Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121022

Financial Crisis
»German Auditor Office Urges Central Bank to Control Gold Reserves Held in US, France, Britain
»Greece: Fear and Violence on the Rise, Says Police
»Ireland Needs ‘Special’ Approach for Bank Debt
»Italy: Monti’s Govt Could Face Rebellion Over Budget Measures
»Sicily Govt Budget Sees ‘6-Bln-Euro Hole’
»Armstrong Stripped of Tour De France Titles
»Beluga Whale Mimics Human Speech
»Death Panels [Already] Here, Doctors Plead for Help
»Democrats on Benghazi and Cuba — “Same as it Ever Was”
»Eugenics in Education: Healthy Boy Banned From Public School Due to Genetic Makeup
»Group Hopes to Bust Muslim Stereotypes and Help the Homeless
»How the Administration Got in Trouble on Libya
»Lance Armstrong Stripped of His Seven Tour De France Titles for Doping
»Mark Froemke: Minnesota’s Most Influential Communist
»Molecular Analysis Supports Controversial Claim for Dinosaur Cells
»Obama Calls for Gun Bans, But “Nanny B” Wants More
»Obama DOJ: Growth in Violent Crimes Against Whites
»Turkish Airlines to Sponsor Anti-Israel “Hatefest” In Illinois
»Virginia Teacher Charged With Assault: Girl’s Hand Cut in Forced ‘Islamic Hand Sign’ Drill
»Where the Public Stands on Foreign Policy
Europe and the EU
»Belgium is Not Just About Beers, It’s Also About Wine
»British Al-Qaeda Gang Planned ‘Another 9/11’ In UK
»‘Catastrophic’ Year for Swedish Wineries
»Denmark: PET Tried to Quiet Storm With Cash
»France: Paris as it Appears on Russian Television
»Fresh Bid to Ban Swiss Deal for Rich Foreigners
»Germany: Back to the Middle Ages
»Germany: Siemens Lets the Sun Go Down on Solar Power
»Germany Catches Up With Top Four Industrial Locations
»Germany: Siemens Ceases Solar Activities
»Italian Scientists Get 6 Years for L’Aquila Earthquake Statements
»Italy: Rai Journalist Suspended for Anti-Neapolitan ‘Racism’
»Italy: Formigoni Announces New Members of Lombardy Executive
»Italy: Animal Rights Activists Brace for Feast of Sacrifice
»More Skirmishes in the Battle of Ideas
»Reactions to the Despairing Cri De Coeur of Young French in Poitiers
»UK: A Tale of Two Rowans
»UK: BBC Newsnight Staff Were Told ‘Savile Abused Young Girls on Broadcasting Premises’ As Corporation ‘Clarifies’ Peter Rippon’s Claims After He ‘Stands Aside’
»UK: Jimmy Savile and How the Liberal Left Encouraged the Sexualisation of Our Children
»UK: Muslim Exhibition Takes Place at the U-Mix Centre
»UK: Nour Festival of Arts 2012
»UK: Police Arrest 53 ‘EDL Supporters’ Near London
»UK: Royal British Legion Minders for Young Poppy Sellers
»UK: Sharia Courts ‘As Consensual as Rape’, House of Lords Told
»UK: Savile’s Pedophile Pals Are Hunted, Estimate More Than a Hundred
»UK: The Time for BBC Evasion is at an End
»UK: Terror Suspect Trio Plotted to Massacre Crowds
»UK: Thousands of Rapists, Sex Offenders and Violent Thugs Freed Before Serving Half Their Jail Terms
»Kosovo Police Fire Tear Gas to Control Anti-Serbia Demo
North Africa
»Frank Gaffney: The Real Reason Behind Benghazigate
Israel and the Palestinians
»One Palestinian Killed in Israeli Strike in Northern Gaza
»What a One-State Solution Really Means
Middle East
»HM the King [Morocco] Holds Talks With Emir of Qatar
»Lebanon Sees Overnight Clashes After Hassan Funeral
»Syria: Car Bomb Kills 10 in Christian Quarter of Damascus
»U.S. Drone Strike Kills 4 Al-Qaida Militants in East Yemen
»Islam Comes to the Classroom in Russia’s Chechnya
South Asia
»Digger Killed by Bomb in Afghanistan
»Indonesia: Islamic Leaders Call for Arrest of Aceh Youth Who Attacked Shariah Police
Far East
»China Warns Australia to Choose “Godfather” — China or U.S.
»South Korea Blocks Propaganda Drop After North Threat
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Cry, The Beloved Country
»Namibia: Network Busts Goat Thieves
»Nigeria: ‘Boko Haram Leader Arrested in Senator’s Home’
»Nigeria: Bloodbath — 34 Killed in Potiskum
Latin America
»Venezuela: Hugo Chavez Makes Idiots of the Left and Hypocrites of the Right
Culture Wars
»Islam and Insult
»Global Enviro-Eugenic Consensus Fixes 500 Million as “Optimum Population Size”
»How Technology Will Create True Democracy
»The Pillow Fight of Ideas

Financial Crisis

German Auditor Office Urges Central Bank to Control Gold Reserves Held in US, France, Britain

Germany’s central bank has failed to properly oversee the country’s massive gold reserves, which have been stored abroad since the Cold War in case of a Soviet invasion, independent auditors say.

The central bank must renegotiate its contracts to gain the right to inspect its gold bars, which are worth tens of billions of dollars and are stored in the United States, Britain and France, the Federal Auditors’ Office said in a report to lawmakers obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

The report says the gold bars “have never been physically checked by the Bundesbank itself or other independent auditors regarding their authenticity or weight.” Instead, it relies on a “written confirmations by the storage sites.”

Most of Germany’s gold reserves — some 3,400 tons worth an estimated $190 billion at current rates — have been kept in the vaults of the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of France and the Bank of England since the postwar days, when Berlin worried about a possible land war with the Soviet bloc.

The auditors maintain that the central bank must be able to at least inspect samples of its gold bars in regular intervals to verify their book value.

The report acknowledges that such inspections might be logistically complicated, but it stresses that “this cannot discharge from the necessity to carry out an inventory.”

The central bank said in a reaction to the report that was also sent to lawmakers Monday that it sees no reason for a physical inspection of the bars. “There is no doubt about the integrity of the foreign storage sites in this regard,” it stated.

The debate on most of the gold reserves being held by foreign authorities has caused some inevitable conspiracy theories questioning their very existence, but several German politicians have also voiced unease.

Philipp Missfelder, a leading lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party, has asked the Bundesbank for the right to view the gold bars in Paris and London, but the central bank has denied the request, citing the lack of visitor rooms in those facilities, German daily Bild reported.

Given the growing political unease about the issue and the pressure from auditors, the central bank decided last month to repatriate some 50 tons of gold in each of the three coming years from New York to its headquarters in Frankfurt for “thorough examinations” regarding weight and quality, the report revealed.

An initiative backed by some German economists, industry leaders and a few lawmakers dubbed “bring home our gold” launched in May has attracted some 10,000 supporters online so far.

But Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and others maintain that there is no reason to worry.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Fear and Violence on the Rise, Says Police

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 22 — Violence and fear are on the rise in Greece, according to the police’s emergency service, which has observed a sharp spike in the number of calls to report acts of verbal or physical violence in the January-to-September period. “We have seen a rise in violent behavior, both physical and verbal,” 100 emergency hotline operator Sofia Papingioti told daily Kathimerini. “It is clear that citizens are losing their patience, they are becoming more abrupt and are more ready for a fight.”

In the first nine months of 2012, the 100 hotline had already received 894,000 calls from Attica alone, with the majority coming from Athens and Piraeus. The average for each of the previous three years was at around 1 million. Papingioti also noted that the service receives a lot more calls over “suspicious figures” or ringing car and homes alarms, indicating a high level of fear among citizens. The most calls are made on Fridays and are mainly in regard to alcohol-related altercations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ireland Needs ‘Special’ Approach for Bank Debt

German Chancellor Merkel has agreed that a special approach is needed for Ireland’s legacy debt following a telephone call Sunday with Irish leader Kenny. “They recognise … that Ireland is a special case and that the euro group will take that into account,” said a statement, reports the Irish Times.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti’s Govt Could Face Rebellion Over Budget Measures

PD won’t vote for education cuts, PdL against raising VAT

(ANSA) — Rome, October 22 — Premier Mario Monti could face a rebellion from the parties that support his emergency executive over the budget measures contained in its so-called Stability Law.

