Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120921

Financial Crisis
»EU Praises Italy’s Deficit Cutting, Says Must Stay Course
»European Bonds “Made for China?”
»I Had to Print Money Even Though Pensioners Suffered, Says Bank of England Governor Mervyn King
»A Nation Betrayed
»Caroline Glick: Obama’s Dangerous Consistency
»College Suspends Professor for Allegedly Attempting to Force Students to Vote for Obama
»Is it Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?
»Michigan Mosque to Hold ‘Rally Against Hate”
»Muslims, Mormons and Liberals
»Obama’s Law School Course Description Cited ‘Institutional Racism in American Society’
»On the Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God
»Radical Islam, Infidels and America
»Romney Recognizes Reality — Rejects Arab Revanchism
»The Fallacy of Redistribution
»U.S. Postal Service Asks Floridians to Stop Crashing Into Post Offices
»Why Are They Lying?
Europe and the EU
»Belgium: Ghent Prostitutes Told to Wear More Clothes
»Crackdown as France Bans Anyone From Protesting About Cartoons Criticising Prophet Mohammad
»Crayfish Invade Hampstead Heath, England
»Danish Mohammad Cartoonist Rejects Censorship
»France: Rising Tensions Over New Muhammed Caricatures
»French Muslim Leader Urges Calm as Mohammad Cartoons Republished
»Germany: How Far Should Satire be Allowed to Go?
»Germany Debates Blasphemy Law
»Italy: Polverini ‘Aware of Funding System’ In Lazio Scandal
»Mammoth Sunken Nazi WWII Plane Discovered in Sardinia
»Norway: Court Upholds Verdict in Muhammad Cartoon Case
»Police to ‘Patrol’ Facebook and Twitter for Terrorists Under EU Plan
»UK: Another Possible Herefordshire ‘Useful Idiot’ Police Superintendent Charlie Hill
»UK: Frustrated Motorist Slaps 81-Year-Old Woman in the Face for Driving at Just 5mph (On Her Way to Visit Her Husband in a Care Home)Usman Yasin Found Guilty of Hitting Patricia Pearson, 81, As She Drove to Visit Her Husband at a Care Home
»UK: Herefordshire’s ‘Useful Idiot’ — Neville Meredith — Community Integration and Race Equality Development Officer
»UK: Latvian Mother Who Already Receives £34,000 in Benefits Demands a Bigger Council House for Her Ten Children
»UK: Muslims Distribute Koran in Response to Anti-Islam Film
»UK: Police Investigate After Web Users Make Racist Comments About Muslim Community Centre
»UK: Pompeii at the British Museum
»UK: Why Andrew Mitchell’s Outburst is Toxic for David Cameron and the Tories
»UK: Waltham Forest Guardian and Council Launch Joint Campaign to Ban English Defence League March
»Fiat: Serbia: New 500l Car Presented at Italian Embassy Gala
Mediterranean Union
»Fule: EBRD Crucial in Enlargement and Med Countries
»Public Administration: Arab Countries Seek Italy’s Help
North Africa
»Egypt: Al-Azhar Denounces Publishing Anti-Prophet Mohamed Caricature in French Newspaper
»Egypt: Germany Not to Backtrack on Exporting Two Submarines to Nation
»Former Guantanamo Inmate Accused of Attack on US Ambassador to Libya
»Serbia: Anti-Islam Film Protests Staged in Muslim-Majority Region
Israel and the Palestinians
»Pay Attention: Simon Hughes Really Knows What the Liberals Think
»Time for One State, Says Key Liberal Democrat
Middle East
»322 Army Officers Jailed Over 2003 Coup in Turkey
»Islam’s Universal Economic Failure
»Turkish Court Sentences Army Officers to Life
»Mosque-Go! Muscovites Rally Against Muslim Center Project
»Mosque Phobia Moves to Moscow
South Asia
»Australia Shuts Pakistan High Commission for Fear of Violent Protests
»Condoms ‘Too Big’ For Indian Men
»Freedom of Expression No Excuse for Insulting Religion: Pakistani PM
»Oslo Muslims Protest Against Anti-Islam Film
»Pakistani Protesters Clash With Police on Muslim “Day of Love”
»Pakistan Cinemas Torched on Day of Rage Against Anti-Islam Film
»Pakistan on Lockdown as Mass Protests Expected to Grip Country
»Pakistani Leaders Play Religious Card as Protests Boil
»Pakistan Summons U.S. Envoy Over Anti-Islam Film
»Police Fire Tear Gas at Women Protesting Against Anti-Islam Film in Indian Kashmir
»Protests Over Anti-Islam Film and Muhammad Cartoons — Live Updates
»Soldier Gives Birth in Afghanistan. What Are We Trying to Create — Mum’s Army?
»Thousands of Bangladeshis Join Dhaka Anti-Innocence Protest
»Thousands Attend Anti-Innocence Rallies in Malaysia
Far East
»Chinese Safety Official Sacked for Smiling at Scene of Bus Crash Where 36 Died
»Philippines: University Bans Anti-Islam Film
»Philippines: Up Professor: Showing of Anti-Islam Film to Push Through
Australia — Pacific
»Lakemba Locals Fear Twisted Words
»Oz Muslim Community Reports Surge in Hate Mails Amid Anti-Islamic Film Protests
»Police Seek Mystery Vic Telephone Bomber
»Radical Muslims Rally as Imams Call for Peace
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Democratic Republic of Congo ‘Should Eschew Tintin’
»Nigeria: Sharia Court Banishes Randy Lover to Kaduna
»The Most Ancient Branch of Anatomically Modern Humans Are the Khoe-San of Southwestern Africa, An Ethnic Group Who Speak Languages Characterized by Frequent Clicks.
Culture Wars
»Alan Charles Kors on Speech Codes, Libertarianism, And the Case for the Humanities
»German Parliament Approves Gender Quota
»Media Gloats Over Decline of the Family
»What Do You Expect When Socialists Are Allowed to Serve in Congress?
»Punishing Blasphemers: New Calls on an Old Issue
»U.N. Chief Says Anti-Islam Filmmaker Abused Freedom of Expression

Financial Crisis

EU Praises Italy’s Deficit Cutting, Says Must Stay Course

Commission will keep monitoring developments

(ANSA) — Brussels, September 21 — The European Commission on Friday praised Italy’s efforts to cut its budget deficit but said the country must stay on the course of fiscal discipline and structural reform.

ANSA sources at the Commission said Italy had done well to reduce its deficit after Premier Mario Monti said on Thursday that the government was committed to achieving a structurally balanced budget — within 0.5% of GDP — next year at the presentation of its economic blueprint for the next two years. But the sources stressed that it is “important that Italy maintains the same determination” in pressing ahead with economic reforms and that the Commission would continue to monitor developments closely.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

European Bonds “Made for China?”

Europe hopes China can help overcome the euro crisis. Although China is keen to keep the euro afloat, they show little interest in buying more bonds. DW spoke with China expert Frank Sieren about another type of bond.

DW: At the last meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, the Chinese leader dropped the typical Asian courtesy and voiced his concerns about the euro. You know people in China’s central bank. Have they already written off the euro?

Frank Sieren: I don’ think so. What I do believe, however, is they are really concerned because the euro is very important to them. They want to have a counterweight to the US dollar; they think in terms of balances. Their concern should be viewed by European nations, especially the leading ones, that they need to find a solution to the euro problem as soon as possible.

Do the Chinese understand why they have not been able to do that so far?

That’s very difficult even for experts to understand because from the outside we get the impression, understandably, that Europeans do and don’t do things that can hurt them. Normally, in a crisis, you say people grow together and stand by each other. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in Europe. And that is particularly difficult to understand in China, where the rich provinces naturally help the poorer ones.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

I Had to Print Money Even Though Pensioners Suffered, Says Bank of England Governor Mervyn King

The Bank of England governor yesterday insisted he had no choice but to pump £375billion into the economy and slash interest rates, despite the crippling effect this has on pensioners.

In his first live television interview, he hinted that the longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years was finally over — but warned the recovery will be ‘slow’.

The governor retires next summer, and one of the biggest controversies of his time at the Bank’s helm is the decision to slash the base rate to an historic low of 0.5 per cent and undertake the radical money-printing experiment, known as ‘quantitative easing’.

QE has the effect of lowering annuity rates, which dictate how much a newly-retired person receives from their pension, to an all-time low.

Some 20 years ago a £100,000 pension pot bought £15,650 a year for life — today it’s just £5,800.

This, combined with low interest rates on savings and the rising cost of living, has hit pensioners especially hard.

Sir Mervyn expressed ‘great sympathy’ for their plight and said he found the impact on their lives ‘deeply upsetting.’

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


A Nation Betrayed

by Diana West

Below is an extraordinary, heart-stopping and historic letter. It is a letter SSG Matthew Sitton sent to U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young after his commanders in Afghanistan told him to “quit whining” about orders to lead patrols without objective “through, for lack of a better term, basically a mine field on a daily basis,” as Sitton wrote. Twice daily basis, in fact. On August 2, 2012, Sitton and another US soldier were killed in one the IED-riddled field he spoke of. Eighty-one-year-old Rep. Young, who attends the same church in Florida as the Sitton family, this week announced he no longer supports the presence of US troops in Afghanistan and called for their withdrawal in advance of 2014. Young also held a hearing yesterday to ask the agency in charge of protecting troops against IEDs to explain why so many are still dying and suffering horrific injuries despite an annual budget of nearly $3 billion.

I support immediate withdrawal (“Let it go”) and commend the Congressman’s resolve — all but unique among his hundreds of peers in the House and Senate, which is in itself a national disgrace — but he is asking the wrong people the wrong question. This is a question of strategy that goes to the heart of the whole multi-billion-dollar nation-building endeavor predicated on a Big Lie that Islam and the West are compatible. It is time for Sitton’s commanders and their commanders and on up the chain of command to be questioned, to talk to We, the People about who devised and signed off on this morally and militarily bankrupt doctrine — counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy — that patriots such as Matthew Sitton have paid for with their lives. It is time for Generals Petraeus, McChrystal, Allen, Dempsey, Admiral Mullen and many more to face us and explain. This letter by Matthew Sitton, RIP, is the right place to start…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: Obama’s Dangerous Consistency

On Tuesday, Egypt’s chief prosecutor issued arrest warrants against eight US citizens.

Their purported crimes relate either to their reported involvement in the production of the Internet movie critical of Islam that has received so much attention over the past 10 days, or to other alleged anti-Islamic activities.

