Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121009

Financial Crisis
»40,000 Demonstrators Protest Merkel’s Visit in Athens
»Emigration From Ireland Soars
»France: More Than 400 Million Homes Put on the Market in Paris Since Socialist Francois Hollande Elected to Power
»Fury in Athens as Merkel Comes to Town
»Italian German Bond Spread Below 360
»Spain and Italy Must ‘Follow Through,’ Says IMF Outlook
»Taming the Markets: Eleven EU Countries Agree on Transaction Tax
»The Egoists’ Hour: Debt Crisis Gives European Separatists a Boost
»UK: Millions Face New Pensions Disaster
»Big Bird is a Democrat Dupe
»Dearborn Man Accused of Driving at Protesters Accepts Plea, Gets Probation
»Evil Geniuses at Your Dinner Table
»Fleeing Failure
»Former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky is Sentenced to 30 to 60 Years
»Frank Gaffney: The Post-Constitutional President
»Multifaith Gathering Advocates Unity
»Obama Would Double Down in a Second Term
»Obama, Death, And the Brotherhood
»Secret Service Must Investigate Obama Credit Card Fraud
»Voter Fraud, Intimidation and Threats
»Why Do Supporters of Genetically Engineered Foods Insist on Organics for Their Own Families?
Europe and the EU
»Denmark: Prisoner Escapes Under a Burka
»Football: Clasico Independence Flags Infuriate Madrid Gov’t
»France: Video of Suspected Terrorist Rapping About 9/11 Emerges
»Italy: ‘Transsexual Prostitute Trafficking Ring Busted’
»Italy: Fresh “Crazy Expenses” For Former PDL Regional Leader
»Italy: ‘Fiorito Spent Party Money on Vacations’ Say Prosecutors
»Romania: Back to Our Future
»Stonehenge Up Close: Digital Laser Scan Reveals Secrets of the Past
»UK: ‘Sharia’ Mosque Four Times Size of St Paul’s Cathedral
»UK: Abu Hamza’s Wife Given the Boot From Her £1m Five-Bedroom Council House (But Guess What? She Can Appeal)
»UK: Bikes Rule the Way: Pedestrians Given Only 12 Inches of Room on Either Side of Cycle Lane
»UK: Bero: Terror on the Tube
»UK: Benjamin: Retrial for Juju Sex Slave Accused
»UK: BBC Chief Knew About Newsnight Investigation Into Savile But Carried on With Tributes to Presenter
»UK: Foreign Criminals Can Sleep Easily in Soft-Touch Britain. No Wonder Captain Hook Feels Hard Done by
»UK: Five Seconds of Applause Tells You All You Need to Know About What Conservatives Think of Our Aid Policy
»UK: Homeowner Ordered to Pay £2,500 for Letting Bushes in His Garden Grow to 15ft Tall
»UK: Marathon Cheat Banned From Racing After Riding on a Bus is Caught in Great North Run Disguised in Glasses and Using Fake Name
»UK: Protests as Facebook Man Who Insulted Afghanistan Soldiers Escapes Jail
»UK: Second Mosque Planned for Purley
»UK: The Mega Mosque! Muslim Place of Worship With Four Times the Capacity of St Paul’s Cathedral Planned for East London
»UK: Terror Police Hold Two at Heathrow
»UK: Teacher Who Grabbed a Pupil, 16, After He Threw a Banana Milkshake Over Him Was Correctly Sacked, Tribunal Rules
»UK: Veteran Who Died Penniless After Being Forced to Sell Home to Fund Long Term Dementia Care
North Africa
»Controversy Flares Over Number of Christians in Egypt
»Egypt: Amnesty for Jasmine Revolution Participants, Silence for Coptic Victims of Maspero Massacre
»Tunisia: The Game is Not Over
Middle East
»Arab Emirates Call for Unity Against Muslim Brotherhood
»Dubai Plans Billion-Dollar Replica of Taj Mahal (And You Can Even Stay the Night)
»NATO Will ‘Protect and Defend Turkey’ If Syria Launches an Attack, Says Head of Alliance
»Rasmussen: NATO Ready to Defend Turkey From Syrian Attack
»Rasmussen: NATO Will Defend Turkey From Syria if Necessary
»The Danish Biker and the Trail That Led to Al Qaeda’s Most Wanted
South Asia
»Afghanistan ‘Sliding Towards Collapse’
»India: Vanishing Coins Are Turned Into Razors and Ornaments
»Pakistan: Faisalabad: 24-Year Old Christian Abducted, Forced to Convert to Islam and Marry Her Abuser
»Pakistani Schoolgirl Campaigner, 14, Shot in Swat Valley
»Pakistan: Taliban Claim Responsibility for Shooting Young Activist
»Sonia Gandhi Promises to Act as Series of Rapes Shocks India
»Taliban Shoot and Injure Pakistani Girl Activist
Far East
»Dollar No Longer Primary Oil Currency as China Begins to Sell Oil Using Yuan
»North Korea Warns US on Missiles After South Deal
»South Korea’s Lost Children Return
»Video: General Motors is Becoming China Motors
Latin America
»“Don’t Shoot!—I’m Che!” (A Glorious Anniversary)
»Oslo and Bern to Aid ‘Environmental Refugees’
Culture Wars
»The Commies Are Thinning the Herd

Financial Crisis

40,000 Demonstrators Protest Merkel’s Visit in Athens

Protesters burn a flag with the swastika

(ANSAmed) — Athens, October 9 — Protestors and police clashed at demonstrations in front of the Greek parliament building in Athens on Tuesday, where police estimated at least 40,000 people showed up to decry German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit with Greek Premier Antonis Samaras.

Demonstrators threw stones at a police barricade that prevented them from nearing the parliament building where the meeting was taking place. Police in riot gear shot back with tear gas. Smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails were lobbed by masked demonstrators against police on a side street near the demonstration. Police dispersed the disguised youths by charging them. Demonstrators burned a Nazi flag with a swastika in front of the Greek parliament building.

Police arrested three for possession of illegal weapons and stopped 36 during the morning for violating a temporary ban on public gathering, declared Monday in anticipation of Merkel’s visit.

Greek unions ADEDY and GSEE organized the demonstration to condemn Merkel’s presence and new austerity measures called for by the troika — the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank — to restructure Greece’s huge public debt.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Emigration From Ireland Soars

Over 87,000 people emigrated from Ireland in the year to April, figures show.

The number of people emigrating from Ireland jumped eight per cent in the year to April, it has been revealed.

Statistics from the Irish Central Statistics Office show that 87,100 people left the Emerald Isle in the last financial year — almost two per cent of the entire population.

These figures are the highest since new records began in 1987. Ninety-two per cent (80,200) of emigrants were under 45, with 41 per cent (35,800) between the ages of 15 and 25. The biggest group (53 per cent) were Irish citizens.

Professor Bronwen Walter, an expert in Irish migration at Anglia Polytechnic University, said that the number of people leaving Ireland today is “far larger than in the previous huge outpourings of the 1950s and late 1980s” — though, as the total population of Ireland has also grown, the proportion of people emigrating is slightly lower.

Ireland has a long history of emigration, but its economic struggles since the global financial crisis of 2008 have triggered even more people to seek their fortunes abroad.

Unemployment in the country, which was forced to seek an €85 billion bail-out in 2010, currently stands at 14.8 per cent, with young people finding it particularly difficult to secure a job.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: More Than 400 Million Homes Put on the Market in Paris Since Socialist Francois Hollande Elected to Power

France’s luxury property market has hit a selling ‘panic’ as millionaires rush to flee the socialist government’s looming tax hikes, a leading estate agent has revealed.

More than 400 Paris homes worth more than 1million have been put on the market since President Francois Hollande came to power in May — more than double the same period last year.

Many of France’s super-rich want to escape to ‘wealth-friendly’ countries like Britain, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Fury in Athens as Merkel Comes to Town

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Greece on Tuesday that the “tough path” of painful spending cuts will pay off, as tens of thousands of protesters massed in the capital in protest at her visit to the eurozone’s most indebted nation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian German Bond Spread Below 360

Yield slightly above 5% at 5.04%

(ANSA) — Rome, October 9 — The difference between interest rates on Italian and German 10-year bonds opened at 356 on Tuesday, lower than Monday’s closing at 360.

Tuesday the yield was just over 5% opening at 5.04%.

The yield Monday on the Italian paper was 5.07%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain and Italy Must ‘Follow Through,’ Says IMF Outlook

Eurozone members need to borrow at reasonable rates

(ANSA) — Tokyo, October 9 — Both Spain and Italy “must follow through with adjustment plans that re-establish competitiveness, fiscal balance and maintain growth,” International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard said on Tuesday.

