Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120907

Financial Crisis
»ECB to Buy Spanish Bonds, But With Strings Attached
»EU Commission Ready to Supervise Countries Helped by ECB
»EU Faces ‘Lost Generation’ Of Almost 8 Million Young People
»Italy: Government in ‘War of Civilisation’ Against Tax Evasion
»U.S. Added 96,000 Jobs in August; Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.1%
»Van Rompuy Says Spread Levels Unjustified
»Anger as US Inspectors Target Swiss Chocolate
»Caroline Glick: God, Jerusalem and American Foreign Policy
»FBI Launches $1 Billion Face Recognition Project
»Geller Accuses Washington’s National Geographic Museum of Promoting Islamization of the West
»GOP is “Basically a Bigoted Party”
»Obama: My Path is ‘Harder, But Leads to Better Place’
»Rep. Ellison: GOP ‘Basically a Bigoted Party’
»Yosemite Extends Hantavirus Warning; Death Toll Rises
Europe and the EU
»France: Veil-Wearer Faces Penalty for Biting Policeman
»France Shooting: Police to Question Brother Over Family ‘Conflict’
»Germany: VW ‘To Make 300,000 Fewer Cars This Year’
»Germany: Cuckoo Clocks: Kitsch, Colourful and Cheerful
»Greece: Golden Dawn Party More Popular Than Socialists
»Italian Cabinet Poised to Approve Softened Health Bill
»Little Enthusiasm for EU Probe Into China Solar Panels
»More Swedes Dependent on Welfare Payments
»Norway: Labour Party to Spend Millions on Utøya Revamp
»Norway: Oslo Police Monitor Anti-Islam Meetings: Report
»UK: Chingford: Mosque Launches Second Expansion Bid
»UK: Citizen Khan — View From Abroad
»UK: It Takes Courage to Burgle Someones Home, Judge Tells Defendant
»UK: Warsi — Dorries in a Headscarf …
North Africa
»Egypt’s Garbage Crisis Bedevils New President
Middle East
»EU Ministers Discuss Syria Opposition Aid
»Europe’s a Soft Touch for the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist
»Interpol and Swedish Authorities Aid Saudi Embassy to Hunt Convert
»Islam and Science — the Truth
»UAE: Dubai Laboratory Clones Dromedary Cells
»Kremlin Backs Its Dog in EU-Gazprom Fight
»Muslims in Moscow Need More Mosques. Does Moscow Need Any?
South Asia
»Muslims in London Mosque on Massacre in Burma
»Pakistan: Science vs Islam — Syed Kamran Hashmi
»Prince Harry Deployed to Afghanistan
»U.S. Officials Say Obama Administration Will Designate Haqqanis as Terrorists
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Combustible Mix of Factors Led to Rioting in Mombasa; Kenyan City Remains Tense
»Nigeria: I Am Muslim, But …
»Obama vs. The Constitution — the Rule of Law is on the Ballot
»Heresy of the Week: Individualism is Not Conservative
»Sphere Theory: A Case for Connectedness

Financial Crisis

ECB to Buy Spanish Bonds, But With Strings Attached

The European Central Bank on Thursday (6 September) announced an “unlimited” bond-buying programme once governments apply for eurozone financial assistance with strict conditions and supervision.

“The Governing Council today decided on the modalities for undertaking Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs) in secondary markets for sovereign bonds in the euro area,” ECB chief Mario Draghi said in a press conference after chairing the council of eurozone’s central bank governors.

The new programme will allow the ECB to buy government bonds with a maturity of 1-3 years from countries phasing out of a bailout or for countries who are entering a new bailout programme, be it full-blown of ‘precautionary’.

“Unlimited” — a key word — meets expectations raised by Draghi earlier this summer when he promised the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Commission Ready to Supervise Countries Helped by ECB

“The Commission stands ready to play its part in the enhanced surveillance of strict and effective conditionality,” EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn said after the ECB announced a new bond-buying plan, provided countries to stick to reforms. Spain is expected to be the first country to ask for such help.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Faces ‘Lost Generation’ Of Almost 8 Million Young People

The European Commission has indicated it is going to delve further into the employment, social and education policies of member states as it seeks to tackle the job crisis in the EU.

“We need to aim for an integrated EU policy approach and better coordination of employment and social policy at national and EU level,” said commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at an employment conference in Brussels on Thursday (6 September).

“Not only employment and social policy, but also education policy,” he continued, looking ahead to the next European Semester, the EU’s recently-established yearly cycle of economic policy co-ordination.

The continued eurozone crisis, now in its third year, has seen the commission make recommendations in policy areas that, pre-crisis, were considered an absolute taboo.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Government in ‘War of Civilisation’ Against Tax Evasion

Austerity needed to avoid ‘precipice’ Monti says

(ANSA) — Bari, September 7 — The Italian government is locked in a “war of civilisation” against tax evasion, Premier Mario Monti said on Friday.

