Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120905

Financial Crisis
»Euro Rescue Sparks Biggest Court Challenge
»Euro Rescue Found Sparks Biggest Ever German Legal Challenge
»Greece: Troika Demands Longer Work Weeks
»Impose Six-Day Working Week or Risk Losing Bail-Out, Troika Warns Greece
»Italy: Bond Spreads Dive on Eve of ECB Meeting, Stocks Cautious
»Spain to Extend 120 Mln Euros to Catalonia Right Now
»Swiss Economy Ranked World’s Most Competitive
»Andy Roddick Loses at U.S. Open in Last Match of His Career
»Jerusalem No Longer the Capital of Israel for Democrats
»NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Says Goodbye to Giant Asteroid Vesta
»Shooting Mars Quebec Election Victory Speech
Europe and the EU
»Battle Royal Between Hollande’s Women Enthrals France
»Dutch Election: PM Under Fire Over ‘Enough is Enough’ Greece Comment
»Finnish Ancestors’ Diet Explains Many Modern Ailments
»France Shooting: Four Dead After Gun Attack on British Car in French Alps Near Grenoble
»Italy: Regions Ready to Challenge Government on Health Care
»Norway Shoppers Flood Cheaper Swedish Stores
»Portugal Battles Deadly Wildfires With EU Help
»Third Night of Violence in North Belfast
»UK: Lost Medieval Church Discovered Beneath Parking Lot
»UK: Muslim Tycoon in Divorce Fight Over Affair ‘Allowed Under Sharia Law’
»Croatia: Largest Cup of Coffee
North Africa
»Egypt President on First Official Visit to Europe Next Week
Middle East
»Role of Dubai Police Chief
»Russian Arms Legend in Trouble Bankrupt AK-47 Maker Puts Hope in New Guns
South Asia
»Indonesia: Baassyir’s Islamic School in Solo Continues to Train New Terrorists
»Once at Front of Fight for Freedom, Burmese Monks Now March Against Muslim Minority
Far East
»Reports: Japan to Buy South China Sea Islands
»Why is the South China Sea Such a Bone of Contention?
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Pirates Hijack Oil Tanker in Nigeria
»Deportation of Afghan Children Would Violate UN Conventions
»EU Commissioner: Booting Roma Out of France is No Solution
»Fifteen Iraqi and Afghan Migrants Land in Locri Area
»Fifteen Immigrants Picked Up on Calabrian Shore by Police
»Hundreds of Undocumented Immigrants Protest Loss of Free Health Care in Spain
»NGOs Slam Night Swoop Operation to Hand Over Migrants to Morocco
»Spain and Morocco Evict Illegal Migrants From Islet
»Tiny Island Creates Major Migration Headache for Spain
»Ghostly Night-Shining Clouds Get Their Glow From Meteor Smoke

Financial Crisis

Euro Rescue Sparks Biggest Court Challenge

Germany’s contribution to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is being challenged by the biggest constitutional complaint in the country’s history, with around 37,000 people asking the Constitutional Court to stop it.

The number of the plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of Germany’s contribution has tripled since the end of June, claimed said the association Mehr Demokratie — More Democracy — on Tuesday.

Back in June more than 12,000 people, including ordinary citizens, eurosceptics from within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own party, and hardline Left party parliamentarians, petitioned the Constitutional Court to issue an injunction against the ESM.

They claimed that the creation of the bailout mechanism would undermine German lawmakers’ constitutional right to decide on the budget and expose the country to potentially unlimited financial liability for ESM risks.

German President Joachim Gauck then declared that he would postpone ratifying the treaty until the Court had ruled on the constitutionality of the ESM.

In the meantime, support for the challenge has grown, says More Democracy, which was involved in petitioning for the injunction.

“After filing the first civil lawsuit, the flood of support continued to pour in unabated,” CEO Roman Huber said. Since the initial filing, more than 25,000 people have added their names to the suit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Euro Rescue Found Sparks Biggest Ever German Legal Challenge

Germany’s participation in the European Stability Mechanism, the permanent euro bailout fund, has sparked the biggest legal challenge ever in the country. According to the association More Democracy, some 37,000 have signed up to a legal challenge to stop the ESM. The constitutional court is due to rule 12 September.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Troika Demands Longer Work Weeks

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 4 — Six-day work weeks may become standard for workers in the private sector, according to a leaked email sent to the Ministry of Labour from the troika on Friday as Athens News reports. The email called for several changes in labour regulations preceding the next bailout. Most significantly, it proposed a reduction in the cost of hiring and firing workers, and increased flexibility in worker schedules. The troika suggested that employers should be able to fire employees more easily.

Specifically, they proposed cutting by half the amount of notice that employees receive before being fired, from 4-6 months to 2-3 months. Similarly, they asked that the compensation workers receive upon retiring be reduced by at least 50%, if they receive another pension, and that compensation for workers who are fired be reduced by up to 50%. In terms of worker flexibility, the troika called for looser regulations governing working hours, so that employees might work for six days a week, with a minimum rest between shifts of only 11 hours. They also proposed to lift restrictions on switching workers between morning and evening shifts. The troika’s demands are expected to cause increased conflict in the already tense relations between the General Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE) and the government.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Impose Six-Day Working Week or Risk Losing Bail-Out, Troika Warns Greece

Greece should impose a six-day week to secure the next tranche of its bail-out package, according to a leaked letter sent by the country’s creditors.