Blanchard said in Tokyo at the presentation of the IMF’s twice-yearly World Economy Outlook that the two countries must be able to “recapitalize their banks without adding to their sovereign debt and be able to borrow at reasonable rates”. European stock exchanges gained ground last week after the IMF voiced support for tax reforms in Italy, saying that the bill proposed in parliament would make a “significant improvement” to the country’s tax system by streamlining and adding transparency.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Taming the Markets: Eleven EU Countries Agree on Transaction Tax

The idea of a financial transaction tax in the European Union has been slowly gaining support over the last two years, with Germany and France advocating most vehemently in favor. Now they have convinced nine other EU states to join them — though details remain scarce.

Finance ministers from 11 European Union countries agreed at a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday to support a tax on financial transactions, hoping to discourage risky trading while simultaneously raising revenue.

Germany and France, the EU’s two largest economies, have long supported the idea of the tax, while countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom remained staunchly opposed out of fears the tax could harm the competitiveness of their financial markets.

Sweden imposed a similar tax in the 1980s, only to lose much of its trading activity to London. Stockholm later repealed the law.

“We still think that the financial transaction tax is a very dangerous tax,” Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said ahead of the meeting. “It will have a negative impact on growth.”

There are still few details on how the tax — referred to as the “Tobin tax” after the Nobel laureate American economist James Tobin who first proposed it in 1972 — would work and how its revenue would be used. The European Comission, the EU’s executive branch, has proposed taxing trades in bonds and shares at a rate of 0.1 percent per transaction and taxing trades in derivatives at 0.01 percent.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Egoists’ Hour: Debt Crisis Gives European Separatists a Boost

The debt crisis is fueling the fortunes of separatists in a handful of European Union countries. Affluent regions in Spain, Britain, Belgium and Italy are no longer feeling a sense of solidarity with poorer parts of their own countries. In many cases, the same people still want those regions to remain part of the EU.

Artur Mas stood there like a veritable head of state, flanked by the Catalonian flag with its four red stripes on a yellow background. Standing in the Gothic inner courtyard of the Palau de la Generalitat, the seat of the regional government in Barcelona, he offered sharp criticism of the central government in Madrid, calling the distribution of burdens within Spain “unfair and disloyal.” Catalonia, he said, must free itself of Spain’s complicated café para todos, or coffee for all policy, the system that sees the country divided into 17 “autonomous communities”. Mas has little regard for Spain’s complicated alliance of regions.

Mas, president of the region of Catalonia, is pulling away from Madrid. He has brought forward regional elections to Nov. 25, and he hopes to secure an absolute majority. This, he says, would guarantee him “a unique leadership position for the process of self-determination.” That, in turn, would enable Mas to have his fellow Catalonians vote in a referendum over whether to secede from Spain.

A referendum would violate the Spanish constitution, and yet Mas feels buoyed by the exuberance of Catalan nationalism. In September, more than a million Catalans marched through the streets of Barcelona, waving their flag, known as the Senyera, and demonstrating for “a new country in Europe.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Millions Face New Pensions Disaster

PENSIONS were hit by a double dose of bad news yesterday which could affect the retirement income of millions.

Proposals to change how inflation rates are calculated could have a huge impact on beleaguered pension funds and drastically restrict their rate of growth, it was feared.

At the same time, new research revealed that one in 10 of Britain’s biggest firms has pension debts greater than the total value of their companies.

Last night pension experts were forecasting a potential catastrophe lurking on the horizon for the UK pension industry.

“This could be a disaster for British workers desperately trying to save for a secure retirement,” said Eddie O’Gorman of pension investment company The WAY Group.

“A radical approach is now needed to make sure millions are not going to be short changed after a lifetime of saving.”

His comments came after JLT Pension Capital Strategies revealed that the total deficit of FTSE 100 final salary pension schemes has rocketed by £22billion in the last year to a staggering £55billion.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Big Bird is a Democrat Dupe

The George Soros-funded Free Press Action Fund describes itself as “a nonpartisan organization” which “does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.” But last week it announced that the “attack on Big Bird and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting” at the presidential debate had “sparked intense reactions from public media fans.” It said, “The nation is standing with Big Bird. Now it’s your turn.”

The “attack,” coming in the form of Mitt Romney’s comments about the need to de-fund public broadcasting, was based on the recognition that pouring taxpayer money borrowed from China into a U.S. corporation, Sesame Workshop, doesn’t make sense.

The controversy not only serves to demonstrate how the “non-profit” entity is making big bucks at the expense of American taxpayers, but how it is working with the Democratic Party, the United Nations and even the Chinese government.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Dearborn Man Accused of Driving at Protesters Accepts Plea, Gets Probation

DEARBORN — Mike Mohamad Agemy, who drove his SUV at a group of Christian demonstrators in front of the Islamic Center of America on June 17, won’t be headed to trial.

Instead, he chose to enter a no-contest plea to two lesser charges during a preliminary examination of the evidence against him Monday before 19th District Judge Mark Somers.

It was a continuation of the hearing that started Aug. 3 and included two witnesses from the “Bible Believers,” who were protesting in front of the mosque, 19500 Ford Road.

Had Agemy not agreed ahead of time to accept the plea, seven “Bible Believers” would have been flown in from the Western U.S. for Monday’s hearing. The two who testified Aug. 3 are from New Mexico.

Agemy pleaded to two lesser charges of aggravated assault, which each carry a sentence of up to six months in jail. Somers sentenced him two years’ probation, an anger-management class of about 12 weeks and $1,150 in fines and court costs. Agemy will have to report to a probation officer for six months; if he has to continue to report after that, the fee will be $25 per month.

Agemy, 47, initially was charged with seven counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of reckless driving. The $2,000 bond he previously posted will be applied to his fines and court costs, meaning he’ll get $850 back. He’ll also be credited with three days he spent in jail.

Agemy’s attorney, Christopher Andreoff, and Kal Najar, Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney, worked out the deal ahead of time. The attorney for the “Bible Believers’“ leader also agreed to it…

           — Hat tip: RE[Return to headlines]

Evil Geniuses at Your Dinner Table

Proposition 37 in California, billed as “The Right to Know” ballot initiative to label products that contain genetically modified organisms in that state, has drawn an intensive amount of interest from the country at large, and ire from biotech corporations and their employees in the science.

A recent peer reviewed long term feeding study by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini from France caused Russia to immediately ban all US grain imports on concern that they likely contain GMO (genetically modified) product. The study also spawned a wealth of criticism from biotech scientists all across the US. It seems like debunking Seralini’s study is the new favorite pastime of many employed in the biotechnology field, and we’ll look at some of those detractors later in this article…

In about 40 countries around the world, labeling of genetically modified food is required. But in the US, it is SOP to put the cronies of the biotech industry into positions of top authority in the agencies that are supposed to regulate these things. Biotech has nothing to fear from the regulators, because they effectively own them. Not only that, they also pay for the research conducted by universities that usually find GMO’s to be “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” because the natural variety of the species is safe for human consumption.

Michael Pollan wrote a very good essay on his experiment with Monsanto’s New Leaf potato in 1998. He accurately and succinctly describes the process followed by the FDA and the EPA in regulating GM products (please read the article here) while trying to find out from an FDA representative (Maryanski) if it is safe to eat these New Leaf potatoes he grew. Here is the excerpt:


There has been a great deal of criticism of Seralini’s methods by those in the biotech scientific community, yet they fail to address the fact that all of the studies claiming GMO are safe have followed the same recommended protocols as Seralini, but for a much shorter time. Also, rarely mentioned by detractors of Seralini’s study, is the fact that consumption of “Round Up” itself has not been previously studied over any length of time. The accepted science based opinion on Round Up is that it evaporates before we consume it. However, it has been found to be present in the drinking water of many municipalities in the levels Seralini used in his study, so it doesn’t appear to be evaporating as quickly as Monsanto would like you to believe.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Fleeing Failure

Over the past few weeks, it has become undeniably clear that those supposedly in charge of our government:

1. are totally unqualified to be in charge; 2. have hidden policy agendas that most Americans would call treasonous; 3. have instituted policies that have resulted in the deaths of at least one ambassador, two government agents, three embassy staff, hundreds of Mexican citizens, and hundreds of American soldiers in Afghanistan and elsewhere; 4. have brought the nation to the brink of economic and perhaps social collapse. Moreover, they have consistently and repeatedly lied, and attempted to cover up all of it. It has also become despicably clear that those supposedly in charge of our government have no intention of taking responsibility for their actions.

