Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120920

Financial Crisis
»EU States Soon Unable to Afford National Defence
»EU Supervisor Warns of Banking Union Risks
»Eurozone Economy Faces Worst Quarter in Three Years
»Greece Sells Foreign Ministry Buildings
»US Citizens & Their Property Collateral for US Debt
»Who Benefits From Quantitative Easing?
»11 Lies the Right Spreads About Muslims
»Actress Sues Innocence of Muslims Producer
»Arrest Peter Jackson & Viggo Mortensen Now!
»DHS Enlists Citizen Spies Via New Smartphone App
»Fusion Power Advances in Magnetic Crushing Test
Europe and the EU
»EU Funds Theft Greater Than Reported
»EU Proposals for a European Army Would Destroy NATO and Threaten the Transatlantic Alliance
»EU: Final Report of the Future of Europe Group
»Europe Flees From “Arab Winter”
»France: Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad Cartoons: Free Speech or Sheer Folly?
»France: Dog Shoots Owner in France
»France: Head of Paris Mosque: Prophet Cartoon an ‘Act of Cowardice’
»Germany to Close Embassies Tomorrow in Muslim Countries
»Mohammed Cartoons: France Defends ‘Freedom of Satire’
»Paris: Protest at Grand Mosque Banned
»Protests Against Anti-Islam Film Reach Europe
»Stakelbeck in Brussels: Anti-Semitism on Rise in Europe
»This Shameful BAE Systems Deal Would Rip the Heart Out of Britain PLC
»U.S. President ‘Relies’ On Italian Premier for Eurozone Info
»UK: 4,000 Attend Funeral of GP Who Died After Road Accident
»UK: Muslim Woman ‘Beaten With Walking Stick in Brutal Exorcism by Husband and Family Who Were Convinced She Was Possessed by Demon’
»UK: Pinstripes, Plain Views — And a Real Problem for Cameron
»UK: Racist Tweets Case
»UK: The Missing Ingredient in British Schools: American-Style Grit and Determination
»Veiled Marseille Woman Who Bit Policewoman Now in Jail
North Africa
»Egypt: As Coptic Teacher is Jailed for Insulting President Morsi, The Arab Spring Enters Its Twilight
»France Must Act on Cartoons, Says Muslim Brotherhood
Israel and the Palestinians
»Israeli Air Strike Kills Two Palestinians in Gaza
Middle East
»Child Torturers of the Desert: Horrific Footage Reveals Human Traffickers Are Even Targeting Babies to Get Families to Pay Ransoms
»Iran: Italy to Represent Canada After Embassy Closure
»Jordan to Receive USD $560 Million Aid From US and EU
»Millions of Unemployed Youths in Arab World
»Teen Girls ‘Beat Up’ Iranian Cleric After He Scolds One of Them for Not Covering Up
»Turkey: Rome Gives €250,000 to UN Appeal for Syrian Refugees
»USA: Peace Treaties at Risk if Israel Attacks Iran
»International Communism & the Velvet Revolution
South Asia
»Abandoned Baby Discovered on the Roadside by Polish Soliders in Southern Afghanistan as They Undertook Patrol
»Afghanistan: British Servicewoman Gives Birth
»Afghans Protest Against French Cartoons, US Film
»Afghanistan: British Soldier Gives Birth in Camp Bastion
»Indonesia: Catholic Schools in Central Java Threatened With Closure for Not Teaching Islam
»Islam: Fears of a New Wave of Protests Over French Muhammad Cartoons
Far East
»China Tells EU to End Arms Ban
»Chinese Premier Calls on Europeans to Lift Arms Embargo
Australia — Pacific
»Australia Censors Free Speech
»French Diplomats in Australia on High Alert Over Naked Prophet Mohammed Cartoons
»Nudge Unit Sells Behavioural Expertise to Australia
»Senate Fails to Defend Multiculturalism: Greens
»Senate Rejects Call on ‘Hateful’ Wilders
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Basphemous Film: Sudan Orders Block to YouTube Access
»Nigerians Protest “Blasphemous” Film and French Cartoons
»Suicide Bomber Kills 8 in Mogadishu Restaurant
»36 Migrants Picked Up South of Lampedusa
»British Social Attitudes Survey Reveals Negative Attitudes Towards Muslim Migrants
»UK: Fewer Than 1 in 10 Cases in Asylum Backlog Led to Deportation
»UK: Nigerian Benefit Fraudster Who Claimed He Earned Just £700 a Month as Minicab Driver Owned £1million Mansion in Africa
Culture Wars
»Italy: Terzi: It’s Right to Ban Hate Speech Sites
»Obama: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing… Beware the Message in the Fabian Window
»When Did Bare Breasts Become Taboo?
»How Children Succeed
»How Eating Sweets Can Boost Your IQ
»Over the Very Long Haul, All That Really Matters is Technology and Religion
»Viewpoints: Anti-Islam Film and Self-Censorship

Financial Crisis

EU States Soon Unable to Afford National Defence

Some EU countries will be unable to afford key parts of their national defence unless they spend more and cooperate better on defence, EU Military Committee chairman, Hakan Syren warned in Brussels Wednesday, Reuters reports. He suggested a percentage of national defence budgets be set aside for common European purposes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Supervisor Warns of Banking Union Risks

Having a new banking supervisor for the eurozone without unifying methods of supervision for all 27 EU states risks “polarising” the euro-area and the 10 non-euro countries, Andrea Enria, head of the existing European Banking Authority said Wednesday during a hearing in the European Parliament.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Eurozone Economy Faces Worst Quarter in Three Years

Economic gloom in the eurozone is set to worsen, according to a key business indicator, as more companies adjust to weak demand by shedding workers. Recession is expected to return to all of its members, except Germany.

The closely-watched Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) dropped to 45.9 points in the eurozone in September, down from 46.3 points in August, British research group Markit said Thursday, after polling 5,000 eurozone businesses in the course of the month.

The reading showed private sector business activity declining for the eighth consecutive month, Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson said in a statement, with the data suggesting that the 17-nation currency area would see the “worst quarter for three years” at the end of the month.

“The gloom is clearly reflected in headcounts falling at the fastest rate since January 2010, as companies seek to adjust to weaker demand,” he added.

Markit expects a 0.6-percent contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), meaning a return to recession marked by two consecutive quarters of shrinking economic output.

The British researchers said they had hoped a recent announcement by the European Central Bank (ECB) to start buying the debt of struggling eurozone members might have lifted business confidence.

However, business sentiment had taken a “turn for the worse,” adding to the “most gloomy” outlook since early 2009.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece Sells Foreign Ministry Buildings

Greek coalition leaders are still €2-3bn short of €11.5bn of cuts required by international lenders for the next tranche of its bailout, Ekathimerini reports. The Greek foreign ministry has said it will sell some fancy buildings in Belgrade, Brussels, London, Nicosia and Rome to help raise funds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Citizens & Their Property Collateral for US Debt

“In 1933, the federal United States hypothecated all of the present and future properties, assets and labor of their “subjects,” the 14th Amendment U.S. citizen, to the Federal Reserve System.”

If what former Rep. James Traficant (left) said in 1993 is true, Americans should get their wealth out of IRS reach.

[Return to headlines]

Who Benefits From Quantitative Easing?

According to the Bank of England, it is “mainly the wealthy” who benefit.

As I noted the other day, Donald Trump said essentially the same thing when he told CNBC the following….

“People like me will benefit from this.”

As I already discussed above, a lot of quantitative easing money gets into the financial markets where it pumps up the prices of financial assets.

But not all of it goes there.

We were told that the whole idea behind quantitative easing was that it was supposed to get banks lending again, but this has not happened. Instead, banks are sitting on unprecedented amounts of money. Just look at how the first two rounds of quantitative easing have caused excess reserves being held by banks to explode from close to zero to over 1.5 trillion dollars….

Of course one of the biggest problems is that the Federal Reserve is still paying banks not to lend money.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Federal Reserve is paying banks to park money with them. So instead of risking their money by lending it out to us, the banks can just park it at the Fed and make risk-free profits for as long as they want.

Must be nice.

If the Federal Reserve really wanted banks to start lending again, all the Fed has to do is to stop paying banks not to lend money.

[Return to headlines]


11 Lies the Right Spreads About Muslims

Nathan Lean is the author of The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (Pluto Press, $17.00)

Muslims are everywhere. They’re hiding out in schools, churches, and Washington’s halls of power (not to mention in our closets and beneath our beds), waiting for the next opportunity to jump out and wreak havoc on the Land of the Free. At least that’s the narrative being spun by the Islamophobia industry, a shadowy network of right-wing hucksters who, for the better part of the past 11 years, have drummed up such ludicrous fears and exploited sensible anxieties over terrorism by equating the detestable actions of a fraction with the larger non-violent majority. Islamophobia is a dangerous and metastasizing social cancer. Mosque burnings, racist bus advertisements, Congressional witch-hunts, and a string of attacks (including recent acid bombs and shootings in Chicago) directed at followers of the Islamic faith are among the nasty effects of this discourse of hate that is ripping apart the pluralistic fabric of America…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Actress Sues Innocence of Muslims Producer

An actress in the anti-Islamic trailer that set off violent protests in the Muslim world has sued the reputed producer, saying he duped her into thinking it was about ancient Egyptians.