Under a heading “increase flexibility of work schedules” the Troika — which is composed of officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) — states that the country should “increase the number of maximum working days to six days across all sectors.”

It adds that the government should also reduce daily rest between shifts to the 11 hours minimum and scrap restrictions on the length of shifts.

However, Greek employers will still be bound by EU labour laws such as the directive on working time, which requires workers to average no more than 48 hours per week over a four month period.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Bond Spreads Dive on Eve of ECB Meeting, Stocks Cautious

Spanish bonos benefit from market expectations

(ANSA) — Milan, September 5 — The spread between Italian and German bond interest rates sank for the third day in a row Wednesday to close at 404 basis points on the eve of an anxiously awaited European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting scheduled Thursday.

Markets are looking to see whether the ECB formalizes a mechanism to buy bonds in the secondary market to lower the borrowing costs of countries at the centre of the eurozone crisis, such as Spain and Italy. The ECB has been drafting such a mechanism, and president Mario Draghi said Monday that it is not against the ECB’s mandate to buy state bonds “of up to three years” on the secondary market of eurozone countries. Spanish bonds also benefited from market expectations. The spread between interest rates on the Spanish bonos and the German benchmark sank under 500 basis points to close at 498.

The yield on ten year Spanish bonds was 6.45%. The yield on ten year Italian bonds closed at 5.51%.

Meanwhile, European stock markets were cautious Wednesday. Milan’s FTSE MIB showed the most movement, losing -0.62% to close at 15,128 points. Paris’s CAC 40 (+0.20%), London’s FTSE 100 (-0.25%), and Madrid’s IBEX (+0.08%) barely budged.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain to Extend 120 Mln Euros to Catalonia Right Now

To cover civil servant wages, ensure cash flow

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 4 — Spain’s government will “imminently” advance 120 million euros to Catalonia so the autonomous region can pay its civil servants, Catalan People’s Party (PP) leader Alicia Sanchez Camacho told Televisio de Catalunya’s TV3 channel on Tuesday.

Catalonia’s Economics minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, on Monday called on Spain to extend the region a bridge loan to ensure cash flow ahead of the activation of its liquidity fund.

Catalonia has requested 5.02 billion euros from that fund to cover maturing debt and other payments. “The region will receive all the aid it requires,” Camacho said. Premier Mariano Rajoy’s administration will economically and financially support Catalonia and the rest of the autonomous regions, Camacho said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Swiss Economy Ranked World’s Most Competitive

Switzerland has the world’s most competitive and innovative economy, but some of its European neighbours are faltering and the US has slipped further down the ranking, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said on Wednesday.

Singapore maintained its second place, while Finland came in third, bumping Sweden to fourth place, followed by the Netherlands and Germany, according to the organisation which hosts the annual Davos pow-wow of business and political leaders.

“Switzerland earns the top spot in innovation, owing to the excellence of its education system, the high company spending on R&D (research and development), and the strong collaboration between the academic world and the business sector,” the WEF enthused in its Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013.

Switzerland, which topped the ranking for the fourth year running, was also lauded in several other areas, including as the world-leader in labour market efficiency, and for having one of the most stable macroeconomic environments in the world.

But the picture was not quite so bright for a number of other European countries and the United States.

While European countries, especially in the north, continue to dominate the list of the world’s 10 most competitive nations, those in the southern part of the continent dipped further down the list.

Crisis-hit Greece, for instance, slipped to 96th place out of the 144 countries ranked, from 90th last year, while Portugal dropped to 49th from 45th place and Spain held its ground at 36th.

France also fell off the top 20 list, dropping to 21st place from 18th last year and 15th in 2010.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Andy Roddick Loses at U.S. Open in Last Match of His Career

Andy Roddick, the most successful American men’s tennis player in the past decade, ended his career on Wednesday with a loss to Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round of the United States Open.

Roddick, 30, announced last week that he would retire after the Open, the event he won in 2003 — the last time an American man won a major.

[Return to headlines]

Jerusalem No Longer the Capital of Israel for Democrats

(AGI) Charlotte (North Carolina) — Tension between Israel and the US Democratic Party is liable to increase. The Democrats will open their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight, but all reference to “Jerusalem, Capital of Israel”, a principle had been taken for granted since 1992, has disappeared from the party’s platform. No explanation came from the officials of Barack Obama’s party. The initiative, or the oversight, will inevitably push Jew voters, traditionally Democrats, towards Barack’s Republican rival Mitt Romney, who is completely aligned, as he underlined in Jerusalem last July, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s positions.

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

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Says Goodbye to Giant Asteroid Vesta

NASA’s Dawn probe has departed the huge asteroid Vesta, its orbital home for the past year, to begin a journey to its next destination: the dwarf planet Ceres.

