Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121006

Financial Crisis
»Italy: Monti Bids to Cut Sleaze After Spending Scandals
»Jack Welch Twitters on the New Job Numbers
»Smoke and Mirrors Unemployment Number Drops Below 8%
»Will Americans Ever be Free of QE Slavery?
»Blinded U.S. Soldier Blasts Obama for Gitmo Transfer
»Daryl Hannah and Elderly Land Owner Arrested for Trespassing on Land Stolen Under Eminent Domain
»Dearborn Police ‘Prepared’ For Pastor’s Muslim Protest
»Don’t Vote in November — An Irresponsible Message
»Hate Preacher Abu Hamza Lands in the U.S. After Losing Last-Ditch Bid to Stay in Britain
»Islamic Day Set in Ohio
»Military Police Used for Crowd Control in South Carolina
»NYPD Road Rage: Cops Shoot, Kill Unarmed National Guardsman for Cutting Them Off
»Officials Seek People Exposed to a Tainted Drug
»Public Broadcasting Mobilizes Against Romney
»Romney’s Debate Victory Spooked the Mainstream Media. This is Why Republicans Nominated Him
»Sustainable Freedom Lab in a Changing World
»Terror Trial Witnesses Describe Path From Minn. To Holy War in Somalia
»TSA Worker Steals $500 From Traveler as Punishment for Complaining
»U.S. Army Characterizes People “Frustrated With Mainstream Ideologies” As Terrorists
»Welcome to N.Y., Dr. Hook
»Mother Paid Price for Standing Up to Husband, Court Hears
Europe and the EU
»France: Man Shot Dead in Antiterrorist Operation
»Huge German Demand for Houses in Alto Adige
»Islamic Radical Shot Dead by Anti-Terrorism Police in France After Opening Fire on Offices in Dawn Raid
»Italian President Condemns German Ruling on Nazi Massacre
»Italy: Olive Oil Helps Prevent Type II Diabetes, Study Says
»Italy: White Truffle Season Kicks Off With Prices Lower Than 2011
»Italy: Tuscan Cigars See Brisk Sales Increase Abroad
»Italy: Four Nigerians Arrested for Voodoo-Pressured Prostitution
»Italy: ‘17 Companies Dodged 112 Mln in VAT’
»Italy: Police Find Snakes Guarding Company Accounts
»Italy: With Renzi Gaining: Berlusconi Reconsiders Running
»Pastry-Gate Lands French MP in Hot Water With Muslims
»Sardines and Anchovies Risk Disappearing From the Adriatic
»UK: Afghan Asylum Seeker Admits Murdering His Ex-Girlfriend’s 17-Year-Old Sister and Her Friend
»UK: Arson Attack at Jewish School
»UK: Anti-Terror Police Arrest Brother and Sister on Suspicion of Terrorism-Related Documents
»UK: Brothers Jailed for 32 Years for Pimping Out Young Girls to Curry House Workers
»UK: Man Tortured to Death in Sadistic Attack
»UK: Mother-of-Three Misdiagnosed Then ‘Discharged From Hospital at 3am and Forced to Walk Four Miles Home in Her Dressing Gown’
»UK: Reading University Union Ejects Atheist Society Over ‘Blasphemous’ Pineapple
»UK: Southampton Victim Hunts Down Robber Using Facebook
»UK: The Rotten Culture at the Heart of the BBC
»UK: The Pineapple of Hate
»UK: Third of Rochdale Pubs on the Brink of Closure
»UK: Tower Hamlets to Hold Hate Crime Awareness Week Event
»UK: Video Shows Dramatic Moment Two Men Armed With a Machete and Knife Threaten Terrified Shop Workers as They Hold Up Post Office
»Veneto Risks EU Sanctions for Bird-Hunting Violations
»An Election in Bosnia Shaped by the Past
Mediterranean Union
»Minister Terzi: “Scientific Diplomacy Stems Fanaticism”
North Africa
»Egypt: Morsi Plays to Anti-Israel Gallery
»Egyptian President Tries to Heal Division Between Muslims, Copts
»Email: State Department Rejected Embassy Request for Security
»Libya: Discord Skewed Benghazi Response
»Morocco Leads Efforts to Save Last of the Barbary Lions
Middle East
»Brother Tariq’s Last Stand
»Christians ‘Emptied From Middle East’
»Citing U.S. Fears, Arab Allies Limit Syrian Rebel Aid
»Iraq: Five Die in Baghdad Mosque Blast
»NATO Ready to “Intervene” In Syria?
»Syria: Cultural Vandalism Leaves US All a Little Poorer
»Syria: Video: FSA Rebel: ‘We Won’t Stop Until Al-Qaeda Flag Raised Over White House’
»There is No Hyperinflation in Iran — The Real Story is Much More Interesting
»Turkey Should “Prepare for War” While Wishing Peace: Turkish PM
»Turkey Hits Back After New Shelling From Syria
»UN Chief Criticises Iran Sanctions
»No More Mosques Outside “Muslim Areas”?
»Islamic Party Denies Riots on Religious Grounds in Baku
South Asia
»Bring Troops Home From Afghanistan Now
»Death Penalty for Family Members Over India ‘Honour Killing’
»Gunmen Attack NATO Container in Pakistan, Driver, Cleaner Injured
»Joseph Blady Nicely Sums Up What Should be Obvious About the Afghan Folly
»Pakistan: Imran Khan Drone Protest
»Southern Thailand Vendors Close Shops Out of Fear of Punishment
»Three Indonesian Men Caned for Gambling With Dominoes
Australia — Pacific
»Muslims Seek ‘True Remorse’ In Apology
»Safe Work Australia Plan to Cut Risk for Tired Workers Puts Employers Offside
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Cariplo’s Guzzetti Announces 1. 5 Mln for Burkina Faso
»De Klerk: South African Universities Are Under Pressure to Admit Black Students
»Ethiopian Muslims Protest Ahead of Islamic Council Election
»Ghana: Turks Rescue Mosque Project
»Kenya: Kingi’s Bodyguard, 3 Others Die in Kilifi Chaos
»Nigerian Christians, Muslims Protest Against Common Enemy
Culture Wars
»Breaking Serbia
»Canada’s Supreme Court Rules Those With Low Level of HIV Virus Who Wear Condom Are Absolved
»Lesbian Soldier Killed in Taliban Suicide Bomber Attack in Afghanistan
»PBS: Re-Educating America’s Schoolchildren, Thanks to Your Contributions
»Criminalizing the Defamation of Islam
»Free Speech: Muhammad’s Character — And Ours
»NASA’s Swift Satellite Discovers New Black Hole in Milky Way
»New Privacy Fears as Facebook Begins Selling Personal Access to Companies to Boost Ailing Profits
»The Myth of Overpopulation: Force Mass Sterilizations in Developing Nations

Financial Crisis

Italy: Monti Bids to Cut Sleaze After Spending Scandals

Number and cost of local officials to be reduced

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 5 — Italian premier Mario Monti on Wednesday night vowed to cut the cost and number of local officials across Italy in response to a wave of public-spending scandals he said had left the Italian public “stunned and indignant”.

Unveiling a decree that would cut the number of regional councillors by 35%, Monti cited widespread “dismay at incidents that undermine the faith and reputation of the country and its credibility abroad”.

Recent sleaze cases, culminating in a scandal that forced the governor of Lazio to step down, risked defeating “the efforts we are all making to ensure Italy’s role is fully recognised at the international level,” Monti said.

The exposure of graft and pork-barrel politics on such a scale wreaked “incalculable damage” on Italy’s image.

Local bodies who do not stay in line with budgets will face central-government funding cuts of 80%, Monti said.

Mayors who do not keep their accounts in order will not be allowed to stand again, the premier said.

The pay of local and regional councillors will be cut to the level of the best-behaved region, while stipends will be eliminated and all local officials will have to make public, and have certified by the Audit Court, the money they get.

The pension age of local officials will be raised from 50 to 66, Monti said.

The government planned to change Article V of the Constitution to recalibrate the way the State and Regions spend money to avoid waste, he added.

The tipping point in public indignation with political corruption came last month when Franco Fiorito, caucus leader for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party in the Lazio region, was alleged to have skimmed off thousands of euros of public money for personal use. The case of Fiorito, who was arrested earlier this week, caused the PdL’s Renata Polverini to step down as governor of Lazio last week.

The investigation is only one of a series of recent corruption scandals that have hit various parts of Italy’s political spectrum, sparking condemnation from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and the Catholic Church.

Experts say the scandals have also strengthened widespread public disaffection with the nation’s political class and contributed to the rise of comedian Beppe Grillo’s grassroots Five Star movement, which is opposed to the present party system.

The Five Star movement is vying with the PdL for second place in the polls, behind the runaway leader, the centre-left Democratic Party, according to several surveys.

Monti insisted Wednesday night that his technocratic government, which will leave office in May, will do its utmost to make sure political parties forge an effective anti-corruption law, currently bogged down amid partisan sparring in parliament.

“Scandals are part of an old Italy,” he said.

“The fight against corruption should be part of the DNA of all parties and I hope an accord is swiftly reached because it is essential for the country”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Jack Welch Twitters on the New Job Numbers

Former GE CEO Jack Welch’s reaction to non-farm payrolls adding 114,000 new jobs in September and the unemployment rate falling to 7.8 percent:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Smoke and Mirrors Unemployment Number Drops Below 8%

The unemployment rate is being manipulated, and is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The unemployment rate being reported does not reflect reality. And yes, there are actually people out there that thinks the government doesn’t lie to them.

For the rest of us, the fact is, the Democrats have been playing with the unemployment numbers ever since they were able to control the information ministry.

The numbers are being reported in such a way where the unemployment rate is actually doing the opposite of all of the other numbers.


Romney accurately stated that manufacturing has lost 600,000 jobs since Obama took office.

For any economic growth, job creation really needs to be over at least 300,000 jobs per month, and we are no where near what is needed (in fact according to the Associated Press, we have added a mere 325,000 jobs since Obama took office — and then what little job creation there is, is not in the all too important manufacturing sector). Interestingly enough, unemployment among government workers is only 4.3%, which gives you a good idea where, along with a rise in part-time employment, the supposed job growth is coming from.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Will Americans Ever be Free of QE Slavery?

Over the past 40 years, the Federal Reserve has been force-feeding the world the idea that its printing press puts out more valuable paper than anyone else’s. This is, of course, because in 1971 it was given legislative approval to manage the U.S. currency, without any asset restrictions.

At the time the world was already addicted to U.S. dollars as a reserve currency due to the dollar’s tie to gold. As long as the dollar remained pegged to gold (at least in theory), other countries’ currencies maintained the same tie in proportion to their dollar reserves.

At first the nations balked when Nixon cut the golden thread, ending the world’s last true money base and creating the greenback. They knew that he had just undercut their value, and the dollar fell hard at first. However, they soon realized that a falling dollar was bad for their own currency, so they adopted a more accepting posture. Since then the management of the world’s reserve currency has rested in the hands of the Fed.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Blinded U.S. Soldier Blasts Obama for Gitmo Transfer

(Canadian Press) The transfer of Omar Khadr to Canada from Guantanamo Bay has infuriated a former American soldier partly blinded in the firefight in which the badly wounded Canadian teenager was captured.

The move has also prompted hundreds of Canadians to open their wallets on behalf of the family of the U.S. soldier Khadr pleaded guilty to killing during the July 2002 battle in Afghanistan.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, former sergeant Layne Morris denounced Khadr, 26, as a “horrific security risk,” and blasted the American government.

“I don’t think (Khadr) is done with radical Islam. I don’t think he’s done with the jihad.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Daryl Hannah and Elderly Land Owner Arrested for Trespassing on Land Stolen Under Eminent Domain

Actor Daryl Hannah and an elderly land owner were arrested in Texas on Thursday for criminally trespassing on land stolen under eminent domain.

From the Washington Post:

Hannah and landowner Eleanor Fairchild were standing in front of heavy equipment in an attempt to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Fairchild’s farm in Winnsboro, a town about 100 miles east of Dallas. They were arrested for criminal trespassing and taken to the Wood County Jail.

