Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121112

Financial Crisis
»Italian Prosecutors Request Indictment for Fitch, S&P Bosses
»Italy: Big Cuts to Hospitals and Beds in Molise, Lazio and Trentino
»Italy Does Not Have ‘Big Imbalances’, Can Come Back Strong
»Italy: Police Clash With Students in Naples Over Labor Market
»Japanese Economy Takes a Tumble Towards Recession
Europe and the EU
»Denmark: Journalists Attacked for Reporting on Christmas Tree Controversy
»France: Hard-Left Militants Attack National Front
»Germany: Public Funds ‘17 Cars’ For Three Ex-Chancellors
»Greece: Facebook Takes Down Profiles of Neo-Nazi MPs
»Italy: Young Footballers’ Rejection Letter
»Italy: Ex-Ministers Testify in Berlusconi Hearing
»Italy: Telecom Italia Stock Spikes 6% on News of Sawiris’ Offer
»Italy is in ‘War’ Against Tax Evasion, Says Monti
»Merkel Meets Passos Coelho in Lisbon, Protests
»Rabbi: ‘Islamization of Europe a Good Thing’
»Sweden: SAS Unveils Massive Cost-Cutting Bid
»Sweden: Guard Shot Himself Dead at PM’s Home: Report
»Sweden Democrats Hit All-Time High in New Poll
»UK: Imam Qatada Wins Appeal Against Deportation to Jordan
»Venice Flooded After Storm
»Sweden: Refugee Kids Faking Mental Ills: Agency Staff

Financial Crisis

Italian Prosecutors Request Indictment for Fitch, S&P Bosses

Agencies suspected of affecting markets with ‘imprudence’

(ANSA) — Rome, November 12 — Prosecutors in the southern Italian town of Trani on Monday requested managers of Standard & Poor’s and Fitch be indicted for alleged market tampering related to the international rating agencies’ assessments. Prosecutors said earlier this year that they were investigating the possibility that “false, unfounded or imprudent judgements” had unduly affected markets.

Deven Sharma, S&P’s president from 2007 to 2011, was one of seven senior figures linked to the agencies who should be sent to trial, according to the prosecutors.

In January investigators searched S&P’s Milan offices two days after the agency downgraded Italy along with eight other countries including France and Spain.

Five days later, Trani prosecutors ordered a search of the Milan offices of Fitch, the world’s second-largest ratings agency, which downgraded Italy three days later.

The agencies deny any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said they would not be taking action against Moody’s managers after opening a probe into its decisions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Big Cuts to Hospitals and Beds in Molise, Lazio and Trentino

Ministry says 30,000 beds must go. Regions have until 31 December to indicate where axe will fall

ROME — Italy’s hospitals are to lose 30,000 beds as the scenario outlined in last summer’s spending review begins to take shape. Regions have until 31 December to indicate where the reductions will be made. In the upcoming three-year period from 2013 to 2015, the current average ratio of 4.2 beds per thousand residents will have to drop to 3.7. The total should include 0.7% set aside for rehabilitation and long-stay patients who no longer need acute care. Some regions, including Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Tuscany and Lombardy, have already begun to wield the axe while others have yet to start. Significantly, these are the regions with the biggest deficits and budget-balancing plans in place. Molise will have to make bigger cuts any other authority (-33.2%), followed by the autonomous province of Trento (-20.9%) and Lazio (-19.9%). The aim is to arrive at a more modern system through the key concepts of fewer hospitals (which are very expensive and create waste), more territory-based services and more appropriateness.

The underlying criteria are laid out in a framework for regulations on “Quality, Structural, Technological and Quantitative Standards in Hospital Care”. Unless there are new developments, it will be submitted for approval by the central-regional government conference next week. The document, which is ready, was drafted by the health ministry’s AGENAS agency for healthcare services, directed by Fulvio Moirano, which is also in charge of the performance evaluation plan for individual health structures.

It would be more correct to describe the programme as conversion, not cuts, because the beds lost will not be removed. Instead they will be used for other purposes, such as accommodation for the elderly or long-stay patients. The cuts will not be tiny — a bed here, two there — or adhere to the logic of mediation, particularly in universities. Entire carbon-copy departments, known today as complex operative units, will disappear on the basis of catchment area and performance studies. The aim is to offer patients a better service. The more experience a unit accrues, the safer it becomes, particularly for highly specialised procedures such as transplants, heart surgery and neurosurgery. Many areas have too many units working too little because they have to share out patients, thus compromising quality. Minimum quotas are now in place for some specialisations. Coronary bypass units, for instance, should carry out at least 150 ops a year. Yet in Rome, to take one example, only one heart surgery unit out of eight reaches this target while ten of Lombardy’s 18 units meet the criterion…

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

Italy Does Not Have ‘Big Imbalances’, Can Come Back Strong

Monti sees growth returning as soon as euro crisis ends

(ANSA) — Milan, November 12 — Premier Mario Monti said on Monday that he was upbeat about the Italian economy’s long-term prospects because it was fundamentally sound.

