Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121129

Financial Crisis
»Feud at the Fed: “Horrific Consequences” For Unlimited Easing
»Goldman Wins Again as European Union Court Rules to Keep ECB Involvement in Greek Debt Fudging a Secret
»Interest Falls to 2-Yr Low at Italian Six-Month Bond Auction
»Spain Now Faces a Systemic, Societal, And Sovereign Collapse
»Next Generation of Airport Scanners Will Scan Every Single Molecule in Your Body
»Sinister Sites: IRS Headquarters, Maryland
»State Lawmaker Says “Dissolving Detroit” Should be an Option
»Study: News Stories Aid Anti-Muslim Groups
»Study Shows Increase in Negative Messages About Muslims in the Media
»The Way Out of Obamanation is the Collapse of Agenda 21
»U.S. Dominates List of Worlds’ ‘500 Most Influential Muslims’
»Watchdog: US Should Explain Probe of Halal Company
Europe and the EU
»Etna Cheapest Ski Spot in Europe
»Garda (Irish Police) Wiped Driving Slate for Two Judges and RTE Presenter
»Italian Agriculture Characterized by Small Farms
»Italy: Top Court Overturns Anti-Mafia Priest’s Child-Abuse Sentence
»Italy: Renzi: Bersani Clash Over Alliances Before Primary Runoff
»Italy: Monti Says Privatizing Italy’s Health System Not on Agenda
»Italy’s Cassation Denies Govt Involved in CIA Snatch
»Primaries Off as PDL Debates Reconstitution and Unbundling
»Tony Blair Says Being Eurosceptic is Like a Virus and the Tories Have ‘Got it Really Bad’
»UK: ‘Record Numbers’ Living With HIV
»UK: 100,000 Back Dan: Sun Readers Demand Freedom for SAS Gun Sarge
»UK: Al-Majali: Upskirt Pervert Could be Banned From Having Any Recording Device
»UK: Adoption Scandal: The Rotherham Family Demonised by Half-Baked Dogma
»UK: Could This be UKIP’s Day?
»UK: Elderly Woman: 84, Collapses and Dies Minutes After Gang of Teenagers Pelt Her Home With Stones
»UK: Enfield Park Rape: Opemipo Jaji in Court Over Girl’s Attack
»UK: Fraud Charges
»UK: HIV Man Raped Bristol Teen Then Gave Her £40, Court Told
»UK: Lancashire Muslims Halal School Dinner Boycott Call
»UK: Nigel Farage ‘Comic Creation That Got Out of Hand’
»UK: Protesters Scent Victory in Fight to Halt Newham Mega-Mosque
»UK: The Tories Flirting With UKIP Are Feeling the Siren Lure of Unelectable Purity
»UKIP Are Libertarian. They’re Also Conservative, Pro-Free Trade, And Anti-Mass Immigration — and They’re Coherent
»UN Court Acquits Former Kosovo Leader
North Africa
»Benghazi: Behind the Scenes (Part II)
»Egypt: Blitz of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists: Sharia is the Main Source of Law
»Egypt: Mohammed Morsi Leads Votes for Time Person of the Year
»Libya: The White House’s Benghazi Bungling is Proving a Disaster
»President Morsi Acts Out Egypt’s Tragedy
Israel and the Palestinians
»General Assembly Grants Palestine Upgraded Status in U.N.
»Italy Yes to Palestine UN Bid ‘Great Calling Card’
»Italy to Vote to Upgrade UN Palestinian Status
»Sharon’s Gaza Gambit — Brilliant Move or Tactical Disaster?
Middle East
»Obama’s Deeper Intervention Into Syria: $200 Million, Weapons, NATO Surface-to-Air Missiles and CIA Intelligence Officers
»Qatar: Poet Sentenced to Life After Secret Trial
»Report: Jewish Woman Murdered, Cut in Two in Iran
»U.S. Ready for Direct Intervention in Syria
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Teenage Girl Killed by Spurned Suitors
»Pakistan: Muslim NGOs Resolve to Promote Values of Peace
»UK: 153,000 Tip-Offs About Illegals Were Ignored by Bungling Border Bosses
Culture Wars
»Atheists Gunning for Christmas, Again
»‘I Will Fight Till Ireland Changes Its Abortion Law’
»Plan Promotes Protection for Pedophiles
»Slovakia Removes Saints’ Halos on New Euro Coin
»Southern Poverty Law Center Sues After Reparative Therapy Does Not Change Teens’ Sexual Orientation
»Sweden Needs Christian Advent in Schools Say MPs After Officials Order No Mention of “Jesus”
»The Problem With Multiculturalism

Financial Crisis

Feud at the Fed: “Horrific Consequences” For Unlimited Easing

The Fed’s plan to purchase $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion in long-term US Treasuries every month for the foreseeable future is now creating internal feuds.

The Federal Reserve’s latest round of quantitative easing has no timetable to end or any measurable goal. Yesterday, the Dallas Fed President said this policy without limits would result in “horrific consequences”.

Reuters is reporting today on these “deep divisions” at the Federal Reserve:

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Goldman Wins Again as European Union Court Rules to Keep ECB Involvement in Greek Debt Fudging a Secret

Three years ago, a hard fought landmark FOIA lawsuit was won by the great Bloomberg reporter, the late Mark Pittman, in which the Fed was forced to disclose a plethora of previously secret bailout information, which in turn spurred the movement to “audit the Fed” and include a variety of largely watered down provisions in the Frank-Dodd bill. This victory came despite extensive objections by the Fed and the threat that the case may even escalate to the highly politicized Supreme Court, which lately has demonstrated conclusively that not only is justice not blind, but goes to the highest ideological bidder.

Moments ago, Europe just learned that when it comes to secrecy of its supreme monetary leaders, in this case all originating from Goldman Sachs and defending data highly sensitive to the same Goldman Sachs, the European central bank’s secrecy is not only matched by that of the Fed, but even more engrained in the “judicial” system of the Eurozone, after the European Union General Court in Luxembourg just announced that the European Central Bank will be allowed to refuse access to secret files showing how Greece used derivatives to hide its debt.

Why? Simple: recall that it was Goldman Sachs who was the primary “advisor” on a decade worth of FX swaps-related deals which allowed Greece to outright lie about both its fiscal deficit and its total debt levels, and that it was a Goldman alum who became head of the same Greek debt office just before the country imploded. And certainly the ECB was involved and knew very all about the Greek behind the scenes shennanigans. And who happens to be head of the ECB? Why yet another former Goldman worker, of course. Mario Draghi.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Interest Falls to 2-Yr Low at Italian Six-Month Bond Auction

Borrowing costs falling

(ANSA) — Rome, November 28 — Interest rates on six-month Italian bonds dropped to their lowest level for more than two years at a successful auction on Wednesday. The Treasury sold 7.5 billion euros worth of BOT bonds, the maximum amount it had set for the auction, at an average rate of 0.919%, the lowest rate since April 2010. This was down from the average of 1.347% at the last auction on October 29. The auction helped take the yield on 10-year Italian BTP bonds down to 4.65%, its lowest level in over a year.

In turn this caused the yield spread between the BTP and the benchmark German bund, a key indicator of Italy’s borrowing costs and of market confidence in the country’s ability to weather the eurozone crisis, down to 326 after it had climbed to 331 earlier in the day.

Austerity measures and structural economic reforms carried out by Premier Mario Monti’s emergency government have helped restore investor faith in Italy after the country’s borrowing costs looked in danger of becoming unsustainably high last year, when the crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to quit as premier.

Italy’s borrowing costs have come down significantly since July when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to do whatever was necessary to support the euro.

He followed those words with action in September, when the ECB established a bond-buying program for stressed countries.

