Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121012

Financial Crisis
»Coca-Cola Hellenic Pulls Up Stakes to Switzerland
»Europe’s Recession Hits Chocolate Sales
»Fiat CEO Hopes Monti Will Lead Italy ‘Forever’
»Greece: Government in Race Against Time
»Greece: Syriza Would Win Elections for 48% of Greeks, Poll
»Solyndra, The Sequel? Bankrupt Solar Firm, Doe Facing Scrutiny Over Panel Problems
»Americans Staggering at the Mercy of World Events
»Are You Funding American Marxism?
»Caroline Glick: American Jewry’s Cherished Values
»Is Hook at Last Heading for Hell? That’s What They Call the Fearsome [US] Jail
»Obama, Islam and a Sea of Lies
»Obama Campaign Holds Muslim Outreach Event
»Phony in Chief
Europe and the EU
»European Union Wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize
»Italy: Reggio Calabria Municipal Rubbish Company Chief Arrested
»Italy: Formigoni Says No Plans to Resign
»Italy: Florence Mayor Tells Fiat CEO ‘It’s Okay Not to Like Me’
»Italy: Finance Police Uncover ‘Fake Poor’ In Veneto
»Stakelbeck in Germany: Turkish Mega Mosque Sparks Controversy
»UK: Children Called ‘Nazis’ And ‘Bigots’ For Opposing Same-Sex Marriage
»UK: Scots Poll ‘May Lead to Lower Voting Age’: Cameron is Warned Over Concession to SNP Leader
»UK: Voting at 16? I Was Smuggling Kit Kats Into My School Locker at That Age. I’d Rather it Was 36!
»UK: Young Man ‘Tortured to Death With Broken Bottles and Knives by Three Men and a Woman Who Stole His Pin Number and Withdrew Just £20’
North Africa
»Egypt: Battle of Camels; All Acquitted, Prosecutor Removed
»Egypt: Hundreds Injured in Tahrir Clashes, Brotherhood in Hot Water
Middle East
»Syria: Turkey Flexes Muscle, Amasses Tanks on the Borders
»Mysterious Elk-Shaped Structure Discovered in Russia
South Asia
»Italy ‘Astounded’ By Indian Dithering Over Marines Case
Far East
»Illegal Campaign Fundraising Exposed by Watchdog Group
Latin America
»Chavez Steals Reelection, And the Opposition Goes Along
»109 Migrants Rescued Off Lampedusa
»Let All European Migrants Claim Benefits, Insists Brussels
»UK: Failed Pakistani Asylum Seeker Posed as Taxi Driver to Pick Up and Rape Young Clubber on Mattress in a Corner Shop
Culture Wars
»Bus Driver to Conservative Child: “Your Mother Should Have Chosen Abortion for You”
»Harvard Students Celebrate Fornication With Annual ‘IncestFest’ Event
»Obamacare Subsidizes Abortions for Women Making $90,000
»Southern Poverty Law Center Pushes Homosexual Tolerance to Elementary Students With ‘Mix it Up’ Day

Financial Crisis

Coca-Cola Hellenic Pulls Up Stakes to Switzerland

Another blow to recession-battered Greece, analysts say

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 11 — In what analysts say is another blow to recession-battered Greece, the Athens-based Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. SA (CCH) on Thursday announced it is pulling up stakes and moving to Switzerland.

The move aims “to facilitate a primary listing” of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group on the London Stock Exchange, according to an Athens-bourse company filing today. The world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola drinks, CCH has 5% of its overall activity in Greece, and those factories will keep operating, according to the filing. But financial analysts interpreted the move as yet another bad omen for Greece, which is struggling through its 5th consecutive recession year and battling to stay in the eurozone. Stakeholders in CCH, which already has secondary listings in London and New York, will trade in their shares for shares of Coca-Cola HBC AG, set up in Switzerland by Kar-Tess Holding on Sept. 19. The primary listing of CCH’s shares in London enhances liquidity and “better reflects the international nature of the company’s business and of CCH shareholders,” according to the company statement. CCH, which is 23% owned by US-based Coca Cola Co., bottles Coke and other drinks destined for 28 countries from Russia to Nigeria, but 95% of its shareholders and activities are outside Greece. Following a 6-billion-euro capitalization, it became Greece’s biggest company, equal to one fifth of the entire Athens stock exchange. Company officials recently complained of new tax hikes under the government’s austerity plan. CCH shares dropped 5.8% to 15.49 euros a shares on today’s announcement.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Europe’s Recession Hits Chocolate Sales

Europe’s economic crisis is nibbling away at demand for chocolate, the affordable treat once thought of as recession-proof.

Times are tough enough now that even the market for this modest luxury is struggling in Europe, analysts say.