In August, a court in Paris, Texas, ruled that the Canadian energy company has the right to build a pipeline on private land despite widespread opposition by land owners. The transnational corporation is exploiting a loophole in Texas’ oil and gas regulation, according to the New York Times.

In Texas, if a company qualifies as a “common carrier” the state allows it to condemn land without the consent of land owners, a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment, which state “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dearborn Police ‘Prepared’ For Pastor’s Muslim Protest

Dearborn — The city’s Police Department says it is prepared for any problems that might arise during Wednesday’s planned protest by controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones.

Jones, a frequent visitor to Dearborn to protest what he calls “Islamic extremism,” has scheduled a demonstration outside Edsel Ford High School against what he says is bullying by “Muslim gangs.”

“In response to several inquiries from concerned parents, community leaders and the media, Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad wants to reassure the community that his department is fully prepared to facilitate the peaceful and safe visit of Terry Jones to the Dearborn area,” the department said in a press release Friday.

The protest is expected to be held from 1-4 p.m. Wednesday.

Jones, 60, said he plans to meet with the school’s principal about what he says is a problem with Muslim teens beating up other students.

Dearborn schools spokesman David Mustonen said Jones’ claims of bullying by Muslim students are unfounded.

He said Jones has not contacted the school district about a meeting.

Jones recently has been accused of being a catalyst for violent protests throughout the Middle East for promoting an inflammatory anti-Islam film called “Innocence of Muslims.”

Jones said he is not to blame for the outbreaks, one of which is blamed in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, the envoy to Libya.

“Nothing excuses that type of violence, whether it’s burning a book (the Quran) or showing a movie,” Jones told The News on Friday.

Jones said he is just “raising awareness of the radical elements of Islam” and practicing his First Amendment right of free speech.

           — Hat tip: RE[Return to headlines]

Don’t Vote in November — An Irresponsible Message

The Internet has been awash with “Don’t vote in November because you will be playing right into the hands of the one party system disguised as a two party system.” Or, “Don’t vote in November and show the two parties we won’t vote against our conscience.”

Only someone completely detached from reality can’t see how the American people and vote fraud put a devout Marxist in the White House. An illegitimate candidate that no one had the right to vote for in 2008.


As I said in a recent column, Paul Ryan — Read the Warning Label: “You can vote for the “comeback team,” but don’t expect anything to change except the deck chairs on the Titanic. In November, tens of millions of GOP voters will hold their nose and vote for what’s offered them because there is no choice. Again.

“I guess the only way to take the bitter medicine is this: A vote for Willard Romney is a vote against the Marxist impostor president. You’re not voting to support Romney or Paul Ryan’s sales pitch, you’re voting to keep the usurper out of office for a second illegal term.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Hate Preacher Abu Hamza Lands in the U.S. After Losing Last-Ditch Bid to Stay in Britain

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza landed in the U.S this morning after being extradited late last night just hours after judges threw out his last-ditch bid to stay in the UK.

In the early hours of the morning Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed the hate preacher had left Britain, adding that she was pleased they had finally be removed.

Hamza is expected to face a judge in New York within 24 hours on charges that include conspiring with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and helping abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Islamic Day Set in Ohio

Major cities in the Buckeye State celebrate Islamic Day in Ohio on the second weekend in October. In 1987, then-Gov. Richard Celeste designated the second Saturday in October as Islamic Day as recognition of the growing Muslim community and its contributions to the State of Ohio. The Islamic Council of Ohio, or ICO, is an umbrella organization of most Islamic Centers with delegates in the major cities in the state. The ICO will celebrate the 25th Islamic Day in Ohio at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium next Saturday. The theme this year is “Ohio Muslims for a Just and Prosperous America.” Keynote speaker will be Saeed Khan, lecturer in the Department of Near East and Asian Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Celebrating the Islamic Day in Ohio, Islamic Centers in major cities usually open their doors for the public to visit and tour and learn about the Islamic faith. In the Mahoning Valley, the Islamic Center of Greater Youngstown will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Masjid Al-Khair, 1670 Homewood Ave., Youngstown. (The mosque is accessible from I-680 Indianola Avenue/Shirley Road Exit.) Tours of the center will be conducted during this time. There also will be an ethnic foods sale and free blood-pressure screening. Traditional handicrafts, jewelry and clothes will be displayed.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Military Police Used for Crowd Control in South Carolina

As part of the expanding effort to merge police and military operations — and make Posse Comitatus irrelevant — police in Columbia, South Carolina, will use military police to control revelers after a football game this weekend.

“Columbia police are preparing for the big crowds expected after the Georgia-South Carolina football game Saturday night,” WISTV reports. “Officials say campus police, Richland County sheriff’s deputies, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and Fort Jackson’s military police will help with crowd control after the game.”

In addition to the military, officialdom in Columbia plan to establish Fourth Amendment busting DUI checkpoints, barricades, and an observation tower “to keep the crowd under control” and “ensure order.”

As Brandon Tuberville writes for Activist Post, the effort is “nothing more than a conditioning exercise designed to acclimate the American people to the sight of US Military troops acting as police and to see it as an ordinary event.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

NYPD Road Rage: Cops Shoot, Kill Unarmed National Guardsman for Cutting Them Off

A New York police detective shot and killed an unarmed man, whose hands, a witness said, were on the steering wheel of his Honda, after he had been pulled over early Thursday for cutting off two police trucks on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens, the authorities said.

The shooting, which occurred at 5:15 a.m., was the latest in a series of episodes in which police officers fatally shot or wounded civilians. While the Police Department had explanations in the other instances, it could not immediately provide one for the shooting on Thursday.

The detective, Hassan Hamdy, 39, a 14-year veteran assigned to the Emergency Service Unit, fired one bullet through an open window of the car, which his squad had just pulled over with the help of a second police vehicle. The bullet struck the driver, Noel Polanco, 22, in the abdomen. He was declared dead less than an hour later at New York Hospital Queens.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Officials Seek People Exposed to a Tainted Drug

As the case count continued to rise in a multistate outbreak of meningitis linked to a tainted drug, federal health officials emphasized on Friday that it was absolutely essential to find everyone who may have been exposed to the drug, which was used in spinal injections for back pain.

“All patients who may have received these medications need to be tracked down immediately,” Dr. Benjamin Park, a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement. “It is possible that if patients with infection are identified soon and put on appropriate antifungal therapy, lives may be saved.”

Health officials said they were concerned that some patients who initially had mild symptoms did not realize they needed medical attention. But this type of meningitis, caused by a fungus, can become very severe, so there is an urgent need for early treatment.

Doctors urged anyone who had a spinal injection for pain in the last few months to contact a doctor if they became ill, particularly with symptoms that include a new or worsening headache, fever, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea, slurred speech or loss of balance. The medical name for the injections is a lumbar epidural steroid injection.

Fungal meningitis does not spread from person to person.

By Friday, there were 47 cases in seven states, including five deaths — an increase of 12 cases since Thursday. Health officials say they expect more cases to occur because the illness has an incubation period that can be a month or possibly longer. The contaminated medicine, a steroid called methylprednisolone acetate, was still being used in the third week of September, so there may be people who are infected but have not yet fallen ill…

[Return to headlines]

Public Broadcasting Mobilizes Against Romney

As Mitt Romney says, it doesn’t make sense to borrow money from China to pay for public TV or radio. But terminating the funding is easier said than done. The reason: there are more than 900 local public radio stations and more than 350 local public television stations which receive support from the taxpayer-financed Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and lobby for the money. These entities put enormous pressure on Congress.

The CPB, which supports the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), receives approximately $450 million annually from federal taxpayers.

“I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS, and I like PBS,” Romney said in the debate. “I love Big Bird. I, actually, like you too,” referring to PBS moderator Jim Lehrer.

“I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS” is a strong statement. How will he do it? And what will the campaign do now that the public broadcasting entities are waging a political lobbying campaign against Romney’s proposed cuts?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Romney’s Debate Victory Spooked the Mainstream Media. This is Why Republicans Nominated Him

by Tim Stanley

Mitt Romney didn’t just beat Obama on Wednesday night. He also beat the liberal media. So great was his performance that liberal journalists simply had to concede the President’s defeat — a humiliation for an industry that has spent several years setting Obama up as the wisest, most eloquent, most popular politician since FDR. No longer can Romney be dismissed with a gag about a dog strapped to the roof of his car. This uptight rich guy could be the next President of the United States.

Evidence of liberal panic is everywhere. In the hours after the debate, the mood in the MSNBC bunker was near-suicidal — and it’s in tortured moments like these that all pretence of objectivity disappears. Chris Matthews (a former Democrat staffer turned TV motor mouth who undoubtedly talks in his sleep) ranted that Obama ought to watch MSNBC to learn how to fight conservatives. Ed Schultz was “stunned” and Rachel Maddow thought it might be sort of a draw (in the same way that the Titanic’s encounter with an iceberg was “sort of a draw”). The New York Times ran with the vague headline, “Obama and Romney, in First Debate, Spar Over Fixing Economy” and called the evening “unhelpful.” Why? Because their guy lost…

My main point throughout my commentary of this election hasn’t been that I want Romney to win but that I think he can. He can because a) this President’s domestic record is poor, b) Romney is a much better candidate than many people realise and c) Romney’s values are more representative of a slim majority of the American people than Obama’s. After Wednesday’s debate, I hope that all three of these points have become more apparent. That’s why it mattered so much.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sustainable Freedom Lab in a Changing World

Every American knows something is very wrong in our nation. Daily, government grows more powerful and intrusive at every level. Many have begun to feel they have no say over their private property or even their own lives.

It started on the international level as various plans, ideas and treaties thoroughly outlined an agenda to completely change and curtail human activity. Most prominent in these plans is one written and delivered by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to the UN-sponsored Earth Summit in 1992. It was called Agenda 21. Proponents of the ideas outlined in Agenda 21 say it is just a suggestion with no teeth for enforcement in the United States.

However, since 1992, there has been a definite correlation between the ideas set forth in Agenda 21 and a massive growth of American government under the policy of Sustainable Development — the exact policy outlined in Agenda 21. According to its authors, the objective of sustainable development is to integrate economic, social, and environmental polices in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity. The danger is in how that is to be accomplished in the United States.

Specifically, the Federal government is on a seemingly endless march toward federal rule over farms and local development. A blizzard of Obama-signed Executive Orders has created, among other things, the White House Rural Council, through which some 25 federal agencies are forcing farmers to toe the line in farming and live stock practices. Using a flood of federal grants, the EPA and HUD are succeeding in bypassing state legislatures to control land use and water policy. Industry is banned and permits for oil and gas drilling are refused. The Western part of the nation is now reeling from Federal takeover of precious local water supplies. In nearly every case the excuse is environmental protection. As a result, today, government controls over 50% of all the land in America under the excuse of restoring biodiversity. As these policies are implemented the term Sustainable Development is used prominently.


For too long, activists have fought a lonely battle to defend their liberties. It’s time to make the people who are stealing those liberties defend their theft. The battle is about to change.

Introducing the Sustainable Freedom Lab (SFL)…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Terror Trial Witnesses Describe Path From Minn. To Holy War in Somalia

MINNEAPOLIS — When Salah Osman Ahmed arrived in Somalia’s war-battered capital as a new recruit for the extremist group al-Shabab, he was “scared to death.” There were rifle-toting men all over Mogadishu. The sound of gunfire was constant. And it only got worse when an al-Shabab leader showed the new recruits a video of fighters decapitating a man who the group said had tried to defect. “They said, ‘This guy’s a traitor. This will happen to whoever leaves the group,’“ Ahmed recalled. The New Brighton man, now 29, recounted his 2007 initiation to al-Shabab during the federal terrorism trial of Mahamud Said Omar of Minneapolis. The 46-year-old defendant is accused of providing money to the Somali terror group and helping send two waves of Twin Cities men to fight Ethiopian troops occupying the country…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

TSA Worker Steals $500 From Traveler as Punishment for Complaining

A former TSA worker has pleaded guilty to stealing over $500 in cash from a man who complained about the TSA’s invasive pat down procedure, with the TSA agent admitting the theft was a punishment for the man’s lack of obedience.

60-year-old John W. Irwin pleaded guilty to one count of grand larcenyfollowing an incident in November 2011, during which a man asked that he be given a pat down rather than face a body scanner due to a medical condition.