With both Fast and Furious and the disaster in the Middle East, particularly Libya and Egypt, investigations and indictments for at a minimum negligent manslaughter are warranted.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky is Sentenced to 30 to 60 Years

The former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday morning to 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing young boys, crimes that roiled the university community and shook one of major college football’s most prominent programs.

The ruling was handed down in Centre County Court by Judge John Cleland, and it essentially guaranteed that Sandusky, 68, would die in prison. The sentencing came roughly three and a half months after a jury found him guilty of 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: The Post-Constitutional President

Team Obama insists that next month’s presidential election is “a choice, not a referendum.” It sure seems to be with respect to the two candidates very different views on the Constitution. Mitt Romney makes plain at every turn his commitment to that document, while Barack Obama’s conduct in office has marked him as the post-constitutional president.

Consider just a few examples of Mr. Obama’s systematic disregard of, contempt for and/or deviation from a national charter he swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend:…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Multifaith Gathering Advocates Unity

600 pray together week after arson at Islamic Center

After a week dealing with the devastation that a fire caused at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, members and friends of Toledo’s Muslim community were able to gather for prayer. Congregants did so under a tent Sunday because on Sept. 30 an arsonist burned the mosque’s prayer room. The suspect in the case, Randy Linn, is now in custody and has been charged with two felonies. Fire, heat, smoke, and water affected every room of the Islamic Center and damage totaled $1 million to $1.5 million, said Dr. Mahjabeen Islam, the Islamic Center’s president. Although repairs to the building could take six months, Dr. Islam said, she announced that Friday prayers this week will be held in the mosque’s social hall and the weekend school will be in session there…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Would Double Down in a Second Term

Do you know what’s scarier than the possibility that President Obama could be re-elected? It’s that in a second term, he would double down on his failed policies.

Don’t take my word for it; he’s admitted it on the campaign stump.

In a speech to his fellow cultural icons in Hollywood, he said, “Everything we fought for in 2008 is on the line here in 2012. And I need your help to finish what we started. … We’ve come too far to turn back now.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama, Death, And the Brotherhood

Egyptian Islamists stormed the American Embassy compound on 9/11, destroying the American flag, draping the black fabric of al Qaeda over the walls shouting “death to America!”

The Obama State Department responded by apologizing, claiming this was actually a good thing. We brought democracy to Egypt, they explained, and now Muslims have a right to express their free speech through protest.

Two weeks later, Coptic Christians in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula are now fleeing their homes after death threats from Islamists have gone unanswered by the governing authority. Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, supported enthusiastically by President Barack Obama, they have been murdered, expelled, their children kidnapped, with reports from the Arab press even of crucifixions…

The Obama State Department’s response to this poison of a spring that killed one of their very own and threatens the lives of Egyptian women? A proposal to send 450 million dollars of one billion in aid to assist the new Egyptian Brotherhood government led by Islamist Mohamed Morsi.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Secret Service Must Investigate Obama Credit Card Fraud

The Obama campaign is reporting that it raised a record $181 million in the month of September alone. According to campaign FEC filings for September, the money came from 1.8 million individual donors, many overseas, and over 500,000 of whom had never donated before.

Did YOU donate to Obama? You might have, just follow the trail… The same thing happened in September of 2008. We later learned that most of that huge cash infusion came from foreign countries, in small denominations, just like September 2012, averaging $53 each from millions of undisclosed donors, most of them abroad.

There are Federal Laws making it “illegal” to accept “foreign campaign contributions,” yet Obama just took in almost $200 million, most of it from overseas donors. The FEC must immediately investigate the source of these overseas funds.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Voter Fraud, Intimidation and Threats

A post appeared on Breitbart’s Big Government this morning under the banner, “DEMOCRAT’S TARGET ANTI-VOTER FRAUD GROUP TRUE THE VOTE”. Apparently Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has taken it upon himself to initiate his own investigation into Catherine Engelbrecht and True the Vote.

Senator Barbara Boxer has added her two cents worth (sorry, that’s about all her opinion is worth) calling on the most corrupt Attorney General in our country’s history, Eric Holder, to protect Americans from voter intimidation. That would be the same Eric Holder, and his Department of Injustice, that refused to prosecute the New Black Panthers who were actually caught on camera intimidating voters.

True the Vote, with Catherine at the helm, has worked tirelessly to protect the integrity of our voter registration rolls and eliminate the vote fraud that was rampant across the country in 2008. She has tirelessly worked to train her fellow citizens on how to obtain and verify the accuracy of voter registration rolls, where to report the findings and how to follow up with Supervisors of Elections across the country.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why Do Supporters of Genetically Engineered Foods Insist on Organics for Their Own Families?

Over the past few years, an interesting pattern has emerged, where political supporters of genetically engineered (GE) foods are feasting on organics, while promoting unlabeled GE foods for everyone else.

Most recently, Mother Jones1 discussed how Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney — whose ties to Monsanto go back to the late 1970’s when GE crops were still in the R&D phase — reportedly makes sure his own meals are nothing but organic…


Sadly, while the Obama’s are undoubtedly well aware of the health dangers of processed foods in general and genetically engineered foods specifically, their personal belief system has not filtered into the food policies that affect the rest of the population.

On the contrary, the President has spent the last four years appointing one Monsanto shill after another into key federal positions that wield near-absolute power over agricultural issues.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Denmark: Prisoner Escapes Under a Burka

Police are confident of capturing all three people involved and do not consider the escapee as being dangerous

Using a burka supplied by a visitor, a prisoner managed to escape from Nyborg State Prison in Funen on Saturday evening.

The inmate was visited by a man and a woman clad in a burka, a traditional Muslim garment that veils the face. At some point during the visit, the inmate put on the burka and calmly strolled out of the prison with the other man at around 18:30.

Funen police force have notified the Schengen area of the 30-year-old’s escape and have searched his known hang-outs. Prison inspector Arne Tornvig Christensen said that the prison is investigating how the break-out could have happened.

“We strengthened our inspection and supervision for visitation a year or so ago. But we now have to see whether or not protocol should be further beefed up,” Christensen told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. “He is not a hardened criminal and he has no relations to gang activity.”

The woman who arrived wearing the burka has also mysteriously escaped, and the police expect to charge her with aiding and abetting.

“I can confirm that we are looking for all three. We clearly believe that they were all involved in the escape and are in cahoots,” Funen Police spokesperson Lars Thede told Ekstra Bladet. “He is a foreigner and we believe that he will try to reach his home country, but we don’t see him as being dangerous and won’t use the media in our hunt. But we’ll get him and the other two as well.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Football: Clasico Independence Flags Infuriate Madrid Gov’t

But fans’ homage to Catalonia turns into homage to sport, press

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, OCTOBER 8 — The Catalan independence flags and chants at yesterday’s Barcelona-Real Madrid football match “give the country a bad name and are prejudicial to the country brand,” Spanish Foreign Minister Jose’ Manuel Garcia-Margallo said at a seminar on the country brand on Monday.

The minister deplored that “this image of internal division instead of shared effort, was projected in front of an audience of millions, at a time of convulsion, when the entire world is competing for scarce capital. Exactly the opposite of the transition from dictatorship to democracy, which gave an image of a united country, of a common effort and a shared future.” However, Monday coverage of yesterday’s enthralling 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in the first Liga Clasico of the season diverged from the government line, with some newspapers celebrating it as “an armistice” between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Worldwide, 400 million viewers watched as the traditional pre-match mosaic, organized by the club, became a senyera, or Catalan flag, made up of 98,000 people holding up yellow and red cards. When the stadium clock ticked up to 17 minutes and 14 seconds, up went the chant from the stadium: “Independence! Independence!” The year 1714 was the end of the siege of Barcelona, when the city was defeated by the Bourbons.

One Barcelona newspaper called it “a splendid civics lesson from the stands, in which only the ignorant will spy a fire where there was only fandom writ large.” The match turned into “a loudspeaker for secessionism,” commented El Mundo, while conservative ABC newspaper decried “all this foolishness around football, which only distracts the players from what is really important.” The deeds of strikers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo did more than all the political circumstances around the championship duel, ABC went on. Including the presence of former Israel soldier and Hamas prisoner turned sportswriter Gilat Shalit and the Gaza protests that preceded him, the public transportation strike in Barcelona, the FC Barcelona employees strike, and the independence flags on the stands.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

France: Video of Suspected Terrorist Rapping About 9/11 Emerges

A rap video of the man killed in an anti-terrorist raid in Strasbourg this weekend has been found, and shows him singing such lyrics as “9/11 is only the tip of the iceberg”.