“For the first part of the recession, we thought chocolate would be recession-proof, and then we said recession-resistant, and now I think people are just getting ground down,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, global food and drink analyst at Mintel.

“I have not seen this much of a slowing in the market in the time I’ve been watching it.”

Market researchers Mintel said that while the global chocolate market value will be little changed on the year at US$84.5 billion (S$104 billion) in 2012, Western Europe’s chocolate market value is set to fall by around 5 per cent.

“Chocolate usually does better than average fast-moving consumer goods because chocolate is the archetype of cheap indulgence so it’s the last thing people will drop,” said Jean-Jacques Vandenheede, European director for retail insights at research firm Nielsen.

The firm recorded its first ever fall in volumes for the fast-moving consumer goods sector — made up of low-value items which sell quickly — in the second quarter of 2012 since it began monitoring it in 2007.

“If the economic outlook continues to be as sombre as it is now, people are not going to rally, they are going to hunker down even more, and spend even less on food, even on chocolate,” Mogelonsky said.

The firm estimates Western Europe’s chocolate market value in 2012 will fall to around US$30 billion, from US$31.7 billion the previous year.


Portugal and Italy will see some of the sharpest falls in market value in Western Europe for 2012 — Mintel forecast, at minus 11 per cent and minus 7 per cent respectively.

           — Hat tip: LH[Return to headlines]

Fiat CEO Hopes Monti Will Lead Italy ‘Forever’

Crisis, recession ‘result of decades of public mismanagement’

(ANSA) — London, October 12 — Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said on Friday he hoped Italian Premier Mario Monti would remain at the helm of the eurozone’s third largest economy “forever”.

“He was hired to fix this mess and it will not be easy or shortlived,” Marchionne said. “The public debt did not amass between 2011 and 2012,” he added.

Monti, who was appointed to replace ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi amid a peak in the euro crisis last November, is scheduled to step down from the helm of a technocratic government after general elections next spring. Marchionne called Italy’s recessionary economy the result of “decades of mismanagement of public affairs”, warning of a “painful awakening” for Italians who do not realize there is work left to do.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Government in Race Against Time

Urgent reforms to obtain loan, risk of empty coffers

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 11 — The Greek government has little time left to obtain 31.5 billion euros in aid. In two months, state coffers risk to remain empty, as the Greek premier recently told Handelsblatt. ‘Without the new tranche, money in the Greek state coffers will be sufficient only until November’, said Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The new tranche requires a small effort by the government.

It must ‘close’ a package of austerity measures ahead of the next European summit scheduled on October 18 and must do what Greece has not done in the past two years by that date.

In order to obtain the last tranche of aid, Athens must implement structural reforms requested by international creditors.

According to representatives of the troika — Germany’s Matthias Mors (EU) and Claus Mazuch (ECB) and Denmark’s Paul Tomsen (IMF) — the necessary structural reforms, some small others more significant, are 89 including a new fiscal system, the privatization of state companies, the liberalization of professions, changing contracts in the private sector, the abolition or merger of useless state agencies. The government says most are ready to be implemented while the other ones could be defined after October 18, ahead of the concession of the last tranche of aid.

Greek citizens harbor doubts over the government’s will or ability to implement them given they have not passed the reforms so far. Another difficulty is that Greece has its first coalition government since the fall of the colonels’ regime in 1974. It is formed by three parties — Nea Dimokratia (centre-right), Pasok (Socialist) and the Democratic Left — which are divided by very different political positions, a problem for the government’s cohesion.

A first sign of this occurred yesterday in Parliament when Labour Minister Yannis Vroutsis was forced to withdraw for the second time in a week an amendment to a law concerning the abolition of businesses’ aid for the institute of public housing as Pasok and Democratic Left MPs refused to vote it.

The problem was even more visible after criticism from Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos concerning the outcome of a visit to Athens of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Venizelos said there were ‘no concrete results’ though he conceded the visit had been important.

He also accused Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the Democratic Left, for the absence of the three majority leaders at an official lunch given by Samaras for Merkel at which the Pasok leader had announced he intended to participate to discuss ‘all three together’ the problems of the country. A left-wing faction of Pasok has also asked that the party withdraw from the government coalition. Analysts say such incidents are very worrying as they are occurring just a few days ahead of a vote in parliament on new austerity measures.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Syriza Would Win Elections for 48% of Greeks, Poll

80% say the country is going in the wrong direction

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS — According to a new poll of Greek voters, opposition political party Syriza (Radical Left) is in the lead. SkayTV reports that 80% of those polled say the country is going in the wrong direction. 72% of those polled say they are against the bailout of Greece by troika (IMF, ECB, EU) creditors. And 48% say they think Syriza — the anti-bailout party that lost a close race to the current ruling party, New Democracy, in June — will win the next election. Meanwhile, the extremist right-wing Golden Dawn party — on the opposite side of the political spectrum as Syriza — is quickly gaining in popularity among Greek voters as well (Golden Dawn has often been described as neo-Nazi). These developments show how fragile the political situation in Greece has become and suggest that things could get dicy going forward.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Solyndra, The Sequel? Bankrupt Solar Firm, Doe Facing Scrutiny Over Panel Problems

House Republicans are pressing the Obama administration for more information about a solar-panel company that received a $400 million loan guarantee, then went bankrupt and is now the focus of a criminal investigation.