On Thursday, Italy returns to the financial markets, offering as much as six billion euros worth of five- and 10-year bonds.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Spain Now Faces a Systemic, Societal, And Sovereign Collapse

Spain’s financial system is at truly apocalyptic levels.

If you’ve been reading me for some time, you know that Spain has already experienced a bank run equal to 18% of total deposits this year alone (another story the mainstream media is avoiding). However, what you likely don’t know is that an on annualized basis, Spain has experienced portfolio and investment outflows GREATER THAN 50% OF ITS GDP.

To give this number some context, Indonesia only saw outflows equal to 23% of its GDP during the Asian Financial Crisis. Spain is experiencing more than DOUBLE this.

I’ve long averred that Spain will be the straw to break the EU’s back. By the look of things this is not far off. The country’s regional bailout fund has only less than €1 billion in funding left. As the below chart shows, this will barely make a dent in the regions’ debt problems:…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Next Generation of Airport Scanners Will Scan Every Single Molecule in Your Body

(NaturalNews) New airport scanners used by the Transportation Security Administration are already too revealing, and potentially very dangerous to your health. But they’re going to seem tame by comparison once the next generation of scanners arrives — and they are on their way.

The U.S. government is developing what are called Picosecond Programmable Laser scanners, through the Department of Homeland Security — machines that will be capable of scanning every single molecule in your body.

What’s worse, especially in terms of privacy, travelers likely won’t even know they’re being watched, since the machine can be operated from distances in excess of 150 feet, according to reports.

Technology, once again, can be a double-edged sword.

Scan anyone, anywhere, anytime

The scanner, which Homeland Security officials believe could be ready to use within a few years, will be employed in airports, but it is going to be small and light enough to be very portable, meaning it could also be installed in any building or deployed along any street. It is reportedly 10 million times faster and a million times more sensitive that scanners currently used by the TSA and U.S. Border Patrol and customs agents at border crossings and ports of entry.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Sinister Sites: IRS Headquarters, Maryland

The IRS headquarters in New Carrollton, Maryland is a government building that, despite being constructed with public funds, contains art referring to elite secret societies. More importantly, the art conveys a strange message about the U.S. Constitution, and the American people in general. We’ll look at the symbolic meaning of the art found in front of the IRS headquarters in Maryland.

The IRS is probably the most hated institution in America — mainly because its primary role is to force people to hand over their hard-earned cash. This modern equivalent of the proverbial tax collector indeed collects money from American workers and gives it to a government that will, in turn, use this money to send drones abroad or to build information superstructures to better monitor these same workers. What’s not to like?

The IRS was originally created as a “temporary measure” during wartime (funny how the Canadian Revenue Agency was also supposed to be “temporary”), but there is nothing temporary about it now. In fact, the gigantic IRS complex in New Carrollton, Maryland was built in 1997 and is still growing today, indicating that this institution is indeed here to stay. This modern building has all of the state-of-the-art amenities one can think of, but it is the odd public art in front of it that is the most noteworthy. As is the case for many government buildings, the art displayed means absolutely nothing to most people, but to those who are versed in secret society symbolism, its implications are manifold and profound. In fact, fully understanding the origins and the meaning of the symbols in front of the IRS building means understanding who are truly in power in America (and around the world), what they believe in and what they truly think about us, the masses.

[Return to headlines]

State Lawmaker Says “Dissolving Detroit” Should be an Option

Detroit is at a political impasse that could lead to a financial collapse next month.

Now, one state legislator is saying Lansing should consider “all its options” — including possibly dissolving the city as a municipality.

The idea of dissolving Detroit — and effectively merging it with Wayne County — has popped up occasionally in some business and political circles recently.

But mid-Michigan senator Rick Jones is the first official to publicly discuss that as an option.

Jones says Detroit’s local leaders just aren’t dealing with the city’s fiscal problems — and having the state’s biggest city file for municipal bankruptcy would be “horrible.”

[Comment: So their solution is to dump the debt on non-Detroiters via “merging” it with Wayne County?]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Study: News Stories Aid Anti-Muslim Groups

Anti-Muslim fringe groups became more mainstream and got funding after Sept. 11, 2001, in part because of U.S. news coverage, a study published Thursday says. The extremist groups represented a tiny sector of non-governmental organizations but captivated the media with their news releases, leading to major news coverage, which in turn legitimized the groups, attracted donations and connected the groups to powerful conservative think tanks, “The Fringe Effect” study appearing in the December issue of the American Sociological Review said. “I’m not saying the media had a direct role in facilitating these connections,” such as overlapping boards of directors, in which two or more groups share the same directors, sociologist Christopher Bail, author of the study, told United Press International.


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Study Shows Increase in Negative Messages About Muslims in the Media

Organizations using fear and anger to spread negative messages about Muslims have moved from the fringes of public discourse into the mainstream media since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to new research by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sociologist…

[JP note: Report may be accessed here ]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

The Way Out of Obamanation is the Collapse of Agenda 21

“In case you’re still unsure how Agenda 21 operates, especially in relationship to local activities, allow Mark Edward Vande Pol — a former Agenda 21 planner for Santa Cruz County — to explain the process. (Carl Teichrib,

“This is Agenda 21. The UN intends to control your life, through incremental mandates instituted by your local government bureaucracy. You will never see it. You will never vote on it. No matter which path they use, the agencies can pen the new regulations under ‘threat’ of lawsuit and down the pipe it comes: enforceable administrative rules without legislation.”[1]

The UN successfully fends off citizen resistance to Agenda 21 by hiding it behind innocuous sounding names like “sustainable development” and by branding all resisters as conspiracy theorists.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

U.S. Dominates List of Worlds’ ‘500 Most Influential Muslims’

by Omar Sacirbey

There are more Muslims from America than any other country on this year’s “The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims,” compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, a respected think tank in Jordan, including two in the top 50. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, a California-born convert who founded Zaytuna College, an Islamic college in Berkeley, Calif., and is a leading Islamic authority in America, ranked No. 42, two places ahead of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Islamic studies professor at George Washington University known for his work in Islamic philosophy…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Watchdog: US Should Explain Probe of Halal Company

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A national civil rights organization called on U.S. authorities Wednesday to explain their investigation into a leading maker of food for observant Muslims, saying it is troubled by the secrecy surrounding the seizure of the company’s bank account and records. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, said it is seeking more information about the Oct. 16 raid of the Midamar Corp. and the related investigation. Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said it was unacceptable for the Cedar Rapids-based company to be crippled by the seizure of operating funds without being charged with a crime or formally told what the government is investigating…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Etna Cheapest Ski Spot in Europe

Sicilian volcano edges Bulgarian, Spanish resorts

(ANSA) — Catania, November 28 — Mt Etna in Sicily is the cheapest ski resort in Europe, Tripadvisor said Wednesday.

Europe’s tallest active volcano edged out Bansko in Bulgaria and Astun in Spain for lowest daily costs of skiing plus a meal with a beer followed by a night in a hotel.

The dearest spots were both French, Meribel and Courcheval, almost four times more expensive than Etna.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Garda (Irish Police) Wiped Driving Slate for Two Judges and RTE Presenter

TWO judges, a leading rugby player and a television presenter were among those who had penalty points illegally written off, Garda whistleblower has alleged.

Officials at the Department of Justice are examining the claims after a serving officer came forward with claims that colleagues illegally wrote off the points for a number of prominent people.

The Garda sergeant compiled a dossier of printouts from the Garda PULSE system relating to 50,000 cases where penalty points were quashed by gardai.

Among those who had their points dropped were several “pillars of society” including:

  • At least two members of the judiciary.
  • An international rugby player.
  • An RTE television presenter.
  • And a number of serving and former Gardai.

It is unclear whether these people sought to have their points quashed or if a Garda wrote them off on their own initiative.

In at least nine cases highlighted in the dossier, a motorist who had their points quashed went on to be involved in a fatal road-traffic accident.