Cindy Lee Garcia is one of three actresses in the film to have come forward with similar accusations since the explosion of violence that ripped through Muslim countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia last week. Garcia is suing in a Los Angeles court on grounds of invasion of privacy, fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She is targeting Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster — out on parole — who lives in Los Angeles and has admitted to working on the film, “Innocence of Muslims.” US media say Nakoula wrote and produced the film, using the pseudonym Sam Bacile before being identified. He was questioned overnight Friday by police before going into hiding with his family. Garcia is also suing YouTube and its owner Google for releasing excerpts of the very amateurish film, which was later dubbed into Arabic and made to show Mohammed as a thuggish womaniser…

[JP note: In left-liberal circles, amateurish is generally a term of approbation, particularly when applied to bleeding-edge films.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Arrest Peter Jackson & Viggo Mortensen Now!

by Ann Barnhardt

Remember how I told you that The Lord of the Rings is totally Christian Allegory? I wasn’t kidding. Mordor and the Dark Lord Sauron are allegorical of hell and satan. The Orcs are actually fallen Elves, and of course, the Elves represent Angels, so the Orcs are therefore demons. There are also men who ally themselves with Sauron, and those men represent musloids in Tolkien’s allegory.

There is a scene in the third LOTR movie, near the end, when Aragorn and the armies of Rohan and Gondor march on the Black Gate of Mordor in order to provide a diversion and draw the Orcs out of the Black Lands so that Frodo and Sam can have safe passage to Mount Doom.

The scene below was cut from the theatrical release, but is included in the Extended Edition DVD. This scene shows “The Mouth of Sauron” coming out of the Black Gate to treat with Aragorn and Gandalf.

Given the following chant of the musloid political cult, and knowing that Sauron is the allegorical representation of satan, can you guess who “The Mouth of Sauron” is?

“There is no god but allah (swine diarrhea be upon him), and mohammed (enthusiastic imbiber of swine diarrhea and fornicator with syphilitic sows) is his prophet.”

That’s right, kids. “The Mouth of Sauron” character in The Lord of the Rings is none other than . . . mohammed.

And Peter Jackson depicted mohammed, and Viggo Mortensen cut proxy-mohammed’s head off. Ian McKellen spoke to proxy-mohammed with disrespect, and the other actors gave proxy-mohammed the stink eye. I demand that Peter Jackson, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, all of those other actors, and everyone involved in the LOTR movie trilogy be arrested and charged with blasphemy and charged as accessories to murder. I further demand that J.R.R. Tolkien’s body be dug up and his corpse sodomized and desecrated.

Oh, and I still demand that I be arrested and charged with both blasphemy and as an accessory to murder, because, after all, my Arabic-subtitled bacon-bookmarked koran burning video is well over a year old and has had over 665,000 views, with Egypt having the most views. Objective evidence points to me having far, far more culpability in all of this than the morons who made the satirical green-screened clip. But then, I am articulate and heavily armed, so I won’t hold my breath waiting for the feds or the “media” to trot me out, because they know full well that I would kick their asses all over the playground.

And in answer to questions I have received about law enforcement contact, the ONLY law enforcement contact I have had since my koran burning on April 3, 2011 has been from the local Lone Tree Police Department who reached out and OFFERED THEIR COMPLETE SUPPORT to me after they received my videos in their own personal email accounts as the videos went uber-viral from family and friends, and then freaked out (in the good sense) when they heard me say my address at the end and realized that I was literally right across the road from the police headquarters. So, the Chief and a Sergeant stopped over, and I gave them a tour of the office so they had an idea of the floor plan, we chatted very pleasantly, and that was it. I have heard NOTHING from the FBI, DOJ or anyone else. Consider that “Molly Norris”, the girl who merely suggested the idea of “Draw mohammed Day” was whisked into the Federal Witness Relocation program within a matter of DAYS, consider that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs calls Terry Jones and begs him to keep his mouth shut, consider that this character who made this dumb film had media staked out in front of his house and has now been arrested as a political prisoner, and then understand that I have not been contacted by ANYONE except my local PD, and that interaction was frankly more “fanboy” (in the good sense) than anything else.

Then ask yourself, WHY?

Because the Powers That Be in the government and media want to paint all islam-detractors as rednecks, idiots, and cowering weaklings. They are consciously drawing attention to people that they WANT to draw attention to in order to shape and direct the narrative so that it benefits them politically.

The last thing they want is for an intelligent, articulate, highly credible person to get any exposure. And the very, very, very last thing any of them want is for a single female to make the news after shooting dead her attempted musloid assassins. They can’t win with me. If the musloids or anyone else actually managed to kill me, WW3 would start five minutes later. Sniper teams would form, as I have the “100 Heads” protection guarantee from the sniper and SPECOPS community in the United States. And the 100:1 isn’t a total. It is PER SNIPER. Bye-bye, Dearborn.

If I killed any attackers, it would be paradigm-shattering. The myth of the musloid terror cult would lie dead at my feet like so much road kill. And the government DOES NOT WANT THAT because the Marxist oligarchs, like Hitler, have formed a temporary alliance with the musloids (Like Saruman and Isengard allied with Sauron and Mordor) so that the musloids might act as mercenaries and as instruments of terror, so that the Marxists can keep their hands clean for as long as possible, while using the musloid political cult to steer events by proxy.

The “Arab Spring” was a long-planned operation, guys. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were in Egypt for months beforehand “organizing” the whole thing.


Remember how shocked everyone was in January and February of 2011 at how the Egyptian uprising was so heavily coordinated via Facebook and Twitter? I promise you, Ayers and Dohrn trained those people how to “organize” using social media while they were over there. The timing of this crap going on in Egypt, Libya, Iran and Syria is NO COINCIDENCE. Everything is being done and has been planned around the so-called November election here in the U.S. with the sole objective of maintaining and solidifying the Marxist overthrow of this nation, with an eye toward a global regime after the U.S. is out of the way.

“By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

DHS Enlists Citizen Spies Via New Smartphone App

Homeland Security officials in Delaware are hoping to enlist citizens as spies for the state by encouraging them to use a new app which allows smartphone users to attach pictures of “suspicious” vehicles or persons and send them directly to the federal government.

“The Delaware Information and Analysis Center (DIAC) now offers a mobile app to report suspicious activities in real-time by attaching a photo, sending location information, or entering details about suspicious vehicles or persons. In addition, users can choose to make their report anonymously or can include contact information for follow-up by law enforcement,” reports

The new “Anti-Terrorism Mobile FORCE 1-2 App” is available for both iPhone and Android users and is being touted as a method of leveraging tips provided by citizens to “help protect the State”.

The information received is channeled through the state Fusion Center (DIAC) and then shared amongst federal, state and local law enforcement.

[Return to headlines]

Fusion Power Advances in Magnetic Crushing Test

A crushed tube the size of a thread spool has brought the United States one step closer to harnessing nuclear fusion as a clean, almost limitless power source.

The experiment at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico tested how well a tiny cylinder could withstand the crushing magnetic force from the lab’s “Z machine” — a pulsed-power accelerator that zapped the cylinder with 25 million amperes of electric current. The “liner” cylinder collapsed on itself, as would be expected, but remained intact enough to theoretically squeeze together deuterium or tritium fuel, triggering nuclear fusion.

“Our experiments were designed to test a sweet spot predicted by the simulations where a sufficiently robust liner could implode with a sufficiently high velocity,” said Ryan McBride, a researcher at the laboratories in Albuquerque.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

EU Funds Theft Greater Than Reported

EU funds fraud is considerably higher than the €600 million reported by member states in 2010.

“The extent of the illicit activities that lead to losses in the EU budget is really shocking […] we assume that the real figure is considerably higher,” EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding told euro deputies in the civil liberty committee on Thursday (20 September).

Last year’s EU budget amounted to €125.5 billion but a large amount is allegedly stolen primarily in the areas of EU agricultural and regional development programmes. Member states manage 80 percent of the EU budget with national authorities in charge of how it is spent and who and how to prosecute suspected fraudsters.

But patchy judicial systems and low recovery rates prompted the commission to table an anti-fraud directive in July that would provide for an EU response to the problem. Those who commit the crime, she noted, often simply go to member states where prosecution is extremely low or non-existent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

EU Proposals for a European Army Would Destroy NATO and Threaten the Transatlantic Alliance

by Nile Gardiner

The final report of the Future of Europe Group, released earlier this week, should be a wake-up call to both London and Washington. The report is backed by the foreign ministers of 11 EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain), and offers a blueprint for a federal European superstate. It follows in the wake of EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso’s “State of the Union” address before the European Parliament last week, and outlines a series of measures to be implemented in order to shore up the flagging European Project. The Telegraph’s Bruno Waterfield has an excellent summary here…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

EU: Final Report of the Future of Europe Group

of the Foreign Ministers of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Introduction and Summary

The European Union has reached a decisive juncture. The on-going sovereign debt crisis and the ever accelerating process of globalization pose an unprecedented dual challenge for Europe. We will have to master it if we want our continent to enjoy a bright future and effectively promote our interests and values in a more polycentric world…

[JP note: Polycentric, Schmolycentric.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe Flees From “Arab Winter”

La Repubblica Rome

The anti-Western demonstrations in Arab countries and the turn the “Arab Spring” is taking in several countries are shouting out a challenge to Europe. But Europe, looking inward to its economic and institutional crisis, prefers to shirk its responsibilities in the Mediterranean and to rely on the — helpless — United States

Barbara Spinelli

Europe is living through a strange and insidious era, according to the Greek writer Petros Markaris: the only ones who are speaking of the crises rocking the continent are the economists and central bankers.

The upshot is that it’s the single currency that is becoming the essence of the Union — not an instrument, but its raison d’être, its sole purpose. The unity of the EU, Markaris writes, has been supplanted by the unity of the eurozone. Today we live in a Europe where only politicians and economists have the floor. “This is why the debate is so superficial, like most of Europe’s leaders, and one-dimensional, like the traditional discourse of economists.” Lacking a worldview, Europe has interests but no passions, and can be divided only into noble creditors and plebeian debtors. “We are headed,” he says, “towards a European civil war mentality.”

