Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121203

Financial Crisis
»Italy: Spread Keeps Falling: 292 Points
»More EU Citizens at Risk of Poverty, Exclusion: Agency
»Spain: Cabinet Says it Will Not Meet Deficit Target
»Thunderdome in California?
»Chrysler U.S. Sales Up 14% in November
»GOP Congressman: Muslim Brotherhood “Advising” The Obama Admin
Europe and the EU
»Cassation Says CIA Spies ‘Violated Italy’s Sovereignty’
»Danube Fare Fight Sends Romania, Bulgaria to Court
»Defeated Renzi Pledges Not to Split Italy’s Democratic Party
»France: How Discriminated and Alienated Are Muslims in France?
»France: Lawyer’s Slit Throat Rocks Crime-Infested Marseille
»France: Museum Bids High for Napoleon Letters
»France: Beer or Wine? Increasingly a Question of Class
»Ikea’s Kamprad Still Switzerland’s Richest
»Italy: France Confirm Turin-Lyon Rail Link
»Italy: Berlusconi Return Seen as More Likely After Bersani Win
»UK: Danger Man
»UK: Durham Muslim Centre Demo: Two Men Arrested
»UK: It is the Web, Not the Press, That Must be Brought Under Control
»UK: Mega Mosque — Planning Decision This Week
»UK: March for Mega-Mosque
»UK: Meeting on Worcester Park Mosque to Take Place on Monday
North Africa
»Egypt: Judges Refuse to Oversee Morsi Referendum
»ENI Resumes Drilling in Libya
Israel and the Palestinians
»Britain ‘Considering Recalling Ambassador to Israel in Settlement Protest’
»Hamas Appeals for Talks With EU Diplomats
»Will Israel’s Long Delayed E-1 Project Finally Begin?
Middle East
»Al-Qaeda Key to Fight in Syria
»Egypt: Paralysed by Political Correctness, The West Looks on as Egypt and Syria Follow Iran Into Islamofascism
»Internet Control to Dominate at Dubai Talks
»Qatar: Emirate Opens to Foreign Workers’ Union
»Syria: Devastation After Homs Car Bomb Attack
»Syrian Forces Pound Damascus Suburbs
»Turkey Fines ‘Blasphemous’ Simpsons for Poking Fun at God
South Asia
»Pakistan: Journalist Targeted for ‘Threatening’ Islam
Far East
»Japan Deploying Missile Defense for North Korean Rocket
»The Price of Economic Growth in China
Australia — Pacific
»Fiji’s Tribal Chiefs Slam Decision to Remove Queen From Currency
»Sydney: Naive Jewish Schoolgirls Being Groomed for Dhimmitude
Latin America
»Argentina: Pollution in River Basin Choking Buenos Aires
»Greece: Evros Fence Ready by Mid-December
»Elon Musk: Mars Base Will Open the Way to Other Stars
»Galaxy Grande: Milky Way May be More Massive Than Thought

Financial Crisis

Italy: Spread Keeps Falling: 292 Points

New post-March low

(ANSA) — Rome, December 3 — The spread between Italian and German 10-year bonds kept tumbling Monday, reaching a new post-March low of 292 points.

The yield fell to 4.37%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

More EU Citizens at Risk of Poverty, Exclusion: Agency

(BRUSSELS) — The number of EU citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion rose last year to nearly 120 million, the Eurostat statistics agency said on Monday as the debt crisis continues to sap the economy.

It said in 2011, 119.6 million people or 24.2 percent of the population in the EU’s 27 member states were at risk of poverty, social exclusion or living in very low-employment households, up from 23.4 percent in 2010 and 23.5 percent in 2008.

Bulgaria was most affected, with 49 percent of its people listed, followed by Romania and Latvia, each on 40 percent, Lithuania 33 percent, and then Greece and Hungary on 31 percent.

The Czech Republic had the lowest rate at 15 percent, with the Netherlands and Sweden each on 16 percent, and Luxembourg and Austria both at 17 percent.

Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, was listed at 19.9 percent in 2011, down from 20.1 percent in 2008, with France at 19.3 percent, up from 18.6 percent.

Eurostat said that overall, some 17 percent of the EU’s 500 million people were at risk of income poverty, while 9.0 percent counted as “severely materially deprived” and 10 percent were in households with very low employment rates.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Spain: Cabinet Says it Will Not Meet Deficit Target

(ANSAmed) — Madrid, December 3 — The Spanish government on Monday admitted it will not meet its budget deficit target for 2012 set at 6.3%of GDP, an estimate which should be corrected to 7% of GDP at the end of the year, sources in the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy were quoted as saying by radio Cadena Ser. According to the sources, Spain will also not meet its budget deficit target for 2013, which should be modified from the 4.3% forecast to 6% of GDP.

In an interview to La Razon daily published on Sunday, Rajoy did not guarantee that Spain would meet its targets in spite of harsh security measures imposed on the population. ‘Our objective is to do things well and we will see what happens at the end of the year’, the premier said. The 7% estimate had been anticipated on Saturday by the vice-president of the European Commission Olli Rehn.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Thunderdome in California?

Things are getting worse in San Bernardino. The city filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, but its financial situation has continued to deteriorate. And now with what promises to be a heated court battle over payments to the state pension fund in the offing, further cuts are likely.