The committee pursuing documents on Colorado-based Abound Solar is the same that investigated the half-billion taxpayer loan to Solyndra, whose bankruptcy rocked the Obama administration. Two more Department of Energy-backed companies have since filed for bankruptcy, with Abound Solar being the latest.

Lawmakers are now questioning whether the administration might have known about serious problems with the company’s solar panels before it was guaranteed the loan in December 2010 under the stimulus program.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Americans Staggering at the Mercy of World Events

When Obama reached the White House, our national debt ran at $12 trillion. Four short years later, it exceeds $16 trillion. During his campaign, he promised to lower the debt when he said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. …Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here’. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

“There are two ways to conquer & enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” -John Adams 1826

A new book published recently, The Amateur in the White House by Edward Klein. He provides an in depth understanding as to how American citizens voted for a man totally in deep water over his head.

Let’s take a hard look at Obama’s results in the past four years:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Are You Funding American Marxism?

Whether you know it or not, you are funding the very things you are trying to defeat, Obammunism, American Democratic Socialism, Marxism, or for the faint of heart, progressivism. Most Americans are funding it and most don’t know it.

If people don’t know they are funding evil, they will continue to fund it. What will you do once you know that you are funding evil though?

Of course, if you are an American taxpayer today, you are funding evil through your taxes. That’s an obvious one that most people are aware of on some level, but feel helpless in resolving, since they prefer not to go to an American gulag for tax evasion. It’s called soft tyranny…

But I’m talking about things you can do something about. I’m talking about the choices we all make daily and how those choices have unintended consequences, in this case, funding the very evil you are working hard to defeat.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: American Jewry’s Cherished Values

Decades ago, the sociographer Milton Himmelfarb coined the aphorism that “American Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” And his words ring as true today as ever. Surveys show that roughly 70 percent of American Jews intend to cast their ballots for President Barack Obama’s reelection next month.

Himmelfarb’s quip indicated that American Jews abjure their economic interests in favor of their liberal values. Certainly it is true that for American Jews to vote for Obama next month they must act against their economic interests.

Obama’s economic policies have taken a huge toll on the economic fortunes of American Jews who invest disproportionately in the stock market. His nationalization of the college loan business has given universities impetus to raise tuition rates still further, thus dooming more young American Jews to start their adult lives under a mountain of debt. And it isn’t at all clear how they will be able to pay off this debt since under Obama half of recent college graduates cannot find jobs.

Obama’s gutting of Medicare to pay for Obamacare has harmed the medical choices for older Jewish Americans. His war on tax deductions for charitable contributions has placed synagogues, Jewish schools and nursing homes in financial jeopardy.

So with economics ruled out as a reason to support Obama we are left with American-Jewish values…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Is Hook at Last Heading for Hell? That’s What They Call the Fearsome [US] Jail

Hamza and the other three suspects extradited with him were ‘at the nerve centres of Al Qaeda’s terror networks and will finally face justice’, according to Preet Bharara, the U.S. district attorney who will lead the prosecution. Peter King, a local U.S. congressman and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, described Abu Hamza as ‘obviously an arrogant b*****d’ and an ‘evil person’.

In the U.S., 54-year-old Hamza faces 11 terrorism charges relating to three plots, among them the 1998 kidnapping in Yemen of 16 tourists, including two Americans, in which three Britons and an Australian died.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama, Islam and a Sea of Lies

There is no time for careful and lying talk to protect some fantasy of a person, Barack Hussein Obama. He is clearly transforming America into a subdued, controlled and bloodied version of herself. He intends America to submit on every level possible to international laws, treaties and Islam/Sharia. His legacy and gift to America is a double barrel shotgun of ‘internationalism/globalism and sharia/Islam.’

Obama wears a ring that says in Arabic, “There is no God but Allah” According to Glenn Beck’s he has confirmed through a Duke professor that the Arabic on Obama’s ring says the first part of ‘Shahada’ “There is only one God Allah.” This is the same President who will not salute the flag and says our Star Spangled Banner is too violent for him.

Obama and Hillary have lied about Islam, defended Shariah law at every turn and have supported assaults on our 1st amendment rights through Islamic U.N. schemes.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama Campaign Holds Muslim Outreach Event

The Obama campaign is hosting an outreach event for Virginia-area Muslim Americans on Sunday, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.

