Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121106

Financial Crisis
»France Approves €20 Billion Tax Breaks for Companies
»Greece: 50% of Builders Lost Jobs Since 2008
»Monti Says Next U.S. President Should Focus on Finances
»To the Presidential Winner: Financial Katrina Coming
»Beheading Trial Starts With a Warning, Reprimand
»Evidence of Electronic Vote Fraud Pours in From Both Liberal and Conservative Sources
»‘Experimental’ Software Discreetly Installed on Ohio Voting Machines
»Frank Gaffney: Vote for Obama to Restrict Free Speech
»Islamophobia Studies Journal
»Obama Supporters Mark Election Day With More Threats to Kill Romney
»Stadium Full of Obamanoids Engages in Two Minutes Hate
»Thousands of Shocking Threats of Violence by Obama Supporters on the Eve of the Election
»Vaccine Bombshell: Baby Monkeys Develop Autism Symptoms After Obtaining Doses of Popular Vaccines
Europe and the EU
»Alliance With Wilders Did Hurt the Netherlands’ Reputation
»Children ‘With No State’ In UK
»Jewish Family Attacked in Marseille, France
»Scotland: ‘There’s No God and Islam is Evil’ Speech Earns Richard Dawkins Ovation From Islanders
»Singer Franco Battiato Named Sicily Culture Councillor
»Spain: Catalan Governor Accused of Wasting Taxpayer Money
»Stockholm Home to One in Four Swedish Babies
»Switzerland: Foreign Gang Charged Over Sabre Attack
»UK: Dramatic Moment Brick-Throwing Arsonists Attack Firefighters Sent to Tackle Blaze They Set as Trap
»UK: Drug-Crazed Driver Who Killed Innocent Father After Snorting Seventy Lines of Cocaine is Jailed for Life
»UK: Former Detective Makes Shock Claims That Jimmy Savile Was Quizzed Over Yorkshire Ripper Murders
»UK: Lancashire Police Detective Forced to Resign
»UK: Moment Armed Raiders Rode Through Brent Cross Shopping Centre After Smashing Their Way Into Jeweller’s Shop With Axes
»UK: My Luxury Holidays and Supercars Were Paid by My £18,000 a Year Benefits
»UK: New Grooming Scandal: Girls in Care Homes ‘Gang-Raped’
»UK: Pretty Harsh: Man Sues Wife for Being Ugly…. And Wins £75k Payout
»UK: Ponzi Scheme Conman Stole £7.5m From Cancer Patients, A Premier League Footballer and Even His Own Mother
North Africa
»Egypt: New Coptic Pope Rejects Religious State Constitution
»Obama Ordered “Stand Down” in Benghazi Affair
»Photo Shoot of Belgium Beauties at Morocco’s Largest Mosque Stirs Uproar
Middle East
»Mavi Marmara Trial of 4 Israeli Officials Begins in Istanbul
»George Blake, British Spy Who Worked for Soviet Union, Speaks With Pride About His Career
»Russia Ramps Up Missile Tests
South Asia
»Is Pakistan’s Paranoia Pushing it Into a Nuclear War With India?
»Pakistan Acid Attack Parents ‘Feared Dishonour’
Far East
»British Businessman Murdered in China Worked for MI6, Claims Extraordinary New Report
»Coke Gets Hacked and Doesn’t Tell Anyone
»Communist Utopia: China is Building a Huge Eco-City Where No One Will Need to Drive
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Kenya: the Pensioners Being Burned Alive as Witches by Their Own Families… So They Can Profit From Lucrative Land
»South African City Offers Cell Phone for Every 60 Rats Nabbed
»South Africa: ANC Drops Appeal Against Kill Boer Hatespeech Song
»107 Migrants Rescued Off Lampedusa
»Inviting Criminals Across the Border
»Sweden: Outrage Prompts Refugee Kids’ Free Lunch Reversal
Culture Wars
»Croatia: Ex Football Chief Convicted of Homophobia
»Debunking the Mayan Calendar “Prophecy”
»Humans Smell Fear, And It’s Contagious

Financial Crisis

France Approves €20 Billion Tax Breaks for Companies

France on Tuesday unveiled a €20-billion tax break for companies in a bid to address flagging competitiveness.

The move was approved by the government a day after a report called on the Socialist administration to slash payroll taxes by €30 billion ($38 billion) within two years.

The government signalled that easing a business tax burden that is considered a barrier to job creation would be financed by a combination of cuts in public spending and an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).

France’s standard rate of VAT will rise from 19.6 to 20 percent from January 1, 2014. An intermediate rate currently applied at 7.0 percent will rise to ten percent at the same time. The minimum rate will be cut however from 5.5 to 5.0 percent.

The government also announced plans to cut €10 billion from public spending in 2014-15 and said it would introduce new green taxes from 2016 which will boost the public coffers by three billion euros per year.

Unveiling the measures, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the government was adopting almost all of the “shock” measures recommended in a report drawn up by Louis Gallois, one of the country’s most prominent industrialists.

“The situation of the country calls for ambitious and courageous decisions,” Ayrault said. “France needs a new model.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: 50% of Builders Lost Jobs Since 2008

37 construction companies closed this year alone

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 5 — Half of all workers employed in Greece’s 370,000 strong construction sector have lost their jobs since the crisis first began to bite in 2008, according to a report by the Greek Association of Entrepreneurs (SATE). At least 37 construction companies have closed. And the hardest hit sector of Greece’s economy registered an 18.6% dip on second quarter figures compared to the same period last year.

According to the findings, 185,300 construction workers lost their jobs during the four year period, which registered constant decline. The closure of construction companies is partly to blame. Since 2004 when momentum connected to the Athens Olympics Stadium slowed to a halt, 180 construction companies, or 25% of the industry, closed their doors. In comparison a third of manufacturing jobs have been lost and a fifth in wholesale and retail.

Remaining construction companies are struggling to survive.

40.2% of medium level businesses in Greece recorded losses in 2011 compared to 27.2% in 2010. And of the construction companies who have so far weathered the storm, 18.7% of them are virtually inactive due to lack of work.

The SATE report points to a lack of available funds for public investment, with a 46% dip in capital since 2009. This year’s 5.2 billion euro allocation is the lowest in 15 years. In comparison, investment funds totaled 9.6 billion euros in 2009 and 6.6 billion last year. Consequently, in the second quarter of this year the construction sector productivity index nudged 29.8%, its lowest point since 2000.

On a more positive note the report notes a 42.1% increase in the number of new tenders for projects with a budget of less than 2 million euro: in the first half of this year 206 of these projects were awarded for a total value of 1.96 billion euro. In comparison 145 projects with a combined value of 1.49 billion euro were allocated in the first half of last year.

But the good news is unlikely to kickstart the industry anytime soon. Contracts can take months to be finalized and construction companies face inevitable delays.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Monti Says Next U.S. President Should Focus on Finances

Italian premier warns investor faith in dollar can crumble

(ANSA) — Vientiane (Laos), November 6 — Italian Premier Mario Monti said Tuesday that restoring health to the public finances should be a priority in the United States regardless of whether President Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney wins the presidential elections there.