One of the US citizens indicted is a woman who converted from Islam to Christianity.

According to the Associated Press, Egypt’s general prosecution issued a statement announcing that the eight US citizens have been indicted on charges of insulting and publicly attacking Islam, spreading false information, and harming Egyptian national unity.

The statement stipulated that they could face the death penalty if convicted.

The AP write-up of the story quoted Mamdouh Ismail, a Salafi attorney who praised the prosecution’s move. He claimed it would deter others from exercising their right to free expression in regards to Islam. As he put it, the prosecutions will “set a deterrent for them and anyone else who may fall into this.” That is, they will deter others from saying anything critical about Islam.

This desire to intimidate free people into silence on Islam is clearly the goal the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood seek to achieve through their protests of the anti-Islamic movie. This was the message of Muslim Brotherhood chief Yussuf Qaradawi. Three days after the anti-American assaults began on the anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks on America, Qaradawi gave a sermon on Qatar television, translated by MEMRI…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

College Suspends Professor for Allegedly Attempting to Force Students to Vote for Obama

A college professor has been placed on leave after she allegedly forced her class to sign a pledge to vote for President Obama in the upcoming elections. Early last week Professor Sharon Sweet at Brevard Community College (BCC) allegedly told students to sign a pledge that reads: “I pledge to vote for President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Is it Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?

by Daniel Greenfield

When South Park’s depiction of Mohammed was censored due to Muslim threats, professional cartoonists and ordinary people responded with “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” The situation is much graver now than it was two years ago when there was general support for the idea of being able to depict Mohammed and few attacks on those responsible. The man behind the Mohammed movie has been threatened with prison and has become the subject of a media witch-hunt whose sole purpose appears to be disclosing his personal information to his killers. The private and public arms of the Obama administration, its Department of Justice and its media spin corps, are acting to intimidate and punish anyone who dares offend the international Islamist theocracy…

A Mohammed movie does not have to be a historical epic. It can be anything. Depicting Mohammed in any way, even if it’s putting a turban on your cat, is already a form of defiance. Imagine Mohammed in the present day or in the age of the dinosaurs. Imagine him trying to order ice cream. It doesn’t really matter. Creativity is part of what makes such a project interesting. The Mohammed cartoons were just as much about crossing boundaries as about being original, funny or theological. Many of them were really bad, but they succeeded just by existing…

September would seem like a fitting month to be “Make Your Own Mohammed Movie” month, but it’s almost over. October is nearly upon us and there’s something about the Halloween month that seems to fit nearly as well into the picture. The ghost of Mohammed is the specter that haunts the modern world and as it rises from the grave, innocent men and women die. And who is to say that there isn’t a movie in that?

Freedom is not passive. It does not abide waiting around for you to use it. Like all things in this world, it must struggle to survive. Our freedom to think as we wish, speak as we wish and believe as we wish is under siege. The best weapon that the besiegers have at their disposal is our compliance. They can intimidate individuals, but they cannot intimidate the rest of us unless we choose to be intimidated.

The Internet has given us all the tools that we need to fight back. All we have to do is use them.

[JP note: Great ideas — let a thousand movies bloom!]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Michigan Mosque to Hold ‘Rally Against Hate”

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — One of the largest mosques in the United States plans a rally against hateful speech and violent acts stemming from the privately made anti-Islam video that ridiculed the prophet Muhammad and triggered major protests across the Muslim world. The Islamic Center of America in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn calls its Friday afternoon event a “Rally Against Hate” and invites people of all faiths. Organizers hope to call attention to those who provoke violence in their speech and counteract extremism in the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Muslims, Mormons and Liberals

by Bret Stephens

Why is it OK to mock one religion but not another?

‘Hasa Diga Eebowai” is the hit number in Broadway’s hit musical “The Book of Mormon,” which won nine Tony awards last year. What does the phrase mean? I can’t tell you, because it’s unprintable in a family newspaper. On the other hand, if you can afford to shell out several hundred bucks for a seat, then you can watch a Mormon missionary get his holy book stuffed-well, I can’t tell you about that, either. Let’s just say it has New York City audiences roaring with laughter.

The “Book of Mormon”-a performance of which Hillary Clinton attended last year, without registering a complaint-comes to mind as the administration falls over itself denouncing “Innocence of Muslims.” This is a film that may or may not exist; whose makers are likely not who they say they are; whose actors claim to have known neither the plot nor purpose of the film; and which has never been seen by any member of the public except as a video clip on the Internet.

No matter. The film, the administration says, is “hateful and offensive” (Susan Rice), “reprehensible and disgusting” (Jay Carney) and, in a twist, “disgusting and reprehensible” (Hillary Clinton). Mr. Carney, the White House spokesman, also lays sole blame on the film for inciting the riots that have swept the Muslim world and claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Libya. So let’s get this straight: In the consensus view of modern American liberalism, it is hilarious to mock Mormons and Mormonism but outrageous to mock Muslims and Islam. Why? Maybe it’s because nobody has ever been harmed, much less killed, making fun of Mormons…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama’s Law School Course Description Cited ‘Institutional Racism in American Society’

A course description for “Current Issues in Racism and the Law,” a class Barack Obama taught at the University of Chicago Law School 12 times between 1992 and 2004, categorized race relations in the United States as “institutional racism in American society.”

Obama taught the two-hour seminar course more often than his other two classes, “Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process” and “Voting Rights and the Democratic Process.” He taught those eight times beginning in 1996 and six times beginning in 1997, respectively.

The summary of Obama’s course on racism, likely authored by the future president himself, appeared in the law school’s 1995-1996 course catalog.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

On the Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God

by Sam Harris

The latest wave of Muslim hysteria and violence has now spread to over twenty countries. The walls of our embassies and consulates have been breached, their precincts abandoned to triumphant mobs, and many people have been murdered-all in response to an unwatchable Internet video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” Whether over a film, a cartoon, a novel, a beauty pageant, or an inauspiciously named teddy bear, the coming eruption of pious rage is now as predictable as the dawn. This is already an old and boring story about old, boring, and deadly ideas. And I fear it will be with us for the rest of our lives.

Our panic and moral confusion were at first sublimated in attacks upon the hapless Governor Romney. I am no fan of Romney’s, and I would find the prospect of his presidency risible if it were not so depressing, but he did accurately detect the first bleats of fear in the Obama administration’s reaction to this crisis. Romney got the timing of events wrong-confusing, as many did, a statement made by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for an official government response to the murder of Americans in Libya. But the truth is that the White House struck the same note of apology, disavowing the offending speech while claiming to protect free speech in principle. It may seem a small detail, given the heat of the moment-but so is a quivering lip…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Radical Islam, Infidels and America

Islamic radicals are doing what they usually do; target Infidels and people of difference for threats and murder. After they torture and murder ‘Infidels’ they, the progressive left and Obama minions blame us for the attacks. We exercise too many 1st amendment rights. We notice and comment on the body parts flying by and little things like our Ambassadors being analy raped, tortured and murdered.

We cannot possibly have anyone daring to point out the real teachings of Islam per the Koran and murderous behavior all around the world. Shut up and take it America. Walk politely to your Infidel grave. Unless of course, you will submit to the Muslim tax or forcibly convert to Islam. Chapter 9 in the Koran at least gives us 3 options…convert to Islam, submit to their tax or die.


In response to the growing danger by Islamics against our Embassies, Obama is cutting $129 million for the Embassy Security budget. According to the Weekly Standard, Obama’s plan will cut $1,084 Billion from the State Department’s Diplomatic and Consular Program. Specifically this includes $2 Million less for the protection of foreign Missions and officials and $129 million less for Embassy Security and maintenance. Doesn’t Obama sound concerned about all this violence and danger though?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Romney Recognizes Reality — Rejects Arab Revanchism

Republican Presidential Nominee Mitch Romney has made a valuable contribution to the public debate in exposing the utter folly of those who continue to still believe in the possibility of the creation of a second Arab state in former Palestine — in addition to Jordan — for the first time ever in recorded history.

Nineteen years of intensive efforts to bring this new Arab state to fruition have seen very little in tangible returns despite the most influential negotiating team ever assembled in history — the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States — having been involved for the last nine years.

After two substantive offers by Israel to cede its claim to more than 90% of the West Bank in 2000/2001 and 2008 in favour of the Palestinian Authority — and after Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005 — the resumption of further negotiations without preconditions remains deadlocked.

If those negotiations are ever resumed — the likelihood of any concluded agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is very remote — unless the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and agrees to any newly created state of Palestine being demilitarised.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Fallacy of Redistribution

The recently discovered tape on which Barack Obama said back in 1998 that he believes in redistribution is not really news. He said the same thing to Joe the Plumber four years ago. But the surfacing of this tape may serve a useful purpose if it gets people to thinking about what the consequences of redistribution are.

Those who talk glibly about redistribution often act as if people are just inert objects that can be placed here and there, like pieces on a chess board, to carry out some grand design. But if human beings have their own responses to government policies, then we cannot blithely assume that government policies will have the effect intended.

The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty. The communist nations were a classic example, but by no means the only example.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. Postal Service Asks Floridians to Stop Crashing Into Post Offices

The U.S. Postal Service has taken the unusual step of releasing a set of helpful tips to help reduce the number of drivers in Florida who have been crashing their cars into post offices. This year so far, eight drivers have crashed into post offices in Central Florida alone.

Local ABC affiliate WWSB7 reports that the tips include, “Avoid distracted driving; Proceed slowly and carefully when pulling in, and backing out, of parking spaces; Visibly check to see whether your foot is on the gas pedal or the brake pedal,” and “Visibly check to see if the vehicle is in Park, Reverse or Drive.”

The USPS says the two most common causes of such accidents are when drivers step on the gas instead of the brake pedal and when the driver accelerates thinking the vehicle is in reverse.

In June 2011, 89-year-old Phyllis Slaunwhite crashed her vehicle into a Florida post office, causing more than $250,000 in damages. Slaunwhite later told police she had blacked out and had no memory of the accident.

“It was just a big smash and everyone started shuffling toward the front of the building,” local resident Frank Kubacki told the Tampa Bay Times. “There you go. Another Florida accident.”

Florida is home to more than 15,000,000 drivers, nearly a third, or about 4 million, of whom are over the age of 60.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Why Are They Lying?

