Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121026

Financial Crisis
»Greece: Electricity Rates to Climb by as Much as 40%
»Greece: Patrons Not to Pay Bills Without a Receipt
»Italy: Doctor Warned Berlusconi Over Excessive Party ‘Excitement’
»Italy: Yields Fall at Two-Year Bond Auction
»U.S. Economy Grew at 2% Annual Rate in 3rd Quarter
»Obama Supplying America’s Islamist Enemies Abroad With Weapons
»Robots Assemble for Military’s $2 Million Challenge
»Texas AG Tells International Election Monitors to Butt Out
»The Nation of Islam Discovers Scientology
»Wind Energy Bird-Killing Exemptions
Europe and the EU
»Beer Paté Launched by Italian Food Makers
»Belgium: British Oil Executive Shot Dead in Brussels
»Belgium: British Exxonmobil Oil Chief ‘Assassinated’ In Brussels Street
»France: Police Bust Balkan Child Trafficking Ring in Nancy
»France: African Leader Caught Smuggling Monkey Meat
»Greece Bans Novartis Influenza Vaccines
»Italian Government Asks Earthquake Experts to Return to Post
»Italian Cyclists Rebel Against UCI Over Armstrong Case
»Italy: Ex-Environment Min Among 17 Cited in Campania Waste Probe
»Italy: Woman Charged for Faking Blindness
»Italy: Mussolini’s Granddaughter Considers Running in PDL Primaries
»Italy: Up to Four Million Legal Cases Pending in Italy
»Italy: Berlusconi Gets Four Years for Mediaset Tax Fraud
»Slovenia: Last Call From Brussels, Now Clean Up Landfills
»Sweden Dems Tout Image ‘Remake’ Amid Poll Surge
»Swiss Expel French New Black Panther Activist
»Terrifying Traditions Ghastly Winter Demons Run Wild in the Alps
»UK: Eid Celebrations Across East Lancashire
»UK: Home Secretary Urged to Ban ‘Racist’ EDL
»UK: Jimmy Savile and the Dangers of Received Wisdom
»UK: Key Issues Raised as Mosque Leaders Meet Police and Councillors
»UK: Mosque Development Held Up by Council
»UK: New Mosque Planned for Mill Road
»UK: Rotherham Councillor Urges Home Secretary to Ban EDL
»UK: The Real Lesson of the Jimmy Savile Scandal
»UK: Whether It’s the Hutton Report or Jimmy Savile, The BBC is Hopeless in a Crisis
»UK: Walthamstow: Police ‘Ban’ EDL Static Protest
North Africa
»Al-Qaeda Leader Calls on Muslims to Kidnap Westerners
»CIA Operators Were Denied Request for Help During Benghazi Attack
»Morocco: Hm the King Sends Congratulatory Messages to Leaders of Islamic States on Eid Al Adha
»Obama Refused CIA Requests for Military Backup During Benghazi Attack
»The Hidden Real Truth About Benghazi
»Tunisia: Salafist Leader ‘Abu Ayub’ Sentenced to One Year in Prison
Israel and the Palestinians
»Islam Gets a Bad Press, But There Are Many Stories Our Media Doesn’t Tell
»Israel Mum Over Sudanese Arms Plant Blast
»Sudan Vows No Retreat From Supporting Hamas in Aftermath of Israeli ‘Aggression’
Middle East
»Caroline Glick: Libya, Jordan and Obama’s Guiding Lights
»EU Sakharov Prize Goes to Iranian Dissidents
»Saudi Grand Mufti Calls Muslim Countries to Apply Sharia, Even in Shared Relations
»Saudi Arabia: Child Molester Arrested in Jeddah
»Saudi Arabia: Saudizing Mosque Jobs
»UAE: Dubai Hopes to Push Eid Sales Through All-Day Opening Time
»Zionism-Imperialism After Igniting Civil War Among Muslims: Analyst
South Asia
»Bomb-Sniffing Dog Killed in Afghanistan is Honoured
»Death Toll Rises to 112 in Renewed Riot in Myanmar Western State: Official
»Dozens Killed in Fresh Burma Violence
»India: Costly Goats Bogging Down Devout Muslims on Eid
»More Than 30 Dead in Afghanistan After Suicide Blast
»No One Hurt as Afghan Roadside Bomb Hits Italian Convoy
»Sacrifice in Afghanistan
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Nigeria: Let US Conform to Law and Order, Fashola Tells Muslims
»Why South African Olive Oil is Really Lekker
Latin America
»Fidel Castro: The Quintessential Communist
»69 Migrants Rescued Between Africa and Italy
»Immigrants Know More About Britain Than the British, Says Labour MP Sadiq Khan
»Myanmar: Rakhine: More Than 100 Dead in Clashes Between Ethnic Burmese and Rohingya
Culture Wars
»Denmark: Jewish Groups Angered at Absence of Israeli Flag at Diversity Festival
»Inside the First Amendment: What is the Truth About American Muslims?
»Huge Saturn Storm Keeps Surprising Scientists
»Jacques Barzun Dies at 104; Cultural Critic Saw the Sun Setting on the West
»Parking Issues Debated at Liberty Corner Mosque Hearing

Financial Crisis

Greece: Electricity Rates to Climb by as Much as 40%

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 24 — The demand by Greece’s creditors for electricity rates to reflect the full cost of production will bring about fresh rate hikes by June 2013, as Kathimerini reports. The draft memorandum Athens has agreed to with the troika will spread the rise over two or three installments, with the first coming as early as January. Based on the cost data that Public Power Corporation presented to the Regulatory Authority for Energy in August, the implementation of the measure will entail rate hikes up to 40% for households and businesses with low consumption and is expected to affect no fewer than 2.2 million consumers. Sources say that the competent ministry will initially examine the possible expansion of the so-called Social Household Rates to include households with low consumption that are not covered by the criteria used today and are set for the biggest rate increase next year.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Greece: Patrons Not to Pay Bills Without a Receipt

Ministry preparing measure in bid to combat tax evasion

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 26 — Greece’s Development Ministry is about to present a regulation according to which patrons at bars, restaurants, cafes and so on will be able to leave without paying unless they are given a legal receipt, in an effort to reduce tax evasion. This unprecedented measure, as daily Kathimerini reports, will be part of a set of steps aimed at protecting consumers and facilitating doing business and may start to apply as of next week. The new market rules, part of which are connected to Greece’s commitments in the bailout agreement with its creditors, include a regulation that gives consumers the right not to pay for the goods they have consumed or purchased, or services rendered if the retailer or service provider fails to produce a receipt that would validate the transaction. Restaurants and cafes will have to state that consumers have that right on their menus.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Doctor Warned Berlusconi Over Excessive Party ‘Excitement’

Physician told ex-premier to get more sleep

(ANSA) — Milan, October 26 — Silvio Berlusconi’s personal physician, Professor Alberto Zangrillo, told a Milan court on Friday that he had advised the ex-premier to avoid excessive “commotion” and “excitement” during alleged sex parties at his villa at Arcore, near Milan. Zangrillo denied ever seeing “moments of a sexual nature” at the parties, or “girls dressed in scanty clothes” on the couple of occasions when he had been to the dance hall at Arcore.

“I was only concerned about the commotion and the excitement, prescribed greater care for Berlusconi and told him not to spend too much time in such situations,” he told the court. Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly paying for sex with an underage prostitute called Ruby after several of the alleged parties and coercing police into releasing her after an unrelated theft claim to hush up the fact.

The ex-premier and Ruby have both denied the accusations. The doctor also told the court that he had only seen “bodies moving in time to the music, dancing and nothing striking”.

Prosecutors believe Berlusconi had sex with 33 prostitutes at his villa in Arcore over the course of several months.

The prostitutes were allegedly supplied by bankrupt ex-talent scout Lele Mora, Lombardy regional councillor and Berlusconi’s former dental hygienist Nicole Minetti, and retired television anchor Emilio Fede.

The three are now facing charges of inducing and favouring prostitution, including underage prostitution, in a separate trial.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Yields Fall at Two-Year Bond Auction

Demand 1.65 times the 3 bln euros on sale

(ANSA) — Rome, October 26 — Yields fell to 2.397% at a two-year Treasury bond auction Friday, from 2.532% at the last sale in September.

Demand was 1.65 times the three billion euros on offer, the Treasury said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

U.S. Economy Grew at 2% Annual Rate in 3rd Quarter

The United States economy grew at a annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, as more positive consumer activity and a healthier housing sector outweighed the effects of the drought, caution on the part of businesses and weaker exports.

The new figure, released by the Commerce Department on Friday, is the government’s first estimate of growth in the third quarter. The economy grew at a 1.3 percent pace of growth in the second quarter of 2012, and by a 2 percent rate in the first quarter.