The probe was first revealed by the Irish Independent yesterday, but now fresh allegations have emerged from all over the country.


A source told the Irish Independent: “What the material suggests is that this is a cultural issue within the force — something that has become custom and practice over the years, but is only now coming to light.”

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has already instigated an investigation into the conduct of one garda superintendent as a result of information brought forward by the whistleblower.

This superintendent has not been suspended and is continuing their normal duties.

It is unclear at this stage whether the probe, being conducted by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony, will be widened to look at the alleged behaviour of other officers.

A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the Department of Justice was “reviewing” the allegations.

“The Minister is awaiting a report from the Garda Commissioner on the matter and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point,” the spokeswoman said.

Garda superintendents have the power to adjudicate on and cancel penalty points if it is shown they were issued in error, or if there are extenuating circumstances involved, such as a medical emergency. They can intervene if written to by a motorist who wishes to appeal the points levied against them.

The whistleblower has claimed he previously tried to bring his concerns to the attention of more senior officers, but was rebuffed.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Italian Agriculture Characterized by Small Farms

Eight out of 10 privately owned with one employee

(ANSA) — Rome, November 26 — Italy’s agricultural sector is characterized by small, privately-owned farms, a report released by the country’s statistics agency Istat said on Monday. Eight out of 10 of the country’s farms are privately owned with no more than one employee.

Some 19.9% of agricultural production in 2010 was for domestic consumption, the report said.

Istat looked at the 2010 financial results for approximately 1.6 million Italian farms for the survey.

The sector employs nearly a million people and is characterized by seasonal labor and temporary contracts, with only 3.7% of agricultural workers maintaining a year-round, full-time contract.

The average daily income is 63 euros for temporary workers and 91 euros for the contract laborers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Top Court Overturns Anti-Mafia Priest’s Child-Abuse Sentence

Cassation says main charge timed out

(ANSA) — Palermo, November 28 — Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation on Wednesday overturned a six-year prison sentence given to famous Palermo anti-Mafia priest Paolo Turturro over allegations he sexually abused children in his parish.

Turturro, a distant relative of the American actor John Turturro, had been convicted of abusing two children, aged six and 12 at the time, between 2000 and 2001.

The court ruled that the charges were timed according to Italy’s statute of limitations. It also ordered that a six-month conviction for a lesser charge be sent back to the appeals stage of Italy’s three-level justice system. The priest has always denied the accusations against him.

Before the allegations came to light, Turturro was famous for anti-Cosa Nostra initiatives, including calls for local Mafiosi to repent and the organization of bonfires for children to burn toy guns on.

At one time, Turturro was given a security escort after a bullet was placed in his confessional box as a warning from local mobsters.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi: Bersani Clash Over Alliances Before Primary Runoff

Centre-left candidate will be in strong position to become PM

(ANSA) — Rome, November 29 — Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani and Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi clashed over election alliances in a televised debate ahead of Sunday’s centre-left primary run-off.

The winner of the primary has a good chance of being Premier Mario Monti’s successor as the PD are leading in the opinion polls ahead of next spring’s national elections.

Both candidates pledged to broadly continue with the policies Monti’s emergency technocrat government has pursued to enable Italy to move out of the centre of the eurozone crisis.

“I think we all feel we have to go a little beyond the Monti experience, without renouncing discipline or credibility… but also seek a bit more fairness and more work,” Bersani said.

Renzi, a 37-year-old who presents himself as a modernizer, was seen by many pundits as giving the more assured display in Wednesday’s debate. This will not necessarily enable him to overcome the 9% deficit he had when he finished second to Bersani in the first round of the primary, in which three other candidates also ran.

Renzi was seen by many as having performed best too in a five-way debate before the first round.

Wednesday’s discussion was mostly calm and amicable, although there were moments of tension, especially over the alliances the PD may form before the election.

Renzi was critical of Bersani’s pledge to seek alliances with centrist parties, having already agreed to run with the leftwing SEL party.

He said this would create the risk of having a repeat of the sort of internal rifts that dogged Romano Prodi’s 2006-2008 centre-left government, which relied on the support of a broad alliance of squabbling parties.

Bersani, a 61-year-old former industry minister and ex member of Italy’s Communist party, warned his rival not to use “the arguments of the opponent”. Another area of dispute was pension reform.

Renzi said he would not try to reverse changes, including increases in the retirement age, introduced by Monti’s government.

Bersani said this pension reform could be “perfected” in several ways, citing the problem of thousands of so-called esodati (the exiled) — people who accepted severance packages ahead of retirement but have been left without a pension because of government changes to the system. Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party was scheduled to have a primary to choose its premier candidate on December 16, although this now looks unlikely to happen because of the ex-premier’s reservations.

Berlusconi has said he is reconsidering his decision not to stand for a fourth term and the party is in a state of confusion, amid reports that it may split up.

The PdL, the biggest party in parliament at the moment, has dropped to third in the opinion polls after a series of corruption scandals hitting top centre-right politicians in Rome and Milan.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Says Privatizing Italy’s Health System Not on Agenda

Premier caused stir over ‘sustainability’ of universal care

(ANSA) — Rome, November 29 — Italian Premier Mario Monti on Thursday said that privatizing the country’s health system was not on the agenda. Speaking at the 50th anniversary of the police health squad (NAS), Monti said that stressing the need to make health care fully sustainable “had nothing to do with privatization”. On Wednesday, the premier sparked fears that some public services would be privatized when he said that the sustainability of the health system “may not be guaranteed” unless new financing measures were taken. On Thursday he called universal health care “an essential requirement of civil society”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy’s Cassation Denies Govt Involved in CIA Snatch

Court upheld convictions of 22 spies in Muslim cleric abduction

(ANSA) — Rome, November 29 — Italy’s highest appeals court on Thursday denied that the government authorized the CIA abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr in Milan in 2003. “It is untrue…that abducting Nasr was authorized by the Italian government,” said the Cassation Court, calling such actions “impossible” according to Italian law.

“And also because the premier, in an official memo, ruled out any involvement,” it said, commenting on its September ruling to uphold the convictions of 22 CIA agents and a retired US air force officer for abducting Nasr. In the closely watched case, the world’s first judicial examination of the controversial United States practice of extraordinary rendition, the agents’ terms were lengthened from 5-8 years to 7-9 years in December 2010.

The cleric, an Islamist wanted in Italy on suspicion of recruiting jihadi fighters, disappeared from a Milan street on February 17, 2003 and emerged from an Egyptian prison four years later claiming he had been tortured.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Primaries Off as PDL Debates Reconstitution and Unbundling

Berlusconi delays announcing his decision. Former National Alliance members to be excluded from any new Forza Italia

A first result has emerged from yet another day of tension for the People of Freedom (PDL). To all intents and purposes, the primary elections that had so infuriated Silvio Berlusconi have disappeared from the agenda. The former PM’s inner circle, including Daniela Santanchè and Sandro Bondi, had called for cancellation and two nights ago Denis Verdini hammered the message home to colleagues at the PDL’s Via dell’Umiltà headquarters “because unless tempers are are cooled, the first ones to come a cropper will be you”. Now Angelino Alfano is on board. Maurizio Lupi confirmed this on the Porta a Porta talk show when he said that the slated date of 16 December was no longer feasible. Only Giorgia Meloni is pressing for primaries “in January”…

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

Tony Blair Says Being Eurosceptic is Like a Virus and the Tories Have ‘Got it Really Bad’

Tony Blair said yesterday that Eurosceptics were a ‘virus’ blighting politics and that Britain would be a second-rate power if it left the EU.

The former prime minister warned that David Cameron’s policy of trying to repatriate powers would simply pave the way for withdrawal, which was being hastened by some Conservatives.

‘The Right have got it really bad on this Europe thing,’ he told business leaders at Chatham House in London. ‘It is a kind of virus that makes you want to take positions for the sake of asserting them, when a rational analysis says you don’t need to be in that position.’