He warned that investor confidence in the dollar could crumble quickly if this is not the case.

“Certainly yes,” Monti replied when asked whether there was a risk of a growing imbalance in the United States’ finances.

“It’s important that all the big areas of the world make a contribution towards reabsorbing the imbalances, including fiscal ones,” added Monti, whose emergency government has passed austerity measures to steer Italy out of the centre of the eurozone crisis, at a press conference at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Laos.

“As for the United States, we know the size of its deficit and its debt well…

“The American authorities are aware of the problem of budget imbalances. On the other hand, the political world’s capacity to attack these imbalances has shown itself to have many limits in that country and issues related to public finances are often at the centre of the public debate. “Attention on issues regarding America’s public finances will remain high whoever wins the elections”.

The United States has a public debt of over $9 trillion and has run a budget deficit of over $1 trillion for the last four tax years. Monti said the dollar continues to be the world’s reserve currency because there is a propensity for private and public international portfolios to have large quantities of public debt, but warned that this does not mean that “things can’t change quickly”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

To the Presidential Winner: Financial Katrina Coming

On December 31, 2012, the U.S. government races toward a fiscal cliff. It must tax the rapidly vanishing Middle Class while it rages further into an exploding majority welfare state.

Congress must raise the debt ceiling past the moon or the next president will be the first in history to default on Treasury bonds. Either way, we all face a Faustian Bargain.

Secondly, today, one in seven American workers suffers unemployment. A mind numbing 47 million Americans subsist on food stamps. A full 23 percent of prime working-age men or 14 million lack full time jobs. Another 7 million work at 20 hour per week low paying jobs.

For 20 years, Congress outsourced, insourced and offshored jobs to third world countries. China, India, Mexico and Bangladesh gladly employed their billions at slave wages and sold us goods that none of our factories could make at such rock bottom prices. Every product we buy from China kills an American job.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Beheading Trial Starts With a Warning, Reprimand

The trial of a North Carolina man charged with hiring a hit man to behead witnesses from a previous trial ended its first day with a reprimand from the judge.

Hysen Sherifi, 28, representing himself, began his opening remarks Monday alternating between Arabic and English, praying and reading from the Koran, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported.

U.S. District Judge Earl Britt stopped him after 15 minutes and told him that while he understood Sherifi wanted to express opinions about his religion, “Any further comments you make to the jury must be related to the facts of the case.”

Sherifi replied that his statement had been intended to warn Britt that he had “transgressed against the laws of Allah.”

“I’m willing to take my chances,” the judge responded.

Sherifi is being tried on charges he, his brother and a teacher conspired to have three government informants killed and beheaded. Testimony from the informants in a 2011 trial resulted in Sherifi being convicted of conspiring to commit terror at home and abroad.

He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

None of the informants was harmed. The FBI learned of the conspiracy and doctored photographs so that one of them appeared to have been beheaded.

The brother and the teacher who provided the money to pay the hit man also have been convicted in the case. They are expected to testify against him in exchange for lighter sentences.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Evidence of Electronic Vote Fraud Pours in From Both Liberal and Conservative Sources

Multiple reports of electronic voting machine irregularities have begun to pour in from all over the country as Americans take to the polls today.

Voters in Hamilton County Indianapolis were forced to wait for 30 minutes to begin voting because the machines were not working when the polling station opened.

The AP reports that “cards used to clear tallies from machines before voting begins were improperly programmed,” meaning that around 500 machines had to be “reset”.

The Toledo Blade reports that some 100 voters were unable to cast ballots this morning in Bedford, Ohio, because a voting machine was not working. Officials said that a memory card had to be replaced. Long lines led to people walking away.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

‘Experimental’ Software Discreetly Installed on Ohio Voting Machines

A voting fraud case looms in the crucial swing state of Ohio, as election watchdogs demand answers about new “experimental” software discreetly installed on election machines at the direction of Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted.

Husted argues that the vote tabulation software couldn’t be used to influence the outcome of the election and was just a simple patch to facilitate vote counting. But the suit asserts that the untested software was installed suspiciously close to Election Day and that it could be used as a back door to partisan tampering. “A case of deliberate tampering of that data using uncertified, untested software would be child’s play,” explains a court Affidavit by election integrity expert, Jim March.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: Vote for Obama to Restrict Free Speech

As Americans go to the polls, many factors may influence how they vote for president. Among those — if not pre-eminent among them — should be the kind of country they want to bequeath to their children. It is unlikely that most voters would knowingly and deliberately opt for a candidate who appears determined to make the United States a nation that does not respect and safeguard our most foundational constitutional right: freedom of expression.

It may seem unbelievable that anyone running for the presidency would even consider such a betrayal of the oath of office governing that position, let alone work toward that end. Yet, as a new film, “Silent Conquest,” makes clear, President Obama, from his first months in office, has been enabling in this country an insidious effort by Islamic supremacists to keep us from engaging in speech, videos, training or other forms of expression that offend Muslims, their god, prophet and faith…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Islamophobia Studies Journal

[The Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at UC Berkeley]

The Islamophobia Studies Journal is a bi-annual publication that focuses on the critical analysis of Islamophobia and its multiple manifestations in our contemporary moment.

ISJ is an interdisciplinary and multi-lingual academic journal that encourages submissions that theorizes the historical, political, economic, and cultural phenomenon of Islamophobia in relation to the construction, representation, and articulation of “Otherness.” The ISJ is an open scholarly exchange, exploring new approaches, methodologies, and contemporary issues.

The ISJ encourages submissions that closely interrogate the ideological, discursive, and epistemological frameworks employed in processes of “Otherness” — the complex social, political, economic, gender, sexual, and religious forces that are intimately linked in the historical production of the modern world from the dominance of the colonial / imperial north

to the post-colonial south. At the heart of ISJ is an intellectual and collaborative project between scholars, researchers, and community agencies to recast the production of knowledge about Islamophobia away from a dehumanizing and subordinating framework to an emancipatory and liberatory one for all peoples in this far-reaching and unfolding domestic and global process.

The Islamophobia Studies Journal is a collaborative venture between the following centers and institutions:

  • Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project for the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley;
  • Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative for the School of Ethnic Studies at the San Francisco State University;
  • Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union;
  • International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia;
  • and Zaytuna College.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Obama Supporters Mark Election Day With More Threats to Kill Romney

Are these young people the vanguard of “hope” and “change”?

Even if you dismiss the possibility that just one of the thousands of Obama supporters who have threatened to assassinate Mitt Romney if he wins the election is actually serious, the level of intelligence displayed by these individuals should be a wake up call for every American.

Following the Secret Service’s announcement that it was monitoring the threats made against Romney on Twitter over the last few weeks, the deluge of violent tweets by Obama voters has if anything increased.

