Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121211

Financial Crisis
»Malta: Government Collapses After Budget Vote Defeat
»Now Obama Wants Your 401(K)
»Slovenia Suffers Crisis and Corruption
»3 Killed: Including Suspect, In Suburban Portland, Ore., Mall Shooting
»Big Data in Creepy Hook-Up With Big-Game Whales
»Cyber Terrorists Threaten New Wave of Attacks Against US Banks
»Did Obama Steal the 2012 Election?
»Florida Tackling Python Problem With Hunting Contest
»Michigan Bills Limiting Union Power Pass in Legislature
»Not Just Buses, Street Lights Are Also Recording Conversations
»Orwell’s World in the 21st Century?
Europe and the EU
»German Vintners Harvest Bumper Ice Wine Crop
»Italy: Catholic Weekly Calls Berlusconi ‘Dinosaur’
»UK: Devout Christian Murdered by Muslim Ex-Boyfriend After Row Over Converting Their Daughter to Islam
»UK: Grandfather, 57, Set Fire to Himself After Amassing Debts of More Than £150,000 That He Kept Hidden From Wife and Children
North Africa
»Benghazi Explained: Interview With an “Intelligence Insider” (Part III)
»Better Dictators Than Elected Islamists
Middle East
»99% of Syrian Rebels Are Islamic Extremists and Jihadist Terrorists
»Horrific Footage Shows ‘Syrian Rebels’ Forcing Boy to Behead Captive With Sword
»Saudi Aramco: Foreign Hackers Tried to Cork Our Gas Output
»The Rise of Syria’s ‘Third Army’, Jabhat Al-Nusra
»U.S. Will Grant Recognition to Syrian Rebels, Obama Says
South Asia
»India Ponders Its Beef With the Cow Smugglers
Far East
»Airbus Lands Giant Deal With China
»South Korea Says North Korea Has Fired Long-Range Rocket
Culture Wars
»Conservatives in Liberal Media Embrace Cultural Surrender
»Winning the Demographic War and the Culture War
»Climate Tyranny Avoids Scrutiny
»Yes! It’s the TARDIS PC!

Financial Crisis

Malta: Government Collapses After Budget Vote Defeat

Gonzi calls for new elections March 9

(ANSAmed) — VALLETTA — Malta’s government collapsed Monday night after failing to win a parliamentary majority for a 2013 budget plan.

Premier Lawrence Gonzi’s centre-left party Nationalist Party has been in power since 2004. The country will go to the polls 9 March 2013, Gonzi told journalists. Gonzi is set to meet Wednesday with George Abela, President of the Republic to dissolve parliament and kickstart the electoral process. In power since 2004 Premier Lawrence Gonzi’s centre-left party was defeated when Franco De Bono withdrew his support for budget plans, as a consequence supporting the opposition. Bono was “well aware that his vote would bring down the government,” he said.

Mr Gonzi replaced Edward Fenech Adami as Prime Minister in 2004 shortly before Malta entered the European Union (EU). In 2008 it entered the Eurozone. In 2009 the Nationalist Party won a slim one-seat majority — enough for De Bono to topple the government last night. Opposition Labour leader Joseph Muscat stressed that his MPs must now be consulted by the outgoing government “before making an agreement” in the EU.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Now Obama Wants Your 401(K)

Treasury, Labor on path to nationalize retirement

Two years ago, as WND reported, the Obama administration was proceeding with a novel way to finance trillion-dollar budget deficits by forcing IRA and 401 (k) holders to buy Treasury bonds by mandating the placement of government-structured annuities in their retirement accounts.

Remarkably, those financial professionals specializing in private retirement savings and the U.S. citizens investing in private retirement plans now face the possibility the Obama administration and its allies on the political left will impose rules and regulations that effectively abolish the private retirement savings and investment markets.

Recent evidence suggests government officials continue to eye the multi-trillion dollar private retirement savings market, including IRAs and 401(k) plans, eyeing the opportunity to redistribute private retirement savings to less affluent Americans and to force the retirement savings out of the private market and into government-controlled programs investing in government-issued debt.

The Service Employee International Union, or SEIU, a key labor union ally of the Obama administration, has mounted an effort to create government-mandated worker retirement accounts as an entitlement program, with the possibility that a portion of all private retirement funds could be forced into U.S. Treasury debt.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Slovenia Suffers Crisis and Corruption

Difficult term for new president Pahor

(ANSAmed) — LJUBLJANA, DECEMBER 10 — Slovenia is not a happy country anymore. Hailed until a few years ago as a model state and the most economically advanced among former Communist European countries, the small ex Yugoslav nation is suffering a crisis which has cut off its certainties. Today the country is often described as the new sick member of Europe which could seek a European bailout with its recession, insolvent banks, a public debt which has hit 50% of GDP and unemployment over 10%.

The crisis has had a significant impact on the population with an increasing number of protests across the country as angry citizens are also tired of making sacrifices amid growing political corruption.