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Record Numbers’ Living With HIV

A record number of people in the UK are living with HIV, with the number of people with the virus reaching nearly 100,000, new figures have shown.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said there were about 96,000 people who have the virus — an all-time high. But health officials warned a quarter of people who have the human immunodeficiency virus are not aware they have been infected.

There were 6,280 people diagnosed with HIV in 2011, the HPA said. Nearly half of all diagnoses in 2011 were acquired heterosexually. Of these, more than half were probably acquired in the UK, compared to only 27% in 2002 according to the HPA report.

New diagnoses among gay men reached an all-time high in 2011, with 3,010 men discovering they were infected. The HPA said that one in 20 men who have sex with men in the UK now have HIV, while the figure soars to nearly one in 12 in London.

Black African people are also at a higher risk, the HPA said, with 37 per 1,000 living with the infection — overall HIV prevalence in the UK was 1.5 per 1,000 people.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: 100,000 Back Dan: Sun Readers Demand Freedom for SAS Gun Sarge

by Tom Newton Dunn

THE wife of a jailed SAS hero will today present a 100,000-strong petition to a top judge demanding his freedom.

Sally Nightingale will deliver it to the Royal Courts of Justice when Sergeant Danny’s appeal is heard. The bid to free the sniper from his 18-month sentence for possessing a trophy handgun was last night one of the fastest-spreading viral campaigns ever…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Al-Majali: Upskirt Pervert Could be Banned From Having Any Recording Device


A perverted engineer who may have filmed up the skirts of 1,000 women in supermarkets and stations is to be banned from having any kind of recording device. Salem Al-Majali, 52, bought cameras and camcorders specifically so make seedy recordings of unsuspecting women’s underwear. He was rumbled filming up the skirts of two women in Victoria Station with cameras hidden in a rucksack. After his arrest, Al-Majali confessed to police he had preyed on hundreds of women during the last two years.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Adoption Scandal: The Rotherham Family Demonised by Half-Baked Dogma

by Allison Pearson

Children don’t care about diversity — they just want to be loved

Three small children are removed from their foster home because the couple taking excellent care of them hold political views that social workers say make them unable to meet the youngsters’ “cultural and ethnic needs”. The children, we are told by Rotherham council, are now “safe and well, unaware of what’s happening around them”. That’s a lie. A comforting, callous, official lie…

Oh, Jonathan Swift, thou shouldst be living at this hour! Imagine how the great satirist would have responded to the report by the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Board. It said that the grotesque crimes (against scores of white girls) had “cultural characteristics… which are locally sensitive in terms of diversity”. In plain English, a language extinct in Rotherham, that means: “It doesn’t matter how much white girls are abused so long as we don’t look racist.” [JP emphasis] You don’t have to be a member of Ukip to feel something has gone badly wrong with multiculturalism. It has left women and girls isolated in ghettos which abide by codes of honour that are entirely alien to British values. It has allowed forced marriage to flourish. It has seen the UK become the European capital of female genital mutilation — there’s one for the tourism posters! It has led to a conspiracy of silence among our political class and timidity in the police. Now it has demonised one decent South Yorkshire couple who, for seven years, have opened their home to troubled children, regardless of colour or creed.

Today, there is a by-election in Rotherham. A safe Labour seat, it will doubtless return Sarah Champion as the MP. Ms Champion says she wants to “bring respect back into Rotherham”. She could make a start by instigating a coup at the council whose blind adherence to political correctness has caused untold human misery. Then she can tell the muppets at social services to get those three poor little mites reunited and returned to their lovely foster parents in time to open the presents that are waiting for them. That’s the thing about children. They don’t care about cultural and ethnic needs or “local sensitivities in terms of diversity”. The political inclinations of the person giving them a bottle are a milky mystery. All they want for Christmas is to be safe and loved, and not to be afraid.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Could This be UKIP’s Day?

Rotherham is usually a staunch Labour town, but ahead of Thursday’s by-election, many locals are in the mood for change

It is a ramshackle campaign office, with a loo that has yet to be plumbed in and two deckchairs for seating. But this little property is one of the busiest places in Rotherham, with a stream of volunteers coming in and out, and camera crews setting up outside. The former clothes boutique — “two floors of fashion” is still written on the front window — is home to the UK Independence Party’s campaign in the South Yorkshire town. Today, Rotherham goes to the polls in a parliamentary by-election. That all the talk is about Ukip rather than Labour, which has provided the town’s MP since 1933, is a remarkable turn of events…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Elderly Woman: 84, Collapses and Dies Minutes After Gang of Teenagers Pelt Her Home With Stones

Four schoolboys were last night arrested for the manslaughter of an 84-year-old widow who collapsed and died minutes after yobs had hurled stones and broken a window at her house.

Joyce Moulson had been plagued by anti-social youths hanging around on the street outside her home.

Mrs Moulson, from Bradford, fell ill at home ten minutes after a window pane on her door had been smashed at her terraced home early on Tuesday evening.

Neighbours say that the pensioner had been ‘targeted’ by troublemakers.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Enfield Park Rape: Opemipo Jaji in Court Over Girl’s Attack

A man has appeared in court charged with the rape of an 11-year-old girl in a park in north London.

The schoolgirl was dragged from Galliard Road into Jubilee Park in Lower Edmonton, Enfield, after getting off a bus from school at about 17:00 GMT on 23 November.

Opemipo Jaji, 18, of Osward Place, Enfield, is charged with rape and attempted rape of a girl under 13.

He was remanded into custody when he appeared at Enfield Magistrates’ Court.

He will next appear at Wood Green Crown Court on 6 December.

A 26-year-old man was arrested on Monday has been bailed pending further inquiries.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Fraud Charges

Bedfordshire Police, on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, have charged the following people in connection with a fraud investigation…

Stephen LENNON, age 30 — HMP Wandsworth, was charged with:

3 x Conspiracy to commit Fraud by False Representation in relation to a Mortgage Application — Contrary to S1 Fraud Act 2006

All the above people will appear before St Albans Magistrates Court on the afternoon of Friday 7th December 2012.

[JP note: PC Plod working overtime to throw the book at the EDL.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: HIV Man Raped Bristol Teen Then Gave Her £40, Court Told

A TEENAGER said she started crying when she was raped by a man with HIV, who then offered to give her money not to tell anybody.

The girl is the second alleged victim of Gift Veremu, on trial at Bristol Crown Court for raping two women in Bristol.

Veremu, 51, of Tynte Avenue, Hartcliffe, denies raping a teenager on April 16, 2010 and raping an older woman between September 30 and November 1, 2009.

The court heard evidence from the teenager, given shortly after the incident in April 2010.

She said she had been dragged into a bedroom and was in “too much shock to fight back”.

She said: “I tried to get away from him but he had his arms out either side of me and every time I’d move he made sure I couldn’t move.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Lancashire Muslims Halal School Dinner Boycott Call

Muslim children in Lancashire are being urged to boycott meat provided for their school dinners.

The Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) said the latest school suppliers do not meet their Halal “criteria” for meat killed in line with Islamic tenets. Hanif Dudhwala, of the council of mosques, said its own criteria were acceptable to all Lancashire Muslims. But county council leader Geoff Driver said its supplier was approved by the same Muslim body used for the Olympics…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Nigel Farage ‘Comic Creation That Got Out of Hand’

UKIP leader ‘Nigel Farage’ is a fictional parody of a raving idiot, it has emerged.