When TSA agents ordered the man undergo the pat down in a private room, he complained but agreed to do so.

The man placed $520 in cash in a gray plastic bin before accompanying the TSA agents to the private room. When he returned, the money was gone, with Irwin having hidden it in a TSA supervisor’s drawer.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. Army Characterizes People “Frustrated With Mainstream Ideologies” As Terrorists

A leaked U.S. Army document obtained by Wired Magazine characterizes people “frustrated with mainstream ideologies” as potential terrorists, while also framing those who “believe in government conspiracies” as violent radicals.

Given that both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have identified returning veterans as one of the primary domestic terror threats, the document is seemingly designed to spot such radical extremists well ahead of time.

Examples of behavior that is considered an indication of potential terrorism include the following…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Welcome to N.Y., Dr. Hook

British imam who promoted terrorism faces trial in the United States

Violence-fomenting British imam Abu Hamza al-Masri has finally been extradited to the United States, a fate he most terribly feared. Nicknamed Doctor Hook in the British press because of his prosthetic hand — the result of an explosives injury — Masri fought for eight years to evade American justice for exhorting worshipers at London’s notorious Finsbury Park mosque to go out and kill. Among those who got the firebrand preacher’s message were 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid. On America’s wanted list since 2004 and in custody since 2006, Masri has exhausted every legal means of staying put, including an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. He managed to stall for an absurdly long time. But now he will finally be called to account for the murderous acts he inspired, including kidnappings in Yemen and a plot to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Mother Paid Price for Standing Up to Husband, Court Hears

TORONTO — Randjida Khairi paid the ultimate price for standing up to her Afghan Muslim husband and letting their children live as Westerners, a jury heard Friday.

The mother of six had her throat slashed by Peer Khairi, slit open to the spine and slowly suffocated in her own blood, Crown attorney Robert Kenny said in his opening to the jury.

“She was in the process of separating her finances and moving out of the family home,” Kenny said. “There had been fights between the couple about how permissive she was in raising their children, how she allowed them to dress and socialize as they liked, rather than asserting more control over their behaviour so that they kept the culture and rules of their birthplace.”

Khairi, now 65, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the March 18, 2008 slaying of Randjida, 53, his wife of more than 30 years, at their West Mall penthouse apartment.

But Peer Khairi will admit that he inflicted the fatal injuries, Kenny said. “What is at issue is how the death happened and what was going through the accused’s mind when it happened.

“The Crown’s position is that the evidence will show the accused intended to murder his wife,” Kenny told the jury.

Khairi had sliced through her throat, neck muscles, her airway and voicebox, back to her spine as she lay flat on her back on a small cot, Kenny said. She couldn’t scream or raise her head after the deep slashing.

She was also stabbed five times in the torso with a second, shorter sharp-pointed knife, but the scarcity of blood reveals these wounds were perpetrated after the throat cut, court heard.

The couple were alone in the apartment for hours before the fatal attack and an hour afterwards, the accused phoned 911 and stated his wife had been murdered.

Police found an immaculately tidy apartment — with no signs of a struggle or conflict — but the deceased lying in a pool of her own blood.

Khairi later blamed officers for not doing enough to try to save his wife.

“Khairi told homicide detectives that he couldn’t take it any more,” Kenny said.

Khairi said he “felt disrespected, how he claims to be wronged by his children, how his wife took the children’s side and turned against him,” Kenny said.

“He tried to explain or rationalize his actions.”

Randjida spoke to “various people, some complete strangers about her plans to leave her husband and why she wanted to be separated from him.”

Less than two weeks before her demise, Randjida approached a stranger named Nida Ali to seek help exiting her unhappy home, Kenny said.

She left in January 2008 but her spouse brought her back to the family home.

The trial resumes Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France: Man Shot Dead in Antiterrorist Operation

(AGI) — Paris, Oct. 6 — A man was shot to death on Saturday in Strasbourg while resisting arrest in connection with an anti-terrorist operation conducted in several cities around France. Sources close to the inquiry said the man shot at the police who returned fire and fatally wounded him. Three police officers were slightly wounded in the shooting, protected by their bullet-proof clothing French broadcaster BfmTV said the anti-terrorist operation is focusing on “five targets” and has led to the arrest of at least ten persons in Nice. French daily ‘Les Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace’ said the operation was part of the investigation into an attack on September 19 in Sarcelles, a Paris suburb. A low-power explosive device was thrown into a kosher supermarket slightly injuring one person and triggering a strong reaction in the town’s Jewish community.

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

Huge German Demand for Houses in Alto Adige

(AGI) Bolzano — The monthly “Manager Magazin” says Alto Adige is again becoming popular with home-buyers from Germany. The financial magazine, which belongs to the Der Spiegel publishing group, has devoted several pages to a focus on the boom in housing demand from German residents. The province of Balzano, with its mountains and landscapes has long been known to appeal to the Germans. Chancellor Angela Merkel spends some of her summer holiday there each year. Now, more than ever, is the time to invest in Italy. The respected British Telegraph newspaper has already suggested that its readers buy homes in Tuscany and the Abruzzo region — now it’s the turn of Alto Adige. An article by Richard Haiman says that “If the regulations on transparency in housing transactions introduced by the Monti government discouraged Italians from buying, the post-summer period has seen a significant rise in demand for houses in the Alto Adige, not just from Germans but from Austrians and the Dutch. The price of houses on sale in Alto Adige has not risen over the last three years. In areas such as Lana and Naturno, near Merano, the cost per square metre is still around 2,300 euros and houses measuring 140 square metres cost between 450,000 and 600,000 euros. In other areas, valuations have even gone down. A five-room flat in Val Pusteria is changing hands for 320,000 euros, in Solda in Val Venosta, a flat measuring between 50 and 60 square metres can be had for less than 170,000 euros. Until last year, the same sorts of property were worth at least 5-10% more and this has made foreign tourists keen to acquire properties in these areas as summer homes.” .

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

Islamic Radical Shot Dead by Anti-Terrorism Police in France After Opening Fire on Offices in Dawn Raid

A suspected Islamic radical who was alleged to have targeted a Jewish food shop was shot dead in an anti-terrorism police operation in France today.

The man, who is in his 30s, returned fire after officers raided a property in the eastern city of Strasbourg soon after dawn.

Another gunman was arrested in Paris, along with around 10 other men at other addresses across the country.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Italian President Condemns German Ruling on Nazi Massacre

‘Disturbing’ reasons for throwing out Tuscan slaughter case

(ANSA) — Rome, October 5 — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday spoke out against a German court’s decision not to prosecute surviving Nazi military officers suspected of a World War II massacre in Tuscany. “We note with profound regret the disturbing reasons for closing a case into those suspected of directly participating in those heinous Nazi crimes,” said Napolitano in an anniversary message marking a separate case, in which 43 civilians were killed in a Nazi massacre in Bellona, southern Italy, in 1943. Following a 10-year investigation, German magistrates on Monday said a lack of evidence made them drop the case against eight surviving Nazi soldiers for the murder of 560 civilians, including 116 children, in the Tuscan village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema, near Lucca, in 1944. The decision sparked anger and disbelief among the local community and Italian politicians, with mayor Michele Silicani describing it as “absurd and unjust”.

In its own investigation and trial, the Italian military court condemned 10 of the ex-Nazi officers to life in prison in absentia, including the eight who remain alive.

Germany refused to grant Italy’s request for the men’s arrest.

Mayor Siliciani on Tuesday said he also planned to meet with Justice Minister Paola Severino to ask for her intervention.

Only three former Nazis have ever been jailed in Italy for war crimes.

Erich Priebke, 99, was extradited from Argentina in 1995 and sentenced to life for his part in a 1944 reprisal outside Rome that killed 335 men and boys including many Jews; his ex-commander Karl Hass, arrested after coming from Switzerland to Priebke’s trial with witness immunity, died in prison aged 92 in 2004; and ‘Butcher of Bolzano’ Michael Seifert, found guilty of 18 murders, was extradited from Canada to serve life in 2008 and died in jail aged 86 in 2010.

Priebke is now under house arrest in Rome. He had a work permit revoked in 2007 after an outcry from the city’s Jewish community. Italian prosecutors have issued European arrest warrants for 15 other German former soldiers without success.

Under the terms of a postwar settlement, Germany is not required to extradite alleged war criminals to Italy.

The two countries agreed in 2008 to review outstanding wartime issues including the compensation for victims.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Olive Oil Helps Prevent Type II Diabetes, Study Says

Main components discovered to play role in reducing liver fat

(ANSA) Rome, October 2; The health benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet have long been known. But now one of its main components has been discovered to play an important role in protecting the body against type 2 diabetes. Researchers at the Italian Diabetology Society at Federico II University in Naples have found that olive oil reduces by a third the build-up of fat in the liver due to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids. There is a close relationship between fatty liver disease and the development or presence of type 2 diabetes, by far the most common type with three million diagnosed sufferers in Italy alone. The researchers say it is sufficient to eat a diet rich in olive oil and other products containing high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids for just eight weeks to see a reduction in liver fat.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: White Truffle Season Kicks Off With Prices Lower Than 2011

Yearly fair in Piedmont to celebrate the haute cuisine darling

(ANSA) — Rome, October 3 — Gastronomes and enthusiasts of the prized and pungent fungus known as the white truffle are set for a great 2012 season with prices dipping down to 300 euros for 100 grams, 20% lower than 2011.

The most prestigious truffles are found mostly in the Piedmont region near the town of Alba, where a yearly fair celebrating and auctioning the culinary treasure takes place.

This year’s fair kicks off on October 5 with an inaugural celebration and runs through November 18.

Because of the hot and dry summer, trifoleaux (truffle experts) initially predicted slim pickings. Thanks to recent rainfall, the season is set to bring “flavor galore and plenty for all,” Antonio Degiacomi, president of the fair, said at a presentation on Wednesday.

White truffles are more pungent, rare and expensive than black ones, which have a longer growing season and are more common in the center and south of Italy.

On November 11, the annual World Truffle Auction at the Grinzane Cavour castle outside of Alba will once again attract tycoons from all over the world to contend for the most valued tubers on the market this season.

“The fair attracts 500-600,000 people every year. Truffles are sold and consumed on site for a minimum mark-up compared to restaurants,” Degiacomi said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Tuscan Cigars See Brisk Sales Increase Abroad

20% jump first half 2012

(ANSA) — Rome, October 4 — Exports of popular Tuscan cigars jumped by 20% in the first half of this year, Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.p.A., said Thursday.

The company, which has been producing Tuscan cigars for almost 200 years, adds that if sales trends continue, as many as 12 million cigars will be sold outside Italy this year.

Exports of Tuscan cigars have grown from a level of 4.5 million in 2006, to more than 10 million last year.

The cigars are highly popular in Spain, where 2.6 million cigars were sold there last year, an increase of 4% over 2010. Only slightly behind was France, where cigar smokers bought 2.3 million Tuscan products, an increase of 6% over 2010. Greece is showing a 13% growth rate, buying more than 940,000 cigars last year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Four Nigerians Arrested for Voodoo-Pressured Prostitution

Victims threatened, daughters seized in Naples

(ANSA) Naples, October 4; Four Nigerians were arrested by Italian police in Naples on Thursday for allegedly forcing fellow countrywomen into prostitution by applying physical and psychological torture, including voodoo rituals. Italian police investigating the alleged crimes used phone tapping to determine the course of events. The two couples being probed had been granted political asylum in Italy and lived in two separate residences in the Borgo Sant’Antonio area of Naples. The four people promised other Nigerians back home secure jobs in Italy, and requested payment of as much as 70,000 euros to transport them to Europe from Africa. Once in Italy, the couples forced their victims into prostitution through threats, voodoo rituals and in some cases held their children as a form of extortion to force the women to repay their travel debts.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘17 Companies Dodged 112 Mln in VAT’

‘Crimes committed between 2004 and 2008’

(ANSA) — Rome, October 5 — Tax police on Friday cited nine people including eight foreigners for allegedly dodging VAT payments totalling 112 million euros for 17 companies working in Italy but registered in other European countries.