“It will be possible for growth to return as soon as the eurozone crisis is solved,” Monti said at an event organised by the Financial Times in Milan.

“Italy does not have major imbalances, apart from its national debt-GDP ratio”. Monti’s emergency government of unelected technocrats has passed painful austerity measures to restore health to the country’s public finances and put it on track to balance the budget in structural terms next year.

However, Italy’s borrowing have remained high with investors concerned about the risk of the country being hit by contagion from other countries embroiled in the crisis, above all Greece and Spain. Monti has said that his and future governments will have to go further than balancing the budget and take action to reduce Italy’s huge public debt, which Eurostat last month said has reached a record high of 126.1% in relation to gross domestic product (GDP).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Clash With Students in Naples Over Labor Market

Demonstrators cornered with tear gas after rocks, bottles thrown

(ANSA) — Naples, November 12 — Police in Naples on Monday fired tear gas and charged at student protestors after they hurled bottles and stones during the visit of Italy’s and Germany’s labor ministers. Police then cornered demonstrators inside the entrance of the city’s school of engineering, where tear gas and small explosions continued to go off. Students were protesting against poor labor conditions in the country, where youth unemployment is 35% and even higher in the south, and internships and temporary contracts are the norm.

Italian Labor Minister Elsa Fornero was in Naples for a meeting with her German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Education Minister Francesco Profumo. “I chose Naples to give a signal, a positive message to a city where the problems of our youth are very serious,” said Fornero, who said that apprenticeships were the key for new graduates to transition into the workforce. “We need to aim for apprenticeships, where (young people) can learn on the job because often once they’ve left school and arrive in a company they can have a difficult time,” she said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Japanese Economy Takes a Tumble Towards Recession

The government in Japan has announced a severe dip in economic output for the July-September quarter. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda called the figures “severe,” with business leaders predicting more to come.

Japan’s economy contracted by 0.9 percent quarter-on-quarter, or 3.5 percent year-on-year, between July and September this year, according to official government figures released on Monday morning. The dip was actually slightly smaller than the 3.6 percent annual decline forecast by business daily Nikkei.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda described the contraction as “severe.”

In the previous quarter, Japan logged a year-on-year growth rate of 0.3 percent — meaning the country has not crossed the commonly accepted threshold for a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Business leaders fretted however, that a technical recession was just three months away.

“The GDP data confirms that the economy has fallen into a recession,” Tatsushi Shikano, a senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo, told the Reuters news agency. “It is set for a second straight quarter of contraction in the current quarter.”

The Bank of Japan had already downgraded its basic assessment of the country’s economy in October.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Denmark: Journalists Attacked for Reporting on Christmas Tree Controversy

A private donor may have stepped in to pay for the axed Christmas tree, but the controversy will continue as the board are now being accused of racism

The on-going controversy over theChristmas tree and the housing association in Kokkedal, a town north of Copenhagen, took another turn this weekend, when two journalists from TV2 News escaped unharmed after their van was attacked by 25 masked individuals.

The journalists had gone to the Egedalsvænget housing complex to report on a petition that was gathering signatures of those who had lost confidence in the housing association’s board.

The board had voted against paying 8,000 kroner for the annual Christmas tree and party, but had earlier in the year approved the payment of 60,000 kroner for a party celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid. Five out of nine of the board members are Muslims.

After the men arrived and exited the van, the attackers promptly began throwing bricks and cobblestones at it. The attackers shouted slurs at the journalists, such as “Neo-Nazi”, and told them to leave.

Following the attack that damaged the windows, doors and the dashboard of the van, the head of TV2 News condemned the treatment of his journalists.

“It’s completely outrageous that things like this happen, but I’m glad it was only our hardware that was attacked and that our personnel were unharmed,” Jacob Nybroe told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “But it’s disappointing that we can’t cover the news everywhere in Denmark.”

The North Zealand Police has said it is now investigating the incident..