“We have launched a war of civilisation against tax evasion and other things that it would be reductive to consider solely as economic or financial, but which undermine trust in those near and far and in the State,” Monti told participants at the Fiera del Levante international trade fair in the southern port town of Bari.

The prime minister said that he appreciated criticism of the government, adding that he would share some of the negative judgements “if I did not have in mind the drama of the challenge facing us”. Monti acknowledged that some measures may have seemed excessively strict but said they had been necessary to enable Italy “to avoid the precipice”. “Sacrifices by Italian citizens” had also allowed the country to pull through, he said

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

U.S. Added 96,000 Jobs in August; Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.1%

The economy added 96,000 jobs in August, well below expectations, adding pressure on Federal Reserve policy makers, who have hinted they will act to stimulate the economy when they meet next week.

However, the jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent, from 8.3 percent in July, an indication that more unemployed workers were discouraged about the propsects of finding new jobs.

[Return to headlines]

Van Rompuy Says Spread Levels Unjustified

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 5 — European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the borrowing costs of some countries at the centre of the eurozone debt crisis, as shown in bond spread levels, does not reflect the economic reality of those states.

“The spread levels of some countries is not always justified by the fundamentals (of thier economies),” Van Rompuy said.

Van Rompuy added that the EU gave “full support” to the European Central Bank for it to carry out a “series of possible” actions to lower the borrowing costs of some countries and ease the crisis.

The ECB is expected to announce plans to buy the bonds of Spain and Italy to bring down spread levels after a policy meeting on Thursday.

On Tuesday the Bank of Italy said the spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark should be around 200 basis points, rather than the current level, which is over 400.

The central bank said the reason it was so high was not down to fundamental weaknesses of the Italian economy but “contagion” from the eurozone crisis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Anger as US Inspectors Target Swiss Chocolate

Swiss chocolate makers face inspections from American authorities to ensure their bonbons do not pose a bioterrorism threat in the US, according to a new report.

Because of the importance of the US market, chocolate manufacturers in Switzerland are submitting to Uncle Sam’s intrusion in their factories but they are not happy about it.

“The fact that a foreign authority is involved in our Swiss businesses is unseemly,” Daniel Bloch, of Chocolats Camille Bloch, told Handelszeitung, the German-language business journal.

The newspaper has discovered that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to inspect 21 chocolate factories and 18 dairies in Switzerland.

The move is part of the implementation of America’s Food Safety Modernization Act, new legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama last year that aims, among other things, to combat bioterrorism.

The FDA contends that imported food could be contaminated chemically or even in a radioactive way.

Handelszeitung said Swiss chocolate makers are astonished to be subjected to such screening from a foreign country.

“The companies will let the inspections go through because they want to continue to sell to the US,” Franz Schmid, director of the industry association Chocosuisse told the newspaper.

But the planned inspections appear to go well beyond health issues to include such details as sales, ownership, employees and the size of company buildings.

“We ask ourselves, what is the real reason for the FDA inspections,” Jacques Gygax, director of the Swiss dairy association Fromarte, told Handelszeitung.

Gygax fears the Americans may be looking for technical barriers to trade and imports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: God, Jerusalem and American Foreign Policy

Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama and his supporters have been dogged by criticism of his position on Israel. From the very outset of his tenure in office, critics and supporters alike have not been able to shake the sense that Obama is deeply hostile to the Jewish state.

Obama and his supporters have responded to every criticism of his treatment of Israel by pulling out a list. Every time his record on Israel is criticized, Obama and his supporters pull out a list of the things he has done for Israel. Just this week, in an op-ed in The New York Times, Democratic donor Haim Saban pulled out the list to justify his support for Obama.

As the list notes, Obama has given billions of dollars in military assistance to Israel. He has gotten stiff sanctions passed against Iran by the UN Security Council. He has agreed to sell F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Israel. During his presidency, they say, the US has expanded its intelligence and military coordination with Israel. Obama has opposed some anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.

Obama’s critics respond to Obama’s list with a series of points. They note that in approving increases in US military assistance to Israel, including for the Iron Dome rocket defense system, Obama is simply carrying out a pledge made by his predecessor George W. Bush. They note that the UN Security Council sanctions have had no impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

FBI Launches $1 Billion Face Recognition Project

The Next Generation Identification programme will include a nationwide database of criminal faces and other biometrics

“FACE recognition is ‘now’,” declared Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in a testimony before the US Senate in July. It certainly seems that way. As part of an update to the national fingerprint database, the FBI has begun rolling out facial recognition to identify criminals.

It will form part of the bureau’s long-awaited, $1 billion Next Generation Identification (NGI) programme, which will also add biometrics such as iris scans, DNA analysis and voice identification to the toolkit. A handful of states began uploading their photos as part of a pilot programme this February and it is expected to be rolled out nationwide by 2014. In addition to scanning mugshots for a match, FBI officials have indicated that they are keen to track a suspect by picking out their face in a crowd.