Farage’s real identity is that of alternative comedian Wayne Hayes, who began performing the character of right-wing buffoon Nigel Twatley Farrago O’Drivel in 1986. After years of struggle on the stand-up circuit, Hayes as the now-refined ‘Nigel Farage’ was booked for a function at the Dorchester Conservative Club. But instead of laughing at his foghorn-voiced bletherings, the audience responded with thunderous applause. Hayes said: “My agent recommended I join UKIP as a stunt. So I went along to their conference and did my turn…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Protesters Scent Victory in Fight to Halt Newham Mega-Mosque

Plans to build Britain’s biggest place of worship — a “monolithic, overly dominant and incongruous” mosque in east London — are set to be thrown out despite 25,000 letters in favour.

The mosque, which could take 12,000 people — four times as many as St Paul’s Cathedral — would be as big as Battersea power station and become the HQ of Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat. However, officers for Newham council recommend the plan is refused…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Tories Flirting With UKIP Are Feeling the Siren Lure of Unelectable Purity

by Rafael Behr

Most Conservative MPs are not enjoying being in government.

Some ideas in politics are so bad that even disavowing them is getting too close. The notion of the Tories forming an electoral pact with the UK Independence Party is one. For Downing Street to mention it at all, even in a rebuttal, can serve only to advertise Ukip as the natural home for Conservatives who don’t like David Cameron and thereby accelerate the exodus. Nigel Farage, Ukip’s leader, is an affable pub demagogue who can snaffle stray votes across the political spectrum. That is not a reason for a governing party to put him on a joint ticket. Yet some Tory MPs seriously entertain the idea. Eight are said to have held talks on defection.

This fringe flirtation springs from ideological affinity. Farage says aloud things about Europe and immigration that many Tories think but feel are taboo in Cameron’s party. When the Tory leader described Ukip as a haven for “loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists” in 2006, he told a number of his MPs, in effect, that their career prospects were over on his watch. That left them with three options: quit the party, agitate for new leadership or use the threat of rebellion as a remote control for steering Tory policy from the back benches. Talking up Ukip is a device for “keeping Cameron honest”, as one Tory MP puts it…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UKIP Are Libertarian. They’re Also Conservative, Pro-Free Trade, And Anti-Mass Immigration — and They’re Coherent

by Ed West

As the Rotherham by-election approaches Ukip is riding the crest of a wave, one that will admittedly hit the beaches of the British electoral system before too long. There have been plenty of analyses of the party and what it means (my favourite is here), including, earlier this week, a popular, much-retweeted piece on the Spectator website, with Alex Massie questioning whether Ukip was really “libertarian”. “Then there’s the dog-whistling.”


But if their manifesto is a series of dog whistles, there must be something wrong with my hearing. To me, at least, “political correctness” is not about politeness, although that might be a motivation for some people who use PC language; it’s about political straitjacketing, making certain ideas unsayable, unthinkable or even criminal…

Another difference of definition arises with multiculturalism, which is a system in which the state deals with citizens not as individuals but as members of a group, through unelected community leaders. It developed in Britain for a number of reasons, to iron out inequality, prevent social unrest (the Thatcher government, post-Brixton riots), distribute services and largesse (in Birmingham) or, in some cases, “preventing extremism”. In all of these cases it has failed, or made things worse…

[Reader comment by blindsticks on 29 November 2012 at about 10 am.]

They’re also in the pockets of Searchlight and the UAF. That is they have permission from the latter to campaign and exist in peace — though at a price to UKIP handing over its membership list from time to time. If only to check there are no sneaky Nazis running around inside it, you see.

“UAF and Searchlight are largely staffed by decent, respectable people. They are concerned, as am I and, I believe, most of the membership of UKIP, that people do not suffer discrimination because of their racial origins. Anything UKIP can do to remove the blight of racism from Britain is worth doing, and I continue to pass information to them, and accept information from them on this issue.” — Mark Croucher, UKIP

[Reader comment by danoconnor on 29 November 2012 at about 9.30 am.]

Dan: Morning Lefty

Lefty: Morning Dan

Dan: I have a question for you Lefty

Lefty: Go ahead Dan

Dan: What is this mysterious manic 40 year long 24/7 preoccupation you Lefty guys have about something you call “racism” Lefty, what exactly are you afraid of. I mean, to put it more simply, are you afraid that a bunch of angry White racists are going to dress up in Nazi SS officer uniforms, organise Morris dancing style thigh slapping street shows across Europe, after which they could forceabley stuff bundles of £50 notes into any dark skinned people in the audience that happen to be standing around?

Lefty: Now you are being silly Dan

Dan: No, I’m trying to get you to explain to me what Lefty “anti-racism” is meant to prevent. What is its ulitmate purpose or goal?

Lefty: Well, the goal is to prevent racism

Dan: Phew! Yer er… this is getting to be too much like hard work. I’m asking you WHY do you want to prevent racism? What could possibly happen in your Lefty mind, if that you call “racism” got out of control?

Lefty: Well, that is a silly question Dan. If you don’t stop it from growing it could cause people to become harmed or killed. After all, we don’t want to repeat the horrors “of the 20th century” do we Dan?

Dan: RIGHT! So now we are getting somewhere. I knew there had to be a reason somewhere for this obsessive “anti-racist” stuff. So we can safely assume if we dissect and slice Lefty anti-racism right down to its primary motivation, the goal is ONLY to prevent a bunch of White racial supremacists from rounding up Jews and such like and harming them in some way?

Lefty: Now you are twisting my words Dan. I don’t care who is causing the harm or who the victim is, it is still evil and immoral.

Dan: But do you think it is ONLY immoral if the motivation for causing harm or repeating the horrors of the 20th century is based on “racism”?

Lefty: No, of course not. It doesn’t matter what the driving catalyst is, the conditions, motivations or factors which could bring about harm to human beings, or social unheavel and conflict, it is still destructive and evil.

Dan: You believe the kind of fertile soil necessary which could encourage such conflicts to arise should be condemned and prevented whenever possible, regardless of who the victim is?

Lefty: Yes, of course, exactly

Dan: Like for example conflicts such as the Balkan, Lebanon, Iraq, Thailand, Northern Ireland, Basque Land, Gaza, Iraq, Kashmir, Phillipines, Turkish-Kurdish, Sudanese, Nigerian conflicts between different religious, cultural, religious, ancestral, warring factions?

Lefty: Yes, for example

Dan: And you reckon the best way to avoid providing the fertile soil for such conflicts to come about, is to allow the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia ONLY, to culturally, religiously, ethnically, and racially balkanize themselves into gigantic versions of Yugoslavia X times 20 through mass immigration? And anyone who points out that you are facilitating by your actions creating exactly those fertile conditions which could bring about the very thing you claim you want to avoid . is a . white supremacist fascist?

Lefty ; Er…. well …er . I


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UN Court Acquits Former Kosovo Leader

THE HAGUE, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Ramush Haradinaj, a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was acquitted at a retrial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Thursday. Two other KLA commanders Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj were also acquitted. The three were charged for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against Kosovo Serbs during conflicts in the late 1990s. Haradinaj was first acquitted in 2008, but appeal judges ordered a partial retrial. The court ruled on Thursday that ethnic Serbs and Albanians had been mistreated in KLA-run camps, but that Haradinaj was not found to be involved in these incidents. The verdict came about two weeks after the ICTY acquitted two senior Croatian military officers Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, and ordered the pair’s immediate release on Nov. 16.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Benghazi: Behind the Scenes (Part II)

Author’s note: This is part two of a multi-part interview with a government insider intimately familiar with the events that took place in Benghazi. It is important to note that the information contained in this series was developed from interviews that spanned over 100 hours. In this part, the insider provides information about the events of the attack and the continuation of the cover-up at the highest levels of our government. (For Part I, please click here).

We’ve heard different accounts and different timelines concerning the attack at Benghazi. What exactly happened?

First, people must understand that the compound that was attacked was situated in a somewhat rural area and was not a consulate, but a rented villa, or a residential structure. The residence was the primary building, and what has been referred to as the annex was located about 1800 feet away as the crow flies, but just over a mile to travel by road. And again, visible security was not present as the compound was the headquarters for a covert operation. No one wanted to draw attention to what was taking place at this location.