The report, stronger than expected, came amid fears that companies are clamping down on spending in the face of fiscal uncertainty in Washington, a recession in parts of Europe and a deceleration in demand from China. Some economists fear all these factors will keep a lid on any pickup in growth in the final quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

[Return to headlines]


Obama Supplying America’s Islamist Enemies Abroad With Weapons

Obama’s curriculum vitae didn’t merit his being elected to the office of President of the United States. His past, associations, and attendant political baggage should have precluded it. We can add to that the draconian and unconstitutional policies, executive orders, and other actions he has taken during his presidency. Then, there are the criminal acts, such as the Fast and Furious gun running fiasco. Of course, since no formal charges have been made relative to F&F (and may never be) this assertion remains wild supposition by Obama supporters.

Now, it appears as though this president may have been supplying America’s Islamist enemies abroad with weapons under the guise of aiding Libyan and Syrian rebels. Charges have been made that the administration’s apparent failure to provide appropriate security for its foreign service personnel in Benghazi, Libya, or to act to save them during the September 11, 2012 attack had their genesis in Obama’s desire to cover up this out-of-control operation.


Obama’s questionable activities have become quite overt in many cases, given his knowledge that the press at large can be counted on to suppress stories that might reflect badly. On October 24, The Blaze reported that Thomas R. Pickering, whom Obama appointed as the chief investigator for the terror attacks in Benghazi, is an Islamist sympathizer with documented ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-funding trial in U.S. history. He is also is also co-chairman of the board of pro-Obama financier and Nazi collaborator George Soros’ pro-Islamist International Crisis Group.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Robots Assemble for Military’s $2 Million Challenge

A headless humanoid robot clambers noisily through an obstacle course with the grim, unfeeling purpose of a terminator. Luckily, it’s just the latest video celebrating the official start of a U.S. military challenge to create robots that can work alongside humans in disaster scenarios.

Seven robot designs star in the early lineup chosen by U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for its $2 million DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), according to an agency announcement on Oct. 24. They include a two-legged descendant of NASA’s Robonaut that is currently assisting astronauts aboard the International Space Station, a new Guardian humanoid robot based on Raytheon’s military exoskeleton suits, and a small Korean Hubo robot that has featured in many YouTube videos.

“Just as natural and man-made disasters are common worldwide challenges, what the response to the DRC has shown is that the international robotics community shares a common goal of advancing robotic technology to the point where it can have a tangible and positive impact on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” said Gill Pratt, DARPA program manager for the competition.

The Pentagon’s DARPA wants robots that are able to eventually do many things humans can — such as opening a door by using the handle, climbing a ladder or even wielding power tools to break through walls. Such robots must also have the capability to handle steering, accelerating and braking from the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Texas AG Tells International Election Monitors to Butt Out

The head of an international body that will monitor the U.S. elections next month protested to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday after Texas’ attorney-general warned that any international observer who approaches a polling station in the state risks criminal prosecution.

“The threat of criminal sanctions … is unacceptable,” said Janez Lenarcic, the Slovenian diplomat who heads the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), a part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Lenarcic was responding to a letter sent by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to the ODIHR Tuesday informing it that “groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”

“The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place,” Abbott wrote. ‘It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”


One area the OSCE/ODIHR plans to focus on in its monitoring is that of voter-identification laws.

Groups including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People earlier urged the mission to deploy its monitors in states where they allege there is “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities, low-income people, women, young people, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Nation of Islam Discovers Scientology

The Nation of Islam’s historic role as a bridge between American blacks and Islam ended in 1975 when W. Deen Mohammed followed his father, Elijah Muhammad as leader of the Nation and immediately disavowed his father’s folk religion, bringing his followers to normative Islam, the Islam of the Middle East. From then on, despite the theatrics of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation has been in a long downward trajectory. Now comes evidence, thanks to Eliza Gray writing about “Thetans and Bowties” in The New Republic, of a jaw-dropping turn by Farrakhan, 79, to Scientology; as her subtitle puts it, “America’s two weirdest sects join forces.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Wind Energy Bird-Killing Exemptions

Environmentalists have gone to great lengths to have certain eagles, hawks, and owls protected as endangered species, only to have wind turbines act as avian cuisinarts.

Wind power currently enjoys a unique exemption from Endangered Species Act protections and other federal restrictions protecting animals from deliberate or incidental killings. And to add to this, here is an interesting new development: the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is considering a dramatic expansion in the length of permits allowing wind power operators to kill bald eagles and other protected bird species. (1)

Under current law, developers of renewable energy projects can apply for a five-year permit that allows them to kill bald eagles in the course of conducting normal business operations. However, the FWS, which administers the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, is now proposing introducing 30-year permits ‘to better correspond to the time frame of renewable energy projects’. The prospect of a six-fold increase in the length of FSW’s ‘programmatic incidental permits’ has unnerved bird advocates, many of whom are already alarmed by the number of birds and bats killed by wind farms. (1)

In just one location, the Altamont Pass in northern California, turbines yearly kill 75 to 100 golden eagles, 350 burrowing owls, 300 rat-tailed hawks, and 333 American kestrels. (2)

One resident of California protested: “There’s a big, big hypocrisy here. If I shoot an eagle it’s a $10,000 fine and/or a vacation of one to five years in a federal pen of my choice.”(3)

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Beer Paté Launched by Italian Food Makers

‘Spread it on toast, goes great with cheese’

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — Italian food makers have figured out a way to turn beer into a spreadable paté. “It’s like a sweet, beer-flavored gelatine,” said Pietro Napoleone from the Napoleone chocolate company in Rieti, central Italy, which teamed up with the Alta Quota brewery in nearby Cittareale to make the paté. The team showed off their product Thursday at Turin’s Salone del Gusto food fair. Spreadable beer comes in both light and heavy flavors. “It goes great with appetizers and cheeses, and it’s wonderful on toast,” said Napoleone. “We think this is the future”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Belgium: British Oil Executive Shot Dead in Brussels

Two men were spotted running away from scene of Nicholas Mockford’s killing on 14 October, reports say

A British oil executive has been shot dead in front of his wife in Belgium. Nicholas Mockford, 60, an executive for ExxonMobil, was shot three times as he left an Italian restaurant in a suburb of Brussels. His wife, Mary, was left beaten and covered in blood, cradling her husband and shouting for help. Witnesses said they saw the couple walk across the street to their Lexus car before shots were fired. Reports suggest two men were spotted running away from the scene, one holding a motorcycle helmet. The shooting is understood to have happened on 14 October, but the news has only now emerged after Belgian police imposed a reporting blackout…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Belgium: British Exxonmobil Oil Chief ‘Assassinated’ In Brussels Street

Exclusive: A British executive for the oil company ExxonMobil has been shot dead in front of his wife in an assassination-style killing in Brussels.

Belgian police have imposed a news blackout after Nicholas Mockford, 60, was shot as he left an Italian restaurant in Neder-over-Heembeek, a suburb of the capital.The executive was shot three times, once as he lay on the ground, after leaving the Da Marcello restaurant in Rue de Beyseghem at around 10pm on Oct 14. His wife, Mary, was left beaten and covered in blood. Mr Mockford died on the way to hospital. Witnesses said they saw the couple walk across the street to their car, a silver Lexus 4x4, before shots were fired. The attack was said to have happened very quickly and Mrs Mockford was left cradling her husband in the street, shouting for help. According to reports, two men were seen running away carrying a motorcycle helmet. Initially police said they were not excluding any possibilities, including a carjacking, but Mr Mockford’s car was not stolen. The Belgian prosecutor’s office said last night that there was a “judicial instruction” from Martine Quintin, the investigating judge, that meant they could give no “explanation” and no detail about the killing…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Police Bust Balkan Child Trafficking Ring in Nancy

French police have arrested seven people for running an international child trafficking ring in Nancy, north east France.

The ring is thought to have bought children from Macedonia or Kosovo for €1000 to €1500 and then sold them on to Belgium and Germany for €10,000.

Seven members of a family originally from the Balkans were arrested on Tuesday after a month of police investigation.

According to local paper Est Républicain, several other members of the family had also been arrested in Germany in relation to the ring.

Police took in two girls, both about 12-years-old, for questioning. They say they do not believe the girls were subjected to sexual abuse or used as slaves, but traded in line with “local customs” in the traffickers’ home countries.

“The objective of the people in charge of this inquiry is to determine what these two children have suffered and how many other victims there are,” said one officer close to the case.

“Clearly this is not a torturous or barbaric trafficking ring… We don’t where the girls were going to be sold onto.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: African Leader Caught Smuggling Monkey Meat

French customs officials on Thursday fined former Central African prime minister Martin Ziguele after he was found carrying 11.8 kilograms of bushmeat, mainly monkey, on his arrival at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.

Investigators said the meat “mainly of a protected species”, was in his luggage when he arrived on an Air France flight from Bangui.

Customs inspectors found a total 600 kilograms of meat in passengers’ luggage on the Bangui flight, judicial officials said.

Ziguele, who was prime minister between 2001 and 2003 and who was defeated by Francois Bozize in presidential elections in 2005 and 2011, said the meat was for his personal consumption.