Another application would be the reverse: images of a person of interest from security cameras or public photos uploaded onto the internet could be compared against a national repository of images held by the FBI. An algorithm would perform an automatic search and return a list of potential hits for an officer to sort through and use as possible leads for an investigation.

Ideally, such technological advancements will allow law enforcement to identify criminals more accurately and lead to quicker arrests. But privacy advocates are worried by the broad scope of the FBI’s plans. They are concerned that people with no criminal record who are caught on camera alongside a person of interest could end up in a federal database, or be subject to unwarranted surveillance.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Geller Accuses Washington’s National Geographic Museum of Promoting Islamization of the West

by Bob Pitt, Islamophobia Watch

Anti-Muslim organizer Pamela Geller has joined forces with Justice Department attorney and author, J. Christian Adams, in a scathing critique of a National Geographic Museum exhibit on the contributions of Muslim scientists, the Washington City Paper reports…

[JP note: Bob Pitt of Islamophobia Watch will probably not be happy until the whole planet is covered in mosque-factories mass producing gun-toting, explosive-wearing, Koran-reciting Jihadis.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

GOP is “Basically a Bigoted Party”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the nation’s first-ever Muslim member of Congress, doesn’t mince words when asked about the Republican party’s formal proclamation that the United States is under assault from Islamic Shariah law. “It’s an expression of bigotry,” he said on Wednesday, in an interview with Mother Jones at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. “There has never been any legislation offered to establish Shariah law-not at the federal level, not at the state level. There’s not been a municipal ordinance opposing this, there’s not been anything.” For Ellison, the anti-Shariah plank was part of a broader narrative of exclusion. “Why do they want to become the party of hate? They’re hating on immigrants who are from Latin America. They’re demonstrating hatred toward Muslims. They’re demonstrating hostility toward women. They act like they don’t like gay people. Who is their pa rty supposed to be made up of in 20 years?”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama: My Path is ‘Harder, But Leads to Better Place’

President Barack Obama asked Americans on Thursday for patience in rebuilding the weak economy as he appealed for a new term in office and defiantly rejected Republican Mitt Romney’s proposals to restore growth.

In accepting the presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention, Obama gave a more down-to-earth follow-up to his 2008 “hope and change” message.

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now,” he said. “Yes our path is harder — but it leads to a better place.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Rep. Ellison: GOP ‘Basically a Bigoted Party’

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) blasted Republicans for including a plank in their convention platform targeting Shariah law in an interview with Mother Jones Wednesday, blasting the language as “an expression of bigotry.” “There has never been any legislation offered to establish Shariah law — not at the federal level, not at the state level. There’s not been a municipal ordinance opposing this, there’s not been anything,” said Ellison, the nation’s first Muslim member of Congress…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Yosemite Extends Hantavirus Warning; Death Toll Rises

Yosemite National Park doubled the scope of its hantavirus warning on Thursday to some 22,000 visitors who may have been exposed to the deadly mouse-borne disease as the number of confirmed cases grew to eight and a third death was reported.

U.S. officials recently sounded a worldwide alert, saying that up to 10,000 people were thought to be at risk of contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome after staying at the popular Curry Village lodging area between June and August.

As many as 2,500 of those individuals live outside the United States, U.S. health officials said.

Officials are concerned that more Yosemite visitors could develop the lung disease in the next month or so because the virus may incubate for up to six weeks after exposure.

The warning was expanded to roughly 12,000 additional visitors to the park’s more remote High Sierra Camps, after an eighth case of the illness was confirmed in a man who had stayed in tent cabins at three of those camps.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France: Veil-Wearer Faces Penalty for Biting Policeman

An 18-year-old veil-wearing woman faces a penalty for biting a policeman in Marseille during a “mini-riot” that erupted when she was checked for violating France’s dress code.

The prosecutor in the case on Thursday demanded a six-month suspended jail sentence for Louise-Marie Suisse, who appeared in court with a traditional Muslim headscarf, although her face was not covered.

In a case that has attracted national attention, Suisse was checked by two police officers for wearing a full veil over her head near a mosque in the centre of Marseille on the night of July 25, Le Parisien reported. French legislation outlaws the wearing of veils that cover the face in public places.

However, Suisse refused to remove the veil, stating that she did not respect the laws of the Republic, nor their authority. A man intervened to support her and soon a group of other people gathered around the officers, forcing them to seek help. In the melee that ensued, Suisse bit an officer from the anti-criminal brigade (BAC) which sent reinforcements to the scene.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Shooting: Police to Question Brother Over Family ‘Conflict’

The brother of a British man murdered alongside his wife in the Alps is to be interviewed by French detectives over suggestions that the two men had fallen out over money.

Zaid al-Hilli went to a police station in Surrey on Friday to insist that reports of a feud between him and his brother Saad were untrue.