The first indications of problems there began at least twelve-(12) hours before the first shot was even fired. One of the men at the compound observed a policeman or Libyan security officer taking photographs outside of the villa. Keep in mind that Ambassador Stevens, the point man in this Obama-sanctioned weapons running operation, was hastily scheduled to meet with the Turkish consul general at this location. The meeting was deliberately planned for dinner time, toward evening, when the events that happened next could be performed under the cover of darkness…

Do you know what was discussed, or the reason for the meeting between Stevens and the Turkish consul general?

Yes, I know some key points. First, keep in mind what this arms running operation was all about. It was to topple Assad and replace him with a Muslim Brotherhood leader. It was to destabilize Syria to advance the agenda of Saudi Arabia. They were using U.S. and NATO forces to do exactly that.

[Comments: Well worth reading.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Blitz of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists: Sharia is the Main Source of Law

Art. 2 of the new constitution voted in record time, it subordinates the law to the exact dictates of the dictates of the Koran. The House voted despite the boycott of the liberal parties, the Coptic Orthodox Church and other realities of civil society. The session was attended by only 85 members out of 100.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — In record time, the Egyptian Constituent Assembly dominated by Islamists has approved Art. 2 of the draft constitution. Sharia is the main source of law. The session was attended by only 85 members out of 100. Absent most of the delegates of the democratic parties and representatives of the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic Churches. The leadership of the Assembly have replaced only 11 of the 30 seats allocated to secular parties. In recent weeks the latter had boycotted the Assembly, accusing it of failing to represent Egyptian society in a balanced way. In the coming days, the delegates will vote on the remaining 232 articles of the new text.

Begun this morning, the voting took place in an atmosphere of high tension. Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people took to the main streets of the country to protest against President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a surprise move, the Islamist leader has assumed extraordinary powers including the right to dissolve the constituent body, himself replacing the Constitutional Court, which has remained one of the few institutions free from the hegemony of Islamic extremists.

To date, the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood, who emerged victorious from the parliamentary elections which ended last January, have been able to change the first article of the constitution by adding the word “shura” — a term used in the Qur’an to establish advisory bodies — in the part referring to the democratic foundation of the country. The amendment to Art.2 with the explicit juridical reference to Koranic law marks a turning point in the country and threatens the large Coptic Christian minority, which accounts for about 10% of the Egyptian population, and also threatens freedom of expression and of dress. In the previous constitution, Sharia was mentioned, but judges were supposed only to adhere to the principles of Islamic law.

AsiaNews sources explained that in the new Art. 2, the principles have been replaced by the sayings of the Koran. In this way, Egypt is moving away from a more modern view of law and closer to that of many Gulf monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia. “If the Constitution passes the referendum planned for the coming months — sources said — a grown man can marry a girl of 6 years, or have several wives. Women will be forced to wear the veil. Christians are in danger of not being able to practice their faith freely.”

Meanwhile, tensions rise for the big event organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis in support of President Morsi that, according to the Islamists, should gather millions of people. The Ministry of Interior has increased security measures to prevent any clashes with protests organized by the secular movements, the protagonists of the demonstrations of these days and of several attacks against the headquarters of the Justice and Freedom Party (Muslim Brotherhood). (SC)

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

Egypt: Mohammed Morsi Leads Votes for Time Person of the Year

Time magazine has unveiled the 40 people on its longlist for Person of the Year, with Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president the most divisive member of the list.

The magazine kicked off the countdown to their annual list with an online poll to decide which person has, for better or for worse, had the strongest influence on world news over the past 12 months. The poll asks if each person should be the Person of the year with options either “Definitely” or “No Way”. Although Time’s editors choose the person of the year, it has still invited people to vote for who they think should win.

‘The Protester’ took last year’s title in recognition of the Arab Spring. Sticking with the Middle East, Mr Morsi has taken an early lead in the 2012 voting for both categories…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Libya: The White House’s Benghazi Bungling is Proving a Disaster

by Nile Gardiner

President Obama hasn’t even begun his second term yet, but his administration is already struggling with a huge credibility problem on the Benghazi front. Watch this video posted today at The Weekly Standard, which shows White House Press Secretary Jay Carney telling National Journal correspondent Major Garrett that Obama “is not particularly concerned” whether Susan Rice misled the American people in a series of talk show interviews following the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other US personnel in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

President Morsi Acts Out Egypt’s Tragedy

Egypt’s trade deficit of $35 billion a year is offset by tourism receipts of between $9 and $10 billion a year (down from a 2010 peak of $13 billion) and Suez Canal income of slightly over $4 billion. That leaves a gap of $20 billion or so, offset by so-called private transfers-workers’ remittances, private investment flows, and so forth. The annual financing gap could be anywhere between $12 and $20 billion.

As of October, cash-equivalent foreign exchange reserves at the Central Bank were just $7.8 billion, or barely six weeks’ imports, after $1 billion of loans paid in from Qatar and some additional amount from Turkey. Egypt’s finances are running on fumes. Egypt appears to be billions of dollars in arrears to suppliers of diesel, wheat, butane and other essentials, and running through existing stockpiles at an alarming rate. Without a big increase in foreign investment, Egypt cannot last long.

That helps explain President Morsi’s dilemma. His mediation in Gaza helped secure American support for the proposed International Monetary Fund, and might help the Obama administration secure Congressional approval for a $450 million aid package. But his actions in Gaza were read very differently in Saudi Arabia, which views Hamas as an Iranian cat’s paw, and Morsi as a de facto ally of Iran. As Emad El Din Adeeb wrote Nov. 21 in the Saudi news site Asharq Alawsat, “Iran is playing the role of the saboteur in the Arab arena, exploiting issues of regional tension at the time of the Arab Spring revolutions. This is in order to heat up the region so as to disturb Tel Aviv and Washington, prompting them — at the end of the day — to accept negotiations with Tehran on Iranian terms.” And on November 24, Asharq Alawsat’s editor-in-chief Tariq Alhomayed noted that “[Hamas leader Khalid Mishal] came out on the eve of the announcement of the Gaza ceasefire to thank Iran for standing with the ‘resistance’ and supporting it with arms, whilst Ismail Haniyeh also did the same!”

           — Hat tip: KGS[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

General Assembly Grants Palestine Upgraded Status in U.N.

More than 130 countries voted on Thursday to grant Palestine the upgraded status of nonmember observer state in the United Nations, a stinging defeat for Israel and the United States and a boost for President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, who was weakened by the recent eight days of fighting in Gaza.

The new ranking could make it easier for the Palestinians to pursue Israel in international legal forums, but it remained unclear what effect it would have on attaining what both sides say they want — a two-state solution.

Still, the vote offered a showcase for an extraordinary international lineup of support for the Palestinians and constituted a deeply symbolic achievement for their cause, made even weightier by arriving on the 65th anniversary of the General Assembly vote that divided the former British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab — a vote that Israel considers the international seal of approval for its birth.

[Return to headlines]

Italy Yes to Palestine UN Bid ‘Great Calling Card’

We will stand with Italy in the Arab world, COMAI president

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 29 — Italian Premier Mario Monti’s announcement this morning that Italy will vote in favor of Palestine’s UN non-member observer status is “an excellent calling card” for Italy in terms of its political, economic and trade presence throughout the Arab world, Arab World Communities in Italy (COMAI) President Faod Aodi said Thursday.