On the Letterman show, President Barack Obama once again blamed Middle East violence on a movie, adding that he was concerned about the “shadowy character” behind it. That “shadowy character” was picked up by the police, acting on behalf of the federal government, in order to begin the process of appeasing Islamic censors around the world who want to destroy our First Amendment rights.

Blaming a movie shifts the attention away from the fact that al-Qaeda is behind the violence and that Osama bin-Laden’s death hasn’t affected the global terrorist war against America. Indeed, as we have reported, the murders in Libya demonstrate that the Obama policy, backed by Senator John McCain, has emboldened al-Qaeda in an important Arab/Muslim country. Since the U.S. military intervention in Libya was illegal and unconstitutional, the shocking emergence of al-Qaeda in Libya is one scandal on top of another. It has been argued that the Libya intervention is an impeachable offense.


Acknowledging the truth undermines the Obama policy of cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The truth that the Muslim Brotherhood is a violence-prone group that continues to sponsor or promote anti-American terrorism cannot be conceded by this administration because it has a policy of “engaging” with them and providing them foreign aid.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium: Ghent Prostitutes Told to Wear More Clothes

Prostitutes in the Belgian city of Ghent have been told to cover up and stop suggestive gyrating in their windows as of next month.

As of October 1, the “working girls” will have to abide by the rules or else face a 120-euro (£95) fine. A new local police order will force prostitutes working day and night behind Amsterdam-style, neon-flashing windows, a feature of the trade across north-eastern mainland Europe, to cover up and quit sexually-charged posing before passers-by. Mayor Daniel Termont told AFP he was not “anti-prostitutes.” “I’m not a puritan,” he said. “Far from it! A city like Ghent needs prostitutes, but they have to respect certain rules.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Crackdown as France Bans Anyone From Protesting About Cartoons Criticising Prophet Mohammad

France has banned street protests against cartoons denigrating Islam’s Prophet Mohammad that were published by a French satirical magazine this week.

The crackdown comes as part of a security measure while prayers took place across the Muslim world.

The country’s Muslim population, drawn largely from ex-colonies in North and West Africa, shrugged off the controversy as imams in mosques denounced the pictures but urged their followers to remain calm.


Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged.

‘There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up,’ he told a news conference in the southern port city of Marseille.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Crayfish Invade Hampstead Heath, England

The greatest dangers for bathers using Hampstead Heath’s ponds used to be hypothermia or an encounter with a disgruntled duck.

But authorities have been forced to issue a new warning following reports that an invasive breed of crayfish has swamped the open-air pools and begun nipping swimmers in intimate places.

It is a particularly sensitive problem in the Men’s Pond, where many bathers prefer to swim in the nude.

The culprits are Red Swamp Crayfish, a non-native species known for their aggressive behaviour and long claws. First spotted in the north London park around 20 years ago, they are now multiplying at such a rate that around 5,000 of them are said to be colonising the ponds.

Doug Slade, chairman of the Hampstead Heath Anglers Association, said one of his members reported catching 180 of the crayfish in one hour.

“They just breed and breed and breed — they eat all the fish in the ponds and there is nothing we can do to stop them.

“We don’t want them here as they are destroying the wildlife,” Mr Slade said.

For the bathers, the problem is more painful. Peter McCafferty, 43, a regular visitor to the ponds, said: “I have been seeing more and more crayfish being pulled out of the ponds and I am very wary of them.

“I’ve had a couple of nips on my toes in the past few months, usually when I stop for a rest and tread water. But some people have been nipped in altogether more sensitive places, which doesn’t bear thinking about.”

A fellow swimmer said he had been nipped on the bottom. “I suppose I was lucky really — if the crayfish had decided to attack from the other side I would have been in a lot more pain,” he said.

“From now on I’m wearing my trunks.”

A spokesman for the City of London Corporation, which runs the Heath, said: “We would prefer it if the crayfish had not been released in the first place, given that they are a non-native species. We don’t know how they got there, but a likely explanation is that they were dumped in the ponds.

“Now that they are here, we would recommend that swimmers keep their distance to avoid getting a pinch.

“We would also advise people to wear clothes.”

Hampstead Heath has three bathing areas — the Men’s Pond, Ladies’ Pond and Mixed Pond — and has welcomed bathers in all seasons since the 19th century.

Crayfish are not the only non-native species to invade the Heath, one of the capital’s loveliest open spaces.

It is also home to a colony of parakeets, more commonly found in Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Nobody is quite sure how they arrived there but the most colourful theory had them escaping from the set of John Huston’s 1951 film The African Queen, which was filmed at Shepperton studios in Surrey.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Danish Mohammad Cartoonist Rejects Censorship

(Reuters) — The Danish cartoonist who outraged Muslims with a drawing of the Prophet Mohammad seven years ago has said the West cannot let itself be muzzled by fear of offending Islamic sensibilities.

Kurt Westergaard, whose lampoon of Mohammad in the Jyllands-Posten paper nearly got him killed by an axe-wielding assassin in 2010, told Austrian magazine News he had no regrets about his work and said freedom of speech was too precious to relinquish. “Should we in future let ourselves be censored by Islamic authorities in deeply undemocratic countries? Should they be allowed to tell the German chancellor in future whom she should honor and whom not? Are we really this far along?” he asked, referring to Angela Merkel’s citation of his work…

[JP note: Kurt Westergaard will be cherished and appreciated long after Merkel and her Western dhimmi co-leaders have exited the world’s political stage.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Rising Tensions Over New Muhammed Caricatures

Right in the middle of the tensions about the anti-Islam film, a French magazine has added fuel to fire by publishing new Muhammed caricatures. Critics accuse the publicaton of intenionally provoking the Muslim world. For years already, the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has had a reputation for causing a stir with its controversial headlines and biting humor. Now, the French publication is following up on that. The magazine has put a Muhammed caricature on its front cover, despite the tensions and violence across many Muslim countries in reaction to an anti-Islam video. The caricature shows a Muslim with a turban — intended to depict the prophet Muhammed — in a wheelchair being pushed by a Jew. Inside the copy, the magazine picks up on the controversy around the anti-Islam video produced in the United States.

Just like in the case of the Muhammed caricatures published seven years ago in a Danish daily paper, it’s about the freedom of expression and the responsibility of the media. While the French government is trying to de-escalate the situation, Charlie Hebdo defends its decision to publish the caricatures as freedom of the press. “We see this publication as a part of a our job and as a free expression of opinion,” editor-in-chief Gerard Biard told Deutsche Welle. “If a stupid movie is leading to clashes across almost the entire globe and we journalists are not allowed to comment on that — then who is?” Biard argued.

Under the cloak of press freedom?

Yet Schirin Amir-Moazami of Berlin University doubts that this is the actual reason. “I am not sure that it’s really about protecting press freedom,” the Islam expert told DW. It could also be about not just provoking Muslims, but showing them that they are not welcome in France.” Amir-Moazami has the impression that the goal is rather to pour more fuel into the fire…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

French Muslim Leader Urges Calm as Mohammad Cartoons Republished

PARIS (Reuters) — The main agency representing Muslims in France appealed for calm on Friday as a new print run of cartoons featuring a naked Prophet Mohammad hit newsstands, raising fears of protests on prayers day around the Islamic world. The drawings in satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo risk stoking a furore over a film mocking the Prophet, which provoked the storming of U.S. and other Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. envoy to Libya and a suicide bombing in Afghanistan…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: How Far Should Satire be Allowed to Go?

German satire magazine ‘Titanic’ is set to publish an Islam issue in October. The publication’s editor told DW self-censorship wouldn’t help anyone, but understands some may question the magazine’s motives. On the right-hand-side a bearded man wearing a turban outstretches his right hand, a dagger in his grip; in his left hand he’s holding Bettina Wulff, the wife of Germany’s former president. This photomontage will appear one week from Friday in the October edition of the German satirical magazine “Titanic”. Its title, “The West in turmoil. Bettina Wulff shoots film about Muhammad!”

That the completely fictional satire, which makes use of two much-discussed topics in German media, could further provoke protests and riots in Muslim countries is difficult to believe, according to “Titanic” editor Leo Fischer. “On the contrary, I believe this issue is more than likely going to ease tensions in the Arab world,” Fischer says with a tone of irony he maintains throughout most of the interview. “I have read the Koran several times. The Koran does not prohibit making fun of Bettina Wulff.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany Debates Blasphemy Law

Germany is currently debating whether the film “Innocence of Muslims” should be allowed to be viewed by the public. Based on a paragraph in the German penal code, the film theoretically could be banned. In everyday German linguistic usage, one speaks of the “blasphemy paragraph” in connection with Paragraph 166 of the German penal code, but technically the law is not only about blasphemy. The reason is that sacrilege, or the slander of God — or any of the prophets — on its own has not been punishable in Germany since 1969, when paragraph 166 was fundamentally revamped. However, a penalty of up to three years in prison or a fine can be handed down to anyone who “publicly, or via the dissemination of writings, slanders the religious confession of another person” — if and only if this is done in a way that “is meant to disturb the peace.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Polverini ‘Aware of Funding System’ In Lazio Scandal

Official probed for embezzlement implicates governor

(ANSA) Rome, September 20 — Lazio regional councillor Franco Fiorito, under investigation for inappropriate use and embezzlement of electoral funds in Italy’s latest corruption scandal, said Thursday the regional governor must have been aware of how the funds were disbursed. “The governor of the region Renata Polverini could not have not known, since the decision was made by the whole administration,” Fiorito said when he was questioned by prosecutors in Rome Thursday.

Fiorito is the former head of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party in the administration of the region around Rome.

Polverini is hinting she will stand down because of the scandal but Berlusconi has said she should stay.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mammoth Sunken Nazi WWII Plane Discovered in Sardinia

Only known example of ‘Gigant’

(ANSA) Cagliari, September 12; The wreckage of the only known example of a mammoth, Nazi-era, German airplane was found by a diver in waters near the Italian island of Sardinia.

The Me-323 “Gigant” was the largest land-based transport aircraft used in World War II. The German airforce produced about 200 models of the plane, which had a 55-metre wingspan and six engines. The planes were 10 metres tall, 30 metres long and weighed 45 tonnes.

Military history buff and diver Cristina Freghieri found the sunken wreckage 64 metres under the sea near La Maddalena archipelago at the northeastern tip of Sardinia, after a year-long hunt through archives and history studies.

The Me-323 was shot down by a British plane during an air battle on July 26, 1943.