Dawn’s asteroid-mapping mission aims to shed light on the evolution of our solar system by studying huge space rocks, which scientists think are its leftover building blocks. Vesta, which is the solar system’s brightest asteroid, and Ceres are chunks of material that might have clumped with other matter to form full-fledged planets under other circumstances, scientists say. Ceres is the largest asteroid in the solar system and is so large it is considered to be a dwarf planet.

Before leaving Vesta behind, Dawn snapped some spectacular farewell photos of the huge space rock that revealed a surface only half-lit by sunlight and covered in craters. NASA also released a greatest hits video of Dawn’s discoveries at Vesta from the last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Shooting Mars Quebec Election Victory Speech

A gunman has killed one person and seriously injured another before being arrested in Montreal. He targeted an election victory speech delivered by new premier-elect Pauline Marois of the separatist Parti Quebecois.

The suspect fired at least two shots with a rifle and set fire to the rear entrance in a Montreal theater where separatist leader Pauline Marois was delivering a victory speech. Constable Danny Richer said that the shooter was subsequently arrested, one person was killed and another injured in the incident. Richer added that the shooter appeared to be in his fifties.

Marois was rushed off stage by bodyguards, but was uninjured and later returned to ask supporters to evacuate the premises.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Battle Royal Between Hollande’s Women Enthrals France

France’s Socialist President François Hollande hoped he could keep his love life private and distinguish himself from his showy predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy. But his feisty first lady appears to have dashed those plans.

Valérie Trierweiler has been quiet since launching an explosive tweet in June that rocked French politics and made headlines across the world, but her alleged feud with the president’s ex-partner — the mother of his four children — continues to fascinate.

“The Battle of the Ladies,” said the front-page headline of the latest edition of Le Nouvel Observateur magazine, beside a picture of Trierweiler and Segolène Royal, Hollande’s former partner of three decades.

“The Royal Headache,” Le Parisien punned last Friday, while the weekly Marianne led with: “Secrets of a Trio from Hell”.

The continued interest has been fanned by the publication of three books over the past month — with more scheduled before year-end — that lay bare what their authors claim to be the tumultuous relations among the trio.

The most virulent, “La Favorite”, by Laurent Geilsamer, a former journalist at Le Monde newspaper, directly addresses Trierweiler, a twice-divorced 47-year-old journalist and mother of three.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Dutch Election: PM Under Fire Over ‘Enough is Enough’ Greece Comment

Prime minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte came in for serious criticism at Tuesday night’s election debate for saying Greece should not get any more financial help from Europe.

‘We have given support to Greece twice, loans totalling €240bn and that is enough,’ Rutte said during the televised debate at the Carré theatre. ‘The Greeks are in a better position because of it, but I say ‘enough is enough”.

‘I want to keep Greece with us but the dykes around Greece are high enough. Leaving the euro may become unavoidable. That is a decision for Greece.’

Rutte was attacked on all sides for his statement. Labour leader Diederik Samsom said the prime minister has made similar threats before but still sends more cash to Greece. ‘What should people think?’ he asked.

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold asked the prime minister: ‘Will you not do all you can to save the Dutch economy? What should industry think about this? What are you afraid of?’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Finnish Ancestors’ Diet Explains Many Modern Ailments

The skeleton, about 5,000 years old, was found in Jomala in the Åland Islands. It indicates that our forefathers were apparently in the habit of eating each other. This may have been more about ritual than the acquisition of nutrition, but it shows that the ancestors of the Finns were willing to eat just about any kind of nutrition. Stone Age Finns would eat dogs, frogs, grasshoppers, and worms, for instance. “Our ancestors spent all of their energy looking for food”, says Dr. Heikki S. Vuorinen, an expert on the history of medicine at the University of Helsinki.

Finland has had permanent human settlements at least since the end of the most recent Ice Age. The Ice Age ended about 8,900 years before the Christian era, which is slightly before the Stone Age began in Finland. It is not possible to get a very precise image of what people in those times ate, but it is possible to make reasonable assessments on the basis of bones, the remains of animals and plants, and weather information, as well as old texts. “It is hard to generalise, but it is important as we try to learn why we Finns are the way that we are”, Vuorinen says.

Compared with the present day our Stone Age ancestors had a rather healthy diet in good years. They ate many fibre-rich vegetables, berries, mushrooms, seeds, as well as fish and meat.

Stone Age food was also very hard and coarse-textured, damaging the teeth.

Gathering, fishing, and hunting persisted in Finland longer than in other parts of Europe. Agriculture, which caused an upheaval in nutrition, began in Denmark in about 4000 BCE. In Finland it happened 2,000 years later. It is agriculture that reduced the diversity inherent to the Finnish diet. The more people ate grain, the more they suffered from painful bladder and kidney stones.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Shooting: Four Dead After Gun Attack on British Car in French Alps Near Grenoble

Four people were killed on Wednesday following a gun attack on a British-registered BMW in a remote woodland car park near Lake Annecy in the French Alps.

Three people died at the scene. A male cyclist was also found shot dead near the scene. A young girl who is thought to be aged eight was seriously injured and transported to hospital by helicopter.

The scene, four miles from the nearest house, was discovered by a passer-by in a remote woodland car park near the town of Chevaline, close to the mountain resort town of Albertville.