The story of the axed Christmas tree was taken up by the Danish media with gusto after several politicians and commentators suggested it demonstrated an intolerance towards Danish customs held by the minority Muslim population.

But not everyone on the board can agree on why the proposal to have a Christmas tree was rejected.

“No-one wanted to take on the responsibility of getting it,” one board member, Ismail Mestasi, told the press. “A vote was taken and it ended as it ended. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I was asked to get the tree. And I didn’t want to.”

But the board’s chair, Karin Leegaard Hansen, denied this and has said she offered to take on the responsibility, but that her offer was not noted down in the minutes of the meeting.

The decision of one housing association threatens to turn into a nationwide conflict between Muslims and ethnically Danish Christians. The Islamic association, Islamisk Trossamfund, told Ekstra Bladet that it has received some threatening phone calls since the issue was first covered.

“We have received direct threats, verbal abuse and other forms of taunting as though it was us who were responsible for this case,” spokesperson Imran Shah said, before adding that Muslims are not allowed to deny other groups their right to celebrate their holidays.

“If there is even one non-Muslim in the housing association who wants to hold Christmas, they have to take account of that,” Shah said.

Steffen Morild, the chairman of 3B, the company responsible for the housing complex, said that the housing association’s vote might not be legitimate, as the proper procedures weren’t followed. He added that a meeting was planned for this week where the case would be fully examined, and where the proper procedure for voting on issues like this would be explained.

The issue is likely to remain a hot topic, despite the fact that a private donor has offered to pay an equal amount for both a Christmas tree and next year’s Eid party.

The police announced that they were now investigating an accusation of racism made against the board regarding its decision.

“It needs to be determined to what extent the decision by the Muslim members of the board to first vote ‘yes’ to a 60,000 kroner Eid party, then ‘no’ to a 8,000 kroner Christmas tree to celebrate Christian traditions, violates laws by discriminating against Christians and their traditions,” police spokesperson Karsten Egtved wrote in his report.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

France: Hard-Left Militants Attack National Front

Five extreme left-wing militants were held for questioning on Sunday after three members of the right-wing National Front were allegedly attacked and injured in Saint Etienne, capital of the Loire region.

The militants were upset over the involvement of the National Front in a November 11th Armistice Day commemoration ceremony held in the town, which they considered a “provocation”, according to a report from the website of the Progre’s newspaper.

At least three members of the party headed by Marine Le Pen were injured in a room where a group was preparing to take part in the commemoration on Sunday morning.

The ceremony itself took place without incident.

However, 50 young members of the National Front who participated in the homage to soldiers who died for France were challenged after a procession through the centre of Saint Etienne by 20 extreme left wingers, Progre’s reported.

Law enforcement officials in riot gear intervened, separating the two groups and preventing any fisticuffs between the two groups.

The victims of the earlier attack filed official complaints with justice authorities, according to press reports.

The clash was the latest in a a series involved hard left sympathizers and National Front members.

Julien Sanchez, a member of the party and a councillor for the Languedoc-Rousillon complained of facing death threats and insults from extreme left wingers and union members while “demonstrating peacefully” on Saturday with fellow party members in Nîmes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Public Funds ‘17 Cars’ For Three Ex-Chancellors

Gerhard Schröder has seven publicly funded, chauffeur-driven vehicles at his disposal, despite his highly-paid private work.

The Social Democrat swiftly moved from politics to lucrative business after losing office in 2005. He took up a well-paid job with Nord Stream, which operates a natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea — and which is majority owned by Gazprom.

The other former chancellors also have publicly funded transport, with Helmut Kohl having access to six cars including three Mercedes 600 SEL models, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday.

And Helmut Schmidt has access to four, including two fancy Mercedes 420 cdi cars which cost nearly €100,000 each.

The former chancellors’ cars have cost the country €1.265 million in purchasing, repairs and use, since they were introduced, Der Spiegel said, although it failed to say how long the publicly funded transport had been available to them.

The federal police, responsible for the personal security of the former chancellors, said such measures were necessary to protect them.

Left MP Gesine Lötzsch said it was ridiculous — “One former chancellor, one car,” she demanded.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Greece: Facebook Takes Down Profiles of Neo-Nazi MPs

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 12 — Facebook has blocked the profiles of MPs from Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party after deeming that they violated terms of use on violence and racism, according to reports. The social networking site also deleted profiles of Golden Dawn members and others who had posted Nazi symbols, website TVXS reported. Golden Dawn accused Facebook of censorship and a “relentless attack against nationalist users”.