Monti on Monday is set to start a series of meetings about the budget with the leaders of the three main groups his technocrat administration relies on for support in parliament — ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PdL), the centre-left Democratic Party and the centrist UDC.

The package features reductions in income tax in the two lowest bands and a series of cuts that will hit sectors including health and eduction.

It also features a 1% increase in value added tax, rather than a 2% hike scheduled for July 2013 that the government had said it hoped to avoid completely, and a reduction in tax deductions for the current tax year — which effectively makes this a retroactive measure.

PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano said at the weekend raising VAT and altering tax deductions would constitute a “betrayal” of the pact between the State and the public.

PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani, meanwhile, said his party would not vote for the education cuts.

Bersani recently said he feared the cuts would cost the jobs of over 6,000 Italian school teachers. Monti’s government has said it is willing to accept some amendments to the Stability Law during its passage through parliament. The premier has stressed though that the measures do not amount to another austerity package like the tax hikes and spending cuts his government passed last year to put Italy on course to balancing its budget in structural terms next year and take the country out of the centre of the eurozone crisis.

The income-tax rate will be cut to 22% from 23% for those earning less than 15,000 euros per year, and to 26% from 27% for salaries between 15,001 and 28,000 euros, while the top three bands will remain unchanged.

VAT, on the other hand, will go up from 10% to 11% in the lower band and 21 to 22% in the top band.

The cuts include a reduction of over one billion euros in health spending.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sicily Govt Budget Sees ‘6-Bln-Euro Hole’

Deficit ‘more than doubled between 2007 and 2011’

(ANSA) — Palermo, October 22 — The regional government of Sicily will have a deficit of six billion euros by the end of the year, Italy’s Audit Court said in a report out Monday.

The deficit more than doubled between 2007 and 2011 because of a rise in staff pay and health costs, which together account for almost half the budget, said the report from the Centro Pio La Torre institute.

Sicily is believed to be the least cost-efficient of Italy’s regions, many of whose governments are in the red.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Armstrong Stripped of Tour De France Titles

Cyclist Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life, in a much-anticipated ruling by the sport’s international governing body.

Monday’s announcement by Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, ratified recommendations in an October report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which ordered Armstrong’s Tour de France titles be wiped out.

“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling,” said McQuaid.

Addressing his remarks to cyclists, McQuaid said the fight against doping was his priority.

“UCI is listening and is on your side. We’ve come too far in the fight against doping to return to our past. Cycling has a future and something like this must not happen again.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Beluga Whale Mimics Human Speech

Many of us talk to our pets, but we don’t expect them to talk back. A beluga whale has bucked this trend by learning to imitate human speech. (Listen to it here.)

Noc was captured in 1977 when he was still a juvenile. By 1984, he was making unusual sounds. One day, a diver in his tank surfaced unexpectedly asking who had called to him to get out. It turned out that the cries of “out, out, out” had come from Noc.

“We were sceptical at first,” says Sam Ridgway of the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, California. So his team analysed Noc’s sound waves. “They were definitely unlike usual sounds for a (beluga), and similar to human voices in rhythm and acoustic spectrum,” he says. Pressure sensors placed in Noc’s nasal cavities revealed he was making the sounds using the same mechanism as his normal calls.

There have been anecdotal reports of belugas imitating human speech, but this is the first time they have been analysed, says Justin Gregg of the Dolphin Communication Project in Mystic, Connecticut.

A few other animals have also mimicked human speech, notably parrots and a harbour seal called Hoover.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Death Panels [Already] Here, Doctors Plead for Help

Doctors across America are sick. A new and desperate plight has surfaced in emergency rooms across the nation for both patients and doctors alike. The following blog by one valiant doctor speaks for thousands of doctors being forced to go against their natural instincts and abilities to allow further hospital care and re-admit patients.

Effective October 2012, doctors at hospitals across the land are being forced by the Obama administration to break their Hippocratic Oath. Obama’s revamped Medicare has now begun forcing doctors at hospitals to turn their backs on patients no matter how critical their need for re-admittance. On the surface, the Obamacare changes to Medicare appear as though they are truly in the interest of giving better care to patients. But, doctors are reporting that the rules are changing with mandate-creep that is interfering with both medical care and re-admittance to hospitals. Obamacare has reportedly activated medical directives to hospitals through Medicare that, according to doctors, will cost thousands of lives and have become precursors to Obama’s inhumane and authoritarian Death Panels.

The following excerpts are used with permission from the blog of Dr. Thomas Hamilton, an American doctor who speaks truth to power. Dr. Hamilton describes how he was torn between providing medical help to a very sick senior or turning her away to face a certain and tragic fate without treatment.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Democrats on Benghazi and Cuba — “Same as it Ever Was”

Let’s fast-reverse almost exactly fifty years:

(These missiles are) “nothing but refugee rumors. Nothing in Cuba presents a threat to the United States. There’s no likelihood that the Soviets or Cubans would try and install an offensive capability in Cuba.” (a sneering National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy, on ABC’s Issues and Answers, October 14, 1962.)

“There’s fifty-odd-thousand Cuban refugees in this country, all living for the day when we go to war with Cuba. They’re the ones putting out this kind of stuff (about missiles.)”( a sneering President John F. Kennedy, Oct. 15th 1962.)

For months prior to Bundy and Kennedy’s scoffing against the Cuban missile-mongers, dozens of Cuban exiles had been risking their lives by infiltrating Cuba and bringing out eyewitness reports of what remains the biggest military threat to the U.S. in its history. In the process, some of these Cuban boys were also dying by firing squad and torture at the hands of Castro and Che Guevara’s KGB-tutored secret police.

Exactly 24 hours after President Kennedy’s sneer against these Cuban exiles, U-2 photos sat on his desk showing those “refugee rumors,” pointed directly at Bundy, JFK, and their entire staff of Ivy League wizards.

The Obama Administration’s stupidity (and/or cover-up) regarding the Benghazi attack was exposed almost immediately. But how many of you were aware of the above “insights” by Kennedy and his “Best and Brightest?”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Eugenics in Education: Healthy Boy Banned From Public School Due to Genetic Makeup

(NaturalNews) An 11-year-old California schoolboy named Colman Chadam has been banished from his school and forced to transfer to another school because he carries the genetic mutation for cystic fibrosis. The boy shows no symptoms of the disease and appears to be in perfect health. He is being banished from his own school solely due to the genetic code he carries.

This is being reported by Fox News, Daily Mail and other news outlets.

What we’re seeing here is the beginning of the application of eugenics in public schools. This is how it starts: Banning little boys and girls because of a “bad” gene sequence, even if they have absolutely no symptoms and are living in a state of perfect health.

Watch the film GATTACA to see an exploration of where all this genetic profiling could be headed.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Group Hopes to Bust Muslim Stereotypes and Help the Homeless

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) — A non-profit group Salt Lake City say they want to change a stereotype that all Muslims are violent. A couple of University of Utah graduate students have started United in Service for Humanity. The group does charity work hoping to show a positive side of Islam…

[JP note: That’ll be the day.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

How the Administration Got in Trouble on Libya

By Jennifer Rubin

I suspect, although we will know for sure tomorrow night, that President Obama will claim organizational incompetence in connection with acknowledging that the Libya jihadist operation was, well, a planned jihadist operation.

The Associated Press reports how quickly confirmation came that this was not a spontaneous mob action. The AP tells us that within 24 hours of the attack “the CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington that there were eyewitness reports that the attack was carried out by militants.” However, the report continues, “It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information went. The Obama administration maintained publicly for a week that the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was a result of the mobs that staged less-deadly protests across the Muslim world around the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S.”