The protest served as the backdrop of presidential elections won in a ballot vote Sunday by former Social Democratic premier Borut Pahor who beat outgoing president Danilo Turk. And it led first of all to the resignation of Fran Kangler, mayor of Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city, over allegations of corruption and nepotism.

The social mobilization on the web ahead of the resignation made Maribor, an internationally popular ski resort, a symbol of the dissatisfaction of Slovenians.

‘The case of the mayor’s corruption was the last drop’ for the population, an analyst was quoted as saying by the Vecer daily. Social dissatisfaction, he said, has been going on for a while ‘fed by high unemployment rates, the increasing number of companies forced to close and the indifference towards several cases of corruption’.

The austerity measures implemented by the conservative government of Janez Jansa to avoid the country’s bankruptcy did the rest as the population is increasingly deluded with politics. Only 42% voted Sunday in the second round of presidential elections, the lowest turnout since Slovenia achieved independence in 1991.

‘I hope my victory can be a new start for Slovenia and give new hopes to all’, said Pahor right after being elected president. Pahor means to work with the conservative government to reduce the country’s debt. But it will not be easy also because Slovenians who have seen their life improved in the last few years, are having a hard time to get used to salary cuts and austerity measures without seeing better prospects ahead.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


3 Killed: Including Suspect, In Suburban Portland, Ore., Mall Shooting

A gunman opened fire in a suburban Portland shopping mall Tuesday, killing two people and wounding another before apparently killing himself as people were doing their Christmas shopping, authorities said. One other person was reported injured.

Clackamas County sheriff’s Lt. James Rhodes said authorities were still trying to get more details about the situation at the Clackamas Town Center. So far, the shooter has only been described as an “adult male.”

Authorities said there was no indication that there was more than one gunman. Officials say police did not fire a shot during the incident.

“At first no one really knew what was going down,” Mario, a kiosk worker inside the mall, told CBS affiliate KOIN in Portland. “We heard six shots at first, and then people scattered like crazy, everybody left.”

“The shots were really loud and really scary… It was echoing all through the mall, so nobody knew where it was coming from at first,” witness Larisa Tereahova said.

Another witness said the Macy’s inside the mall opens into the food court area, where it was reported the shootings took place. Bautista said it sounded like the shots were coming from that direction.

Macy’s employees Pam Moore and Austin Patty told the AP the shooter was short, with dark hair, dressed in camouflage. He had body armor and a rifle and was wearing a white mask, they said.

“I heard about 20 shots and everyone hit the ground,” Moore said. “That’s when we all just ran.”…

[Return to headlines]

Big Data in Creepy Hook-Up With Big-Game Whales

Big Data, that promise of an online world tailored to our every whim, may instead tailor our purchasing habits to the whims of vendors.

This is particularly important to online gaming companies, which depend upon so-called “whales” for revenue. As one former Zynga employee revealed [1], 1 per cent of Zynga’s players account for 25 to 50 per cent of its revenue. Get one of these whales on the hook and you can literally sell them a never-ending supply of virtual goods…

Social game developers such as Zynga use analytics to optimise the gaming experience such that a player will to spend another $5.00 to more quickly rebuild their battleship, add a tractor to their farm and so on. Or maybe the developer will spot a trend that suggests that gamers tend to leave if their farm (or whatever) is completely destroyed, so they learn to keep just enough intact to encourage the gamer to stick around. All innocuous, right?

Yes, and no.

In the case of my son, he told me that one of the reasons he couldn’t stop playing his MMPG is because of the rush he felt when he’d log on and discover he had a new weapon, or that some other advancement had happened in the game. Scientists have a word for this “rush”: it’s called dopamine, and it’s perhaps the primary motivation driving social media, generally. There’s plenty of research on the phenomenon, including this study from Harvard [5].

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Cyber Terrorists Threaten New Wave of Attacks Against US Banks

Islamic terrorists threaten to launch new round of cyber attacks against US banking websites.

A group claiming to be aligned with the Islamic terrorist group that launched a massive attack against U.S. bank websites in the fall has threatened another round of attacks, set to start this week, Fox News reported.

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters posted a message on a popular message board late Monday, saying it will target the websites of J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services and SunTrust Banks.

A SunTrust spokesman declined to comment on the matter. None of the other banks could immediately be reached for comment.

“In new phase, the wideness and the number of attacks will increase explicitly; and offenders and subsequently their governmental supporters will not be able to imagine and forecast the widespread and greatness of these attacks,” the posting said, according to Fox.

In September and October, al-Qassam launched widespread distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against numerous banking websites. The attacks function by slamming Web servers will a flood of requests, with the goal of rendering them completely inaccessible or slowing access to such an extent that they are virtually unattainable.

Security experts and the bank officials said at the time that customer data was not at risk.