Like a sudden shot in the silence, a new earthquake is rumbling across the Muslim countries in the form of a broad offensive by Islamic fundamentalism against the West and its execrable videos: the violence is intensifying in the Mediterranean, and Europe, wholly occupied by its domestic affairs, is suddenly grasping that outside its doorstep bombs are raining down.

Satisfied, after the Arab Spring she dozed off, and is now waking to winter. The liberations, she had imagined, meant freedom — only to discover that revolutions are always preceded by fundamentalist sparks before they produce stable institutions and constitutions. Like Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the protesters cried out at us: “You taught me language; and my profit on’t is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you, for learning me your language!”

Europe could say and do something if it gave up leaving the United States to do its own work for it. Not just in Afghanistan, where many Europeans are caught up in a lost war, and not just in Iran, but in and around our Mediterranean. It is Europe that the fugitives from North Africa are fleeing to — those that don’t die at sea at such a rate that one cannot help suspecting wilful negligence on our part.

A community with neither ideas nor resources

If it had its own foreign policy, Europe, capable of doing what faraway America cannot, could act: it could dominate events, set new priorities, and identify opportunities based on organised cooperation and not just on hawkish words and deeds.

Discussing a European Federation is no longer taboo. In talking about it, though, we only talk about the currency or make vague claims that a federation will make us “masters of our destiny.” Yet what policy — beyond internal order — do we want Europe to pursue? What vision of the world, of the relationship between the West and Islam, of Iran, of Israel and Palestine, the conflict between religions and within religions, does Europe hew to?

The Arab winter has revealed us for what we are: a community with neither ideas nor resources, and lacking a common government to tackle the global crisis. This explains our silence, or the inane babble of European representatives. It’s difficult to say what Catherine Ashton, draped in the pompous title of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, is there for.

Nobody knows what the twenty-seven foreign ministers are thinking, those hybrid creatures of a Union made up of states that are no longer sovereign but not yet federal. As for the peoples of Europe, they are in charge of practically nothing: neither the economy nor the Mediterranean and not the wars either, which are never called into question by the European Union.

Europe remains a secular reference point

Given its history, a history of democracies and states restored thanks to the union of their forces after centuries of religious and ideological wars, Europe has the proper intellectual and political tools to become an ally of the Arab Spring, which is hanging in the balance, and of those countries that are struggling to merge the indisputable authority of the state with democracy.

For all those in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia who are watching democracy be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and threatened by Salafist fundamentalists, Europe remains a secular reference point.

The path chosen by Jean Monnet following the Second World War consisted in reconciling the interests and the passions. That was why he chose to organise the pooling of resources (coal and steel) that had been bones of contention between Germany and France. Between Europe and the countries on the south shore of the Mediterranean, a similar path could be mapped out through a community based not on coal and steel, but on energy (or, in the future, on water).

In October 2011 a similar plan was proposed by two economists inspired by a federal vision of Europe, Alfonso Iozzo and Antonio Mosconi. The fear is that Washington will prove unable to guarantee stability and democracy in the Mediterranean and the Middle East — hence the urgency of a Euro-Mediterranean Energy Community based on energy, often potential energy, that is difficult to exploit without financial aid and technology from Europe…

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

France: Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad Cartoons: Free Speech or Sheer Folly?

Is French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s publication of mocking cartoons of the prophet Muhammad an important assertion of free speech or a senseless and dangerous provocation?

Are Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the prophet Muhammad a necessary stand for free speech or a pointless provocation?

Free speech 71%

Provocation 29%

Poll closes in one day

[Reader comment by Samvara on 19 September 2012 at 8:04 pm., 213 recommends.]

We can’t make up our minds without seeing the evidence. You publish them here, and then we can decide.

[Reader comment by GJJeffreys on 19 September 2012 at 8:13 pm., 230 recommends.]

Why not show some solidarity with Charlie Hebdo by commissioning Steve Bell and Martin Rowson to give us some Motoons?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Dog Shoots Owner in France

A French man has been shot by his dog during a hunt in his local region of the Dordogne on Sunday.

The Blue Gascony Basset hound dog caught the trigger of his gun after leaping up while the huntsman was taking part in a deer shoot. The bullet shattered a part of the huntsman’s right hand which has since been amputated. The victim said he only had himself to blame for not applying the safety catch and did not hold the incident against his dog “at all”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Head of Paris Mosque: Prophet Cartoon an ‘Act of Cowardice’

The head of the Paris Mosque has slammed French Magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons satirising the Prophet Mohammed.

Dalil Boubakeur told a news conference that the magazine’s actions were “psychotic”: “It is obvious that we condemn in the strongest possible terms the caricatures of Charlie Hebdo.

We feel pity for the authors, who thought it useful to choose a period with particular cowardice — a period where there are difficulties in relations between Islam and public order. They are adding oil to the flames”.

[JP note: Islam and public order? Strange that when some Muslims open their mouths, they only make themselves even more ridiculous. I feel a strong sense of compassion and weltschmerz for unintentional clowns such as Dalil Boubakeur.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany to Close Embassies Tomorrow in Muslim Countries

(AGI) Berlin — Germany will close its embassies in Muslim countries tomorrow fearing attacks connected to protests against the “blasphemous” movie about the Prophet Mohammed. The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, explained that closing the embassies on the usually tense day of Friday is a protective measure put in place to protect the country’s diplomatic sites. Many embassies in Muslim countries are closed anyway on Friday, but German diplomats have been told not to go to work for any reason.

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

Mohammed Cartoons: France Defends ‘Freedom of Satire’

French muslims appeal for calm amid heightened tensions

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 19 — After sparking violence across North Africa and the Middle East which caused the death of the US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, first a film and now cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed are raising tensions in France. French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published today cartoons satirising Mohammed which have been slammed by, among others, the Arab League.

In one of them Mohammed is portrayed lying naked on a bed as he shows his bottom and pronounces the line of a cult scene in Jean-Luc Godard’s movie ‘Le mepris’ in which Brigitte Bardot asks: ‘et mes fesses? Tu les aimes, mes fesses? (and my bum? Do you like my bum?).

Another cartoon portrays the front page of Closer, the gossip magazine which published pictures of a topless Duchess of Cambridge, but instead of depicting Kate Middleton the cartoon shows ‘Madame Mahomet’ with a beard and the line ‘revolts in Arab countries’.

‘First the movie which caused violent reactions and now the cartoons on Mohammed, all this must end’, Arab League Secretary General Nabil el Araby said today. The Arab League has been discussing an international accord banning blasphemy and attacks against religious symbols following the violence sparked by the US-produced film satirizing Mohammed.

Meanwhile the French government is taking precautions to avoid the recent clashes following a video posted on YouTube with scenes from the controversial film ‘The innocence of Muslims’. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Info that ‘specific security measures’ are being undertaken to protect French schools and embassies abroad, which will remain closed in some twenty Muslim countries on Friday.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced that no demonstration against the movie mocking the prophet will be allowed in France. The idea to organize a demonstration on Saturday had started to circulate on social networks in the past few days and an authorization for the protest had been asked.

But the minister told national Rtl radio that ‘there is no reason to let conflicts that have nothing to do with France enter our country’.

‘The freedom to satirize is protected in our country and if anyone feels offended they can go to court’, he said.

Leading members of the French Muslim community have made an appeal against violence. Dalil Boubakeur, the cleric leading the Grand Mosque of Paris announced that during Friday prayers he will read ‘a message calling for the reflection and calm of all mosques’ connected to the central mosque of the French capital.

‘We want to show what France’s Islam is about’, he said, ‘and give the word back to France’s Muslims, the only ones who can talk about Islam’.

Meanwhile Charlie Hebdo is sold out. The website of the magazine ‘has received in the past few hours threats and intimidations’ one of the weekly’s journalists, Zineb El Rhazoui told ANSA. ‘We will not be intimidated’, the journalist added.

The newsroom of Charlie Hebdo, which some accuse of racism and of publishing trash in its pursuit of the politically incorrect, was completely destroyed after an arson attack at the end of last year and a special online edition called ‘Sharia Hebdo’ was hacked.

The magazine has a weekly circulation of an average of 100.000 copies and numbers 15.000 subscribers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Paris: Protest at Grand Mosque Banned

Demonstration scheduled against Mohammed cartoons

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — A demonstration scheduled Saturday in front of the Grand Mosque in Paris against a film produced in the United States and cartoons published by a French satirical magazine mocking Prophet Mohammed has been banned, a police source said today.

A private citizen reportedly applied to the prefect’s office for the authorization to stage the demonstration Saturday in front of the Grand Mosque in Paris.

Police sources said the prefect signed a document banning the demonstration.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Protests Against Anti-Islam Film Reach Europe

De Morgen, 19 September 2012

Protests against the film The Innocence of Muslims, which erupted in violence in several countries around the world, have spread to Europe, and notably to France, the country that is home to the largest Muslim population on the continent (four to six million people), and Belgium. “Islamists want to demonstrate again in Paris”, announces Le Figaro, which reports that a call for a 22 September demonstration in Paris against the US made film ridiculing Mohammed and Islam, is circulating on social networks. At a first unauthorised demonstration outside the American embassy in the French capital, 152 people, mainly Salafists (proponents of a radical branch of Islam), were detained by police.

In its editorial, the conservative daily insists — …

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

Stakelbeck in Brussels: Anti-Semitism on Rise in Europe

Yesterday’s firebomb attack on a kosher store near Paris was yet another reminder that anti-Semitism is rising to disturbing levels in Europe.