This has created a series of contradictions and questions about the president’s handling of the matter. (CNN, among other outlets, had an extensive report.)

Coupled with a New York Times report that a key suspect is sipping a “strawberry frappe”in plain sight unafraid he might be “hunted down” by the United States. The entire episode threatens to drag down the president on the eve of his final debate.

There are at least three variations of what happened…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Lance Armstrong Stripped of His Seven Tour De France Titles for Doping

The International Cycling Union announced on Monday that it will not appeal the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s ruling to bar Lance Armstrong for life from Olympic sports for doping and for playing an instrumental role in the team-wide doping on his Tour de France-winning cycling squads.

That decision to waive the right to take Armstrong’s case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest court in sports, formally strips Armstrong of the Tour titles he won from 1999 to 2005. The Amaury Sport Organization, the company that organizes the Tour de France, will erase Armstrong’s name from its record books.

[Return to headlines]

Mark Froemke: Minnesota’s Most Influential Communist

Froemke has relationships to nearly all Minnesota’s leading DFL politicians, including the state’s Governor, Secretary of State and both of Minnesota’s DFL Senators.

In 1999, Froemke attended a Communist Party meeting in Minneapolis, with none other than Mark Ritchie, now Minnesota’s Secretary of State.

In 2006, four leaders of the Minnesota/Dakota’s Communist Party USA — Mark Froemke, Doris Marquit, Erwin Marquit and Peter Molenaar were listed as supporters of the Mark Ritchie Minnesota Secretary of State campaign.

It was Mark Ritchie of course, as Minnesota Secretary of State, who awarded one of Minnesota’s two Senate seats to leftist comedian Al Franken, in a very tight recount after the 2008 election.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Molecular Analysis Supports Controversial Claim for Dinosaur Cells

New evidence adds heat to the argument over prehistoric dinosaur tissue.

Twenty years ago, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer made an astonishing discovery. Peering through a microscope at a slice of dinosaur bone, she spotted what looked for all the world like red blood cells. It seemed utterly impossible-organic remains were not supposed to survive the fossilization process-but test after test indicated that the spherical structures were indeed red blood cells from a 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex. In the years that followed, she and her colleagues discovered other apparent soft tissues, including what seem to be blood vessels and feather fibers. But controversy accompanied their claims. Skeptics argued that the alleged organic tissues were instead biofilm-slime formed by microbes that invaded the fossilized bone.

Schweitzer and her colleagues have continued to amass support for their interpretation. The latest evidence comes from a molecular analysis of what look to be bone cells, or osteocytes, from T. rex and Brachylophosaurus canadensis. The researchers isolated the possible osteocytes and subjected them to several tests. When they exposed the cell-like structures to an antibody that targets a protein called PHEX found only in bird osteocytes* (birds are descended from dinosaurs), the structures reacted, as would be expected of dinosaur osteocytes. And when the team subjected the supposed dinosaur cells to other antibodies that target DNA, the antibodies bound to material in small, specific regions inside the apparent cell membrane.

Schweitzer and her collaborators detailed their findings in a paper released online October 16 in the journal Bone and in a talk given October 17 in Raleigh at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. “Here’s the data in support of a biofilm origin,” Schweitzer said in her presentation as she showed a blank slide. “We haven’t found any yet.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Obama Calls for Gun Bans, But “Nanny B” Wants More

In Tuesday’s presidential debate, President Obama said that he supported a ban on “assault weapons” and implied that he supports restrictions on “cheap handguns” too. No surprises there. As detailed on and, Obama supported banning both types of firearms and many more when he was in the Illinois legislature, and supported banning “assault weapons” when he ran for the White House in 2008, a position he reiterated in the most recent presidential debate.

Obama’s admission, on national TV, no less, should put to rest his supporters’ phony denials about his long anti-gun record and his supposed support for the Second Amendment.

However, Obama’s candor wasn’t enough for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg—the self-styled Field Marshal of the War on Soda Pop, Salt, Trans Fats, Baby Formula and, of course, the Second Amendment. On Wednesday, America’s most bothersome billionaire busybody said that Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney—who during the debate reiterated his opposition to any new gun control restrictions—had fallen short of his expectations. Thus, Bloomberg said, he intends to form a special political action committee (a so-called “super PAC”) to spend millions of dollars backing candidates who support his gun control agenda, and agree with him on other social issues.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Obama DOJ: Growth in Violent Crimes Against Whites

Not only is the U.S. economy in shambles, violent crime is at an all-time high and new federal statistics show that 2011 saw the biggest increase in criminal activity in nearly two decades with a large boost in the rate of “violent victimizations” for whites.

The rate of violent crime increased by a whopping 17% last year, according to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), marking the biggest jump since 1993. Property crimes also went up 11% last year. That means that in 2011 there were nearly 6 million violent victimizations and more than 17 million property victimizations, according to the DOJ figures.

Here are more unsettling statistics buried deep in the DOJ’s new crime report; there has been a large increase in the rate of violent victimizations for whites, Hispanics and younger people. That means white non-Hispanics and Hispanics experienced an increase in violent victimization rates, while the rate for black non-Hispanics was stable, according to the DOJ stats.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Turkish Airlines to Sponsor Anti-Israel “Hatefest” In Illinois

An organization calling itself American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) has announced that they will be holding a four-day event called the “Conference for Palestine in the US: A Movement United,” in suburban Chicago from November 22-25. It has been reported that Turkish Airlines is one of the major corporate sponsors of the conference which is currently scheduled to take place at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort. The official state carrier of Turkey will be contributing as much as $15,000 for the event and in order to encourage attendance has announced that the “first 200 registrants will be entered into a raffle to win an international airline ticket from Turkish Airlines.”

Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst at and a contributor to FOX News has reported in an article of October 16th that one of the central themes of the conference will be the successful establishment of Islamist interfaith partnerships with such Christian evangelical leaders as the Reverend Donald Wagner of “Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding” who is also slated to address the conference.


Moreover, the roster of confirmed speakers at the conference reads like a “Who’s Who” of prominent Muslim Brotherhood personalities. According to Mr. Mauro’s investigation, “AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid, another speaker at the conference, has described the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas as a form of “legitimate resistance.” Abu Irshaid had previously been the editor of an Arabic publication sponsored by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, which according to the American Muslim Brotherhood’s internal documents identify it as having been one of its fronts set up to support Hamas.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Virginia Teacher Charged With Assault: Girl’s Hand Cut in Forced ‘Islamic Hand Sign’ Drill

An elementary school teacher in Chesapeake, Va. has been charged with simple assault after a parent claimed her daughter’s hand was cut open as a result of the teacher yanking her arm aggressively while trying to teach students an “Islamic hand sign.”

Officer Leo Kosinski, a spokesman for the Chesapeake Police Department, told TheBlaze that Tara Harris was criminally charged with a misdemeanor on Oct. 11 and released on a summons. The case is currently under investigation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Where the Public Stands on Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — On Monday night, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will spar over foreign policy in the final presidential debate before the Nov. 6 presidential election. But with most polling focused almost exclusively on voters’ views of the economy and other domestic issues, little has been said about where Americans stand on foreign policy issues. Here’s a look at the public’s take on international matters…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Belgium is Not Just About Beers, It’s Also About Wine

Last year, wine production in Belgium was 15 percent up on the year before that. The number of wine producers is also increasing, a report of the Economy Department and the University of Hasselt (Limburg) points out.

Belgium has gained worldwide renown for its beers, but it’s not always common knowlegde that our country is also producing wine. It’s mostly white wine, and in increasing quantities.

In 2010, wine production represented 470,569 litres compared to 539,550 litres last year. The area taken by vineyards grew from 119 hectares in 2010 to 130 hectares (294 acres) last year.

It’s especially the Limburg regions of Haspengouw and Maasland (along the river Maas) that are seeing more vineyards. Other areas with vineyards include the Hageland (Brabant) and the so-called Grape Region (Druivenstreek) around Overijse, near brussels.

Two years ago, Belgium had 41 wine producers, 27 in Flanders and 14 in Wallonia. Last year, their number had climbed to 48. These figures apply to those applying for a protected label (appellation d’origine protégée). 31 farmers produced wine without applying for an official local label.