At a press conference in Annecy, the man investigating the attack on Saad al-Hilli’s family, which left four people dead, said that four detectives had been sent to London and would speak to his brother to get to the bottom of any reported “conflict”. Mr Hilli, his wife Iqbal, an elderly relative and a French passer-by were the victims of execution-style shootings.

Prosecutor Eric Maillaud said: “We have had information about the brother from British police sources… there apparently is a conflict about money between himself and his brother.

“That brother in the UK spontaneously went to the police authorities and said, ‘I have no conflict, no feud with my brother, no disagreement’.

“What’s going to be very important will be to listen to this brother.”

Zaid’s wife Geraldine died of cancer in 2007, and last night her brother, Damien O’Reilly, said: “There is no way that Zaid would have been involved in anything like this, he is a nice man.

“I do not know anything about any kind of row between the two of them, but I know that Zaid could never have done anything of the sort. He is still mourning the death of my sister (Geraldine).”

Close friends have told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Hilli, 50, had spoken of an ongoing financial dispute with Zaid, 52…

[Return to headlines]

Germany: VW ‘To Make 300,000 Fewer Cars This Year’

German car maker Volkswagen is expecting to sell 300,000 fewer vehicles this year than initially planned, largely due to European economic difficulties, sources at the firm say.

As Europe’s biggest vehicle producer, Volkswagen had so far escaped the Europe’s financial woes thanks to steady growth in the US and China, the Handelsblatt newspaper said on Friday. But 2013 looks likely to be different, as board chairman Christian Klingler has apparently slashed 300,000 cars from the 9.7 million target for 2012, the paper said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Cuckoo Clocks: Kitsch, Colourful and Cheerful

The sandstone cliffs surrounding Triberg should have holes in them, out of which large wooden birds should spring each hour. For Triberg is the heart of Germany’s cuckoo clock industry. Kate Hairsine investigated.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Golden Dawn Party More Popular Than Socialists

Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn party has surged in popularity, according a Pulse poll published on Thursday for the To Pontiki newspaper, reports Reuters. Around 10.5 percent of those polled back Golden Dawn as opposed to 8 percent for PASOK, the socialists. Golden Dawn wants to expel all foreigners from Greece.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Cabinet Poised to Approve Softened Health Bill

Controversial tax on soft drinks out of draft

(ANSA) — Rome, September 5 — Italy’s cabinet appeared poised Wednesday to approve a much-softened health-care bill that contains less stringent measures that previously discussed.

As cabinet ministers debated the bill, outside their meeting rooms there was friction between lobby groups for change and those in favour of leaving Italy’s health system as it is.

Concerns about the constitutionality of some measures led to their removal from the bill, said government sources who admitted “the scope of the measures” was less than initially expected.

The number of articles in the bill has been trimmed to 16 from the original 27.

A controversial tax on soft drinks has disappeared from the latest version of the bill, and replaced with a proposed ban on raw milk and fish from school cafeterias.

But proposals on distancing gaming machines from schools, stiffer fines for selling tobacco to minors, and strict advertising limits on related products still feature.

Proposals to limit physicians’ expenditures were removed as were articles regarding electronic record-keeping.

Other proposals, particularly those dealing with primary care, clinical governance — including the appointments process for regional directors — and professional liability clauses remained in the bill.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Little Enthusiasm for EU Probe Into China Solar Panels

Apart from those spearheading the complaint, people within the European solar sector have expressed little enthusiasm for an EU investigation into the possible dumping of solar panels from China which may result in the imposition of import duties.

The investigation, announced on Thursday (6 September), comes after German solar panel maker SolarWorld and a coalition of anonymous allies accused China of lending cheap money, allowing its domestic industry to cut prices abroad and driving European companies out of the market.

“Chinese companies are selling solar products in Europe far below their cost of production, with a dumping margin of 60 to 80 percent,” Milan Nitzschke, spokesperson for the coalition, EU ProSun, said in a statement.

“This means that Chinese solar companies are making enormous losses, but are not bankrupt because they are bankrolled by the state,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

More Swedes Dependent on Welfare Payments

An increasing number of people in Sweden are dependent on long-term social welfare benefits in order to survive, according to a new report from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Labour Party to Spend Millions on Utøya Revamp

The youth wing of Norway’s Labour Party has announced that it intends to resume hosting summer camps on Utøya island, promising to spend 60 million kroner on redesigning the scene of Anders Behring Breivik’s killing spree.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Norway: Oslo Police Monitor Anti-Islam Meetings: Report

Police investigators have for years been participating in meetings of far-right and anti-immigrant groups and individuals, including Anders Behring Breivik, in order assess the potential for violent attacks, according to a media report.

The meetings brought together groups opposed to immigration and Islam and were organized by the website, according to a report in the Aftenposten daily. The meetings discussed subjects ranging from immigration to ecology, according to the newspaper.