As I found on a recent trip to Brussels, the bulk of this violent activity and intimidation is being driven by Europe’s growing Muslim population—with help from the radical Left.

You can watch my on the ground report at the link above.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

This Shameful BAE Systems Deal Would Rip the Heart Out of Britain PLC

Of all the great British companies sold off to foreign buyers over recent years, no deal has posed such a threat to this country’s manufacturing and strategic future as the proposed sale of aerospace giant BAE Systems.

The £30 billion takeover by a Franco-German company would be devastating for jobs, could wreck Britain’s special defence relationship with the U.S., erode our technological edge in aerospace, and place one of our few great manufacturers under the heavy, corporatist hands of governments in Berlin and Paris.

But despite BAE’s vital importance to Britain’s economic livelihood, there are profound worries that the sale to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) may go ahead.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. President ‘Relies’ On Italian Premier for Eurozone Info

Ambassador says Obama speaks frequently with Monti

(ANSA) — Rome, September 19 — The United States ambassador to Italy on Wednesday described President Barack Obama as relying heavily on Italy’s interim premier, Mario Monti, as an inside source on eurozone news. “Obama and Monti speak frequently and in this sense, you could say Obama relies on the premier and on his opinion of how things are going in the eurozone, because Monti has a lot of experience in this area,” Ambassador David Thorne said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: 4,000 Attend Funeral of GP Who Died After Road Accident

THOUSANDS of people attended the funeral of a popular GP who died after being hit by a car on his way to prayers. Dr Mohammed Ikram Malik MBE suffered head injuries in the accident in Pendle Street, Nelson, on September 7th. Dr Malik (75) who lived in Burnley, served as a GP in Pendle for decades. He was also involved with community groups, including Building Bridges Pendle, People’s Enterprise and Empowerment Forum (previously the Pendle Pakistan Welfare Association), Pendle Vision Board, Pendle Community Safety Partnership and many others. The funeral took place at the Ghausia Mosque in Clayton Street, Nelson, on Friday. Representatives from many of the organisations he had been involved in, along with Pendle Council, paid their respects. The funeral was led at the mosque and then at Nelson Cemetery by Imam Qari Khalid Mahmood…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Woman ‘Beaten With Walking Stick in Brutal Exorcism by Husband and Family Who Were Convinced She Was Possessed by Demon’

A woman was beaten with a walking stick during a brutal exorcism organised by members of her own family, a court heard.

Asma Hussain was tied to a bed and covered with holy water after relations became convinced she was possessed by a demon, it is alleged.

Her husband Ahmed, 60, summoned the local Muslim preacher to carry out the ceremony and encouraged him to hit his wife harder, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Pinstripes, Plain Views — And a Real Problem for Cameron

by Paul Goodman

Ukip hopes to split the Tory leadership from its base. The PM would be a fool to ignore the threat

Ukip’s conference begins tomorrow. That sentence would scarcely have been worth writing before 2010, despite the party’s success in two successive sets of Euro-elections, because its poll ratings before and after them were nugatory. No longer: it is occasionally overtaking the Liberal Democrats and regularly recording more than 5 per cent of the vote. It grabbed 14 per cent in last summer’s local elections, and aims to beat that figure in next year’s, which will mostly take place not in urban areas but in the more Ukip-friendly rural counties. In the Euro-elections of 2014, the springboard for the general election due the following year, Ukip may well top the poll — thus further ratcheting up the pressure on David Cameron from Eurosceptic Conservative MPs and activists…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Racist Tweets Case

A MAN accused of using Twitter to send racially and religiously offensive messages will appear at crown court on October 29. Ricky Davies, 20, of St Leger Crescent, Swansea, faces two charges of causing religiously aggravated harassment, another two of racially aggravated harassment and a charge of sending an indecent message.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Missing Ingredient in British Schools: American-Style Grit and Determination

by Jake Wallis Simons

Michael Gove’s promise of a new English Baccalaureate has galvanised the education debate in Britain. Of course, it is still early days. Key details, such as how teachers will be retrained, and how much that will cost, have yet to be worked out. Nevertheless, the potential for seismic societal change may be profounder and more far-reaching than we think.

This may be brought into relief by considering the education system in the United States. Notwithstanding all its shortcomings, a radical — and radically positive — development has been taking place over the last 20 years. The distinguished economist Professor James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize in 2000, has been at the forefront of this movement for change…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Veiled Marseille Woman Who Bit Policewoman Now in Jail

(AGI) Marseille — The 18-year-old veiled Marseille woman who bit a policewoman who had stopped her for violating France’s anti-burqa laws in July, has now been sentenced to 2 months in prison. According to police reports, the girl whose face was totally covered, had refuse to cooperate with the policewoman who had asked to see her ID, and had bitten her hand. The girl instead has said that when questioned immediately after the incident on the night of July 25th, the police had been brutal asking her to “remove that s****”. “They threw me to the ground and put a hand over my mouth,” she said. This version was denied by the police who explained that they had politely ask to see her papers and the girls had screamed in Arabic, “I don’t care about the laws of the Republic.” The girl will now appear in court in Lille on October 30 to answer charges of violence, insulting a public official, rioting and inciting others to riot. (AGI) ..

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

North Africa

Egypt: As Coptic Teacher is Jailed for Insulting President Morsi, The Arab Spring Enters Its Twilight

Bishoy Kamel gets two years in prison for posting a Muhammad cartoon on Facebook, and three for insulting President Morsi. Not since the king’s era did anyone get such punishment. Moderate Muslims are now wondering if the authorities would defend Christian symbols as forcefully as they do Muslim ones.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Christians and moderate Muslims are concerned and shocked by the six-year sentence inflicted on Bishoy Kamel, a Christian teacher who posted online satirical cartoons on Islam on 30 July, and allegedly insulted Egypt’s president. In front of the courthouse where the trial was held, hundreds of Salafists gathered ready to lynch the offender. Sources close to Kamel’s family say that he was beaten in prison. The sentence was passed yesterday, but Kamel’s lawyers have already appealed for a retrial by a less biased court.

Nagui Damian, a young Catholic Coptic activist, and a leader in the Jasmine Revolution, told AsiaNews that the sentence has shaken Christians and Muslims, who are afraid of some peculiar positions taken by the president. The last time someone got three years in jail for insulting the head of state, King Farouk was still in power. He was overthrown in 1952.

Nagui Damian said that many Muslims protested and wrote letter to newspapers and online forums, saying that six years in prison for posting cartoons offensive to Islam and insulting President Mohammed Morsi was too much.

During his 30 years of power, even Mubarak was more indulgent. In 2007, a young blogger, Kareem Amer, got only one year for insulting the president.

Other cases involving insults to Islam or the president were settled with fines or a few months in jail.

In the recent wave of anti-American demonstrations caused by the blasphemous Muhammad tape, some Muslim journalists have asked whether the same punishment would have been inflicted on someone who insulted the symbols of other religions, like Christianity.

For the moment, police arrested another activist, Albert Saber, who posted the blasphemous movie trailer online.

According to Nagui Damian, religious minorities and moderate Muslims must speak out to stop Islamists from influencing international organisations and hijack the Jasmine Revolution.

“All Coptic religious authorities have criticised the offensive acts against the Islamic religion. For every Egyptian, Christian or Muslim, insulting religion is a shameful act that must be punished, but there must be impartiality. For this reason, it makes no sense to ask the United Nations to adopt a law on Islamophobia as some Muslim leaders have suggested. The Egyptian state and the International community must defend all religions, not one in particular.”

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

France Must Act on Cartoons, Says Muslim Brotherhood

As with Middleton pix, Egyptian Freedom and Justice Party says

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, SEPTEMBER 20 — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s ruling Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has called on the French government to take “urgent and decisive action” against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the party made known in a communique on Thursday.

The FJP, which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, “categorically refuses” the cartoons, which are “a new attack on Islam and on Muslims”, the communique said.

The French government has taken “dissuasive measures” against a magazine that ran pictures of a topless Kate Middleton, nor does it tolerate “those who ignore the Holocaust”. The FJP goes on to question why “extremist” cartoons are allowed to be published, just days after a film “that denigrates Islam” was circulated on the Internet.

“Are there invisible hands pushing Westerners to provoke Arab and Muslim peoples, just as they begin to recover their liberty after toppling corrupt and tyrannical regimes?” the communique said.

The party goes on to call on international religious institutions, on the Egyptian government, on the Arab League and on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take legal measures against “these practices, which foment hatred and provoke Muslims”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israeli Air Strike Kills Two Palestinians in Gaza

Two members of the ruling Hamas security forces have been killed in an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials say.

They died when their car was hit in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, Palestinian sources said. Israel said it hit “two terror operatives”, one “in the final stages of preparing to carry out a terror attack against Israeli civilians”. Violence intermittently flares up across the Israel-Gaza border. Two weeks ago, six Palestinians, who Israel said were preparing attacks against it, were killed in air strikes in Gaza. Several Israelis and at least two Palestinians were hurt in rocket attacks on Israel, and further air strikes on Gaza, which followed…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Child Torturers of the Desert: Horrific Footage Reveals Human Traffickers Are Even Targeting Babies to Get Families to Pay Ransoms

Warning: Graphic Content

The world was horrified last year when it hit the headlines that desperate refugees trying to cross the Sinai Desert were having their organs snatched while still alive by ruthless doctors.

But it has now emerged that human traffickers in the lawless region are torturing babies in an attempt to force families to pay extortionate ransom fees.

Desperate refugees from Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea put their trust in smugglers to get them across the border into Israel, but instead they are sold to the Bedouins and taken to torture camps.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Iran: Italy to Represent Canada After Embassy Closure

Rome, 17 Sept. (AKI) — Foreign minister Giulio Terzi said on Monday that Italy would represent Canada in Iran following the closure of its embassy in Tehran earlier this month.