According to Aodi, Italy came to its decision during Monti’s mission to the Gulf countries, as well as during Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent visit, in which he met with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

“As an Arab world community, we will stand by Italy’s side as it revitalizes relations with area countries,” Aodi said, calling on all Italian political forces to take a clear stand on the UN vote. “Democratic Party (PD) Secretary Pierluigi Bersani is the only one who has said clearly he is in favor” of the Palestinian bid, Aodi explained, adding that he is “deeply disappointed” in PD primary candidate Matteo Renzi. During a TV debate last night with Bersani, the younger contender declared he would not vote in favor, but would follow suit with the UK (abstaining) or the US (against).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy to Vote to Upgrade UN Palestinian Status

U.S. against, Israel attacks, endorsements grow in Europe

(ANSAmed) — ROME/ NEW YORK — Italy is to vote in favour of upgrading Palestinian status at the United Nations. The bid, which would bestow the same “non-member state” status as the Vatican, is likely to win approval Thursday despite being strongly opposed by Israel and the US.

Palestinians are preparing for a memorable day on Thursday. This page of their history will be written far away at the United Nations headquarters in New York where the majority of the international community will vote in favour of a Palestinian bid to obtain non-member observer state status, one step up from its current status as permanent observer. Whether it will be a symbolic recognition or a more substantial decision, the vote will nevertheless represent a diplomatic victory for Mahmud Abbas who will finally obtain something he has pursued since the beginning of his leadership as president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Palestinians are hoping the new status will lead to the recognition of Palestine as a state and, one day, as a full member of the United Nations.

The PNA leader spent the eve of the UN General Assembly vote in New York, where he met a number of leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, in an effort to garner more backing for the resolution which is likely to be approved by two thirds of the 193 member states. Most African and Asian members and emerging countries will vote in favour of the bid along with Muslim members.

Mahmud Abbas received at his hotel representatives of the Obama administration including William Burns, US deputy secretary of state, and US envoy to the Middle East, David Hill, both of whom repeated Washington’s opposition to the resolution though the meetings were reportedly very cordial.

The Palestinian move, Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said, is a mistake, a counterproductive move which will slow down the peace process. Washington’s position, which is perfectly in line with Israel’s, is well known: only negotiations between the two sides can lead to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Europe is divided over the vote. After France said it would back the proposal — followed by Spain and non-EU members like Russia, countries whose leaders believe the bid is an opportunity to re-open serious peace talks — German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said this morning that Germany will abstain from the vote on the resolution presented by Mahmud Abbas.

Although the Netanyahu government has recently toned down its statements, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor has slammed the Palestinian bid in an interview to the Wall street Journal. Prosor said a future Palestinian state would have no control over its territory, would be a non-democratic, terrorist state on the brink of bankruptcy. He warned the General Assembly to think twice about the consequences of the vote.

The United Kingdom, as explained by Foreign Secretary William Hague, has announced that London will abstain if certain conditions will not be fulfilled, including a Palestinian promise not to report Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). If the Palestinian bid to become a non-member observer state will be approved, the doors of international organizations like the ICC and treaties will be open to Palestinian representatives. And Palestinians have no intention of renouncing to this prerogative, though not immediately: much will depend on Israel’s policy on its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The objective of the Palestinian Authority, as written in the draft resolution presented by Mahmud Abbas, is to resume peace talks that will lead to a final accord on the creation of a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel and in security, along the borders established in 1967, as called for at the beginning of his mandate by US President Barack Obama.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sharon’s Gaza Gambit — Brilliant Move or Tactical Disaster?

President Bush was well aware of the risks Israel’s unilateral disengagement would involve — and yet at the same time he recognized the opportunity such disengagement would offer to progress his Roadmap when he told Prime Minister Sharon:


President Bush’s letter then clearly — and unambiguously — pledged American support for the following positions;

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Obama’s Deeper Intervention Into Syria: $200 Million, Weapons, NATO Surface-to-Air Missiles and CIA Intelligence Officers

The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to government officials involved in the discussions.

While no decisions have been made, the administration is considering several alternatives, including directly providing arms to some opposition fighters.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Qatar: Poet Sentenced to Life After Secret Trial

Arrested for allegedly insulting the emir

(ANSAmed) — DOHA, NOVEMBER 29 — Qatar has sentenced poet Mohammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, who was arrested for allegedly inciting to overthrow the government and insulting the emir, to life in prison, Doha News reported Thursday.

Ajami has a week to appeal the sentence, which was handed down unmotivated after a trial that Amnesty International, which is calling for his immediate release, said was held in secret, and in which the defendant was not allowed legal counsel. “This sentence sends alarming signals throughout the Gulf, not only in Qatar, where activists feel they are being restricted more and more,” said Amnesty International researcher, Dina el-Mamoun.

“Qatar, which paints itself internationally as a country that promotes freedom of expression, must be condemned for allowing what appears to be a clear violation of that very freedom,” said Philip Luther, the Amnesty International director for the Middle East and North Africa.

News of the sentence arrived as 17,000 UN delegates and 7,000 NGO activists gathered in Doha for the 18th Conference on Climate Change, which ends December 7. “While the Constitution protects freedom of expression within the conditions and circumstance dictated by law, Qatar in practice limits freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Local press tends to self-censor, and the law penalizes defamation, including with prison time,” according to the Human Rights Watch 2012 report on the Gulf monarchy.

During the Arab Spring, the Qatari authorities raised public employee wages by 60% and those of military officers by 120%, in a move that was interpreted as an attempt to pacify society, even at the risk of stoking inflation and of flouting meritocracy. Also in 2011, a Qatari citizen who attempted to organize a protest on Facebook was arrested before the rally could gather steam.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Report: Jewish Woman Murdered, Cut in Two in Iran

Israel Radio: The woman lived in a house located next to a mosque slated for expansion • She filed a complaint about forceful efforts to take over her home • Group murdered her and cut her body in half.

A Jewish woman in Isfahan, Iran, was murdered and cut in half by Muslim extremists who wanted to take over her home, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

Relatives of the woman said she had lived next to a newly built mosque, and worshippers had demanded that she and her family leave their home so the mosque could be expanded.

The woman submitted a complaint to authorities about the efforts to take over her home. On Monday, a group of thugs came to her house, murdered her, and, according to reports, cut her body in half.

The event left the Jewish community in Iran, estimated to be around 25,000 people, worried and fearing escalating violence against it.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

U.S. Ready for Direct Intervention in Syria

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Obama administration is ready for direct intervention in Syria’s war against CIA mercenaries funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar…

The Times admits the batteries will be used to shoot down Syrian aircraft attempting to dislodge units of the Free Syria Army (FSA) inside Syria near the Turkish border. The FSA operates on the Turkish side of the border, primarily out of the Reyhanli military refugee camp, in the Hatay province.

Another option being considered is tighter CIA collaboration with the FSA, the al-Qaeda dominated mercenary group attempting to violently overthrow the Alawite Shia regime of Bashar al-Assad. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and al-Qaeda follow the fanatical Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Teenage Girl Killed by Spurned Suitors

A 15-year-old girl had her throat cut after her father refused a marriage proposal from relatives, police have said.

The girl, Geesa, was attacked earlier this week by two men from the spurned family as she went to collect water from a stream in her village in northern Afghanistan. The attack came after her father, Mohammad Rahim, had turned down a marriage offer for the girl, saying she was too young to be engaged. “At this stage it looks like they wanted to marry her and the father refused, so they killed her,” said Syed Sarwar Hosseini, police spokesman for Kunduz province…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Muslim NGOs Resolve to Promote Values of Peace

The Muslim Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which participated in the third executive committee meeting of the International Federation for Relief and Development (IFRD) have resolved to promote peace, cooperation and development all over the world. The executive committee meeting hosted by Al-Khidmat Foundation Pakistan here was participated by ten NGOs while announcing the declaration reaffirmed the dedication to the high principles of our faith which enshrine the values of peace, compassion, tolerance, equality, justice and human dignity for the Ummah and all humankind. IFRD President Dr. Hussain Ismail who came from Malaysia while announcing the declarations said the meeting observed that in the Islamic paradigm, service to humanity is a duty from our Creator and we all are bound to that…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]


UK: 153,000 Tip-Offs About Illegals Were Ignored by Bungling Border Bosses

BORDER chiefs ignored 153,000 tip-offs about foreign students who had failed to turn up, a report reveals today.