A Milan bookseller specialized in military history tipped Freghieri off to recent work by a historian retracing the flight of the British plane, locating the area where it had downed the German transport plane.

In early January, Freghieri went to La Maddalena and began dropping a wire-guided camera into the water.

A local fisherman, Mario Vitello, took her to a location where he thought the plane had gone down. She began trying the area on May 27 and found the sunken plane the next day.

“It was a dive, a little forced due to fatigue from the morning’s work. It was a pure emotional charge to suddenly see the airplane in the veiled blue of the sea. First we saw a piece of a sheet of metal, then another until the plane appeared, in an explosion of images, in all its beauty. My heart skipped a beat,” Freghieri said.

Freghieri’s friend, Aldo Ferrucci, accompanied her on her adventures.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Norway: Court Upholds Verdict in Muhammad Cartoon Case

A Norwegian appeals court upheld on Thursday the guilty verdicts of two men in a plot to bomb a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, local media said.

The men were arrested in 2010 for planning to blow up the offices of the Jyllands-Posten daily that had published 12 caricatures of the Muslim prophet in September 2005.

In January, an Oslo district court sentenced Norwegian national Mikael Davud, a member of China’s Uighur minority considered the mastermind of the plot, to seven years behind bars.

It handed Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, an Iraqi Kurd residing in Norway, a three-and-a-half-year term.

While the appeals court upheld the verdict Thursday, the decision concerned only the men’s guilt and not the length of their sentences.

The court failed to come to a decision over the guilt of a third man, David Jakobsen — an Uzbek arrested at the same time as Davud and Bujak — according to Norway’s NRK broadcaster.

Jakobsen was acquitted in January of the most serious charges but was sentenced to four months’ jail for helping the others procure bomb-making material.

The appeals decision came after French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which reproduced the Danish caricatures in 2006 and whose offices were fire-bombed last year, published new cartoons featuring crude depictions of the prophet.

Their publication comes against a background of violent protests across the Muslim world, which first erupted early last week over an anti-Islam film made in California and posted on the internet.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Police to ‘Patrol’ Facebook and Twitter for Terrorists Under EU Plan

Police across Europe will “patrol” Facebook, Google and Twitter for postings supporting terrorism under an EU project detailed in a leaked report.

Internet firms also face an array of new obligations to monitor their services for extremist material, according to a document about the “Clean IT” initiative seen by The Telegraph. “It must be legal for police officers to ‘patrol’ on social media. This includes having a profile, joining user groups, sending and receiving messages, on the platform,” the document says. Officials are also preparing proposals for “semi automated detection” systems and buttons to allow users to report suspicious activity on social networks and chatrooms to authorities. “Users must be provided a way to flag/report terrorism and radicalising content as a separate, specific category to flag/report,” the report, produced last month, recommends. “Providers of chat boxes, email services, messaging systems, social networks, retailing sites, voice over internet protocol ad web forums must have flagging systems.”

The monitoring and flagging systems would be linked to law enforcement agencies, with data shared across Europe. The plan is likely to spark alarm among internet companies, who have long argued it would be impractical and repressive to force them to police the web. The plans call for new legislation that would force internet companies to offer filtering software as a condition of trading in the EU. Civil rights activists warned that Clean IT, funded by a 400,000 euro grant and led by Dutch counter-terrorism officials, could mandate “vigilantism” online and a clampdown on free speech. Joe McNamee, chief executive of the civil rights organisation EDRi” warned that the project could have unintended consequences for web users. “I’m not a terrorist, as long as a Greek or Estonian policeman doesn’t accidentally think I’m a terrorist,” he said…

Mr McNamee suggested that repressive regimes would “laugh till they choke when the EU next lectures them regarding free speech online”.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Another Possible Herefordshire ‘Useful Idiot’ Police Superintendent Charlie Hill

Definition of Useful Idiot:

Originally coined by Vladimir Lenin shortly after the Russian Revolution, it refers to wealthy Westerners who favoured the Bolsheviks in their revolution. It is usually followed by “The capitalists will sell us the rope we will use to hang them.”

A policeman’s lot is not a happy one so the song goes but maybe not for Police Superintendent Charlie Hill of Herefordshire. He appears to have a nice little number pandering to the ranks of the perpetually offended and apparently promoting Islam as well. He’s stuck his head over the parapet to show his multicultural credentials by investigating alleged ‘racist’ comments on the Hereford Times Bulletin Board and on the Facebook site of the Hereford Masjid Fundraising Campaign (which has since shut down due to sheer volume of abuse)…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Frustrated Motorist Slaps 81-Year-Old Woman in the Face for Driving at Just 5mph (On Her Way to Visit Her Husband in a Care Home)Usman Yasin Found Guilty of Hitting Patricia Pearson, 81, As She Drove to Visit Her Husband at a Care Home

An aggressive driver slapped an elderly woman across the face after he became enraged over her slow driving.

Usman Yasin, 30, attacked the 81-year-old after unleashing a barrage of abuse at her for travelling at 5mph on her way to visit her husband at a care home.

Patricia Pearson, of Burton upon Trent, suffered serious facial injuries in the road rage assault — which Yasin claimed he committed in self-defence after she struck the first blow.

He was found guilty of hitting Mrs Pearson following a trial at Burton upon Trent Magistrates’ Court in Staffordshire.

The court heard how Yasin became increasingly frustrated as he travelled behind Mrs Pearson in All Saints Road, Burton upon Trent at around 2pm on June 17.

He claimed that she had been driving at no more than 5mph along the narrow residential street, which has a number of speed bumps.

As the two vehicles reached a point where the road opened up Yasin darted past Mrs Pearson and pulled in front of her, coming to a stop and switching off his engine.

Mrs Pearson got out of her car and approached Yasin’s green Peugeot 206, leaning into the window to ask what he was doing when he unloaded a series of foul abuse at her.

The elderly woman put her hand towards Yasin’s face in an attempt to make him stop, but he swung out an arm and slapped her across the face.

The court was shown shocking images of Mrs Pearson’s injuries, which included a swollen lip, lumps to the forehead and cuts to her cheek.

Mrs Pearson also said that Yasin had got out of his car, pushed her and shook her.

But Yasin denied hitting her more than once, which was supported by independent witnesses, and added that her injuries appeared worse because of her age.

Burton Magistrates’ Court accepted that Mrs Pearson, who was said to have been ‘frightened’ by the attack, had become ‘confused’ in her recollection of the events.

The confrontation was only halted when a bystander came between the two and intervened.

Frederick Powell, prosecuting, said: ‘Any remorse that he says he has shown is crocodile tears.

‘Had it not been for Mr Smith getting in the way, he would have gone after her again.’

But Yasin claimed he was ‘very remorseful’.

He added: ‘She’s the same age as my grandma. If I had taken a second to think and had just driven on I wouldn’t be here today.’

The case was adjourned for sentence until October 10 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Herefordshire’s ‘Useful Idiot’ — Neville Meredith — Community Integration and Race Equality Development Officer

Useful Idiots

Originally coined by Vladimir Lenin shortly after the Russian Revolution, it refers to wealthy Westerners who favored the Bolsheviks in their revolution. It is usually followed by “The capitalists will sell us the rope we will use to hang them.”

I choose Mr Neville Meredith to be my choice for ‘useful idiot’ on the grounds of here we have someone who is being paid for by Herefordshire and national taxpayers to promote the enforced imposition of an Islamic Cultural Centre (or MOSQUE as it otherwise is known) onto Herefordshire. Now Mr Meredith is on Herefordshire’s Racial Equality Team, in other words he is a Diversity Officer. The fact that he is a diversity officer and in that role is promoting the ideology of Islam to the squeezed taxpayers of Herefordshire has a delicious irony. Mr Meredith is promoting in Islam an ideology that goes out of its way to avoid having diversity of faith, diversity of race, diversity of thought. Truly you are as Lenin said ‘providing yourself with the rope’ with which the Islamists will hang you with.

Since at least 2003 Mr Meredith has been involved in various local authority roles in the county and often in the fields of diversity. Hereford taxpayers, for nearly ten years you have paid Mr Meredith to sneer at Western culture whilst distributing your cash to travellers groups, various ethnic vanity projects and so much more. Just think how better spent that money could have been in ways that would have benefited all, not just fashions chosen favourites. There have been protests against the idea of a Mosque in Hereford and Mr Meredith played the useful idiot role par excellence when he tried to calm fears about the building…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Latvian Mother Who Already Receives £34,000 in Benefits Demands a Bigger Council House for Her Ten Children

Neighbours reacted with outrage last night after an immigrant mother of ten who receives £34,000 a year in benefits demanded that the council gives her a larger home.

Latvian Linda Kozlovska, 31, arrived in Britain with three of her children in 2008 and moved into a council-maintained three-bedroom house.

Four years later, however, the single mother says she is unhappy living there — because she has had three more children and four others have moved over from Latvia.

‘I have ten children living here with me,’ she said. ‘I’m the only adult. I am on the council waiting list, but we’re still here.

‘They don’t have a big enough house. I want a bigger house. I don’t like it here. When we moved in it had bed bugs.’

Her neighbours are fuming. They say up to 18 people lived in the terraced home at one point, creating mess outside.

One claimed the property was, essentially, a ‘halfway house’ for Latvians when they first arrive in the country.

Miss Kozlovska will not reveal how many men fathered her children.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslims Distribute Koran in Response to Anti-Islam Film

With violent protests escalating around the world over the video “Innocence of Muslims”, a Muslim organisation in the United Kingdom decided to react in a very different way: by distributing copies of the Koran in English to non-Muslims, with the aim of countering prejudice against Islam. Photos of the Koran distribution, which have been widely shared on social networks, contrast sharply with those of the violent protests of the past week — they show young Muslim volunteers distributing free Korans in a shopping centre in London.

Behind this initiative is the organisation Discover Islam, whose goal is to educate non-Muslims in the United Kingdom about their faith. It works mainly with learning institutions (schools and universities) and public libraries, giving talks and putting on exhibits that convey a positive image of Islam…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Investigate After Web Users Make Racist Comments About Muslim Community Centre

POLICE are investigating racist comments made over the internet in response to plans for a Muslim place of worship in Hereford. Comments were made via social networking sites after plans for a community centre for Muslims were revealed. One comment posted on the Hereford Masjid Fundraising Campaign’s Facebook page, which has since shut down, threatened to contaminate any land identified as a potential site and referred to the group as vermin. Supt Charlie Hill, the policing commander for Herefordshire, said everyone has a right to feel safe in the county.

