Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121114

Financial Crisis
»Anti-Austerity Strikes Hit Iberian Peninsula
»Beyond Regulators’ Grasp: How Shadow Banks Rule the World
»Layoffs Double in Sweden as Pessimism Rises
»Riot Police on the Streets of Lisbon and Rubber Bullets Fired in Madrid as Europe Explodes on Day of Anti-Austerity Protests
»19,605 to Zero is Statistical Proof of Outright Vote Fraud in 2012 Presidential Election
»22 Signs That Voter Fraud is Wildly Out of Control and the Election Was a Sham
»Allen West Files Complaint With Court Seeking Recount
»Christie Warns NJ Residents of Post-Storm Tax Hikes
»Our Children: The Drones
»People Targeted for Anti-Obama Speech
»Petraeus Sex Scandal Could Have Sunk Obama
»Veteran F.B.I. Agent Helped Start Petraeus E-Mail Inquiry
»We Have Met the Enemy, And He is Us
»White House ‘Secede’ Petitions Reach 675,000 Signatures, 50-State Participation
»X-Rated Emails and the Very Toxic Love Tangle That Brought Down the CIA Boss: As a Second General is Dragged in
»U.S.-Canada Integrated Cybersecurity Agenda
Europe and the EU
»France: Anti-Islamophobia Ad Banned on Metro
»Italy: Ex-Naples Prefect in Prison Over Sex-for-Favours Charges
»Italy Critical of Proposed EU Budget for 2014-2020
»Muslims Call for Change in UK Blasphemy Laws
»Op-Ed: Exposé: Qatar’s Takeover of Europe
»UK: “There Are Gangs of Muslim Men Going Round and Raping White Kids” — Tory MP Claims the Way to Oppose the BNP is Talk Like the BNP
»UK: “Moderate Islamist” Mohammed Ali Harrath Bats for Abu Qatada
»UK: Batsheva Protester Arrested Over Anti-Jewish Slur
»UK: Bullying, Cowardly Doctors Left My Baby to Die Like an Abandoned Animal, Says Grieving Mother
»UK: If Chelsea Have Slandered Mark Clattenburg as a Racist, The Club Should be Relegated Immediately
»UK: London’s Mega-Mosque: “Recruiting Ground for Al Qaeda”
»UK: Mark Clattenburg Investigation Into Alleged Comments Made to Chelsea Players Dropped by the Police
»UK: Muslim Gang ‘White Rape’ Claim Prompts Row
»UK: Profile: Abu Qatada
»UK: Radical Cleric Abu Qatada Arrives Home to Angry Protests
»UK: Surrender to Qatada is an Insult to Justice
»UK: Thugs Jailed for Beating ‘Blind’ Man in the Face With a Brick and Battering His Father With a for Sale Sign in Unprovoked Attack
North Africa
»Egypt Vows Response to Israeli Attack in Gaza
»How Morsi Took Power in Egypt
Israel and the Palestinians
»For Hamas Leader, In Gaza, It’s Dark, Dark, Dark Amid the Blaze of Noon
»Hamas Military Chief Killed in Gaza Air Strike
»‘We Could Not Tolerate Any More, ‘ Peres to Obama
Middle East
»Jordan: Islamists Exploiting Anti-Fuel Hike Protest
»Turkey: Erdogan Challenges Europe on Death Penalty
»West Conjures Fake “Syrian” Government
»Putin: Obama Plans Visit Russia
Australia — Pacific
»Protect Your Unborn Child … or Else
»United Nations Wants Control of Web Kill Switch
»US Strengthens Military Presence in Australia
»Libya: Amnesty: Foreigners Facing Worse Conditions
Culture Wars
»New U.S. House: Women and Minorities to the Left; White Men to the Right
»NASA’s Prolific Planet-Hunting Mission Goes Into Overtime
»Television is Turning Us Into Zombies

Financial Crisis

Anti-Austerity Strikes Hit Iberian Peninsula

Trade unions have coordinated a general strike across Spain and Portugal to protest against austerity measures. Transport has been halted, flights grounded, and schools closed as protestors plan to take to the streets.

Workers in Spain and Portugal, along with supporters in Italy and Greece, were to demonstrate against austerity policies on Wednesday in what the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has declared a “European Day of Action and Solidarity.”

Unions in Greece and Italy have also organized work stoppages and demonstrations, while in Belgium, railway workers planned a solidarity strike. Labor leaders blame budget cuts and strict austerity measures for prolonging and worsening the continent’s economic crisis.

The international coordination shows “we are looking at a historic moment in the European Union movement,” said Fernando Toxo, head of Spain’s biggest union, Comisiones Obreras.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Beyond Regulators’ Grasp: How Shadow Banks Rule the World

Beyond the banking world, a parallel universe of shadow banks has grown in the form of hedge funds and money market funds. They’re outside the reach of conventional financial regulation, prompting authorities to plan introducing new rules to prevent the obscure sector from triggering a new financial crisis. But in doing so they risk drying up an important source of funding to banks and firms.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Layoffs Double in Sweden as Pessimism Rises

Redundancies in Sweden are on the rise, with a fresh report showing that twice as many workers were laid off in October compared to the same month last year, making for a labour market climate similar to that of 2009.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Riot Police on the Streets of Lisbon and Rubber Bullets Fired in Madrid as Europe Explodes on Day of Anti-Austerity Protests

Riot police were forced to protect the Portuguese parliament from angry protestors this evening following a day of violent anti-austerity protests across Europe.

Hundreds of police officers took to the streets of Lisbon as protestors armed with rocks and bottles attempted to attack Parliament.

There were chants of ‘out with the Government’ with some protestors also firing flares at the lines of riot police.

Across Europe there were scenes of violent protest with rubber bullets fired on the streets of Madrid, running battles with police in Milan and Rome, and clashes in Paris and Lille.

It followed a wave of anti-austerity strikes which saw thousands of British air passengers left stranded.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


19,605 to Zero is Statistical Proof of Outright Vote Fraud in 2012 Presidential Election

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, there were scattered concerns from across the political spectrum that vote fraud could occur in some sections of the country. While many of those fears did not come to fruition, based on final vote tallies in some polling districts, it’s hard to fathom that some form of fraud did not occur.