Although he remains the underdog, it seems inevitable that some form of civil unrest will ensue should Romney defeat Obama, given the countless number of Obama supporters who have openly broadcast their plans to riot and stoke racial violence.

The examples below are just a small selection of what people have been tweeting over the last 8 hours. Some of the tweets are from people attempting to report the original threat to the Secret Service.


If these young people are the vanguard of “hope” and “change” as Obama’s agenda moves “forward” over the next four years, then America is going to be a very dark place by 2016.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Stadium Full of Obamanoids Engages in Two Minutes Hate

When an anti-abortion protester started to make his views known at an Obama event yesterday, an entire stadium of Obama supporters turned on him, literally screaming and jeering for the man to be apprehended.

Watch the video:

Later on during the same event, another protester at the back of the arena stood and began to heckle the president. Obama supporters could be seen turning in his direction and throwing their fists at the man in fits of anger.

Here are both protest incidents from a different angle:

Here is Orwell’s ‘two minutes hate’ from the film adaptation of Nineteen Eighty Four…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Thousands of Shocking Threats of Violence by Obama Supporters on the Eve of the Election

On social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, thousands of threats of violence were posted by supporters of Barack Obama on the evening prior to the election. If you doubt this, just go on Twitter and do a search for keywords such as “Romney riot”, “assassinate Romney” and “if Romney wins”. We have seen very serious threats of violence against Mitt Romney and his supporters for weeks, but little action has been taken to shut these threats of violence down, and now they are reaching a crescendo as we reach election day. At the moment, law enforcement authorities and the mainstream media do not appear to be taking these threats of violence very seriously, but they should.

Yes, there are a lot of Republicans that are saying some very cruel things about Barack Obama, but people know that if you make a physical threat against Barack Obama you are likely to get a visit from the Secret Service.

Apparently the same thing does not apply to threats against Mitt Romney. Every single hour, large numbers of physical threats directed at him and his supporters continue to pour in. If these people mean just a small fraction of what they are saying, we are going to see American cities burn if Romney wins.

Most of the examples that I could have included below I decided not to post because of the vulgar language used. A lot of children will end up reading this, and so I decided to try to keep it as clean as possible.

The following are just a few examples of some of the “cleaner” threats of physical violence and rioting that have been posted on Twitter just tonight…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Vaccine Bombshell: Baby Monkeys Develop Autism Symptoms After Obtaining Doses of Popular Vaccines

Following a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which revealed that many infant monkeys given standard doses of childhood vaccines as part of the new research,developed autism symptoms, question marks over the ultimate safety of vaccines have come to the fore.

The groundbreaking research findings presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in London, England, have revealed that young macaque monkeys given the typical CDC-recommended vaccination schedule from the 1990s, and in appropriate doses for the monkeys’ sizes and ages, tended to develop autism symptoms. Theirunvaccinated counterparts, on the other hand, developed no such symptoms, which points to a strong connection between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders.

This development which deconstructs mainstream myth that vaccines are safe and pose no risk of autism, was brought on by after studies on the type of proper safety research on typical childhood vaccination schedules that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should have conducted — but never has — for such regimens.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Alliance With Wilders Did Hurt the Netherlands’ Reputation

The previous coalition government, which involved Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV in a supporting role, did have an image problem abroad, civil service documents supplied to website show.

Ministers repeatedly said foreign governments understood the relationship between the minority coalition and Wilders and that he was not officially part of government.

However, official papers show ‘time after time’ that diplomats wanted proper instructions on ‘how to avoid reputation damage as much as possible’ — for example, when Wilders published a new book. This often did not work, the documents state.

Rob de Wijk, director of research institute HCCS and an expert on international relations, told the website this should not be a surprise. ‘Wilders’ position was impossible to explain abroad,’ he said.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Children ‘With No State’ In UK

Hundreds of children living rough in London and other cities may have no nationality, the BBC has found.

Inside Out London has uncovered stories of children who according to official records do not exist — some forced into sex work to eat.

Further research by the BBC suggests it is a UK-wide problem.

Charities warn of stateless children in Birmingham, Leeds, Coventry, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Oxford and Cardiff.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Jewish Family Attacked in Marseille, France

The father of a Jewish family was badly beaten and the family home was completely trashed on Sunday by local youths in Marseille, France.

Residents in their Jewish neighborhood are stunned following the incident.

Marseilles is home to some 80,000 Jews — 10 percent of the general population but a small fraction compared to the 250,000 Muslims with whom they also live. It has been relatively quiet France’s second-largest city this year, compared to other areas in the country where violent anti-Semitism has been on the rise.

Last month the SPCJ (Service de Protection de la Communaute Juive) security agency for French Jewry reported a 45 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks since 2011, mostly by Muslims.

This incident began when two youths parked their car in a Jewish family’s private garage.

When the family saw the unfamiliar vehicle they called police, and the car was towed. Upon finding their vehicle gone and learning it had been towed, the youths became angry.

They returned with a gang of friends to exact their revenge upon the hapless family. The gang broke into the home, severely beat up the father of the family and destroyed the rest of the house.

According to local sources, one of the youths reportedly attempted to murder the father. Neighbors heard the family’s screams coming from the home and called police, who arrested the attackers. Upon leaving the scene, the attackers promised to “finish the job,” according to local media reports.

In May of this year, a 17-year-old Jewish youth wearing a kipa was also attacked by four male gang members who shouted “It’s Shabbat for you, long live [Al Qaeda-linked French Algerian Muslim terrorist] Mohamed Merah! F*** the Jews…. Palestine will win!”

One of the gang members jumped on to his victim, punching him in the arm and kicking him in the leg. The victim punched him back. The attacker also punched the victim’s brother-in-law, who tried to block the attack, according to Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Scotland: ‘There’s No God and Islam is Evil’ Speech Earns Richard Dawkins Ovation From Islanders

RENOWNED atheist Professor Richard Dawkins received a surprise standing ovation in the traditionally Christian community of Stornoway last night, following a two-hour speech in which he said there was probably no God. The 71-year-old described Islam as “one of the great evils of the world” in his lecture, The God Delusion, as part of a rare visit to the Western Isles. The talk delivered on Lewis during the Hebrides Book Festival proved a major hit among the 220-strong crowd. There was a waiting list of 60 people for tickets, after the event sold out within 40 minutes. Members of the audience cheered loudly as Prof Dawkins used the appearance to attack Islam, while stressing that the “vast majority of
Muslims” were not evil, only their religion was.

Prof Dawkins said: “We are terrified of being called ‘Islamophobic’. It is a disgrace a religion prescribes death for leaving it. The vast majority of Muslims would not dream of doing that, but they are taught it in their madrassas… and it only takes a minority to put that into practice. And, as 
we have seen, terrible things happen.” A group of Christians from the Free Church handed out leaflets outside the book festival venue during the lecture “to give the other side”. The Rev Iver Martin, minister at Stornoway Free Church — the biggest single church in the
Outer Hebrides — said before the meeting: “A boycott to me is counterproductive. It will achieve nothing. I would hope there will be no form of protest. It would send out the wrong type of message.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Singer Franco Battiato Named Sicily Culture Councillor

‘I’m happy to do it, but I’m not leaving music’

(ANSA) — Catania, November 6 — Italian singer-songwriter Franco Battiato on Tuesday was named culture councillor in the newly elected regional government of Sicily.