The Flemish PM Kris Peeters has taken several initiatives to support wine producers in Flanders. They can count on a Flemish investment fund, and follow wine classes which are subsidised by the Flemish government.

Last year, 78 percent of the wine produced was white wine, compared to 18 percent red wine and 4 percent rosé.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

British Al-Qaeda Gang Planned ‘Another 9/11’ In UK

An al-Qaeda inspired gang of British Muslims planned to carry out “another 9/11” in the UK with up to eight suicide bombers, a court heard.

A Jihadist group, from Birmingham, were to target crowded areas to cause “mass death” in a terror plot that was set to be even more devastating than the 7/7 London bombings, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

Two of the alleged ringleaders had received terror training in Pakistan and made martyrdom videos to be released after they had “blown themselves up”.

They were taught in bomb-making, how to use weapons and poisons before returning to the UK to recruit others for their plot.

That included arranging for others to be sent to Pakistan for training as well.

They planned to detonate homemade bombs in up to eight rucksacks and may also have blown others up with bombs on timers…

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

‘Catastrophic’ Year for Swedish Wineries

Sweden’s winegrowers have reported a bad year for Swedish wine, with a late flowering and heavy rains leading to massive harvest losses.

“We winegrowers are an enduring breed. You have to be persistent,” said viticulturist Thorsten Persson of the Ekesåkra vineyard in Löderup in Skåne County to news agency TT.

After a bad harvest last year, where frost hit hard against the vines as late as May, this year’s rain and late flowering has meant that some 80 percent of Persson’s harvest has gone to waste.

Luckily, there is no connection between losing parts of the crop and the quality of the harvest, and Persson’s wines have been awarded distinctions in the past.

Other Swedish winegrowers call 2012 ‘“catastrophic” and speak of having had several consecutive bad years.

In Åhus, southern Sweden, viticulturist Ronny Persson feared for some time that he would not harvest at all this year.

However, it didn’t turn out as bad as he feared and the vineyard now believes all the grapes will be harvested by the end of October. And the grapes which have been brought in so far have been of good quality.

“We haven’t had any problems with mould or anything like that. It will make a fine wine,” he said to TT.

Sweden isn’t the only country to have seen bad harvests this year.

For Italy and France it has been the worst season for half a century and Thierry Coste, EU expert on viticulture, confirmed to TT that all the main wine-producing countries have seen harvests fail.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Denmark: PET Tried to Quiet Storm With Cash

Former agent says security cops offered him more than a million kroner to not tell his story

The national intelligence agency PET two months ago offered to pay its former agent Morten Storm 25,000 tax-free kroner a month for the next five years if he promised to keep quiet about his role as a double agent in the hunt for al-Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki was killed in a US drone attack in September of last year. PET’s offer to Storm is documented in a telephone conversation between Storm and his contact in PET known as ‘Olde’ obtained by Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Storm said that he had previously discussed with PET a way out of his double life as a seemingly committed Muslim who was actually an agent working for PET and the CIA tracking down terrorists. Storm said that as recently as July of this year, PET offered him only a year’s salary as severance pay when he said he was ready to quit.

It wasn’t until the end of August, after Storm had committed to tell his tale to the press in an upcoming book, that PET offered to buy his silence.

Storm said he refused the offer.

“I no longer trust PET,” he told Jyllands-Posten. “They have already made promises they didn’t keep.”

Storm said that PET reneged on promises to get his foreign-born wife permanent residency in Denmark and to send him to bodyguard courses and training with the Danish military.

The former operations chief of PET, Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, expressed shock at Storm’s claim that PET offered him so much cash for his silence.

“I have never in my life heard anything like it! Never! I cannot say it more strongly — I’ve never heard anything like it,” he said.

According to Bonnichsen, PET’s alleged offer could be interpreted in two different ways.

The first possibility is that the agency simply never wants an agent to discuss their work out of fear that it would reveal PET’s methods and procedures. The second, and more sinister, option is that the service is trying to cover up illegal actions by the agent.

“The exorbitant sum undeniably leaves PET in a position where both interpretations seem possible — including the negative one,” said Bonnichsen. “It could appear they are trying to shut him up.”

Storm has been accused in several circles of committing actions that fell outside of the law, including violence and drug dealing.

PET’s current head, Jakob Scharf, has yet to comment on Storm’s claims.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Paris as it Appears on Russian Television

First posted at GalliaWatch:

France, as seen by the Russians here.

Tiberge comments:

Watch this amazing six and a half minute Russian video, posted at Nations Presse. A translation is not needed, however I am providing an English text based on another version of the video with French subtitles. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to embed the second video.

These are the most graphic, eye-opening views of Paris and of France that I’ve seen on video. It’s every bit as bad as Newark, Camden, and Detroit. Worse, when you realize this is Paris, this is France, this was the jewel of Western civilization, the moveable feast of Hemingway. It will never return to its former glory, short of massive deportation, or worse.

Paris, as seen by Russian television.

We are in Paris in the Barbe’s neighborhood, a few minutes by foot from famous Montmartre. Meeting Europeans is practically impossible. France has the most immigrants of any European country. Russia is taking the same path…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Fresh Bid to Ban Swiss Deal for Rich Foreigners

A fresh proposal to abolish Switzerland’s special tax breaks for rich foreigners was lodged with Swiss federal authorities in Bern on Friday, only a month after the country voted on a similar issue.

If passed into law, the proposal would see all 26 Swiss cantons ban the arrangement, which is already the case in five cantons, including Zurich.

Latest government figures from 2010 indicate that more than 5,000 people benefited from the deal which nets the state nearly 700 million francs ($760 million) in revenue.

Left-wing and green party supporters of the proposal described the existing deal as offering “shameful inequality”.

The tax break — instigated in Vaud canton in 1862 — also ran contrary to the Swiss constitution and created rivalry between cantons, supporters of the “Stop Tax Privilege” initiative maintained.

Before it becomes law, the proposal must pass a host of administrative and legal obstacles and then a national referendum, most likely no earlier than two years from now.

While tax exiles pay much less tax in Switzerland than in their own country, the federal government raised the bar recently when it said wealthy individuals would have to pay tax in future at a rate of seven times their rent or the rental value of their home as opposed to the current rate of five times.

To date, five cantons have banned the existing tax deal, following Zurich’s lead in 2009.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Back to the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages continue to fascinate many Germans — if only for one day. A medieval festival draws in dedicated reenactors and curious spectators alike.

The smell of roast meat is in the air; there’s the music of harps, violins and drums from a bygone era and the clash of chains. Even at the ticket booth, it’s a step back in time: Most of the visitors and the staff are dressed in medieval garments, and exchange modern euros for medieval coins. A friendly “Good day to thee!” and you’re right in the Middle Ages…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Germany: Siemens Lets the Sun Go Down on Solar Power

German engineering giant Siemens is abandoning its solar energy business in favour of wind and hydropower, the company announced in a statement Monday.

The move was necessary, the firm said, because, “changed framework conditions, lower growth and strong price pressure in the solar markets,” meant the business sector was not meeting its expected goals.

The company will sell Solel Solar Systems, which it acquired in 2009 for $418 million, and the photovoltaic business of its solar and hydro division.

The solar and hydro division generated revenue “in the low triple-digit millions” in the business year ended September 30, 2012, and has “around 800 employees,” the company said.

“The global market for solar thermal energy has fallen from four gigawatts to recently a little more than one gigawatt,” said Michael Süß, a member of Siemens’ board of directors and the CEO of its energy sector, in a statement. “In the future, specialized providers will be able to play off their strengths here.”

Siemens CEO Peter Löscher just announced a two-year savings programme, because of weak economic growth, during which all unprofitable enterprises will go under the microscope.