The backlog means tens of thousands of students from outside the EU could have been allowed to stay here illegally. The scandal is exposed in a report by the UK Border Agency’s boss John Vine admitting its “failure”. He said the UKBA had no targets to deal with tip-offs and notifications from universities and colleges on students. His report said: “Potentially thousands of students had retained leave to remain when they should not have done so. This was a significant failure.” It comes a week after Mr Vine warned that terror checks were not carried out on 140,000 asylum seekers. A report by MPs earlier this month revealed the backlog of immigration and asylum cases had soared to 300,000…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Atheists Gunning for Christmas, Again

Okay, Thanksgiving’s over. Now it’s time for America’s atheists, kooks, and killjoys to train their guns on Christmas. Consider them a special breed of Elves that take toys away instead of making them.

A few of my friends say I shouldn’t lump all atheists together, that some of them disapprove of these attacks on Christmas and certainly don’t join in. Fair enough. If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. But it isn’t Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, or Muslims filing these lawsuits. It’s only atheists.

Here are a few examples from around the country…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

‘I Will Fight Till Ireland Changes Its Abortion Law’

The Halappanavar and Yalgi families are heartbroken after Savita, wife of Praveen Halappanavar, died at the University Hospital Galway in Ireland on October 28 because abortion is illegal in Ireland, a Catholic country.

They are not contemplating legal action against the hospital or its staff but want to make common cause with all the social activists and organisations that have launched a massive campaign demanding justice and modification of the Irish laws on abortion.

“I am returning to Galway and will continue to keep the pressure on the Irish government with the support of social groups there to modify the law so that no other woman dies because of a religious law,” Praveen Halappanavar said here on Thursday. The Government of India will also be pressured to prevail upon the Irish government to amend the law to legitimise termination of pregnancy if the life of the mother is at risk, he said.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Plan Promotes Protection for Pedophiles

Congresswoman: Federalize ban on counseling to change sexual orientation

A California congresswoman wants to federalize a state law to prohibit counseling to change a person’s sexual orientation, including that of pedophiles.

Rep. Jackie Speier has introduced a resolution that calls on states to prohibit efforts to change a minor’s sexual orientation, even if the minor requests it, saying doing so is “dangerous and harmful.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Slovakia Removes Saints’ Halos on New Euro Coin

Slovakia, responding to requests from some fellow eurozone countries, has removed the halos from a €2 coin commemorating the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia.

Slovakia, a eurozone member since 2009, will start circulating the coin next year to mark the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia and Panonia, which was part of modern Slovakia.

Eurozone countries are allowed to mint commemorative coins once every year under EU rules. The image on the back of the commemorative coin, however, must be accepted by the remaining eurozone members and the European Commission.

Cyril and Methodius were brothers, born in Thessaloniki at the beginning of the 9th century, who created the Glagolitic and then the Cyrillic alphabets with the aim to have the Bible and other texts translated into Slavic languages [more].

Cyril died in 869 and Methodius in 885. They were soon canonised as saints, with Saints Cyril and Methodius Day being celebrated on 24 May to mark the anniversary of Cyril’s death (see background).

Slovakia agreed to remove the halo despite Cyril and Methodius’ undisputed status as saints.

“Under EU rules, when designing the national side of a euro coin, Member States are required to take into account that the coins will circulate throughout the whole eurozone, and in that context, proposed designs are shared in advance with other Member States so that they can provide any comments they deem appropriate,” the Commission said in a statement.

The Commission acknowledged that some members states objected to the coin, adding that Slovakia submitted a slightly amended design, “which has now been approved by the [EU] Council of Ministers.”

If the motivation of the unnamed member states was to remove religious symbols from the design, they did not entirely succeed. Cyril and Methodius hold a Christian double cross, standing on the middle peak of a mountain with three peaks.

The double cross and the three peaks are the main elements of the coat of arms of Slovakia and feature on the regular Slovak euro coins.

The revamped design has been met with unease by the Bulgarian press. During Communism, painters and sculptors were requested by the authorities to portray Cyril and Methodius without sanctity halos.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Southern Poverty Law Center Sues After Reparative Therapy Does Not Change Teens’ Sexual Orientation

, (Family Research Council)—With its credibility drying up, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is determined to cement its status as the homosexual movement’s greatest ally. Desperate to regain its status in the civil rights debate, the group is following the money to the gay community, where it hopes the partnership will help SPLC regain some of the legitimacy it lost bullying mainstream conservatives. Their latest attempt to claw their way back into the spotlight is a lawsuit aimed at destroying the ex-gay movement.

This week, SPLC announced that it is suing a Jewish organization called JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives of Healing) for consumer fraud. They allege that the therapy, which is designed to bring homosexuals out of bondage and into healthy behavior, failed.

That’s as ridiculous as suing Weight Watchers because they promised you’d lose weight and you didn’t. The only people guilty of fraud are the ones who claim people with same-sex attractions can’t change.

Like California liberals, who managed to outlaw reorientation counseling for teenagers, SPLC and friends are frantically trying to shut down therapy like this because it disproves their entire argument that homosexuality—like race—is innate and thus, healthy and normal. If men and women with same-sex attractions can be freed, it destroys the Left’s foundational concept that gay rights are civil rights. To keep that from happening, groups like the SPLC are doing everything they can to shut down any research or therapy that contradicts their case.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Sweden Needs Christian Advent in Schools Say MPs After Officials Order No Mention of “Jesus”

STOCKHOLM — Swedish education officials have told schools that children may be taken to church for Advent services, but only so long as the name of Jesus is not mentioned. Teaching children about Advent, the liturgical season leading up to Christmas observed by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as well as many Protestant denominations, is part of the national curriculum, but lessons on it, even those that include actual church services, may not include any prayer, blessings or declarations of faith.

The instructions have prompted a response from five Swedish politicians who have said that the attempt to erase Christianity from public view, in the name of the “chimera” of neutrality has resulted in Sweden becoming poorer, culturally.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

The Problem With Multiculturalism

by David Solway

Most conservative observers are of the opinion that multiculturalism as it has been understood and practiced is nothing short of a social and economic disaster. And it must be said they are largely, if not entirely, correct. The multicultural project in its contemporary form suffers from two grievous flaws: the filter is too wide, allowing into the country unskilled people who are poorly equipped to participate in a modern, technologically oriented economy and who consequently become a financial burden to the nation, disproportionately swelling the welfare rolls; and, no less critical, many of these immigrant groups import the hatreds, prejudices and conflicts of their countries of origin, sequester themselves with official approval into closed or aggressive enclaves, and often cause violence and disruption in the public life of their new home. (Rape and “grooming” statistics compiled in the U.K. give a dataset that leaves in no doubt the ethnic make-up of the great majority of offenders.)


The fact that Luton in the U.K. saw much greater abuse, the burning of poppies and the jeering at and taunting of British soldiers returning from Afghanistan, is no consolation. The point is, to put it bluntly, that such people should not have been welcomed into a democratic country with a history of sacrifice and traditions of loyalty that require respect. They are not genuine citizens but an obstreperous and unproductive fifth column that works against the viability of the country that has taken them in. And many seem to have all the time in the world to attend protests and demonstrations when other people are busy at their jobs-as I recently observed at a vehement pro-Hamas rally before the Israeli embassy-so that it seems clear they are the welfare beneficiaries of the very society they seek to subvert. Here, once again, we are presented with the problem of multiculturalism as it is currently implemented: we have opened the gates to seditionists on the one hand and parasites on the other, two categories that frequently coalesce…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]