“Franco Battiato will be culture councillor,” said Sicily Governor Rosario Crocetta of the Democratic Party (PD), who was elected late last month with 30.5% of the vote, in alliance with the centrist UDC party.

Battiato, who is also a painter and filmmaker, told reporters at a press conference he was “happy to accept the position,” but insisted he was not leaving art and music. “I cannot change trades. I won’t become a politician, and I don’t want to have anything to do with politicians,” he said.

“And please don’t call me councillor. Call me Franco”. Battiato, a native Sicilian, is becoming a civil servant at a time when voter disaffection in the region is extremely high. Less than half of the island’s eligible voters, 47%, used the ballot box, compared to 66.68% in the 2008 regional elections.

Furthermore, the anti-establishment Five Star movement of comedian Beppe Grillo was the party that won most votes, 18.2%, while former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party took a pounding amid a series of corruption scandals elsewhere in the country. The region has also been particularly hard-hit amid Italy’s recession and the euro crisis, with alarmingly high unemployment and a public debt that required a 400-million-euro stop-gap transfer from the Italian government this summer. “This region will get back on its feet,” said Governor Crocetta. “But in order to do it, Sicilians need to find the courage, the strength and the drive that Franco Battiato has, showing all of his love for where he comes from”. Battiato, 67, has been one of the most popular singer songwriters in Italy for decades, known for his ecclectic use of exotic instruments and an ironic sense for lyrics. In 2004, then president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi made him an Officer of Merit, one of the country’s top civilian honours.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain: Catalan Governor Accused of Wasting Taxpayer Money

After anti-independence manifesto, luxurious Moscow trip

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 5 — Secessionist-minded Catalan President Artur Mas is on the hot seat, for more than one reason.

After several hundred intellectuals and economists led by film director Pedro Almodovar and writer Mario Vargas Llosa yesterday signed a call against Catalan independence, ABC newspaper on Monday accused the Mas administration of wasting taxpayer money on his recent trip to Moscow.

The mission to the Spanish-Russian economic forum cost recession-battered Catalans money they can ill afford, as Mas chose to travel with a retinue of 80, all of whom stayed at the five-star Radisson Royal Hotel, which replaced the renowned Ukraina patronized by the Soviet-era nomenklatura.

Mas and his wife stayed in the 1600-euro-a-night Ambassador Suite, according to ABC. This is the most elite accommodation in the already luxurious hotel, which, since it was bought out and renovated by the Radisson chain, now boasts interior decoration fit for a prince, complete with the glow of crystal, marble, and works of art, indoor pools, a spa, an Italian restaurant, and the best hospitality money can buy.

The central government has refused Catalonia increased fiscal autonomy, which Barcelona said would bring the autonomous region out of the crisis, while Mas continues to reap criticism for his acceleration towards independence, including early elections on November 25. In case of victory, he will call a popular referendum on self-determination.

Those least in favor of such a move remind Mas that Catalonia is not Scotland: it is heavily indebted, closing the second quarter this year 43.9 billion euros in the red, or 22% of its GDP.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Stockholm Home to One in Four Swedish Babies

The population of greater Stockholm is growing faster than any other area in Sweden, with one in four babies now being born in the capital, according to a report published on Tuesday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Foreign Gang Charged Over Sabre Attack

Seven foreigners are being judged for attempted murder for allegedly attacking a 25-year-old man with sabres and knives in downtown Geneva.

In a court case begun this week that is expected to take 12 days, the men ranging from 23 to 32 years of age, are being charged with ganging up on the victim one night in August 2011.

The prosecution maintains the attack took place in Geneva’s Plainpalais neighbourhood after the group ambushed the man in a retail gallery.

They surrounded him and proceeded to kick, punch and strike him with knives and sabres, according to the allegation.

The victim fell to the ground but managed to get up and escape.

He suffered injuries including one to the face that left a large scar on his forehead.

Those charged are of Arabic origin, bachelors without profession and without a fixed address, according to a report from the ATS news agency.

Most of them are living in Switzerland without authorization, the report said.

Meanwhile, the victim, who was known to police for break-ins and illegal drug cases, has the same profile as his alleged attackers, ATS said.

The prosecution charges that the attackers acted with a “noticeable absence of scruples” while showing a “certain contempt” for the life of the man they injured.

The accused deny the charges, with one of them alleging that he was not even present when the incident occurred.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Dramatic Moment Brick-Throwing Arsonists Attack Firefighters Sent to Tackle Blaze They Set as Trap

The firefighters were called to a wheelie-bin fire, which is believed to have been started deliberately, and quickly extinguished it.

But to their horror, a gang of teenagers then rushed at them, launching a brick through their windscreen and hurling verbal abuse at officers.

Mark Lee, who was driving the engine, said: ‘The fire was out very quickly but then suddenly the atmosphere changed. There was a gang of around 12 youths, who looked to be around 16, swearing at us and shouting before they started to throw bricks.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Drug-Crazed Driver Who Killed Innocent Father After Snorting Seventy Lines of Cocaine is Jailed for Life

A driver who snorted 70 lines of cocaine before mowing down an innocent passer-by was jailed for life today.

Stephen Freye, 22, climbed into his car to go looking for a victim to run over late at night and spotted a young chef walking home.

Father-of-one Kyle Griffith, 25, was on the pavement on the way home from his restaurant when Freye aimed his car at him — killing him instantly.

Freye claimed he was hallucinating after sniffing a bag of 10 grammes of cocaine over a weekend.

Cardiff Crown court heard Freye confessed to police at the scene: ‘I was told to kill a stranger.’

Freye, of Roath, Cardiff, denied murder but was found guilty following a two week trial.

A judge jailed him for life and said he would spend a minimum of 13 years behind bars.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Former Detective Makes Shock Claims That Jimmy Savile Was Quizzed Over Yorkshire Ripper Murders

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A former detective who helped catch the Yorkshire Ripper has tonight made the shocking claim that Jimmy Savile was quizzed over the serial murderer’s crimes.

Former West Yorkshire detective John Stainthorpe told ITV Yorkshire Calendar News that Savile was brought in for questioning after members of the public contacted the police naming the eccentric DJ as a possible killer.

Mr Stainthorpe, who worked for the West Yorkshire force for more than 40 years, and who spent years trying to catch Peter Sutcliffe, told the programme: ‘When the Ripper was really active one of the suspects put forward by members of the public was Jimmy Savile, strange as it may seem.

Mr Stainthorpe said the person who gave police the anonymous tip-off was ‘aiming in the right direction’.

‘Child perverts soon become child killers,’ he added.