Police said three bodies, which may all be from the same family, were found in a BMW estate car registered in the UK.

Eric Maillaud, the Annecy prosecutor, said girl’s condition was “life threatening” and that “no assumptions could be made” about what had happened.

A police source said the girl was hit by at least three bullets during the attack, which happened at around 3.50pm. She was said to be fighting for her life at Grenoble’s CHU hospital.

The identity of the cyclist was not revealed but police believe he may have tried to intervene during a suspected armed robbery attempt on the family in the roadside rest area.

An Albertville police spokesman said: “There were three bodies found in a British-registered vehicle in a roadside parking area outside Chevaline.

(AFP/Getty Images)

“A young girl probably under the age of ten was found to have been seriously injured by gunfire.

“A male cyclist was also found shot dead at the scene.

“We are looking at the possibility that the three dead people in the car and the young girl were all from the same family.

“From the registration of the car, we believe this family may have been British.

“The entire area has been sealed off while a full multiple murder investigation is underway.”

The bodies were reportedly discovered by a British cyclist. He is said to be in shock and is being interviewed by police.

Mr Maillaud said: “It is a dramatic crime scene like we see on the TV. We are employing all necessary means to investigate.

“Two men and two women are the victims. The car is a British-registered BMW estate.

“One of the male victims was a cyclist. He was found near his bike in his cycling gear. The other man was in the driving seat of the car. The two women were in the back of the car.

“There is a large number of gun cartridges at the crime scene.”

Didier Berthollet, mayor of Chevaline, said that “the victims were not from the village”, adding that villagers had told police they had seen a car speeding through the village between 3 and 4pm.

“We have never seen such horror on our doorsteps before,” he said…

[Return to headlines]

Italy: Regions Ready to Challenge Government on Health Care

(AGI) Rome — AGI has been informed that the Italian Regions are ready to challenge the government, even resorting to the Constitutional Court and requesting intervention by the President of the Republic, if health care provisions are approved in the form of a decree .

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

Norway Shoppers Flood Cheaper Swedish Stores

Eager to save money, Norwegian shoppers are streaming over the border in record numbers to avoid hefty domestic prices by instead stocking up on groceries in Sweden, new figures show.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Portugal Battles Deadly Wildfires With EU Help

Portuguese firefighters kept up the battle against deadly forest blazes in the north and centre of the country Tuesday as France and Spain sent water-bombing aircraft in response to their call for help.

The European Union agreed to fund the use of the specialised aircraft for 48 hours as Portugal’s emergency services struggled to master the fires, which have already claimed one life.

“For the moment we have what we need,” Interior Minister Miguel Macedo told reporters.

In all Tuesday, 12 forest or brush fires flared up in the north and centre of the country, threatening an estimated 1,700 people living nearby, compared to 3,000 a day earlier.

Around 3,000 firefighters have been brought in to battle a total of about 20 bushfires, some of which broke out on Sunday, as temperatures in the past few days exceeded 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

The central district of Viseu has been worst hit by the fires, with two major blazes flaring up on Monday. Five hundred firefighters were battling those fires.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Third Night of Violence in North Belfast

(AGI) Belfast — Young Protestant loyalists have clashed with police in north Belfast for the third night running. The disturbances in the Carlisle Circus district, where 200 unionists had gathered, went on for an hour. A police inspector received hand injuries, but the forces of law and order managed to calm the situation down without resorting to water cannon and rubber bullets, as they had over the past two days. This appears to signal that tension is dissipating. The hostilities began on Sunday when Protestant loyalists tried to disrupt a Catholic republican march: some 350 Protestants tried to stop a band with links to Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the IRA, from accessing Carlisle Circus.

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

UK: Lost Medieval Church Discovered Beneath Parking Lot

The hunt for King Richard III’s grave is heating up, with archaeologists announcing today (Sept. 5) that they have located the church where the king was buried in 1485.

“The discoveries so far leave us in no doubt that we are on the site of Leicester’s Franciscan Friary, meaning we have crossed the first significant hurdle of the investigation,” Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on the dig, said in a statement.

Buckley and his colleagues have been excavating a parking lot in Leicester, England, since Aug. 25. They are searching for Greyfriars church, said to be the final resting place of Richard III, who died in battle during the War of the Roses, an English civil war. A century later, Shakespeare would immortalize Richard III in a play of the same name.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Tycoon in Divorce Fight Over Affair ‘Allowed Under Sharia Law’

AN unfaithful millionaire Muslim does not believe his estranged wife deserves a divorce because polygamy is allowed under Islamic law, he told a court today.

Houshang Jafari, 60, was unfaithful to his wife, Aghdas Bidaki, 53, with a younger woman by whom he has two children. He moved out of the family home and moved his mistress, Katrina, 20 years his junior, into his £1.2 million apartment. She has taken his name despite not being legally married.

In a tense divorce hearing today, the property developer, who styles himself ‘Lord’ and was once jailed for attacking a helicopter, told Bristol county court that he was allowed a second wife under sharia.