The amount of the fine was not revealed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece Bans Novartis Influenza Vaccines

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 26 — Influenza vaccines produced by Swiss pharmaceuticals manufacturer Novartis are not to be sold in Greece until further notice, it was announced on Thursday. The ban, which follows a similar move in Italy, applied to the drugs Agrippal, Fluad and Influpozzi. As daily Kathimerini reports, the Italian Pharmaceutical Agency ordered the ban following indications of possible side effects and ordered further tests on the drugs.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italian Government Asks Earthquake Experts to Return to Post

Top scientists stepped down after L’Aquila manslaughter sentence

(ANSA) — Rome, October 26 — The government on Friday asked members of Italy’s principal natural-disaster risk-assessment body to return to their post after they resigned in protest against this week’s conviction of former group members for manslaughter in connection with the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake that killed more than 300 people. Some of Italy’s top earthquake experts resigned from their posts on Tuesday in protest at Monday’s ruling, which spurred disbelief and dismay across the global scientific community.

Environment Minister Corrado Clini said Wednesday that he was baffled by the ruling. “If it was because they did not predict (the earthquake), it would be absurd,” he said. “I’ve never understood the accusation and therefore I don’t understand the convictions”.

Sources told ANSA Friday it was Clini who asked to scrap their resignations as a sign of “solidarity with the scientific community on the part of the government”. Sources said Clini had already refused to accept the resignation of Bernardo De Bernardinis, the head of Italy’s Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), who was convicted Monday. On Tuesday physicist Luciano Maiani resigned as president of the Major Risks Commission in the wake of the sentence.

He told ANSA that he had decided to resign due to the “impossibility for the commission of being able to work with serenity and provide the State with a high level of scientific consultancy in such complex conditions”.

The commission’s vice-president, Mauro Rosi, and its president emeritus, Giuseppe Zamberletti, also stepped down.

One of the defendants was Mauro Dolce, director of the civil protection department’s seismic and volcanic risks office, who also on Tuesday tendered his resignation.

On Monday a L’Aquila court sentenced seven scientists, all members of the commission at the time of the earthquake, to six years in jail and barred them from public office for allegedly providing “superficial and ineffective” assessment of seismic risk and of disclosing “inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory” information regarding earthquake danger.

The trial focused on one event in particular, in which the commission met on March 31, 2009 in L’Aquila to examine rumblings that had frightened residents for months.

In a memo, the experts concluded that it was “unlikely” that there would be a major quake, though it stressed that the possibility could not be ruled out.

One week later the 6.3-magnitude tremor hit, toppling buildings, killing 309 people and displacing 65,000 more in and around the city.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italian Cyclists Rebel Against UCI Over Armstrong Case

ACCPI calls on governing body to drop sporting-justice role

(ANSA) — Rome, October 26 — Italian professional cyclists’ association ACCPI on Friday challenged the authority of the sport’s international governing body, the UCI, for its handling of the Lance Armstrong case. On Monday the UCI stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him for life, but the move only came after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had done the same following probes into doping by the American rider.

ACCPI said in a statement that there were suspicions that the UCI had allegedly “not wanted to see” Armstrong’s illegal practices and even more serious ones of the possibility that the body was allegedly involved in covering them up.

Therefore, ACCPI called on the UCI to “take a step back so that cycling can regain credibility” and drop the role it has in administering sporting justice for cycling.

“The UCI can no longer be the guarantor of the application of sporting justice,” the ACCPI statement said.

“In our opinion, it’s necessary to create an independent, autonomous body of justice”. This week the UCI ratified the decision USADA took in August to strip Armstrong of his titles for participating in what was described as “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.

The 41-year-old American, a cancer survivor who was seen as a hero by many sufferers of the disease, called the charges “nonsense” but announced in August he would no longer contest them.

The UCI defended itself by saying that it did not have the anti-doping tools to detect Armstrong’s illegal practices when he was racing.

“The UCI has always been the first international sporting federation to embrace new developments in the fight against doping and it regrets that the anti-doping infrastructure that exists today was not available at that time so as to render such evasion impossible,” a UCI statement said. UCI President Pat McQuaid has rejected calls for him to resign over the Armstrong scandal.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Ex-Environment Min Among 17 Cited in Campania Waste Probe

Bordon, ex-Campania governor Bassolino charged over dumps

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — Former environment minister Willer Bordon, ex-Campania governor and former waste-emergency commissioner Antonio Bassolino and ex-welfare undersecretary Raffaele Morese were among 17 charged Thursday in connection with alleged irregularities in cleaning polluted waste dumps in the region around Naples.

The 17 are accused of depriving the Italian tax man of 43 million euros by giving a contract to a company to clean up polluted sites on the coast near Naples and in the countryside near Aversa north of the Campanian capital, prosecutors said. The work was worth 117 million euros, they said.

Campania has struggled for years with rubbish collection and toxic dumps.

The European Union has urged Italy to sort out the problems after a string of rubbish emergencies which hit front pages worldwide with pictures of a garbage-strewn Naples.

Bordon, 62, had a one-year stint as environment minister in a centre-left government from 200 to 2001.

Before that he was public works minister for a year, and afterwards cultural undersecretary, again for a year. photo: Bordon

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Woman Charged for Faking Blindness

Investigators say she received 50,000 euros in benefits

(ANSA) — Macerata, October 25 — Police on Thursday reported a woman registered as legally blind and claiming benefits for aggravated insurance fraud in the central Marche town of Macerata.

Photos and videos taken of the allegedly disabled woman reading death announcements, getting on and off buses unassisted and checking her watch led to charges against her.

Police said that she had received more than 50,000 euros in state support over the last five years.

Investigators say they are probing whether other people may have assisted the woman in the scam.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Mussolini’s Granddaughter Considers Running in PDL Primaries

Says certain issues need putting on agenda

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, said Thursday that she was considering running in primaries to be the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party premier candidate after Silvio Berlusconi said he would not run in next year’s elections.

“I’m thinking about it because there are issues that have not been touched on and which should be put on the agenda, such as children and the emergency women are facing with violence and work”.

Mussolini added that she thought Berlusconi’s decision not to stand for a fourth term as premier was “wise”.

“It puts in motion a mechanism of participation that will bring vital life for the future of the party,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Up to Four Million Legal Cases Pending in Italy

Report finds inefficiencies, flaws in system

(ANSA) — Rome, October 25 — As many as four million legal cases are pending in Italy, suggesting problems in the judicial system, says a new report released Thursday.

The report, presented in Vienna by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, evaluated the judicial systems in all but one of the 47 member states in the Council of Europe. Researchers examined the budgets, jurisdictional organization, the flow and length of legal proceedings in 2010.

And they found serious problems in Italy — primarily related to how long it takes to resolve legal disputes.

Some improvements were found compared with a similar report in 2008.

For example, civil disputes took an average of 492 days to resolve in 2010, an improvement over the 532-day average in 2008, said legal scholar Marco Velicogna of Italy’s Research Institute on Judicial Systems, who helped to prepare the report.

However, that’s still too long, especially compared with Spain’s average length of 289 days for a civil dispute; 279 in France; and 184 days in Germany.

And fully four million cases continue to clog the Italian system, he noted.

Many of those are in the criminal justice system, where there has been a steady increase in the length of proceedings: an average of 998 days, which he said is 194 days more than the average in 2008.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Gets Four Years for Mediaset Tax Fraud

Banned from public office for three

(ANSA) — Milan, October 26 — Former premier Silvio Berlusconi was found guilty Friday of tax fraud in the trading of film rights for TV broadcasts by his Mediaset media empire.

Berlusconi, who said this week he would not run for premier in April, was sentenced to four years and banned from public office for three.

The verdict was the first of a possible three since defendants are entitled to two appeals, the last to the supreme Court of Cassation.

The trial, which featured 11 defendants in all, was one of three involving the media magnate, including one in which he is accused of having sex with an underage alleged prostitute and using his position as premier to allegedly try to hush it up.

Berlusconi has been tried some 30 times but very rarely convicted.

The few convictions were either overturned on appeal or timed out, sometimes because of law changes made by his governments.

The ex-premier, replaced by technocrat Mario Monti almost a year ago, has fiercely argued he is the victim of a witch hunt by a group of allegedly left-leaning magistrates.

Mediaset President Fedele Confalonieri was acquitted Friday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Slovenia: Last Call From Brussels, Now Clean Up Landfills

18 are still in breach of legislation, 2 months to reply

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 24 — Slovenia has 18 landfills in breach of the legislation. Under EU law, landfilling should only be used as a last resort, and it can only be done under conditions that avoid impacts on human health and the environment. Existing landfills must meet a number of conditions in order to obtain an operating permit.

Slovenia had agreed to close or upgrade a number of landfills.