The alleged crimes, including the destruction of documents, were committed between 2004 and 2008, police said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Find Snakes Guarding Company Accounts

Boa constrictors, python on top of ‘parallel’ set of books

(ANSA) — Belluno, October 5 — Tax police on Friday found snakes guarding the accounts of a northern Italian company they had come to inspect.

Boa constrictors and a python were among the reptiles watching over a “parallel” set of books in the storehouse of a metal-working company near the city of Belluno, they said.

“There were splendid examples of empire boa constrictors, some of them about three metres long, a royal python and another 10 reptiles” in glass cases placed on top of the allegedly falsified accounts, police said.

None of the animals had been reported to forest guards responsible for putting them on the international CITES rare and exotic animals registry, police said.

Rangers and a snake expert were called out from Belluno to remove the snakes so the tax police could get at the books and carry out their inspection.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: With Renzi Gaining: Berlusconi Reconsiders Running

String of scandals shakes up election forecasts

(ANSA) — Milan, October 5 — New Data Friday showed Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi stood a good chance to represent the center-left Democratic Party in spring elections, while former premier Silvio Berlusconi looked to be debating whether or not to run.

“He’s reflecting,” said Lombardy Governor Roberto Formigoni, a member of the media magnate’s People of Freedom (PdL) party and close confidant.

Formigoni added that Berlusconi was even considering leaving the option open to someone outside his party, which has recently been hit by a series of scandals, culminating in the arrest Tuesday of Lazio caucus leader Franco Fiorito for alleged embezzlement.

“(Berlusconi) looked intent to analyze every possible scenario, ready to take a step back if it meant supporting a group of moderates with a different personality from his and the PdL’s,” said Formigoni.

“He’ll decide based on what’s good for the country”.

Polls currently give the opposition Democratic Party (PD) a clear lead over the centre-right PdL with comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star protest movement third.

The mayor of Florence, a rising star in the PD, could be the center-left’s candidate for premier in a forthcoming parliamentary vote if the turnout at primary elections is high, according to the results of a survey by the polling and social research institute SWG released on Friday.

Renzi, 37, is running against PD secretary Pier Luigi Bersani, a veteran politician, and Nichi Vendola, leader of the left-wing Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party and governor of the southern Puglia region.

With a turnout of at least four million people Renzi would win 29% of the vote against Bersani’s 26%, according to SWG.

In the event of a turnout of 2.6 million or 3.3 million people, however, Bersani would win with 37% and 33% respectively against Renzi’s 29%.

The two candidates and their respective supporters have so far been unable to agree on the rules for the primary elections and no date has been set for the poll.

The PD is due to address both issues at its national assembly on Saturday.

The next general election is scheduled by May when Premier Mario Monti, an unelected technocrat, ends his term.

Monti was appointed Premier in November amid rising turmoil in the eurocrisis that forced Berlusconi to step down. Over the past 11 months his party, one of three main groups in parliament that support Monti’s premiership, has criticized the government for its tough austerity measures, and PdL leaders have repeatedly said that Berlusconi would run again. But the center-right party’s tone has softened as of late, with some members of the party calling for an overhaul of the party structure and image. “For the future I envision a party that’s responsible, not demogogic and populist,” said Maurizio Lupi, deputy speaker of the House, from the PdL, who proposed changing the name of the party to the Italian Center-Right. “I like it a lot. We’ll see if it sticks”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Pastry-Gate Lands French MP in Hot Water With Muslims

A French pastry, the holy feast of Ramadan and a controversial French MP seeking to become head of the UMP party have combined to create a media storm in France and left the country’s Muslim community angry.

First he lambasted “anti-white racism”, now an outspoken right-wing French politician has set his sights on the Muslim community as he seeks to become the heir to Nicolas Sarkozy.


At a meeting in the southern town of Draguignan, Copé lamented the state of some neighbourhoods in France’s cities, and in doing so launched a thinly veiled snipe at Islam.

“I can understand the exasperation of some of our compatriots when there are some neighbourhoods where a mother or father will come home from work in the evening to learn their son has had his pain au chocolate snatched out of his hand by thugs, telling him it is forbidden to eat during Ramadan,” he said.

Copé’s inflammatory comments come not long after he was accused of stirring up tensions, when he expressed his dismay over the growing “anti-white racism” in France’s cities.


Copé’s apparent efforts to win favour with France’s powerful far right echo those made by his friend and former colleague Sarkozy during this year’s presidential election, when the former head of state’s repeated anti-immigration rhetoric saw him lambasted in the left-wing press.

On Saturday Copé tried to justify his words saying he was simply describing “an everyday scene” and claimed that this type of behaviour was motivated by a desire “to manipulate religion” for their own ends.

But his words have provoked an angry backlash on social media and on the air waves.

Speaking to French radio station RTL, government spokeswoman Najat Belkacem-Vallaud said: “It is clear Jean-Francois Copé is trying to exploit a subject that is far too important to be exploited, which is the question of living together.

“The day he wants to speak calmly instead of seeking to exploit fears and fantasies, I would be ready to listen,” she added.

Leaders of France’s Muslim community also slammed Copé for his remarks.

“These types of accusations are easy to make,” said Abdallah Zekri, president of the French Observatory against Islamophobia. “He wants to please the extremists in his party and as usual he attacks Muslims and young people”.

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

Sardines and Anchovies Risk Disappearing From the Adriatic

Greenpeace calls on the EU to guarantee sustainable fishing

(ANSAmed) Rome, September 28; Environmental watchdog Greenpeace has warned that stocks of sardines and anchovies are disappearing from the Adriatic as a result of poor fishery management and called on the EU to guarantee that fishing practices are sustainable. In the report ‘Blue Gold in Italy’ published in the September 2012 edition of ‘Ocean Inquirer’, Greenpeace shines the spotlight on the ports of Chioggia, one of the largest fishing ports in the Mediterranean, and Pila di Porto Tolle in Veneto, which together “supply a considerable proportion of the Italian sardine and anchovy market all year round” and also “export catches to other countries”. Scientific data show a decline in these fish populations in the north and central Adriatic over the last 40 years, while the Italian government has allowed pressure on these waters to increase by increasing the number and capacity of authorised boats and issuing ‘experimental’ licences, the report says. Greenpeace calls on European governments and the European parliament to draw up legislation to ensure that fish stocks can be naturally replenished.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Afghan Asylum Seeker Admits Murdering His Ex-Girlfriend’s 17-Year-Old Sister and Her Friend

An asylum-seeker today admitted stabbing to death his ex-girlfriend’s 17-year-old sister and her 18-year-old friend.

Ahmad Otak, 21, murdered Kimberley Frank and her friend Samantha Sykes, 18, in Kimberley’s flat in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in March.

Otak, who is from Afghanistan, had visited Kimberley’s home to discuss his stormy relationship with her sister Elisa when the murders took place.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Arson Attack at Jewish School

A suspected arson attack occurred at a Jewish primary school in Hackney last Friday night, September 28. The fire at the Talmud Torah Toldos Yakov Yoser school in Heathland Road occurred between 00:10 — 00:20. No one was hurt at the scene. DC Nick Bull, from the Violent Crime unit in Shoreditch, said: “An investigator at the London Fire Brigade confirmed that no accelerant was used but believes that the fire was started on purpose, because two separate fires in two separate rooms were started at the same time.” CCTV did not cover the area, but police are still appealing for witnesses and information about the attack.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Anti-Terror Police Arrest Brother and Sister on Suspicion of Terrorism-Related Documents

A 23-year-old man and his 18-year- old sister were arrested today in Birmingham on suspicion of possessing documents likely to be of use to someone preparing for an act of terrorism.

The pair were arrested at an address in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, some 195 km northwest of London, under the Terrorism Act, West Midlands Police said.

They were arrested on suspicion of possessing documents likely to be of use to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism, the BBC reported.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Brothers Jailed for 32 Years for Pimping Out Young Girls to Curry House Workers

Two brothers have been jailed for a raft of sexual offences including pimping out young girls to workers at a curry house for £150 sex sessions.

Ahdel Ali, 24, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, while his 29-year-old brother Mubarek was handed a 14-year-term by Judge Patrick Thomas QC at Worcester Crown Court.

During the brothers’ trial the court heard that the two men systematically groomed young girls for after hour sex sessions at the restaurant.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Man Tortured to Death in Sadistic Attack

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

Three people who subjected a vulnerable man to ‘sadistic’ levels of torture, similar to the horror series Resident Evil, have each been jailed for life for his murder.

Derek Blake, 44, was found dead in a bath full of water in a flat in his hometown of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, on May 24.

A pathologist found he had suffered 104 separate injuries and had been subjected to a ‘painful and humiliating’ ordeal involving…


Ricky Roys, 20, Andrew Brown, 42, and Helen Cooke, 19, all of St Nicholas Road, Great Yarmouth, pleaded guilty to the murder.

Judge Peter Jacobs sentenced all three to life imprisonment. Brown must serve a minimum of 23 years, Roys 20 and Cooke 18 before they will be considered for release.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Mother-of-Three Misdiagnosed Then ‘Discharged From Hospital at 3am and Forced to Walk Four Miles Home in Her Dressing Gown’

A mother-of-three was kicked out of hospital in the middle of the night and made to walk two hours home wearing just a dressing gown after doctors misdiagnosed her.

Nicky Moore, 42, was rushed to Royal Bournemouth Hospital with stomach pains but she was told she had gastroenteritis, given painkillers and discharged at 3am.

Ms Moore had no car or money on her and her husband, Roger, was at home with the couple’s children so couldn’t collect her. When the hospital refused to drop her because they had no vehicles, she walked the four miles home in her pyjamas and dressing gown and in severe pain.

Later that day her pain got worse and she was readmitted to the same hospital where an ultrasound scan revealed she actually had gallstones.

She stayed in the Dorset hospital for six days and is now on an emergency waiting list to have her gallbladder removed.

‘I was in agony when I left hospital and it was the middle of the night,’ said the Christchurch woman, who has now lodged a formal complaint against the hospital.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Reading University Union Ejects Atheist Society Over ‘Blasphemous’ Pineapple


Yesterday, as a new academic year begins, a similar attack on student’s freedom of expression took place at the University of Reading Freshers’ Fayre. Students from the university Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Society (RAHS) were forced to leave the Fayre after they included a pineapple labelled ‘Mohammed’ on their stall. Staff from the Reading University Student Union (RUSU), as well as a number of Muslim students objected to this and asked the society to remove it, with a statement from the society stating that they were told “Either the pineapple goes, or you do“…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Southampton Victim Hunts Down Robber Using Facebook

A TEENAGER used Facebook to track down a man who subjected him to a terrifying and degrading robbery.

The 16-year-old was threatened with a knife and being bitten by a dog, repeatedly beaten and told to strip as part of the horrific ordeal at the hands of two young men who then stole his moped and mobile phone.

But despite the harrowing robbery the youngster turned detective and managed to trace one of his attackers through the social networking site. He then handed the details to police who promptly arrested Talhabaig Mirza.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: The Rotten Culture at the Heart of the BBC

by Damian Thompson

Please, don’t tell me that the BBC didn’t know. Everybody who moved in those circles knew. Just because an old man is “one of us” doesn’t give you licence to brush over the disturbing truth about him. But that’s what appears to have happened. When the death of the historian Eric Hobsbawm was announced this week, BBC reports noted admiringly that his works were “shaped by his commitment to radical socialism”. The fact that this commitment extended to ideological support for Communist mass murder was obscured and excused. “He was too shrewd, too open-minded to pursue a narrow Marxist approach in his work or his politics,” explained a correspondent. Yes, and Sir Jimmy Savile was too shrewd to exploit underage girls. Or so the BBC was still implying until an ITV documentary on Wednesday forced it to confront the testimony of Savile’s accusers…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Pineapple of Hate

by Douglas Murray

We have had the dreaded cartoons, films, teddy-bear and more. But I bet that until now nobody imagined we would ever see a (cue dreaded music) ‘Pineapple of Hate’. Yet despite the now familiar feeling that this is all some terrible spoof, the fruit has joined the growing list of household items which can be legitimately regarded as ‘blasphemous’. As Student Rights reports, the crime-scene was the recent freshers’ fair at the University of Reading. For it was there that the Atheist, Humanist and Secular Society stall included a pineapple with the word ‘Mohammed’ on it. I always doubted that the Danish or French cartoons looked much like the prophet of Islam. But if there is one thing that can be said with absolute certainty, it is that if Mohammed existed he never looked even remotely like a pineapple.