Brian Moran, the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, will represent the Obama campaign as a surrogate at an event in Sterling, Va. at a local community center

It’s one of the first real outreach events this cycle by the Obama campaign to a community that is largely overlooked — and sometimes demonized — by both sides of the aisle.

There are more than 2 million Muslim-Americans in the United States, most of Arab, South-Asian and African-American decent.

That’s less than 1 percent of the US population, but Muslim voters are concentrated in a number of states and major metropolitan areas — including the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C.

According to research by Pew, Virginia is among the ten states with the highest number of Muslim Americans — and the only real contested swing state on that list aside from Ohio…

           — Hat tip: RE[Return to headlines]

Phony in Chief

When President Barack Obama and others on the left are not busy admonishing the rest of us to be “civil” in our discussions of political issues, they are busy letting loose insults, accusations and smears against those who dare to disagree with them.

Like so many people who have been beaten in a verbal encounter, and who can think of clever things to say the next day, after it is all over, President Obama, after his clear loss in his debate with Mitt Romney, called Governor Romney a “phony.”

Innumerable facts, however, show that it is our Commander in Chief who is Phony in Chief. A classic example was his speech to a predominantly black audience at Hampton University on June 5, 2007. That date is important, as we shall see.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

European Union Wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded its 2012 peace prize on Friday to the 27-nation European Union, saying it had contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation across the continent.

With the bloc confronting the worst financial crisis in its history over the single euro currency, the award surprised some people who recalled the deep strains between Germany and other European nations over Berlin’s insistence on austerity measures that have brought pain to many, particularly in Greece. Thousands of protesters turned out in Athens earlier this week to demonstrate against a visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

But Thorbjørn Jagland, the chairman of the panel awarding the prize, said it was a signal from the committee concerning reconciliation in Europe and a message to the continent to carry on such work, focusing on the union’s historical role binding France and Germany together after World War II.

The peace prize climaxes a week in which Nobel institutions have awarded prizes in science and literature that rank among the world’s most coveted emblems of excellence. The prize for economics is to be awarded on Monday.

[Return to headlines]

Italy: Reggio Calabria Municipal Rubbish Company Chief Arrested

Operation after council dissolved for ‘Ndrangheta ties

(ANSA) — Reggio Calabria, October 10 — The director of a municipal garbage-collection company in Reggio Calabria was arrested Wednesday in an operation against the Calabrian-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

Bruno De Caria, accused of helping the Mob infiltrate his company, was among eight people arrested in the operation, which also seized 30 million euros in assets linked to a local clan.

Reggio’s city council was dissolved Tuesday because of ‘Ndrangheta links, the first provincial capital to suffer this penalty.

The city of 180,000 people will be run by a government-appointed commissioner for at least 18 months.

‘Ndrangheta is Italy’s richest mafia thanks to its hold on the European cocaine trade.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Formigoni Says No Plans to Resign

Scandal dogs Lombardy regional government

(ANSA) — Milan, October 11 — Lombardy Governor Roberto Formigoni says he has no plans to resign from his scandal-plagued government.

“I have not made any mistakes,” Formigoni said Thursday.

“My region is the only one with the accounts in order”. Formigoni was responding to questions posed as his administration appears close to collapse after a series of corruption scandals, including accusations an executive bought votes from the mafia in 2010 regional elections.

Formigoni, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, is himself under investigation for alleged corruption linked to health-sector contracts, making him one of 14 members of the regional executive or assembly to be probed in various cases.

The governor is under pressure from the regionalist Northern League, whose regional councillors said they were quitting Wednesday night to try to force him out.

Formigoni called for “dialogue” with the League Thursday but said he would replace the councillors if it pulled out of the PdL alliance across the north.

League chief Roberto Maroni went into talks Thursday with Formigoni and PdL secretary Angelino Alfano at the Berlusconi party headquarters in Rome.

The League is a major power in the north although its standing has been hit by a scandal earlier this year involving the family of ex-leader and founder Umberto Bossi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Florence Mayor Tells Fiat CEO ‘It’s Okay Not to Like Me’

Marchionne called premier-hopeful ‘bad copy of Obama’

(ANSA) — Venice, October 11 — Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi on Thursday said it was “legitimate” for the CEO of automaker Fiat Sergio Marchionne to call him “a bad copy of Obama”. “It’s absolutely legitimate for the CEO of Fiat to complain about Matteo Renzi or say he’s not his candidate,” said Renzi, who is seeking to represent the center-left Democratic Party (PD) in elections next spring. Marchionne was caught making his comments Wednesday at a closed-door meeting with students in Brussels, where he also called Renzi the head of a “small and poor city”. Renzi had criticized Marchionne for shipping plants overseas while closing factories in Italy, where the auto market has drastically shrunk amid the recession.