The detective’s shocking revelation comes as the killer claimed today that Savile regularly visited him in custody and the pair became friends.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Lancashire Police Detective Forced to Resign

A DETECTIVE has been forced to resign for her failed investigation into the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl.

DS Jan Beasant was solely responsible for bugging the home of Blackburn man Iyad Albattikhi, the boss of Funny Boyz takeaway, Dickson Road, Blackpool, who was accused of the murder of Charlene Downes.

She disappeared in 2003.

Mohammed Reveshi was accused of assisting an offender and his conversations were secretly recorded in his car and home under DS Beasant’s operation.

A jury failed to reach a verdict on Albattikhi and Reveshi’s guilt and a re-trail collapsed amongst criticism of the police investigation.

A 2009 Independent Police Complaints Commission report identified a ‘series of failings’.

The investigating team were guilty of a ‘strategic and tactical failure’ in the management of the audio and video material they obtained, the IPCC concluded.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Moment Armed Raiders Rode Through Brent Cross Shopping Centre After Smashing Their Way Into Jeweller’s Shop With Axes

This is the dramatic moment a gang of robbers armed with axes and bats rode through a busy shopping centre on motorbikes after raiding a jeweller’s shop today.

Four people riding three motorbikes entered Brent Cross Shopping Centre, in north London, shortly after 10.15am.

Witnesses said the men sped into an upper area of the shopping centre and headed for the Fraser Hart jewellery store.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: My Luxury Holidays and Supercars Were Paid by My £18,000 a Year Benefits

Amazing defence of jobless mother, 38, charged with helping jailed husband’s vehicle fraud racket.

A jobless mother-of-four has claimed in her defence that her luxury lifestyle of ten foreign holidays in four years and a fleet of rented supercars was footed by state benefits and not her husband’s motoring scam.

Lisa Lowndes, 38, used the claim in court while denying charges she had profited from her fraudster husband Colin’s vehicle fraud racket, in which he charged motorists up to £400 to help them dodge speeding tickets.

She said she had pocketed so much taxpayers money due to her level of income support plus child and housing benefits that she could afford her jet-set lavish lifestyle.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: New Grooming Scandal: Girls in Care Homes ‘Gang-Raped’

Police investigate claims that gangs of Asian men abused vulnerable under-age girls in the North West

POLICE are investigating shocking new claims that gangs of Asian men gang-raped and abused vulnerable under-age girls from CARE HOMES in the North West.

The new grooming scandal emerged after a 27-year-old mum claimed she was a victim of a horrifying catalogue of sexual abuse while in care as a teen.

Her account of how care workers allegedly turned a blind eye to predatory paedo­philes echoes the findings of a report into a sex ring in Rochdale, which highlighted “missed opportunities” to halt abuse.

Claire, not her real name, says she was one of many vulnerable young girls who were treated like “pieces of meat” by men who hung around the care homes she lived in in Lancashire and Liverpool.

She says she was groomed and molested in return for alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. On one harrowing occasion when she was 14, she was drugged and gang-raped.

A farmer found her naked in a field covered in blood and bruises, but she was returned to her home without medical help. “My social worker told me I deserved what I’d got because I’d been drinking,” she says. “I hadn’t… I was drugged.” Claire says even though she told staff at Briar’s Hey Residential Home in ­Rainhill, Merseyside, which closed in 2005, there was no medical examination or police probe.

“I was given the morning-after pill ‘to avoid any more mess’,” she says.

Claire, who now lives with her ­partner and four children, claims her experience was the norm for many teens at the homes. “Sex was the going ­currency for girls like me,” she says. “The men would hang round the gates. If we ­complained to staff we were told to just ignore them.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Pretty Harsh: Man Sues Wife for Being Ugly…. And Wins £75k Payout

Jian Feng became suspicious when he saw his baby for the first time — and discovered his wife’s good looks were due to plastic surgery

IT’S the ugliest divorce case in legal history.

When husband Jian Feng saw his newborn baby for the first time he was horrified.

The girl was so ugly he refused to believe he and his stunning wife could have produced such a child.

And he rounded on his partner, accusing her of having an affair.

But she told him the terrible truth.Her good looks were due to £62,000 of plastic surgery and the baby was indeed theirs.

Furious Feng took her to court claiming she had tricked him into marriage — and WON his lawsuit.

Feng said: “I married my wife out of love, but as soon as we had our first daughter, we began having marital issues.

“Our daughter was incredibly ugly, to the point where it horrified me.” He told lawyers his wife had fooled him by having plastic surgery to make her beautiful and it was only the birth of their daughter that gave her away.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Ponzi Scheme Conman Stole £7.5m From Cancer Patients, A Premier League Footballer and Even His Own Mother

A cynical con artist who swindled up to £7.5 million from investors including terminally ill cancer patients through a massive Ponzi scheme has been jailed.

David Bowerman, 35, from Chelmsford, Essex, enjoyed a lavish lifestyle as he blew a fortune on fast cars, luxury holidays and a toxic gambling habit after investors pumped millions of pounds into his bogus scheme.

More than 250 people were taken in by the intricate con including Manchester City ace Richard Wright, 35, who handed over £400,000.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: New Coptic Pope Rejects Religious State Constitution

But Tawadros II reaches out to Muslims

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOV 6 — Egypt’s new Pope of the Coptic Church, Tawadros II has said that he would “totally reject” a constitution to make Egypt a religious state, according to a series of local media reports. The Pope is two days into his appointment as spiritual leader of the largest group of Christians in the Middle East.

Islamic fundamentalist movements are pushing for Sharia Law in the country, an idea that the Pope was said to share. But he waylaid Coptic fears of an Islamisisation of Egyptian society, while at the same time reaching out to Muslims. “I say to our brothers that Egypt is an incomparable country. We have open hearts. Will give them all our respect and follow the example of coexistence in spite of attempts to impair this close unity”, he said.

Tawadros II acknowledged that the marginalization of Copts in Egyptian society began with the advent of Gamal abd el Nasser. But “the revolution last year has given them a opportunity to re-enter society,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Obama Ordered “Stand Down” in Benghazi Affair

Let me tell you where, and why, that decision was made, and who approved it. The Clinton-Obama State Department, in a show of support for the Muslim extremists who are covertly and meticulously taking over northern Africa, Obama appropriated $1.3 billion from the military budgets (the US share of $4.3 billion requested by the Muslim Brotherhood after their takeover of Egypt) since Obama believed that would be $1.3 billion he would now not have to spend on policing in the Mideast. A State Department grant to Libya, made as Ambassador Stevens was begging for a Marine detachment to protect his consulate, was $180 million.


Before he was relieved of his command on Sept. 11, 2012, Gen. Carter Ham led a very undistinguished, political-military career—which is likely why Barack Obama appointed him to head Africom. Gen. Ham proved that even a political soldier can be a patriot. He put his career on the line at a time when integrity was needed. Too bad he was not able to deploy his ready-response team to save two former Seals who also put their lives on the line that night— and lost them.