For its part, the Atheist Society said that its sign was intended ‘to celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which free speech is protected, and where it is lawful to call a pineapple by whatever name one chooses.’ Noble sentiment though this is, the students were soon shown to be wrong. Some Muslim students as well as Student Union staff expressed themselves offended by the fruity name-tag. As a result the Atheist Society was threatened with removal from the freshers’ fair. Among other things this was done with the imperishable, indeed unimprovable, line:

‘Either the pineapple goes, or you do’.

But the pineapple could not go, so the atheist society did. In a statement the Reading University Student Union explains:

Our freshers’ fair is an inclusive event for all students. As the society’s actions were causing upset and distress to a number of individual students and other societies attending we took the decision to ask them to leave.’

I wonder if any other student societies have ever caused ‘upset’ or ‘distress’ yet been allowed to stay on at such an occasion? It makes me wonder. As will the possibilities available on all future visits to the Tesco fruit-counter.

[Reader comment by Laurence a day ago.]

Ah, ‘the religion of peace(tm)’ and its growing number of earnest supplicants, always keen to find new and interesting ways to remain perpetually offended. You know, were I to find myself in a society in which offence to my mediaeval mores was near perpetual, I would make it my solemn purpose to leave that place as quickly as possible and relocate to somewhere more congenial. For instance, I cannot see the problem with women exposing their faces or driving a car, I like consuming alcohol, I read more than one book, I enjoy music and art, I do not think homosexuality is a capital offence and I believe that Israel is a perfectly legitimate democratic country. To prevent being offended, these are, then, some of the many, many, many reasons why I wouldn’t set foot in a backward little place like, oh, say, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

[Reader comment by Trofim 19 hours ago.]

“the Atheist Society said that its sign was intended ‘to celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which free speech is protected”. They seem to be a bit out of touch with reality if they think Britain is such a place. Muslims are rarely offended — they choose to make out that they are offended with the aim of controlling the behaviour of others. In psychiatry this behaviour has a name — it is called manipulation, and it is a characteristic of people with personality disorders, that is psychopaths. Toddlers can easily manipulate their parents, if their parents allow them to, as well. Successful manipulators, are expert at detecting people’s weak points, which they can work on. But manipulation only achieves its goals if the target is willing or weak enough to co-operate in the manouevre by caving in to the manipulator. It is astonishing how Muslims get away with it so easily and so frequently. But then these manipulators are not working on their own. They have huge support from the left, and are able to utilise a special weapon provided by the left — the ability to shout “Islamophobia”, in addition to “racism”, of course.

[Reader comment by T.Botham 9 hours ago.]

If the Atheists had put up — right next to the pineapple called Mohammed — a potato called Jesus, a banana called Jehovah, a watermelon called Buddha and a lemon called Gaia, their (laudable) intention to offend those who believe in whoppers would have been obvious. They should have offered them for sale. But why be limited to produce? Whoopee cushions called Thor, matches called Vesta, more matches called Lucifer, light bulbs called Mazda…How d’you like them Mohammeds?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Third of Rochdale Pubs on the Brink of Closure

More than a third of the borough’s pubs are facing closure within a year, according to new figures. According to insolvency trade body R3, up to 35 per cent of local pubs are considered “at risk” and may be forced to close within a year. It says consumers are drinking at home to save money. Restaurants are struggling too, with 38 per cent of local eateries also at risk. Jeremy Oddie, North-West regional chairman of R3, said: “The downturn has gone on far longer than could have been predicted and it is getting harder for people to find the money to spend. The strain IS showing.”

[JP note: Becoming a Muslim town probably doesn’t help either.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Tower Hamlets to Hold Hate Crime Awareness Week Event

Tower Hamlets will from next Saturday be joining in with national Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The week will run from October 13, with events planned across London, culminating in a Trafalgar Square vigil, and aims to raise awareness of hate crime. It is being organised by the 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign, in partnership with local councils. The numbers in the campaign name represent the three April 1999 dates when David Copeland planted nail bombs in Brixton Market, Brick Lane and Soho. Tower Hamlets Council will be running an information stall at Idea Store Whitechapel on October 16 between 11am and 4pm.

The Council has recently taken measures to strengthen its No Place for Hate Pledge. Venues signed up to the pledge must now check details of those hiring them for events, to crack down on right-wing extremism and religious fundamentalism. Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “Tower Hamlets Council is committed to tackling Hate Crime and we fully support Hate Crime Awareness Week. Our strengthened No Place for Hate pledge reflects our ongoing commitment to ensuring that Tower Hamlets remains no place for hate.”

For more information on Hate Crime Awareness Week visit

[JP note: Closing down the East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre would be a start.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Video Shows Dramatic Moment Two Men Armed With a Machete and Knife Threaten Terrified Shop Workers as They Hold Up Post Office

Police have issued video images of two robbers who threatened Post Office workers at knife point.

The men, brandishing a knife and machete, forced one man to lie on the floor while a woman tending the till was forced to hand over cash.

The attack happened at around 8.10pm on Friday August 24 at the High Crompton Post Office, Thornham Road, Oldham, near Manchester.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Veneto Risks EU Sanctions for Bird-Hunting Violations

At least 20 species at risk during 2012 season

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 1 — Veneto’s seasonal bird hunting calendar for 2012 is “potentially incompatible with European directives” and puts the region at risk for sanctions, the European Commission said on Monday, announcing that they would open inquiries into irregularities.

EMP Andrea Zanoni said in a statement on Monday that Veneto Regional Governor Luca Zaia “does everything to satisfy the lobby of blindly greedy hunters instead of enforcing the European Birds Directive”.

Zanoni’s report presented to the EU Environmental Commissioner prompting the Commission to investigate the region’s violations said Veneto’s non-compliance severely threatens “at least 20 species” of birds.

Zanoni’s report maintains that Veneto is in violation of EU directives in five cases — the earlier opening of hunting season for migratory birds, the increase of the number of species open for hunting to 23, prolonged hunting during breeding season when many birds are land-bound, earlier training of hunting dogs when many species are land-nested or with their nestlings and the open hunting of two endangerd species.

“I had no doubt that the EU would open inquiries against Veneto,” Zanoni said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


An Election in Bosnia Shaped by the Past

Elections in Srebrenica are about more than just paving roads and establishing local authorities. The 1995 massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys there offers a key backdrop to elections up to the present. Arguments have raged in Bosnia ahead of local elections, set to take place Sunday (07.10.2012). Parties are taking the opportunity to raise their profile and to present their overall political views. Local politicians and their issues have therefore been shunted to the side at campaign events. Particular attention is being paid to the town of Srebrenica…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

Minister Terzi: “Scientific Diplomacy Stems Fanaticism”

(AGI)Brescia-Favouring collaboration among scientific communities is an antidote to fanaticism said Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi. “We need to place our trust in research, work, and innovation,” Minister Terzi stated during a convention in Brescia, “but favouring ties between scientific communities is also essential. At the Ministry, I wanted scientific diplomacy to be crucial as I believe it favours entrepreneurial growth and university education.” “The Foreign Ministry has made great efforts to support cooperation between universities,” Terzi stated, “we hope to consolidate shared learning in the Mediterranean and dialogue, these being the best antidote for fanaticism. I’ve asked our embassies to show our universities’ worth abroad. I’m pleased to say that at the university of Brescia there are many foreign students, [around one thousand from over 70 countries, Ed.], and this is the path to integration.” ..

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

North Africa

Egypt: Morsi Plays to Anti-Israel Gallery

by Anshel Pfeffer

Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, used his first international appearance to severely criticise Israel without mentioning it by name. Mr Morsi, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said in his speech last week to the UN General Assembly that the first issue that the international community must solve is “the Palestinian cause”. He said that it was “shameful that the free world would accept that a party in the international community would continue to deny the rights of a nation that seeks independence”, but despite calling for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, he did not say that there should also be an Israeli state.

Mr Morsi and his party have said in recent months that they are not in favour of cancelling the Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt but that they were seeking changes in the treaty. In an interview with the New York Times prior to his visit to New York, Mr Morsi said that Egypt would insist that the section of the treaty regarding Palestinian rights would be implemented. In a further affront to Israel and the West, Mr Morsi expressed support for the Sudanese regime of Omar Al-Bashir who is wanted for arrest by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egyptian President Tries to Heal Division Between Muslims, Copts

CAIRO, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has paid a condolence visit to North Sinai and promised to protect those Coptic families who fled their hometown after receiving death threats from some Islamic militants. During his visit to North Sinai early Friday, Morsi reassured the Coptic families by saying that “your security is our security, “ sending a strong signal to thousands of Coptics nationwide who were deeply worried about being marginalized in a society dominated by Islamists. Morsi said the death threats against Copts were “personal behavior” and “crime,” urging that “those responsible should be punished.” Affirming that “whoever carries the Egyptian nationality has the same rights,” the Egyptian president pledged that threats against Copts “won’t be repeated.” He added that Egyptians should not be differentiated by religion or gender.

Threats against Coptic families came after decisions to refer a Christian to criminal court over blasphemy and to detain two Coptic children for insulting Islam. Ekram Lamie, a professor of Compared Theology Science in Cairo University, said that “the Coptic conditions during Morsi have improved compared to his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.” Lamie praised the president’s statements in Sinai and called for implementing it on grounds to make the Coptics feel they are safe in Egypt. The professor also asked the president to continue in his approach to solve the Coptic issue completely. The Education Ministry has decided for the first time to include some verses of the Bible in the National Education book at the secondary school stages in the current year…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Email: State Department Rejected Embassy Request for Security

‘Embassy personnel did not receive the support they sought’

(ABC News) ABC News has obtained an internal State Department email from May 3, 2012, indicating that the State Department denied a request from the security team at the Embassy of Libya to retain a DC-3 airplane in the country to better conduct their duties.

Copied on the email was U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in a terrorist attack on the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012, along with three other Americans. That attack has prompted questions about whether the diplomatic personnel in that country were provided with adequate security support.

No one has yet to argue that the DC-3 would have definitively made a difference for the four Americans killed that night. The security team in question, after all, left Libya in August.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Libya: Discord Skewed Benghazi Response

Divergent Views, Agency Infighting Slow White House Efforts to Address the Cause of Deadly Strike on Consulate in Libya

WASHINGTON-New details are emerging of discord among federal agencies that has complicated the Obama administration’s response to last month’s deadly attack on the American consulate in Libya, creating intense political pressure for the White House just weeks ahead of the presidential election. More than three weeks after the attack on Sept. 11, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents finally reached the scene in Benghazi on Thursday-amid an emerging picture of confusion and competing narratives within the administration and intelligence community about what happened there…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Morocco Leads Efforts to Save Last of the Barbary Lions

(AGI) — Rabat, 4 Oct — The Atlas Lion, also known as the Barbary Lion (Panthera leo leo) is a north African subspecies of lion, declared extinct in 1922 when the last of its kind was shot dead by a Frenchman. The keepers at Rabat Zoo, however, look after a dozen interbred lions in efforts to maintain the blood line and increase the population.

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

Middle East

Brother Tariq’s Last Stand

by Sohrab Ahmari

The Swiss-born preacher’s phobic reaction to the events of the ‘Arab Spring’ reveals the limits of his brand of Islamist apologetics.

More than a decade ago, Tariq Ramadan appointed himself the spokesman for Europe’s Muslims. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, liberal establishments on both sides of the Atlantic turned to the Swiss-born writer and preacher to hear palliative homilies about Islamism’s peaceful intentions. Ian Buruma, writing in the New York Times in 2007, hailed Mr. Ramadan’s “reasoned but traditionalist approach to Islam,” which “offers values that are as universal as those of the European Enlightenment.” A 2004 Washington Post op-ed dubbed him the “Muslim Martin Luther.”