“A throwback to the days when police would monitor the left,” said editor Hans Rustad to the newspaper in response to the report.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Chingford: Mosque Launches Second Expansion Bid

A MOSQUE looks set to have its second attempt to expand blocked after 1,000 people objected to the plans. The Chingford Islamic Society (CIS) says some of its regular 237 worshippers are forced to pray outside on the pavement due to a lack of space at the Chingford Masjid in Chingford Mount Road, which is the only mosque in the E4 area. The organisation is again requesting permission to expand into a neighbouring shop after an application last year was rejected on the grounds that it would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding area…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Citizen Khan — View From Abroad

Debate over the BBC’s new comedy series Citizen Khan has spread beyond the UK thanks to the availability of video clips online.

The exploits of British-Pakistani “community leader” Mr Khan drew just under 200 complaints after its first episode was aired on BBC Two last week. Many accused the show of mocking Islam and perpetuating racial stereotypes. Discussion has built since on English language websites aimed at Pakistanis and Muslims around the world. The complete programme is currently only available to watch in the UK, so those overseas have only had access to clips published on various websites…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: It Takes Courage to Burgle Someones Home, Judge Tells Defendant

A TEESSIDE judge said burglars had “courage” and prison did little good for anyone.

Judge Peter Bowers admitted he could be “pilloried” for his decision to let a serial burglar walk free from his court.

He said: “It takes a huge amount of courage as far as I can see for somebody to burgle somebody’s house.

“I wouldn’t have the nerve.”

           — Hat tip: Van Grungy[Return to headlines]

UK: Warsi — Dorries in a Headscarf …

by Bruce Anderson

At the risk of sounding aged, dull, blase, boring and complacent, I have been scrutinising Conservative resuffles for more than thirty years…

There is someone who attained rapid promotion without any preliminary hard graft: Sayeeda Warsi. Over the past couple of years, she had gone a long way towards confounding the sceptics, until her recent public sulking and emotional blackmail. She has behaved like Nadine Dorries in a headscarf. Despite the need to incorporate minorities, she should have been sacked. After the way in which she behaved, who is going to take her seriously?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Garbage Crisis Bedevils New President

Ban on pigs that eat waste leaves city overflowing

CAIRO — To understand why garbage is piling up on Cairo’s streets, it helps to pay a visit to Atel Shenouda’s clandestine pigpen.

Ensconced on the rooftop of his five-story apartment building in the predominantly Christian district of Zaraib in Cairo, the 43-year-old trash collector’s hogs rummage through a smattering of discarded vegetables and other organic waste.

Pigs used to play a central role in this city’s rudimentary waste management system. But since a 2009 health code outlawed the practice of owning pigs that feed on garbage, just a few illicit pigs like Shenouda’s have been doing their work in hiding — and the trash has been stacking up, a problem that has worsened since the 2011 revolution.

The country’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, has vowed to tackle the mess during his first 100 days in office. The ambitious agenda he set out in June also includes easing Cairo’s anarchic traffic, improving the quality and quantity of bread, and restoring security.

But the country’s first democratically elected president inherited a country with a tanking economy and dilapidated infrastructure — problems that are magnified by Egypt’s suddenly empowered electorate.

His early promises have become a trial by fire for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that propelled Morsi to victory, as it seeks to transition from an oppressed political underdog to the nation’s ruling party.

“Citizens are observing and waiting for things to change,” said Amr Sobhy, 24, one of the founders of Morsi Meter, a nonpartisan website that is tracking progress on the 64 issues Morsi vowed to address during his first 100 days on the job. “It’s definitely a good sign.”

More than 50 days into Morsi’s term, the website’s owners give him credit for meeting just one of the 64 promises: launching a media campaign urging Egyptians to litter less. They say 14 promises are in progress but proffer little optimism about the prospect of gleaming streets in the next six weeks.

“I don’t see a very tangible change on that issue,” said Sobhy, who voted for Morsi and said he takes pride in keeping his president accountable.

Those who have been hauling trash in this megametropolis for decades are less diplomatic in their assessment.

“One hundred days?” scoffed Shehata Iskandar, the head of trash collectors in the Motamadeya neighborhood of the capital, where ordinary residents sort through mounds of trash in search of recyclables they can trade in for cash. “Not even 100 months.”

Garbage in Cairo has traditionally been collected by the Zabbaleen, a community of Coptic Christians who for decades made the city’s waste their livelihood.

After sorting out organic waste from glass and plastic, the trash collectors sold the recyclable goods to national and international companies. Pigs, once omnipresent in predominantly Christian neighborhoods, would eat the rest. When the animals were fat, they were sent to slaughterhouses that catered to hotels.

In the spring of 2009, alarmed by the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, Egyptian authorities ordered the immediate slaughter of all pigs in the country. Under the watchful eye of police officers, Shenouda and thousands of other pig owners had to drive their own animals to slaughterhouses.

“I felt like they were taking part of my body,” he said. “They were my livelihood.”