The company is in the midst of talks with interested parties about selling its solar businesses, which will continue operating until a sale is final. Siemens will retain its hydropower business, it confirmed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany Catches Up With Top Four Industrial Locations

Improvements in infrastructure and stable energy supplies have helped Germany gain ground as a top industrial location in the world. According to a new study, it now takes fifth place in global rankings.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Siemens Ceases Solar Activities

German industrial conglomerate Siemens has announced plans to sell off its solar energy business in an effort to cut costs and strengthen profits. The firm doesn’t expect earnings in the sector to pick up in future.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italian Scientists Get 6 Years for L’Aquila Earthquake Statements

Six Italian scientists and a government official have been sentenced to six years in prison over statements they made prior to a 2009 earthquake that killed 309 in the town of L’Aquila. A year-long trial came to a close today (Oct. 22) with the verdict, which alarmed earth scientists worldwide.

“I hope the Italians realize how backwards they are in this L’Aquila trial and its verdict,” Erik Klemetti, an assistant professor of geosciences at Denison University in Ohio, wrote on Twitter, adding that the verdict was a “terrible precedent.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Rai Journalist Suspended for Anti-Neapolitan ‘Racism’

State broadcaster apologises for ‘shameful’ report

(ANSA) — Rome, October 22 — State broadcaster RAI on Monday suspended a journalist from its regional news service in Piedmont for a report that was offensive to Neapolitans before Saturday’s top-of-the-table Serie A match between Juventus and Napoli.

In the report that sparked a wave of complaints, the suspended journalist, Giampiero Amandola, spoke about the “stink” of Neapolitans in an interview with a Juve fan. The report also featured a clip of Juve supporters singing a chant telling Neapolitans to “wash”. Juventus are based in Turin, the capital of Piedmont.

Rai apologised for what it described as an “undignified, shameful” report and said it had suspended Amandola pending disciplinary proceedings.

“Rai’s Director-General (Luigi Gubitosi) apologised personally and in the name of the whole company to Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris,” read a statement from the network.

“Rai has always been in the front line in the fight against every form of racism and the stupidity that accompanies it”.

Juventus beat second-placed Napoli 2-0 on Saturday to move three points clear of them at the top of Serie A.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Formigoni Announces New Members of Lombardy Executive

Academic, head of ALS association in caretaker administration

(ANSA) — Milan, October 22 — Besieged Lombardy governor Roberto Formigoni on Monday gave the names of three members of the executive that will be in charge of the region around Milan until elections. Formigoni dissolved his executive last week and called snap elections after it was hit by a string of corruption probes, including one in which he is suspected of wrongdoing related to health-sector contracts. He denies any wrongdoing.

The governor, a member of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party, had said the caretaker administration would be made up of non-political technocrats.

But he announced via Twitter on Monday that Andrea Ghibelli of the Northern League will keep his position as deputy governor. Formigoni was forced to dissolve the regional council after the League, which has itself been hit by corruption scandals, withdrew its support.

The governor also said that Mario Melazzini, the president of the Italian Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis association, and Andrea Gilardoni, a lecturer at Milan’s Bocconi University, will be part of the new executive. He is expected to name the rest of the new team later on Monday.

It has not yet been established when the early regional elections will be held.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Animal Rights Activists Brace for Feast of Sacrifice

Home slaughter banned and risks 30,000 euro fine

(ANSA) — Rome, October 22 — Animal rights activists in Italy are on alert as the Feast of Sacrifice, a Muslim holiday honored with the slaughter of sheep or goats, approaches.

According to tradition and religious edict, the sacrifice is to be carried out by the individual worshipper and is done without stunning the animal.

The Italian Federation of Animal Rights Associations says that despite European and Italian law against butchering outside of government-approved structures, every year numerous killings are carried out in garages, homes and gardens. The federation has appealed to police for increased supervision and controls.

Violation of the law against home slaughtering calls for a fine of up to 30,000 euros. Approximately 206 facilities are currently approved for the ritual killing of cattle, sheep, goats and poultry, up from 104 in 2003. The federation said 193 structures are exclusively for Islamic or Halal rituals, four for Jewish Kosher preparations (virtually identical to the Islamic) and nine certified to perform both rites. Regulations do not require the stunning of the animal for ritual purposes when performed in approved slaughterhouses.

The federation has filed an appeal for EU member states to adopt more protective regulations, including obligatory stunning during ritual slaughter.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

More Skirmishes in the Battle of Ideas

To be honest, the event today was better than the first session had augured. I guess it’s just what you have to expect if you go to a debate about “equality” in Britain, but if I had heard just one more person say that “obviously” we were all in favour of it, I think I would have needed a sick bag. Most of the time (except, notably, for equality before the law and — as far as can be engineered — equality of educational opportunity) equality is not merely undesirable but unjust. Lots of different economic, social and judicial outcomes are appropriate according to an individual’s talent, effort and compliance with relevant law…

In fairness, the panelists generally were skeptical about the the Law’s usefulness as an educational tool. Sometimes it gets ahead of public opinion, they thought, but generally it should reflect it. As for the audience members, there were some sensible ideas expressed but — again — they seemed to be in a forlorn minority. The Battle of Ideas may continue, fitfully, but in England the War seems lost. I sat open-mouthed, for example, as a speaker from the audience said to liberal-minded panel member Alex Deane;

We don’t want freedom any more Alex. We want regulation. We want control

I waited for the laughter as I first assumed he was joking. Then I realised he was serious and waited for the jeers. Reaction was there none. This sentiment, in modern London, was completely uncontroversial. Ouch.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Reactions to the Despairing Cri De Coeur of Young French in Poitiers

From Tiberge at GalliaWatch:

Update: October 21 — In the introduction below I state that this is the second mosque for Poitiers. I’m not certain now. In April 2009 I posted an article on a mosque under construction in Poitiers, set to be completed by June 2010. A second mosque was on the agenda. When today’s story broke, I assumed this was the second mosque. But all indications are it is the first mosque that is still under construction, more than two years later. I will try to verify this and post another update.

Le Figaro has a short article. Le Salon Beige has much more, especially in the comment section. The Génération Identitaire, a movement within the Bloc Identitaire that produced the video entitled Declaration of War (see my previous post), occupied the Poitiers mosque this morning. This mosque, in the construction stage, is the second mosque for Poitiers, the city where the invading Arab Muslim army was pushed back by Charles Martel in 732. On the façade, opposite the minaret, they deployed a banner reading:

“Immigration, mosque construction: REFERENDUM!”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: A Tale of Two Rowans

by Bruce Bawer

Both are British (one English, the other Welsh). Both went to Oxford. Both have parents who decided to name them Rowan. And both have achieved worldwide fame. But in pretty much every other way that matters, they couldn’t be more different from each other…

[JP note: One is funny, the other isn’t.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: BBC Newsnight Staff Were Told ‘Savile Abused Young Girls on Broadcasting Premises’ As Corporation ‘Clarifies’ Peter Rippon’s Claims After He ‘Stands Aside’

And a bombshell Panorama investigation to be screened tonight alleges that Mr Rippon was under huge pressure from his bosses to drop the Newsnight investigation into Savile in late 2011, shortly after the star’s death.

This was despite him being warned by journalists that doing so would cause ‘substantial damage to the BBC’s reputation’ and lead to allegations of a ‘cover-up’.

BBC director-general George Entwistle — at the time the head of BBC Vision — was also warned that he might have to change his Christmas TV schedule if the Newsnight investigation was broadcast, because it could undermine glowing tribute programmes to Savile that had already been planned for the festive period.

Veteran BBC journalist John Simpson tells Panorama: ‘This is the worst crisis that I can remember in my nearly 50 years at the BBC.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Jimmy Savile and How the Liberal Left Encouraged the Sexualisation of Our Children

By Melanie Phillips

The Jimmy Savile scandal is fast escalating into one of the most shocking cases of a sexual predator that has ever been uncovered.

As the BBC tears itself apart over its role in Savile’s unchecked, five-decade sexual rampage, the scale of his abuse of under-age girls and boys is turning out to be unimaginably vast.

So the question that’s been voiced from the start — how on earth so many people could have turned a blind eye to so much horror for so long — grows ever louder.

But the elephant in this most sordid of rooms is surely the way in which our culture of permissiveness gave a green light to depravity. For decriminalising paedophilia was once a liberal cause.