Ms Bidaki argued that her husband’s affair and illegitimate children were grounds for a divorce. They married in Iran in 1978, when she was 19, before moving to Britain, where they had three children and he built his business, the court heard.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Croatia: Largest Cup of Coffee

Coffee company Julius Meinl has celebrated 150 years in business by inviting Guinness Book of Records experts to watch as they served up the world’s largest Cappuccino in a cup holding 2,000 litres in the middle of the Croatian capital Zagreb.

The company invited 1,000 professional coffee makers (Baristas) from all over the country who gathered in Zagreb to operate 22 coffee machines installed on a public stage at Zagreb main square.

In little more than three hours, the team managed to fill up a giant coffee cup with 2,012 litres of freshly made cappuccino, which traditionally consists of one part espresso coffee, one part warm milk and one part milk foam.

The event was sponsored by Meinl as a way of commemorating 150 years of its existence.

Although a previous record was claimed by 80 baristas in Prague who had filled a giant cup with 2,117 litres of cappuccino in 2009, the Croatians’ feat is the first officially certified record.

“This record category is a new record category at Guinness World Records. And always when there’s a new record category there is a minimum requirement which has to be fulfilled. And in this case for the largest cappuccino — actually largest cup of cappuccino — it has to be a minimum of 1,500 litres,” said Guinness World Records adjudicator, Seyda Subasi-Gemici.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt President on First Official Visit to Europe Next Week

Egypt’s new Islamist president Mohamed Morsi will be on his first official visit to Europe next week, his spokesman Yasser Ali said on Tuesday, APF reports. In Brussels Morsi will meet EU foreign chief Catherine Ashton, while in Rome he will meet Prime Minister Mario Monti and President Giorgio Napolitano.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Role of Dubai Police Chief

We do not know the real reason why many MPs, columnists and tweeters attack Dubai police chief Dhahi Al-Khalfan. I knew the man 20 years ago, during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when I was a refugee in the UAE and teaching in a university there.

I met Lt Gen Al-Khalfan during several TV shows where we discussed security issues in the Gulf at that time and the person as I knew him was a strict and credible military man. He is not a politician as some are trying to make him out to be. The man’s power emanates from the treasure of information he possesses — all that he said and warned about the increasing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf in general, and Kuwait in particular, have come true.

We wrote, as other sincere people in this country did about the increasing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait. They are a stronger and better organized Islamic party in the area, also very influential and financially stronger. They control the state’s ministries and establishments, particularly Awqaf, Justice and Education and their members are found in all government departments — only the foreign ministry was spared. But now with the reining in of the Arab nationalists, the Brotherhood and the tribes’ influence is on the increase.

The question is why do brotherhood MPs and their supporters get angry about the frank and clear statements of Al-Khalfan? The answer is simple and clear. It is because the man is trying to warn Kuwait and its people of the impending danger of the increasing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, especially after taking over power in more than one Arab country, including Egypt, Tunisia and maybe Syria in the future.

Former MPs who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood attack Al-Khalfan because he uncovers their plans and reveals their faults in front of the Gulf public in general and the Kuwaiti people in particular. Lt Gen Al-Khalfan is not interfering in the local affairs of the country, rather he is attempting to reveal information about MPs in Kuwait who are supporting Brotherhood cells in the UAE with money.

We do not exaggerate when we stress that most civil establishments, NGOs, cooperatives, voluntary committees, labor unions, student unions in the university and applied education are dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood…and they reached this stage because of thoughtless government support to all their establishments. It is hard to believe that the government has asked Awqaf ministry, which is one of the state’s ministries, to form a centrism committee to study the reasons behind extremism and religious zealousness in Kuwait society.

This is a ministry that is unable to control extremist preachers at mosques who attack some Arab countries and criticize its leaders, and accuse the government of corruption because it did not implement Shariah. So how can this ministry call for centrism and moderation?

Finally, it seems that the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait and the Gulf in general has become arrogant after the brotherhood took over power in Egypt, and moreover, they are calling for a Gulf-Egyptian alliance that will strengthen the organisation’s control over the region — and this is what Lt. General Dhahi Al-Khalfan warned against.

Brotherhood MP Jamaan Al-Harbash called for a Gulf-Egyptian alliance and considered it a strategic necessity in the face of Iran’s expansionist moves in the region. This strange since the Brotherhood call aims at distancing the Gulf countries from their traditional allies in the US and the West, as well as the minority Shiite party in the Gulf, particularly in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others. Joining such alliance is demeaning to the Gulf regimes and this is what brother Dhahi Al-Khalfan warned against. — Al-Watan

By Dr. Shamlan Y. Al-Essa

           — Hat tip: RR[Return to headlines]


Russian Arms Legend in Trouble Bankrupt AK-47 Maker Puts Hope in New Guns

The Russian company that manufactures the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle has fallen on hard times. A halt in orders from the Russian military and a flood of cheaper knockoffs have driven it into bankruptcy. But the firm hopes to revive it fortunes with new models and a global branding campaign.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Indonesia: Baassyir’s Islamic School in Solo Continues to Train New Terrorists

Followers of the Bali bombing mastermind killed three policemen in Solo in the past few weeks. They also placed a car bomb at an Islamic festival. Leaders from the moderate Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama accuse Islamic boarding schools of brainwashing youth to turn them into terrorists, killers and harbingers of a false Islam.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — A pesantren or Islamic boarding school in Ngrugki, Sukoharjo Regency (Solo), founded by Abu Bakar Baassyir, a Muslim leader purging a 15-year sentence for masterminding the 2002 Bali bombings, continues to train young terrorists. It is also thought to have links with extremist cells in France and other European countries.