According Kathimwerini online, it has reportedly filed a complaint with the electronic crimes squad.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Young Footballers’ Rejection Letter

Eight-year-olds told they will no longer play

That day, Paolino found a sealed envelope addressed to him on the living room table. It was the first letter the eight-year-old had ever received. The message said: “We write to thank you for being part of our club in the 2011-2012 season. Unfortunately, we find ourselves obliged to tell you that for the upcoming 2012-2013 season we are unable to offer you the opportunity to continue your sporting activities with us. I wish you every success in sport and take this opportunity to extend my warmest regards”. Signed Spartaco Ventura, chairman of Paolino’s passion, the Trieste-based San Giovanni football club. Dad Daniele saw him go into his room, where the decor is in Juventus club colours and the posters are of Gigi Buffon. Daniele says: “He came out two hours later and told me ‘I don’t want to play football any more. I don’t want to do anything’. Perhaps he was rejected because he’s too short to be a goalkeeper. Is that what he did wrong, I ask myself? Not being good enough at football? I didn’t take him to the club to become a Kakà, a Messi or a Ronaldo. No, I just wanted him to have a good time, be with other boys, experience team spirit and learn to play fair”. The budding netminder was one of six San Giovanni juniors who were given similar marching orders. Cesare Lenzi told us: “My son was shattered about it. I tried to soothe him by telling him he could still go to another team but he wasn’t having that. ‘I don’t want to play against my mates’. Got that? For San Giovanni, OK; against, no. Little by little, I persuaded him to try athletics, since he was enthralled by the Olympics”.

So the question is how can you make selections like that at an age when kids are just starting to kick a football around? How can you exclude players from the squad, just “let them go”, as if they were a Del Piero, or Seedorf or Julio Cesar, when the Italian football association Federcalcio itself warns clubs against selecting before the age of twelve? And what about the club’s social mission?

We asked the man who sent the letters, San Giovanni chairman Spartaco Ventura: “It’s got nothing to do with how good they are. My decision was based on the need to reduce the number of young footballers at the club because we were no longer able to look after them all. There weren’t enough coaches so we had to cut the squad. I took other criteria into account when I was making the decisions. Anyway, youngsters and parents are free to switch club after 30 June every year, and clubs can make their choices, too. I would also point out that if anything happens to me, it won’t be six lads going home, it’ll be 200”.

Mr Ventura’s words are not calculated to soothe…

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

Italy: Ex-Ministers Testify in Berlusconi Hearing

Carfagna says ex-premier is being put through a ‘media trial’

(ANSA) — Milan, November 12 — Ex-minister of education Maria Stella Gelmini and former equal opportunities minister Mara Carfagna testified on Monday in the trial of Italian ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi for alleged sex with an underage prostitute and alleged abuse of power.

The two former members of Berlusconi’s government answered questions from the ex-premier’s defense lawyer, Niccolo’ Ghedini.

Gelmini told the court that she had been a guest at Berlusconi’s villa at Arcore outside Milan on several occasions “but always for work” and never when “young girls were present”.

The two former ministers were called to testify based on a deposition by Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan runaway and nightclub dancer also known as Ruby that Berlusconi allegedly paid for sex when she was under 18.

Ruby said that on one of the evenings at Berlusconi’s villa on February 14, 2010, Carfagna and Gelmini were present.

Gelmini testified that she had never met Ruby and that on February 14, 2010 she was pregnant and at home with her husband.

Upon leaving the court, Carfagna told reporters that the trial seemed more like a “media trial”.

Carfagna said that she did not have an idea of the direction the trial was taking, because she was not “aware of the facts…we have to simply wait for the judges’ decision”.

The ex-premier stands accused of abuse of power for allegedly persuading police to release Ruby after an unrelated theft claim to hush up their relationship.

Berlusconi has said he was trying to avoid a diplomatic incident as he believed Mahroug was a relative of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

The charge of having sex with an underage prostitute carries a jail term of up to three years, and abuse of office 12 years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Telecom Italia Stock Spikes 6% on News of Sawiris’ Offer

Egyptian billionaire offers capital increase for minority stake

(ANSA) — Milan, November 12 — Telecom Italia (TIT) stock shot up more than 6% on Monday on news that Egyptian billionaire and Orascom Development CEO Naguib Onsi Sawiris had offered a capital increase in exchange for a minority stake.

A note from TIT confirmed Monday morning that Sawiris was interested in buying an emission of new shares. “The initiative is described as aimed at providing the company with resources for growth projects. The document was read at the Board Meeting held last November 8th. (The board) limited itself to taking note of it, reserving for itself the opportunity to evaluate” the proposal after a series of checks, the company note said.