Things are getting so bad that at a recent city council meeting, the city attorney advised residents to “lock their doors and load their guns” because the city could no longer afford to keep up a strong enough police force. CBS News reports:…

           — Hat tip: DS[Return to headlines]


Chrysler U.S. Sales Up 14% in November

Car sales 122,565, vans 107,172

(ANSA) — Rome, December 3 — Chrysler’s sales rose 14% in the United States in November compared to the same month in 2011, the Fiat-controlled company said Monday.

Car sales rose to 122,565 and van sales to 107,172.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, said last month the combined brands would sell more than 4.3 million vehicles next year ahead of their 2014 merger.

Chrysler is expected to contribute at least 2.6 million sales to the total.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

GOP Congressman: Muslim Brotherhood “Advising” The Obama Admin

Frank Gaffney, host: Congressman Gohmert let me just ask you quickly because you were one of five members of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich called you all the National Security Five, who back in June of this year wrote letters to Inspectors General of five different departments raising the question that some of these dismal policies that have resulted in the Obama administration embracing Islamists at home as well as abroad and finding itself I would argue squarely on the wrong side of history as far as freedom is concerned, may be a function of these Muslim Brotherhood associated individuals who are serving in or advising the Obama administration. Looking at what’s happening now, looking at what has developed since you wrote those letters, do you feel that that issue should be raised anew and much more aggressively as Congress looks into the fiasco in Benghazi and now more recently in Egypt?

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): Absolutely. I think it almost makes a prima facie case when you look at the decisions made by this administration over the last couple of years, or actually all four years. You look at the decisions it made especially in the last two years in going through the revolutions in Northern Africa and across the Middle East and to the Far East, and the only way you can explain the horrendous decisions that were so completely wrongheaded would be if this administration had a bunch of Muslim Brotherhood members giving them advice.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Cassation Says CIA Spies ‘Violated Italy’s Sovereignty’

22 agents convicted for abducting Muslim cleric Nasr

(see previous) (ANSA) — Rome, November 29 — Italy’s highest appeals court on Thursday said the 22 CIA agents convicted of abducting Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Omar Nasr in Milan in 2003 deserved no leniency because they “violated the sovereignty of the Italian State”. Commenting on its September decision to uphold their convictions, the Cassation Court called their actions “extremely serious” given they were unauthorized and took place on Italian soil.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Danube Fare Fight Sends Romania, Bulgaria to Court

A second bridge across the Danube between Romania and Bulgaria was to be officially opened on Thursday. But a revenue-sharing disagreement is keeping the Vidin-Calafat Bridge closedas the countries head to court.

This is Kamen Kalnidolski’s lucky day: it is a Monday morning, and the long-haul truck driver will not have to wait more than two hours for the ferry runs from Calafat in Romania to Vidin in Bulgaria. The crossing lasts an hour, passport and customs checks are quick; the 52-year-old could be home with his wife in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, by early afternoon.

“There is bumper-to-bumper traffic here on Wednesdays and Thursdays — we all have to wait for at least 20 hours,” Kalnidolski said.

Kalnidolski is stuck in Calafat or Vidin two or three times a month, a bottleneck much-feared by truck drivers on their trips from central to southeast Europe. Romania and Bulgaria share a 450-kilometer (279-mile) border along the Danube River — but there is only one single bridge, far in the east near Romania’s capital, Bucharest. In some cases, that would mean a detour of several hundred kilometers. So many truck drivers opt for the ferry — and a long wait. Drivers who arrive shortly before nightfall are in for an especially long wait as the ferries do not operate in the dark.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Defeated Renzi Pledges Not to Split Italy’s Democratic Party

‘I’ll be loyal to Bersani’ says Florence Mayor

(see related stories) (ANSA) — Rome, December 3 — Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi has rejected speculation he could split from the Democratic Party (PD) to form his own group after losing to party leader Pier Luigi Bersani in the centre left’s primary runoff. “I’ll be loyal to Bersani,” Renzi said after collecting around 39% of the votes cast on Sunday compared to over 60% for Bersani.

The run-up to Sunday’s runoff was marred with a dispute over whether Renzi had broken the rules for the primaries, because a foundation linked to him took out allegedly misleading advertising in the national press calling on people to vote.

Renzi’s camp also said many people in Tuscany were not allowed to vote on Sunday even though they should have been able to.

But the 37-year-old, who presented himself as a moderniser, was graceful in defeat.

He admitted he had made mistakes in his campaign and said Bersani was the “clear” winner.

The Florence mayor, who has aroused suspicion from some members of the PD’s rank and file for allegedly being too business-friendly, also managed to joke about Sunday’s outcome.

“I finally did something left-wing — I lost,” he quipped.

He added that he would continue his campaign for the party and for Italy’s whole political arena to renew itself. Renzi has made several calls for older figures from Italy’s political class to be “scrapped”, including members of the PD. This has led to him being portrayed at times as an opportunist who is playing on this issue because of his youth.

“We tried to change the political world and we didn’t manage to,” he said.

“Once we’ve shaken off the disappointment, we’ll resume the path we’ve taken. We have three things on our side — enthusiasm, time and freedom”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

France: How Discriminated and Alienated Are Muslims in France?

After the publication of the insulting cartoons by a French magazine in September, that Muslims around the world found deeply offensive, the French government denied Muslims from any political demonstration.