However, when Gen. Carter Ham, head of Africom, received the same emails that Panetta, Clinton and Obama received, he assembled a rapid response unit and informed Panetta he was ready to go. Ham was ordered to stand down. He told Panetta to screw himself, telling the Secretary that he was sending his men in. Less than one minute later Lt. Gen. David Rodriquez told Ham—his boss— he had just been relieved of his command because he refused to obey a direct order from the Commander-in-Chief.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Photo Shoot of Belgium Beauties at Morocco’s Largest Mosque Stirs Uproar

Pictures of candidates for Belgium Beauty Queen 2013 taken at Morocco’s largest mosque have stirred controversy in the North African kingdom, whose government is led by an Islamist party that won an election last year.

The pictures, being circulated online, raised questions about the responsible government agencies that granted the license for the photo shoot of the belles of Belgium in their tank tops and short shorts in the square of Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque.

Popular Moroccan news website Hespress quoted a source from the ministry of Islamic affairs denying any role for the ministry in the incident and pointing fingers at the mosque’s administration, which is in charge of the overall management of one of the world’s largest Islamic landmarks.

Casablanca’s city council has also distanced itself from the incident. One of its members said the council did not authorize the photo shoot at the mosque.

A newspaper close to the opposition Socialist Union Party quoted a source at the mosque’s administration as saying that a company behind the photo shoot was granted the permission by the Moroccan Cinema Center (MCC).

The Ittihad (union) newspaper reported that the center gave the license to the Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), the public broadcasting body of the French Community of Belgium.

Hespress quoted prominent religious preacher Sheikh Abdul-Bari Zamzami as holding the interior ministry responsible for the incident.

Some people saw the incident as an acceptable and called for the responsible parties to be hold accountable. Others expressed disinterest stressing the mosque lacks serious religious significance because it was built as “tourist destination not as a house of worship.”

“I have never prayed in this Mosque and I do not qualify it as a real Mosque. We all know that this mosque has been forcefully built by robbing and stealing the pockets of million Moroccans under various authority threats,” one person commented on Hespress.

“Also, I see that this “Mosque” is a sheer touristic building made for display and international propaganda. So no doubt that these beautiful European chicks were allowed to take pictures near this purely touristic Moroccan building.”

Another one said, “Farce after farce; does it make sense that such moral crimes take place in Morocco, especially under the rule of the Islamist Justice and Development Party.”

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Mavi Marmara Trial of 4 Israeli Officials Begins in Istanbul

Prosecutors seek life sentence for killing of 9 on ship

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, 6 NOVEMBER — The so called Mavi Marmara trial has begun today in Istanbul.

Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for the four Israeli officials accused of causing the deaths of nine Turkish citizens aboard the Mavi Marmara ship in 2010, which was trying to break down Gaza blockades.

Israel’s chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Naval Forces Commander Eliezer Alfred Marom, Military Intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlinir and Air Forces Intelligence head Avishai Levi, did not appear in court.

Israel has ruled out their extradition.

Hundreds of protestors shouting anti-Jewish sentiments gathered outside the court. After the assault by Israeli forces on the Mavi Marmara — the flagship of the “Gaza flotilla” which aimed to break the naval blockade around the Strip, Turkey froze diplomatic relations with Israel.

In order to repair relations, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants Israel to issue a formal apology and to pay compensation to victims’ families. Israel must also, says Erdogan, end Gaza blockades.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


George Blake, British Spy Who Worked for Soviet Union, Speaks With Pride About His Career

MOSCOW — George Blake, a former British spy who doubled as a Soviet agent, has spoken about his career with pride and called himself an “exceptionally lucky man” in an interview published in a Russian government daily Tuesday.

Blake, who will turn 90 Sunday and has lived in Russia since his escape from British prison in 1966, told the daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta that he has spent his “happiest” years in the country.

“When I worked in the West I always felt a looming threat of exposure. Here I felt myself free,” he is quoted as saying.

During his time as a double agent, Blake passed some of the most coveted British secrets to the Soviets. He said that exposing a Western plan to eavesdrop on Soviet communications from an underground tunnel into East Berlin was his main achievement.

Blake also shared details of his adventures, including meetings with a Soviet liaison in East Berlin. He said that once a month he would take a train to East Berlin, make sure that he wasn’t being followed, and go by a car to a secret apartment where he and his contact would have a talk accompanied by a glass of Soviet-made sparkling wine.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Russia Ramps Up Missile Tests

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently oversaw a strategic exercise— including a series of coordinated missile tests—that drew on Russia’s nuclear “triad” (bombers, intercontinental-range ballistic missiles [ICBMs], and submarine-launched ballistic missiles [SLBMs]).

Both the ICBM and the SLBM reached their respective targets after having traveled distances of more than 6,000 kilometers. Less than one week later, Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces carried out a successful test launch of a new ICBM from the Kapustin Yar test site.

These tests come as the debate continues over the depth and scope of U.S. cooperation with NATO on the development and implementation of a European-based missile defense system. Russia sees such a system as undermining its own nuclear deterrent; however, the proliferation of ballistic missile technology and a threat of a nuclear-armed Iran compel the U.S. and our allies throughout Europe and the Middle East to pursue missile defense systems capable of mitigating that threat.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Is Pakistan’s Paranoia Pushing it Into a Nuclear War With India?

by Felix Imonti

The possibility of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India grows every day. If the Pakistanis do not bring under control the terrorist groups in the country and resolve the conflicts with India, it is not a matter of if it will happen, but when.

There have been few achievements to celebrate in the sixty-five year history of Pakistan and that has made the success of the nuclear program central to the national identity. This is especially true for the military that receives a quarter of the budget and is the only strong national institution.

Development of the weapons started in January of 1972 by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, when he was the Minister for Fuel, Power and Natural Resources. The decision to go nuclear came after a disastrous military defeat in 1971 by India. Bangladesh with Indian assistance separated from Pakistan.

Without its eastern territory, Pakistan was facing an enemy six times larger. The only way to deal with such a threat was to acquire an equalizer. Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra stated in 1954, “When there is more equality of military strength, then I am sure that there will be a greater chance of settlement.” His words expressed what is an ongoing national preoccupation with military parity with the far more powerful India.

India joined the nuclear club in 1974. Pakistan followed in 1998 and became the only Moslem nuclear power with what became known as the “Islamic Bomb;” and that made it a leader in the Islamic world community.

The Pakistan high command believed that the U.S. does not want a Moslem country to possess nuclear weapons and will at some time in the future attempt to seize or destroy its arsenal. Since September of 2001, much of the American military action has been directed towards Moslem states. As the sole nuclear Islamic country, that convinces the Pakistanis that they too will be targeted.

Washington worries that Pakistan with a number of terrorist organizations supported by the Inter-Service Intelligence is the one place where terrorists would be the most likely to acquire a nuclear weapon or nuclear materials. A high ranking official of the Inter Service Intelligence told the Atlantic for a December 2011 article on the Pakistani nuclear weapons program, “You must trust us that we have maximum and impenetrable security. No one with ill intent can get near our strategic assets.”