While some progress has been made and an adequate waste management system is now in place, 18 landfills are still in breach of the legislation. Ten landfills for municipal waste lack the appropriate permits, and eight more are still operating in defiance of a refusal by the national authorities to issue the necessary permits. The Commission is sending a reasoned opinion (the second stage in EU infringement proceedings), and Slovenia has two months to reply.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sweden Dems Tout Image ‘Remake’ Amid Poll Surge

The far-right Sweden Democrats want to rid themselves of the image that they are a bunch of “angry young men” as a poll released on Friday ranks them as Sweden’s third largest political party.

In a poll carried out by research firm Ipsos and published on Friday in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper, support for the Sweden Democrats surged 2.7 percentage points to 8.5 percent.

Coupled with a drop in support for the Green Party, which saw its poll figures fall by 2.7 points to 7.2 percent, the Sweden Democrats now rank as the third biggest party in Sweden behind the Moderates and the Social Democrats.

The figures come as the party gets set to release a plan detailing how it wants to alter its image ahead of the 2014 elections.

“There is undoubtedly some justification for the caricature of us Sweden Democrats as angry young men,” the plan reads.

Among other measures outlined in the plan, which will be revealed at a conference over the weekend, Sweden Democrat members should also strive to speak with one clear voice, dress well, and be careful about how they express themselves on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

In terms of policy goals, however, the party remains committed to ensuring Sweden takes in fewer asylum seekers by instead boosting humanitarian aid to areas in the world with large numbers of refugees.

“You can just as well put it that we’re helping more refugees than the other parties,” party leader Jimmie Åkesson told the TT news agency.

Moreover, the new poll numbers suggest that the party is gaining support among a wider cross-section of voters.

While the Sweden Democrats have usually proved popular with young men, workers, and low-educated voters, the poll reveals the party now has supporters among women and pensioners.

However, the greatest growth came among voters in the party’s traditional base.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swiss Expel French New Black Panther Activist

A radical French activist who heads the French branch of the New Black Panther Party was on Thursday expelled from Switzerland for fear he would incite violence, Geneva authorities said.

Stellio Capo Chichi, better known under the name Kemi Seba, was intercepted at Geneva airport Thursday afternoon and escorted to neighbouring France, where he was handed over to the authorities, the regional Geneva government said in a statement.

The move came shortly after federal Swiss police decided to ban Kemi Seba from entering the country.

He had planned to hold a conference in Geneva on Saturday entitled “Pan-Africanism and the crimes of imperialism”, but Swiss authorities feared he would use the occasion to “incite racial hatred and launch appeals for violence”.

Kemi Seba is well-known in France as the founder of the first “Tribu K” and later of “Jeunesse Kemi Saba”, or Kemi Saba Youth, both of which were dissolved by the French justice ministry for inciting a “racist and anti-Semitic” ideology.

He was appointed head of the French chapter of the NBPP in 2010.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Terrifying Traditions Ghastly Winter Demons Run Wild in the Alps

Halloween spooks are for wimps compared to the grisly Christmastime traditions of Europe’s Alps, where demonic creatures come out to punish misbehaved children or to drive winter away each year. A gorgeous new photography book explores the many guises of these wild monsters, whose traditional rumpus harkens back to pagan rites.

With its bright-red eyes, green cheeks, oddly crooked nose and rows of white teeth, the monster carved out of wood looks like it should be on a Native American totem pole or a mask from Papua New Guinea. But the blonde Heidi-style braids attached to the mask made of Swiss pine betray a different origin. The image of the mask wasn’t captured in an exotic, far-off place, but the picturesque Swiss valley of Lötschental.

“When you discover something like this practically at your doorstep, it is fantastic,” says photographer Carsten Peter. “I travel a lot, and that sharpens the sense for such things.”

Peter’s photography book, “Alpendämonen,” or “Demons of the Alps,” explores 20 different such wintertime traditions from the Alps that include gruesome masks, costumed processions and pagan rites. The at time terrifying figures often go by different names, but are most commonly known as Krampus or Perchten, who serve as helpers to Saint Nicholaus. They threaten to punish or even kidnap naughty children when he visits on the evening of Dec. 5, ahead of the Feast of St. Nicholas the following day.

Other monsters are the symbolic expression of driving out winter and its demons to herald warmer seasons to come, and their costumes and processions vary between regions. In the largely German-speaking northern Italian region of South Tyrol, for example, residents of a town stage the Wudeljagd, or “Wudel Hunt,” whereby dragon-like figures called Schnappviecher, or “snapping animals,” are slaughtered by men in butcher’s outfits during a procession. The butchers represent spring, which triumphs over winter.

Research for the book took four years, and Peter attended some of the events more than once before he was satisfied with his images. “It was very difficult photographically,” he says. “One had to be very close, travel great distances — and much of it happens at night without good lighting.” But it is precisely the motion blurring and spooky atmosphere that illuminates the sheer oddity of his subjects. Peter’s goal was to make them look “as exotic as possible,” and achieve a “foreign look at my own culture.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Eid Celebrations Across East Lancashire

THOUSANDS of Muslims across East Lancashire are today celebrating Eid, to mark the annual Hajj. The second Eid of the year is known as the ‘Festival of sacrifice’ and coincides with the pilgrimage to Mecca. Coun Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: “Every mosque in the borough will be packed full. We wish everybody, both the Muslims and the indigenous population across Lancashire a very happy Eid, and we hope to share this very happy celebration.” Following both sessions of prayers, the community retires to spend time with family and friends. Ibrahim Master, chairman of Diverse Communities, said: “It’s a joyous occasion for the community and is an opportunity to have all the enjoyment the Koran allows, but we must only indulge in what is permitted. In recent years, some of the younger people have rented cars and gone speeding, and playing music very loudly around the residential areas. This is not right.”


[JP note: Indeed. Neither is the Islamification of the UK.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Home Secretary Urged to Ban ‘Racist’ EDL

ROTHERHAM’s councillor responsible for community cohesion has written to Home Secretary Theresa May describing the impact of the far right English Defence League’s march in the town — and calling for membership of the group to be banned. Coun Jahangir Akhtar said there were ‘several arrests’ and a number of skirmishes between groups of people in the town centre after the march. He estimated the cost of the police operation during the event, and a rival gathering by Unite Against Fascism, was £300,000. Coun Akhtar said: “The damage to the wider economy is also significant — possibly of greater magnitude to the policing costs as many town centre businesses decided not to open for fear of staff and customer safety, damage to their premises, the rise in insurance costs and the down-time in making repairs.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Jimmy Savile and the Dangers of Received Wisdom

by Douglas Murray

What does the Jimmy Savile case tell us about received wisdom? Over the last few weeks it has become clear that one of the most famous people in Britain was known by very many people to be an active, abusive paedophile. Many other people in broadcasting knew it. People in charities he was associated with knew it. People in hospitals he was associated with warned child patients about how to get around it. The person who founded Childline, no less, had heard about it. But nobody said or did anything…

Two things about human nature always come out of such stories: one is completely gloom-laden, the other inspiring. The gloom-laden one is this: that we are such appalling, gullible, fearful, weak and sheep-like creatures that we are willing to put up with anything — including (and as many figures in the Catholic church also recently demonstrated) massive on-going abuse of children — rather than make our lives difficult for even a moment by pointing to a terrible thing that is happening.

The positive thing is that it should remind us of the power that even one individual armed with the truth has to correct a terrible wrong. It is one of the most vital arguments for nearly limitless free-speech, that even one person with a dissenting view must be heard if we are to correct the errors of a whole people. If a person has truth on their side, and they are willing to speak up, then they can do anything: turning round the course of a lifetime, a government or a nation.

[Reader comment by Susan on 26 October 2012 at about 10:30 am.]

This is BBC’s phone hacking moment, only many times worse. They cheered Murdoch’s discomfiture, and in my opinion, even assisted in the process. But now that their own dirty laundry is hanging out on the wash line, albeit still unwashed, their sheer hypocrisy, political skullduggery and contempt for truth is exposed for everyone to see. Just like the Guardian, they are nothing but a lefty, anti-Judeo/Christian, pro Hamas, Islamist propagandist institution. Now delete this comment and prove yet again that you’re no different.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Key Issues Raised as Mosque Leaders Meet Police and Councillors

The leaders of Northampton’s mosques have met with councillors and police to raise issues of community safety. The meeting on Tuesday looked at several issues including parking, the safety of people attending mosques for prayers and classes, and the recent gold burglaries affecting the Asian community. Taxi driver safety was also raised with police, who are working with drivers to improve safety and reduce the incidences of anti-social behaviour they are experiencing. It was also agreed that an all-mosque committee would be formed to organise a town Eid celebration for next year. The meeting was hosted by Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle, with Councillor Tony Ansell (Con, Abington) and Nazim Choudary (Lab, St Davids).

A spokesman for Abington Central Mosque, said: “It is very important all the mosques come together with local authority officers and police to deal with issues as they arise. “This way we can all work together for community cohesion and the development of relationships built on trust. Having a committee with representatives from all the mosques to organise Eid for next year will be a big step forward for the community and will also help promote positive community relations.”

[JP note: That’ll be the day.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mosque Development Held Up by Council

Builders converting a corner unit on London Road into a mosque are waiting for Sheffield Council to act, so they are able to complete construction.