Reports say that the Police arrested 150 protesters near the US Embassy in Paris. It has used pepper spray to scatter demonstrators in Paris and other cities. It seems that France is in a paradoxical situation. It restricts freedom of speech to protect freedom of speech. France In a symbolic stance against Islam banned one type of Muslim women’s veil known as burqa last year. Former President Sarkozy and other right-wing politicians have constantly used anti-Muslim rhetoric to scapegoat Muslims for their economic and political failure.This is while France has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

France: Lawyer’s Slit Throat Rocks Crime-Infested Marseille

A murder investigation is under way after a lawyer was found with her throat slit in the heart of the crime-ridden city of Marseille.

A colleague found Raymonde Talbot’s body in her office on the Maport city’s main business street on Friday, police said.

The third-floor office was locked and no murder weapon was found, they said.

“It’s blood-chilling,” a fellow lawyer said.

“We don’t know the exact circumstances but the whole profession is concerned.”

Marseille deputy mayor Caroline Pozmentier said the authorities were “revolted by this odious act which has rocked not only the legal profession but the entire city.”

While little is known about the circumstances surrounding this murder, there has been growing concern in government circles at a wave of killings in Marseille.

So far this year, 18 people have been killed there in crimes linked to inter-gang rivalry, many of them gunned down in killings linked to the drugs trade.

On September 6th, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced beefed-up security with 250 extra police to tackle deadly gang violence in Marseille.

But a number of police officers have been also suspended as part of a corruption investigation in the city.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Museum Bids High for Napoleon Letters

A Paris museum paid record sums to acquire letters written by Napoleon Bonaparte, which fetched bids well above their estimate at an auction on Sunday in Fontainebleau, near the capital.

One letter written in code by Napoleon to one of his ministers 200 years ago, in which he threatens to blow up the Kremlin, fell under the hammer at the Osenat auction house for 150,000 euros, more than 10 times its estimate.

The manuscript, dating from the time of the disastrous French invasion of Russia after a decision had been made to turn back, was acquired by the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts.

The total cost for the museum including fees was 187,500 euros.

The letter, essentially a series of numbers encoding the message, was addressed to Foreign Minister Hugues Bernard Maret and written on October 20, 1812, a day after Napoleon ordered his troops out of the Russian capital.

“I am going to bring down the Kremlin on the 22nd at three o’clock in the morning,” the emperor writes, although he had already left Moscow.

The Paris museum also succeeded in obtaining a manuscript written by Napoleon during his exile on Saint Helena about his past military campaigns for 300,000 euros.

Osenat estimated its value at between 60,000 and 80,000 euros.

This was a record payment for the museum for any historical document, mounting to 375,000 euros when fees are included.

The “Essay on Campaign Fortification” is a 310-page document dictated by Napoleon, with his corrections, annotations and drawings, while in exile on the island of Saint Helena.

The book is described by the Osenat auction house as the most important item in private hands of the writings dictated by Napoleon on the island.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Beer or Wine? Increasingly a Question of Class

The French government, keen to cut its budget deficit, says it’s going to raise taxes on beer. French beer drinkers, who more and more belong to France’s poor, say it’s unfair that only their drink is being singled out.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ikea’s Kamprad Still Switzerland’s Richest

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, has retained his place atop Switzerland’s rich list, with his net worth estimated at up to 39 billion Swiss francs ($42 billion), Swiss magazine Bilan said Friday.

In its annual review of the country’s 300 wealthiest residents, Bilan estimated that Kamprad’s fortune rose by around 1.0 billion Swiss francs in 2012.

The 86-year-old Swede, who was also listed as the fifth wealthiest person on the planet, did not however keep pace with the 9.0-percent average boost seen by Switzerland’s 137 billionaires, the magazine said, estimating their total worth at more than 438 billion Swiss francs.

In October, Kamprad scoffed at the notion he might retire following reports in the Swedish media in September that he planned on passing the baton to his three sons Peter, Jonas and Mathias.

“Oh, I have so much work to do and no time to die,” he told Swiss business magazine Bilanz in October.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: France Confirm Turin-Lyon Rail Link

Work will be completed ‘on schedule’ ministers say

(ANSA) — Lyon, December 3 — Italy and France on Monday signed a joint statement confirming that a contested high-speed rail link between Turin and Lyon will be completed on schedule.

Final work on the line is scheduled to start in 2014 and take about seven years.

Italian Industry Minister Corrado Passera and French Trasport Minister Frederic Cuviller signed the statement at a Franco-Italian summit in Lyon.

At Rome talks with French President Francois Hollande in September, Italian Premier Mario Monti described the project as “fundamental” while Hollande confirmed his government’s commitment to complete the line.

Construction of the so-called TAV line has sparked staunch opposition since it requires digging a tunnel in the Valle di Susa valley near Turin.

Naysayers argue that the line will create pollution and harm the area’s natural beauty and maintain that the money would be better spent on improving public transport locally.

Supporters of the project, including most Italian political parties and the European Commission, say the link will actually reduce pollution by minimizing freight traffic on the road.

The movement against the tunnel has seen numerous episodes of violence over the last several years and included arrests as opposition has grown increasingly hostile.

The line did not meet much opposition on the French side until recently, when protests burgeoned over the link’s cost, impact and utility.

The Italian government has repeatedly reiterated that the project is necessary and must go ahead.

In July Paris daily Le Figaro reported that the French government was considering reviewing and possibly scrapping 10 high-speed railway lines, including the Turin-Lyon link, due to high costs and a drop in freight traffic as a result of the recession.