Since April 2012, The Strategic Plans Division that is charged with protecting the nuclear arsenal of an estimated ninety to one hundred and ten strategic warheads has been adding an additional eight thousand specially trained troops to protect the storage facilities from an American attempt to seize or destroy the nuclear weapons. A retired high level Pakistani officer confided that he and many of his colleagues believe that the U.S. will move against nuclear facilities shortly after the American combat role ends in Afghanistan. He and his colleagues expect the United States to abandon Pakistan as it did in 1989 when the Soviet Union was driven out of Afghanistan.

The raid by U.S. special operation forces into Abbottabad in May of 2011 to kill Osama Bin Laden has been taken as a warning signal by chief of army staff General Ashfaq Kayani what to expect. Senator John Kerry was sent to Pakistan shortly after the raid to explain the American position. He did not reduce the general’s anxieties when he declined to provide a written guarantee that the U.S. would not attack the Pakistani nuclear storage facilities.


***Unclosed Item!***{Note: be sure to read the rest of this essay to learn of India’s plans if things go south.]

[Return to headlines]

Pakistan Acid Attack Parents ‘Feared Dishonour’

A couple arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of killing their 15-year-old daughter with acid say they carried out the attack because she looked at a boy.

The girl’s father told the BBC that they feared she would bring dishonour on their family. Her mother said it was her “destiny” to die that way.

The couple were arrested in Pakistani-administered Kashmir last week.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported 943 women died in so-called honour killings last year.

That represented an increase of more than 100 from 2010.

Police say that the incident took place in a remote village in the southern district of Kotli. They say that the case was brought to their attention by the couple’s eldest daughter.

The girl, known only as Anusha, was found to have burns over 60% of her body. Her father Muhammad Zafar told the BBC what happened:

“There was a boy who came by on a motorcycle. She (Anusha) turned to look at him twice. I told her before not to do that, it’s wrong. People talk about us because our older daughter was the same way,” he said.

Her mother Zaheen described the aftermath: “She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then I had already thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way.”

Anusha’s father is reported to have taken his daughter inside, beaten her and then acid was poured over her with the help of his wife. Officials say that the couple did not take their daughter to hospital until the following morning.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Far East

British Businessman Murdered in China Worked for MI6, Claims Extraordinary New Report

A British businessman killed in China had been providing information to the British secret service, it has been claimed.

According to reports, murdered Neil Heywood — who had a specially requested 007 number plate on his Jaguar — had been passing details to an MI6 officer on top Communist politician Bo Xilai, for at least a year before he died.

Bo’s wife Gu Kailai was given a suspended death sentence in August for poisoning Heywood, 41, with cyanide at a Chongqing hotel.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Coke Gets Hacked and Doesn’t Tell Anyone

FBI officials quietly approached executives at Coca-Cola Co. (KO) on March 15, 2009, with some startling news.

Hackers had broken into the company’s computer systems and were pilfering sensitive files about its attempted $2.4 billion acquisition of China Huiyuan Juice Group (1886), according to three people familiar with the situation and an internal company document detailing the cyber intrusion. The Huiyuan deal, which collapsed three days later, would have been the largest foreign takeover of a Chinese company at the time.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, has never publicly disclosed the loss of the Huiyuan information, despite its potential effect on the deal. It is just one in a global barrage of corporate computer attacks kept secret from shareholders, regulators, employees — and in some cases even from senior executives.

When hackers last year waged a large-scale attack on BG Group Plc (BG/), raiding troves of sensitive data, the British energy company never made it public. Luxembourg-based steel maker ArcelorMittal (MT) also kept mum when intruders targeted, among others, its executive overseeing China. As did Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK), after cyber attackers made off with files from its investment banking firm about natural gas leases that were up for sale.

Each of these cases was detailed to Bloomberg News either by people involved in remediating the situation or executives briefed on the details, who asked not to be identified because the information wasn’t public; or in computer logs compiled by researchers monitoring the activities of hackers in China.

Digital intruders are increasingly targeting information about high-stakes business deals — from mergers and acquisitions to joint ventures to long-term supply agreements — and companies routinely conceal these breaches from the public, say government officials and security companies.

Such thefts are tilting the playing field, putting compromised companies at a disadvantage in business negotiations and, in turn, leaving investors in the dark, they say.

Companies doing business in China or competing against Chinese rivals should expect hackers will go after their most confidential files, says James Lewis, a senior fellow who studies cybersecurity at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“This has been a part of their plan to catch up to the West,” Lewis says. “You steal their technology, you steal their business secrets.”

The theft of deal-related information has become widespread even as it remains mostly secret, so much so that U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a speech in October that it has the potential to affect the trajectory of the global economy.

“If these attacks are left unchecked, they could have a devastating impact on the future earning potential of many major companies and the economic well-being of countries,” Hague said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said accusations that China engaged in broad hacking efforts are unfair “without concrete evidence and investigation.”

“China is also a major victim of cyberattacks,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press briefing last week. “We hope to engage in active and practical international cooperation so as to jointly ensure Internet security.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce didn’t respond to a request for comment.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Communist Utopia: China is Building a Huge Eco-City Where No One Will Need to Drive

Outside Chengdu, in central China, a 78 million square foot site has been determined for an unconventional sort of construction project. It will be a city built from scratch, for 80,000 people, none of whom will need a car to get around.

Click here to see the master plan

The “Great City” is a plan for an ambitious urban center designed to limit its residents environmental impact by producing clean energy, reducing waste, and promoting public transportation over individual car use.

The project is the work of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, who note that “Chinese planning officials [are] beginning to see the effects of automobile-dependent design and are open to better alternatives to urban sprawl.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: the Pensioners Being Burned Alive as Witches by Their Own Families… So They Can Profit From Lucrative Land

Growing desires for land along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline are allegedly causing a rise in ‘witch lynchings’ by residents to intimidate their elderly relatives who own the title deeds of desirable areas.

Sadaka Muruu, 100, who owns 12 acres of sought-after land in coastal Kilifi county, claimed she was told by her grandchildren that they would burn her alive after investors asked about purchasing it.

The frightened grandmother was allegedly dragged naked from her home in January by relatives who had turned up without notice, and told neighbours they had caught her doing witchcraft.

But she was saved at the last minute by local councillor Teddy Mwambire, who drove her away to a rescue centre for elderly men and women accused of witchcraft, reported the Sunday Times.

Others have suffered a much-worse fate, with more than 50 people aged over 60 lynched this year over witchcraft accusations. Seven were killed in Cllr Mwambire’s district in Kilifi alone this summer.

Some were burned to death in front of villagers. Other victims were fatally hit with machetes — such as Thomas Barawa, 79, who died in August just four weeks after his wife suffered the same fate.