The delay is caused by the Whitney Street road sign which is fixed to the original skin of the building. A new outer wall is has been built around the building in order to make it more in keeping with traditional Islamic architecture. The corner of Baitul Mukarram Jamb Mosque has been unfinished for a number of weeks in order to allow the Council to move it. Nevertheless, the premises are now being used for their intended religious purpose. Section 19 of the 1925 Public Heath Act states that ‘If any person pulls down any inscription of the name of a street which has lawfully been set up, or sets up in any street any name different from the name lawfully given to the street, or places or affixes any notice or advertisement within twelve inches of any name of a street marked on a house, building, or erection in pursuance of this section, he shall be liable to a penalty.’

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: New Mosque Planned for Mill Road

Cambridge City Council has announced plans to construct the city’s first purpose-built mosque, after it approved plans submitted by the Muslim Academic Trust.

The application for the £17.5 million building, which will occupy the former site of the Robert Sayle warehouse on Mill Road, was initially met with mixed reactions when it was submitted in August. City centre residents opposed the construction on the grounds of parking and traffic congestion, as the area is a popular shopping street and residential area. This comes after the news in December last year that homeowners on the street received anonymous leaflets asking them if Cambridge needed “a megamosque… that will dominate and overbear the area”. The pamphlets also warned of disturbance, and attempts have been made to veto the plans due to possible fears about congestion. The Muslim Academic Trust responded to the claims by saying that car parking facilities would be included, and many worshippers would cycle or work to the mosque…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Rotherham Councillor Urges Home Secretary to Ban EDL

Rotherham’s councillor responsible for community cohesion has written to Home Secretary Theresa May describing the impact of the far right English Defence League’s march in the town — and calling for membership of the group to be banned…

[JP note: One law for Muslims, crumbs for the rest.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Real Lesson of the Jimmy Savile Scandal

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. The answer must involve the threatening character of Savile, the cult of celebrity and the mind-twisting fact of his charity work. 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…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Whether It’s the Hutton Report or Jimmy Savile, The BBC is Hopeless in a Crisis

by Andrew Gilligan

Peter Rippon of Newsnight has been hung out to dry as his BBC bosses play the blame game

As for almost everyone who grew up in the 1970s, BBC children’s television took hold of me and never quite let go. For hours every week, I lived in a safe and cosy world with my friends, Lesley Judd and John Craven, Peter Purves, Noel Edmonds — and Jimmy Savile. The horror of this scandal is not only what Savile did to dozens, or hundreds, of trusting children. In a much smaller way, he — and the people who let him do it — have violated the childhoods of millions. I can never think of my after-school viewing in quite the same way again. I now know that unimpeachable as those first four presenters may have been, the late Sir Jimmy was not my friend; that behind all the bonhomie and security, which I rushed home to join, lay the curved corridors of BBC Television Centre, with terrible things going on in the dressing rooms.

For me, as a survivor of a previous BBC crisis, recent attempts to draw up a league table of Beeb scandals seem slightly silly — but there’s a case for saying that this is indeed one of the worst. In the Hutton affair, the public was on our side and the BBC was broadly in the right. Few now doubt, as I claimed on the Today show, that the famous dossier was sexed up. With Savile, however, the picture looks bleaker. For him, and perhaps for some other stars as yet unnamed, we now realise that the BBC wasn’t just a broadcaster for children. It was, however unwittingly, a sexual procurer of children. The BBC created Savile. It gave him the platform and the stardom that drew in the young, which persuaded parents, or those in loco parentis, to entrust him with their sons and daughters. It appears to have known or suspected what he was doing, and turned a blind eye, for four decades…

The other thing about BBC management is that, a little like officers in the Tsarist Russian army, they have almost no contact with the grunts who do the actual work. Newsnight reporters knew all along how a cancellation would be seen — and made strenuous efforts to warn their bosses — but as we learnt from Mr Entwistle on Wednesday, he doesn’t believe it’s “always appropriate” to “talk to people on the shop floor”. That alone, I think, raises serious questions about George Entwistle’s suitability to run anything. As the Panorama special on Savile showed, some of the BBC’s reporters are lions. But they really are led by donkeys.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Walthamstow: Police ‘Ban’ EDL Static Protest

POLICE have announced new restrictions which in effect ban the far-right English Defence League (EDL) from holding even a static protest in Walthamstow this weekend. The government confirmed yesterday that all marches would be banned in Waltham Forest for the next 30 days, but the EDL vowed to hold a static demonstration on Saturday (October 27) instead. The Home Office said yesterday that static protests could not be banned, but the Met says it has now imposed protest “conditions” under the Public Order Act, which mean the EDL can only legally demonstrate in London outside the Houses of Parliament between 1pm and 2pm tomorrow.

But the group, which claims to be a “movement” opposed to Islamic extremism but which critics say is racist, has said it will return to the borough when the march ban expires.

In a statement, the EDL said: “We have informed the Met Police that once the 30 day ban has ceased then the EDL will be applying again to march in Walthamstow and will keep on applying until we are allowed to march the route that we have chosen.” The group also advised its members to stay away from Walthamstow this weekend…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Al-Qaeda Leader Calls on Muslims to Kidnap Westerners

AFP — Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Egyptians to restart their revolution to press for Islamic law and called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, the SITE Intelligence Group said Friday.

In a video released on jihadist forums and translated by the US monitoring service, Zawahiri also lashed out at President Barack Obama, calling him a liar and demanding he admit defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa.

Criticizing the new Egyptian government — led by a president drawn from the Muslim Brotherhood — as corrupt, he said a battle is being waged in Egypt between a secular minority and Muslims seeking implementation of Shariah law.

The Egyptian doctor, the former deputy to slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, said these Egyptians want to see their government liberated from US influence and Palestinian victory over Israel, SITE reported.

“The battle isn’t over, but it has started,” Zawahiri said, urging “every sincere person in Egypt” to “wage a popular campaign to incite and preach in order to complete the revolution, which was aborted.

“The revolution in Egypt must continue and the Muslim Ummah must offer sacrifices until it achieves what it wants and until it snatches from the corrupt forces … the dignity and honor of Egypt.”

Massive protests erupted on January 25, 2011 and toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak after more than 30 years of iron-fisted rule. He was replaced by the Islamist Mohamed Morsi after elections earlier this year.

Zawahiri said liberating Omar Abdul Rahman, an Egyptian cleric jailed in the United States for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center attack, and inmates at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay was an “obligatory duty for every Muslim.”

“I call upon Muslims to capture citizens of the countries that wage wars against Muslims,” he said.

“Our captives or Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahamn will not be liberated except through force, for it is the only language that they understand.”

In that vein, he referenced Warren Weinstein, a relief worker with USAID who was captured in Lahore, Pakistan, in August 2011.

Zawahiri also called Obama a “professional liar.”

“Obama must admit he and his allies are standing in the defeated line, and that Osama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy on him, and the rest of the Mujahideen and the Muslim Ummah are standing in the victorious line, whether anyone likes it or not.”

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

CIA Operators Were Denied Request for Help During Benghazi Attack

How would you feel if it were YOUR family member who asked for military intervention three times but were denied it by this Administration — and then were slaughtered?

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were part of a small team who were at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When they heard the shots fired, they radioed to inform their higher-ups to tell them what they were hearing. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. An hour later, they called again to headquarters and were again told to “stand down.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Morocco: Hm the King Sends Congratulatory Messages to Leaders of Islamic States on Eid Al Adha

Rabat — On the occasion of Eid Al Adha (feast of the lamb), HM King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, sent messages of congratulations to leaders of brotherly Islamic countries, wishing them health and happiness, and progress and prosperity for their peoples. In these messages, HM the King underlines that the celebration by the Umman of this joyful event crowns the season of pilgrimage, embodies the values of selflessness and sacrifice, and symbolizes attachment to Islamic unity. “It urges Muslims to remain attached to the teachings of our holy religion which calls for sticking to the values of solidarity, justice, peace, moderation and tolerance, and refraining from anything that could stir violence and discord,” the sovereign said. “May God assist all Muslim leaders and peoples to close their ranks and reinforce their ties of brotherly solidarity in this delicate phase of history, marked by rapid changes and mutations,” the message concluded.

[JP note: Delicate for the West, delicious for Islam.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Refused CIA Requests for Military Backup During Benghazi Attack

The scandal just keeps getting bigger, while the mainstream media tries furiously to distract attention from it.

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials — who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Hidden Real Truth About Benghazi

Based on information provided by my source and corroborated elsewhere, the official account by administration officials is a mosaic of lies that were necessary to cover the unpalatable truth of covert actions taking place in Libya, Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The primary objective of our covert actions was to secretly arm anti-Assad “rebels” in Syria by funneling arms from Libya to Syria via Turkey, with other destinations that included Jordan and Lebanon. Regarding the threat to Stevens and the other murdered Americans, the truth will reformat the persistent question posed to government officials, from UN Ambassador Susan Rice to White House Spokesman Jay Carney and others from “how could you not have known” to “how could you have done these things?”