France subsequently confirmed its commitment to the project but said a new funding agreement was required.

The high-speed train would cut by half — just four hours — the time it takes to travel between Paris and Milan.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Return Seen as More Likely After Bersani Win

PdL in chaos months before national elections

(ANSA) — Rome, December 3 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s return to front-line politics is more likely after Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani won the centre-left primaries on Sunday, according to most commentators.

Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party last week held off on a decision about whether to scrap a primary of its own scheduled for December 16. Most political pundits said this was because Berlusconi wanted to know who his main rival would be before making an announcement on whether he would stand for a fourth term at the helm of government in next spring’s national elections.

The 76-year-old media magnate said he would retire from politics after being forced to resign as prime minister to make way for Premier Mario Monti’s emergency administration a year ago, when Italy’s debt crisis looked in danger of spiralling out of control.

But he has changed his mind several times in recent months about whether to make a comeback, with his party, which has been hit by corruption scandals, internal rifts and confusion, struggling in the polls. The ex-premier was said to have been unlikely to stand if Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi had won Sunday’s centre-left primary runoff.

This is because the 37-year-old, a slick media performer who is friendly to business and sits closer to the middle of the political spectrum, would probably have been a tougher opponent as he would have had more appeal with traditional centre-right supporters disaffected with the PdL.

Although Bersani is a moderate and, like Renzi, said he would continue with Monti’s policies if elected premier, he is widely seen as representing the traditional Italian left as he is a former member of Italy’s former Communist party.

A series of corruption scandals affecting top centre-right politicians in Rome and Milan have contributed to the PdL, which is the biggest party in parliament at the moment, dropping to third in the opinion polls.

But the party has also been suffering from a vacuum of leadership since Berlusconi stepped back from the front line.

Berlusconi has reportedly dropped plans to abandon the PdL and recreate his old party, Forza Italia.

But the party may split anyway because many former members of the right-wing National Alliance (AN) party, which merged with Forza Italia in 2009, are unhappy about the direction Berlusconi wants to take the party in.

The PdL’s mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, said Monday that it would be “irrational” for Berlusconi to stand again, saying the party needed to be rejuvenated. He also admitted to being “envious” of the PD primary.

“These primaries have turned out to be an exceptional instrument,” Alemanno, a former AN member, told Sky television.

“Thanks to the primaries, Bersani can present himself almost as something new, even though he has a long history (in politics). “The centre right cannot do without them”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Danger Man

NOT for the first time Nick Clegg sounds like a man gripped by hopeless confusion.

One minute he lines up alongside serial bandwagon jumper Ed Miliband to demand statutory regulation of our free Press which he says would shield the innocent from newspaper stories. The next he delays online security measures considered vital to prevent the innocent from being massacred. We are talking here about allowing police access to sketchy but potentially crucial web data that could uncover a bomb plot or a paedophile ring grooming children. But on THIS issue, one of life or death, the Deputy PM is overwhelmed by civil liberties angst…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Durham Muslim Centre Demo: Two Men Arrested

TWO men were arrested yesterday during a protest over a planned Muslim education centre in the North. Police estimate that around 200 members of the English Defence League turned out to the protest in the former pit village of Shotton Colliery, County Durham. The arrests were made for breach of bail conditions, a spokesperson for Durham Police said.

Superintendent Helen McMillan said: “Although Durham Constabulary respects the right for people to take part in peaceful protests, we will ensure that law and order is maintained at all times. “We had effective resources in place to ensure the event proceeded peacefully for the safety of everyone,” she said. “The men are currently being held in a local police station where they are helping police with enquiries.”


           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: It is the Web, Not the Press, That Must be Brought Under Control

Lord Justice Leveson’s desire to emasculate newspapers will do little to stop the rot, says Boris Johnson

You know I don’t want to be more at odds than usual with public opinion; but I have just read the Leveson Report — all four volumes of horror — and my first reaction is that the British press is really rather magnificent…

Leveson is proposing to throw shackles around that part of the media that is already struggling — while doing nothing to tackle the riot of bile and slander on the web. It was Twitter that turned the BBC’s awful Newsnight into a monstrous libel of Lord McAlpine; and yet Leveson proposes no code of conduct for the Tweeters. Instead, he endorses just about every politically correct criticism of the mainstream press, to the point where he seems to want to sterilise it of fun and flavour. He complains, for instance, that the Mail was wrong to say that an asylum seeker was given leave to remain because of the attachment he had formed to his cat. I read the judgment, and the cat was certainly mentioned. It struck me as an entirely legitimate headline…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mega Mosque — Planning Decision This Week

by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Newham Council will make their decision on the latest planning application for the Riverine Mosque in Newham, better known informally as the megamosque. The date is fixed for this Wednesday 5th December at 7pm in the Old Town Hall Stratford. The doors will open to the public at 6pm. The Council are expected to follow the advice of the planning officials and reject the appplication.

Haitham al-Haddad the islamic preacher, well known for his support of Hamas and the statement (koranically based) that Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs, gave out a message last week whic was videoed. He called for all Muslims, at least 15,000 to gather outside the Old Town Hall by 5pm on Wednesday. The idea is that as the councillors enter ready for the meeting they will see the level of support for the mosque and vote accordingly. He said “ Is the duty, I would say in my heart obligation for all Muslims to attend, even bring your women and children (it must be important if he’s allowing the women out!). . . even if this is a mosque to be used by another group it is still a big Muslim symbol in the heart of London . . . and we are all one ummah, one body. . . If we lose this chance to have a big masjid, we will lose other chances to have big masjid in London.”