Take Philadelphia, for instance — the “city of Brotherly Love” — where, once again, New Black Panther Party members were seen at some of the same polling places they were at in 2008, when charges of voter intimidation were leveled against them. In 59 districts around the city, GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney got zero votes.

Zip. Nada. None.

Granted, in heavily Democratic urban districts in the city, it’s not unusual for that party’s candidate — in this case, President Obama — to win a heavy proportion of the vote. But all of them?

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

22 Signs That Voter Fraud is Wildly Out of Control and the Election Was a Sham

After what we have seen this November, how is any American ever supposed to trust the integrity of our elections ever again? There were over 70,000 reports of voting problems on election day, and there are numerous eyewitnesses that claim that they saw voting machines change votes for one candidate to another candidate right in front of their eyes. In several of the swing states there were counties where the number of registered voters exceeded the total voting age population by a very wide margin. How in the world does that happen? Some of the vote totals that were reported in some of the most important swing states were completely and totally absurd, and yet we are just supposed to accept them on blind faith without ever being able to ask any questions. Of course the Romney campaign has already totally given up, so it isn’t as if there is any chance that the results of the presidential election could be overturned anyhow. But if massive election fraud did take place and nobody is held accountable, what kind of message will that send for the future? Will we ever be able to have faith in the integrity of our elections ever again?

The following are 22 signs that voter fraud is wildly out of control and the election was a sham…

#1 According to the Election Protection Coalition, voters across the United States reported more than 70,000 voting problems by 5 PM Eastern time on election day.

#2 There were 59 voting divisions in the city of Philadelphia where Mitt Romney did not receive a single vote. In those voting divisions, the combined vote total was 19,605 for Barack Obama and 0 for Mitt Romney.

#3 The overall voter turnout rate in Philadelphia was only about 60 percent. But in the areas of Philadelphia where Republican poll watchers were illegally removed, the voter turnout rate was over 90% and Obama received over 99% of the vote. Officials in Philadelphia have already ruled out an investigation.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Allen West Files Complaint With Court Seeking Recount

WPTV reported that the state of Florida is sending officials to St. Lucie County to audit last Tuesday’s election results.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a letter officials would show up Wednesday, November 14th, to “observe and examine the election processes, to include any vote tabulations, and the condition, custody, and operation of voting systems” for the election.

In addition, Vince Gaskin, a Fort Pierce mayoral candidate, filed a request for an injunction against the St. Lucie County elections supervisor and Canvassing Board, asking the circuit court to postpone Wednesday’s recount, impound voting machines and review the election results.

The Allen West campaign released the following statement announcing a complaint has been filed in circuit court seeking a preliminary injunction ordering St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to recount all votes cast in the CD 18 race.

The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board met on Sunday, November 11, 2012 for the stated purpose of recounting “all ballots cast during early voting.” This “refeed” was not conducted pursuant to Florida’s automatic recount statute, but rather as part of the canvassing process. The Canvassing Board, however, re-fed only ballots cast on three days during the early voting period. This limited, partial re-feed — not conducted pursuant to any statute — uncovered significant errors in the initial tabulation of votes. Nearly 1,000 votes disappeared from the count, and neither the Canvassing Board nor the Supervisor provided any explanation for this selective recount. Despite publicly announcing a hearing for the purposes of re-feeding all early votes, counsel for the Canvassing Board advised publicly that “Tallahassee” recommended counting only those specific three days — all without providing information as to who advised a selective re-feed or the basis for doing so.

It stands to reason that if the remaining early votes were to be recounted, additional errors would be uncovered and the tabulation of votes revised accordingly. Until these remaining early ballots are recounted, however, the Canvassing Board has arbitrarily applied differing counting standards to similarly situated ballots. The erroneous decision of St. Lucie County to “re-feed” only some of the early votes cast in this election violates the Florida Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection to voters.

In addition, the County has violated both the Florida Open Meeting Law, Florida Sunshine Law and the Florida Constitution by meeting behind closed doors and without providing the required notice to the public.

           — Hat tip: ESW[Return to headlines]

Christie Warns NJ Residents of Post-Storm Tax Hikes

Gov. Chris Christie is warning New Jerseyans living in storm-wrecked towns that they’re likely to see higher local property taxes to help pay for rebuilding.

Christie, dressed in a suit and tie and working in the Statehouse for the first time since Sandy ravaged the state two weeks ago, said an exemption to the state’s 2 percent tax cap law is emergencies like Sandy, which destroyed coastal towns, knocked out rail service and left 2.7 million households in the dark. While municipalities can expect federal reimbursement for most storm-related cleanup costs, residents will most likely foot the bill for rebuilding.


New Jersey residents already pay the highest property taxes in the country, averaging $7,758 per household.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Our Children: The Drones

With taxpayers’ money through a National Science Foundation grant, in 1968 Richard I. Evans wrote B.F. Skinner: The Man and His Ideas. The philosophy stated in this book should be of critical interest to all people that are interested in education and value the individual. Following are some direct quotes from Skinner included in Evans’s book:

We want him [the student] to come under the control of his environment rather than on verbal directions given by members of his family. (p. 64)

I should like to see our government set up a large educational agency in which specialists could be sent to train teachers [in operant conditioning]. (p. 109)

Have the radical psychologists achieved their goals? Let’s take a look at exactly what they believe.


A naive and great nation of freedom-loving people has been deceived by a “technique of control” that cannot be discovered by the average American. By subtle means of mind manipulation from clever propaganda techniques to out-and-out lies, the American people have been sold these radical ideas, methods, and techniques that truly place our nation and our children at risk.

Skinner said, “You will teach your student as he wants to be taught, but never forget that it is within your power to make him want what you want him to want.” In other words, a teacher can program and shape a child into being anything the radicals decide he should be.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

People Targeted for Anti-Obama Speech

Several public school teachers are facing investigations for posting items on social networking sites that opposed President Obama and his agenda. Parents raised concerns regarding the teachers’ posts, prompting the school districts to launch investigations. Similarly, teens who posted anti-Obama messages on social networking sites are being targeted by a website called Jezebel, which not only reveals the identities of the students who made the posts, but reported the students to their schools.