Mr. Ramadan, a professor at Oxford, expounds a “reformist” Islamism, one that purports to respect democracy, women’s rights and the rule of law. Yet during a 2003 televised exchange with Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr. Ramadan refused to condemn the stoning of adulterers under fundamentalist Islam. He suggested only a “moratorium” during which to “debate” the practice. Mr. Ramadan’s doctrine-grounded in the work of Hassan al-Banna, his maternal grandfather and the founder, in Egypt in 1928, of the Muslim Brotherhood-expects a revitalized “Islamic Orient” to stand as a viable alternative to the liberal order…

Mr. Ramadan calls for a “civil state,” melding democratic elements with the region’s “Islamic reference.” But he is evasive about what this would mean in practice. The few examples he cites aren’t encouraging. The Khomeinist revolution in 1979 showed how to “moralize politics in the name of Islam”-a path that Iran’s current rulers have supposedly strayed from. The author also has good things to say about the “Turkish model” advanced by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party. He mentions Tunisia’s Rached Ghannouchi as another Islamist leader who has endorsed the “democratic principle.” But Turkey under Mr. Erdogan has emerged as the world’s top jailer of journalists. Mr. Ghannouchi, meanwhile, has declared that, for Islamist parties, democracy is merely a steppingstone toward “the long-term objective of establishing an Islamic government.”

These developments don’t concern Mr. Ramadan, who waves away the “empty controversies” dividing the region’s Islamists and secular forces. He wants to keep the focus on evil Western governments and corporations, on Guantanamo and America’s security apparatus, on an endless litany of Israeli crimes. Railing against these demons made him a media darling during the first decade of the war on terror. But, for good or ill, much of the region has moved on.

Mr. Ahmari is an assistant books editor at the Journal.

A version of this article appeared October 5, 2012, on page A11 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Brother Tariq’s Last Stand.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Christians ‘Emptied From Middle East’

Syrian Christian abbess, Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, pictured at St Patricks church in Melbourne during a visit to Australia. Picture: Stuart Mcevoy Source: The Australian

THE mother superior of a 1500-year-old monastery in Syria warned yesterday during a visit to Australia that the uprising against Bashar al-Assad has been hijacked by foreign Islamist mercenaries, with strong support from Western countries.

Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix was forced to flee to neighbouring Lebanon in June when she was warned of a plot to abduct her, after she revealed that about 80,000 Christians had been “cleared” by rebel forces from their homes in Homs province.

She described on the website of the Greek-Melkite Catholic monastery of St James, the church she rebuilt 18 years ago after discovering it in ruins, how Islamist rebels had gathered Christian and Alawi hostages in a building in Khalidiya in Homs. Then they blew it up with dynamite and attributed the act to the regular army.

Mother Agnes-Mariam plans to return to Syria soon, to support the Mussalaha (Reconciliation) community-based movement, which rejects sectarian violence and includes, she said, members of all ethnic and religious communities who are tired of war.

Rallies with the theme “Hands Off Syria” are scheduled for lunchtime tomorrow in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart, and will involve a wide variety of groups from the country.

Mother Agnes-Mariam, 60, speaks five languages fluently and spent 22 years as a contemplative Carmelite nun in Lebanon, where she was born. Her late father was a Palestinian refugee who fled Nazareth in 1948 when the state of Israel was established.

She told The Weekend Australian, while visiting Melbourne yesterday — between meetings with Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart and state parliamentarians — that after the uprising began, she had noticed growing numbers of “aggressive, armed gangs which wished to paralyse community life, abducting people, beheading, bringing terror even to schools”.

Slowly these groups became identified: some are recruited by and affiliated with al-Qa’ida, some have a Muslim Brotherhood background, some are attached to other Islamist factions. Only about one in 20 of these fighters is Syrian, she said. The rest come from places ranging from Britain to Pakistan, from Chechnya to North Africa. “Many have fought in Iraq, some also in Afghanistan,” Mother Agnes-Mariam said. “Now their cause is being recycled to kill Syrians.”

The two million Christians in Syria — which contains the world’s first church — “are sharing Syria’s fate”, she said.

“But as a minority, they are more vulnerable. They have no army. They are caught, like the filling in a sandwich.”

Her own community of nuns at St James has been mostly trapped in the monastery for 18 months.

In the beginning, she said, the uprising embraced values including freedom and democracy. “But it steadily became a violent Islamist expression against a liberal secular society.”

She described “a hidden will to empty the Middle East of its Christian presence. We don’t know why. We have always been the peaceful catalyst bringing diverse communities together.”

The foreign Islamist threat, she said, “is a terrible one for all the minorities. Do we stay and become second-class citizens? Where do we go? We shouldn’t have to accept this in the 21st century.”

Mother Agnes-Mariam said some Westerners, “even Christians”, were insisting that all Syrians enter dialogue with the Islamist insurgents to form common cause, tolerating the imposition of “a kind of Islamic will” — and criticising her as a controversialist. “But what is happening now is against the uprising,” she said. “There is a way to implement the choices of the Syrian people — by giving them back self-determination and freeing them of this massive foreign interference and this media instigation for violence.

“There are powerful seeds inside the Syrian people for reform through dialogue and negotiation.”

           — Hat tip: Frontinus[Return to headlines]

Citing U.S. Fears, Arab Allies Limit Syrian Rebel Aid

In an exclusive report in Sunday’s New York Times, Robert F. Worth writes that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syrian rebels for months but that they have not provided heavier weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles, that could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war’s tide.

The countries have held back, officials in both nations said, in part because they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists. As a result, the rebels have just enough weapons to maintain a stalemate, and the war grinds on. Providing rebels with heavier weapons “has to happen,” Khalid al-Attiyah, a state minister for foreign affairs in Qatar, said. “But first we need the backing of the United States, and preferably the U.N.”

[Return to headlines]

Iraq: Five Die in Baghdad Mosque Blast

Five people have been killed and another 26 were injured in a twin blast near the al-Sadrein mosque in Baghdad, Iraqi police report.

The bombs went off outside the Shiite mosque and a local police station when people were leaving the mosque after the Friday prayer.

This September terrorist attacks took 365 lives, which is the deadliest month since August 2010 when 426 people were killed.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

NATO Ready to “Intervene” In Syria?

Nobody in their right mind is going to suggest that the Syrian government intentionally launched mortar attacks inside Turkey. The very worst thing the Syrian government can be accused of doing is miscalculating and accidentally firing a mortal shell across the border. This is something entirely different than a planned act against the neighboring nation.

The NATO Council met last night and they have come out warning Syria to stop its “aggression against Turkey”. What do you make of this statement?

“This was an emergency meeting of North Atlantic Council, it is one of the few occasion where it has met at night, to underline the urgency of this. And the actual NATO statement includes the following passage, and this verbatim:”In the spirit of indivisibility of security and solidarity deriving from the Washington Treaty, that is the founding treaty of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an Ally.” That’s part of the statement. And Anders Fogh Rasmussen was also quoted, stating, his concerns about events, and I am quoting him here: “On our South-Eastern border.” That is the Turkish-Syrian border is now officially proclaimed as NATO’s South-Eastern border. Suggesting strongly, that NATO sees this as an attack against the entire military alliance as well as against Turkey…

…What was discussed at the meeting was the so-called Article 4 provision in the Washington Treaty, or what’s actually called the North Atlantic Treaty, the founding document of NATO: which states, “The parties that are NATO member states will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened.” That certainly suggests that NATO once again reserves the right to respond collectively in alleged defense of Turkey.”

Would you agree that they’re just waiting for the right chance to invade Syria?

“That’s exactly it. What’s remarkable is the very day before, whatever the nature of the incident is that resulted in the deaths of the Turkish civilians near the border, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Genady Gatilov warned reporters of potential NATO intervention against Syria!

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Syria: Cultural Vandalism Leaves US All a Little Poorer

by Vicki Woods

You don’t need to have been to Aleppo to know that the razing of its souk is a calamity

Jim Muir is one of the (ever fewer) voices I enjoy listening to on the radio, but he chilled me this week with a report from Syria. He wasn’t reporting “from” Syria, of course, where most Western journalists are not allowed, but from his base in Cairo. He was tracking a script (I think it’s called), when correspondents are handed a fragment of jumpy film or tape about the demonstration in the square, with a desperate babel of foreign voices coming out of it.

Anyway, Muir’s report began with no voices, only some long seconds of strange white noise, until he said, “That is the sound of the medieval souk in Aleppo burning to the ground”, and I had to sit down and listen. I was immediately struck both by the brilliance of radio as a news medium on the one hand and by its drawbacks on the other. In the modern world, we have become used to seeing everything in pictures, as children do. We’ve become so accustomed to show-and-tell that it’s hard to live without it.

Perhaps for me the sound alone — in my kitchen, under my thatched roof, on a dry and breezy day — of a medieval souk burning to the ground was more ominously terrifying than it would be for people living cheerfully under slates or tiles. I had no picture of Aleppo to recall in memory because I’ve never seen the city, nor its Citadel, nor its Souk al-Madina, though I fiercely wish I had: the souk was a traveller’s halt on the Silk Road and a wonder of the world…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: Video: FSA Rebel: ‘We Won’t Stop Until Al-Qaeda Flag Raised Over White House’

Press the ‘CC’ button on the video to turn on subtitles. These are the guys the Obama administration is funding with hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

“We started our holy war here and won’t finish until this (Jihadis Banner) will be raised on top of the White House. Keep funding them, you always do that, remember? Al Qaeda for instance.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

There is No Hyperinflation in Iran — The Real Story is Much More Interesting

Contrary to reports, there is no hyperinflation in Iran right now at all.

In fact, the Western sanctions imposed on Iran’s oil trade are failing miserably to meet their objectives.

And a regime collapse — or even, coming short of that, another popular uprising reminiscent of June 2009 — seems further away from Iran than ever.

Meanwhile, the Iranian regime is using the current sanctions imposed against it by the West as a weapon to weaken its own fiercest domestic threat — the educated, relatively pro-Western Iranian constituency that comprises the middle class.

[Comments: A very interesting read.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Turkey Should “Prepare for War” While Wishing Peace: Turkish PM

ISTANBUL, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — Turkey should be prepared for war if it wants to have peace, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Istanbul on Friday. Addressing a gathering of more than 5,000 people, Erdogan said, “The saying goes: ‘prepare for war if you wish for peace’…We are not war-lovers, but we are not far from war either.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey Hits Back After New Shelling From Syria

ANTAKYA, Turkey — Turkey hit back Saturday against what it said was a fresh bombardment of its territory from the Syrian side, little more than 24 hours after UN condemnation of deadly cross-border shelling. Syria meanwhile said that four Turks were in a convoy of “terrorists” that it killed in fighting in the heart of Aleppo, just hours after UN condemnation of four deadly jihadist bombings in the commercial capital. Turkish officials said they were sure the mortar round that struck on Saturday morning was fired by pro-government forces, and not the rebels who have been fighting for nearly 19 months to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The round struck Hatay province at the western end of Turkey’s long frontier with Syria, prompting a fresh round of retaliatory fire after reprisals on Wednesday and Thursday for the previous shelling, the provincial governor’s office said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UN Chief Criticises Iran Sanctions

UN — International sanctions on Iran are having “significant” effects on the Iranian people and appear to be harming humanitarian operations in the country, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the UN General Assembly, released yesterday.

The Iranian currency has fallen during the past year and over the last 10 days alone has lost a third of its value, sparking street protests. US and other western officials blame the drop on both economic mismanagement and sanctions.

Mr Ban pointed to an increase in unemployment and a shortage of medical supplies. — (Reuters)

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]


No More Mosques Outside “Muslim Areas”?

by Geraldine Fagan

While vast crowds flock to Moscow’s few official mosques on major Islamic festivals, similarly fast-growing Muslim communities across Russia are experiencing state obstruction to new mosques just as acutely, Forum 18 News Service has found. Officials have long promoted mosque construction in regions whose titular ethnicities are traditionally viewed as Muslim, such as Dagestan and Tatarstan, regardless of how many of their inhabitants practise Islam. But Muslims are often barred from building in regions of Russia considered ethnically Russian, even if their communities have a long history there. In many such areas, a recent surge in the Muslim population due to labour migration both from within Russia and ex-Soviet Central Asia is turning the situation volatile…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Islamic Party Denies Riots on Religious Grounds in Baku

Baku, Fineko/ The Islamic Party of Azerbaijan has denied the riots on religious grounds in Baku. The party issued a statement that the action of protest against the ban on schoolgirls’ wearing Islamic head covering (hijab) in front of the Education Ministry’s building, which took place on 5 October, was not initiated by the Islamic Party and its supporters were not involved in the protests and clashes with the police. Meanwhile, the Baku City Prosecutor’s Office initiated a criminal case on the fact of holding an unsanctioned rally and clashes with the police under articles 315.2 (resistance to authority) and 233 (organizing or active participation in civil unrest).