“The decision was based on Italy’s historic relationship with a country that is an important friend and ally,” Terzi said in a statement.

Canada had asked Rome to protect its interests there after the closure of the embassy on 7 September.

In the surprise move, Canada branded the Islamic republic as the most serious threat to world peace,cut diplomatic ties and expelledIranian diplomats.

Iran denies suspicions by western powers that it is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

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

Jordan to Receive USD $560 Million Aid From US and EU

(ANSAmed) — AMMAN, SEPTEMBER 19 — Faced with serious financial shortage, Jordan is expecting to receive a life line of $650 million from the US, the EU and some European countries to finance the state budget, finance minister Jafaar Hassad said today.

Nearly $400 million will be handed to the kingdom as grants, and rest, totaling $250 million will be loans paid under easy loan agreements, said the minister, noting that the government also is reaching out to Arab gulf states to fund the budget.

The government said it will channel part of the funds to projects in the fields of water, education, energy and business.

The government this year said the budget deficit reached JD1.2 billion and the figure could go higher towards end of the year. The government says it needs additional funds to pay for subsidies on energy including fuel and electricity, which could reach up to $ 2 billion.

Jordan has been faced with serious challenges to balance its books this year amid dwindling state revenues. The government heavily relies on foreign aid to pay for an army of civil servants, who consume nearly 60 percetn of the capital expenditure.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Millions of Unemployed Youths in Arab World

Arab ministers at EU-sponsored meeting in Jordan

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Over one year and a half after youth unemployment sparked the Arab Spring, finding work to the millions of unemployed under the age of 30 is one of the greatest challenges confronting Arab Mediterranean countries. Nine Arab ministers are meeting in Jordan on September 25 to discuss the issue, which according to the most recent European data is a real social catastrophe. The talks, which are organized by the EU agency European Training Foundation (EFT) will be attended by Arab labour and education ministers along with their counterparts from Italy and Cyprus to discuss the future of the region — first and foremost the after-school training helping youths get a job.

Data provided by the European Training Foundation, which is organizing the meeting, showed that the issue of unemployment is worsened by the fact that some 60% of the population in Arab Mediterranean countries is under the age of 30 and by 2020 this age group is expected to reach100 million.

Currently at least 30 million youths who have low qualifications or none at all have mediocre, low-paid jobs and are often moonlighting. The region has the highest number of unemployed under 30 worldwide — on average over 25% — with Tunisia topping the list (42%). Women fare even worse — one in four doesn’t have a job- and university graduates have more difficulties in finding a job than those with a lower education.

According to the World Bank, 42% of companies in the region blame schools saying they do not prepare youths to meet the demands of the labour market. The situation of young people who do not attend school and are not actively looking for a job also raises concerns — a group which in some countries represents 40% of youths.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Teen Girls ‘Beat Up’ Iranian Cleric After He Scolds One of Them for Not Covering Up

An Iranian cleric is claiming that two young girls beat him up after he told one of them to cover up and dress more conservatively.

The report is a reversal of the more common claim that women are beaten by the country’s strict religious police when their clothing is considered inappropriate.

Cleric Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti told an Iranian news agency that he was walking to the mosque in Shahmirzaad when he spotted the two girls and approached them.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Turkey: Rome Gives €250,000 to UN Appeal for Syrian Refugees

Rome, 13 Sept. (AKI) — The Italian foreign ministry has donated 250,000 euros to a UN appeal to help over 80,000 Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey as the conflict between rebels and Syria’s authoritarian government worsens.

Nearly 2.5 million people need help within Syria while 230,000 have taken refuge in neighbouring countries amid the 18-month conflict which has escalated into a civil war in which over 20,000 people have died, according to the UN.

“The funds will help the Turkish authorities take in the growing flow of Syrian refugees, and show Italy’s continuing commitment in responding to the dramatic humanitarian emergency caused by the crisis in Syria,” the ministry said in a press release.

Italy’s foreign minister Giulio Terzi on Saturday met UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, who earlier in the month appealed to nations to increase their efforts to help the victims of the violence in Syria..

At the end of August, Italy’s overseas aid body, Italian Development Cooperation organised a humanitarian flight with 30 tons of aid supplies and equipment to build four new reception camps in Turkey, the foreign ministry said.

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

USA: Peace Treaties at Risk if Israel Attacks Iran

(AGI) Jerusalem — Egypt and Jordan could tear up their peace treaties with Israel if it launched an attack against Iran.

Israeli sources told Yediot Aharonot that this was the content of a warning that the Obama administration sent to Bibi Netanyahu. In particular, Washington pointed out that, in the event of an Israeli raid, protests in Cairo and Amman may force their leaders to take drastic steps. “Today the Arab leaders do not control their peoples, the streets control the leaders,” was the American explanation. “An Israeli strike is just what the Iranians need. The entire Arab and Muslim street will take to the streets to demonstrate,” and the pressure to annul the accords would be huge. In this sense, the US warned, “What happened with the film against Mohammad is just a preview of what will happen in case of an Israeli strike.” .

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


International Communism & the Velvet Revolution

Buchar’s documentary presents testimony from former Czech secret police officials who say the events of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 were orchestrated on orders from Moscow. The body of testimony on this subject is large and credible, says Buchar. “Not just … [the] guys that are talking in my film; there are many other people I talked to that refused to talk on record about this … because they fear for their lives… There are many documents — it is very well documented that it was a prepared plan … to change the regime and the Russians were working on it for decades…”

Buchar interviewed an officer of the secret police who staged a key event in the 89 revolution. “He was just a little piece in the big puzzle,” says Buchar. “He pretty much did what he was told to do… He was in charge of creating the students’ organization. The objective was to penetrate dissident movements … and organize the demonstration on November 17, 89 which triggered … the revolution. And at the end of this demonstration he played a dead student … killed by riot police. Of course it was a fake.”

The Soviet Union and its satellites may have changed their economic system in a presentational sense, but most of the former Soviet economic space remains under indirect (if not direct) government control. This new form of control relies on financial intermediaries, agent networks and organized crime. Using crony capitalism, together with underworld money-laundering deals, the post-Soviet economic system is spreading everywhere. It may even be colonizing the West’s market system, contaminating the whole.

If the Cold War was a struggle between economic freedom and repression, how can anyone now say the Soviet side lost? “No,” says Buchar, “the West lost tremendously…” As anyone can see, the free market system is not consistently defended in the West. We assume the market is going to triumph, but we don’t have a plan. The other side definitely has a plan.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Abandoned Baby Discovered on the Roadside by Polish Soliders in Southern Afghanistan as They Undertook Patrol

At first, the passing soldiers checking a route in Afghanistan yesterday thought they might have come across an improvised explosive device.

But it soon became clear that inside a bundle on the roadside was an abandoned newborn baby girl, alive and wrapped in a towel.

The Polish troops on patrol near their Waghez military base took the two-day-old to a medical centre at the base — and called her Pola, after the name of their country.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: British Servicewoman Gives Birth

(AGI) — London, 20 September — A female British soldier who had not realized she was pregnant gave birth to a baby in Afghanistan. The was born in Camp Bastion on Tuesday, a few days after the violent attack by the Taliban on the main British base in Helmand province. In a statement, the British Ministry of Defense said the mother and baby are doing well, even if the child was born five weeks prematurely. The child was conceived before the mother arrived in Afghanistan in March .

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

Afghans Protest Against French Cartoons, US Film

KABUL — Hundreds of Afghans on Thursday protested for the first time against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in France and staged fresh rallies against a US-made anti-Islam film. About 300 students chanted “death to France, death to America” in a western neighbourhood of the capital Kabul, an AFP photographer said. Nearby, hundreds more gathered on a flyover and chanted “death to America” and “long live Islam, long live Afghanistan”, another AFP photographer said. Both demonstrations were peaceful, condemning new Mohammed cartoons published by a French satirical magazine on Wednesday and the low-budget film “Innocence of Muslims”, which has triggered protests around the world.

Similar rallies have been held across Afghanistan in the last four days…

[JP note: Shhh! There’s a new baby at Camp Bastion.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Afghanistan: British Soldier Gives Birth in Camp Bastion

A British soldier has given birth to a baby boy while serving in Afghanistan, despite allegedly being unaware she was even pregnant.

The woman, a gunner in the Royal Artillery, had complained of stomach pains before medics informed her she was in labour. She gave birth to a son five weeks premature in Camp Bastion on Tuesday. Mother and baby are both said to be in a stable condition, with a specialist paediatric team from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, preparing to travel to Afghanistan to assist them on the flight home. The Ministry of Defence last night confirmed it was against military policy for servicewomen to be deployed on operations while pregnant and said they had been unaware the servicewoman was expecting. It is the first time a soldier from the UK has given birth while in Afghanistan…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Catholic Schools in Central Java Threatened With Closure for Not Teaching Islam

Tegal District leaders and Catholic representatives hold special meeting. Sister Madeleine rejects accusations and reiterates her schools’ policy, from kindergarten to high school. Muslim parents with children in Catholic schools agree, defending the latter’s independence.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — The demand to include Islamic teaching in Catholic schools is proving controversial again. A few months ago, the Education Department in Tegal District (Central Java) warned St Pius Catholic Schools to include Islamic courses for Muslim students.

Local authorities summoned Sister Madeleine, of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, to meet the district council to discuss the issue. The woman religious runs the Asti Dharma Foundation, which manages various St Pius schools, from primary to secondary as well as vocational training.