The ban on trash-eating pigs removed a major method of disposal, sparking a crisis in the city of 19 million people. Trash cans are often overflowing and garbage is routinely left on sidewalks and empty lots, resulting in a nauseating smell and attracting rats and flies.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Middle East

EU Ministers Discuss Syria Opposition Aid

EU foreign ministers are meeting in Cyprus on Friday to discuss, among other things, the escalating violence in Syria with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton having put the issue on the top of the agenda. Ministers will explore how to best help the opposition in Syria, reports AFP.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe’s a Soft Touch for the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist

by Ron Proser

The EU must respond to the deadly threat posed by Iran and Hizbollah

Now that Osama bin Laden is at the bottom of the ocean, a new man has emerged as the world’s most dangerous terrorist: Qassem Suleimani. Although unfamiliar to most in the West, he is responsible for killing many thousands in cold blood — and masterminding the murder of more Americans than any other person on earth. Suleimani heads the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard — the nerve centre of its global terrorist network. Working with Hizbollah in Lebanon, he has plotted, attempted and executed mass murder in dozens of countries…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Interpol and Swedish Authorities Aid Saudi Embassy to Hunt Convert

By Elizabeth Kendal

In late July Saudi media reported that a Saudi woman named Maryam (28) had illegally both embraced Christianity and fled the country. Her family have charged two men — a Lebanese and a Saudi national — with complicity in her conversion and escape. The men will face court on 15 September. Whilst a woman claiming to be Maryam told an Arabic TV channel that she was converted through a dream and has found peace in Christianity, Saudi media maintain it is all either fraud or coercion. The woman’s family has suggested she is a victim of human traffickers. Interpol is reportedly coordinating with the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm and Swedish authorities to find and return the ‘girl’ before her ‘kidnappers’ can move her to another country. Please pray.

Since late July Saudi media have been buzzing with reports that a 28-year-old Saudi woman has embraced Christianity and fled the country, staying initially in a church in Lebanon before moving on to Sweden. According to the Saudi Gazette, the woman, Maryam, appeared on an Arabic TV channel saying she was tired of performing prayers and fasting during Ramadan — rituals that never brought her any benefit. She also criticised Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. She claimed to have been converted through a dream and said that though she was raised to hate Judaism and Christianity she has come to love those religions since finding peace in Christianity.

The woman’s father said his daughter was working in an insurance company in Al-Khobar (in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province) when her boss, a Lebanese Christian man, influenced her and ultimately encouraged her to leave Islam. According to Saudi investigators, a second man, a Saudi national, helped the woman obtain false documents and leave the country. The woman’s family have pressed charges against the two men because apostasy (leaving Islam) is an Islamic capital offence and a Saudi woman is not allowed to get a passport without the permission of her male guardian. The men will face court on Saturday 15 September.

Prosecuting lawyer, Humood Al-Khaldi, said that whilst the penalty in Islam of death for apostasy is clear, ‘the roles played by the two men, the Saudi and Lebanese, in making the girl become Christian should be taken into consideration’. He said ‘the court should make sure first that the girl was coerced into converting to Christianity and fleeing the country’. According to Gulf News, ‘Most Saudis reacting to the Khobar woman saga . . . have been calling for stringent action against the Lebanese and Saudi nationals for their alleged roles in the case, claiming that they were “well aware of the consequences of their act”.’

Domestically, the totalitarian Wahhabist Saudi regime will be keen to perpetuate its lie that Saudi Arabian citizens are 100 percent Muslim and that the land of the two holy mosques could never produce Saudi Arabian Christians! Consequently it will be imperative that the Saudi woman, Maryam, be deemed to have been emotionally unbalanced and coerced and/or kidnapped — anything but a convert. Likewise the Saudi man must be deemed to be an opportunistic criminal — anything but a sympathiser.

Saudi media are sparing no effort to influence public opinion. Whilst initial reports described Maryam as a 28-year-old professional, later reports simply describe her as a ‘girl’. (One article stated she is 17.) According to the Saudi Gazette, Maryam’s conversion was nothing more than that of a ‘girl’ forming an ‘emotional attachment to a Christian young man’. In other words, her act was emotional not rational. It also claimed the ‘girl’ rejected Islamic rituals only because she had not been properly taught to understand and appreciate them — her action was based on ignorance, not reason. The Saudi Arabic daily Al Youm claimed Maryan had contacted them, denying she had appeared on television, maintaining she is still a Muslim and requesting help to return home. According to Gulf News, Maryam’s family has suggested she may be ‘a victim of an international organisation trafficking in people’.