Jérémie Louis-Sidney, 33, the presumed leader of an Islamist terror unit, was shot dead by anti-terror police in a flat in Strasbourg on Saturday.

The rap video, recorded in May 2009 and played on several French news programmes last night, shows Louis-Sidney singing: “9/11 is only the tip of the iceberg… Know that you are being manipulated, if you don’t understand, read up, prepare yourself, arm yourself with knowledge.”

At the end of the original video, which lasts three minutes, he says “Allah Akbar”, God is the greatest in Arabic.

Dressed in a hooded coat and a kaffiyeh scarf, Louis-Sidney also raps about “kid trafficking” and “organ trafficking”, as well as the number 666 being written on the bar codes of cathodic ray tubes.

Louis-Sidney’s was tracked by anti-terror police after traces of his DNA were found on the pull ring of a grenade thrown into a kosher shop on September 19 in Sarcelles.

During a raid on a flat he was staying on on Saturday, he reportedly pulled out a 9mm Magnum 357. Police shot him dead.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: ‘Transsexual Prostitute Trafficking Ring Busted’

28 accused of bringing transsexuals from South America to Italy

(ANSA) — Rome, October 8 — Police on Monday said they had busted a gang bringing transsexuals to Italy from South America and putting them to work as prostitutes. Police arrested 28 people on suspicion of human trafficking and living off the proceeds of prostitution.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Fresh “Crazy Expenses” For Former PDL Regional Leader

(AGI) Rome — Further “crazy expenses” racked up by former Lazio PDL President Franco Fiorito have come to light. The information emerged during a hearing at the Appeal Court in Rome this morning, where a decision on whether or not Fiorito should be released from prison is due to be made. The information, provided by the Finance Police Currency Unit, was passed to the magistrates by Assistant Prosecutor Alberto Caperna and contains details of trips to the Cote d’Azur, London and Paris, made at the expense of the regional branch of the PDL. These were all high-end trips, according to the Financial Police, booked and paid for through an Agnani travel agency. It is clear that these were all subsidised by the Lazio regional PDL group and recorded as “institutional trips” for President Fiorito.

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

Italy: ‘Fiorito Spent Party Money on Vacations’ Say Prosecutors

Trips to French Riviera, Paris come up in fresh allegations

(ANSA) — Rome, October 9 — Franco Fiorito, the arrested former caucus leader of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party in Lazio, faces additional accusations of embezzlement for allegedly taking vacations with public money, Rome prosecutors said Tuesday. Fiorito, who was arrested last week for allegedly pocketing over 1.3 million euros in State-subsidized party funds, also spent party money on pleasure trips to London, the French Riviera, Paris and the Amalfi Coast, prosecutors say. The disgraced ex-caucus leader was put into custody when a judge declared he was at risk of tampering with evidence, and prosecutors said they found traces of destroyed financial records at his home. A court was to decide Tuesday if he should be released.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Romania: Back to Our Future

Socialized medicine in Romania: Bribery is still the way to receive proper and timely medical care.

I knocked on the front door. Stefan, my cousin’s 18 year old son, hopped to the door on crutches. In spite of the pain and misery, a big smile lit up his face. He had split his big toe open with an errant ax which had flown out of his inexperienced young hands. He had tried to help his grandfather cut wood for winter. Bleeding profusely, he was transported by bus to the nearest emergency room in town, about 5 miles away to the county hospital.

Stefan had been in a cast for six weeks and was anxiously awaiting the moment to have it removed. I promised to take him to the emergency room by car instead of the usual bus. The county hospital had not changed from the hospital I knew in the seventies. It looked just as dingy, dirty, and poorly lit. The low wattage CFL bulbs cast an eerie glow that gave me a headache. The paint was chipping everywhere, there were suspect stains on the linoleum floor which had seen better days and the walls were soiled by filth and bloody emergencies. The littered yard was occupied by several stray and mangy dogs.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Stonehenge Up Close: Digital Laser Scan Reveals Secrets of the Past

Most detailed analysis yet of prehistoric stone circle shows how masons spent more time making key areas look the best

A laser survey of Stonehenge has revealed that the crust had removed from key stones in the monument’s outer circle. Without the crust, the stones would have glistened in the setting sun at the winter solstice and at dawn on the summer solstice. These stones, which were the first to be seen by visitors approaching the monument from the northeast along the processional Avenue, are also the largest and most carefully shaped in the circle.

Archaeologists also recorded every 4,500-year-old tool mark, along with dozens of small images that had been carved into the stone but are now invisible to the naked eye. “Over the months we have recorded and scrutinized every square centimeter of Stonehenge in unparalleled detail, revealing over 700 areas of stone working, rock art, graffiti, damage, and restoration,” wrote Marcus Abbott of ArcHeritage and Hugo Anderson-Whymark.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Sharia’ Mosque Four Times Size of St Paul’s Cathedral

BRITAIN could have its first Sharia-controlled zone if plans for a mega-mosque more than four times the size of St Paul’s Cathedral get the go-ahead.

The East London mosque, known as the Riverine Centre, will hold 9,312 worshippers, compared to 2,400 at St Paul’s.

The 16-acre site in West Ham will include 40ft minarets, an Islamic library, a dining hall, multi-use games areas, tennis courts, sports facilities and eight flats for visiting Muslim clerics.

Islamist group Tablighi Jamaat has submitted updated plans for what Cambridge-based architects NRAP are calling a “contemporary Islamic sacred space” the size of Battersea Power Station.

But last night campaigners against the proposal claimed the application was a smokescreen for wider intentions to create a hardline Islamic enclave in the capital.

They also insisted facilities for the wider non-Muslim community in East London would be minimal and disguise Tablighi’s real aim to establish a global base.

The group has been dubbed an “antechamber of fundamentalism” by French intelligence officials.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Abu Hamza’s Wife Given the Boot From Her £1m Five-Bedroom Council House (But Guess What? She Can Appeal)

Hate preacher Abu Hamza’s wife has been asked by her local authority to move out of the five-bedroom council house she lives in.

Moroccan-born Najat Mostafa is believed to live at the large Shepherd’s Bush property in west London with only two of the couple’s eight children after reportedly moving there in 1995.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council says that in recent weeks it has corresponded with Mrs Mostafa and asked her to move to a ‘more appropriate property’.

But the radical cleric’s Hamza’s second wife is entitled to refuse the council’s request, as there is no time limit on her tenancy agreement.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Bikes Rule the Way: Pedestrians Given Only 12 Inches of Room on Either Side of Cycle Lane

While cyclists might be pleased that their lives have been made slightly easier, council chiefs clearly went a little too far in accommodating them here.

Pedestrians in Stevenage are being forced to shuffle along in single file on a tiny pavement after the council painted a giant cycle lane which occupies almost an entire footbridge.

The path markings in the Hertfordshire town appear to give cyclists an undisputed right of way, making it impossible for parents to take pushchairs over the bridge, local families said.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Bero: Terror on the Tube

Paddington, West London; Gillingham, Kent — The friend of a Tube passenger slashed across the face by a stranger told a court today (Tues) how he was also injured in the frenzied attack. Boyd Maynard said he was cut by Ahmed Bero, 23, just moments after he had launched himself at his pal Kurrim Buchanan. The slashing happened in front of dozens of terrified commuters on a Bakerloo line train between Paddington and Marylebone last October 18.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Benjamin: Retrial for Juju Sex Slave Accused

Dagenham, Essex — A mother-of-two accused of smuggling a teenager into the UK and forcing her to work as a prostitute under a ‘black magic’ curse is facing a retrial. Glory Benjamin, 34, is accused of acting a ‘key player’ in a Nigerian people trafficking ring which used Juju rituals to terrify the girl into silence. In a voodoo-like ceremony the 15-year-old was allegedly cut by a ‘priest’ on her back, her chest and above her breasts and had black powder rubbed into her bleeding wounds.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: BBC Chief Knew About Newsnight Investigation Into Savile But Carried on With Tributes to Presenter

BBC director-general George Entwistle yesterday admitted knowing about the Newsnight Savile investigation when he ploughed ahead with eulogies showering tributes on the presenter.

It came as he ordered a belated inquiry into the abuse scandal and offered an apology to Savile’s victims.