In Rock Hill, South Carolina, a middle-school teacher was placed on leave after posting a message on her personal Facebook page about Obama and food stamps. “Congrats Obama,” she allegedly wrote. “As one of my students sang down the hallway, ‘We get to keep our food stamps’ … which I pay for because they can’t budget their money … and really, neither can you.”

According to a school spokesperson, several parents had called the school complaining about the teacher’s post. The teacher was forced to apologize.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Petraeus Sex Scandal Could Have Sunk Obama

A week before the election, an FBI whistleblower went to a Republican member of Congress with explosive details about a national security scandal that could have stopped President Obama’s re-election campaign dead in its tracks. But the potentially devastating “October Surprise” was hushed up by Republicans.

Although all the details are not yet available and new disclosures are coming every day, it appears that the scandal involves the CIA director leaking classified information to his mistress and the FBI not holding David Petraeus accountable for his immoral and illegal conduct. In short, it is the worst scandal of the Obama Administration and makes the third-rate burglary in the Watergate scandal look minor by comparison.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Veteran F.B.I. Agent Helped Start Petraeus E-Mail Inquiry

The F.B.I. agent who helped start the investigation that led to the resignation of David H. Petraeus as C.I.A. director is a “hard-charging” veteran counterterrorism investigator who used his command of French in investigating the foiled “millennium” terrorist plot in 1999, colleagues said on Wednesday.

The agent, Frederick W. Humphries II, 47, took the initial complaint from Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Fla., hostess who was socially active in military circles there, about e-mails she found disturbing that accused her of inappropriately flirtatious behavior toward Mr. Petraeus. The subsequent cyberstalking investigation uncovered an extramarital affair between Mr. Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, his biographer, who agents determined had sent the anonymous e-mails. It also ensnared Gen. John R. Allen, who now commands troops in Afghanistan, after the investigation discovered that he had sent “inappropriate communication” to Ms. Kelley.

[Return to headlines]

We Have Met the Enemy, And He is Us

Another election has come and gone and once again the GOP has demonstrated their uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

As I watched the vote totals updating in the battleground states, it became apparent very quickly that the GOP establishment template of “Democrat Lite”, would once again fail to prevail. When will they ever learn?

Stepping back caused me to ask myself a question — just exactly what the hell has happened to the GOP, and even to the conservative movement in general? It isn’t that I haven’t asked myself those questions before, it’s just that I don’t think I realized how far removed from true conservatism the current Administration and Congress have become.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

White House ‘Secede’ Petitions Reach 675,000 Signatures, 50-State Participation

Less than a week after a New Orleans suburbanite petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede from the United States, petitions from seven states have collected enough signatures to trigger a promised review from the Obama administration.

By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

X-Rated Emails and the Very Toxic Love Tangle That Brought Down the CIA Boss: As a Second General is Dragged in

The ‘other woman’, a 37-year-old Florida socialite and mother of three named Jill Kelley, went to the FBI after receiving threatening emails from Broadwell.

Jill Kelley, the woman who kicked off an FBI probe into General David Petraeus, leaves her Tampa home

But, almost incredibly, the investigation she set in train not only led to the demise of Petraeus, but has ensnared another senior figure.

Yesterday, the Pentagon announced that General John Allen, 58 — who was about to be appointed Nato’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe — is being investigated for ‘inappropriate communication’ with Mrs Kelley.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


U.S.-Canada Integrated Cybersecurity Agenda

As part of the Beyond the Border initiative, the U.S. and Canada are strengthening cybersecurity cooperation. In a move that received little attention, both countries recently announced a joint cybersecurity action plan. Cyber threats know no national borders which has made the issue an important security concern. A fully integrated North American security perimeter would be entrusted with preventing and responding to any such attacks.


There are reports that President Barack Obama may be close to issuing a cybersecurity executive order as a means of bypassing Congress. Under the guise of cybersecurity, the U.S. and Canada have been individually pushing draconian legislation domestically which would grant government agencies sweeping new powers.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

France: Anti-Islamophobia Ad Banned on Metro

AN anti-Islamophobia campaign has been banned from Paris public transport because of its political and religious connotations. The publicity section of buses and Metro authority RATP, Médiatransport, has banned three posters by the Collectif Contre l’islamophobie en France (CCIF). The CCIF has made public a letter explaining RATP’s conclusion that the appearance of symbols like the veil, payots (side curls worn by Orthodox Jews) and crucifixes alongside the phrase “We (too) are the nation” plus the French flag was politically charged.

One of the posters of the “We (too) are the nation” campaign is a reworking of the Tennis Court Oath painting by Jacques-Louis David (depicting a key meeting in the run-up to the French Revolution), redesigned to give a more diverse range of religious and ethnic identities to the figures involved. CCIF spokeswoman Lila Charef said: “Just because a poster shows a religious symbol, does not make it religious. On the contrary, our message is all-inclusive. We are still asking ourselves about the real motivation of this refusal. This campaign targets prejudice, Islamaphobia and stigmatising dialogue which divides citizens rather than bringing them together while our country moves through a difficult period socially and economically.”

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Ex-Naples Prefect in Prison Over Sex-for-Favours Charges

Carlo Ferrigno found guilty in 2011 of sleeping with minor

(ANSA) — Turin, November 14 — Former Naples prefect Carlo Ferrigno has been arrested to serve out the rest of a sentence in a sex-for-favours case involving minors. In April 2011, the former anti-racket commissioner, 73, plea-bargained a 3-year-four-month sentence for offering jobs and favors to young girls, including a minor, in exchange for sex. He has two years and eight months left to serve, having been in preventive detention at his home for six months last year before being released. He was also found guilty of disclosing official secrets and permitting unauthorized access to State computer systems. The offences date back to 2005, police said.

Ferrigno has also been named in a separate probe involving ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and an alleged underage prostitute called Ruby because of wiretaps of conversations with one of the 33 young women allegedly involved.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy Critical of Proposed EU Budget for 2014-2020

Italian ambassador takes issue with cuts to cohesion funds

(ANSA) Brussels, November 14 ; Italy’s ambassador to the European Union on Wednesday said that the 2014-2020 budget presented to the 27 member states by EU President Herman Van Rompuy was “a step backwards”.