The information comes from reports by Indonesia’s anti-terrorism police. Twice in recent days, pesantren students attacked its members in Ngrugki, killing two. An attack on 19 August in the city of Solo marking Idul Fitri was also the work of students from the Islamic boarding school.

Anti-terrorism Inspector General Ansyan Mbai confirmed that the school founded by Baassyir is closely linked to the French Muslims terrorist group to which Mohamed Merah, author of the Toulouse massacre, belonged.

The pesantren in Ngrugki is a revolving door between European and Asian Muslim extremists. For months, it harboured Jean Salvi, a French Muslim extremist wanted by French authorities. In the past, he had been associated with Baassyir and other Muslim leaders from Pakistan, Indonesia and Afghanistan.

Hundreds of pesantren dot Indonesia’s landscape. Originally from the Javanese, the name refers to Muslim schools that offer room and board.

In the country’s poorest areas, it is often the only place for boys to get some learning. And they often funded by big Muslim organisations.

Until a few years ago, most were run by Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest moderate Islamic organisation. That ensured the quality of the teaching.

Since the early 2000, radical Muslim groups opened their own boarding schools, recruiting among the poorest and most illiterate students.

For NU leader Kiai Hajj Aqil Siradj, schools connected to extremist leaders are a real danger for Islam, especially for the way they might influence non-Muslims’ attitude towards the religion.

At such places, young students undergo a virtual brainwashing process, which leads them to carry out terrorist acts in the name of a “false Islam.”

“What is taught in these schools is not the real Islam,” he explains. “Such places exist only to create terrorists.”

What is more, students’ views about religion shape those of their families. In some cases, families take pride in the fact that their sons took their own lives in attacks “defending” the true values of the Qur’an.

Recently, Canni Assidiqie, father of Muschsin Canni Permadi, a young student from Ngrugki who was killed in a shootout with police, told the press that his son died a martyr’s death and that he was proud of him.

For Siradj, “a terrorist is not a sacred hero, but a loser.”

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

Once at Front of Fight for Freedom, Burmese Monks Now March Against Muslim Minority

After leading some of the largest demonstrations against Burma’s former military junta in 2007, hundreds of Buddhist monks have once again taken to the streets in protest. Yet instead of marching to demand greater freedoms, they are demonstrating in support of President Thein Sein’s recent proposal to either deport members of the country’s minority Rohingya Muslim community, or send them to camps.

The demonstration follows months of unrest in the country’s western Rakhine state between the region’s ethnic Buddhist communities and the Rohingya. Violence first broke out in June, after a Buddhist woman was raped and then killed, allegedly by Muslims. Outraged by the crime, a local mob attacked a bus, beating 10 Muslims to death in the process. Since then, Rakhine state has been plagued by periodic clashes between the two groups, which have left at least 90 people dead, according to an official estimate. Human rights group fear, however, that the death toll could be much higher.

In response to the mounting violence in Rakhine state, Burma’s government launched an investigation into the violence in the region. While Thein Sein in part blamed Buddhist monks and other ethnic Rakhine figures for inciting hatred against the Rohingya in a parliamentary report last month, he also echoed past comments, in which he said that the minority group was not welcome within Burma’s borders, and that the only “solution” was to either deport or send them to camps.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Reports: Japan to Buy South China Sea Islands

Japan will buy islets in the disputed South China Sea, local media have reported. Meanwhile, the US and China have tried to paper over the cracks in their relationship caused by conflicting views on the territory.

Japanese media on Wednesday said that the country’s government had agreed to buy a group of islets at the center of a longstanding territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

The Japanese government will pay the private Japanese owners of the islands 2.05 billion yen ($26.1 million, 20.8 million euros) for three of them, which are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and the Kyodo News. The media outlets cited anonymous government sources.

At a news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura did not confirm the reports, but he said that negotiations were taking place.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Why is the South China Sea Such a Bone of Contention?

The tension in the South China Sea has escalated since the start of the 21st century, as neighboring states vie to protect their strategic and economic interests, but what are they really fighting for?

Its geopolitical location, an abundance of fish and huge gas and oil reserves make the South China Sea particularly attractive to the 10 states that all lay claim to parts of it — China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia.

There are also hundreds of islands and reefs in the South China Sea, which the Vietnamese call the East Sea. The Paracel Islands (known as the Xisha in China and the Hoang Sa in Vietnam), the Spratly Islands (known as the Nansha Qundao in China, the Truong Sa in Vietnam and the Kapuluan ng Kalayaan in the Philippines) are the most important disputed island groups.

The sea is also important to the rest of the world as it connects Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia with East Asia and at least one third of global shipping transits through its waters.

Almost all of China’s oil exports arrive via the South China Sea and nearly all of China’s exports to Europe and Africa go in the opposite direction.

