for two inseminations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The American Planning Association and Its “Faulty” Handbook

With great fanfare, the American Planning Association (APA) reported results of a recent survey the group conducted, (“Planning America: Perceptions and Priorities”) showing that the anti- Agenda 21 “crowd is slim.” Said the report, only 6% of those surveyed expressed opposition to Agenda 21, while 9% expressed support for Agenda 21 and 85%, “the vast majority of respondents, don’t know about Agenda 21.”

Typically, APA is using the survey to formulate the image that opponents to Agenda 21/ Sustainable Development are just a lunatic fringe with no standing and of no consequence in the “real” world. They continue to portray Agenda 21 as simply a 20 year old idea, and just a suggestion that planners and local governments might consider.

However, a closer look at the full survey, plus some additional APA reports reveal some interesting, and in some cases, astounding facts.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Cyborg Tissue is Half Living Cells, Half Electronics

They beat like real heart cells, but the rat cardiomyocytes in a dish at Harvard University are different in one crucial way. Snaking through them are wires and transistors that spy on each cell’s electrical impulses. In future, the wires might control their behaviour too.

Versions of this souped-up, “cyborg” tissue have been created for neurons, muscle and blood vessels. They could be used to test drugsMovie Camera or as the basis for biological versions of existing implants such as pacemakers. If signals can also be sent to the cells, cyborg tissue could be used in prosthetics or to create tiny robots.

“It allows one to effectively blur the boundary between electronic, inorganic systems and organic, biological ones,” says Charles Lieber, who leads the team behind the cyborg tissue.

Artificial tissue can already be grown on three-dimensional scaffolds made of biological materials that are not electrically active. And electrical components have been added to cultured tissue before, but not integrated into its structure, so they were only able to glean information from the surface.

Lieber’s team combined these strands of work to create electrically active scaffolds. They created 3D networks of conductive nanowires studded with silicon sensors. Crucially, the wires had to be flexible and extremely small, to avoid impeding the growth of tissue. The scaffold also contained traditional biological materials such as collagen.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sperm Quality & Quantity Declining, Mounting Evidence Suggests

Global baby making seems at no want for a polish, with the world population at 7 billion and rising. But in reality, some evidence suggests part of this picture is breaking down: Sperm may be changing for the worse — at least in some places. The decline has been blamed on everything from cellphones in pockets to hormones in water to fatty food in the Western diet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


wildiris said...

Well, I guess this closes the last chapter of the Rachel Corrie story. But after all of these years and all that has been written about her, we still don’t know for certain what happened to her that day she died.

Years ago, when this incident first happened, I took a personal interest in the account of her accident and researched everything I could find about it. Only one thing was certain, the protesters’ version of events that day was most definitely a fabrication. But, given the little amount of information available, one could only guess at what might have actually happened that day.

Seeing her story once again back in the news, got my curiosity up, so I went back on the web to see if I could look up the photos of her accident scene that I recalled looking at years ago. They’re gone!!!! I ended up wasting over two hours, Google’ing and Bing’ing every combination of search words and search options I could think of; zip, zero, nada. They have just disappeared.

There are only three alleged photos of her accident to be found nowadays anywhere on the web, one before and two after photos. The problems are several: the D9 you see in the before photo is not the same D9 that you see in the after photo; the two after photos show Rachel lying in two different locations; and both of the after photos show scenes that are categorically inconsistent with both the protesters’ version of events as well as the IDF’s version of events.????

The Rachel Corrie story has long cried out for the blog-o-sphere to give it the Dan Rather treatment. But no one ever did. Oh well. For most of the world now, her story just gets tossed into the dustbin of history, never to be remembered again. Except, of course, for the hand full of her devotees out there, for whom the story of Saint Rachel will now be cast into the stars like the story of some ancient tragic and mythical Greek heroine.