In statements after the budget was presented, Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, the Italian ambassador to the EU, said: “We don’t feel that this new proposal offers a positive contribution to the search for a compromise to which everybody can agree, be they net contributors, net beneficiaries, friends of cohesion and friends of ‘better spending’“.

Referring to next week’s EU budget summit, Nelli Feroci said: “We feel that the conditions for an agreement are getting further away rather than closer”.

Italy’s ambassador pointed out how under the new budget proposal the country’s access to EU cohesion funds; which help member states’ poorer areas with investments in infrastructure is decreasing.

There is a “significant reduction in the resources available for the country,” Nelli Feroci said, pointing also to drastic cuts in funding for agricultural projects also.

Nelli Feroci also criticized the fact that the UK retains its budget reimbursement and took issue with the “discounts” offered to net contributor countries like Germany, Sweden and Holland.

“Italy will continue to work over the coming weeks towards reaching an deal everybody can agree to,” the ambassador said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Muslims Call for Change in UK Blasphemy Laws

LONDON: Muslims in Britain have urged the government to take seriously the threats they face as anti-Muslim hatred is reaching worrying heights in Britain and across Europe.

ENGAGE launched a unique exhibition and a month long campaign “Islamophobia Awareness Month”, highlighting the spread of Islamophobia in the British parliament where speakers included MPs Simon Hughes, Jack Straw, Peter Bottomley and Sadiq Khan.

Azad Ali of the Muslim Safety Forum said the exhibition in the parliament was aimed at showing to the parliamentarians that Muslims were ordinary people like any other community who were in sports, business, public and social life. He said racists and fascists groups like the English Defence League are pushing the thesis of hatred and creating a climate of fear and suspicion against Muslims.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie said Islamophobic prejudice is prevalent in the mainstream on display in political life, in the media and in the attitudes of the police and the courts.

Lancaster University academic Professor Tony McEnery briefed how he had researched British media for 11 years, analysed over 200,000 media articles written on Islam and Muslim and found that media was biased towards mainstream Muslims and promoted negative connotations.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Op-Ed: Exposé: Qatar’s Takeover of Europe

Read this carefully. It is a shocking and factual description of the situation at present, but it is also the prophecy of the future for Europe — or should we already call it Eurabia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: “There Are Gangs of Muslim Men Going Round and Raping White Kids” — Tory MP Claims the Way to Oppose the BNP is Talk Like the BNP

Tory MP Kris Hopkins has sparked a row in the Commons by claiming gangs of Muslim men are raping white “kids”. The Keighley MP claimed police had felt they needed “permission” to go after abusers due to “political correctness”. He said MPs should not avoid talking about the issue or the BNP and others will hijack it. But Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi warned about “playing into the hands” of far right groups with such accusations. The Bolton South East MP said senior police officers and judges involved in cases of abuse had said race did not play a part. She said the fact that the victims of abuse were white — in the cases Mr Hopkins was referring to — was “coincidental not deliberate”. She warned against losing sight of the “bigger picture” — that the common factors in all cases of abuse was the vulnerability of the victims and the fact that the perpetrators were “nearly all men”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: “Moderate Islamist” Mohammed Ali Harrath Bats for Abu Qatada

When Abu Qatada was released, I wondered who would be the first to leap to his defence. No surprise: it was Mohammed Ali Harrath, the CEO of the Islam Channel. This is what he told the BBC:

Mohamed Ali, who runs the Islam Channel on satellite television, has known the cleric for years and held talks with him during that period out of prison. He told the BBC: “Abu Qatada has no links with terrorism [or] al-Qaeda and he never ever agreed or endorsed what was done in 9/11 in America or 7/7 in the UK. “He said that if he had known that something was going to happen, he would lock them up. He thinks that jihad is limited to either defending Muslim lands when invaders come to Muslim lands or if force is being used to overthrow dictatorship regimes. “He believes that the covenant between any Muslim coming to this country and the government stands and it should be honoured by both parties.”

The reality of Abu Qatada’s politics is rather different […]

[Reader comment by Fembota on 14 November 2012 at 9:54 am.]

Other than being enraged, what are we supposed to do about this?

[Reply by Lucy Lips on 14 November 2012 at 10:39 am.]

Nothing you can do. Write to anti-extremism groups and ask them to cover the issue? Ask them to treat Harrath the way that Tommy Robinson is? Won’t happen.

[Reader comment by Lamia on 14 November 2012 at 2:37 pm.]

Ah, my favourite quango — Multiculturalist London: “Facilitating Islamist Terrorism Round The World, Endangering the British Public While Also Picking Their Pockets, and Enriching ‘Human Rights’ and Other Parasites.” Pitiful. Disgraceful.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Batsheva Protester Arrested Over Anti-Jewish Slur

A man was arrested for racial harassment during a protest against an Israeli dance company in Birmingham on Tuesday evening. The 41-year-old was apprehended by police outside the Birmingham Hippodrome after using a racial slur about Jews toward another attendee. He was part of a group of anti-Israel activists gathered to demonstrate against the first of two shows performed by the Batsheva Ensemble, the youth arm of Israel’s acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company. Activists also disrupted the performance several times, as has happened on other stops of the tour in Edinburgh, Salford and Brighton, and five were removed by security staff. The arrested man was dealt with by way of a community resolution at the wishes of the victim, and was released that evening without charge.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Bullying, Cowardly Doctors Left My Baby to Die Like an Abandoned Animal, Says Grieving Mother

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A mother has described how her baby was left to die ‘like an abandoned animal’ after hospital doctors repeatedly ignored her desperate pleas for help.

Paula Stevenson begged doctors to act as her one-year-old daughter Hayley struggled to breathe in the days after a major heart operation.

She was so desperate she even tried ‘bribing’ a nurse with a £100 shopping voucher to give Hayley the attention she needed. Instead, hospital staff ‘humiliated and belittled’ her — treating her like a ‘nuisance’ for speaking up, she said.

Tragically, Mrs Stevenson’s maternal instinct was proven right when Hayley died of heart failure after both her lungs collapsed under the hospital’s watch.

Yesterday, as an inquest into her death concluded, a coroner said there had been ‘serious failings’ in Hayley’s care. Birmingham Children’s Hospital admitted full liability for her ‘avoidable’ death.