He expressed ‘deep regret’ over ‘these awful allegations’ as he announced his U-turn on Radio 4, having previously insisted that no BBC inquiry was necessary.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Foreign Criminals Can Sleep Easily in Soft-Touch Britain. No Wonder Captain Hook Feels Hard Done by

So farewell then, Captain Hook. And good riddance. But don’t kid yourselves that anything fundamental has changed, simply because Abu Hamza has finally been deported to America with the blessing of the European Court of Human Rights.

Britain will remain a safe haven for terrorists, murderers and rapists from all over the world. The pernicious ‘yuman rites’ industry will continue to prevent us from kicking out foreign criminals, no matter how heinous their record.

No sooner had Hamza’s plane touched down in New York than we learned that an African war criminal had been granted indefinite leave to remain here.

The former member of the Sudanese Janjaweed Militia, which is responsible for the genocide of 300,000 people in Darfur, came to Britain because ‘it was a good place to seek asylum’. I wonder where he got that idea from?


And in other news, Scotland Yard has announced it is arresting almost 200 foreign criminals a day in London. That’s every single day, every week, every year. Call it 73,000 a year in round figures.

They include everyone from shoplifters and drunk-drivers to murderers, rapists and armed robbers.

Of course, this is just in London. Other forces say they have similar problems on a smaller scale. West Midlands, for instance, nicked 11,801 foreign nationals between April 2011 and March this year.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Five Seconds of Applause Tells You All You Need to Know About What Conservatives Think of Our Aid Policy

by Thomas Pascoe

Justine Greening could be forgiven for thinking she has just addressed a wake. The muted reception she was given by conference speaks volumes about the view the Conservative party base takes of attempts to Guardianise it. Those who turned up could scarcely muster five seconds of applause at the end of her speech…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Homeowner Ordered to Pay £2,500 for Letting Bushes in His Garden Grow to 15ft Tall

A homeowner who let the bushes in his garden grow to 15ft tall was ordered to pay over £2,500 by a court yesterday.

Adrian Woodyatt, 44, was handed several warning notices by his local council after neighbours complained that his front and back gardens were overgrown.

But he failed to reply to the notices and instead let his garden grow even further.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Marathon Cheat Banned From Racing After Riding on a Bus is Caught in Great North Run Disguised in Glasses and Using Fake Name

A marathon runner — who boarded a bus to cheat his way to a medal in a previous race — disguised himself with sunglasses and competed under a friend’s name to join in with the Great North Run.

Father-of-two Rob Sloan, 32, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, joined the famous 13-mile half marathon last month after entering the race under the name of his friend, Ryan Percival.

He had to hand back his Kielder Marathon bronze medal last year after witnesses claimed he hopped onto a bus at the 20-mile point, before jumping off in time to cross the finishing line in third place.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Protests as Facebook Man Who Insulted Afghanistan Soldiers Escapes Jail

A WEST Yorkshire man who posted a Facebook message that said “all soldiers should die and go to hell” after six British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan was today spared jail.

Azhar Ahmed, 20, admitted posting the message two days after the deaths of the servicemen in March…

[JP note: Insult the Pineapple and there is all hell to pay.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Second Mosque Planned for Purley

TWO mosques could now be opened in Purley instead of one. A disagreement within Muslim group Purley Islamic Community Centre (PICC) means a splinter group is also actively seeking its own place of worship, the Advertiser understands. An Islamic centre already planned for Russell Hill Place, which could still open after an appeal was lodged with the Planning Inspectorate, would be just one of two places of worship within a few miles of each other. The Advertiser understands the disagreement arose because what is now the splinter group believes there are too many local Muslim families to fit into the former Venture Photography shop in Russell Hill Place. Monir Mohammed, who remains part of the wing dedicated to the Russell Hill plan, said: “Within groups of people there will always be a number of people who disagree with certain points of view. People will always have differences of opinion.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Mega Mosque! Muslim Place of Worship With Four Times the Capacity of St Paul’s Cathedral Planned for East London

Plans for a 10,000-capacity mega-mosque the size of Battersea Power Station have led to fears it could create a hardline Islamic enclave in the capital.

The east London mosque, earmarked for West Ham, near the Olympic Park, will hold four times as many worshippers as St Paul’s Cathedral, have 40ft minarets, an Islamic library, sports facilities and eight flats for visiting clerics.

It has been described by the architects as a ‘contemporary Islamic sacred space’.

But critics point to the fact it has been submitted by Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary movement once described as an ‘ante-chamber of fundamentalism’.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Terror Police Hold Two at Heathrow

Two people have been arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of committing terrorism offences, the Metropolitan Police have said.

A man and a woman, both aged 26, were arrested at 20:30 BST on Tuesday after their flight landed at the airport.

The pair were held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

The arrests are part of an investigation into travel to Syria in support of alleged terrorist activity.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command took the pair to a central London police station where they remain in custody.

Two addresses in east London are being searched under the Terrorism Act in connection with police inquiries, the Met said.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

UK: Teacher Who Grabbed a Pupil, 16, After He Threw a Banana Milkshake Over Him Was Correctly Sacked, Tribunal Rules

A teacher who manhandled a student after the teenager hurled a banana milkshake at him along with a torrent of abuse has lost his claim for unfair dismissal.

Robert Cox, 59, was sacked by governors at Bemrose School in Derby after he was caught on CCTV aggressively pinning the 16-year-old’s arms to his sides in March 2011.

Mr Cox claimed he’d been unfairly dismissed, but a Nottingham employment tribunal upheld the school’s decision, claiming the teacher’s reaction to the milkshake-throwing was over-the-top.


But the IT teacher, who claimed he tried to commit suicide after losing his job, said he wanted the decision reviewed and was considering a further appeal.

He said: ‘It was impossible to walk away from a situation where someone was threatening to throw a chair and it would have been negligent to ignore it.

‘There were plenty of witnesses to what happened and for some reason they weren’t called but I want to speak to them.

‘I think this judgment sends out a message to pupils that they can do what they want to get a teacher sacked and this leaves staff in a very vulnerable position.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Veteran Who Died Penniless After Being Forced to Sell Home to Fund Long Term Dementia Care

A retired RAF wing commander has died nearly penniless after he was forced to sell his home and use all his savings to fund his long term dementia care.

Geoff Beckett, 88, had to sell his £160,000 five-bedroom house to pay fees of up to £2,800 a month after he was admitted to a residential home because he could no longer take care of himself.

Over the next six years nearly all of Mr Beckett’s savings were swallowed up by the monthly payments, before the government finally agreed to foot the bill…

Today Mr Beckett’s daughter Gill Bradley, 54, a dental nurse who lives in Beaumaris on the Island of Anglesley, said: ‘I can’t believe how my dad was treated. He lost his house and his savings to pay for his care and it’s not right.

‘He’d worked hard all his life for his savings and served his country, but the reality is there are a lot of people just like my dad who are having to sell off their homes to pay for care.

‘They said that he didn’t qualify because he had his RAF pension, savings and a house that he sold to pay for his care. It’s the system that is at fault. My dad served his country but his country failed to serve him.’

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Controversy Flares Over Number of Christians in Egypt

by Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) — The number of Christians in Egypt has for a long time been a tightly held secret by the authorities, leaving the door open for wide speculation, from over 25,000,000 according to some Copts to 3,000,000 according to the Muslim Salafists. The Coptic Orthodox Church has always known the number of Copts from its church database, but has kept the number secret, following the policy of the late Pope Shenouda III, that Copts may not be counted and treated as mere numbers because they are part of the fabric of society. Pope Shenouda was against the idea of setting a quota system for the Copts in parliament and other high level posts.

After 26 years of silence, an unexpected announcement of the official population count of Egypt’s Christians was made last week on Al-Tahrir TV by Major-General al-Guindi, head of Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. He said that the number of Christian in Egypt was not more than 5,130,000 out of a current population of 83,150,000. He added that the low number of Christians is because of low birth rate, high immigration and the highest income level.

This announcement, which prompted a wide debate, was heavily criticized by Copts and especially by the Coptic Church. It was covered by all media. Some supported the 5 million number, some found it surprisingly low.

Those in support of the low numbers say the 2011 Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life study revealed the Christian population is 5.3 percent (4.3 million out of 80 million). The Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development studies puts the number of Copt at 8 to 8.5 million, nearly 10%, and said that if the church has other numbers then these should be published so that they could discuss and verify them.

The importance of the number of Copts at this time is viewed by many as a political issue par excellence, and this announcement comes in conjunction with the process of drafting the constitution. It is seen as an attempt to marginalize Copts and to suggest that they are a minority not entitled to participate in decision-making. Hard-line Muslims believe that the voice of the Copts is growing stronger and disproportionate to their number as a minority, especially in the Coptic fight against Sharia within the committee drafting the new Constitution.