First, it is important to understand that Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Dougherty and Tyrone Woods were not killed at a consulate office in Benghazi—as there is not such office there. They died at one of the largest CIA operations centers in the Middle East, which was located in Benghazi and served as the logistics headquarters for arms and weapons being shipped out of the post-Qaddafi Libya.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Tunisia: Salafist Leader ‘Abu Ayub’ Sentenced to One Year in Prison

Tunis — The Tunis Court of First Instance Thursday sentenced Slim Guetari, better known as “Abu Ayub,” to one year in prison for “inciting” the attack on the US Embassy in Tunis last September 14.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Islam Gets a Bad Press, But There Are Many Stories Our Media Doesn’t Tell

by Lee Williams

As the history books illustrate, Islam has as much claim to be the religion of forgiveness as Christianity. So why don’t we hear these stories?

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Where do you think you could read this piece of religious hate-mongering? On the blog of some ultra-right wing nationalist like Anders Breivik? Scrawled on the walls of a Palestinian dwelling by Jewish settlers? Perhaps the words of some British political relic at the time of the break up of the empire? Think again. If you live in New York, you can read these words everyday on your trip to work on the subway or the New York buses…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Israel Mum Over Sudanese Arms Plant Blast

JERUSALEM, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Israel had nothing to say about Wednesday’s explosion at an arms factory in Khartoum, Sudan. Israel officially has no comment on the event, the prime minster said at a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Jerusalem. Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated Netanyahu’s response, telling Channel 2 news that there is “nothing to say” about this topic…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sudan Vows No Retreat From Supporting Hamas in Aftermath of Israeli ‘Aggression’

Khartoum — The speaker of the Sudanese parliament, Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Tahir, declared on Thursday that the Israeli attack on Al-Yarmook arms factory will not deter his country from continuing its support to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Caroline Glick: Libya, Jordan and Obama’s Guiding Lights

Monday’s US presidential debate on foreign policy came and went. And we are none the wiser for it.

Not surprisingly, at the height of the campaign season, neither US President Barack Obama nor his Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney was interested in revealing his plans for the next four years..

But from what was said, we can be fairly certain that a second Obama term will involve no departure from his foreign policy in his current term in office.

As far as Iran and its nuclear weapons program is concerned, that policy has involved a combination of occasional tough talk and a relentless attempt to appease the mullahs. While Obama denied The New York Times report from last weekend that he has agreed to carry out new bilateral negotiations with Iran after the US presidential elections, his administration has acknowledged that it would be happy to have such talks if they can be arranged.

As for Romney, his statements of support for tougher sanctions, including moving to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the crime of incitement of genocide were certainly welcome.

But they were also rather out of date, given the lateness of the hour.

If there was ever much to recommend it, the “sanction Iran into abandoning its nuclear weapons” policy is no longer a relevant option. The timetables are too short…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

EU Sakharov Prize Goes to Iranian Dissidents

(AGI) Strasbourg, Oct. 26 — The director Jafar Panahi and human rights activist and lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, won the 2012 Sakharov Prize. It is the first time that the European Parliament has awarded the prestigious prize for freedom of thought to two members of the Iranian opposition. The winners were preferred to the band Pussy Riot and Belarusian dissident Ales Beliatski.

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

Saudi Grand Mufti Calls Muslim Countries to Apply Sharia, Even in Shared Relations

For three million Muslims these are the days of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Today they will observe the “stoning of the devil”. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh underscores the importance of the application of Islamic law, in all areas of life, including politics, while “some slogans raised among Muslims these days call for setting up democratic states with no connection with the Islamic Shariah. “

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The need to apply Sharia, or Islamic law, in all areas of life even in relations between Muslim states. This is the invitation that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh addressed to the nearly three million faithful who in these days are making the pilgrimage (Haj) to Mecca.

For them, today is the day of the “stoning of the devil”, symbolized by the stone throwing against three Jamarat, tall pillars, which have now been replaced for safety reasons by long walls (see photo). This is in fact the most dangerous moment of the pilgrimage: the stone throwing has sometimes caused riots and in 2008 caused the death of 346 pilgrims.

The ritual takes place in Mina, east of Mecca and follows the Wuqoof-e-Arafat, when the faithful gather in the plains of Arafat and recite “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik,” Here I am, O God, in answer to your call. Helicopters and thousands of police agents have followed the journey, which took place in a hot 37 degrees, relieved by hydrants that bathe the pilgrims. After sunset, they came to Muzdalifa, a plain where traditionally they gather stones that today are launched against the Jamarat.

But yesterday was also the day of the sermon of the Grand Mufti who urged believers to “make all your efforts to achieve dignified living for your people and end their sufferings.” He called on them to treat people with “justice and fairness” and underlined the importance of the application of Sharia, or Islamic law, in all areas of life, including politics, while “ some slogans raised among Muslims these days call for setting up democratic states with no connection with the Islamic Shariah. “

“The leaders of the Muslim world should engage in dialogue and comply with Shariah in resolving differences.” Muslim leaders must be on guard not to become prey to the schemes of their enemies, who are trying to ignite sectarianism and destabilize the security of the Ummah, the Islamic nation.

Muslim nations should also exchange expertise in the economic, business and scientific spheres. “ This will achieve two benefits for Muslim nations. First, there will be a political advantage. A Muslim nation should run its own affairs without interference from outside. Second, there will be an economic advantage. Production will increase in Muslim countries and more job opportunities will be created. Moreover, the well-educated will stay and will not leave for non-Muslim countries “

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

Saudi Arabia: Child Molester Arrested in Jeddah

Ibrahim Alawi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Police have arrested a Chadian in connection with the kidnap and sexual assault of a boy. Police said the attacker also stole a car and changed its number plates. Officers circulated a description of the car and a manhunt was launched. A short while later, a security patrol spotted a car matching the description and tried to stop it, but the driver got out and fled. The security personnel chased and arrested him. The assault victim identified the driver as his attacker. A white belt dropped by the driver when he ran away contained a gun, bullets, and some cash and was kept as evidence by the investigating team…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Saudizing Mosque Jobs

Yasser Salamah

Al-Madinah newspaper

I WOULD suggest to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance not to build or issue licenses to philanthropists to construct any new mosque before making sure the project will include suitable housing for the imam, muezzin, guard and janitor. If we are insistent on Saudizing the jobs of imams and muezzins, we should first of all ensure them with suitable accommodation. Nobody with the slightest sense of patriotism would stand against Saudization of these two important jobs. But how can Saudization of the jobs of mosque imams and muezzins be achievable if obstacles prevailing in many of our big mosques hinder it? The most important of these obstacles is the lack of suitable living quarters for the imams and muezzins…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UAE: Dubai Hopes to Push Eid Sales Through All-Day Opening Time

DUBAI, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — For the first time, Dubai’s major shopping malls are open around the clock during the Islamic feast Eid al-Adha, in a bid to attract shoppers from across the Arab world. During this year’s Eid al-Adha, which starts on Oct. 26 and will lasts for four days, the Gulf business metropolis Dubai, with its traditional instinct for business and tourism, will keep its major shopping centers open for 24 hours each day until Oct. 28…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Zionism-Imperialism After Igniting Civil War Among Muslims: Analyst

A prominent analyst and Imam of Washington D.C Islamic Center tells Press TV that the Zionist-Imperialist axis seek to ignite a kind of Sunni-Shiite civil war among the Muslims at a time when Muslim Ummah needs unity to free the Palestinian lands.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has warned against the conspiracies of the global hegemonic powers to divert the tide of the popular Islamic Awakening in the region. In his annual message to 2012 Hajj Pilgrims on Thursday, the Leader lauded the popular uprisings and revolutions across the Arab countries as “one of the most crucial issues of the Muslim world” and noted, “If Muslims let go this great opportunity without using it to reform the Islamic Ummah, they would incur great losses. The aggressive and interventionist arrogant powers are making every effort to divert the course of these significant Islamic movements,” Imam Khamenei pointed out. Press TV has interviewed Muhammaed al-Asi, Imam of Washington D.C Islamic Center from Washington to shed more light on the issue at hand. He is joined by two additional guests: Imam of Masjid al-Islam Abdul Alim Musa from Washington and the Beirut-based Political Analyst Ibrahim Mousawi. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Bomb-Sniffing Dog Killed in Afghanistan is Honoured

A bomb-sniffing army dog who died in Afghanistan on the day his handler was killed has been honoured with Britain’s highest award for animal bravery. Springer spaniel mix Theo was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal on Thursday at a ceremony in London…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Death Toll Rises to 112 in Renewed Riot in Myanmar Western State: Official

YANGON, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — At least 112 people including 61 women have been killed and 72 others injured in renewed sectarian riots occurred in six townships in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state over the past five days, according to local official sources Friday. The number of death toll was compiled as of Friday’s noon, U Win Myaing, Rakhine State spokesman told Xinhua, adding that the situation in the area is leading to calm down. During the riot, over 2,300 houses were destroyed in arson fire in six townships — Myaebon, Mrauk U, Kyauk Phyu, Minbya, Yathedaung and Kyauktaw. The local authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew from 7 p.m. (local time) to 5 a.m. in Minbya and Mrauk U since Oct. 22 night as the riot escalated there.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Dozens Killed in Fresh Burma Violence

At least 56 people have been killed and thousands of homes torched in communal violence in western Burma, a local government spokesman said Friday, as international concern over the unrest grew.