Speaking after the hearing, a defiant Miss Stevenson fought back tears while clutching a pink framed photograph of her daughter to her chest. Calling the doctors who treated her daughter ‘bullies, cowards and hypocrites’, she said: ‘Hayley died like an abandoned animal.’


Recording a narrative verdict, Birmingham coroner Aidan Cotter said doctors should have seen the warning signs when Hayley was still dependent on oxygen almost a month after her operation.

Doctors failed to update her medical charts, were slow to look at X-rays and failed to refer Hayley to intensive care when her condition worsened.


Traumatised by her grand-daughter’s death, Sylvia Stevenson spiralled into a depression. Shortly before last Christmas, she killed herself with an overdose.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: If Chelsea Have Slandered Mark Clattenburg as a Racist, The Club Should be Relegated Immediately

by Dan Hodges

Yesterday the police announced that they would not be continuing with their investigation into whether the Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg racially abused Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel during his side’s game against Manchester United last month. Clattenburg, it appears, has escaped on the basis of a legal technicality. Namely, that there was no complaint submitted by any victim, there were no witnesses to the alleged incident, and there was no evidence any offence was committed. I’m not a legal expert. But in my layman’s view, the absence of a complainant or a single witness or a single shred of evidence would seem to make this a fairly clear-cut case. Or non-case.

But not, it would seem, in the eyes of the Society of Black Lawyers. “It sounds remarkably like a football cover-up,” the society’s chairman Peter Herbert told BBC Radio 5 Live. “It sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue swept under the carpet.” Well yes, it could sound like that. Or, alternatively, it could sound like Mark Clattenburg is wholly innocent, the victim of a grotesque slur on his character, and the Society of Black Lawyers are trying to milk this issue for all it’s worth. And on balance, I’m with Clattenburg…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: London’s Mega-Mosque: “Recruiting Ground for Al Qaeda”

by Soeren Kern

A radical Islamic group has applied for a permit to build one of the largest mosques in the world, in London. The East London super-mosque, known as the Abbey Mills Riverine Center, would hold up to 10,000 worshippers. It would be the largest religious building in Britain and the largest mosque in Europe. By comparison, Britain’s largest cathedral, the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, can hold no more than 3,000 worshippers, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of the iconic features of the London skyline, has a capacity of 2,500.

The 16-acre site near the Olympic Village in West Ham in the London Borough of Newham would include two 40-foot minarets, an Islamic library, a dining hall, tennis courts, sports facilities, eight apartments for visiting Muslim clerics and hundreds of parking spaces (photos here). Much of the funding for the super-mosque, which will cost an estimated £100 million ($160 million), is expected to come from Saudi Arabia. The project to build a “contemporary Islamic sacred space” is so massive in scale that critics believe the mega-mosque is actually a smokescreen for an ambitious plan to establish a hardline Islamic enclave in East London…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mark Clattenburg Investigation Into Alleged Comments Made to Chelsea Players Dropped by the Police

The Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday night that they had dropped their investigation into allegations against Mark Clattenburg on the basis that “no victims have come forward” and there was “no evidence any offence has been committed”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslim Gang ‘White Rape’ Claim Prompts Row

Tory MP Kris Hopkins has sparked a row in the Commons by claiming gangs of Muslim men are raping white “kids”.

The Keighley MP claimed police had felt they needed “permission” to go after abusers due to “political correctness”. He said MPs should not avoid talking about the issue or the BNP and others will hijack it. But Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi warned about “playing into the hands” of far right groups with such accusations. The Bolton South East MP said senior police officers and judges involved in cases of abuse had said race did not play a part.

‘Bigger picture’

She said the fact that the victims of abuse were white — in the cases Mr Hopkins was referring to — was “coincidental not deliberate”.

[JP note: Some big fat coincidence.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Profile: Abu Qatada

Radical cleric Abu Qatada has been described as a “truly dangerous individual” and a “key UK figure” in al-Qaeda related terror activity…

[Bob Quick] said: “I would describe Abu Qatada as very dangerous, a man with significant influence, significantly well networked in Europe and the Middle East with very extreme views and prepared to promulgate those views and influence the views of others and their conduct. He was very well networked, very well connected, with al-Qaeda. He was an active supporter of terrorism and extreme Islamist objectives through terrorism. It might be dangerous at this stage to suggest his influence has waned. It may have waned because he’s been in custody, mostly, for the last few years but to suggest that he couldn’t operate and pick up contacts and reposition himself in the future is probably a bold assumption.”

Such views are the reason successive governments have pursued Abu Qatada’s deportation so doggedly.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Radical Cleric Abu Qatada Arrives Home to Angry Protests

HOME secretary Theresa May said the government will continue their fight to have Qatada deported.

TERROR suspect Abu Qatada arrived home to protestors chanting ‘out, out,out’, after he was released from jail today. The radical cleric was released from maximum security prison HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire after winning the latest round in his battle against extradition. Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, later arrived home in London, where a group of protesters gathered outside. They held a “Get rid of Abu Qatada” banner and shouted “Get him out!” as he walked into his house flanked by officials. Jackie Chaunt, 50, who works in the area, said: “He shouldn’t be here. He was supposed to be deported to Jordan. It’s a disgrace.” Aaron Baker, 30, who lives nearby, added: “We’re all paying for this as taxpayers. It’s ridiculous.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Surrender to Qatada is an Insult to Justice

Yesterday, as a smirking Abu Qatada was driven out of Long Lartin high-security jail to resume his life on British benefits, there was much gnashing of teeth at Westminster.

MPs spoke almost as one to denounce the immigration court’s decision — based entirely on a ruling by Strasbourg — to block the Al Qaeda fanatic’s deportation to Jordan on human rights grounds.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the judgment showed ‘a very real need for major changes to the way the European human rights framework operates’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Thugs Jailed for Beating ‘Blind’ Man in the Face With a Brick and Battering His Father With a for Sale Sign in Unprovoked Attack

[WARNING: Disturbing content.]

A blind man was beaten around the face with a brick after he said hello to two men in the street.

Michael Chaplin and Darrell Hughes left the 21-year-old with multiple facial fractures after they hit him repeatedly with the brick.