“He’s an Italian citizen,” added Renzi Thursday. “He’s absulutely right to speak his opinions. If then he pays taxes in Italy, even better. But he doesn’t need to drag the beauty of Italy and our cities into politics”. Marchionne makes no secret about paying taxes in Switzerland.

Renzi, 37, may become Italy’s next premier. He is currently leading primary polls if Italians turn out in large numbers, according to SWG statistics. He would replace Premier Mario Monti, whose tenure as head of a technocratic government ends in April.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Finance Police Uncover ‘Fake Poor’ In Veneto

Over 4,000 claimed poverty to avoid paying health care fees

(ANSA) — Venice, October 12 — Italian finance police in the northern region of Veneto discovered that over 4,000 people claiming to be poor and receiving exemptions from medical expense had sufficient income to cover their healthcare costs.

Police examined 2.2 million public hospital records in 11 provinces of the region covering the period from 2009 to 2010.

Records showed that 132,749 requests came from patients who declared poverty or unemployment, allowing them to pay little or no fee for treatments and visits.

Of these, 8,377 requests (6.31% of the total) were obtained from 4,718 ‘fake poor’, earning an annual income well above the thresholds provided for by law in order to enjoy the benefits. Hospital spending is currently under examination throughout Italy and the government is proposing budget cuts to the system totalling 600 million euros for 2013 alone as part of the its so-called Stability Law.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Stakelbeck in Germany: Turkish Mega Mosque Sparks Controversy

The Turkish government has embarked on a mosque-building campaign throughout Germany.

And one new Turkish mega-mosque, the Cologne Central Mosque, has Germans on edge.

When construction on the facility is completed, it will be Germany’s largest Muslim house of worship — and one of the largest mosques in all of Europe.

I recently paid the mosque a visit.

Click the link above to watch my on the ground report from Cologne.

           — Hat tip: Erick Stakelbeck[Return to headlines]

UK: Children Called ‘Nazis’ And ‘Bigots’ For Opposing Same-Sex Marriage

Community leaders in the United Kingdom are raising concerns over the increase of harassment of youths by their peers over their stance against with same-sex marriage.

At issue are claims that children as young as 12 who do not endorse homosexuality or same-sex marriage are being labeled as “Nazis” and “bigots,” according to a senior Roman Catholic official.

John Deighan, the Roman Catholic Church’s parliamentary officer in Scotland, revealed that he has become aware of the disturbing trend which sees some young children being harassed by their peers over their views and beliefs related to a few specific issues.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Scots Poll ‘May Lead to Lower Voting Age’: Cameron is Warned Over Concession to SNP Leader

Allowing 16-year-olds to vote on Scottish independence would make a lower voting age ‘inevitable’ across Britain, David Cameron was warned yesterday.

The Prime Minister is poised to extend a referendum on the issue to 16 and 17-year-old Scots as a concession to Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond at a meeting on Monday.

But a former Tory Scottish secretary said the precedent would make it ‘impossible’ to prevent youngsters voting in future general elections, and ‘bring politics into our schools’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Voting at 16? I Was Smuggling Kit Kats Into My School Locker at That Age. I’d Rather it Was 36!

Few middle-aged adults recall clearly their teen years. Eighteen is not much of an age and 16 is even less.

Yet following a compromise between David Cameron and the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, it seems likely that on Monday we will be told that 16 is to be the voting age in the Scottish independence referendum, to be held north of the border in 2014.

We may learn on Monday the precise date of the referendum, but the lowering of the voting age from its current 18 to 16 means that many thousands of those eligible to vote on the future of the United Kingdom in 2014 have only just turned 15.


I suspect schoolchildren will vote in high numbers because their trades unionist teachers will tell them to jolly well go and vote — ‘NOW, and remember that the cross goes in the box next to the Left-wing option’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Young Man ‘Tortured to Death With Broken Bottles and Knives by Three Men and a Woman Who Stole His Pin Number and Withdrew Just £20’

A man was beaten with a rounders bat for his bank card and laptop before being ‘slowly tortured to death’ with knives and broken bottles, dumped in a wheelie bin and set on fire, a court heard.

‘Vulnerable’ Jamie Dack, 22, was lured to a squat in Southampton and beaten by three men and a woman who stole his debit card and PIN number and used them to withdraw just £20 to fund a night out.

The ‘cold-blooded’ gang — afraid their victim would go to the police — kept him in the flat overnight where they later tortured him to death over several hours using broken glass and kitchen knives, before setting his body alight in a prolonged and ‘positively chilling’ attack, Winchester Crown Court was told.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Battle of Camels; All Acquitted, Prosecutor Removed

But he refuses to step down, thousands demonstrate in Cairo

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO — A criminal court in Cairo has acquitted all defendants in a trial on the ‘battle of camels’ on February 2, 2011, in Tarhir square, leading thousands to take to the streets yesterday. President Mohamed Morsi has removed the prosecutor general and named him Egypt’s ambassador to the Holy See. The Egyptian Constitution does not allow the president to remove a high-level magistrate without appointing him to another office.