In yesterday’s meeting with Tegal administration, the nun used all her eloquence and power of persuasion, backed by the moral and political support of Catholic lawyers and Fr Frans Widyanatardi Pr, who is in charge of Sacred Heart parish.

The row over Islamic education for Muslim students goes back a while, first raised by the Education Department and then the Religious Affairs Bureau, until local media, radio and TV, picked up the story and made it public.

The situation is critical because the sisters of the St Pius Catholic Schools have received threats and warnings, including the threat of having their schools shut down if they do not comply with the requests.

In response to critics, Sister Madeleine said that only two Muslim kids attend the St Pius Catholic Kindergarten, nine are in primary school, 12 in junior high and nine in high school, this out of a total school population of around 1,400 pupils, Fr Frans told AsiaNews.

Muslim parents have come out to defend the Catholic schools, saying they do not believe the schools would be closed for the lack of Islamic courses.

“Who are these people” who asked the Tegal Education Department to impose Islamic teaching for Muslim students, said Mr Charles Sinaga, a Muslim, who has a son in junior high, especially since the requests that were made remain anonymous or vague. For him, “only parents are morally entitled to make such requests.”

Unlike other nations, religious education is compulsory in Indonesia. However, in Christian schools, Christianity, not other religions, has been taught.

The goal in any event is not to proselytise or “convert” non-Christian students. Even when pupils ask to be baptised, they still need their parents’ consent.

In addition, those who do convert tend to be Sino-Indonesians who leave their ancestral religion, not Islam, for Christianity.

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

Islam: Fears of a New Wave of Protests Over French Muhammad Cartoons

French magazine Charlie Hebdo publishes satirical cartoons, reigniting Muslim anger. More protests are expected tomorrow in Muslim countries. For security reasons, France closes its embassies and schools in 20 countries. Catholics and Jews condemn the cartoons. A national day in honour of Muhammad and Islam will take place tomorrow in Pakistan. One of the actors in the movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ says she and the rest of the cast were tricked, thinking they were playing in an historical desert movie. Her employer fired her because of fears of attacks from Muslim extremists.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — Cartoons about Muhammad published today in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have reignited the anger of the Muslim world, where hundreds of protests held against a blasphemous movie about Muhammad caused the death of 28 people and injuries to hundreds of demonstrators.

In Kabul today, 500 took to the streets to protest against the movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and the French satirical cartoons.

In Pakistan, the authorities have planned peaceful demonstrations tomorrow in honour of the prophet and Islam. This comes after Islamist parties slammed the government for its deafening silence over the Muhammad movie. The French magazine cartoons could also lead to protests.

In Colombo, Sri Lanka, about a hundred Muslim women burnt US flags and effigies of US President Barack Obama.

Fearing attacks, France has decided to close its schools and foreign missions in 20 Muslim countries, including Egypt and Tunisia, until 24 September.

Experts expect more protests in Muslim countries but also in Europe. In Jakarta, Indonesia, the United States closed its embassy and consulates in Surabaya, Medan and Bali.

Published in the name of freedom of the press and satire, the Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons have been condemned by Christians and Jews.

The Vatican said the cartoons could lead to more protests.

Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, said, “in this climate, publishing the caricature is a serious act of irresponsibility.”

The cartoons show a naked Muhammad in indecent positions. In one cartoon, the magazine copies the Kate Middleton’s topless photo, showing the prophet with a woman’s body, topless.

The leftwing magazine sold out 75,000 copies in a few hours.

Despite warnings from the United States and other Western countries, French authorities did not block the paper in the name of freedom of the press.

France’s interior minister Manuel Valls said satire was a “fundamental right” of freedom of expression.

His colleague, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius disagreed, saying that Charlie Hedbo was being irresponsible by throwing “oil on the fire.”

Whilst slamming the cartoons as an insult to the prophet, French Muslim groups issued statements to be read in mosques asking Muslims not fall for the provocation, and isolate instead violent elements.

The satirical cartoons have unleashed the anger of religious authorities in Muslim countries, especially in Egypt.

Al-Azhar, the most important Sunni university, condemned “these messages of hate,” which, he said, “merely aim to instigate hate in the name of freedom.”

Head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Essam El-Erian said the French judiciary should act against Charlie Hedbo, which was attacked in 2011 for another satirical cartoon about the prophet.

The Islamist leader said the Egyptian government should guarantee peaceful demonstrations, avoiding a repeat of violent attacks against foreign missions.

Egyptian authorities have decided to take legal action against the maker of the movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’.

On Tuesday, an Egyptian court issued an arrest warrant against seven US Copts and Protestant clergyman Terry Jones for their alleged role in producing movie and circulating the trailer of the anti-Islamic movie.

The action is symbolic but it is meant to shake up US public opinion to do something against the movie’s makers.

The main offender is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-born Orthodox Copt who immigrated to the United States. He produced the movie and put the trailer online.

His trial in Egypt does not have a date yet, but in case of a guilty verdict, the offenders could get the death penalty.

Yesterday, Cindy Lee Garcia, one of the actors employed in the movie said she had no idea what the film director had in mind.

Nakoula, who has already been convicted of fraud, recruited the actors ostensibly to play in a desert movie. The movie was later overdubbed with a story about Muhammad.

The actress said that the original movie was changed in post-production and offensive language was added..

She claims that she “never called the founder of Islam a child molester.” Now she has been terrorised and fears Muslim extremists.

She was also fired from her job, “as she is now considered a target and the safety of those in her presence cannot be guaranteed,” the lawsuit states.

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

Far East

China Tells EU to End Arms Ban

Chinese leader Wen Jiabao has bluntly told the EU to drop its ban on arms sales.

He made the call in his opening remarks to top EU officials Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso at a summit in a stately home in Brussels on Thursday (20 September).

“I have to be frank with you in saying this — on the issue of lifting the arms embargo on China and recognising China’s full market economy status. We have been working hard for 10 years (on this) but the solution has been elusive. I deeply regret this. I hope and I do believe that the EU side will seize the opportunity and take the right initiative at an early stage to resolve these issue,” he said.

The official TV feed did not broadcast Van Rompuy or Barroso’s reaction and there is no independent press access to the event.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Chinese Premier Calls on Europeans to Lift Arms Embargo

The 15th China-EU summit in Brussels has opened with discord. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called on the EU to lift its arms embargo against Beijing and grant free market status to the world’s second largest economy.

Chinese Premier Wen told European leaders on Thursday that although the two sides had no “major conflict of interest,” little progress had been made toward resolving disagreements over the EU arms embargo against Beijing and granting China full-fledged status as a market economy.

“I have to be very frank in saying this,” Wen said. “But the solution has been elusive over the past 10 years. I deeply regret this and I hope the EU side will take greater initiative to solve these issues.”

European Union member states imposed the arms embargo against Beijing after the Communist Party government brutally suppressed pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. France and Spain have called for the embargo to be reviewed, but the United Kingdom has refused to support a loosening of the sanctions.

Although China is the EU’s second largest trading partner after the US, Brussels still has not granted Beijing status as a market economy. Instead, China is still classified as a developing economy, which means Chinese goods are more likely to be hit with trade tariffs.

Earlier in September, Brussels launched its largest anti-dumping probe against Beijing, on suspicion that cheap Chinese solar panels were undercutting EU prices. The EU is China’s largest export market.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Australia Censors Free Speech

by Soeren Kern

Stalls Visa Application for Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders, the Dutch MP who frequently warns about the dangers of Islamic radicalism, has applied for a visa to visit and give speeches in Australia, but the application has stalled. The official reason for the delay is that Wilders is on the Movement Alert List, a database of people of security concern to the Australian government. It means that his application is being held up at the Department of Immigration headquarters in Canberra while more thorough security checks are done. But the real reason for the delay is that the high priests of Australian multiculturalism want to silence Wilders’ warnings about the tragic failure of multiculturalism in Europe. Some Australian politicians have effectively admitted that the visa imbroglio is all about politics and has nothing to do with security…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

French Diplomats in Australia on High Alert Over Naked Prophet Mohammed Cartoons

FRENCH diplomats in Australia are on high alert amid fears of a new Muslim backlash after a French magazine published cartoons of a naked Prophet Mohammed.

The pictures in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo have further angered Islamic hardliners already fuming over an anti-Islam film made in the US and posted online. The provocative short film — titled Innocence of Muslims — sparked violent anti-Western protests across the globe, including in Sydney. The French embassy in Canberra and consulate in Sydney have boosted their security measures after authorities in Paris urged their diplomats to be extra vigilant. French Ambassador Stéphane Romatet says he is taking a “zero risk” approach.

“At this stage we have no specific threats against French interests in Australia but it’s better to prepare,” Mr Romatet told AAP today…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nudge Unit Sells Behavioural Expertise to Australia

An “innovative” government unit set up by one of David Cameron’s closest aides is to start exporting knowledge to Australia.

The “Nudge Unit” advises government on ways to encourage people to change behaviour, without using compulsion. It claims to have helped increase court fine payments and late tax payments by employing its unusual techniques. Ministers said the unit had saved taxpayers money and showed the UK was a world leader in behavioural change…

[JP note: The UK leads the way, nudging the world into dhimmitude and cultural suicide one fudge at a time.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Senate Fails to Defend Multiculturalism: Greens

The ALP and Coalition today voted in the Senate against a motion to reject the hateful anti-Muslim views of Geert Wilders.

“Today provided an opportunity to senators of all parties to take a stand in defence of multiculturalism — sadly many failed to do so,” said Senator Di Natale. “In the context of recent events I find it staggering that either party would fail to reject the characterisation of the Muslim culture as retarded and barbaric. The Coalition failed to condemn Senator Cory Bernardi’s support for Mr Wilders. It was only last year that Senator Bernardi invited Mr Wilders to Australia and offered to help facilitate his visit. Obviously the Coalition is happy for Senator Bernardi to continue freelancing on this issue from the backbench.”