The victim fled for his life as the two thugs then turned on his father, who had been walking home with his son.

The pair used a ‘for sale’ sign to beat him to the ground.

Chaplin, 21, and Hughes, 19, were jailed yesterday at Hull Crown Court for what the judge called ‘an appalling episode’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt Vows Response to Israeli Attack in Gaza

Egypt’s Islamist Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, has vowed a response to Israel’s attack Wednesday on Palestinians in Gaza City.

An Israeli airstrike killed the operational commander of Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Israel accused Ahmed al-Jaabari of capturing the IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. Shalit was released on October 18, 2011, as part of a prisoner exchange deal.

A Muslim Brotherhood statement said Egypt “will not allow the Palestinians to be subjected to Israeli aggression, as in the past.” It also demanded a “swift Arab and international action to stop the massacres” in Gaza and said Israel “must take into account the changes in the Arab region and especially Egypt.”

Following the ouster of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood established the Freedom and Justice Party. In June, the Muslim Brotherhood won the Egyptian election and Mohamed Morsi became the first president-elect of Egypt following the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

How Morsi Took Power in Egypt

Earlier this year, most analysts in Egypt assessed Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi as the key figure in that country’s politics and President Mohamed Morsi as a lightweight, so it came as a surprise when Morsi fired Tantawi on Aug. 12, 2012.

This matters because Tantawi would have kept the country out of Islamist hands while Morsi is speedily moving the country in the direction of applying Islamic law. If Morsi succeeds at this, the result will have major negative implications for America’s standing in the region.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

For Hamas Leader, In Gaza, It’s Dark, Dark, Dark Amid the Blaze of Noon

From Haaretz: Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari killed by Israeli strike

Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas’ military wing, was killed Wednesday in a targeted strike by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Islamist group said an Israeli airstrike hit a car in the Gaza Strip, killing both Jabari, who ran the organization’s armed wing, the Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, and a passenger. Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence service confirmed it had carried out the attack, saying it had killed Jabari because of his “decade-long terrorist activity.”

IDF Spokesperson said the purpose of the strikes was to deal a heavy blow to the Hamas command and control apparatus and to the organization’s terrorist infrastructure. The incident appeared to end a 24-hour lull in cross-border violence that surged this week. Jabari is the most senior Hamas official to be killed since Operation Cast Lead in Gaza four years ago. He has long topped Israel’s most-wanted list…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Hamas Military Chief Killed in Gaza Air Strike

Hamas has said an Israeli air strike in Gaza killed Ahmed Jabari, the head of its military wing, in an attack on a vehicle on Wednesday.

The military wing of Hamas said in a statement that the assassination “has opened the gates of hell”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

‘We Could Not Tolerate Any More, ‘ Peres to Obama

Peres, Obama discuss situation after Israeli attack on Gaza

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 14 — Israeli President Shimon Peres and US President Barack Obama have discussed the situation in southern Israel, following the attack on Gaza on Wednesday.

“The commander of the military wing of Hamas was killed an hour and a half ago. He was a radical extremist, responsible for many terrorist actions. Israel has no interest in stoking the flames, but we have been hit by rockets over the past five days.

We could not tolerate any more than this,” local media quoted Peres as saying.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Jordan: Islamists Exploiting Anti-Fuel Hike Protest

More than 2,000 people are demonstrating in the capital against the end of fuel subsidies. Other protests are held in other cities. Demonstrators want the government to stop the increase in gas, diesel and kerosene prices, by more than 30 per cent in some cases. Jordanian priest slams Muslim Brotherhood for trying to instigate an Egypt-style revolution.

Amman (AsiaNews) — “Demonstrations against cuts to gas and fuel subsidies are motivated by economics, but Islamists could use them to impose regime change,” Fr Rif’at Bader from the Latin Patriarchate told AsiaNews. “The Muslim Brotherhood wants an Islamic revolution here but the collapse of the monarchy would mean the end of our country,” said the clergyman, who heads the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media.

Today, he saw protests against the lifting of subsidies on fuels, which pushed their price up by 30 to 50 per cent. People took to the streets in cities like Karak, Irbid and Maan. In the capital of Amman, some 2,000 people shouting slogans clashed with police with dozens of injured, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.

What worries Fr Bader are the Islamist attacks against Jordan’s King Abdallah. The former want to turn the people against the monarchy. “Freedom comes from God not from you, King Abdallah,” they shouted.

Without subsidies, gasoline will cost 15 per cent more, whilst diesel and kerosene are expected to increase by 33 per cent.

The decision to remove subsidies was made to cut further losses to the Treasury. Poor in natural resources, Jordan has to import oil and gas from its neighbours, especially Egypt. However, continuous attacks against the Sinai pipeline and the difficult situation in Syria have hampered deliveries, forcing the authorities to buy from more expensive suppliers.

For Fr Bader, the cuts will hurt people. “Except for a small minority of rich people, most Jordanians are poor. With higher prices, there will be less disposable income. Today, the teachers’ union launched a general strike. Schools will remain closed for three days.”

Protests have been peaceful so far, even though the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to turn them into Arab spring-style protests against King Abdallah.

“People are afraid of regime change,” the clergyman noted. “Changing parliament or demanding the prime minister’s resignation is legitimate, even useful in some cases. But the monarchy must stay’ it ought not to be de-legitimised. We do not want another Egypt, Syria or Iraq here.”

Jordan is still a safe place where fundamental rights are protected, Fr Bader explained. “Freedom of thought is guaranteed,” he said. “People can express themselves freely, and peacefully show their opposition. Human rights and religious minorities, especially Christians, are not threatened.”

However, “Islamists are not interested in all that. They are galvanised by the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in Egypt and Tunisia and are trying to do the same thing in Jordan.” (S.C.)

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

Turkey: Erdogan Challenges Europe on Death Penalty

Analysts say key theme for presidential regime

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, NOVEMBER 14 — The country is on the brink of war with Syria, the conflict of Turkish Kurdistan with PKK is causing an increasing number of victims, and appeals from all over the world are pouring in for Kurdish detainees who are on their 63rd day of a hunger strike. Yet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to have the return of the death penalty in the country as a priority.