He said: “I’m keen to point out all minority groups should be able to live, work and play in Herefordshire in a peaceful environment and we are rigorously investigating the inappropriate comments made by people in electronic format. We vigorously support the fact that the Muslim community should have a community centre. The police in Herefordshire have really good relations with minority groups and if you find yourself under attack for being part of a minority group then get in touch with the police.” Anyone with information regarding the inappropriate comments can contact DC Dave Bentley on 0300 3333000.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Pompeii at the British Museum

by Harry Mount

A new show at the British Museum will include staggering survivals of the 2,000 year-old volcanic disaster in Pompeii among its 250 objects, writes Harry Mount.

When you walk round Pompeii, the biggest crowds always gather in front of the poignant plaster casts of the dead Romans — killed not by the lava, but by the intense heat and fumes that rushed through the streets before the lava engulfed them. You feel an immediate, agonising human sympathy with these poor, ancient Italians — their bodies hunched in terror — even though they were wiped out almost 2,000 years ago. In a nutshell, that human element is what makes the Pompeii story so eternally compelling; and what will make next spring’s blockbuster at the British Museum as big a draw as the last Pompeii exhibition, one of the great British shows of the 1970s, along with the Tutankhamun exhibition…

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum’ will be at the British Museum, London WC1, March 28-September 29 2013. For Tickets, go to

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Why Andrew Mitchell’s Outburst is Toxic for David Cameron and the Tories

by Benedict Brogan

Here’s why today’s Sun front page is terrible news for David Cameron and for the Tories generally. When Andrew Mitchell was appointed as Chief Whip, those of us who follow Westminster had lots of fun imagining what Thrasher would be like as the parliamentary party’s enforcer. The idea was to bring a smack of firm government to a wayward parliamentary party, in itself a risky proposition. At the time I predicted triumph or disaster. We traded references to House of Cards, and jokes about 50 Shades and Christian Grey. Students of Mr Mitchell’s progress recalled his time as the campaign manager for David Davis, which even his friends will tell you was a disaster. Plenty of MPs will have cause for reading the Sun’s account of Mr Mitchell’s exchange with the Downing Street policeman and nodding in recognition. They shook their heads in wonderment at the way he oiled up to George Osborne in mid-leadership campaign, and how the high living millionaire reinvented himself as a friend of the world’s poor…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Waltham Forest Guardian and Council Launch Joint Campaign to Ban English Defence League March

TODAY your Guardian teams up with Waltham Forest Council to stop the English Defence League (EDL) peddling its hatred and prejudice in our borough for the second time in two months. Our joint campaign ‘Waltham Forest — United. Strong. Together.’ calls on the government to step in and ban the EDL from going ahead with its planned march through Walthamstow on October 27. The move follows hot on the heels of the EDL’s last parade through the town on September 1, when its route was blocked by opponents who outnumbered the marchers by 10 to one…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Fiat: Serbia: New 500l Car Presented at Italian Embassy Gala

Premier Dacic, great success for Serbia with 450 mln revenues

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, SEPTEMBER 19 — The new Fiat 500L car which has been produced since July at the Kragujevac plant in central Serbia was officially presented in a ceremony at the Italian embassy in Belgrade attended among others by the Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Economy and Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic.

‘The 500L is a great success for Serbia and the demonstration that it is possible to make great investments in our country’, Dacic told guests at the gala. The prime minister added that Serbia is expecting 450 million euros in revenues from exports of the new model by the Turin-based Italian carmaker. ‘We are extremely satisfied about the cooperation with Fiat which is a good partner, and Serbia can benefit from its experience’, he said, adding that the investment will contribute ‘to develop all of Serbia, Kragujevac and its region’.

Dinkic, the economy minister, also said Kragujevac Fiat is expecting to produce 30,000 500L models, with the official beginning of sales in Serbia kicking off on September 22.

In 2013, he added, Fiat Serbia wants to produce between 140-160,000 500L cars and plans revenues totalling 2 billion euros.

The host of the gala, Italian Ambassador to Serbia Armando Varricchio, stressed that Fiat is the foreign company which has made the most significant investment in Serbia so far, although about one hundred small and large Italian companies operate in the country.

‘Fiat came here because it counts very much on Serbia’s future as Italy maintains close economic ties with this country and continues to support with conviction its progress towards integration in the EU’, said the ambassador.

Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne visited earlier this month the Kragujevac factory where the 500L is produced and presented it to the new Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic. Marchionne inaugurated the factory in April this year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Fule: EBRD Crucial in Enlargement and Med Countries

Meeting in Brussels with the new president of the EU Bank

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 20 — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) “is a key partner for us in mitigating the impact of the financial crisis in our partner countries and particularly those in the enlargement area”, mostly in the Balkans, said Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule today, after the meeting with the new President of EBRD, Suma Chakrabarti.

“Based on its experience over the last 20 years — Fule added — EBRD has a specific role to play in supporting private sector development and job creation”. Fule and Chakrabarti discussed the EBRD’s operations in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, which have recently started.

“It is important — the EU Commissioner said — to continue working towards the expansion of the Bank’s activities in the Mediterranean region, notably with a view to creating employment opportunities, while ensuring such expansion is not to the detriment of the other countries within its mandate”. Regarding the Mediterranean area “we agreed that close coordination of all donors in the region is important in order to respond effectively to the important challenges” Fule declared.

The EU Commissioner also raised the potential membership of Kosovo in the EBRD, reiterating the EU view that Kosovo’s socio-economic development would be enhanced through such membership.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Public Administration: Arab Countries Seek Italy’s Help

Training centre for administrators created in Caserta

(ANSAmed) — CASERTA, SEPTEMBER 19 — Libya needs the full support of the international community, said Isa Al Twaijri, the Libyan minister in charge of transparency and the fight against corruption, addressing today the inauguration of a centre in the southern Italian city of Caserta which will organize training courses for public administration officials in Arab countries.

The centre has been set up by the OECD and the Italian public administration school (SSPA), which trains public managers.

‘Libya needs everybody’s support’, said Al Twijri, adding that ‘we are counting on your help to unite the Libyan people with the international community’.

Rolf Alter, the director of the OECD’s Public Governance said he was struck by ‘Italy’s incredible effort to organize this centre’ while the President of SSPA Giovanni Tria stressed the great effort to be made ‘to accompany the democratic transition in Middle Eastern and North African regions, sponsoring dialogue between public administrations’.

Libya’s position was shared by representatives of other countries which have experienced the Arab Spring as post-regime democracies ‘still need to do much’, said the Libyan minister and ‘getting everybody’s help is essential’.

‘Today’s problems depend on a sort of interruption of the development process as we must now deal with the public administration’s inability to do many things’, said Al Twijri, who also accused Gaddafi of ‘having created complete reliance on oil’.

The minister cited as a priority ‘fighting corruption and promoting a well-trained labour force’ as well as ‘improving sectors such as education and healthcare’.

Abdelaadim El Guerrouj, the Moroccan minister for modernization and the administration, said ‘Morocco strongly believes in the promotion of dialogue to support national reforms’. He also said that ‘this is a difficult time during which cooperation ties need to be strengthened to respond to the concerns of our countries’.

The minister announced that Morocco is working on the institution of a centre to evaluate public policies.

Jordan also expressed satisfaction along with Tunisia. ‘We have chosen to abide by international governance rules’, stressed Abderrahman Ladgham, the Tunisian minister in charge of transparency.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Al-Azhar Denounces Publishing Anti-Prophet Mohamed Caricature in French Newspaper

Al-Azhar al-Sharif has denounced caricature defaming Prophet Mohamed, which was run by a French newspaper, in a clear challenge to a request by the French premier to the Chief editors to halt the publication of anti Islam literature. In a statement on Wednesday 19/9/2012, al-Azhar said this defaming literature would add more fuel to the fire which was ignited by the anti-Islam film, rejecting repetition of these insults. Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al -Tayyeb said expressions of rejection and anger should be peacefully made.

The Grand Imam called on Western countries to support al-Azhar call on United Nations Secretary General to issue a resolution criminalizing attacks against religions. Al -Tayyeb said any person disdaining religious should be punished like those who perpetrate anti-Semitism crimes.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Germany Not to Backtrack on Exporting Two Submarines to Nation

German Ambassador in Cairo Michael Bock said his country will not backtrack on its decision to export two submarines to Egypt. No person or government in the world can obstruct any decision taken by the German government, Bock added during a press conference in Cairo on Wednesday 19/9/2012. The Federal Security Council in Germany is the body in charge of exporting arms, he said, noting that decisions in this respect are deemed covert and no one is entitled to veto them. Bock’s remarks came when asked to comment on Israel’s angry reaction concerning the sale of the submarines to Egypt. The German diplomat said he is pleased with policies adopted by President Mohamed Morsi…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Former Guantanamo Inmate Accused of Attack on US Ambassador to Libya

The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi may have been led by a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay who was sent back to Libya by President George W. Bush.

US intelligence officials believe Sufyan Ben Qumu, one of the leaders of the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, is likely to have been behind the assault. Mr Ben Qumu, who now lives openly in the Libyan town of Derna, 150 miles to the east of Benghazi, was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2007. He was imprisoned in Tripoli upon his return to Libya, but later freed by Col Muammar Gaddafi’s government. The 53-year-old has so far refused to comment on repeated allegations that Ansar al-Sharia members were present during last week’s raid, which killed the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. Most Libyan authorities however, including the militias charged with security in Benghazi, believe it was organised by, and featured members of the group. “Now it is very clear who was responsible for this,” Mohammed al-Gharabi, the leader of the biggest pro government militias, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Serbia: Anti-Islam Film Protests Staged in Muslim-Majority Region

Belgrade, September 21 (AKI) — Fans from a football club in Serbia’s Muslim-majority region have planned a protest march Friday against a controversial US made film that has sparked deadly protests in the Muslim world.

Police said fans from the Torcida Sandzak football club were planning to march in the centre of Novi Pazar against the low-budget film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ that portrays Islam’s Prophet Mohammed as a womanising fraudster.

Local authorities have okayed the Novi Pazar march, police were cited as telling Serbia’s Beta news agency.

Torcida Sandzak fans said they would gather the town’s main square straight after Friday prayers and may only carry banners with the slogan “The Prophet is in my heart”, Beta said.

The head of local non-governmental organisation “Urban In” said the planned march as “a legitimate act”, noting it was the first time Muslims in Novi Pazar had reacted to ‘blasphemous’ depictions of Mohammed.