Thousands of demonstrators in Tarhir square raised banners demanding that the prosecutor general be removed. The protesters then marched to court and staged a sit in against the ruling by a criminal court chaired by Mustafa Hassan which acquitted 25 people who, riding camels and horses, attacked demonstrators in Tarhir square on February 2, 2011, at the height of protests which led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

Among those acquitted are two former presidents of parliament’s chambers, Fathi Sorour and Safwat el Sherif. El Sherif has however not been released from jail as he is charged with, among other things, corruption.

Prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, 66, who had been appointed by Mubarak, is accused of not having considered in his enquiry evidence against the defendants and of having failed to bring to justice those who hid the evidence.

Eleven people died and hundreds were wounded on February 2 last year in an incident which further raised resentment against Mubarak.

Abdel Maguid Mahmoud has been removed by president Morsi but refuses to step down and is supported by a number of judges who last night gathered in Cairo to protest against a measure they have slammed as illegitimate. The prosecutor had announced he intends to continue exercising his role: “The law allows me to do it”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Hundreds Injured in Tahrir Clashes, Brotherhood in Hot Water

Twin protests in Tahrir Square descend into violence with hundreds injured by late afternoon; Brotherhood are widely blamed for the chaos although the group denies responsibility

Hundreds have been injured during clashes between rival protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, with pro and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators locking horns.

Tensions were alleviated after the Brotherhood supporters started to leave by the afternoon. An Ahram Online reporter, however, said that two the Islamic group’s empty buses were set alight.

Secular groups, who remain in the Square up till press time following the departure of the Brotherhood supporters, took to the square for ‘Accountability Friday’ primarily to demand a more representative Constituent Assembly.

On the other hand, the Brotherhood supporters, who came from different governerates, were there to condemn Wednesday’s acquittal of former regime figures accused of orchestrating the Battle of the Camel during the Egyptian Revolution.

Omar Rashid, the ambulance field supervisor in Tahrir Square, confirmed to Ahram Online reporter that around a hundred had been hospitalised by late afternoon, mostly with head injuries. “Hundreds more suffered different injuries,” he added.

A number of people were shot with pellets by unknown assailants on Talaat Harb Street, an Ahram Online correspondent at the scene reported, while Molotov cocktails and rocks were being thrown in both Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Talaat Harb Street near Tahrir Square.

Clashes began in the early afternoon when some protesters began chanting against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi. They were attacked with stones in response and a stage belonging to Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current was destroyed.

“Those who destroyed the stage are chanting for Morsi and beating up whoever chants against him,” Mohamed Waked, a leading member of the National Front for Justice and Democracy, said via Twitter.

In an interview with ONTV Live satellite channel, Amin Iskander of the Popular Egyptian Current held the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for the clashes because it had called for a protest in Tahrir Square even though anti-Brotherhood groups had already planned a protest at the same venue.

“Our protest was planned a long time ago. Our demands were clear before the verdict of the Battle of the Camel took place. [The Brotherhood] made a mistake when it decided to hold a protest in Tahrir Square today,” Iskander said.

Iskander also blamed the interior ministry for failing to protect peaceful protesters. Their decision to stay away from the square for the sake of “neutrality” had only benefited the Brotherhood, he said.

Security forces were absent from the square and the surrounding streets all day, an Ahram Online reporter confirmed.

“If Mubarak was a dictator, what is happening now means Morsi a “sacred’ dictator,” Iskander added…

[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Syria: Turkey Flexes Muscle, Amasses Tanks on the Borders

Turkish F16 wards off helicopter, crisis with Moscow over plane

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — Turkey repeats that it does not want to go to war with Syria, but continues to prepare as though it is about to, amassing troops and weapons on its borders. About 250 Turkish tanks are lined up along the border, along with 70 fighter-bombers — transferred to the border base of Diyarbakir — and anti-missile NATO “shield” radar at Kurucek, according to Turkish press reports. The tension, in short, is very high.

Today a Turkish F16 lifted off from Diyarbakir to distance a Damascus military helicopter from the zone of the Syrian village of Azmarin — theater of clashes between Sunni rebels and government forces.