The Islamic national premier has raised the issue three times in a week, the local press noted, questioning a move which worries secularists in the country as well as the European Union. If the death penalty became once again legal in the country, it would be the end of Turkey’s candidature for EU membership.

The death penalty was abolished ten years ago with Erdogan’s support. But now the premier says he is in favour of capital punishment for a number of serious crimes. The state cannot forgive a murderer, only the victim’s family can, he said, supporting a stance defended by Islam.

In Trebisonda, Erdogan said there is not only the EU in this world: the US, Russia, China and Japan still have the death penalty. A number of analysts, however, see the premier’s move as part of a wider strategy to conquer an almost absolute power in the country.

‘A political scenario for the institution of a strong presidential system has been discussed for a while in Ankara’, said Murat Yetkin, an editorialist with the secularist daily Hurriyet, ‘imposed by a referendum together with the promise to re-institute the death penalty’.

Surveys indicate that the majority of the Turkish population is in favour of the death penalty, especially against Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned in Imrale. The leader of the PKK, the Kurdish armed, separatist group, was sentenced to death in 1999. But after the death penalty was scrapped in 2002 under EU pressure, Ocalan’s sentence was converted to life imprisonment.

Erdogan aims to become president in 2014 but wants to go to the Cankaya palace with a presidential system which is tailor-made for him. The proposal of a presidential reform was presented by his party, the Akp, ten days ago. The entire opposition is against the plan. Erdogan has the absolute majority in parliament but he does not have enough votes for a constitutional reform. He could however overcome the opposition’s veto with a referendum.

Surveys indicate that the majority of the country supports the plan and this is why, according to Hurriyet, the premier has thought about calling a referendum on both the presidential system and the death penalty, even at the expense of a future EU membership which seems increasingly difficult to the population.

Many suspect Erdogan of having a hidden agenda to re-Islamize the country, an agenda which analyst Mehmet Yilmaz said is increasingly coming out in the open. Erdogan, he said, ‘has never believed in the EU objective’ and used the European Union to win the strong arms with secularist military leaders.

But on the death penalty he is now showing the will to introduce ‘religious norms in the law’. ‘He feels stronger and doesn’t feel it is necessary to hide his agenda anymore’, said Yilmaz.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

West Conjures Fake “Syrian” Government

France and the Arab League have already reapplied their stamp of approval on the “new” coalition, following their support for the same political front they have attempted to prop up for the last nearly 2 years.

Beginning at least as early as 2007, the West and its allies, primarily the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, began quietly organizing, funding, and arming a regional front of sectarian extremists across the Arab World to be used against Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Exposed in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s “The Redirection,” published that same year in the New Yorker, it was revealed that many of these sectarian extremists were in fact affiliated directly with Al Qaeda.

In essence, the West would be intentionally and knowingly funding the very adversaries Western troops had just spent the better part of a decade allegedly fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and upon lesser known battlefields in Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen, as part of the “War on Terror.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Putin: Obama Plans Visit Russia

Russian president Vladimir Putin claims President Barack Obama is planning to visit Russia, the outlet RIA Novosti reports.

“US President Barack Obama has confirmed plans to visit Russia at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Russian president’s spokesman said on Tuesday,” the Russian outlet reports. “Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Obama made the statement when Putin called a second time to congratulate the US president on his reelection.”

RIA Novosti quotes Putin’s spokesman as saying, “Obama thanked [Putin] for the congratulations and the invitation and confirmed his readiness to come to Russia at a date to be agreed by the two sides. … Putin wished his US counterpart success in forming his new team,” he said, adding that the two presidents confirmed their interest in “progressive development of bilateral relations in all spheres, including the economy.”

The White House has not announced plans for Obama to visit Russia since winning reelection.

During the campaign Obama famously got caught on a hot microphone passing along a message to Putin. “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama told then Russian president Dmitri Medvedev. “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev responded in the overheard conversation.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Protect Your Unborn Child … or Else

PREGNANT women who endanger their unborn child through drug or alcohol abuse could be forced to change their behaviour or have their baby taken away.

The state government will consider introducing new laws to crack down on deadbeat parents, with Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward warning that the community will not tolerate parents who do not protect their children.

A discussion paper detailing sweeping changes to child protection laws will be released next week, and will go to community consultation.

The government intends to introduce the relevant legislation to parliament next year.

The changes proposed include giving courts the power to force parents to go to rehabilitation — whether the child is born or not — and extending the period that troubled parents are monitored by community services from six months to a year.

The extended family of children in danger will also be encouraged to intervene, and will have the power to take over some parental responsibilities if the parent knowingly puts their children in danger. Ms Goward said the changes would “require all families to step up to the plate”.

She said the number of children in out of home care was unacceptably high, almost doubling from 9273 in 2002 to 18,169 this year.

“I always think foster care is a sign everything else has failed, it’s a last resort,” Ms Goward said.

“We do think we need to get tougher on parents, but we also have to involve parents. We have to say to them: this society expects you to change, we see that as a requirement.”

Ms Goward said the tougher laws for pregnant women and their partners would apply to families that are known to the Department of Family and Community Services, and who have a history of substance abuse or domestic violence.

“It gives us the capacity to engage those parents, before the child is born and to offer them support,” she said. “You might say this is extremely radical, bound to fail, but in fact, it’s common sense.

“The court has always been able to mandate what happens to a child, but it has never been able to say to parents: if you want to keep this child I order you to go to a drug and alcohol program.”More than 60,000 children were reported to community services in 2010-11 as being at risk of “significant harm”.

           — Hat tip: Nilk[Return to headlines]

United Nations Wants Control of Web Kill Switch

AN unfettered internet, free of political control and available to everyone could be relegated to cyber-history under a contentious proposal by a little known United Nations body.

Experts claim that Australians could see political and religious websites disappear if the Federal Government backs a plan to hand control over the internet to the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

A draft of the proposal, formulated in secret and only recently posted on the ITU website for public perusal, reveal that if accepted, the changes would allow government restriction or blocking of information disseminated via the internet and create a global regime of monitoring internet communications — including the demand that those who send and receive information identify themselves.