People have fled their homes in droves following the latest clashes in Rakhine state, which was rocked by Buddhist-Muslim violence in June that split communities and left tens of thousands of mainly Muslim Rohingya in camps. More than 150 people have now been killed in the state since June, according to the authorities, who have imposed emergency rule in the face of continued explosive tension in the region. “Twenty-five men and 31 women have been killed in four townships and 2,000 houses were burnt,” Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing told AFP while an official in Rangoon who requested anonymity said the toll could be as high as 67. Burma’s 800,000 Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh by the government and many Burmese — who call them “Bengalis”. The latest violence, which prompted Burma’s main Islamic organisations to cancel celebrations for the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday that began on Friday, is seen as serious challenge to the government as the nation emerges from decades of military rule…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

India: Costly Goats Bogging Down Devout Muslims on Eid

NAGPUR: On Bakri-Eid this year many goat dealers and butchers are cursing the mobile connectivity. The easy communication is now helping farmers and dealers from areas around Nagpur to bargain for better prices for their stock. The fall out is that goats meant for the city are now being sold in Hyderabad where they are getting a better price…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

More Than 30 Dead in Afghanistan After Suicide Blast

A suicide bomber killed as many as 37 and wounded dozens more today when he detonated among worshippers at northern mosque on the first day of a Muslim holiday.

The blast tore through a crowd gathered outside the packed mosque as worshippers marked the beginning of the Eid al-Adha festival. Many police officers were reported to be among the dead and several senior local officials were also present at the blast in Maymana, capital of Afghanistan’s Faryab province. There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing at the Eid Gah mosque and it was not immediately clear if anyone in particular had been targeted. Faryab is not a stronghold of the Taliban, but it has seen increasing violence in recent years and this week has seen bloody clashes between the security forces and insurgents. The Taliban’s shadow governor for Faryab was killed along with 24 of his fighters on Wednesday after a prolonged battle which also killed five policemen, the governor has said…

[JP note: Another one to chalk up for Anders Fogh Rasmussen ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

No One Hurt as Afghan Roadside Bomb Hits Italian Convoy

Attack a day after 52nd victim in eight-year mission

(ANSA) — Kabul, October 26 — A roadside bomb hit an Italian military convoy in Afghanistan Friday but no one was hurt, military sources said.

On Thursday Corporal Tiziano Chierotti, 24, became Italy’s 52nd victim in the eight-year NATO-led ISAF mission.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sacrifice in Afghanistan

If we fail to build the basis of democracy in Afghanistan, the deaths of British servicemen and women will have been in vain

Again the list of casualties in Helmand lengthens: this time with the deaths of a Royal Marine and female medic, in a confused firefight involving Afghan forces in Nahr-e Saraj district. The killings brought the British death toll in the country to 435. Taken alongside further casualties among American forces this week, and a report from the Commons international development select committee warning that Afghanistan may never be a viable and sustainable state, they will provide extra ammunition for those who argue for a hasty exit by the West.

Such a temptation to despair, however, should be resisted. As the committee says in its report, we owe it to the many Britons who have died in the conflict, or been maimed or traumatised, to ensure that their efforts were not in vain. If we fail to build the skeleton of a democracy that can accommodate the country’s different factions while resisting the irreconcilable militants, then we will have done precisely that.

Moreover, as Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general, noted on these pages earlier this week, there are reasons for hope. Afghan forces are increasingly capable; the Taliban are being pushed back into areas distant from the centres of population; and violence has, in many areas, been diminishing. In terms of aid spending, while throwing large sums at the corrupt Afghan government has often proved a fool’s errand, the MPs on the committee found that smaller-scale projects have done much to improve the lot of ordinary Afghans, and can do more in future — one of many recommendations that will help the Department for International Development in its work. No one is pretending that a successful outcome to the West’s efforts in Afghanistan is inevitable. But neither is their failure.

[Reader comment by Allectus on 26 October 2012 at about 9am.]

That the deaths of soldiers might not be “in vain” is the classic plea of supporters of failed military enterprises throughout history, and of governments desperate to buy time, at the cost of yet more soldiers’ lives, to defer the day of reckoning for their hubris and incompetence. (The true measure of the Government’s valuation of British servicemen may be gauged from its politically motivated decision, designed to appease corrupt elites in Afghanistan, to prosecute a squad of Royal Marines for the alleged “murder” of a Taleban prisoner.)

The other big lie is that our troops are fighting in Afghanistan to defend our national security. Tighter border controls and a more aggressive policy towards resident hostile aliens were always much more likely to defeat domestic terrorism than the kind of foreign adventurism and “nation-building” favoured by Blair and Cameron. Deporting a single Islamist fanatic would do more for our national security than killing 100 Taleban fighters, and wouldn’t cost a single British life. So why should our soldiers have to die in Iraq or Afghanistan just because the Government is too craven to repeal the Human Rights Act or to stand up to ideologically-driven judicial activism at home or in the ECHR?

In any case, our current mode of intervention in Afghanistan is futile. Perhaps the Taleban can’t defeat our forces; but they’ve always known that they don’t have to: all they’ve ever needed to do is keep them engaged and hold out until the political will to keep tens of thousands of foreign troops in Afghanistan evaporates — next month, next year or five years from now. So not only is walking away from Afghanistan not unthinkable, it is inevitable; it’s just a question of when, and how many more British lives are wasted before we accept this fact.

But “walking away” doesn’t mean we should negotiate with the Taleban, or that we can’t continue to offer limited support to factions hostile to the Taleban. Let us remember that, even without such support, and with the Taleban receiving generous material assistance from Pakistan, the old Northern Alliance remained undefeated. I can therefore see no reason why an anti-Taleban alliance, with Western logistical and tactical support, would not be able to keep the Taleban tied down indefinitely (although we should be resigned to the fact that the Taleban will take control of Kandahar and the southern provinces). There’s no need to install “democracy” (whatever that’s supposed to mean to venal and corrupt wretches like Karzai) or pursue a negotiated peace. We owe the Afghan people and the Obama Administration precisely nothing. Our sole consideration should be our national interest. We should pull out now.

[Reader comment by Bob Landy on 26 October 2012 at about 9am.]

The threat in the UK is self inflicted and nobody has the ***** to do anything about it. Deporting, instead of importing, the enemy would be a good start.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Let US Conform to Law and Order, Fashola Tells Muslims

As muslims in the country join their counterparts worldwide to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has enjoined all Nigerians to conform to the tenets of the rule of law saying without law and order, no society would prosper. In his Sallah message to the muslims, the governor stressed that the act of obedience as demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim when he was commanded by Almighty Allah to sacrifice his only son, Ismail, was a compelling factor for all muslims to lead from the front in the maintenance of law and order in our society…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Why South African Olive Oil is Really Lekker

[There doesn’t seem to be much integrity left in the Old World, even when it comes to their prize, heritage-based products. — LH]

[…] The “Mediterranean diet”, celebrated for its health benefits, probably has a lot to do with the fact that many South Africans believe that the world’s best olive oils hail from Italy and Spain.

That, and slick marketing.

Which explains why local olive oils count for only about 30 percent of total olive oil sales. And it doesn’t help that the imported oils are mostly substantially cheaper than the South African ones. […] [M]uch of the oil that gets passed off as extra virgin olive oil in supermarkets across the world is actually adulterated olive oil with low-grade vegetable oils and added artificial colouring.

Some of the oil starts off being half decent, but by the time it’s sold, it is so old that it has lost its taste and its health properties along with it.

Governments have been loathe to do anything about this mass deception because bad olive oil isn’t fatal […]

[A]s [olive oil expert Tom]Mueller says, cheap olive oil and extra virgin olive oil are two completely different things.

“Extra virgin olive oil is a squeezed fruit juice, and in many cases, cheap imports are just dumbed down liquid fat.”

Aside from its superior quality, he says, another reason local olive oil costs quite a bit more than the imports is that the EU subsidises olive oil farming and production to the tune of about e2 (R22.70) a bottle, which puts the European producers at a massive advantage in the global marketplace.

Consumer assumptions that the Mediterraneans make the world’s best olive oil simply aren’t true, because the ancient, traditional ways of olive farming and olive oil production are no longer the best, Mueller says.

“The New World countries — South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the US (California) are not blinded by the past or committed to doing things the way their forefathers did, so using new farming and production methods they’re making some really world-class olive oils.”