The Baku City Prosecutor’s Office and the Baku Main Police Department stated that yesterday afternoon about 200 radical religious people tried to hold in front of the Ministry’s building the protest action not coordinated with city authorities. As a result, for about 40 minutes public order was violated and dozens of cars suffered from actions of radicals. According to the statement, the radicals armed with sticks attacked the policemen involved in the restoration of public order. As a result, 20 policemen sustained bodily injuries with varying severity. In the dispersal of the action 65 most aggressive participants were detained.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Bring Troops Home From Afghanistan Now

Finally, our government is getting the message that Afghanistan is not worth another American dying for a corrupt and incompetent regime. The United States is spending $92 million to build a high-tech command center in Afghanistan so that the generals can link with the troops fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida. Are they serious? We trained 425,000 police and military personnel in 12 years, plus 100,000 coalition forces, and can’t get a handle to control the enemy forces. (How many do they have?) We know where the Taliban strongholds are and we still can’t defeat them. Apparently the Taliban and al-Qaida got the cream of the crop because they don’t seem to have a problem recruiting fighters for their cause. It’s time to leave and bring our forces home.

Delphin J. Bogdan, Cheektowaga

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Death Penalty for Family Members Over India ‘Honour Killing’

Five members of a family in India were sentenced to death for the torture and “brutal” murder of a young couple from Delhi in a so-called “honour killing” two years ago.

The parents, uncle, aunt and brother of Asha, a 19-year-old woman killed along with her boyfriend Yogesh in 2010, were all condemned to hang by additional sessions court judge Ramesh Kumar. Yogesh, a taxi driver, wanted to marry Asha, the daughter of a vegetable vendor, but the girl’s family was against the alliance because the boy belonged to a lower caste. India has seen an upsurge in such killings, which mainly involve young couples who marry outside their caste or against their relatives’ wishes and are murdered to protect what is seen as the family’s reputation and pride. Autopsy reports revealed that the young couple had been tied with ropes, beaten with metal pipes and electrocuted, local media reports said. “Medical examination had revealed that the two had died due to the thermoelectric shock from repeated electrocution,” said the Indian Express newspaper…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Gunmen Attack NATO Container in Pakistan, Driver, Cleaner Injured

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — Unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’ s southwest region attacked a container, carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan, and injured its driver and his assistant, police in the region said Saturday. The driver and his assistant received bullet injuries in Mastung area of Balochistan and were shifted to Quetta, the provincial capital.

Officials said that the container loaded with goods was on its way from Karachi to Afghanistan when unknown gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire at the container. The assailants also set the container on fire. Later, the attackers managed to escape. The local militia force rushed to the site of attack and conducted a search operation but no one was arrested.

The police also registered a case against unknown attackers and started investigation into the incident. No group claimed responsibility. Taliban militants are blamed for such attacks.

Some 70 percent supplies are reportedly transported for nearly 150,000 US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Joseph Blady Nicely Sums Up What Should be Obvious About the Afghan Folly

From The Huffington Post (Oct. 4, 2012):

Joseph Blady, M.D., Former program officer for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and senior analyst for the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence

Afghanistan: We’re Out of Reasons

In reporting about a Taliban attack against Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan last Friday, The New York Times pointed out that the eight U.S. Marine Harrier jets destroyed in the attack were worth about $200 million. America’s real loss is harder to quantify, as is so much in this war, but it’s always more than we realize…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Imran Khan Drone Protest

Pakistani politician Imran Khan has insisted his ‘peace march’ against the US use of drone airstrikes will go ahead despite widespread security fears. The former international cricketer has dismissed government warnings about marching into South Waziristan, which is a Taliban stronghold. He plans to arrive in the area on Sunday in a convoy and hold a rally that will include a number of American peace activists. But the authorities say they cannot guarantee the safety of the people taking part — especially the foreigners — and have branded Mr Khan irresponsible…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Southern Thailand Vendors Close Shops Out of Fear of Punishment

PATTANI: — Many shops in Pattani and Narathiwat had to close yesterday after they received leaflets threatening shopowners with punishment if they did not follow Muslim regulations about Friday being a day of rest.

Nimu Makajeh, an Islam expert, said there was no prohibition as such because according to the religion, everyday is good for work.

“That warning is wrong. There is no such prohibition in our teachings,” he said.

Vendors and shopowners in Pattani’s downtown Thepwiwat fresh market, however, said they would shut down to avoid losses from attacks.

Residents in this province have been uneasy since last Friday’s car bomb explosion in Sai Buri district, which killed six police officers and injured scores others.

Dispoon Changcharoen, owner of Chong Ah Restaurant, said business was usually good on Fridays because people liked to relax and dine out, but he preferred to stay safe and would hence be closing his restaurant this week. In any case, he said, it would be difficult to find fresh supplies.

He also called on the authorities to launch morale-boosting measures.

Muhammad Kasaha, manager of the Pattani branch of Saha Farms, said rumours of violence badly affected the sales of his products, mainly fresh chicken. He said the Pattani business community has been living in fear after rumours of imminent violence started circulating over the past two weeks.

Saha Farms’ weekly promotion, which is normally held on Fridays, was moved to Thursday this week, he said.

Meanwhile in Narathiwat, Sungai Kolok district chief Chamnun Muendam, said Thai-Muslims usually closed their shops on Fridays to go pray at the mosque. However, after surveying the situation at a fresh market behind the Kenting Hotel, he said that many shopowners had shut down because they were worried about their safety.

He also called on vendors to not be intimidated by the leaflets and rumours, saying that Islamic teachings did not prevent Muslims from working on Fridays.

“Vendors can do business on any day. We have security officials in uniform and undercover policemen deployed in the market to provide safety,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Three Indonesian Men Caned for Gambling With Dominoes

Three men convicted of gambling have been publicly caned under Islamic law in Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province.

The chief of the civil service police, Rusli, says the three were each given seven lashes outside a mosque after Friday prayers in Jantho, the capital of Aceh Besar district. Dozens of onlookers watched the beating, the third there this year. The men were questioned by police last month while playing dominoes for money at a coffee shop. A fourth man who was also questioned failed to show up for the caning because of illness, said Rusli, who uses a single name. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation with 240 million people, has a policy of secularism but allows highly conservative Aceh province to implement a version of Sharia Islamic law.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Muslims Seek ‘True Remorse’ In Apology

PROMINENT Sydney Lebanese figure Keysar Trad says he will accept nothing but “true remorse” from Alan Jones as the Sydney shock jock’s lawyers prepare to draft an apology for his racial vilification of Muslims.

Jones’s bad week got worse on Tuesday when the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal’s appeals panel rejected his station 2GB’s bid to overturn a verdict that he had incited hatred against Muslims in on-air comments broadcast in 2005. Jones said during a broadcast that Lebanese men hated Australia and its heritage and said 2GB’s listeners were asking “What did we do as a nation to have this vermin infect us like this?”. “They’ve got no connection to us. They simply rape, pillage and plunder a nation that’s taken them in,” he said. The comments were made following the airing of footage on the Nine Network of young Lebanese men taunting police. In 2009, the tribunal labelled Jones’s comments “reckless hyperbole calculated to agitate and excite his audience” and found Jones had racially vilified Muslims. That decision was upheld this week as the tribunal also rejected a cross-appeal by Mr Trad…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Safe Work Australia Plan to Cut Risk for Tired Workers Puts Employers Offside

BOSSES will have to roster jobs around workers’ social lives and check that staff who yawn or daydream aren’t too tired to work safely.

Those proposals are contained under national laws being drawn up to fight workplace fatigue.

Employers are furious they will be turned into the “yawn police” under Safe Work Australia’s draft code of practice for workplace fatigue.

The government agency’s checklist for employers to spot worker fatigue includes headaches, daydreaming, constant yawning, low motivation and moodiness.

It has proposed that bosses “eliminate or reduce the need to work extended hours or overtime” so staff don’t get too tired.

“Safety critical” tasks — such as administering drugs, driving a truck or electrical work — should not be performed in the post-lunch “low body clock period” of 2pm to 4pm, the draft code states.

And rosters should be drawn up to accommodate workers’ social lives.

“If a worker leaves their job tired and exhausted they may be less able to enjoy out of work activities or could be a danger to themselves and others in the community,” the document says.

“Likewise, if a worker arrives at work unfit for duty due to a lack of sleep, illness or other condition, they may be less productive or could be a danger to themselves and others in the workplace.

“To avoid any potential conflicts between personal and work demands, controls include (to) consult with workers and design shift rosters that will enable workers to meet both work and personal commitments.”

The code says employers should train workers in “balancing work and personal lifestyle demands”.

The code of practice — to be finalised next year — will be admissible in court if an employer is charged with breaching workplace health and safety laws.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson said employers should not be held responsible for fatigued workers worn out from partying or family demands.

“It would require employers to delve into matters of a personal and private nature that are none of their business,” he said.

“We don’t want to be the yawn police.”

The Australian Industry Group’s representative on the Safe Work Australia board, Mark Goodsell, warned that employers might be held responsible for the fatigue of staff moonlighting in other jobs.

Any boss who pried into a worker’s partying habit would “look like a nark and invade their privacy”, he said.

“People can lie to you and say they weren’t doing anything on the weekend to make them tired,” he said.

“They’ve got no obligation to tell you what they’re doing at home.

“But there is a legal implication that if an employer is accused of breaking the law, the fact you weren’t following the code can be used against you.”

Even unions have criticised the code, with the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union complaining the fatigue checklist is “not very helpful”.

“How would a workplace assess such things as ‘reduced immune system function’ or ‘hallucinations’ and ‘headaches’?” it told Safe Work Australia in a submission.

And the ACTU suggested that high-risk tasks be minimised between 2am and 6am — not the the 2pm to 4pm suggested in the code.

Safe Work Australia said it was revising the code to address concerns — but would not give details of any changes.

“Changes aim to reflect recent research findings and outcomes of case law,” a spokeswoman said.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

FYI Checklist: Safe Work Australia’s guide to worker fatigue

  • Headaches and/or dizziness
  • Wandering thoughts, daydreaming, lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision or difficulty keeping eyes open
  • Constant yawning, a drowsy relaxed feeling or falling asleep at work
  • Moodiness such as irritability
  • Short term memory problems
  • Low motivation
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired decision-making and judgment
  • Slow reflexes and responses
  • Reduced immune system function
  • Increased errors
  • Extended sleep during days off work
  • Falling asleep for a few seconds without realising
  • Drifting in and out of traffic lanes

Source: Safe Work Australia draft code of practice on workplace fatigue

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Cariplo’s Guzzetti Announces 1. 5 Mln for Burkina Faso

(AGI) Milano — ACRI and Cariplo Foundation President Giuseppe Guzzetti announced 1,5 mln in aid for Burkina Faso. The statement was made during the International Cooperation Forum when he announced that 30 Foundations have allocated 1.5 million for a project in Burkina Faso. The 3-year project (2012-2015) envisages an equivalent allocation of funds for each one of the 2 following years. The ACRI-coordinated project consists in financial inclusion initiatives implemented among the local populations and the peoples of the diaspora, with interventions aimed at institution- and organization-building, micro-finance and financial education, as well as at credit products and investiments to support production activities in rural areas. “The initiative, which is aimed at highlighting the crucial role played by women in generating credit”, said Guzzetti, “intends to trigger a virtuous supply chain-integrated development-enhancement mechanism (for example in the production of rice, niebe’ or black-eyed peas and cotton) in which donated resources and loans will complement each other in order to scale the size of the intervention and thus comprehensively produce a wider impact”.

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

De Klerk: South African Universities Are Under Pressure to Admit Black Students

FW de Klerk, the president who led South Africa out of apartheid, said excessive positive discrimination towards black students applying for university was in danger of depriving the country of the talent it needed to prosper.