Unconfirmed rumors placed the value of the offer at 4-5 billion euros.

The news followed better-than-expected third-quarter results and confirmed year-end targets.

ßßß”Clearly if someone has an interest in Telecom Italia, it means the company has value. We are pleased that there should be such an interest,” commented TIT CEO Franco Bernabe’.

On Monday, Bernabe’ told journalists at a company presentation that TIT’s industrial plan “is aggressive on costs, but also on development”. Asked whether the industrial plan will have an impact on company employees, Bernabe’ replied, “When the moment arrives, we will talk about it.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy is in ‘War’ Against Tax Evasion, Says Monti

Widespread crackdown has led to backlash against tax collectors

(ANSA) — Milan, November 12 — The Italian government has declared war on rampant tax evasion, Premier Mario Monti said on Monday.

“Some measures adopted by the government against tax evasion may seem like war measures and, in reality, they are,” Monti said at an event organised by the Financial Times.

With cash needed to haul Italy out of the debt crisis, Monti has launched a big drive to reduce widespread tax evasion.

This has featured high-profile operations at luxury resorts and exclusive stores and nightclubs in big cities and a hard-hitting TV advertising campaign.

Italy’s inland revenue agency, the Agenzia delle Entrate, has also introduced a new system to find evaders by cross-checking incomes and spending.

But there has also been a backlash, with tax collectors becoming hate figures for many people. Tax agency offices have suffered a number of letter-bomb attacks in various parts of the country.

A number of recent suicides have been linked to tax bills people were unable to pay.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Merkel Meets Passos Coelho in Lisbon, Protests

German Chancellor meets with Tusk, Ayrault, Putin over the week

(ANSAmed) — BERLIN, NOVEMBER 12 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva and Premier Pedro Passos Coelho in Lisbon on Monday.

Unions and other activists organizing on Facebook announced they will take to the streets in protest against what they say is Berlin’s hard line policy on the euro crisis. In a radio interview prior to her Lisbon mission, where she will also speak at a meeting of Portuguese and German entrepreneurs, the chancellor said that Portugal does not need more EU aid.

Merkel has a busy week ahead. In Berlin on Wednesday, she meets with Polish Premier Donald Tusk as part of German-Polish intergovernmental consultations; on Thursday November 15 she meets with French Premier Jean-Marc Ayrault, followed by a working dinner with Dutch Premier Mark Rutte ahead of the November 22-23 European summit; she flies to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday, for Russian-German intergovernmental consultations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Rabbi: ‘Islamization of Europe a Good Thing’

Rabbi Baruch Efrati believes Jews should ‘rejoice at the fact that Europe is paying for what it did to us for hundreds of years by losing its identity.’ He praises Islam for promoting modesty, respect for God

As concerns grow over the increasing number of Muslims in Europe, it appears not everyone is bothered by the issue, including an Israeli rabbi who even welcomes the phenomenon.

Rabbi Baruch Efrati, a yeshiva head and community rabbi in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, believes that the Islamization of Europe is actually a good thing.

“With the help of God, the gentiles there will adopt a healthier life with a lot of modesty and integrity, and not like the hypocritical Christianity which appears pure but is fundamentally corrupt,” he explained.

Rabbi Efrati was asked to discuss the issue by an oriental studies student, who inquired on Judaism’s stand toward the process Europe has been going through in recent years.

Following the election of a hijab-wearing Muslim woman as the mayor of the Bosnian city of Visoko for the first time in continent’s history, the student asked the rabbi on the Kipa website: “How do we fight the Islamization of Europe and return it to the hands of Christians and moderates?”

Efrati wrote in response that the Islamization of Europe was better than a Christian Europe for ethical and theological reasons — as a punishment against Christians for persecuting the Jews and the fact that Christianity, as opposed to Islam, is considered “idolatry” from a halachic point of view.

“Jews should rejoice at the fact that Christian Europe is losing its identity as a punishment for what it did to us for the hundreds of years were in exile there,” the rabbi explained as the ethical reason for favoring Muslims, quoting shocking descriptions from the Rishonim literature (written by leading rabbis who lived during the 11th to 15th centuries) about pogroms and mass murders committed by Christians against Jews.