Back in 1978, an organisation called the Paedophile Information Exchange affiliated itself to the National Council for Civil Liberties — known today as Liberty.

PIE — whose members were reportedly attracted to boys and girls — set out to make paedophilia respectable.


It campaigned to reduce the age of consent and resist controls on child pornography. Until it excluded PIE in 1983, the NCCL thus backed this disgusting agenda of child abuse.

Indeed, even before PIE was affiliated to it, the NCCL was campaigning to liberalise paedophilia and reduce the age of sexual consent to 14. In 1976, the NCCL argued ‘childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in with an adult, result in no identifiable damage’.

And in 1977 it said: ‘NCCL has no policy on [PIE’s] aims, other than the evidence that children are harmed if, after a mutual relationship with an adult, they are exposed to the attentions of the police, Press and court.’

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Exhibition Takes Place at the U-Mix Centre

Football Unites Racism Divides (FURD) held an exhibition at the U-Mix Centre, celebrating Muslim contributions to the social and political history of Great Britain as part of Black History Month.

A series of displays commemorated the contributions of Muslim explorers, academics and inventors to the fields of medicine, agriculture and astrology as well as the development of an intercontinental system of trade that forms the basis of contemporary commerce…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Nour Festival of Arts 2012

The Nour Festival of Arts will deliver dazzling contemporary artistic talent from the Middle East and North Africa to London audiences during October- November 2012. For the first time the festival is to expand beyond Leighton House Museum to include a stellar cast of participating cultural organisations. New festival partners include the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Ismaili Centre, the Mosaic Rooms, Al-Manaar: the Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre and The Tabernacle. The festival also works in collaboration with a host of London and UK partners, including the Arab British Centre, the British Egyptian Society, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, the London MENA Film Festival, London Iranian Film Festival and Arab New Trends Ltd.

The Nour Festival of Arts aims to:

  • reflect and celebrate the arts and culture of contemporary Middle Eastern and North African regions
  • promote film, literature, music, visual arts, fashion, dance, cuisine
  • demonstrate artistic excellence and work that is thought-provoking and challenging

The Nour Festival is coordinated by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and reflects the Council’s commitment to bring the very best international contemporary arts and culture to the borough. Nour which means ‘light’ or ‘illumination’ in various Middle Eastern languages — sets out to explore contemporary culture from across the region and North Africa. The festival was inaugurated at Leighton House Museum in 2010, a building that is recognised as being an international symbol of east meeting west.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Police Arrest 53 ‘EDL Supporters’ Near London

Police have arrested 53 men, believed to be supporters of the English Defence League, who were heading to London.

The men were held on the M25 motorway near Heathrow Airport and Uxbridge and on the M3 near Bagshot, Surrey, on Saturday afternoon, police said. The men were heading to a location in east London, but police have not revealed where they were due to gather. All 53 were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, the Metropolitan Police said. They have been bailed until a later date pending further inquiries. A Met spokesman said: “This was part of an intelligence-led investigation into a planned disturbance in east London on that day (Saturday)”. One of the bail conditions imposed on the men bans them from entering east London to demonstrate for a stipulated period of time, police said.

The men were taken to police stations in central and south London.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Royal British Legion Minders for Young Poppy Sellers

Poppy sellers will receive protection from Royal British Legion “minders” for the first time after a spate of attacks last year in which volunteers were verbally abused and spat on.

The unprecedented security will be provided for young Army cadets in Bradford, West Yorks, after the attacks on teenage collectors. The security chaperones will accompany the volunteers, aged between 10 and 17, amid concerns many are now too frightened to participate in fund-raising efforts. From this week they will be shadowed by motor enthusiasts from the Legion’s Riders branch, many of whom are former members of the Armed Forces, following the series of incidents last year. Those attacks left the local Legion branch horrified and forced Army officials to visit schools to stress the need to honour the fallen and overcome cultural barriers. In one incident, a 13 year-old Army cadet, Bethany Holmes, was spat at three times by a group of younger Asian boys while collecting for the first time…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Sharia Courts ‘As Consensual as Rape’, House of Lords Told

MUSLIM women in Britain are being forced to “live in fear” because of the spread of unofficial and unregulated sharia courts enforcing Islamic rules, the House of Lords was told.

Rulings by informal religious “councils” and tribunals are sometimes no more “consensual” than rape, peers were told. The warnings came in the first ever full Parliamentary debate on the subject in the UK. Baroness Cox, the independent peer and Third World campaigner, last year tabled a private member’s bill in the Lords setting out plans to rein in a network of unofficial self-styled “courts” which apply Islamic principles. One study estimated that there are around 85 Sharia bodies operating in Britain, although there is no official estimate.

They include legally recognised arbitration tribunals, set up primarily to resolve financial disputes using Islamic legal principles but which have taken on a wider range of cases…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Savile’s Pedophile Pals Are Hunted, Estimate More Than a Hundred

Victims of twisted Jimmy Savile are believed to have told police that more than 100 other paedophiles were involved in his attacks.

Cops investigating the disgraced BBC DJ and TV presenter are understood to have been given names or descriptions of the men.

Last night a source told The Sun: “The scale of what has gone on is unbelievable. It must be more than likely that among those names will be some very well known people indeed.”

More than 200 people now say they were molested by Savile and his cronies.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: The Time for BBC Evasion is at an End

From the outset, the BBC has asserted that its decision not to run a TV exposé of the late Jimmy Savile’s sexual abuse of young children was taken solely on “editorial grounds”. Although an investigation by journalists working for Newsnight never saw the light of day, the corporation emphatically denied accusations of a cover-up. Yet a Panorama documentary to be broadcast on the BBC tonight will cast serious doubt on the official version of events. It states that the Newsnight programme was essentially completed and contained allegations against Savile that were supported by the testimony of victims…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Terror Suspect Trio Plotted to Massacre Crowds

Three terror suspects planned to attach knives to a car then drive into a heavily crowded area as part of an terrorist plot that could have wreaked more devastation than the July 7 attacks, a court has heard.

Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, both 27, are accused of masterminding a plot to detonate eight suicide bombs after one of the extremists claimed 7/7 attackers should have used nail bombs to inflict more damage.

The trio, said to be ‘central figures’ in a home-grown terror cell, posed as bogus charity collectors to raise money for training in terrorism in Pakistan, where they learned how to use weapons and make improvised explosive devices, it is alleged.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Thousands of Rapists, Sex Offenders and Violent Thugs Freed Before Serving Half Their Jail Terms

Thousands of rapists, sex offenders and violent criminals are being released from prison before serving even half of the jail sentences which were handed down by the courts, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The figures account for more than one in three of the violent offenders who were released from prison in 2011, according to the internal figures from the Ministry of Justice.

The Government said they were released early because it would be “unlawful” to hold the criminals in jail until after they have served half of their jail terms.

Last night Tory MP Priti Patel, who obtained the figures, said the fact that so many violent criminals were freed early was an “insult to their victims”.

In all the figures show that 92 rapists, 176 sex offenders and 6,990 violent criminals were released from jail in 2011 having served less than half their sentence in custody.

This is the equivalent of 40 per cent of all the violent criminals who were released lat year, 12 per cent of rapists and 11 per cent of sex offenders.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Kosovo Police Fire Tear Gas to Control Anti-Serbia Demo

Police in Pristina have used teargas to control a demonstration against negotiations with Belgrade. Security forces stepped in after an angry crowd attempted to storm Kosovo’s parliament building.

Kosovo police said on Monday that 18 officers and four protesters were wounded as ethnic-Albanian Kosovo nationalists vented their anger over European Union-brokered talks with Serbia.

Authorities said they were “forced to intervene” during a tense stand-off interspersed by scenes of sporadic violence.

Demonstrators threw stones at police who responded with tear gas and pepper spray. Police said they had arrested 26 people.

The protest was called by the Kosovan nationalist movement Vetevendosje — the third largest group in parliament — which argues that Kosovo and Serbia have nothing to talk about.

Several members of the party were briefly detained, according to police.