The police have been made aware of his video which is below — I hope the council do not succumb to intimidation.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: March for Mega-Mosque

UP to 15,000 militant Islamists are set to descend on east London this week to pressure town hall chiefs into allowing a 9,000 capacity mega-mosque.

Supporters of Islamist sect Tablighi Jamaat are irate after Newham Council rejected plans for the group’s new HQ. The sect, which has been linked to shoe bomber Richard Reid and 7/7 terrorists Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, owns the Abbey Mills site near the Olympic Park in West Ham. In a YouTube video, extremist cleric Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad urged Muslims to come together to support what should be a “big Islamic symbol in the heart of London”…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Meeting on Worcester Park Mosque to Take Place on Monday

More than 4000 people have signed a petition against a controversial plan to convert a disused bank into a mosque ahead of a meeting next week to decide its future. Councillors will decide on Monday whether the bank chambers in Green Lane can be developed into a mosque. Worcester Park resident Jacki Chillman appealed to others who do not want the plans to go ahead to make sure they make their presence felt at the meeting…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Judges Refuse to Oversee Morsi Referendum

Judges in Egypt have refused to oversee a vote on the country’s new draft constitution, to be held in two weeks.

The Judges’ Club’s decision follows a confrontation between Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court and Islamist supporters of President Mohammed Morsi. The court said it was suspending its work after its members were prevented from ruling on the legitimacy of the body that drew up the constitution. Opposition groups called for protests against the referendum on Tuesday. They said Mr Morsi had broken a promise not to call a referendum without gaining a wide national consensus. “The National Salvation Front condemns the irresponsible act by the president of the republic in calling a referendum on an illegitimate constitution that is rejected by a large section of his people,” an alliance of opposition groups said in a statement. The opposition believes that the draft constitution undermines basic freedoms…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

ENI Resumes Drilling in Libya

Calls reopening of exploratory well ‘important step’

(ANSA) — Rome, December 3 — The Italian petrol giant ENI has resumed exploratory drilling in Libya, the company said Monday.

ENI will probe 4.4 km under the earth, at a site in the Sirte basin about 300 km south of Benghazi, marking a major step in the relaunch of ENI’s exploration and production activities in Libya, the company said in a note.

ENI said it was the first international company to resume production in September 2011, the first to lift the “force majeure status” in Libya in December 2011, and the first to resume offshore exploration activities in February 2012 by acquiring a 3D seismic survey.

Oil and gas production had been suspended in Libya due to the civil war that ended in the defeat and death of the country’s former ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, in October 2011.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Britain ‘Considering Recalling Ambassador to Israel in Settlement Protest’

Britain is considering recalling its ambassador to Israel to protest at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to expand settlement building, a diplomatic source said on Monday.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that France was also considering withdrawing its envoy. Both embassies declined to comment on the reports, but the British issued a statement saying they had made clear they would not support strong Israeli retaliation to a UN vote last week that gave the Palestinians de facto recognition of statehood. “The recent Israeli government decision to build 3,000 new housing units threatens the two-state solution and makes progress through negotiations harder to achieve,” the British embassy in Tel Aviv said. “We have called on the Israeli government to reconsider.” A diplomatic source, who declined to be named, said London would decide later in the day whether to recall its ambassador.

[JP note: This will go down well in our mushrooming Islamic republics. Whether they will vote Tory at the next election is another thing though.]

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Hamas Appeals for Talks With EU Diplomats

GAZA — The Prime Minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, has appealed to the EU to take his political and militant group, Hamas, off its terrorist register.

Speaking to a delegation of visiting MEPs and MPs from Poland, Portugal and the UK in Gaza on Sunday (2 December), he said: “It is time to remove the Palestinian resistance from the terrorist list. Hamas is a national liberation movement which operates only inside the borders of Palestine.”

“We would like you to send a message from under the rubble which you have seen here, that we are not terrorists,” he added.

His spokesman, Taher Nouno, told EUobserver: “We want a direct dialogue with European leaders so that they can hear from us, not just to hear about us.”

“This dialogue is very important. Maybe we can change our minds on some issues and maybe European countries can change their minds on some issues,” he noted.

The EU designated Hamas as a terrorist entity in 2003 during a suicide bombing campaign in Israel.

The decision means it cannot meet with EU officials or EU countries’ diplomats and that the Palestinian diaspora in Europe is forbidden from sending it money.

Communication channels do exist.

For example, Hamas meets with Norwegian, Swiss and UN diplomats, who in turn speak with EU foreign ministries.

But the EU’s main partner on the conflict is the Palestinian Authority, a body dominated by Fatah, a rival and more moderate Palestinian group, which holds sway in the West Bank.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Will Israel’s Long Delayed E-1 Project Finally Begin?

Now, in the wake of Israel’s outrage at the UN GA conferring the PA with non-member status, we will see if Netanyahu’s resolve will eventuate in the long promised E-1 project actually beginning development. Ma’aleh Adumim’s Mayor Kashriel and others, including right wing National Union Knesset member Arieh Eldad, will be waiting to see if the first permits are let and construction finally begins after 37 years of broken promises…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Al-Qaeda Key to Fight in Syria

When the group Jabhat al Nusra first claimed responsibility for car and suicide bombings in Damascus that killed dozens last January, many of Syria’s revolutionaries claimed that the organization was a creation of the Syrian government, designed to discredit those who opposed the regime of President Bashar Assad and to hide the regime’s own brutal tactics.