“A protest surely is a legitimate act. But I could have not expected a protest over the film that infuriated Muslims around the world”, Aida Corovic told Serbia’s Radio B92.

Western nations ramped up security at their embassies and consulates around the world on Friday, fearing further Muslim fury over the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and recently published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in French magazine Charlie Hebdo including two drawings showing him naked.

France has closed its embassies and other official offices in about 20 countries across the Muslim world, where security forces geared up for a fresh day of protests.

The protests in Muslim countries started last week when the American ambassador in Libya and three of his staff were killed in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, allegedly as riots over the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ spread from Egypt.

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

Israel and the Palestinians

Pay Attention: Simon Hughes Really Knows What the Liberals Think

by Martin Bright

Simon Hughes’s interview with the JC today should come as yet another wake-up call to supporters of Israel. Mr Hughes is not just one of the country’s most senior politicians and deputy leader of a major party; he acts as something of a touchstone for liberal opinion. A human rights lawyer by profession and a veteran campaigner on issues of individual liberty, his views on Israel chime with many on the centre ground of British politics. This does not mean he is correct when he suggests that the international community now needs to consider a one state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. It does not justify his defence of Jenny Tonge or other Liberal Democrats hostile to Israel. But it does reinforce the fact that that this characterisation of the situation has become the mainstream view on the centre ground of politics.


It is particularly interesting, therefore, that he chose not to discuss the concerns ordinary Israelis have about the threat they might face from Hamas or Iran or, indeed, the Islamist movements sweeping to power in the Arab Spring. But in the increasingly dominant liberal narrative, Israelis themselves have become guilty by association with their government…

[JP note: Merely a LibDem ploy to make itself attractive to the UK’s ever-burgeoning Muslim demographic.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Time for One State, Says Key Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes has said that the opportunity for a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute is now “near to the end” and the international community should consider a “one state solution”. Speaking on the eve of his party conference, the veteran Lib Dem politician said he believed a single federated state in which Muslims, Jews and Christians had separate constitutional rights may now be the best option. Mr Hughes’s controversial words are a departure from Liberal Democrat and government policy…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

322 Army Officers Jailed Over 2003 Coup in Turkey

(AGI) Silivri — A Turkish court sentenced 322 military officers to jail for their involvement in a 2003 attempted coup in Turkey. The 322 army officers include three former Generals whose life term sentences, handed down by the court in Silivri, were eventually commuted to 20 years in jail. The former commander of the 1st Army, Cetin Dogan, who is considered as the mastermind of the coup, is already being taken to his cell.

The court acquitted 34 other defendants. Other trials are scheduled for attempted coups plotted by members of the Turkish Armed Forces that, last century, managed to overthrow the governments in office four times. The inquiry started two years ago. The trial that ended today was focused on the so-called Sledgehammer plot with which the Armed Forces aimed to destabilise the country’s political establishment, overthrow prime minister Recep Tayyp Erdogan and take power. Several analysts said Erdogan used the probe, given the outcome of today’s trial, to push the army (which since the times of Kemal Ataturk have always had the last word on Turkey’s political and cultural destiny) to the sidelines of the country’s political life.

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

Islam’s Universal Economic Failure

If Romney accomplished nothing else during his Israeli visit, he did manage to offend every single Palestinian Arab terrorist group, all of whom, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and the DFLP, issued press releases denouncing him. American media outlets have been denouncing him for saying that the GDP Per Capita differences between Israel and the Palestinian Authority represent a contrast in values.

The official media narrative is that these differences are the results of oppression, checkpoints and blockades. But then why does the IMF put Israel’s GDP Per Capita well ahead of the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has no Israeli checkpoints, no Israeli soldiers or planes flying overhead. It has wealth literally pouring out of the ground with a fifth of the world’s petroleum reserves. And yet the IMF puts it 13 places behind Israel and the World Bank puts it 8 places behind Israel. The only Muslim countries with a better GDP Per Capita than Israel are small monarchies drowning in oil.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Turkish Court Sentences Army Officers to Life

A court in Turkey has jailed hundreds of military officers for an alleged conspiracy to bring down the government. Three former generals were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Nominal life sentences for the three former generals on Friday were the first penalties to be handed down in the trial of hundreds of officers, which has lasted for two years.

The court sitting at Siliviri, near Istanbul, said that, having been unsuccessful in their efforts, the three would only serve 20-year prison sentences.

A further 323 defendants, who had claimed they were innocent of the charges, were sentenced to up to 18 years in prison. The three chief suspects included Cetin Dogan, a former army commander who was dubbed the “mastermind” behind the alleged 2003 plot.

Those implicated were accused of conspiring to overthrow the Islamic-leaning government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Mosque-Go! Muscovites Rally Against Muslim Center Project

Up to 2,000 people rallied in a Moscow neighborhood after local authorities announced the building of a Muslim cultural center and mosque in the area. The protest ended with officials being forced to cancel the planned construction. The impromptu demonstration on Wednesday evening was gathered through social networks. Residents of the Mitino district came to voice their fears over the plans to build a Muslim cultural center and mosque in the neighborhood, which would be able to accommodate up to 60,000 believers during a service.

The would-be Muslim prayer house is subject to much speculation, even though construction project is far from being finalized. The rumor mill describes it as “a 13-story mega mosque,” which would broadcast calls to a morning prayer all over the neighborhood. The protesters living in the residential area were concerned that its infrastructure would not be able to deal with increased traffic after the mosque is finished. This would result in terrible traffic jams during Friday prayers and large Muslim holidays, they said. There are also fears that the inflow of worshipers, many of whom would be guest workers from Central Asia seeking their fortune in Moscow, would drive up crime rates. Disaffection towards Muslims was evidenced in some online comments on the event. “I am firmly against it! We are flooded with those aliens, and now they want to have this insult standing virtually under my window… Let them build it outside of Moscow. There is plenty space there, so they all shove off there,” one of the comments read…

[JP note: Mosque pun of the year.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mosque Phobia Moves to Moscow

CAIRO — Plans to build a mega mosque in the Russian capital, Moscow, to serve the religious needs of Muslim residents have sent hundreds of Muscovites into the streets to protest the construction of the building in their city. “We are sending signature sheets round today so that a meeting of deputies that will apparently take place in October gives a negative reply to the construction of the mosque,” Igor Kononov, chairman of the municipal assembly, was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Australia Shuts Pakistan High Commission for Fear of Violent Protests

Australia’s high commission in Islamabad has been temporarily closed due to fears of violent protests. A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the closure was a “precaution due to heightened unrest in and around the diplomatic enclave”. There are fears that there will be large demonstrations during an impromptu public holiday in Pakistan on Friday (Pakistan time) over an American film denigrating Islam. DFAT has also updated its travel advice for Australians visiting Pakistan, warning of “anti-Western demonstrations”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Condoms ‘Too Big’ For Indian Men

A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.

The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms.

It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India.

The two-year study was carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Over 1,200 volunteers from the length and breadth of the country had their penises measured precisely, down to the last millimetre.

The scientists even checked their sample was representative of India as a whole in terms of class, religion and urban and rural dwellers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Freedom of Expression No Excuse for Insulting Religion: Pakistani PM

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday criticized the notion of insulting religious beliefs and inciting hatred on the excuse of the freedom of expression. Speaking at a function in Islamabad as part of the nationwide protest against the anti-Islam film made in the United States, he said no one should be allowed to defame religion on the excuse of freedom of expression. “Let me make it absolutely clear: this is not about freedom of expression, this is more about hatred, and it also demonstrates blatant double-standards,” PM Ashraf said. “If denying the Holocaust is a crime, then is it not fair and legitimate for Muslims to demand that denigrating and demeaning Islam’s holiest personality is no less a crime?” he asked.

The official function was organized as part of the protest in the country against the movie which has triggered protests across the Muslim world. The Pakistani PM appreciated those in the international community who have joined Muslims in strongly condemning this outrageous movie. He condemned the attempts to insult the Muslim Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), and said that an attack on the Prophet is an attack on the core belief of 1.5 billion Muslims, which is unacceptable. “Our faith remains incomplete without total devotion and reverence to the Holy Prophet Muhammad,” he said.

He said the anger, anguish and hurt is even deeper after the discovery that this was a deliberate, premeditated act of mischiefmongers based on bias, hatred and prejudice. “We have to translate our strong sentiments into a unified policy based on coordination with other Muslim countries so that the Muslim Ummah speaks with one voice on this issue.” He told the audience that the President of Pakistan will convey the emotions and views of the people when he addresses the UN General Assembly in New York next week. “We are coordinating with other Muslim countries as well. Our demand is simple: blasphemy of the kind witnessed in this case is nothing short of hate speech, equal to the worst kind of anti-Semitism or other kinds of bigotry,” Ashraf said.

He demanded that the United Nations and other international organizations seek a law that bans such hate speech aimed at fomenting hatred and sowing the seeds of discord through such falsehoods, which is a grave violation of all basic norms of humanity, international law, interfaith harmony and UN Conventions on religious freedom, tolerance and civilized conduct. “For us as Muslims, respect and reverence for Prophets of other religions is part of our cardinal beliefs. We hope and expect similar respect and reverence for the Holy Prophet Muhammad,” he said.

[JP note: Looks like October 2012 should be designated “Make Your Own Mohammed Movie” month in order to impress upon the Pakistan PM, and others, that their sentiments are incorrect, insincere and foolish. ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Oslo Muslims Protest Against Anti-Islam Film

Hundreds of Muslim demonstrators gathered in central Oslo on Friday afternoon for a peaceful protest against an anti-Islam film, while some 150 radical Islamists gathered outside the US embassy.

Oslo’s imams were joined in the main protest at Youngstorget by the city’s Conservative Mayor Fabian Stang, and Lutheran Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme.

“With this peaceful protest we want to maintain and strengthen our unity. As believers we understand each other,” said Bishop Kvarme in a speech.

“We’re using our freedom of expression today to show that we need to have respect,” he added.

The head of the Islamic Council Norway also spoke to the crowd in the city centre square.

“We’re here to express our outrage at the violations we’ve seen of the prophet. This has nothing to do with freedom of expression; it’s just plain bullying of Muslims,” he said.

A large number of police officers monitored the second rally at the US embassy, where one person was apprehended.

“This world needs another Osama,” news agency NTB quoted one of the demonstrators as saying outside the embassy.