Anba Pachomius, acting Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, rejected the census results, telling Al Dostour el-Asly newspaper “Is this a special census for Christians in the district of Cairo’s Shubra district only or the whole of Egypt?” Bishop Pachomius said he was bewildered at the significance of this statement coming out specifically at this time when Egypt is going through important transformations and experiencing heavy sectarian tensions.

The acting Patriarch wondered where al- Guindi got his numbers and demanded the numbers for each of the 27 Egyptian governorates, saying “We have different numbers which are by far higher, but we will not declare them yet as the time in not suitable.”

Bishop Anba Marcus of Shubra el-Khaimah said the number of Copts in Egypt ranges between 15 and 18 million, explaining that the number of Christians in the province of Minya alone, 1,200,000, exceeds their population in Cairo and other Upper Egypt governorates which are densily populated with Christians.

It is worth noting that those numbers do not include Copts of other denominations such Catholics, Evangelicals and Protestants, who are estimated at 1.5-2 million.

Bishop Marcus said that the number of Copts in Egypt is known to the Church as every Diocese knows the full count of it parishioners, but the numbers are not compiled in one list. “We can easily do so if the acting Patriarch Anba Pachomius or the next Pope would ask each bishop to provide the count of Christians in his diocese”

After heavy criticism, the census chief retracted his statement, claiming that his statement was taken out of context and issued another statement saying that he referring to the census of 1986 when the Copts were 5.7% of the total population, and that since then the agency has no definitive number for Copts. He said that according to the Declaration of the United Nations Statistics Commission of 1985, it was optional for people to add their religious affiliation in the census form, and therefore in the two following censuses of 1996 and 2006, this information was unavailable.

Kamal Zakher, coordinator of the Front of Secular Copts, said the number of Christians in Egypt is a state secret. He believes that the recent statement was deliberately politicized to the idea that Christians remain a minority, “but citizenship means that the rights and duties have nothing to do with the numbers.”

Attroney Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization, filed a lawsuit with the administrative court against the Prime Minister and the head of the census agency, for the issuance of a court order to carry out a census of Christians in Egypt and to determine their percentage of Egypt’s population, to be taken from the data base of the Civil Status Department and under international observation. “Egyptian identification cards include religious affiliation of the cardholder and it would be easy to get the numbers required,” he said. The hearing is scheduled for 9 October.

Gabriel also said that Copts have suffered over a long time from the wrong and random way the census agency has dealt with their numbers, with very peculiar percentages which are drastically different from reality.

           — Hat tip: Mary Abdelmassih[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Amnesty for Jasmine Revolution Participants, Silence for Coptic Victims of Maspero Massacre

Announced today, the decision is seen by many as a political ploy. President Morsi pardons people who took part in the Tahrir Square protests. Who should benefit from it leads to row since no one was arrested for protest. The massacre of Copts last year in front of state TV building is ignored.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — After almost 100 days in power, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has issued a pardon for all those jailed in connection with protest in Tahrir Square against Hosni Mubarak and his regime.

After the fall of Egypt’s old strongman and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the release of activists had become one of the main demands of the young participants in the Jasmine Revolution.

For their part, Christians have complained that the president has done nothing about the soldiers and police responsible for the death of 28 Copts at the Maspero building on 9 October 2011. At present, the trials of the military involved in the case have not yet begun, whilst many Coptic protesters are still in jail.

Mohammed Abdel-Aziz, a pro-revolution lawyer involved in many of the protesters’ cases, said the amnesty is too little too late and that the pardons should come with a financial compensation.

Abdel-Aziz explained that the decree is likely meant to ease political pressure on Morsi just days ahead of a pro-democracy rally against the president’s policies planned for Friday.

The amnesty should benefit a thousand people, but critics already have already noted the problem of who should be freed. After all, people were not jailed for protesting but for resistance to public officials or causing a public disturbance.

“It is a great step, but not enough,” said Ahmed Seif, a member of the committee formed by Morsi to review cases of those tried following the uprising. “Now, there will be differences over how to implement the pardon,” he added.

Ahmed Ragheb, a human rights lawyer, goes a step further and laments that the amnesty doesn’t include “all the victims of the past period.” Morsi’s choice of wording in the decree, “those supporting the revolution,” can be interpreted in different ways.

In fact, hardened criminals, some on murder charges, are included among the 12,000 civilians brought before military tribunals when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces was in power.

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

Tunisia: The Game is Not Over

by Srdja Trifkovic

A week-long visit to Tunisia, in the course of which I covered some 2,000 miles by rental car, bus, SUV, and a powered hang glider, has confirmed that of faraway places we often assume to know more than we do. The first country affected by a wave of popular discontent known as the Arab Spring was full of surprises.

To start with, the country is safe for foreign visitors. There have been no attacks on tourists, either at the time of the “Jasmine Revolution” last year or during the periodic eruptions of street protests since then. The violence triggered off by that YouTube video was quickly contained. Last week, more than 50 people—most of them policemen—were injured in protests at the reopening of a rubbish dump on the resort island of Djerba, but the protesters stayed away from the hotels. Even in dusty provincial towns, where no foreigners venture, gas station attendants and cold drinks vendors invariably greeted me with a smile and a polite “bonjour, Monsieur, ça va?” This is in contrast to the barely concealed hostility I have encountered on my recent trips to the West Bank, or—over a decade ago—in Libya.

By the third day, I felt emboldened to venture on my own to the spectacular Roman city of Dougga, a three hour drive from Hammamet, where I had the ruins all to myself for over two hours. At Téboursouk, on the way to Dougga, and at Qa Afur on the way back, I stopped casually at coffee houses for refreshments—the only European for miles around.. Mustached men observed the strange sight behind clouds of tobacco smoke. Before long, some bold youngsters initiated conversation. Speaking French (however rusty in my case) definitely helps: it is still compulsory in Tunisian schools, and English has not made many inroads outside the capital and the coastal resorts. (As it happens, it also helps not being an American, or at any rate not admitting to being one.) The conversation did not need to be steered to politics, as most Tunisians find it the only topic currently worth discussing. Such encounters have been invaluable in helping me form a broad picture—more comprehensive and reliable than the one visiting foreign journalists get from their Sorbonne-educated, barely-accented colleagues over cappuccinos on Avenue Habib Bourguiba.

The “Arab Spring” stereotype—a simmering volcano of fundamentalism suddenly erupting and sweeping away a secularist autocracy—does not apply to Tunisia…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Arab Emirates Call for Unity Against Muslim Brotherhood

(AGI) Abu Dhabi, Oct 8 — The countries of the Persian Gulf should join forces to stop attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the stability of governments in the region. The Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan made the statement, revealing that since the beginning of the year 60 local Islamists have been arrested. For Al-Nahayam the Muslim Brotherhood represents a threat because “they do not believe in the state model and the sovereignty of individual countries.” Speaking in Cairo, Mahmoud Hussein, Secretary General of the Brotherhood (in power with President Mohamed Morsi) denied the accusation, recalling that the members of the organization “respect the countries that host them and do not wish to topple the systems of government in the nations where they live.”

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

Dubai Plans Billion-Dollar Replica of Taj Mahal (And You Can Even Stay the Night)

Understated is a word you could never knowingly apply to Dubai — but the latest project set for the emirate could put everything that has gone before firmly in the shade.

Developers have unveiled an ambitious plan to create a complex with a $1-billion (£618 million) replica of India’s iconic Taj Mahal marble mausoleum, which would also include a 300-room hotel, shops and serviced apartments.

It is understood that ‘Taj Arabia’ will be nearly four times the size of the original, built in Agra, northern India, between 1631 and 1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his favourite wife.

‘The Taj is made as a monument of love and we hope to promote this in Dubai as a major wedding destination,’ said developer Arun Mehra.

He told the Gulf News: ‘Marriage is a celebration. It needs to be announced and glorified. Currently Dubai is not regarded as a wedding destination. People go to Bali and other exotic places to marry. Now they will come to Taj Arabia.’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NATO Will ‘Protect and Defend Turkey’ If Syria Launches an Attack, Says Head of Alliance

NATO will defend Turkey from being attacked by Syria as tensions continue to escalate between the two countries, the head of the military alliance announced today.

NATO ambassadors threw their support behind Turkey in an emergency meeting after Syrian shells struck a border town in Turkey killing five civilians last week.