On 2 September the Saudi Gazette reported that ‘Interpol is co-ordinating with the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm and Swedish authorities to return the girl to her homeland before her “kidnappers” move her to another country.’ The embassy reportedly has started a search for the woman, with the aid of Swedish authorities.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Islam and Science — the Truth

by Amjad Khan

Muslim apologists today like to talk a great deal about the ‘Golden Age of Islamic Science’ and the great contribution Islam and Muslims made to a number of important scientific fields. Some go so far as to suggest that it was the Muslims who gave Europe the Enlightenment. It’s almost as though a glorious past is enough to compensate for an abject present and the mere mention of past achievements often helps to instil that much needed feel good factor. So what is the truth about the relationship between Islam and scientific advancement? The vast majority of Muslim schools of thought today are sceptical, to say the least, about alternative forms of knowledge that could endanger or contradict the dictates of Islam as it is understood by the vast majority of Muslims. As such they are hostile to free enquiry and rational thought. In fact, some Saudi theologians still believe that the world is flat and the sun revolves around the earth (geo-centrism)…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UAE: Dubai Laboratory Clones Dromedary Cells

To make cheaper drugs, best animals selected

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Genetically modified dromedary cells to make cheaper drugs is the experiment carried out by researchers in Dubai who are working on products to treat, among others, diabetes and haemophilia. The cost of dromedary milk, experts say, is similar to that of cows but better for the local climate.

According to the Afriqueinfos website, the head of the reproductive biology laboratory of the reproductive centre of camels of the Emirates, Nisar Wani, said his equipe “is working on the creation of dromedary cells and changing their composition by inserting external DNA”.

The cells selected belong to dromedaries producing the most milk and best resisting to the dry climate, he said: “Those cells will be used in the production of transgenic animals or genetically modified dromedaries”.

The first injection of cloned genes should take place at the end of 2012, he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Kremlin Backs Its Dog in EU-Gazprom Fight

The Kremlin has started putting pressure on the EU for a friendly “settlement” on Gazprom one day after the European Commission said the affair is a purely commercial matter.

Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday (8 September), Russia’s EU ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov, said: “We always favour negotiated solutions because nobody wants a gas war.”

He added that if Gazprom “reaches some kind of agreement, be it with the commission, or be it with member states, or be it with European energy companies … I would only welcome it.”

Echoing Gazprom’s statement earlier this week, which indicated the firm is too big a deal for EU officials because it is a Russian “strategic organisation,” Chizhov poked fun at Brussels’ regulatory ambitions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Muslims in Moscow Need More Mosques. Does Moscow Need Any?

A mosque that will be able to house up to 40-60 thousand worshipers is to be built in Moscow. It will be the largest mosque in Russia, and the second largest Muslim temple on the post-Soviet space (after the mosque in Dushanbe). The Spiritual Administration of Muslims in Moscow and the Central Federal District filed an application for the plot of land to build a new mosque and a cultural center a long ago. The religious facilities will be built on the outskirts of the city. According to the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Russia, the number of the Muslim population in Moscow has been growing steadily. It is easy to assume that it is not the Tatars, who make the Muslim population in Moscow grow, even though they live in the Russian capital for centuries…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Muslims in London Mosque on Massacre in Burma

For three months, the daily lives of Rohinga Muslims in Myanmar have been filled with the most horrendous atrocities. Systematic slaughter, rape and mass arrest. And for the three months much of the world has been silent. Muslims and human rights activists in the UK have been desperately trying to get the plight of the Rohinga Muslims on the agenda.

MPs, Lords, Baronesses and prominent activists gathered at this event to mobilize concrete action. 100,000 people have been directly displaced inside the Rohingya community. The government has restricted aid to these areas. Another 300,000 are indirectly displaced. Over 1.5 million Rohingyas already live outside of Myanmar. The violence is brutal and relentless. And only the latest chapter in a long history of state-sponsored repression against the Rohingya population…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Science vs Islam — Syed Kamran Hashmi

Muslim scholars from all over the world have attempted to explain Islamic concepts and practices on scientific grounds

For centuries, Islam has fostered the message of equality, peace and patience to humanity. Through its inherent forbearance and magnanimity, it has won over the hearts and minds of Muslims, conquering their souls, and permanently settling in it. Muslims therefore, are always passionate about their religion and are protective of its ideology. Even those Muslims who do not practice it strictly are deeply attached to it. They are mesmerised by the universality of its concepts and impressed by its unique socialistic ideas. They analyse the community benefits of praying together five times a day, discuss Zakat and its economic impact, mull over the significance of pilgrimage in their spiritual lives and appreciate the role of fasting to develop compassion and show solidarity with the impoverished sections of society…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Prince Harry Deployed to Afghanistan

Prince Harry has been deployed to Afghanistan for four months, the Ministry of Defence says.

The prince, an Apache helicopter pilot, arrived on Thursday night at the main British base, Camp Bastion in Helmand. The 27-year-old, who is third in line to the throne, will take part in combat missions against the Taliban. It is his second Afghanistan deployment — he spent 10 weeks in Helmand province in 2007-08 but was pulled out after media reported his secret deployment…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

U.S. Officials Say Obama Administration Will Designate Haqqanis as Terrorists

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has decided to blacklist as a terrorist organization the Haqqani network, the militant organization responsible for some of the deadliest attacks against American troops in Afghanistan, several American officials said late Thursday.

The decision, which is expected to be announced as early as Friday, culminates nearly two years of spirited debate inside the administration that reached a peak in the past month under the pressure of a Congressional reporting deadline this Sunday.