The text of the motion is as follows:

Notice of Motion

Geert Wilders

Senator Richard Di Natale

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move: -

That the Senate:

(a) notes the contribution to Australia’s vibrant multicultural society by citizens of all cultures and religions;

(b) condemns anyone who vilifies any cultural or religious group;

(c) notes

i) the application by Dutch politician Geert Wilders to visit Australia to speak against multiculturalism and Muslim immigration;

ii) with alarm his public statements describing Muslim culture as retarded and barbaric and comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf;

(d) calls on all members of the Australian Parliament to reject the hateful anti-Muslim views of Wilders and his Australian sponsors.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Senate Rejects Call on ‘Hateful’ Wilders

The Senate has rejected a Greens motion calling on parliament to condemn the “hateful anti-Muslim views” of controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is seeking an Australian visa for a speaking tour.

Greens senator Richard Di Natale said on Thursday it was “critically important” his motion be supported, particularly after last week’s protests in Sydney by members of the Muslim community angry about a US film on Islam…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Basphemous Film: Sudan Orders Block to YouTube Access

(AGI) Khartoum, Sept 20 — Sudan orders block to Youtube access to avoid further diffusion of anti-Islam film which triggered rage. Google Inc has already blocked the access to the film in Egypt, Libya, India and Indonesia, but has ignored the White House request to call it back completely from the site ..

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

Nigerians Protest “Blasphemous” Film and French Cartoons

(AGI) — Abuja, Sept. 19 — Thousands of Nigerians took to the streets in Zaria, in northern Nigeria, to protest the “blasphemous” film and the publication of cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed in the satirical French Magazine, ‘Charlie Hebdo.’ The demonstrators marched through the dusty streets of Zaria for about 10 km, burning U.S. and Israeli flags, chanting “Death to the U.S.A” and “Death to Israel.” In the last few days a similar demonstration in the the north-central city of Jos was was prevented from starting by police, because official permission had not been requested. Zaria’s anti-riot police riding vehicles escorted the demonstrators. Security has been strengthened at the home of Nigeria’s Vice President Namadi Sambo, a Zaria native, who has been targeted by violence in the past. In 2002 the publication of an article considered offensive to the dignity of the Prophet Mohammed caused a wave of violence in northern Nigeria, which is majority Muslim, that caused the death of more than 3,000 people. Because of a possible backlash against the publication of the cartoons, the French embassy in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja announced it is temporarily closing two French schools, one in Abuja and the other in Lagos, as well as various French cultural centers. (AGI) .

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

Suicide Bomber Kills 8 in Mogadishu Restaurant

(AGI) Mogadishu — Witnesses in the Somali capital have reported that a suicide bomber has killed 8 people and wounded many others, some seriously, in a luxury restaurant in the centre of Mogadishu .

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


36 Migrants Picked Up South of Lampedusa

Taken from struggling dinghy to island

(ANSA) — Rome, September 20 — The Italian coast guard on Thursday rescued 36 sub-Saharan migrants from a struggling dinghy about 23 nautical miles south of the ‘stepping-stone’ island of Lampedusa.

Tax police and a navy ship helped in the rescue operation, the coast guard said.

The migrants were taken to Lampedusa — closer to Libya than to Sicily — for processing.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

British Social Attitudes Survey Reveals Negative Attitudes Towards Muslim Migrants

The 2012 British Social Attitudes Survey (BSAS) has been published. The survey aims to monitor and interpret British “attitudes towards social, economic, political and moral issues.”

This year’s report is the 29th in the series and reveals interesting trends regarding attitudes towards immigration and towards the political establishment and constitutional reform.

Some of the key findings are summarised below:


  • There remains a strong overall desire for a reduction in immigration, with 75% of respondents in 2011 advocating a reduction in immigration overall and 51% wanting a large reduction. The report suggests that this demand for reduction is insensitive to present migration levels but “may perhaps instead reflect a ‘default preference’ for reduced migration in all circumstances.”
  • There public are significantly more concerned now than in the early 2000s about the economic impact of migration, and are even more negative about the cultural impact of immigration. Those who view the cultural impact of immigration as ‘very bad’ has increased from 9% in 2002 to 21% in 2011.
  • Overall opinion of the settlement of migrants is negative, with 60% of respondents rating the impact negatively, and only 24% holding a positive view.
  • Questions designed to measure attitudes towards the characteristics and origin of migrants show that net support for migrants coming from Muslim countries such as Pakistan is on average lower than identically-described migrants coming from Eastern Europe, suggesting that concerns about cultural difference significantly reduce support for migrants. However, this effect is smaller for professionals searching for work, and not observed at all for professionals coming in to fill jobs.
  • On student migrants and variations on the origin of students, the survey finds the origin of students matters little with the exception that ‘students from Muslim countries’ in the ‘good grades’ category receive overall about 10 points less support than identically-described students from other countries. The study states that there are “clearly some reservations about Muslim students.”
  • The region of origin has a larger impact on reactions to family reunion migrants that with students or workers. White Europeans are consistently preferred to non-white Africans and Muslims, and richer West Europeans preferred to poorer East Europeans. Reactions to migrants explicitly labelled as “Muslim” are no more negative than those to “African” migrants. Although many migrants from the latter group are Muslim, respondents did not show extra hostility to a group explicitly labelled as “Muslim” than to a nonwhite migrant group whose religious affiliation is not highlighted.

What comes across in the survey results is a complex picture. An overall negative attitude to immigration is in some cases is heightened when immigration is pinned to people from Muslim countries. Negative attitudes towards Muslim migrants are offset when they are seen as professionals coming to fill jobs. However Muslim students with ‘good grades’ are viewed less favourably than students of other ethnic and religious backgrounds with the same attainment levels. ‘Muslims’ and ‘Africans’ are seen in an almost equally negative capacity in relation to family reunion migration…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Fewer Than 1 in 10 Cases in Asylum Backlog Led to Deportation

Fewer than one in 10 of the missing asylum seekers and immigrants uncovered in a huge Home Office backlog has been deported, new figures show.

The UK Border Agency has admitted it is giving up on attempts to find 80,000 foreign nationals who are still missing six years on, as it would cost too much money to keep staff looking for them. It will mark the end of the scandal that broke in 2006 when it emerged that half a million asylum files had been left gathering dust in boxes at the Home Office. The final tally shows that more than 180,000 people were allowed to remain in Britain after having their cases considered while just 41,000 were removed. Many others were found to have died and thousands of files turned out to be duplicates. Officials will continue to search for 25,000 individuals who may be living in the country illegally when the other cases are written off. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the pressure group Migration Watch UK, said: “This is the last vestige of Labour’s appalling legacy on immigration. It must never be allowed to recur.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Nigerian Benefit Fraudster Who Claimed He Earned Just £700 a Month as Minicab Driver Owned £1million Mansion in Africa

A minicab driver who claimed he was earning just £700 a month but was living a luxury of life in his Nigerian mansion, has been ordered to pay almost £1.2million.

Ovo Mayomi and his wife Juliet Ubiribo were convicted of fraud in 2010 after using an identity and immigration scam to falsely claim £43,000 in benefits.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Italy: Terzi: It’s Right to Ban Hate Speech Sites

(AGI) Rome — Foreign minister Giulio Terzi supported government bans on hate sites. Speaking at the presentation in foreign ministry of the Italian yearbook on human rights, Terzi explained: “It is absolutely legitimate for governments to block sites that exhibit non-positive behaviour, hate speech, refusing to understand others, just like it can with criminal sites.”

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

Obama: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing… Beware the Message in the Fabian Window

It is a beautiful, if creepy thing, this Fabian Window. And since I first wrote about it four years ago — before Obama’s socialist administration came to power — the message contained in the stained glass has become creepier still, for the message in the glass portends where Obama has taken us the last four years and where he intends to take us yet. It illustrates his game plan, his program, his ideology and his modus operandi. And it might as well hang in the White House for all to see. For the sheep’s clothing has been removed and we see the wolf for what he is…

The wolf plays a prominent role in socialist thought. V.I. Lenin once said “When you live among wolves you must howl like a wolf,” meaning, of course, that if political necessity requires you to act like a capitalist or live among capitalists while you organize and work for socialist causes, you must act like those among whom you live. This is simply a matter of expediency. Norman Thomas, a founder of the A.C.L.U. once said:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

There is a stained glass window (see above) currently on display in the London School of Economics. Designed by George Bernard Shaw to commemorate the founding of the Society, the “Fabian Window” features Society members hammering the world in order, as the motto proclaims, to “REMOULD IT NEARER TO THE HEART’S DESIRE.” [sic]. A close and politically astute friend of mine — and leading expert on socialism — exclaimed: “How brazen are the socialists!”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

When Did Bare Breasts Become Taboo?

Topless Kate Middleton photos would have been socially acceptable in some eras.

A French judge ordered the magazine Closer to turn over topless photos of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, on Tuesday. Attorneys for the magazine argued unsuccessfully that the photographs were not an invasion of privacy because bare breasts are no longer taboo in Europe. When did bare breasts become taboo in Western civilization?

Probably around 3,000 years ago. Women are displayed with exposed breasts in Minoan artwork from 1500 B.C. Some historians believe that these ancient women went topless only during religious rituals — bare-breasted, buxom goddesses have been worshipped since the dawn of civilization-but some of the artworks depict everyday activities, suggesting that bare breasts may have been commonplace. Just across the Mediterranean, ancient Egyptian women sported elaborate dresses that could either cover the breasts or leave them exposed, depending on the whim of the designer. Over the next few centuries, however, breasts become strictly private parts. Ancient Athenian women were wearing flowing, multilayered robes that concealed the shape of the bosom by the middle of the first millennium B.C. Spartan attire was more risqué, exposing the female thigh, but breasts were always covered.