The two neighbours have repeatedly exchanged fire since then, the most serious outbreak of cross-border violence since Syria’s revolt against President Bashar al-Assad erupted 18 months ago.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Rasmussen: NATO Ready to Defend Turkey From Syrian Attack

(AGI) Brussels, Oct 9- Rasmussen warned that NATO has put the “necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary.” Addressing the defence ministers of the North Atlantic Alliance meeting in Brussels, including the Turkish minister, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, praised Ankara for “the restraint shown in response to the totally unacceptable attacks by Syria.” “Of course,” said Rasmussen, “Turkey has the right to defend itself in accordance with international law.” The NATO number one hoped that military action against Syria would not be necessary and that “both countries would show restraint and avoid an escalation.” Rasmussen’s words came after he had been informed that the head of the Turkish armed forces, General Necdet Ozel, had inspected his troops in the southeastern province of Hatay, near the border with Syria.

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

Rasmussen: NATO Will Defend Turkey From Syria if Necessary

Head of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen says military alliance has plans in place to defend Ankara after Syrian gunfire, shelling spills into Turkish territory; Turkish army shuffles units, bolsters presence along border.

The head of NATO said on Tuesday the military alliance has plans in place to defend Turkey against attack from Syria if needed. “We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary,” Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters before a meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers in Brussels.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Danish Biker and the Trail That Led to Al Qaeda’s Most Wanted

(CNN) — A 36-year-old Dane called Morten Storm says he was the man who led the CIA to Anwar al Awlaki, the al Qaeda cleric killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year. And he says he did it with a computer thumb-drive that secretly contained a tracking device.

Among the evidence he’s produced: recorded telephone conversations, passport stamps showing multiple trips to Yemen, correspondence with Awlaki, and a recording of a conversation with an unidentified American — who acknowledges his role in the pursuit of Awlaki.

The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has published details of his story over the past few days, after reviewing documents and tapes of the conversations Storm provided. The Danish Intelligence Service PET won’t confirm or deny Storm’s account; CNN has yet to reach American officials for comment.

Storm appears to have led a life of many parts — committed jihadist, family man and outdoor sports enthusiast.

In fact, he helped run a UK-based enterprise called Storm Outdoors — on which his instructor’s profile speaks of his time “living with the Beduins in the Deserts in the North of Yemen.”

There is firm evidence that Storm, a former biker and petty criminal, moved within jihadist circles after converting to Islam in the late 1990s — becoming known as Murad Storm.

One video clearly shows him at a rally of militant Islamists in London in 2005, listening to a speech by the extremist preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed. According to Jyllands-Posten, Storm was by then on the radar of the PET because of his links with Islamist militants.

The following year, he says, he changed sides, becoming a double-agent run by the PET.

Meeting Awlaki

According to Storm’s account, he first met Anwar al Awlaki at his father’s house in 2006, while studying in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. Storm was attending Al Iman University — which was renowned for militancy and where Awlaki himself taught.

“We talked freely to each other,” Storm told Jyllands-Posten.

That was before Awlaki was arrested and spent some 17 months in a Yemeni jail, accused in connection with an al Qaeda plot.

It was while Awlaki was in jail that Storm says he underwent a transformation.

At some point in the winter of 2006, Storm approached the PET and offered his services. He says he was introduced to British intelligence and the CIA, and was a given a handler by PET. Jyllands-Posten says it has confirmed the identity of that handler.

Storm told the newspaper that the CIA and PET “knew that Anwar saw me as his friend and confidant. They knew that I could reach him, and find out where he stayed.”

When Awlaki was released from prison Storm was able “to bring materials and electronic equipment to him,” using money provided by Danish intelligence.

Al Qaeda’s shopping list

Storm says the CIA wanted to plant a tracking device in the equipment he was taking to Yemen, but it was becoming more difficult to reach Awlaki, who by 2009 was in hiding in remote Shabwa province…

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan ‘Sliding Towards Collapse’

Afghan forces are far from ready to secure a country riddled with violence and corruption, Red Cross and thinktank warn

The police and army in an increasingly violent Afghanistan will struggle to secure the country when foreign forces leave and the people face a corrupt presidential election in 2014, the Red Cross and a thinktank have warned. At stake is the limited and fragile stability that has insulated Kabul and most other urban areas from more than a decade of escalating aggression since the US invasion. There are growing fears the country could face a full-blown civil war after Nato troops hand over security to the Afghan police and army, and leave.

“Time is running out,” said Candace Rondeaux of the International Crisis Group thinktank, in a blunt report about the handover from coalition to Afghan troops. “Steps toward a stable transition must begin now to prevent a precipitous slide toward state collapse…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Vanishing Coins Are Turned Into Razors and Ornaments

Indian intelligence officials have cracked the mystery behind eastern India’s acute coin shortage: the money is being melted down and smuggled to Bangladesh where they are turned into razor blades and ornaments.

“At least twice, we seized sacks of Indian coins from people near the Bangladesh border in recent years. Those who were carrying them confessed that the coins were going to the other side of the border. They also said that the metals from these coins were being used to make shaving blades and shining steel ornaments in Bangladesh,” Suresh Jadav, a commandant of India’s Border Security Force in West Bengal, told DW.

West Bengalpolice have confiscated bags of one-rupee, two-rupee and five-rupee coins from smugglers near the India-Bangladesh border a number of times in recent years.

The phenomenon of vanishing Indian coins in eastern India was first reported by businessmen in 2007. The crisis continued and the West Bengal state government informed federal agencies two years later, seeking their help to stem the crisis.

India’s Revenue Intelligence (RI) department recently informed West Bengal in a confidential report that it’s a fact that some organized gangs were amassing the coins in eastern India, after paying a premium of 10 to 15 percent to the ground-level collectors. The metallic contents of the coins were being used in razor and jewellery factories in Bangladesh.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Faisalabad: 24-Year Old Christian Abducted, Forced to Convert to Islam and Marry Her Abuser

Shumaila Bibi kidnapped by a 26 year old Muslim Muhammad Javed Iqbal on the way home. Subjected to sexual assault and forced to study the Koran. On a pretext she managed to escape and return to her family. Her captor denounced the girl’s father for “kidnapping” her. Shumaila’s future hangs in the balance.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) — Seized at dawn, forced to endure sexual abuse and to marry the young Muslim man who abducted her with the help of his family and convert to Islam. This is the dramatic story of Shumaila Bibi, a 24-year old Christian who worked in Nishatabad, a suburb of Faisalabad (Punjab), in a textile company. The episode dates back to September 24, and for days she was subjected to a daily nightmare with her tormentor; on October 5, using a ruse, she managed to escape. However, her so-called “husband” denounced her flight and with his parents — reversing the facts — reported her family for “kidnapping” her. The police accepted his version of the facts and have opened an investigation claiming that the girl converted and married “of her own free will.” The future of Sumaila is hanging by a thread and will depend on the decisions of the justice of Pakistan, who on more than one occasion have failed to protect the rights of religious minorities in the country.

At 6 in the morning of 24 September Shumaila Bibi, who worked in a textile company, had just finished her shift and was about to return home. On the way she ran into to the 26 year old Muslim Muhammad Javed Iqbal, who had approached her family with the intention, over time, of establishing an engagement (though “I refused and I have repeatedly discouraged it” the young woman tells AsiaNews). Despite all this, with the help of his mother, two brothers, some uncles and the threat of a gun, Muhammad dragged the girl into a nearby vehicle.

At the time, there was only the guard of Millat Textile Mills factory to witness the scene. Threatened by the abductors family he did not intervene. The next day, Muhammad Javed Iqbal — along with 25 relatives — led Shumaila to a lawyer, Muhammad Tanveer Aslam. In his office, he forced her to sign a statement of intent, under which she declared her marriage to the young Muslim and conversion to Islam.

For days she was sexually abused, harassed and forced to study the Koran and the precepts of Islam. During one of these lessons she asked her Muslim teacher to be able to go home earlier than the scheduled time. Free to move, Shumaila escaped and returned to her parents’ house. This, however, infuriated the groom who immediately reported the girl’s parents to the police for … “Kidnapping.” The officials upheld his complaint because the young woman converted and consented to the marriage “of her own free will” and without compulsion.

The Catholic activists of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church of Pakistan (NCJP) have taken up the defense of Mansha Masih, girl’s father, 68, who now risks prison for kidnapping. The lawyers have filed a counter complaint and now seek justice, though on several occasions the will of the majority and Islamic law have dominated in spite of the rule of law, to decide on the matter. Her future is hanging by a thread and there is a real fear she will be returned to her torturers. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Shumaila confirmed that she wants to “live with my parents and practice the Christian faith.” The young Muslim helped her find a job and with this “subterfuge” introduced himself into the family and tried to approach her. “But I refused — she clarifies — several times and I invited to desist” from his intent. “And for that, he ruined my life.”