In Pakistan, deadly clashes flared on Friday as tens of thousands took to the streets , throwing stones and setting buildings ablaze to denounce a US-made film that has fanned global Muslim anger.

There were clashes in the country’s five largest cities where four people were killed and 80 others were wounded, defying government calls for peaceful protests on what was declared a national holiday in honour of the Prophet Muhammad.

Western missions shut across the Islamic world, fearing further escalation of a 10-day violent backlash over the low-budget film “Innocence of Muslims” that has spread to 20 countries and left more than 30 people dead.

France, where a magazine this week published a series of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, has shut embassies, consulates, cultural centres and schools in 20 Muslim countries, fearing the backlash will spread from US targets.

There were also demonstrations across Asia on Friday in Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Bangladesh, where about 10,000 took to the streets of Dhaka to condemn the US film and the French cartoons.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pakistani Protesters Clash With Police on Muslim “Day of Love”

(Reuters) — Demonstrators clashed with police in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday as anger over insults to the Prophet Mohammad boiled over despite calls from political and religious leaders across the Muslim world for peaceful protest.

Western diplomatic missions throughout the Muslim world tightened security, with some closing down on expectation of big protests after Friday prayers. An anti-Islam film made in America has enraged Muslims and led to days of protests across the Muslim world while cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad published in a French magazine on Wednesday were expected to compound the anger. Egypt’s highest Islamic legal official said on Thursday Muslims should follow his example of enduring insults without retaliating. But the call looked unlikely to calm the outrage. “An attack upon the Holy Prophet is an attack on the whole 1.5 billion Muslims. Therefore, this is something unacceptable,” Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said in a speech to politicians, religious leaders and others. Pakistan has declared Friday a “Day of Love for the Prophet Mohammad”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan Cinemas Torched on Day of Rage Against Anti-Islam Film

Protesters torched two cinemas in north-western Pakistan on Friday as clashes broke out in several cities at the start of a nationwide day of demonstrations at an anti-Muslim film.

Expat workers stayed at home, mobile phone signals were turned off and security forces sealed off roads leading to diplomatic missions and government offices in the capital Islamabad as the country went into lock-down. The demonstrations began even before Friday prayers, which usually mark the start of trouble. A crowd of several hundred angry demonstrators armed with clubs and bamboo sticks set fire to two cinemas in the conservative, northwestern city of Peshawar, police and witnesses said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan on Lockdown as Mass Protests Expected to Grip Country

Pakistan went into lock-down on Friday morning as expat workers stayed at home, mobile phone signals were turned off and security forces began preparing for a nationwide day of protests at an anti-Muslim film.

Demonstrations are expected throughout the Muslim World after Friday prayers. A day earlier television channels in Pakistan began broadcasting an American government advertisement distancing itself from the filmmakers as it tries to draw the sting from anti-Western demonstrations that led to violent clashes on Thursday. Anger has grown steadily in Pakistan, fermented by hardline religious leaders who have seized on the amateurish “Innocence of Muslims” video as ammunition for their cause. The government has banned YouTube and declared Friday a holiday as part of a high-risk strategy to channel protesters’ energy into more manageable protests. On Thursday, stone-throwing protesters chanting “Death to America” tried to storm the fortified diplomatic enclave in Islamabad and march on the US embassy…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistani Leaders Play Religious Card as Protests Boil

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) — Pakistan shut down Friday in a government-sanctioned protest over a film made in the United States that mocks the Prophet Mohammad, highlighting the power of religious parties to shape the political agenda. Protesters incensed by the film and inspired by influential Pakistani religious parties set fire to a motorway toll booth just outside the capital and a cinema in the north-western city of Peshawar in images broadcast live on television. Pakistan’s government, wary of widespread frustration over its failure to provide basic services, declared Friday a day of protest over the film in an apparent bid to exploit anger which has inspired violent protests in several Muslim countries…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan Summons U.S. Envoy Over Anti-Islam Film

ISLAMABAD, Sep. 21 (Xinhua) — Pakistan on Friday summoned the U.S. Charg D’Affaires Richard Hoagland to the Foreign Ministry and a strong protest was lodged with him over the blasphemous video posted on the YouTube attacking the personage of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. “The U.S. diplomat was told that this was an attack on 1.5 billion Muslims and a premeditated and a malicious act to spread hatred and violence among people of different faiths,” the Foreign Ministry said. The official protest was lodged amid widespread protests in Pakistan against the anti-Islam movie, which has also prompted violent protest in parts of the Muslim world…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Police Fire Tear Gas at Women Protesting Against Anti-Islam Film in Indian Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India — Police clamped a daylong curfew in parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city Friday and chased away protesters opposing an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. Authorities in the region also blocked cellphone and Internet services for four hours to prevent viewing the film clips, said B.K. Chopra, a telecom official. In Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, police fired tear gas to disperse nearly 30 women who were marching under the banner of the radical Islamic women’s group Dukhtaran-e-Millat chanting “Down with the U.S.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Protests Over Anti-Islam Film and Muhammad Cartoons — Live Updates

One man killed as ‘Day of Love’ protests turn violent

‘A new low for Pakistani TV’

Jon Boone, in Islamabad, writes that coverage of the death of Ary News driver Mohammad Amir is a “low for Pakistan’s often outrageous rolling news industry”.

A major Pakistani television station is currently looping footage of the dying moments of one of its staff members who was shot by police whilst covering anti-blasphemy riots in Peshawar. In another low for Pakistan’s often outrageous rolling news industry the broadcaster Ary ran continuous footage of one of their drivers who had been rushed to a medical room after being shot three times in the chest. The black and white images show a moustachioed man with froth on his mouth shaking his head back and forth as doctors attempt to insert an oropharyngeal airway into his mouth — a curved plastic tube designed to prevent the tongue of a critically injured patient from blocking the airway. Later the man, Mohammad Amir, died of his wounds. The shots were reportedly fired by police at an Ary broadcast van by police who defending a cinema against rioters in the city.

Pakistani PM says ‘make insulting prophet a crime’

The Guardian’s Pakistan correspondent, Jon Boone, sends this account of the early protests there.

Even before worshippers had gone to their mosques for Friday prayers, there were outbreaks of violence across Pakistan, with various religious and sectarian parities holding rallies in Karahi, Lahore, Quetta and other cities. In Islamabad, and the neighbouring “twin city” of Rawalpindi, hundreds of protesters damaged vehicles parked at a bus terminal and set a toll plaza ablaze. The motorway to Lahore was effectively shut down, preventing travel between the two major cities.Angry demonstrators pelted cars around the capital with stones and burned tyres in the road. Police wasted no time in resorting to teargas to try to disperse crowds.

The violence came despite the shutting down of businesses for a national holiday called by the government to show “devotion” to the prophet of Islam. Hundreds of shipping containers had been placed in various parts of the capital, particularly in areas leading to the most sensitive areas where government buildings and embassies are located. A nine hour shutdown of mobile phone networks in 15 cities began at 9am (5am BST) in an effort to hinder protesters. In Peshawar, a city close to the Afghan border, protesters attempted to torch a cinema.

At noon politicians and religious figures gathered at a convention hall in Islamabad for a televised ceremony to honour the prophet, which was addressed by the prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. He appealed for peaceful protest and said blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed should be declared a crime worldwide. “It is ironical that denial of holocaust is considered a crime but no consideration is paid to the feelings of Muslims,” he said. “I hope international community and Islamic world will be successful in preventing such things.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Soldier Gives Birth in Afghanistan. What Are We Trying to Create — Mum’s Army?

by Cristina Odone

Invincible, intrepid — and in the dark about the mummy-to-be in their ranks. Yes, this is today’s Army, a force that is a bit of a farce. The plot is implausible in the extreme: a soldier doesn’t know she is 34 weeks pregnant; her bosses don’t know, either; doctors have to be flown in from Oxford to Afghanistan in order to offer medical treatment to mummy and baby. It would be laughable, if it weren’t for the body bags we’ve seen so recently — in all, 430 British soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan since 2001…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Thousands of Bangladeshis Join Dhaka Anti-Innocence Protest

(AGI) — Dhaka, 21 Sep — Anti-Innocence movie protests usher in today’s Friday prayers in 90pc Muslim Bangladesh. Some ten thousand demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Dhaka in protest at the US release of the Innocence of Muslims and at the publication of satirical cartoons by French weekly Charlie Hebdo. Demonstrators also gathered in front of the Bangladeshi capital’s biggest mosque, the Baitul Mokarram, burning effigies of US president Barack Obama as well as French flags. Security has been heightened in the lead-up to Friday prayers.

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

Thousands Attend Anti-Innocence Rallies in Malaysia

(AGI) — Bangkok, 21 Sep — Thousands attended today’s anti-Innocence movie rallies in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Two separate demonstrations converged on the US embassy at which point four delegates handed the embassy’s chief of security a statement demanding that the US acknowledge full responsibility for the Innocence of Muslim’s release. During the rallies US and Israeli flags were burned to cries of “Allah is great.” (AGI)

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

Far East

Chinese Safety Official Sacked for Smiling at Scene of Bus Crash Where 36 Died

Smiling at the scene of a fatal bus crash in which 36 people died has led to a safety official losing his job.

After photos emerged on the internet of Yang Dacai grinning on a highway in Yan’an, northern Shaanxi, province officials said in a statement they had stripped him of all his official duties for ‘serious wrongdoing.’

His jovial expression on August 26 was seen as unsympathetic and caused mass public outrage.


‘I was trying to get them to relax a little, so maybe, in an unguarded moment, I got a little too relaxed myself.’

Yang then found himself targeted by netizens when photos emerged of him wearing 11 luxury wristwatches.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Philippines: University Bans Anti-Islam Film

MANILA, Philippines — One of the Philippines’ top universities said Friday it had banned a lecturer from showing an inflammatory anti-Islamic film for security reasons, but the law professor insisted he would still screen it. Harry Roque, a prominent human rights lawyer and lecturer at the state-run University of the Philippines in Manila, plans to show the “Innocence of Muslims” during a lecture on constitutional rights on Friday evening. But the UP College of Law, which has produced several Philippine presidents and Supreme Court justices, issued a statement saying: “It (the movie showing) will not push through for security reasons”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Philippines: Up Professor: Showing of Anti-Islam Film to Push Through

MANILA — Citing constitutional rights and academic freedom, a law professor from state-run University of the Philippines (UP) will still continue the showing of an anti-Islam video despite the prohibition ordered by school officials. In his website, UP law professor Harry Roque said the order forbidding the showing of the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims” is “in direct contravention of my academic freedom and freedom of expression. It is in the nature of prior restraint. I will hence still show the movie trailer as scheduled today,” Roque said. The showing of the film’s trailer will be at 6:30 p.m. at Room 305 of Malcolm Hall, UP College of Law. The law professor said he will be showing the video to his class on Constitutional Law 2 where they will be discussing freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and academic freedom…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Lakemba Locals Fear Twisted Words

OUTSIDE Sydney’s Lakemba mosque just before afternoon prayers one day this week, many of the faithful were eager to talk about what they regard as the anti-Muslim outrages stirred up by last Saturday’s riotous Islamic protest.