Several State Department and military officials argued that designating the organization would help strangle the group’s fund-raising activities in countries like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and pressure Pakistan to open a long-expected military offensive against the militants.

[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Combustible Mix of Factors Led to Rioting in Mombasa; Kenyan City Remains Tense

by Tom Odula

Islamic radicalism hits ancient city of Mombasa

Hardline Muslim clerics. Young people who feel marginalized. Suspicions that police are responsible for the killings and forced disappearances of extremists.

These elements created a combustible mixture that exploded into rioting last week after Aboud Rogo Mohammed, a Muslim preacher accused of links to an Islamist insurgent group in neighboring Somalia, was riddled with bullets as he drove his wife to a hospital for a checkup. Observers say these events underscore growing fundamentalism in Mombasa, dividing people in a city established centuries ago by Muslim traders from the Arabian peninsula, now home to many people of Arab descent and Somalis. No one has been arrested for the Aug. 27 killing that happened in broad daylight but Mohammed’s wife, who was wounded in the leg, immediately suspected the police…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: I Am Muslim, But …

by Muhammed Abdullah

RECENTLY, I have had to put up with the unpleasant question: why are you Muslims so violent? And each time I get this question, it often amazes me how little we know about each other’s faith, and how Boko Haram has come to be equated with Islam. Sometime last year, I shared a room with a Christian friend on Bedford Street, England. One particular morning, as usual, we both woke up almost at the same time. While I went to perform ablution to say my morning prayer (the Muslim way of course), I came back to meet my friend singing, “we give Lord the glory…. Good morning father…”. He was saying his Christian devotion, while I was preparing to say Allahu Akbar — in the same room. Immediately I was done with my prayers and getting ready to hit the shower, it flashed through my mind that back home in Nigeria; our countrymen kill one another almost on a daily basis in the name of religion. And here I was, praying in the same room with a person whose religious conviction is not the same as mine, and neither is he my tribesman. He is Sunny Omugbe, an Igbo and Christian, while I am Muhammed, the Yoruba/Hausa and a Muslim. But we live in peace and respect one another and whatever we believe in. We sleep on the same mattress, and while one says the Lord’s Prayer, the other recites Ayatul- Kursiyyu…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Obama vs. The Constitution — the Rule of Law is on the Ballot

There were warning signs about President Obama’s fealty to the Constitution even before he took the oath of office.

As a senator he had voted against the nomination of John Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court, arguing that Roberts was deficient in the “empathy” required for the position. In a speech during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, he said any justice he selected would have “to understand what it’s like to be poor or African American or gay or disabled or old.” In other words, he wanted a judicial thumb on the scales for liberalism: Notice that he didn’t mention any empathy for small-business owners or kids in failing schools.


Since taking office, Obama has compiled a record consistent with these early hints. Again and again, liberal policy preferences have trumped fidelity to the Constitution.

Unilateral amnesty. The most recent example came in mid-August, when the Obama administration began implementing the DREAM Act even though Congress had never passed it. The president issued an order commanding immigration agencies not to deport some illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children and to give them work-authorization permits.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Heresy of the Week: Individualism is Not Conservative

Today, the Deep End brings you an in-depth review of a major new work of near-impenetrable German philosophy. What better way to lift the spirits as summer gives way to autumn? Our reviewer is Joshua Mostafa writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books and our German philosopher is Peter Sloterdijk, whose 1998 book Blasen has finally been published in English translation. The English title is ‘Bubbles’, which makes its sounds like the biography of some frivolous socialite — but there’s nothing lightweight about this 600 page volume (itself just the first part of Sloterdijk’s monumental ‘Spheres’ trilogy)…

[JP note: Mostafa read.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sphere Theory: A Case for Connectedness

Joshua Mostafa on Bubbles

QUOTING THE POET Jean Paul, German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk remarks at the beginning of his controversial essay “Rules for the Human Zoo” that books are like “thick letters to friends.” Weighing in at over six hundred pages, Sloterdijk’s Bubbles, published in the original German in 1998 and finally translated into English late last year by Wieland Hoban for Semiotext(e), is a very thick letter to a friend indeed. And it is only the first volume to be translated of Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy: the other two are due for an English release over the next year or two. Each volume uses the motif of the ‘sphere’ in different yet complementary ways to refer to “spaces of coexistence” between and among human beings. Bubbles is devoted to micro-spheres, the most intimate of originary spaces: the womb; the relationship between lovers; and that between God and the human subject. The second and third volumes deal with other kinds of spheres: the world consi dered as a single cosmopolitan macro-sphere, and then our contemporary decentralized network of social and cultural spheres, in which the concept of a central, self-structuring totality — religion, myth, science, enlightenment — has collapsed, and we find ourselves living in a complex sea of fragmentary yet contiguous spheres, which Sloterdijk likens to a “foam.”


[JP note: Fear nothing not even theory.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]