Fr. Nisar Barkat, diocesan director of NCJP in Faisalabad, said that “we do our best to provide aid and assistance to victims like Shumaila.” The priest invokes the “intervention” of the police to “ensure the legality and freedom” of the community. “We have to be careful — he warns — of the manipulation of religion in the name of justice, and the state must guarantee religious freedom in the country.”

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

Pakistani Schoolgirl Campaigner, 14, Shot in Swat Valley

Gunmen have shot and wounded a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, apparently in retaliation for her campaign to expose Taliban brutality by documenting their campaign of violence on an anonymous blog.

Malala Yousafzai was on her way home from school in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat when two men opened fire, shooting her in the forehead and injuring a friend. Witnesses said a bearded man had asked for the girl by name before opening fire. Her work earned her international recognition and numerous peace awards after she was revealed as Gul Makai, the brave seventh grader who wrote a blog for the BBC’s Urdu service when the Taliban controlled Swat in 2009. But it also brought death threats. In March, a spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban said the girl was on their hit list. The shooting has shocked Pakistan, a nation long hardened to sickening acts of violence…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Taliban Claim Responsibility for Shooting Young Activist

(AGI) — Miranshah, Oct. 9 — The Taliban has claimed responsibility for shooting and wounding 14-year-old Malala Yusyufzai, who is campaigning to bring peace back to Pakistan’s Swat Valley and the right to be educated. Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in a phone call that his organization was responsible, adding that anyone who speaks against the Taliban will be attacked in the same way. Yusyufzai came to the attention of the world in 2009 when she told the BBC Urdu service of Taliban atrocities. She was on a bus that was taking her to school in the town of Mingora, when an armed man stopped and entered the bus asking which one was Malala. Once he had identified her, he shot her three times with a pistol. The first shot hit her in the face, the second hit a friend and the third hit another friend in the leg. Malala was flown by an Interior Ministry helicopter to a hospital in Peshawar, where doctors say the young girl is in stable conditions and out of danger.

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

Sonia Gandhi Promises to Act as Series of Rapes Shocks India

A wave of sexual assaults has rocked the northern Indian state of Haryana. In the last month alone, a dozen mostly Dalit girls and women have been raped, raising concerns about the security of women in India.

Sitting on the steps of the dilapidated one-storey home in Haryana’s Jind district, the president of India’s ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi could not hold back her emotion as she tried to comfort the family of a Dalit girl who was gang-raped last weekend and then committed suicide.

“She hugged me and said it wasn’t just me who had lost a daughter,” said the mother of the teenager who set herself on fire with kerosene after being raped. “She promised me justice and that the captors would be brought to justice.”

The role of the influential “khap panchayats,” or caste councils, which pronounce judgments on marriageable girls and the boys they should marry to retain “family honor” has also been called into question.

The state’s khap panchayats recently suggested that the marriageable age for girls should be reduced to 16 years to avoid such incidents.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Taliban Shoot and Injure Pakistani Girl Activist

(AGI) Peshawar, Oct 9 — A 14 year old Pakistani girl who fought to restore peace in Swat, has been shot. Malala Yusyufzai, who also campaigned in defence of the right to education of her fellow girls, rose to world prominence in 2009 when she blogged for the BBC Urdu service about atrocities committed by the Taliban. The girl was hit by two shots, one to the forehead as she was climbing into a car to go to school. Two other girls were also injured. Malala was transferred to hospital in Peshawar where she is reported to be in a stable condition. The recipient of the Pakistani government’s first National Peace Prize in December 2011, the young girl the Taliban had put her at the top of their hit list.

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

Far East

Dollar No Longer Primary Oil Currency as China Begins to Sell Oil Using Yuan

On Sept. 11, Pastor Lindsey Williams, former minister to the global oil companies during the building of the Alaskan pipeline, announced the most significant event to affect the U.S. dollar since its inception as a currency. For the first time since the 1970’s, when Henry Kissenger forged a trade agreement with the Royal house of Saud to sell oil using only U.S. dollars, China announced its intention to bypass the dollar for global oil customers and began selling the commodity using their own currency.

Lindsey Williams: “The most significant day in the history of the American dollar, since its inception, happened on Thursday, Sept. 6. On that day, something took place that is going to affect your life, your family, your dinner table more than you can possibly imagine.”

“On Thursday, Sept. 6… just a few days ago, China made the official announcement. China said on that day, our banking system is ready, all of our communication systems are ready, all of the transfer systems are ready, and as of that day, Thursday, Sept. 6, any nation in the world that wishes from this point on, to buy, sell, or trade crude oil, can do using the Chinese currency, not the American dollar. — Interview with Natty Bumpo on the Just Measures Radio network, Sept. 11

This announcement by China is one of the most significant sea changes in the global economic and monetary systems, but was barely reported on due to its announcement taking place during the Democratic convention last week. The ramifications of this new action are vast, and could very well be the catalyst that brings down the dollar as the global reserve currency, and change the entire landscape of how the world purchases energy.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Korea Warns US on Missiles After South Deal

North Korea says it has missiles that can hit the US mainland, in a statement two days after South Korea unveiled a missile deal with the US.

The statement said US bases in “Japan, Guam and the US mainland” were within its “scope of strike”.

It follows Seoul’s announcement on Sunday that it would almost triple the range of its own missile system.

Pyongyang is thought to be working on a long-range missile, but two recent rocket tests ended in failure.

North Korea’s neighbours said the failed rocket launches — in April 2009 and April 2012 — were tests related to the development of the long-range Taepodong-2 missile system.

The system, which analysts believe is intended to put the US mainland within striking range, has not yet been tested successfully.

North Korea routinely issues strong rhetoric against Seoul and Washington.

But the Communist state does possess an array of short- and medium-range missiles, as well as artillery pointed towards South Korea, says the BBC’s Kevin Kim in Seoul.

The statement, carried by state-run KCNA news agency and attributed to North Korea’s National Defence Commission, said Pyongyang would match any enemy “nuclear for nuclear, missile for missile”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Korea’s Lost Children Return

Long before Samsung and Hyundai emerged as global brands, babies were South Korea’s top “export” — thousands of children were adopted overseas. Some are coming back as adults.

When South Korea was left in ruins following its war with the North in the 1950s, many children were sent to families in the United States or Europe. Western families were convinced they were giving these Korean orphans a better life.

Meanwhile, some of those international adoptees have returned to the land of their birth to learn more about their own history.

Jane Jeong Trenka was born in 1972 and adopted with her sister to northern Minnesota. Trenka says she always had questions about her adoption. Some of the stories her American parents told her didn’t make sense. In 1995, she visited Korea and tracked down her birthmother.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Video: General Motors is Becoming China Motors

General Motors is becoming China Motors. Forget the spin. The evidence is clear and convincing. Did U.S. taxpayers save GM for China? Listen to the candid comments of GM’s CEO.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Latin America

“Don’t Shoot!—I’m Che!” (A Glorious Anniversary)

Forty five years ago this week, Ernesto “Che” Guevara got a major dose of his own medicine. Without trial he was declared a murderer, stood against a wall and shot. If the saying “What goes around comes around” ever fit, it’s here.

“When you saw the beaming look on Che’s face as his victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad,” said a former Cuban political prisoner to this writer, “you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara.”

As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in La Cabana had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.


Even as a youth, Ernesto Guevara’s writings revealed a serious mental illness. “My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido that falls in my hands! With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!” This passage is from Ernesto Guevara’s famous Motorcycle Diaries, though Robert Redford somehow overlooked it while producing his heart-warming movie.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Oslo and Bern to Aid ‘Environmental Refugees’

People forced to flee their countries by natural disasters find themselves in a legal vacuum where they are considered neither refugees nor migrants, Norway and Switzerland said on Tuesday, as they launched an initiative aimed at protecting them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

The Commies Are Thinning the Herd

It is said that “green” is the new “red.” Red, in this case, denotes communism.

The environmental movement, the greens (or Greenies), is sort of like a watermelon. Like that delicious melon, the environmental movement is green on the outside, but red on the inside.

And they really don’t like homo sapiens. If fact, they seem set upon a goal of eliminating as much of the world population of homo sapiens as they possibly can.


When you understand that the Greenie philosophy is really the communist philosophy, you begin to gain insight into the REAL reason behind the entire movement: One-world government. Not JUST a one-world government—but a COMMUNIST one-world government. They refer to it as “global governance.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]