“We will never forgive Europe’s Christians for slaughtering millions of our children, women and elderly… Not just in the recent Holocaust, but throughout the generations, in a consistent manner which characterizes all factions of hypocritical Christianity…

“A now, Europe is losing its identity in favor of another people and another religion, and there will be no remnants and survivors from the impurity of Christianity, which shed a lot of blood it won’t be able to atone for.”

‘Islam a relatively honest religion’

The theological reason, according to Rabbi Efrati, is that Christianity — which he sees as idolatry — has a tendency to “destroy normal life and abstain from it on the one hand, while losing modesty on the other hand,” as it “ranges between radical monasticism to radical Western licentiousness.”

Islam, the rabbi added, is “a religion which misjudges its prophets but is relatively honest. It educates a bit more for a stable life of marriage and creation, where there is certain modesty and respect for God.”

Efrati ruled, therefore, that “even if we are in a major war with the region’s Arabs over the Land of Israel, Islam is still much better as a gentile culture than Christianity.”

He added, however, that Jews must pray that the Islamization of most of Europe will not harm the people of Israel.

           — Hat tip: LN[Return to headlines]

Sweden: SAS Unveils Massive Cost-Cutting Bid

Scandinavian airline SAS announced plans on Monday to slash 3 billion kronor ($445 million) in costs, with at least 800 jobs to be cut in what the company’s CEO has labelled “the final call” for the troubled airline.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Guard Shot Himself Dead at PM’s Home: Report

A security guard shot himself dead at Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s official residence in Stockholm on Friday, according to reports.

Police were alerted shortly after 1pm on Friday and emergency services including three swat teams gathered outside the prime minister’s official residence, Sagerska Palatset in central Stockholm.

Stockholm police spokeswoman Towe Hägg told the TT news agency that Swedish security service Säpo, which manages the prime minister’s security detail, had not been brought into the investigation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sweden Democrats Hit All-Time High in New Poll

The far-right Sweden Democrats have recorded their highest voter-support poll results ever, shooting up to 11.2 percent, with party leader Jimmie Åkesson stating the party is on “the road to success”.

A voter survey carried out by the United Minds polling firm and published on Monday in the Aftonbladet newspaper shows voter support for the Sweden Democrats has reached 11.2 percent, the party’s highest-ever result.

The results come from a survey held between October 11th and November 14th which shows the party in a clear third place behind the Social Democrats (31 percent) and Moderates (27.8 percent).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Imam Qatada Wins Appeal Against Deportation to Jordan

(AGI) London, Nov. 12 — The imam Abu Qatada, suspected of being a jihadist and a dangerous ideologue, has won his appeal against deportation to Jordan and will be released on bail tomorrow. The judges decided there was the risk that he may have been tried in Jordan on the basis of evidence obtained through torture. The British government has condemned the verdict stating that it will continue its legal battle to ensure that Abu Qatada, 51, is extradited to Jordan where in 1998 he was sentenced in absentia for his involvement in terrorist attack. Home Secretary Theresa May had ordered his extradition after receiving reassurance that Qatada would not be tortured from the Jordanian authorities, but these guarantees were clearly not considered sufficient by immigration’s Special Appeals Commission. Abu Qatada asked Great Britain for political asylum in 1993 and has spent most of the past seven years in a high security prison.

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

Venice Flooded After Storm

Heavy rain and a storm surge have left Venice severely flooded. At 1.5 meters above norm, it was the lagoon city’s sixth worst flood on record. The storm has also caused chaos across northern Italy, including Tuscany.

Residents and tourists were left to wade on Sunday, with 70 percent of the city flooded, including pathways along Venice’s fabled canals.

Authorities said a strong southerly wind had piled up water in the lagoon. By late afternoon Sunday the level had receded slightly to 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) above normal.

Venice is built on hundreds of small islands. To tackle high water in the future, a complicated dam system is being built to become operational in 2016.

The 6 billion euro ($7.8 billion) project — known by its Italian acronym, MOSE, for experimental electromechanical module — has been beset by cost overruns and criticism from environmental groups.

Heavy rainfall and floods were reported in many parts of northern Italy on Sunday. In Toscana, 200 residents had to flee their homes. In the province Massa Carrara, 230 millimeters (9 inches) of rainfall was recorded in just four hours.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Sweden: Refugee Kids Faking Mental Ills: Agency Staff

The head of Migration Board (Migrationsverket) operations in southern Sweden has slammed case workers for routinely hinting that refugee children are making false claims about their mental health in order to avoid deportation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

Re the rabbi on the left bank: just goes to show that there are stupid Jews.

Of American Jews living in Israel who voted in the recent election, 85% voted for Romney.