The EU-brokered talks are aimed at normalizing relations between the neighboring states. The most recent high-level meeting between Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic, covered issues such as trade, transport, telecommunications and energy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Frank Gaffney: The Real Reason Behind Benghazigate

President Obama’s once-seemingly-unstoppable march towards reelection hit what he might call “bumps in the road” in Benghazi, Libya late on September 11, 2012. It might be more accurate to describe the effect of the well-planned and -executed, military-style attack on a diplomatic facility there as the political equivalent of a devastating improvised explosive device on the myth of the unassailability of the Obama record as Commander-in-Chief.

Thanks to intrepid investigative reporting — notably by Bret Baier and Catherine Herridge at Fox News, Aaron Klein at and Claire Lopez at — and information developed by congressional investigators, the mystery is beginning to unravel with regard to what happened that night and the reason for the subsequent, clumsy official cover-up now known as “Benghazigate.”…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

One Palestinian Killed in Israeli Strike in Northern Gaza

GAZA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) — A Palestinian militant was killed and another was injured in an Israeli military strike in northern Gaza Strip, a medical spokesperson said Monday. The strike occurred as the militants were firing mortars at several Israeli tanks and bulldozers that entered Palestinian- controlled areas in Beit Hanoun town, where borders Israel. An hour ahead, four Palestinian militants were wounded in a similar airstrike in the same area, said Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza. He added that one of the injured was in critical conditions while the other three sustained moderate injuries.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that the aerial attacks targeted the militants shortly after five rockets were fired from Gaza this morning. The rockets landed in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council in Negev, causing no damage or casualties. The cross-border violence renews days after Israel killed five Palestinians in a similar wave that lasted for two days. The dead included Hisham al-Saidini, a senior leader of an Al-Qaeda- inspired group Tawhid and Jihad. Israel accused al-Saidini of planning and taking part in attacks against its territories from Gaza and the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

What a One-State Solution Really Means

Some ideas, wrote George Orwell, are so absurd that you can only get the intellectuals to believe in them. Today, the idea of the one-state solution — the creation of a single state in which Israelis and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Jews would live in peace as equal citizens between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — is on the march…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

HM the King [Morocco] Holds Talks With Emir of Qatar

Doha — HM King Mohammed VI held talks, on Sunday in the Amiri Diwan in Doha, with Emir of the State of Qatar, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The meeting was attended by HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar, and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, son of the Emir of Qatar and head of the Emir’s cabinet. The talks touched on cooperation relations between the two brotherly countries and means to further reinforce them in different areas. The two Head of states also examined the latest developments of the situation in the region, notably the Palestinian issue and the Syrian crisis…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Lebanon Sees Overnight Clashes After Hassan Funeral

Clashes have broken out overnight in several areas of Lebanon following the funeral of the senior intelligence official, Wissam al-Hassan.

The most serious confrontations were in the northern city of Tripoli, where at least three people were killed. In Beirut, gunmen exchanged fire and police used tear gas to disperse crowds outside the prime minister’s office. Gen Hassan and at least two other people were killed in a car bomb attack in the capital on Friday…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syria: Car Bomb Kills 10 in Christian Quarter of Damascus

A car bomb exploded outside a police station in the Old City of Damascus

Up to 10 people were killed and 15 wounded as the charge detonated at the historical gate of Bab Touma, a busy pick up point for taxis and buses. “The bomb exploded as people were moving to go to Churches for Sunday mass. It exploded just outside the police station. There was a bus stop right beside it,” said a resident calling himself George who works in a hotel just a few streets away from the explosion. “I felt the explosion. The ground beneath me shook and I can see black smoke rising from the area…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

U.S. Drone Strike Kills 4 Al-Qaida Militants in East Yemen

SANAA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) — A U.S. drone strike killed four al- Qaida members in eastern Yemen on Sunday, a security official said. The terrorists were targeted Sunday evening while travelling in a car in a desert valley of the eastern province of Marib, the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. He declined to provide further details. Local media said the killed militants included an al-Qaida leader who was identified as Hassan al-Aqeli. Yemeni officials said the United States has recently escalated its drone strikes as part of anti-terror cooperation with the Yemeni government to help crush operations of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the impoverished Arab country…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Islam Comes to the Classroom in Russia’s Chechnya

(Reuters) — At school No. 20 in Russia’s troubled region of Chechnya, boys sit on one side of the classroom and girls in headscarves on the other. All are silent as the new teacher rises to speak.

“Do you say your morning prayers?” Islam Dzhabrailov, 21, asks, wearing a green prayer cap and a plain tunic, religious dress that is increasingly popular in the mountainous province in southern Russia’s mostly Muslim Caucasus region. “It’s just as important as doing your homework,” he tells the students aged 14-15…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Digger Killed by Bomb in Afghanistan

AN Australian special forces soldier was killed instantly yesterday when an IED detonated during a mission to target Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

Defence force chief David Hurley said a special operation task group was conducting a disruption operation against an insurgent network. General Hurley said the soldier was killed during a partnered mission yesterday morning, on the border of Oruzgan province in southern Afghanistan. “The soldier was clearing the compound when an (improvised explosive device) IED detonated, killing him instantly,” he said…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Islamic Leaders Call for Arrest of Aceh Youth Who Attacked Shariah Police

Islamic leaders on Monday called on police to arrest a group of young people who attacked Shariah Police officers in Aceh after their music event was disbanded. The incident in Aceh’s Langsa Timur subdistrict on Saturday night saw 12 Shariah Police officers disband a keyboard performance with hundreds in attendance in front of a house owned by a man identified as Zulkifli, who claimed he wanted to entertain people to celebrate his son’s acceptance into the Indonesian army. The Indonesian news site reported that Shariah Police said the performance violated the regulation issued by the Langsa mayor prohibiting performances in the evenings…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Far East

China Warns Australia to Choose “Godfather” — China or U.S.

It is rare in diplomatic circles for governments to speak bluntly, particularly in the Orient, where manners are highly prized.

The exceptions to this rule are retired military officers, who are often able to voice sentiments too impolitic for other channels.

One of the more startling pronouncements in this vein occurred last week when Song Xiaojun, a former senior officer of the People’s Liberation Army, warned that Australia cannot juggle its relationships with the United States and China indefinitely and “Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later. Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the ‘son’ of the US or ‘son’ of China. (It) depends on who is more powerful, and based on the strategic environment.” Noting the rising importance of China as an export market Song added that Australia depended on exporting iron ore to China “to feed itself,” but “Frankly, it has not done well politically.”

What is also notable about Song’s remarks is that they coincided with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s first official visit to China, where Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi urged Australia to dismiss its alliance with the United States, a decades-old bipartisan and central pillar of the nation’s foreign policy, as “the time for Cold War alliances has passed.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Korea Blocks Propaganda Drop After North Threat

Police in South Korea have stopped demonstrators from sending leaflets critical of the North across the countries’ demilitarized border. It follows a threat of military action by Pyongyang last week.

Soldiers and police blocked access to the planned launch site, at Paju in South Korea, around 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Seoul.

It is understood that about 80 activists, some of whom were defectors from North Korea, had planned to send balloons carrying the leaflets. Activists frequently send cash and propaganda material across the border.

Last week, North Korea threatened a “merciless military strike” if the action went ahead on Monday. The announcement was unusually strong, and named the specific time and location of the demonstration, as well as issuing a warning for residents to evacuate nearby areas in case of reprisal.

It was also the first precise threat made under the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who came to power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il last December. Troops in the South had been placed on high alert, and the Yonhap news agency reported units in the North had been seen preparing their guns for firing.

South Korea hit back, saying it would also retaliate against any attack from North Korea, and blocked the demonstrators on Monday to calm tensions.

“For security reasons, the activists were not allowed to launch balloons from the park,” a South Korean police official told the news agency AFP.

There were minor scuffles between activists and police at the site in Paju. Their decision to block the balloon drop has drawn criticism from the demonstrators.

“This event has been authorized by the government. This is ridiculous,” said Park Sang-Hak, one of the organizers.