Cllr Mwambire led an independent probe into witchcraft and found relatives can arrange a killing for the equivalent of only £30.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

South African City Offers Cell Phone for Every 60 Rats Nabbed

It’s probably the strangest bounty ever invented, but it seems desperate times call for desperate measures in the South African township of Alexandria. City officials are offering a mobile phone for every 60 rats caught.

­The bizarre new program is an attempt to rid Alexandria of a massive rat infestation in its streets.

The 100-year-old township has become a breeding ground for the little critters, with plenty of illegal dumping and sewage leakages.

Most of the rat action happens during the night, with reports of children’s limbs and fingers being gnawed on whilst sleeping, according to

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

South Africa: ANC Drops Appeal Against Kill Boer Hatespeech Song

Kill the Boer Shoot the Boer genocidal hatespeech song: ruling ANC party reaches out of court settlement with Afriforum civil rights group

City Press writes October 31 2012 that the ruling ANC-party has dropped its court appeal against the Shoot the Boer song in a settlement with Afrifoum. Its spokesman Kallie Kriel said they were ‘happy about the out of court settlement which was reached’ over the song. Its attorney Willie Spies said in the Oct 31 2012 press conference announcing it that this was ‘a greater victory for Afriforum because the ANC itself has now agreed to not sing this song any more.’

SA Judge Colin Lamont had ruled this song as hatespeech — and had issued a court-order banning people from singing it in public, as it incited genocidal violence against the vulnerable and very small Afrikaner minority-

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


107 Migrants Rescued Off Lampedusa

Maltese authorities save another boat with 77 people

(ANSA) — Rome, November 6 — The Italian coast guard and navy rescued 107 migrants from a distressed motorized inflatable dinghy off the coast of Lampedusa on Monday night.

A Maltese patrol saved another 77 people on board a boat near Lampedusa after receiving an alert from the Palermo harbor office.

The Italian Coast Guard reported the incidents in a written release on Tuesday, which mark the latest in a new wave of migrant-packed vessels aiming to reach Italian shores.

A fishing boat with 177 immigrants on board was intercepted by Italian financial police near Reggio Calabria on Sunday night.

On Monday night, the Palermo harbor office received a satellite phone call reporting a distressed 11-meter inflatable boat with more than 100 people on board. The boat was located 96 miles southeast of Lampedusa, near the border of Maltese and Libyan waters. The Italian Coast Guard sent two boats, and the Italian navy a ship in search of the stranded dinghy. The Italian Coast Guard directed two merchant ships in the zone to go to the aid of the boat in distress.

The merchant ships reached the crowded dinghy at about midnight, while Italian authorities got there at 2am. There were 28 women, 76 men and three minors on the dinghy, for a total of 107 people.

Another boat, with 77 people aboard, was found 80 miles south of Lampedusa. Maltese authorities sent a patrol boat and sent a nearby merchant ship to the boat’s aid.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Inviting Criminals Across the Border

Come Jan. 2, 2013, 3,400 Border Patrol agents, 932 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents, and 802 ICE deportation and removal officers are going to lose their jobs. Unless President Obama forces Congress to break the gridlock on budget decisions, the layoffs are certain. The United States can not afford this reduction. Illegal alien crossings more than doubled in September over August in the Arizona border area where agent Brian Terry was killed with a gun from the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-walking operation almost two years ago.

The administration’s focus is on what the president can do for illegal aliens, not on securing the border. The president’s “deferred action” amnesty has logged over 179,794 applications for processing and 4,591 approved as of Oct. 10. Not even the Oct. 2 fatal shooting of agent Nicholas Ivie five miles north of the Arizona border in Naco, whether by “friendly fire,” “faulty sensors” or cartel activity shifted the administration’s focus on amnesty. The president’s open border policies ignore the need for technology, infrastructure and enforcement policies to help secure America and better assure officer safety.

The deaths of brave men like officers Terry and Ivie raise important questions about immigration enforcement under the Obama administration. Is illegal activity on the border increasing or decreasing? Numbers of apprehensions mean little if attending statistics are not provided. If a volunteer organization like can track border crossings, the federal government can, too. But the government prefers to tell us the border is secure and apprehensions are down, without providing corresponding numbers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Outrage Prompts Refugee Kids’ Free Lunch Reversal

Dozens of children of asylum seekers on the Baltic island of Öland will now be served lunch in school after an uproar stemming from revelations that local authorities had decided the children didn’t have a right to free lunches.

“Now we’re starting to organize it. It will be underway as quickly as possible,” Lisbeth Lennartsson, a member of the local council in Borgholm, told Sveriges Television (SVT) on Monday.

Lennartsson said she was surprised at the strong reactions and intense media attention that emerged following a decision to not serve state-subsidized school lunches to around 100 children currently attending a temporary school set up for the children of asylum seekers housed on a north Öland camping site.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Croatia: Ex Football Chief Convicted of Homophobia

Markovic had said no place for gays in football

(ANSAmed) — ZAGABRIA, 6 NOV — Ex Croatian Football Federation president Vlatko Markovic must make a public apology to the gay community after the Supreme Court found him guilty of homophobia Monday. In a 2010 interview with newspaper Vecernji Markovic remarked that he would never accept the existence of gay football players.

He had never met a gay footballer, he said, because “fortunately, only healthy people play football”. Responding to a question about whether a gay footballer could represent the Croatian team, Markovic replied, “absolutely not while I’m still President”. Markovic’s presidency of the Croatian Footballing Federation began in 1998 and ended in July last year.

Gay rights groups accused Markovic of discrimination claiming that his remarks had excluded gay players access to the national team. Following yesterday’s court ruling Markovic must publish an apology in the press. He is also banned from making similar discriminatory comments. In 2010 UEFA punished Markovic for his remarks with a 10,000 euro fine.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Debunking the Mayan Calendar “Prophecy”

This is the actual Mayan stone that talks about the end of the current, 13th, Baktun (“long count”) cycle, but all it really says is the date of the end of the cycle, and the name of the god (or group of gods) that would be in charge of the 14th Baktun, Bolon Yookte K’uh. Does that mean we’ll all be eaten by Jaguars?

I don’t think so (unless you live in a Jaguar infested neighborhood) Remember, those cataclysms at the end of eras are Aztec, not Mayan (I searched, and couldn’t find evidence of world ending events at the ends of Baktuns).

One cycle ends, another begins. After December 31st comes January 1st.

[Return to headlines]

Humans Smell Fear, And It’s Contagious

Humans can smell fear and disgust, and the emotions are contagious, according to a new study. The findings, published Nov. 5 in the journal Psychological Science, suggest that humans communicate via smell just like other animals.

“These findings are contrary to the commonly accepted assumption that human communication runs exclusively via language or visual channels,” write Gün Semin and colleagues from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

The findings suggest that humans can communicate at least some emotions by smell, which could prove useful in crowded places, the authors suggest. “Our research suggests that emotional chemo-signals can be potential contributors to emotional contagion in situations involving dense crowds,” the authors write in the study.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]