Unlike wine, olive oil does not improve with age. In fact, olive oil deteriorates with age, so the fresher the better — nothing older than two years. […]

To preserve its freshness, it should be kept away from air, light and excessive heat. But not in the fridge. […]

So, what should you look for on an olive oil bottle?

As far as Mueller’s concerned, go straight to the local olive oils and choose one with an SA [South African] Olive seal, which tells you the SA Olive Association has tested it chemically and for taste. […]

Next, check for the age of the oil, given that fresh is best. […]

Most imported oils do not indicate the year of harvest, which, given that freshness is key, is a significant omission.

“The only indication that you are likely to find on imported oils is bottling date, which tells you nothing,” Mueller says.

“That oil could have been sitting in a tank for two to three years before it was bottled.”

And what about taste?

“Really fresh extra virgin olive oil is fruity and aromatic, often with a marked bitterness and pungency, whereas the inferior stuff is either completely characterless, or worse — so old it’s rancid.”

And if it’s rancid, it’s anything but good for you. […]

[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Fidel Castro: The Quintessential Communist

My foremost memory of Fidel Castro dates to 1961 during the Cuban Missile Crisis when, as a young soldier, the Second Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia was put on full readiness in the event the U.S. had to invade Cuba. I was informed that I would remain in the Army “for the duration” thereby extending my enlistment. Happily, the crisis was resolved in 13 days, but everybody was holding their breath.

I had begun to hear of Castro as he pursued his efforts to overthrow the Cuban dictator General Fulgencia Batista who had overthrown an elected government. Throughout my college years, 1955-1959 at the University of Miami I had become friends with the sons of wealthy Cubans who were sent to the U.S. for a higher education. There were discussions as to whether they should return if he was successful. I knew nothing of Batista beyond the fact he was a dictator, but I harbored doubts about Castro even then. It was during the Cold War and anything that suggested a communist revolution made me wary.

Castro had been born into a wealthy family in 1926 and had drifted into the communist orbit like so many who thought it would bring “social justice” to the masses.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


69 Migrants Rescued Between Africa and Italy

Taken to Lampedusa

(ANSA) — Lampedusa, October 26 — The Italian coast guard took 69 migrants from a struggling dinghy in the Sicilian Channel between Africa and Italy to safety on the stepping-stone island of Lampedusa Friday.

Migrant crossings form north Africa have increased lately because of a prolonged spell of good weather.

The 69, who all said they were from sub-Saharan Africa, were reported to be in good health.

Meanwhile 15 minors were moved from Lampedusa’s migrant reception centre to youth homes around Agrigento.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Immigrants Know More About Britain Than the British, Says Labour MP Sadiq Khan

A left-wing MP has claimed that new immigrants know more about the nation’s heritage than many Britons. Labour justice spokesman Sadiq Khan said that it ‘frustrated’ him to see newcomers obliged to sit citizenship tests when many people ‘know b***** all’ about British history. Mr Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants and MP for Tooting in South London, said he met many people who have gone through the citizenship ceremony who feel ‘so excited and enthused’. But he added: ‘Then I’ll be canvassing in my area and there’ll be people who have lived in the same home for three or four or five generations who know b***** all about our country, about our heritage…

[Reader comment by MaBle, Northumberland on 26 October 2012 at 9:11 am.]

If talking out of your backside was an Olympic sport, Sadiq Khan would win a gold medal! On a serious note, this is dangerous and divisive but not unexpected from this man!

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Myanmar: Rakhine: More Than 100 Dead in Clashes Between Ethnic Burmese and Rohingya

Fighting between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims restarted on Sunday. So far, in addition to the dead, 72 people have been injured and some 2,000 homes set on fire. Myanmar president rails against manipulators who are behind the violence, pledges action by the military and the authorities to restore stability. Bangladesh tightens controls to stop refugees from reaching its coasts.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Interethnic clashes between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims have caused the death of more than 100 people in Rakhine, a state in western Myanmar on the border with Bangladesh, this according to official government sources. The authorities are now concerned that the strife could harm the country’s reputation, undermining the peace process and democratisation. In view of this, President Thein Sein warned that the military and police would act to restore peace by force if necessary.

Rakhine State spokesman Win Myaing said 112 people died in clashes that began Sunday between Buddhist Rakhinese and the Muslim Rohingya, with 72 people reportedly injured, including 10 children. Earlier, the authorities had announced that almost 2,000 homes had been burnt down during the violence. As a result, they imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Parts of the state have been under a state of emergency since 10 June. Matters could still get worse. Until yesterday, the official number of victims was low according to the media because of delays by local officials in making public the real figures.

In a strongly worded statement, Myanmar President’s Office warned that manipulators responsible for the recent sectarian clashes in Rakhine state would be exposed. Because of them, Burmese Muslims have cancelled celebrations for the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha).

The situation is undermining Myanmar’s international image, the president said. For this reason, “The army, police, and authorities in cooperation with local people will try to restore peace and stability and will take legal action against any individual or organisation that is trying to instigate the unrest”.

Back in June, the District Court in Kyaukphyu (Rakhine) imposed the death sentence on three Muslims for the rape and murder in late May of Thida Htwe, a young Buddhist Rakhinese woman. The decision sparked sectarian violence between Muslims and Buddhists. In the days following the trial, an angry mob attacked Muslims unconnected with the incident, killing ten.

As hatred spiralled out of control, 29 more people, 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists, were killed. According to official sources at least 2,600 homes were also set on fire, whilst hundreds of Rohingya sought refuge abroad.

According to United Nations estimates, Myanmar is home to 800,000 Rohingya. But the government does not count them as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups and denies them citizenship.

Similarly, neighbouring Bangladesh treats as illegal immigrants with no citizenship rights, to be expelled whenever they try to land on its beaches.

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

Culture Wars

Denmark: Jewish Groups Angered at Absence of Israeli Flag at Diversity Festival

City organisation rethinking procedures after criticism of a recommendation it says was sparked by security concerns

A city hall request that the Israeli flag not be displayed at a street festival intended to promote diversity has Jewish community leaders wondering what “diversity” really means to some city leaders.

During planning meetings for September’s Smag Verden — Mangfoldighedsfest, a celebration of the foods and cultures of different countries, Jewish participants were warned that some would interpret the flying of the Israeli flag as a provocation.

“We were told that is was better if we did not fly our flag,” Malgorzata H Hansen, who represented local Jews at the meetings, told Berlingske newspaper.

Organisers said they feared clashes between Jewish, Muslim and leftist groups if the Israeli flag was displayed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Inside the First Amendment: What is the Truth About American Muslims?

by Charles C. Haynes Gannett

In the past decade, an anti-Muslim movement in America has pushed for anti-Shariah laws in some 23 states and helped generate anti-mosque protests in more than 50 communities. Even more disturbing, poisonous anti-Muslim rhetoric has contributed to an atmosphere of anger and hate that provokes acts of intimidation and violence — including the recent attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin where six people were murdered, apparently because the killer confused Sikhs with Muslims. Groups involved in the “stop Islamization of America” campaign have spent more than $40 million attempting to convince the public that American Muslims practice an inherently violent and oppressive faith that seeks to subvert the Constitution, according to a 2011 study conducted by the Center for American Progress. (


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


Huge Saturn Storm Keeps Surprising Scientists

A massive storm that encircled Saturn nearly two years ago was even more powerful than scientists had thought, new research reveals. Observations by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft — which first detected the tempest in December 2010 — show that the enormous Saturn storm sent temperatures in the planet’s stratosphere soaring 150 degrees Fahrenheit (66 degrees Celsius) above normal, according to a new study.

“This temperature spike is so extreme it’s almost unbelievable, especially in this part of Saturn’s atmosphere, which typically is very stable,” study lead author Brigette Hesman, of the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in a statement.

At first, this vortex was larger than Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot. Though visible signs of the Saturn storm are no longer evident, the Saturn vortex persists to this day. But it’s unlikely to have the 300-year-plus staying power of the Great Red Spot; scientists think the vortex will likely dissipate by the end of 2013.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Jacques Barzun Dies at 104; Cultural Critic Saw the Sun Setting on the West

by Edward Rothstein

Jacques Barzun, the distinguished historian, essayist, cultural gadfly and educator who helped establish the modern discipline of cultural history and came to see the West as sliding toward decadence, died Thursday night in San Antonio, where he lived. He was 104…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Parking Issues Debated at Liberty Corner Mosque Hearing

BERNARDS TWP. — Parking capacity issues continued to shadow a proposed mosque at a third hearing before the Planning Board Thursday night, despite assertions that there would be no negative traffic impact. At issue was whether 50 proposed parking stalls could accommodate a long-term projection of 150 worshippers, even though that would seem to comply with a zoning requirement to provide one parking stall for every three seated worshippers. The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR) is seeking to raze a house at 124 Church St., located on 4.3 acres roughly opposed the Liberty Corner Firehouse, and build a two-story, 4,250-square-foot facility. The proposal has drawn opposition from neighbors…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]