“In strategic and military terms, the South China Sea is in a key position that enables control not only over South East Asia but over the wider realm of South and East Asia too,” Gerhard Will from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin told DW.

The South China Sea is also home to an abundance of fish.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Pirates Hijack Oil Tanker in Nigeria

A Singaporean vessel has been taken over by pirates in Nigeria, according to a maritime organization. It is the latest in a spate of hijackings in the Gulf of Guinea.

Pirates in Nigeria have seized an oil tanker owned by Singapore, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said Wednesday.

The tanker, which had 23 crew on board and was packed with fuel, was hijacked in the major Nigerian port of Lagos, according to the IMB. The center, which works “to protect the integrity of international trade”, added that the pirates were directing the vessel, called Abu Dhabi Star, into open waters.

“We have informed the Nigerian authorities who are taking action,” Noel Choong, head of the IMB’s Malaysia-based piracy reporting center, said to AFP.

The crew had locked themselves inside a safe room on board, said Choong.

“We are concerned about their safety and the spate of hijackings,” he added, in reference to the fact that the incident constitutes the third such attack in just over two weeks in the Gulf of Guinea. Pirates seized two oil tankers just off Togo, located east of Nigeria, in August. The two ships and all those on board were later freed.

Overall, the region has been the location of 37 attacks so far this year, which have, ostensibly, been commercially-motivated; pirates have tended to seize cargo on board to sell it on the black market.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Deportation of Afghan Children Would Violate UN Conventions

Rejected teenaged asylum seekers could be sent to a relocation centre in Kabul In violation of several UN conventions

Denmark’s participation in a European project to establish a centre in Kabul to relocate unaccompanied, rejected teenage asylum seekers is being roundly criticised by human rights activists and researchers.

Claus Haagen Jensen, a lawyer and professor at Copenhagen Business School, believes that unaccompanied minors could not be guaranteed protection by UN refugee conventions if they are sent to Kabul. Jensen said that Denmark would be violating human rights agreements if it sends the children back.

“The refugee convention says simply that if we know that there is the risk of torture or other inhumane or degrading treatment, which could very easily be the case when conditions are so miserable in Afghanistan, we can not send them back,” Jensen told Politiken newspaper.

Martin Lemberg-Pedersen, an associate professor at Copenhagen University, said that the country has in the past operated under the non-refoulement concept contained in UN refugee conventions that obligates the country to protect people at risk of human rights violations if they are returned to a dangerous area.

“If Denmark deports minors to countries where they risk being killed by the Taleban or experience other degrading or chaotic conditions, then we are breaking the non-refoulement agreements,” Lemberg-Pedersen said to Politiken.

There are currently 24 children at risk of being deported. The Justice Ministry is reportedly waiting on Afghan authorities to sign off on the agreement that would establish the centre in Kabul, making the current government the first in Danish history to deport unaccompanied minors to Afghanistan.

Experts worry that Afghans returning from western countries are often considered military targets by the Taleban.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Commissioner: Booting Roma Out of France is No Solution

Repatriating Roma from France is no solution to help one of Europe’s most discriminated and disenfranchised minorities, EU employment commissioner Laszlo Andor told this website on Tuesday (4 September).

“The (European) commission stood up three years ago against the discriminating practice of French authorities and we also said that it is not a solution and it can in fact be counterproductive to repatriate Roma people in France,” said Andor.

France expelled around 2,000 Roma in August alone. It now plans on easing working restrictions on Roma from Bulgaria and Romania where unemployment is high.

Andor noted that some French local governments are also using EU funds to help create establishments “reasonably suitable for housing Roma people” and help them integrate into the labour market and get their children into schools.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Fifteen Iraqi and Afghan Migrants Land in Locri Area

(AGI) Reggio Calabria — Fifteen migrants have landed on the beach at Camini, in Locri, in the province of Reggio Calabria.

They were all men and two of whom were Iraqi and 13 Afghan.

After having been spotted on the beach at around 7:30 am, the immigrants were met by carabinieri, police and financial police. The boat that carried them probably sailed from Greece and has already gone back to sea, unidentified. The migrants are being housed in a reception centre, a former school in the neighbouring municipality of Stilo. Voluntary associations were alerted to administer first aid. A member of the public informed the police of the landing.

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

Fifteen Immigrants Picked Up on Calabrian Shore by Police

Each paid smugglers 2,000 euros for passage

(ANSA) — Camini, September 5 — Italian authorities picked up 15 immigrants, all adult men, on the southern coast of Calabria on Wednesday. The men, self-identified as 13 Afghans and two Iranians, told police they had reached the coast of Calabria on board a vessel that departed from Greece several days earlier. The smugglers, who left the men on the shore and immediately sped away, received 2,000 euros per passenger for the crossing, the immigrants said

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Hundreds of Undocumented Immigrants Protest Loss of Free Health Care in Spain

Hundreds of people protested in downtown Madrid Saturday against a measure that will leave undocumented immigrants without access to free health care, saying the decision by Spain’s governing Popular Party amounts to “health apartheid.”

The demonstrators cried out against Saturday’s enactment of a measure that will strip the more than 150,000 illegal immigrants in Spain of their national health cards.