In remarks likely to antagonise elements in the ruling African National Congress, Mr de Klerk warned that “there is too much prescriptiveness on admissions policy” and that “universities are under great pressure to discriminate on the basis of race and colour”. Mr de Klerk, 76, said he supported affirmative action “in all walks of life in order to rectify the wrongs of the past”, but he should not be carried but by clearly defined quotas. The “previously disadvantaged” concept that guides affirmative action policy was irrelevant, he said, to children of middle class black families “who have grown up in a well to do home”. “It is not only black south Africans who are disadvantaged now. There are disadvantaged people in all racial groups,” Mr de Klerk told the Daily Telegraph. Mr de Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for ending apartheid has previously accused the ANC under President Jacob Zuma of exacerbating racial tensions by blaming the country’s whites for continuing poverty and inequality…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ethiopian Muslims Protest Ahead of Islamic Council Election

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian Muslims will elect a new Islamic Council this Sunday, October 7. The election has stirred protest among many Muslims who believe the government is trying to influence the Council. A protest erupted after the Friday prayer at the Anwar mosque, the largest mosque in Addis Ababa. People were waving yellow papers, symbolizing a warning card for the government and the crowd was chanting for about 20 minutes, shouting slogans such as “let our voice be heard” and “release the prisoners.” Dozens of protesters were brought to a police station during and after the demonstration…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Ghana: Turks Rescue Mosque Project

Three Turkish non-governmental organizations have rushed to the rescue of the stalled Kawokudi national mosque project. A deal to that effect was signed between representatives of the Turkish organizations and the National Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu on behalf of the Muslim community at a brief ceremony in Accra last Tuesday. Sheikh Mustapha Ibrahim, Chairman of the Islamic Council on Development and Humanitarian Services (ICODEHS) witnessed the signing…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Kenya: Kingi’s Bodyguard, 3 Others Die in Kilifi Chaos

Cabinet Minister Amason Kingi’s bodyguard is among four people killed on Thursday after violence broke out at a political rally addressed by the minister in Kilifi. At least twelve other people sustained injuries in the attack that occurred at about 5pm. Police said the three civilians died on the spot while the Minister’s bodyguard succumbed to injuries sustained in the confrontation with the gang members who disrupted the meeting. “We have lost four people in the violence. We are investigating the cause of the incident but we have some suspects in custody,” Coast Provincial Police chief Aggrey Adoli said. A police officer in the region said theY suspected members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) to be behind the violence that broke out when some youths started chanting slogans castigating the minister…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigerian Christians, Muslims Protest Against Common Enemy

ABUJA — In the Nigerian city of Kaduna, which is known for sectarian violence, Muslims and Christians rallied together Friday against a common enemy: the anti-Islamic video that has sparked protests around the world. Religious leaders say they hate the video, but they are hoping it can help heal decades of violence between the two groups. It’s been more than 10 years since the Kaduna neighborhood has seen violence between Muslims and Christians. Locals say that’s because Christians stay away to avoid danger. Muslims avoid other parts of the city for the same reasons. Regardless, sectarian violence continues in many other parts of Kaduna, with nearly 100 people being killed in June. But on Friday, religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, marched together here, decrying a shared enemy and celebrating what they hope will be a step towards peace…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Breaking Serbia

by Jaclyn Ryan

A large segment of the population of the United States, particularly generations X, Y and Z, are obsessed with reality shows. American television has produced mindlessly addictive offerings called Breaking Bonaduce, Breaking Amish, and Breaking Point. With a little self-initiative and reading, the aficionados may find themselves enthralled in a critical reality show unfolding across the pond: Breaking Serbia.

This small European nation, which bases its identity and history on Christian faith and values—as characterized in the Battle of Kosovo—is in a predicament. Despite the political and media establishment’s insistence that Serbia’s fate is European Union (EU) membership, the people, overwhelmingly, remain dedicated to preserving their beliefs and national sovereignty from the EU’s meddling bureaucracy. They have withstood sanctions and bombing campaigns, while battling Western-sponsored activists and their bogus claims of promoting and building “vibrant” and “tolerant” societies. Despite wars and upheavals that would have broken most countries, Serbia remains sovereign—for the time being—while bracing itself for the next Western-backed ratings surge: The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) movement.

The LGBT “Pride” Parade was set to take stage in Belgrade on October 6, preceded by a week-long “festival” under the slogan “Faith, Hope, and Love.” The slogan and the “official” start date of program events (Sunday, September 30) were calculated to mock the Orthodox Christian feast day of the Holy Martyrs Faith, Hope, and Love and their Mother Sophia. We’ve witnessed this before back in 1999 when NATO did not stop its illegal bombing of Serbia on Orthodox Easter Sunday. The first “event” of the “festivities” was a mock “wedding” of two women and two men. The second day was an LGBT “last supper” to crudely mock the biblical event. The third day was an exhibition of photographs that displayed Christ as a homosexual surrounded by transvestites. Finally, on October 4, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dadic had enough, and the government banned both the Parade and the protest counter-marches planned for October 6. Not surprisingly, the decision to cancel was immediately criticized by the US Ambassador in Belgrade, as well as EU leaders in Brussels. Where was the criticizing of the blasphemous “tolerant” activists? Nowhere. The politicians were silent.

The LGBT fringe in Serbia has nothing to do with human rights, diversity, tolerance, or for that matter, battling discrimination. The real agenda is aimed at destroying any form of dedication to Christianity. The movement’s leader, Predrag Azdejkovic, went a step further, publicly stating “I hate God” and “all churches should be demolished.” He even crudely declared that he “dreams of being fisted by Nick Vujidic”—a well-known Serbian-Australian evangelist and motivational speaker who was born without all four limbs (Tetra-Amelia Syndrome). Mr. Azdejkovic apparently tried to pull a PR stunt parallel to Michael Swift’s 1987 Gay Manifesto. Whether he realizes it or not, he and the entire gay movement in Belgrade are one of the tactical toolsbeing used by globalists to break Serbia…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

Canada’s Supreme Court Rules Those With Low Level of HIV Virus Who Wear Condom Are Absolved

(Canadian Press) OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada has absolved HIV carriers of the legal obligation to inform sex partners about their condition as long as they have a low level of the virus and wear a condom.

In a major 9-0 ruling Friday, the high court specified those two key conditions, clarifying the rules on whether it is a crime for people with extremely low levels of HIV to withhold their condition from their sex partners.

The court said it was reflecting the medical advances in treating the virus that causes AIDS since it first ruled on the issue in 1998 and left open the possibility of adapting to future changes in science in medicine.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Lesbian Soldier Killed in Taliban Suicide Bomber Attack in Afghanistan

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Donna R. Johnson of the North Carolina Army National Guard was among 14 people killed Monday when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in eastern Afghanistan. Johnson, of Raeford, N.C., who was lesbian, is survived by her spouse Tracy Dice, according to a statement by Lt. Col. Robert Carver of the North Carolina National Guard…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

PBS: Re-Educating America’s Schoolchildren, Thanks to Your Contributions

When most people think of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s education programs, they remember the gentle Mr. Rogers welcoming children to his home, or documentaries offering exciting encounters with whales and other exotic creatures.

These shows still exist. But CPB today produces lessons that glorify the Black Panthers and riots and protests of the 1960s, present rocker Patti Smith as a “patriot” for singing songs that condemn President George W. Bush, vilify Wal-Mart, and sanctify environmentalist Rachel Carson. Although their educational materials claim to be objective, the truth is that their unrelenting ideological slant that promotes the politics of protest and civil disobedience is aimed at re-educating children into becoming far-left activists.

But whenever there are attempts to cut federal funding to CPB, the corporation points to its “educational programming” as proof that the approximately $450 million it receives annually from federal taxpayers is being put to good use. Big Bird and other members of the cast of Sesame Street show up in Congress to tell members of the educational value of CPB-funded programs.

[Comment: This investigative report on what exactly PBS is teaching is well worth reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Criminalizing the Defamation of Islam

by Amil Imani

Muslim pseudo-populists thrive among the masses of gullible Muslims, but they certainly have no standing among the people who judge them by their deeds rather than by their rhetoric.

Nothing prompts the hundreds of ordinarily feuding and fighting sects of Islam to come together like the slightest disrespect shown to the founder of their religion or their religious sanctity. With the slightest hint from their vested-interest clergy and politicians, mobs of Muslims pour into the streets with frenzy, burning, destroying buildings and killing people they associate, however remotely, as complicit in defaming Islam…

My advice to these pretenders of civility and devotees of respect: Please go home and grant your own minority citizens a modicum of respect and tolerance before pressuring the world body to enact laws that would criminalize the defamation of Islam. Islam must, first, end its long-standing practice of defaming, imprisoning, and killing religious minorities to earn reciprocity from the non-Muslim people.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Free Speech: Muhammad’s Character — And Ours

By Andrew Bostom

Following violent Muslim reactions to the amateurish “Innocence of Muslims “ video, which depicted some of the less salutary aspects of Muhammad’s biography , international and domestic Islamic agendas are openly converging with vehement calls for universal application of Islamic blasphemy law. This demand to abrogate Western freedom of expression was reiterated in a parade of speeches by Muslim leaders at the UN General Assembly. The US Muslim community echoed such admonitions, for example during a large demonstration in Dearborn, Michigan, and in a press release by the Islamic Circle of North America.

Previously, the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (subsequently renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC])—the largest voting bloc in the UN, which represents all the major Muslim countries, and the Palestinian Authority—had sponsored and actually navigated to passage a compromise U.N. resolution insisting countries criminalize what it calls “defamation of religion .” Now the OIC—via its Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu—is calling for a specific ban on speech allegedly impugning the character of Islam’s prophet, which he termed “hate speech.” Ihsanoglu accompanied his demand with a thinly veiled threat of violence should such “provocations” recur:…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

NASA’s Swift Satellite Discovers New Black Hole in Milky Way

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — A new stellar-mass black hole has been discovered in our Milky Way galaxy by Swift satellite, U. S. space agency NASA announced Friday. High-energy X-rays emanating from a source towards the center of our galaxy were observed, indicating the presence of a previously unknown black hole. “Bright X-ray novae are so rare that they’re essentially once-a- mission events and this is the first one Swift has seen,” according to Neil Gehrels, the mission’s principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “This is really something we’ ve been waiting for.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

New Privacy Fears as Facebook Begins Selling Personal Access to Companies to Boost Ailing Profits

Facebook is embroiled in a new privacy row after it began selling access to users in order to bolster its profits.

The social networking site is allowing companies to trawl through its 900m users looking for email addresses and phone numbers so it can better target adverts.

The changes mean that if you hand over any details when you buy something — as many consumers do — that company can now track you down on Facebook.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Myth of Overpopulation: Force Mass Sterilizations in Developing Nations

The United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) provides information to coerce women into believing that any child not planned is unwanted and should be terminated. The access to reproductive services are at the center of the UN’s contention that “reproductive choice is a basic human right.”

This globalist program endeavors to make reproductive rights a subversive after-thought to supporting family planning services throughout the developing world. These services, as well as the information needed to make good choices, are usually provided as part of a constellation of reproductive health services.

Through adherence to the Millennium Development Goals , the UNFPA pushes to achieve their targets by 2015.

In July of this year, at the London Summit on Family Planning , the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a partnership with Merck to bring fertility control pharmaceuticals to developing nations.


Earlier this year, it was discovered that tens of millions of “aid” funds from the United Kingdom (UK) have been used to forcibly sterilize women in India. The US and the World Bank are also sending funds through “foreign-aid programs”. The campaign for mass sterilization originated in the 1970’s. Its first incarnation was halted after mass riots which forced the Indian government to back down.

The Indian government is attempting to curb the Indian population from growing. Over 1 million women are sterilized each year. Makeshift camps were constructed with the “aid” money. Documents showed that this effort was specifically designed to reduce the Indian population through coerced or forced sterilization. Population stabilization, is the true meaning behind family planning and is evident in the World Bank and UN Population Fund’s push against sovereign nations to reduce their populations by rule of the “global consensus” which dictates human rights policy by deeming some fit to live and others not.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]