Nearly a year later, however, Jabhat al Nusra, which U.S. officials believe has links to al Qaida, has become essential to the frontline operations of the rebels fighting to topple Assad.

Not only does the group still conduct suicide bombings that have killed hundreds, but they’ve proved to be critical to the rebels’ military advance. In battle after battle across the country, Nusra and similar groups do the heaviest frontline fighting. Groups who call themselves the Free Syrian Army and report to military councils led by defected Syrian army officers move into the captured territory afterward.

[Return to headlines]

Egypt: Paralysed by Political Correctness, The West Looks on as Egypt and Syria Follow Iran Into Islamofascism

by The Rev Dr Peter Mullen

Why be content with just one Iran when you can have two? Egypt shows every sign of developing quickly into another Islamofascist regime. Egyptian judges have gone on strike because President Morsi has ascribed to himself something resembling absolute power, more control than even the hated and deposed “Western puppet” Mubarak ever had. Naturally, he is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and assorted Salafists who look to the establishment of an Islamic republic resembling that of the Ayatollahs in Iran…

Tragically, the West, consumed by self-hatred and the postcolonial guilt which accepts as true its enemies’ propaganda to the effect that the present militancy and its attendant terrorism is repayment for the “oppression” to which we have subjected Muslims worldwide, remains paralysed. It looks as if we really are going to die of political correctness.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Internet Control to Dominate at Dubai Talks

Talks in Dubai, under way until December 14, could bring radical changes to the Internet and who controls it. Some want a body like the United Nations to rein in the Net’s freewheeling nature.

Calls for a more regulated Internet are nothing new.

But they have grown louder as the “network of networks” continues to connect people socially and politically — more than 2 billion and rising — while at the same time generating billions of dollars of revenue through electronic commerce.

Proposals to place the Internet under the control of a global authority, like the International Telecommunication Union, a UN body, have resurfaced in time for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), which kicked off Monday (03.12.2012) in Dubai.

The conference will discuss and likely revise many of the current international telecommunications regulations, originally agreed in 1988 — at a time when the Internet was largely unknown outside of academia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Qatar: Emirate Opens to Foreign Workers’ Union

Out of 1.7 million residents, 1.2 million are immigrants

(ANSAmed) — Doha, December 3 — Qatar’s labour ministry will start cooperating next month with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to create a union representing foreign workers in the Emirate, according to local press reports.

Foreign workers in the country are 1.2 million foreign out of a population of 1.7 million and many international organizations have slammed their conditions as very similar to slavery. ‘We see no workers’ rights here’, said Sharan Burrow, secretary general of ITUC. ‘We will make sure that the rights of workers in Qatar follow the standards of the international labour organization. We have met the labour minister and he has said that if we createa union, members will not be punished’.

Many members of ITUC held a demonstration in Doha on Saturday, December 1, in the first pro-environment march ever staged in the Emirate and authorized by the local government during the 18th UN conference on climate change.

The number of foreign workers in the country is expected to further grow in the next few years as investments are booming to build new infrastructures for the 2022 world soccer championship.

In its last 2012 report on Qatar, Human Rights Watch cited grave violations against the human rights of foreign workers.

The report denounced that many workers said they were either not paid or paid late and that employers also failed to legally register them as foreign workers. Many workers said they had been given false information on their job and salary before arriving in Qatar and were subsequently forced to sign a labour contract. Many live in overcrowded camps with no hygiene nor access to drinking water.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: Devastation After Homs Car Bomb Attack

Video uploaded to a social media website purports to show the aftermath of a car bombing in the central Syrian city of Homs which killed at least 15 people.

Cars can be seen burning in the video, while debris is strewn across the street, and people try urgently to put out the fires with a hose, said to be filmed in the Malaab neighbourhood of Homs. The content of the video footage cannot independently verified. Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that a car bomb killed at least 15 people and wounded 24 on Sunday. It said the blast in the city’s Hamra district also damaged many nearby residential buildings. There has been a rise in the number of car bombs around the country…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Syrian Forces Pound Damascus Suburbs

Syrian forces have continued attacks on areas around Damascus, as they try to push back against rebel attempts to close in on the capital. Opposition activists say government forces shelled Damascus suburbs Monday, a day after carrying out deadly airstrikes and rocket attacks against rebel-held areas. Fighters opposed to President Bashar al-Assad have been trying to secure a perimeter around Damascus from their strongholds on the outskirts of the city.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department says it is “hopeful” NATO will approve a plan to deploy Patriot missiles near Turkey’s border with Syria. Turkey has asked the alliance for the missiles in order to bolster its air defenses. A senior State Department official said Monday that if NATO signs off on the plan, it will likely still be “a matter of weeks” before the missiles are deployed. NATO foreign ministers are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels. Syrian ally Russia has warned against the missile plan, saying it would not promote stability in the region…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Turkey Fines ‘Blasphemous’ Simpsons for Poking Fun at God