It was included in a government decree imposing urgent savings measures to safeguard the future of public health care amid a severe financial crisis and an unemployment rate of nearly 25 percent.

Some 30 organizations and civil society groups, immigrant and refugee associations and defenders of human rights, grouped as the Network for the Right to Have Rights, rallied in front of Madrid’s Gregorio Marañon Hospital.

Those taking part, many of them foreigners living in Spain, chanted slogans like “No human being is illegal” and “Popular Party, Ku Klux Klan,” while demanding the resignation of Health Minister Ana Mato.

Joining in the protest were opposition politicians including the Socialist Party’s executive secretary for cooperation and immigration, Marisol Perez, who demanded that the administration “correct” what it has done and put and end to this “health apartheid,” which she described as “cruel, inhuman and ineffectual.”

Yoro, 22, an immigrant from Gambia, spoke in the name of his best friend who is suffering from liver cancer and has no papers, out of fear that he will be left without treatment under the new regulation.

“We’ll die if they don’t treat us; the government has to correct what it did, it can’t leave us to our fate because we have no money to pay for treatment,” the young man told Efe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NGOs Slam Night Swoop Operation to Hand Over Migrants to Morocco

Laws flouted and safeguards for potential asylum seekers were ignored, observers claim

A number of NGOs voiced their criticism on Tuesday of the Moroccan and Spanish governments’ approach to dealing with 71 sub-Saharan would-be immigrants who had taken refuge on the Spanish islet of Isla de Tierra, located just 50 meters from the Moroccan shore, with the hope of being transferred to mainland Europe.

In a joint statement, five NGOs — including SOS Racismo and the Andalusian Pro-Human Rights Association — said that the authorities “had violated legislation” in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when the migrants were forcibly removed by the Spanish Civil Guard and handed over to the Moroccan authorities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain and Morocco Evict Illegal Migrants From Islet

Spanish and Moroccan security forces launched a night operation lasting into the early hours on Tuesday to evict 73 illegal migrants from a tiny islet just off Morocco, officials said.

Spain’s Guardia Civil police acted after scores of African migrants landed in the past week on the bare, rocky surface of Isla de Tierra, Spanish sovereign territory about the size of two football pitches, which lies an easy swim off the beach.

Ten women and children were taken off the islet to the Spanish territory of Melilla. “The others were removed at dawn,” a spokesman for the Guardia Civil said, adding that the operation was carried out “jointly” by Spain and Morocco “without any incident.”

“We removed (the migrants) from the island because it was dangerous for them to stay there,” he added.

Since the uninhabited rock is Spanish, Madrid feared it could open a new doorway to migrants, many of them fleeing poverty and unrest, who are desperate to reach Europe.

A Spanish interior ministry spokesman said the Guardia Civil evicted the migrants when sea conditions had calmed, and that the operation was completed at 4.30 am (0230 GMT).

“Many of the immigrants did not want to go Morocco, but there was no need to use force nor any troubles,” the spokesman said.

By early afternoon on Tuesday, there were no traces of the emergency intervention, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

Beyond the last summer holiday-makers, just two Moroccan policemen were posted on the beach, their tent nearby, while the low tide made the island reachable by foot.

Melilla and Ceuta are two tiny Spanish exclaves in Morocco, the only land frontier between Africa and Europe.

Rabat considers the territories, held by Spain since 1580 and 1496, to be “occupied”. Madrid refuses any discussion on the subject, which regularly poisons relations between the two nations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Tiny Island Creates Major Migration Headache for Spain

Spain lashed out at human traffickers Monday as it grappled with more than 80 immigrants who made their way to a tiny Spanish-owned islet off the coast of Morocco.

The new arrivals landed on the bare, rocky surface of Isla de Tierra, which lies an easy swim off the beach and is the breadth of two football pitches at its widest point.

But it is Spanish sovereign territory, and is therefore an entry point to Europe.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said at a news conference he was convinced their arrival was coordinated by “mafia who traffick human beings”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Ghostly Night-Shining Clouds Get Their Glow From Meteor Smoke

Rare and mysterious clouds that are so bright they can be seen at night have mystified people since they were first observed more than a century ago, but scientists have now discovered a key cosmic ingredient for these night-shining clouds: “smoke” from meteors as they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Blue-white clouds that eerily glow in the twilight sky are called noctilucent clouds, or NLCs. They typically form about 50 to 53 miles (80 and 85 kilometers) above ground in the atmosphere, at altitudes so high that they reflect light even after the sun has slipped below the horizon.

In a new study, scientists found that noctilucent clouds have an extraterrestrial link. “We’ve detected bits of ‘meteor smoke’ imbedded in noctilucent clouds,” James Russell, an atmospheric scientist at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., said in a statement. “This discovery supports the theory that meteor dust is the nucleating agent around which NLCs form.”

Russell is the principal investigator of NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) mission, which is designed to study the clouds at the edge of space in Earth’s polar regions. (Infographic: Earth’s Atmosphere Top to Bottom)

“Using AIM’s Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE), we found that about 3% of each ice crystal in a noctilucent cloud is meteoritic,” study leader Mark Hervig, of the aerospace company GATS Inc., said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

"was once jailed for attacking a helicopter" :/