Verbal conflict also continued to mount Friday between Turkey, Syria and Russia over a commercial flight from Moscow to Damascus intercepted Wednesday by Turkish fighter planes, generating new, dangerous sparks between the two Mediterranean neighbors. Turkey’s Islamic nationalist premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday defended the airplane blitz — considered an “act of piracy” by Syria — maintaining that there were “munitions” and Russian military “equipment” on board. Damascus accused him of “lying” and challenged him to “show” the presumed weapons to “prove what you say”. Russia also denied Turkey’s claims.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Mysterious Elk-Shaped Structure Discovered in Russia

A huge geoglyph in the shape of an elk or deer discovered in Russia may predate Peru’s famous Nazca Lines by thousands of years.

The animal-shaped stone structure, located near Lake Zjuratkul in the Ural Mountains, north of Kazakhstan, has an elongated muzzle, four legs and two antlers. A historical Google Earth satellite image from 2007 shows what may be a tail, but this is less clear in more recent imagery.

Excluding the possible tail, the animal stretches for about 900 feet (275 meters) at its farthest points (northwest to southeast), the researchers estimate, equivalent to two American football fields. The figure faces north and would have been visible from a nearby ridge.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Italy ‘Astounded’ By Indian Dithering Over Marines Case

Italian servicemen accused of killing Indian fishermen

(ANSA) — Rome, October 11 — Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said on Thursday that he was “astounded and disconcerted” by the Indian justice system’s dithering over the case of two Italian anti-pirate marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in February.

India’s Supreme Court has still not given its ruling on Italy’s petition that it should have jurisdiction over the case because the incident took place on an Italian ship.

The trial of marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone in the southern Indian city of Kollam for charges that include the homicide of fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki was adjourned on Thursday until November 8 while the local court waits for the Supreme Court’s decision.

Terzi told a House session that it was incredible that a “State based on the rule of law like India is not capable of showing courage to give a fast ruling that brings our marines back home”.

The Italian government has in the past stated it believes that, regardless of who has jurisdiction, the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission.

Latorre and Girone have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since being detained in February.

They were granted bail in June, but must remain in Indian territory.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Far East

Illegal Campaign Fundraising Exposed by Watchdog Group

A public-interest watchdog group yesterday released a shocking report of its investigation into fundraising by both presidential candidates that revealed that President Barack Obama’s fundraising tactics has garnered campaign contributions from Chinese, Arabic, Thai, and Korean nationals overseas.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, contributions to American political campaigns from donors in foreign nations are criminal violations of federal law.

According to Government Accountability Institute officials, the web site, which acts as a gateway the Obama campaign’s donation web site, receives an enormous number of “hits” from citizen’s of foreign countries. This situation has resulted in the questioning of the legality of million of dollars in donations to the Obama campaign, according to a new report.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Chavez Steals Reelection, And the Opposition Goes Along

[This article by John R. Thomson and Norman Pino De Lion appeared originally at the Washington Examiner]

President Hugo Chavez won his bid for re-election Sunday in the most unscrupulous electoral exercise these commentators have witnessed in 20 presidential contests spanning 56 years. The results: Venezuela lost a chance to return to freedom, economic growth and uncorrupted government; Latin America continues under revolutionary socialist threat; the United States’ most important imported petroleum source remains antagonistic.

Venezuela’s economic decline under Chavez’s 14-year rule has come despite its enormous oil wealth — production has fallen by one-third. Venezuelans had every right to vote for a change, and they did. But the Chavez regime snatched it from them.

The 54 percent to 44 percent Chavez victory declared by the National Electoral Council, or CNE, numbering four chavistas and one opositor, simply ignored multiple allegations of ghost voter registrations, extensive delaying tactics, dubious voting machine problems and, most of all, outright intimidation…

[Return to headlines]


109 Migrants Rescued Off Lampedusa

Dinghy found south of Italian island

(ANSA) — Rome, October 12 — The Italian coast guard on Friday rescued 109 North African migrants including a woman from a struggling 12-metre dinghy 70 nautical miles south-east of the island of Lampedusa.

Crossings from Africa have kept up a steady pace in recent weeks because of a spell of good weather. The migrants were taken to Lampedusa — closer to Libya than to Sicily — to be fed and identified.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Let All European Migrants Claim Benefits, Insists Brussels

European immigrants should be able to claim handouts and pensions without first having to pass a test proving that they have settled in Britain, the European Union has said.

European immigrants should be able to claim handouts and pensions without first having to pass a test proving that they have settled in Britain, the European Union has said.

The demand is the latest response in a continuing row after Iain Duncan Smith said that such a system would mean immigrants could get benefits on the first day of entering Britain.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said last month that it would cost taxpayers £155 million a year if the UK was forced to get rid of the “habitual resident test”.

The test makes sure that foreigners have genuinely lived and paid taxes in the country before they can claim welfare payments.

His department has been holding talks with the European Commission for months in an effort to find a solution, but sources said on Thursday that Brussels was preparing to sue Britain by the end of this year unless the test is scrapped.