God offers coffee to the devil in one of the cartoon’s episodes

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, DECEMBER 3 — Just about everything that could be said and written about the super-popular cartoon ‘The Simpsons’ had been, except that it was blasphemous. Now even that “milestone” has been reached, thanks to the watchdogs of Turkey’s television stations under the Islamic-leaning government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the newspaper Hurriyet, Ankara’s Council of Radio and Television (RTUK) has handed down a TRY 52,951 fine (about 23,000 euros) to the private broadcaster CNBC-E for having broadcast an episode of the cartoon in which “God is mocked”. In the episode, God goes so far as to offer coffee to the devil. In the eyes of RTUK, this “can be considered an insult” of a blasphemous nature, and the cartoon was held to encourage young people “to drink alcohol during New Year’s celebrations in New York City”. What’s more, “one of the characters insults the religious beliefs of another to induce him to commit murder”, “the Bible is burnt in public” and “ God and the devil are represented in human form”. “In a country in which the head of the government thinks that a TV series must be historical documentation, it is entirely normal that the RTUK fails to understand the jokes in a cartoon,” said Hurriyet op-ed writer Mehmet Yilmaz. Last week Erdogan lashed out at the popular Turkish television series Suleiman the Magnificent, which boasts 150 million viewers in the Middle East and the Balkans, threatening to order that the judges stand trial over its focus on sex and love in the harem of the important sultan, instead of concentrating on his territorial conquests. In the eyes of the secular opposition, the prime minister — who has been in the position for 10 years — has a “hidden agenda” to re-Islamicise the country, and wants to dilute the legacy left by the founder of modern Turkey and “father of the country” Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Erdogan has lifted the ban established by Ataturk on the Islamic headscarf in universities, builds mosques everywhere (one slated to be built in Istanbul will be “enormous” and will have to be “able to be seen from every corner of the vast city on the banks of the Bosporus), and is considering bringing back the death penalty, since according to Islamic tradition only families and not the society can pardon a murderer. Yilmaz wrote today that “I am curious to see what the screenwriters will do when that find out that in a country called ‘Turkey’ their irony is punished with a fine. Perhaps they’ll put a RTUK inspector next to the evangelist Flanders? Or perhaps between Homer’s house and that of Flanders they’ll put the house of a God-fearing Muslim, ‘Almond Mustache?”. In Turkey religious Muslims shaved their mustaches around the lips in the manner of Erdogan, in contrast with traditionally “Turkish” mustaches. The population call this type of mustache, which translates as ‘Almond Mustache’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Pakistan: Journalist Targeted for ‘Threatening’ Islam

Religious extremists continue to intimidate journalists in Pakistan. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for recently planting a bomb under the car of a prominent journalist because he was “working against Islam.”

Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, who hosts a popular political talk show Capital Talk on Geo — Pakistan’s biggest private TV channel — and writes a column for Jang newspaper, narrowly escaped an attempt on his life on Monday when a bomb was found attached to the underside of his car.

Police said that half a kilogram of explosives had been fitted with a detonator under Mir’s car in capital Islamabad.

Pakistanis one of the most perilous countries for journalists in the world. A 2012 UNESCO report has ranked Pakistan “the second most dangerous country for journalists the world over” after Mexico. According to the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), 17 journalists were killed in South Asia in 2011, 12 of them in Pakistan.

Terrorism and Islamism are the most dangerous issues for Pakistani journalists to report on, SAFMA says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Japan Deploying Missile Defense for North Korean Rocket

Japan has begun deploying a surface-to-air missile system ahead of North Korea’s planned rocket launch. The move comes as neighboring countries express concern over Communist state’s proposed action.

A Japanese naval vessel carrying Patriot missiles is on its way to the southern island chain of Okinawa, public broadcaster NHK reported Monday.

North Korea announced Saturday it would launch a rocket between December 10 and 22. The country says it is a peaceful and scientific mission to place a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite into orbit.

The US and allies South Korea and Japan condemned the launch, calling it a disguised ballistic missile test that violates United Nations resolutions, themselves a result of North Korean nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said shortly after the announcement he was ordering the military to prepare for the rocket launch.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Price of Economic Growth in China

Environmental degradation has emerged as a serious downside of China’s rapid development. In a rare acknowledgement, Beijing admitted that China has entered a “sensitive period” of growing discontent over pollution.

Lanzhou is known for its colorful ethnic mix, its super-spicy beef noodles, and its historic perch on the Silk Road. But it has another distinction. In 2011, the World Health Organization named Lanzhou as the city with the worst air quality in China. In spring, sandstorms choke the city — a product of deforestation, overgrazing and urban sprawl.

“If the sandstorm is very strong, I can’t go outside, sometimes I can’t even breathe, “ says Li Xiao, a university student in Lanzhou. And winter, she says, is not much better. That’s when the thermal power stations fire up, to heat homes. They run on coal — one of the dirtiest fuels around. For Li Xiao that means “Putting a mask over my head to protect myself.” And: keeping keen eyes on the road, as pollution reduces vision to a minimum: “At the worst time, it’s somewhere between 10 and 20 meters,” he says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Fiji’s Tribal Chiefs Slam Decision to Remove Queen From Currency

Fiji’s tribal chiefs have slammed a decision by the Pacific state’s military rulers to remove the Queen’s picture from the national currency.

The chiefs have expressed “shock” and say they long ago bestowed the chiefly title of Tui Viti — or monarch — on the British royals, who are “held in high regard by all Fijians”.