Those who did mostly expressed anger that, as they saw it, the violence perpetrated by a few hotheads had been used by police, radio shock jocks, politicians and the media to denigrate all Muslims in Australia as extremist and un-Australian.

More of them might have spoken to The Weekend Australian, and more given their names, but for a man shouting out in Arabic not to talk to the press, which he said would only twist their words against Muslims…

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Oz Muslim Community Reports Surge in Hate Mails Amid Anti-Islamic Film Protests

Sydney, Sept 21 (ANI): The Islamic community in the Australian state of Victoria has reported a surge in hate mail amid violent protests in Sydney and across the world over a U.S.-based anti-Islamic film, says a report. Islamic Council of Victoria spokeswoman Sherene Hassan said community members were being urged to report anti-Muslim messages and incidents to the police. “There’s been a surge in obscene hate mail around the state, but there’s also been a significant number of support letters and emails,” the Herald Sun quoted Hassan, as saying. “We will be encouraging our community to be vigilant in reporting any hate crimes to the authorities and to the ICV,” she added. According to the report, Hassan expressed concerns over the fact that far Right groups were threatening to use violence in counter-demonstrations. But she also said the ICV was consulting with its community and religious leaders to work out ways to deal with issues such as the US-made anti-Islam video. “We will be discussing the way forward. How do we prevent anything like that (violent protests) happening in Victoria in the future,” the paper quoted Hassan, as saying. (ANI)

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Police Seek Mystery Vic Telephone Bomber

TALK about an explosive phone call.

A mystery driver pulled up at an eastern Melbourne public phone box, placed something inside and sped away around 1am (AEST) on Saturday.

Moments later there was a blast that blew the roof off the Oakleigh East phone box.

Police say the driver had likely placed a homemade device inside before fleeing the scene.

The owner of a nearby shop said: “All I know is someone heard a bang and the roof had blown off.

“Who knows why they did it?”

He said it was lucky no one had been near the phone box when the makeshift bomb went off.

Several witnesses saw a dark car speed away from the phone box, on State St near Huntingdale Road.

Police are searching for witnesses and possible CCTV recordings.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Radical Muslims Rally as Imams Call for Peace

THE radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir has undermined pleas for calm by the nation’s imams with a provocative call for Muslims to redouble their “noble work” of resisting the West and opposing the “anti-Islamic agenda” of the federal government.

The call contradicts the sermons of peace given in mosques around the country yesterday as Islamic clerics tried to present a united front to head off the danger of fresh protests in the wake of last weekend’s violent clashes involving hardline young Muslims in Sydney.

The Weekend Australian has learned that even the nation’s most senior hardline Muslim leader, Sheik Mohammed Omran, has told his followers that those involved in last weekend’s violent protests in Sydney were not good Muslims.

This means that with the exception of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Islamic groups and clerics from both hardline and moderate factions have now called for calm amid ongoing global protests by Muslims against a US-made anti-Islamic film…

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Democratic Republic of Congo ‘Should Eschew Tintin’

He is a character that has become synonymous with the country and its people since the two starred in the much-loved Belgian comic strip, The Adventures of Tintin.

But as the Democratic Republic of Congo gears up to host a major conference of French-speaking countries, some of its inhabitants are rejecting their links to Tintin, the boy-journalist creation of cartoonist Herge. Wooden statues and brightly-coloured prints of the tufty-haired character and his dog sidekick Snowy are a common feature of the country’s market stalls, which do a roaring trade with visiting Western tourists.

But the portrayal in the cartoon strips of the Africans he meets as dull-witted and childish has long proved controversial, and it is now being suggested by some that the Congolese would do better to promote their own cultural symbols rather than those of their former coloniser. Professor Joseph Ibongo Gilungule, the director of Congo’s National Museum, said that among the DRC’s 250 ethnic groups, there were plenty of other interesting characters to choose from. “Tintin is an image created by westerners, and it proves the ignorance of these people, a lack of understanding for our values,” he told Reuters news agency…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Sharia Court Banishes Randy Lover to Kaduna

A sharia court sitting at Unguwar Gwaza in Gusau metropolis of Zamfara State has banished one Jaafar Ibra-him of College of Education, Sokoto, to Kaduna, for camping his girlfriend without the consent of her parents. When the case came up for hearing, her 70-year-old father told the court that his daughter was missing from his house since the Eid-el-fitr celebration. According to him, when the family set up a search team, it was discovered that her boyfriend had camped her in a secluded house. “We sent emissaries to the teenager to appeal to him to release my daughter but to no avail,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Most Ancient Branch of Anatomically Modern Humans Are the Khoe-San of Southwestern Africa, An Ethnic Group Who Speak Languages Characterized by Frequent Clicks.

Genomic evidence places their geographical isolation from other humans at around 100,000 years ago, even before the human migration from Africa to Europe and Asia, according to a study published today on the website of the Washington-based Science magazine. Today they live mainly in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana.

The study, which tested the DNA of 220 people from 11 southern African populations, showed that the Khoe-San’s genetic divergence pre-dates the “out of Africa event” of about 70,000 years ago when anatomically modern humans migrated to Europe and Asia, Mattias Jakobsson, one of the researchers, said on a conference call yesterday. The khoe-San have traditionally lived a nomadic, hunter-gather lifestyle while some became herders.

Scientists from South Africa, Sweden, the U.S. and France studied approximately 2.3 million samples of DNA from each individual. The Khoe-San’s genetic makeup differs from that of other southern African populations, like the Bantu-speakers, a broad group of languages that includes South Africa’s Zulu and Shona of Zimbabwe, according to the study.

“The Khoe-San retained their ancestral genomes,” Himla Soodyall, a researcher on the study from Johannesburg-based University of the Witwatersrand, said in a conference call yesterday. “They drifted and remained isolated until 3,000 to 3,500 years ago when they came into contact with West Africans.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Alan Charles Kors on Speech Codes, Libertarianism, And the Case for the Humanities

“I guarantee you,” Alan Charles Kors tells Nick Gillespie, “that Reason published on a campus would be defunded and that you’d be up on harassment charges every other week.” Kors knows what he’s talking about. As the Henry Charles Lea Professor of European History at the University of Pennsylvania and the co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), he has long agitated against repressive speech codes at the nation’s colleges and universities. Along with co-author (and fellow FIRE co-founder) Harvey Silverglate, Kors made a book-length case in the 1999 polemic The Shadow University…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

German Parliament Approves Gender Quota

Germany’s lower house of parliament has voted to force big companies to fill 40 percent of the positions on their supervisory boards with women. This decision is blow to Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition in Berlin.

The Bundesrat voted in favor of a proposal to introduce a legally binding quota by 2018 which would initially require companies to make sure that 20 percent of the members on the supervisory board are women. By 2023 the quota would be raised to 40 percent.

Berlins Labor minister Dilek Kolat said a binding quota was overdue “It cannot be that in terms of promoting gender equality, Germany is on the same level of a developing country.”

The Bundesrat approved a motion that had been brought by the representatives of Hamburg. The city-state is ruled by the Social Democrats, the main opposition party in Berlin.

The Bundesrat is made up of representatives of the governments of all 16 German states. The gender quota proposal found a majority because it also got the backing of the Saarland and Saxony-Anhalt, two states where the SPD rules in a grand coalition with the CDU.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Media Gloats Over Decline of the Family

“The Canadian Family is in Transition” the headlines boast. “Blended Families becoming the national norm.” “Same-sex unions the fastest group of married couples.” “Childless Couples Outnumber Families.” (taken from Ottawa Citizen Sept 20, pp. A2-A3)

Something that should cause alarm unanimously is welcomed as progress. Why?

What did the nuclear family do to earn such fear & derision?

Why is a man and a woman falling in love, getting married, staying together and raising their children, so universally despised?

[Return to headlines]

What Do You Expect When Socialists Are Allowed to Serve in Congress?

People can’t figure out why so many millions of Americans have embraced socialism.

One only need look at the government’s indoctrination centers called public schools and two private organizations: NEA (National Education Association and the NTA (National Teachers Association). Their toxic influence has helped usher along the ultimate goal of a Soviet America.

One only need look at the curriculum the past 40 years in “public schools” across this country to see the product produced today. Civics is gone in most classrooms. Children have been recycled through institutions that teach dangerous propaganda like “for the common good” and “social justice”. Both staples of the communist party throughout the world.


The goals of the communist party have been executed with precision because parents of students were once students being brainwashed according to plan:

Congressional Record — Appendix, pp. A34-A35 — January 10, 1963 [url] Current Communist Goals In the House of Representatives, January 10, 1963

Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks. Gain control of all student newspapers. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.” Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Punishing Blasphemers: New Calls on an Old Issue


The growing calls for an international blasphemy law has alarmed activists from several secular, religious and civil rights groups that have engaged in a long fight against such a measure. “I think this debate might be reignited and it’s an unfortunate development,” said Arch Puddington, vice president of research at Freedom House, a New York-based watchdog group that has campaigned against an international defamation of religion law. “The idea of having a global international blasphemy law is a terrible idea,” he added. “I think it’s important for countries such as the US and France to stand firm behind the freedom of expression.” Puddington warns that a basic problem with such a law is the definition of what constitutes religious defamation. “We have to bear in mind that in some cases, those who propose the laws have a rather sweeping interpretation of what constitutes blasphemy,” he noted…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

U.N. Chief Says Anti-Islam Filmmaker Abused Freedom of Expression

(Reuters) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday the maker of an anti-Islam film that triggered violent protests across the Muslim world abused his right to freedom of expression by making the movie, which he called a “disgraceful and shameful act.”

The film, posted on the Internet under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims,” mocked the Prophet Mohammad and portrayed him as a womanizer and a fool…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]