“We are not here to provoke a conflict but to convey the truth to North Koreans. (South Korean) President Lee (Myung-bak) will be remembered as a cowardly leader who succumbed to North Korean threats,” said Park.

The government in Seoul has called for restraint.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Cry, The Beloved Country

South Africa is sliding downhill while much of the rest of the continent is clawing its way up

NOT so long ago, South Africa was by far the most serious and economically successful country in Africa. At the turn of the millennium it accounted for 40% of the total GDP of the 48 countries south of the Sahara, whereas Nigeria, three times more populous, lurched along in second place with around 14%. The remainder, in raw economic terms, barely seemed to count. Despite South Africa’s loathsome apartheid heritage, solid institutions underpinned its transition to democracy in 1994: a proper Parliament and electoral system, a good new constitution, independent courts, a vibrant press and a first-world stockmarket. Nelson Mandela, whose extraordinary magnanimity helped avert a racial bloodbath, heralded a rainbow nation that would be a beacon for the rest of Africa.

Since then, Africa, once harshly labelled by this newspaper as “the hopeless continent”, has begun to make bold strides (see article). Meanwhile South Africa, though still a treasure trove of minerals with the most sophisticated economy on the continent, is on the slide both economically and politically (see article). By some calculations Nigeria’s economy, messy as it is, will overtake it within a few years. What went wrong with South Africa, and how can it be fixed?


The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is not entirely to blame. South Africa has performed worse than its African neighbours in recent years partly because its mature economy is linked more tightly to the rich world, and thus to the rich world’s problems. And the ANC has notched up some genuine achievements—including housing and some welfare services often denied to the poor black majority under apartheid. But the party’s incompetence and outright corruption are the main causes of South Africa’s sad decline.

Since Mr Mandela retired in 1999, the country has been woefully led. For nine years it endured Thabo Mbeki’s race-tinted prickliness, so different from Mr Mandela’s big-hearted inclusiveness. Mr Mbeki’s denial of the link between HIV and AIDS cost millions of lives. After he was deposed by his party in 2008, there was a brief stand-in, Kgalema Motlanthe, before Jacob Zuma took over the presidency in 2009.

Mr Zuma arrived with a mixed reputation. He had had a string of close shaves with the law for both grand corruption and squalid sexual behaviour; in his favour were his charm, homespun intelligence and canny ability to mediate between people and the many factions that make up the ANC. But stuck between the impatient masses stirred up by racial populists such as Julius Malema on the one hand, and anxious capitalists and greedy party bigwigs on the other, he has drifted and dithered, offering neither vision nor firm government…

           — Hat tip: OM[Return to headlines]

Namibia: Network Busts Goat Thieves

Windhoek — Members of the branch of the national crime prevention unit Women and Men Network at Havana informal settlement had to assume undercover identities to have the culprits who had last week stolen goats arrested by the police. The incident took place on Tuesday night at Eehambodhanehale settlement. The suspects stole the goats from a stationary vehicle, in transit to the north, where the owner intended to go and sell the goats during the upcoming festive season. The owner, Simon Junias, says the stolen goats were worth N$6 400. The Women and Men Network is a national crime prevention unit made up of volunteers and has units in the northern and central regions of the country. Their presence is much stronger in the informal settlements within towns…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: ‘Boko Haram Leader Arrested in Senator’s Home’

Abuja: At least 23 people were killed when suspected militants of radical Islamic sect Boko Haram attacked a northern Nigerian city with rocket launchers and grenades, even as one of the group’s leaders was captured from the house of a senator. The attack in the northern city of Potiskum happened on Thursday evening when militants went on a rampage. Hospital sources, where some of the bodies were taken, confirmed that 20 corpses were brought to their morgue even as residents said they had buried three bodies already…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Nigeria: Bloodbath — 34 Killed in Potiskum

Damaturu — Potiskum, the biggest business district in Yobe State, yesterday recorded different sets of tragedies following the sacking of many families in the dead of the night on Friday by yet to be identified assailants. A retired customs boss and his son were killed in one of the incidents, while a retired police sergeant, his wife and three children were killed in another ambush, even as a tractor driver and six of his children were killed in yet another night attack, all in Potiskum, witnesses said. Witnesses told our reporters that the killings were carried out simultaneously and in a “commando style,” despite the restriction of movements in the town…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez Makes Idiots of the Left and Hypocrites of the Right

Joseph Stalin. Fidel Castro. Che Guevara. British lefties like a bit of rough — just so long as the rough stuff happens to someone else, preferably abroad. However, the glamour of revolution, the swagger of down-and-dirty socialism, well, that may be safely enjoyed at a distance.

The latest lefty crush is Hugo Chavez, whose recent re-election as President of Venezuela is the toast of radical salons right across north London and beyond. Congratulations, therefore, to James Bloodworth for setting the record straight in the Independent:

  • “…Ex-US President Jimmy Carter even went as far as to describe Venezuela’s electoral system as “the best in the world”.
  • “But it’s a funny sort of democracy (and certainly not one which can accurately be described as the best in the world) that attracts such harsh criticism from human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — organisations which can hardly be dismissed as agents of neo-liberalism.”

It is especially sickening to see British leftwingers praising a regime that persecutes trade unionists


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Islam and Insult

by Andrew E. Harrod

Western intellectuals have already started the process of surrender to Islam. In recent weeks, the accustomed defenders of the cultural values of the West have begun laying the doctrinal groundwork for abrogation of free speech, open inquiry, and freedom of expression in response to Islamist demands for an international regime of censorship of critical remarks directed against Mohammed, Muslim teachings, and accepted Islamic practice…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Global Enviro-Eugenic Consensus Fixes 500 Million as “Optimum Population Size”

The Georgia Guidestones- a collection of standing stones mimicking ancient Celtic stone circles in Britain and France, remind us that this particular monument, crafted and donated by “a small group of Americans who seek the Age of Reason” is a commemoration of ancient sacrifices performed by the Druid priest-class satisfying their deity’s unquenchable blood thirst. One of the inscriptions carved into the Guidestones proposes an elite class will “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature”, after which is proposed: “Guide reproduction wisely improving fitness and diversity.”

500 million people. This exact number is mentioned by demographers and environmentalists all across the globe as the ideal figure below which or at which the human population should be kept. In comparison to the current global population, 8 billion, the envisioned total of 500 million would constitute a reduction of no less than 94 percent from today’s total. The Club of Rome in their “Goals for mankind” proposes “the resultant ideal sustainable population is hence more than 500 million but less than one billion.”

CNN founder Ted Turner went even further in his ide al of optimum population: “A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

How Technology Will Create True Democracy

‘The End of Politics’ by Douglas Carswell shows how connectedness is a force for good, writes Charles Moore

I think I can help you tackle this thought-provoking book. First of all, the title misleads. Enchanting though the idea will sound to many people, this is not about the end of politics. It is, after all, written by a Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell (Con., Clacton) and he is fascinated by the subject. There’ll always be politics, he is saying, but not as we know it.

Second, you don’t really need to read the first half. It is essentially a passionately expressed set of arguments about why our current political arrangements do not work. It is good stuff, but there is plenty of it in the more independent-minded newspapers most days. The important bit is Part Two, beginning on page 145 and running for a modest 119 pages. It is called “The Birth of iDemocracy”.

Mr Carswell resembles those old barometers in which, in bad weather (Part One), a man with a mackintosh, an umbrella and a scowl comes out of the house. In good weather (Part Two), he pops out wearing a white suit, a straw hat and a broad smile. What makes him happy is the feeling that the digital revolution can restore to the people the power which, in the early days of the universal franchise, they possessed — and much, much more. He believes that the digital revolution has at last harnessed technology to express the “collective brain” of humanity. We develop our collective intelligence by exchanging the properties of our individual ones…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Pillow Fight of Ideas

I am spending this weekend at the Battle of Ideas at the Barbican. It got off to a bad start for me with a session on equality that was more like the deep graveyard peace of a single idea than a battle. Four leftists set out possible views of equality, all favourable, and concluded that “everyone” agreed it was good and we needed more of it for the sake of our mental health because envy apparently drives them mad. Who knew?


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]