“[The decision has] been met with great shock and much sadness [as] the royal family is held in very high regard and passion by Fijians,” a prominent chief, Adi Litia Qioniaravi, told ABC Radio…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sydney: Naive Jewish Schoolgirls Being Groomed for Dhimmitude

by Christina McIntosh

This article by one Michelle Favero, which appeared on November 2 2012 in Jwire, a clearinghouse of news for Jewish Australians, has got to be read to be believed. I reproduce it here because it forms such a perfect companion-piece to the article just posted here at NER by our friend Jerry Gordon, ‘Deciphering Muslim Taqiyya’. Read it, and weep. Read it, and wince. Read it, and then click on the link to see the picture of (bare-headed) Jewish girls sunnily smiling alongside two cute little heavily-be-hijabbed mini-Muslimahs, and remember Sol Hachuel, of Morocco, and her sweetly-smiling Muslim ‘friend’, and feel nauseated.

‘Forging New Friendships’

‘Throughout this year 24 Year 7 students from Sydney’s Emanuel School have met with Year 7 students from Iqra Islamic College to learn about each other’s cultures and beliefs, as well as to forge friendships.

‘Friendships’. Somehow I suspect the Jewish girls were not told about Surah 3: 28, or about Surah 48: 29. And I doubt that anyone told them about Safiyyah, Jewish teenager of the Khaybar Oasis, aged 17, taken to Mohammed’s bed by force on the night of the day that Mohammed had ordered and overseen the torture-murder of her husband Kinana. — CM

‘The students met in a variety of places, including Emanuel Synagogue, The Big Kitchen, and Iqra College in Minto. ‘As the year progressed, the students were able to break down the barriers to their initial shyness and to build meaningful friendships with each other…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Argentina: Pollution in River Basin Choking Buenos Aires

Near Argentina’s capital, years of growth along the Riachuelo river basin have gone largely unchecked. As companies flush heavy metals into the water, residents are being forced to suffer the side effects.

Judith Aragón tries to use as little water as possible from her tap. She’s not obsessed with economizing: She’s simply weary of the source.

Judith lives in a shantytown called Villa Inflamable just south of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. It’s located on the edge of the Riachuelo, one of the most polluted river basins in the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Greece: Evros Fence Ready by Mid-December

Interceptions of illegals on Aegean islands up tenfold

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, DECEMBER 3 — A barbed-wire fence running along a 12.5-kilometer stretch of land border between Greece and Turkey is expected to be finished and operational by mid-December and to decisively curb illegal immigration, sources at the Public Order Ministry have told Kathimerini. The fence, which has been under construction since the summer, has already had a huge impact on the influx via the land border with illegal arrivals down by 95%, according to border guards. The police force at the border, currently 1,900-strong, is to be whittled down to half its size, sources said. However, the sharp drop in undocumented immigrants entering Greece through Evros has been accompanied by a renewal in the illegal influx via the islands of the Aegean. From the beginning of the year until the end of July, police and coast guard officers on the Aegean islands detained 102 undocumented migrants while more than 10 times that number — 1,536 — were intercepted over the following three months.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Elon Musk: Mars Base Will Open the Way to Other Stars

The SpaceX founder says he’d like to “die on Mars”. Why the obsession with going to the Red Planet?

Why are you so keen to get humans to MarsMovie Camera?

Because this is the first time in 4 billion years of Earth’s history that it has been possible. That window may be open for a long time — and I hope it is — but it may not be. We should take advantage just in case something bad happens. It wouldn’t necessarily be that humanity gets eliminated; it could just be a drop in technology.

Why go to Mars, when advances in telepresent robotics could give us all the physical sensations of being there?

Maybe I’m just being romantic but I do think there is some value to being there in person. We can learn a lot from robotics but it is no substitute for being there. And having a base on Mars, where there is a lot of travel to and from Earth, will create a powerful incentive for developing technology that will enable us to travel to other star systems.

Like the exoplanet recently found in Alpha Centauri 4 light years away?

I think you could figure out how to get there. With a nuclear thermal rocket you could definitely reach a tenth of the speed of light. It would take 40 years, though, which is a long time. You’d have to start off not too old if you wanted to see it.

What could change that?

There are some interesting things I’ve seen lately about warp drives. You can’t exceed the speed of light but you can warp space and effectively travel many times the speed of light. That’s kind of exciting. People have found increasingly smarter ways of minimising the energy required (to warp space). Before, you would need the mass-energy of Jupiter.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Galaxy Grande: Milky Way May be More Massive Than Thought

Hubble observations of a speedy galaxy weigh on the Milky Way and indicate that our galaxy is at least a trillion times as massive as the sun

Although scientists know the masses of the sun and Earth, it’s a different story for the galaxy. Mass estimates range widely: At the low end, some studies find that the galaxy is several hundred billion times as massive as the sun whereas the largest values exceed two trillion solar masses. Astronomers would have an easier task if the galaxy consisted solely of stars. But a huge halo of dark matter engulfs its starry disk and vastly outweighs it. Now remarkable observations of a small galaxy orbiting our own have led to a new number.

In studies of the Milky Way’s mass one little galaxy plays an outsize role: Leo I. “The value of Leo I is twofold,” says Michael Boylan-Kolchin of the University of California, Irvine. “It’s both very distant and moving quite quickly.” Discovered in 1950 and located 850,000 light-years from the Milky Way’s center, Leo I is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy and the farthest of the many galaxies that are thought to orbit our own. Most of the Milky Way’s dark matter halo should fit inside Leo I’s orbit-that is, if the dwarf galaxy is actually in orbit and not just passing by.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]