Lászlö Andor, the European commissioner for social affairs, has now accused Mr Duncan Smith of spreading “simply untrue” claims that foreigners could get benefit payments immediately under the European system. Mr Andor said that Britain was the only member state requiring foreigners to pass a test to prove that they legally resided and paid taxes in the particular country.

Brussels argues that Britain’s rules go beyond stopping unfair claims and have the effect of preventing foreigners who have legitimately worked in the country from receiving benefits when they need them.

Sources said that the EU did not believe it had gained much ground in getting Britain to change its mind during the talks.

“An acceptable solution would be that the UK applies the same criteria as the 26 other member states,” the source said.

“We’ve not made a lot of progress. Nobody is suggesting that the UK should pay out benefits to anyone who just turns up. But they should be paying social security to people who’ve paid taxes.”

Under the British test, an applicant for benefits must have been in the country for an “appreciable time” and must also have an “intention to settle”.

Britain is fighting several cases against foreigners who are trying to claim higher benefits, including a Latvian woman who is seeking to get her pension of £50 a month topped up to the British pension credit level of £133 a week.

Chris Grayling, the former employment minister, called a meeting of European ministers to form a coalition against the EU’s demands in July.

His move has failed to get much support among other states but Britain is determined to stand its ground to

prevent a potentially huge extra cost threatening to undermine efforts to cut billions from the welfare budget.

Last month, Mr Duncan Smith indicated in a speech to MPs that he would not back down.

“The European Commission wants to end the habitual residence test,” he told the House of Commons.

“As a result, we would have to pay benefits to EU migrants as and when they arrive and they would not have to prove that they have been here, are working and have a residence.

“I believe that is fundamentally wrong, as do the Government.

“The habitual residence test is vital to protect our benefits system and to stop such benefit tourism.

“I also do not believe that the EU has any rights in that area, and we are working with other countries that feel much the same.

“I want to put it on the record that the costs of the proposal could be enormous. If we did not have the British residency test, it is estimated that right now the cost would be something in the order of £155 million, although that could change.”

On Thursday night, a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “The EU has no right to interfere in this way and we will continue fighting it.”

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

UK: Failed Pakistani Asylum Seeker Posed as Taxi Driver to Pick Up and Rape Young Clubber on Mattress in a Corner Shop

An illegal immigrant who was twice refused asylum in Britain raped a woman before he could be deported, a court heard yesterday.

Atiq Rehman, 20, spotted his 22-year-old victim leaving a club and tricked her into thinking he was a taxi driver.

He then lured her into the back room of a corner shop and attacked her on a mattress for 45 minutes.

Yesterday the Pakistani national was jailed for six years after he pleaded guilty to two counts of rape.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Bus Driver to Conservative Child: “Your Mother Should Have Chosen Abortion for You”

Actress Stacey Dash was attacked viciously on Twitter after she expressed support for Mitt Romney, with several people telling her “Kill yourself,” another calling her a “hag,” and yet others hurling racial slurs. But even this pales in comparison to the leftist class exhibited by an Obama supporter who harassed a 12-year-old boy and told him that he should have been aborted. The blog Freedom Eden reports:

The Leftist, a 78-year-old woman, a New Berlin [Wisconsin] school bus driver, has been harassing a student on her bus route because there’s a Mitt Romney yard sign at his home.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Harvard Students Celebrate Fornication With Annual ‘IncestFest’ Event

Students at Harvard University in Massachusetts will be hosting an event later this semester called IncestFest.

The closed event involves residents of the Kirkland House, one of twelve undergraduate houses on campus. Both men and women live at Kirkland House, a location where a number of events take place throughout the year, including political gatherings.

The concept of the event, which is characterized as a Winter dance, is for students at Kirkland House to “hook up” with as many residents as possible and engage in sexual activity with one another.

Because students live together in the same house — like a family would — the event name refers to dating and sex among those that students consider to be a part of the Kirkland family.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obamacare Subsidizes Abortions for Women Making $90,000

How rich do you have to be in Barack Obama’s America to pay the whole tab for your own abortion? What about a divorced 38-year-old public school principal who has three children and earns $90,000 per year? Would she need to personally pay the full fare to have a doctor kill her fourth child while that child was still in her womb?

Under Obamacare, the federal government will force taxpayers to help her buy insurance that pays for abortions.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Southern Poverty Law Center Pushes Homosexual Tolerance to Elementary Students With ‘Mix it Up’ Day

A national civil rights group that is known for its advocacy of the homosexual lifestyle is promoting its annual “Mix It Up” tolerance day to elementary schools.

On Tuesday, October 30th, over 2,000 public and private schools across the United States are scheduled to participate in an observance spearheaded by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which begins at, but is not limited to, lunchtime. It focuses on encouraging youth to meet up with and affirm those who are different from them, not only persons of various races and ethnicities, but also those who are openly homosexual.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]