It would also allow governments to shut down the internet if there is the belief that it may interfere in the internal affairs of other states or that information of a sensitive nature might be shared.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

US Strengthens Military Presence in Australia

US and Australian officials have announced details of a strengthening of their military partnership. The US plans to send powerful radar and telescope equipment to Australia as security priorities shift towards Asia.

Top defense officials unveiled a new plan on Wednesday to strengthen bilateral military cooperation between the US and Australia.

They told reporters after the meeting in the western Australian city of Perth that the decision to relocate the surveillance equipment would benefit both nations.

“Here you see the world moving to the Asia-Pacific, the world moving to the Indo-Pacific, not just with security implications but with enormous economic investment and prosperity,” Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith told reporters.

The C-band radar “will add considerably to surveillance of space debris in our part of the world,” Smith added.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised the new plan, calling it “major leap forward in bilateral space cooperation and an important new frontier in the United States’ rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Libya: Amnesty: Foreigners Facing Worse Conditions

Report denounces violence by militia, abuse, exploitation

(ANSAmed) — Rome, November 14 — Foreign nationals in Libya are at risk of exploitation and arbitrary detention as well as violence and torture, according to a new report by Amnesty International released yesterday. The report, ‘We are foreigners, we have no rights’, is based on fact-finding visits by Amnesty officials between May and September this year, to investigate the conditions of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in Libya. According to the report, the abuses by Libyan authorities during the 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi, especially foreigners from Sub-Sahara Africa, ‘have not only continued but worsened’ in a climate of lawlessness following the 2011 conflict and the inability of authorities to tackle racism and xenophobia.

‘The Libyan authorities must acknowledge the extent of the abuse by militias and put in place measures to protect all foreign nationals from violence and abuse, regardless of their origin or immigration status’, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

Migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya are at risk of being arrested and detained in the streets, markets, checkpoints or their homes, the Amnesty report said, noting that some foreigners are arrested by police, but most are apprehended by armed militiamen. ‘Between May and September 2012, Amnesty International visited nine detention centres across Libya where, at the time of the visits some 2,700 foreign nationals, including pregnant women, women with young children, and unaccompanied children detained alongside adult strangers, were held for migration-related offences’, the report said. ‘The detainees told Amnesty International that they had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including beatings’. In spite of the risks they are facing, migrants from countries such as Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan are continuing to enter and remain caught-up in a country where authorities do not make a distinction between migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. ‘Because of their irregular status, individuals in need of international protection are similarly at risk of arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention and torture or other ill-treatment’, Amnesty denounced. ‘Asylum seekers and refugees in Libya remain in a state of legal limbo, as Libya lacks a functional asylum-system and refuses to sign a memorandum of understanding with the UN Refugee Agency, the UNHCR’. Libyans officials told Amnesty International that approximately 4,000 foreign nationals have been deported between January and September 2012.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

New U.S. House: Women and Minorities to the Left; White Men to the Right

Washington (CNN) — When the incoming U.S. House freshmen of the 113th Congress take their class photo, the image will reflect two very different visions of the nation.

On the Democratic side: Women and minorities — a coalition that, along with young voters, largely helped re-elect President Barack Obama — collectively will for the first time in the nation’s history outnumber white male Democrats.

On the Republican side: The majority of the House seats will be held by white men — a group which far outnumbers the now dwindled numbers of House GOP women and minorities after the losses of two minority members and about a half dozen women from that caucus.

“They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well the picture that you see before you is worth millions of votes, millions of aspirations and dreams of the American people for problem-solvers to come to Washington to get to the job done, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in welcoming the incoming freshman class to the Capitol for orientation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


NASA’s Prolific Planet-Hunting Mission Goes Into Overtime

NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope has begun its extended mission, which should keep the prolific instrument searching for alien worlds for another four years, agency officials announced today (Nov. 14).

Kepler officially embarked upon the extended mission after completing its 3 1/2-year prime mission, which aimed to determine how common Earth-like planets are throughout the galaxy. The extended phase, which NASA announced this past April, funds the instrument through at least fiscal year 2016.

Kepler is staring at more than 150,000 stars continuously. It detects exoplanets by noticing the tiny brightness dips caused when they transit — or cross the face of — these stars from the telescope’s perspective.

The instrument generally needs to observe three such transits to spot a planet. So the extra hunting time is vital, scientists say, allowing Kepler to discover smaller planets and worlds that orbit relatively far from their stars. (A hypothetical alien Kepler, after all, would need to observe our solar system for several years to witness three transits by Earth.) (Gallery: A World of Kepler Planets)

Kepler has already made a series of impressive discoveries. Since its March 2009 launch, the telescope has detected more than 2,300 exoplanet candidates. Just 105 of them have been confirmed by follow-up observations to date, but the Kepler team estimates that at least 80 percent will end up being the real deal.

Confirmed discoveries include Kepler-10b, the first unquestionably rocky planet ever found beyond our solar system, and Kepler-22b, a world 2.4 times larger than Earth that orbits in its star’s habitable zone — that just-right range of distances where liquid water could exist.

And the Kepler candidates include hundreds of Earth-size worlds, as well as a number of habitable-zone planets.

“The initial discoveries of the Kepler mission indicate at least a third of the stars have planets and the number of planets in our galaxy must number in the billions,” Kepler principal investigator Bill Borucki, of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., said in a statement. “The planets of greatest interest are other Earths, and these could already be in the data awaiting analysis. Kepler’s most exciting results are yet to come.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Television is Turning Us Into Zombies

When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly.1

The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.).

Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two.

Herbert Krugman’s research proved that watching television numbs the left brain and leaves the right brain to perform all cognitive duties. This has some harrowing implications for the effects of television on brain development and health. For one, the left hemisphere is the critical region for organizing, analyzing, and judging incoming data. The right brain treats incoming data uncritically, and it does not decode or divide information into its component parts.

The right brain processes information in wholes, leading to emotional rather than intelligent responses. We cannot rationally attend to the content presented on television because that part of our brain is not in operation. It is therefore unsurprising that people rarely comprehend what they see on television, as was shown by a study conducted by researcher Jacob Jacoby. Jacoby found that, out of 2,700 people tested, 90% misunderstood what they watched on television only minutes before. As yet there is no explanation as to why we switch to the right brain while viewing television, but we do know this phenomenon is immune to content.

[Return to headlines]