A series of sculptures suggests that even Greek goddesses became more bashful about their breasts during this period. Aphrodite of Cnidus, sculpted by Praxiteles of Athens in the fourth century B.C., depicts the nude goddess covering her genitals but leaving her bosom exposed. In copycat statues sculpted over the next several centuries, however, the goddess uses her other hand to cover a breast as well. The evolution of these Venus pudica sculptures strongly suggests that the ancients had come to feel that modesty required covering the breasts…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


How Children Succeed

Which matters more, cognitive ability or motivation?

The following article is adapted from Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, out now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has made it her life’s work to analyze which children succeed and why. She says she finds it useful to divide the mechanics of achievement into two separate dimensions: motivation and volition. Each one, she says, is necessary to achieve long-term goals, but neither is sufficient alone. Most of us are familiar with the experience of possessing motivation but lacking volition: You can be extremely motivated to lose weight, for example, but unless you have the volition-the willpower, the self-control-to put down the cherry Danish and pick up the free weights, you’re not going to succeed. If children are highly motivated, self-control techniques and exercises-things like learning how to distract themselves from temptations or to think about their goals abstractly-might be very helpful. But what if students just aren’t motivated to achieve the goals their teachers or parents want them to achieve? Then, Duckworth acknowledges, all the self-control tricks in the world aren’t going to help…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

How Eating Sweets Can Boost Your IQ

After three days on the Eurozone, the Deep End turns to the happier subject of confectionery. According to a fascinating piece for Slate by Paul Tough (author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character) eating sweets really can make you more intelligent. Or, at least, they can if you happen to be a child sitting an IQ test.

Mr Tough describes how American researchers discovered that children measured as being of lower-than-average intelligence could raise their scores right up to average if bribed with M&Ms — something which came as bit of a surprise:

“The M&M studies were a major blow to the conventional wisdom about intelligence, which held that IQ tests measured something real and permanent-something that couldn’t be changed drastically with a few candy-covered chocolates. They also raised an important and puzzling question about the supposedly low-IQ children: Did they actually have low IQs or not? Which number was the true measure of their intelligence: 79 or 97?”

Some people dismiss the importance of IQ, but it does make a difference. IQ is related to academic performance which, in turn, predicts how likely a student is to get a good job — “at which point he can buy as many bags of M&M’s as he wants.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Over the Very Long Haul, All That Really Matters is Technology and Religion

by Andrew Lilicoe

It’s sometimes claimed that the values of our society arise game-theoretically, that something about complex societies with an interplay of urban and rural elements and a cycle of seasons means that society can only function without degenerating into anarchy or civil war if we have something close to the morals, values and aspirations that our society has — some kind of respect for fair play; near-equal esteem for all people regardless of sex, disability, creed or colour; toleration or more “positive” liberalism; respect for life; valuing of science and art and music; generosity towards popular culture; and so on.

If that were really so, it would be quite remarkable. Indeed, since the morals, values and aspirations sketched above are clearly judaeo-christian-hellenic, and not shared by almost any other religion or philosophy, and arose in judaeo-christian-hellenism long before anything remotely like a modern society, it would virtually count as a proof of the truth of judaeo-christian-hellenism. In fact, though, I think it’s pretty clear that that’s just wrong. It just isn’t true that complex society couldn’t function on some radically different moral-aesthetic basis from ours. The people that claim that are trying desperately to rationalise their sticking with Christian moral principles even though they’ve ditched the God bit. Society could function perfectly well, thank-you, with human sacrifice, slavery, radical racism, gender-based oppression, the mainstream acceptance of child prostitution, and the hunting as a blood sport of criminals, political dissidents and the disabled.

Once we see this — once we really embrace it — we see that over the very long haul humanity is an epic battleground of values. Many societies, right up to modern times, have routinely burnt widows, culled children for whom there wasn’t surplus food, and exterminated the disabled. There is no necessity in our thinking these things monstrous as opposed to mundane. We think them monstrous only because of which army of ideas we happen to be in — which kingdom of religion we belong to. There is no fundamental reason why, in 500 years’ time, we should not think it perfectly normal, say, to hunt certain groups of humans for sport (as was done by the Indian Thugee cult of the early 19th century, or by the Tasmanian farmers of the late 19th century, or as per the recent hit movie and book series “The Hunger Games”).

One implication of this is that we cannot expect our ideas/values to survive, let alone flourish, unless they have a vehicle to carry and promote them. Call that vehicle a “religion” or a “philosophy” or an “ethic” as you will. But whatever it is, if it’s to flourish in a world of proselytizers — Islam, Evangelical Christianity, Communism — it will need disciples, evangelists and missionaries. If we rely simply upon teaching our children, the fate of the Zoroastrians beckons. Technology does make a difference, but technology-worshippers should be aware of its limitations. Technology will determine whether, if we are curing the sick, we are doing so with herbs or cancer-killing nanobots; or if we are hunting them we are doing so with spears or lasers. But technology cannot tell us whether we are curing or hunting them. Technology utopians that imagine a Star Trek-esque future in which all the world is united in purpose make their story plausible only by imagining a common enemy that unites us — Klingons, Romulans, the Borg. Technology provides the backdrop and implementation of our philosophy/religion/ethic, not its content and purpose.

A political philosophy is merely a theory of the principles, institutions, and customs of a practical outworking of a philosophy/religion/ethic. It cannot be free-standing indefinitely. Divorced from its religio-ethical foundations, a political philosophy will drift, atrophy, fade and die. When we ponder to ourselves the big long-term question — as we must from time to time, and especially in our present circumstances — such as “Does it matter if constitutional Conservatism disappears?” or “Does it matter if Britain disappears altogether, or withdraws from the world stage?” — one of the things we really need to be asking is about the contribution of these institutions/ideas (Britain, constitutional Conservatism/Whiggism) to the expression, development and extension of our preferred religio-ethical systems. Personally I regard Britain as a fundamentally constitutional entity (I don’t believe there are any British values as such, apart from constitutional values; and Britain’s nothing to do with nuns cycling to the village green so they can eat cucumber sandwiches whilst watching cricket, or whatever strange notions Conservative leaders tried to offer in the early 1990s). And I don’t believe that constitutional entity could last long without its Whiggish Conservative protectors. So “Does it matter if constitutional Conservatism disappears?” and “Does it matter if Britain disappears altogether, or withdraws from the world stage?” are really the same question.

Given my own preferred religio-ethical philosophy, the answer to that question, over the long-term, turns on how much the existence of Britain will in the future contribute to the question of whether in 500 years time we shall, say, seek to promote the disciplined welfare of all humans, or instead admire the indisciplined way some humans hunt others for sport. I regard Britain as having served in the past as an excellent disperser of the Christian good news and ethical teaching — though, being human in origin and design, obviously imperfect in all kinds of ways. The United States has an obvious claim as the future political vehicle to carry on the good work. And Britain’s other, less estranged daughters such as Australia and Canada may rise further in the future.

Furthermore, Britain has become very decadent. Our political establishment has no obvious goal/mission in the world — nothing akin to the Single European State project of the Continentals or the religious mission of the United States. Sometimes decadence is the end for great powers. On the other hand, sometimes it’s not. Britain was rather decadent in the late 17th century, and for times in the 18th century, but she recovered. I believe recovering can be of long-term value. A central part of our Establishment recovering, however, will be two things:

  • First, you must understand what is at stake. That we do not respond to recessions by sacrificing our children to the flames or confiscating the property of all the Jews is not inevitable. That we smile and listen to jolly-but-tearful eulogies when a man dies, rather than burning his wife alive is not inevitable. And history is not one way. There is no reason we could not in the future do things we would today consider monstrous. Even if you have no religious underpinning that tells you why you should prefer individual freedom, respect for life and property, and the exalting and protecting of the weak and sick and old and poor, you can at least understand the idea of choosing our team. You can make the pure existential choice to promote judaeo-christian-hellenist values, comprehending that other choices were available and may be made by other people. Over the long-term, the struggle is between us and them. Or if you can’t choose judaeo-christian-hellenist values, choose something else, and convince us that it’s better or more feasible.
  • Second, choose a mission, a goal. What are we working towards? Are we trying to build towards one day terraforming Mars? Or perhaps we are working towards exploring other star systems? Or are we aiming to create a new nation of the Anglosphere? Or are we aiming to be the artistic capital of Europe? Or the scientific powerhouse of the West? What is the mission our Establishment has for our society?

Stick those together — a rationale for our being; and a specific medium-term objective for our society — and our decadence will fade.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Viewpoints: Anti-Islam Film and Self-Censorship

The appearance on Youtube of an anti-Islam film produced in the US has sparked protests and attacks across parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, in which more than 28 people have died.

The furore has prompted debate about balancing freedom of speech with freedom of religion. Should self-censorship and regulation be imposed in order to appease the sensitivities of religious groups?

A selection of analysts give their views:

Ed Husain, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies, US Council on Foreign Relations, and author of The Islamist.

I am a Muslim. I am a Westerner. I see no contradictions in being both. We reached this stage of our history by ending the control of the Catholic church on what could and could not be said or written in public. So-called heretics were killed at the stake to help secure freedom of religion, thought, and expression. These freedoms are sacrosanct to me…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

@ France: Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad Cartoons: Free Speech or Sheer Folly?

Now it at :

63% Free speech
37% Provocation