While the perpetrators behind the al-Qassam attacks have yet to be identified, the name is a reference to the “armed” wing of Hamas, although the entire group employs militaristic means and terrorist attacks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Did Obama Steal the 2012 Election?

Most people are unaware that Motor Voter was conceived over the course of 10 years, planned and authored by Cloward and Piven, the notorious socialists who gave America the Cloward-Piven Strategy of Manufactured Crisis. Using the now-familiar excuse that low-income people need government assistance for even the most menial tasks, the law facilitated mass low-income voter registration with virtually no documentation required. Motor Voter provided the opening for ACORN, Project Vote and other such groups to engage in the massive voter registration fraud that has become a fixture in modern American elections.

Section 8 of the law requires that voter rolls be maintained. However, the maintenance requirements actually prevent states from cleaning the rolls, because they are required to attempt to contact voters multiple times over multiple election cycles before finally removing names. As a result, nationwide the voter rolls are in shambles. This was almost certainly Cloward and Piven’s covert goal: Create a crisis to provide the solution you want.

[Return to headlines]

Florida Tackling Python Problem With Hunting Contest

Miami (CNN) — Burmese pythons have been threatening Florida’s ecosystem for years, so the state is turning to the public for help in the form of a hunting contest to cull the population.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has announced the 2013 Python Challenge beginning in January.

“We are hoping to gauge from the python challenge the effectiveness of using an incentive-based model as a tool to address this problem,” says Florida Wildlife Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson.

A grand prize of $1,500 will be awarded to the person who kills the most pythons, and $1,000 will go to the person who bags the longest one. According to the rules, road kill will not be eligible.

Participants will pay a $25 registration fee and complete an online training course. The training focuses on safety while hunting pythons.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Michigan Bills Limiting Union Power Pass in Legislature

The Michigan Legislature approved sweeping legislation on Tuesday that vastly reduces the power of organized labor in a state that has been a symbol of union dominance and served as an incubator for union activity over decades of modern American labor history.

The two bills, approved by the House of Representatives over the shouts of thousands of angry union protesters who gathered on the lawn outside the Capitol building, will, among other things, bar both public and private sector union workers from being required to pay fees as a condition of their employment.

The bills have already been approved by the State Senate, and Gov. Rick Snyder has said he will sig n the legislation as soon as this week. But Democrats still could still delay the formal approval of the bill on procedural grounds until Wednesday.

[Return to headlines]

Not Just Buses, Street Lights Are Also Recording Conversations

News that the government is set to expand the nationwide installation of surveillance bugs on buses that record conversations serves as a reminder that similar systems are also being readied for street lights, along with a host of other devices.

“Government officials are quietly installing sophisticated audio surveillance systems on public buses across the country to eavesdrop on passengers, according to documents obtained by The Daily. Plans to implement the technology are under way in cities from San Francisco to Hartford, Conn., and Eugene, Ore., to Columbus, Ohio.”

Michael Brick warns that the device will be able to, “transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus,” at the behest of authorities adding that the DHS-funded project represents a horrendous affront to privacy laws.

However, as we have previously documented, buses are by no means the only place where big brother will not only be watching, but listening too.

As we first reported last year, high tech street lights with “homeland security applications” are now being installed in major U.S. cities…

In an article we published back in 2006, we highlighted the fact that, “Digital cable TV boxes, such as Scientific Atlanta, have had secret in-built microphones inside them since their inception in the late 1990s.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Orwell’s World in the 21st Century?

Americans may think that in casting their ballots, as millions of us did last month, they have given the winning candidates policy directions that will be respected. Maybe.

John Fonte, a noted author with a world history PHD, outlines in remarkable detail the powerful forces at work to render our Constitution meaningless as we become just another of many nations on a planet under the thumb of the tight control of a global authority.

The pressure

The forces nudging us in that direction include Western universities, Nongovernmental Organizations (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc.), American Foundations (Rockefeller, Ford, etc.), International organizations (UN, International Court of Justice, etc.), and global corporations.

Dr. Fonte covers in detail this entire picture in Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others? The author wears his scholar’s hat all the way. No hyperbole is necessary. The facts he lays out are scary enough. That may be why he eschews the term “world government,” let alone “world dictatorship.” The reader surely may be forgiven for interpreting the author’s scenario as accurately reflecting a possible future that fits either description.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

German Vintners Harvest Bumper Ice Wine Crop

Fans of ice wine can rejoice over a bumper crop of the German specialty after this weekend’s deep freeze, according to the nation’s vintners.

Known as Eiswein in German, the high-quality dessert wine requires grapes to freeze on the vine.

Perfect conditions this year convinced vineyards to take a gamble on ice wine by leaving more grapes than usual hanging on the vine, Ernst Büscher from the German Wine Institute in Mainz said this week.

“That’s perfect, because it ensures acidity levels are well concentrated,” he said, explaining this should lead to a crisp vintage without sickly sweetness.

Ice wine requires the grapes to freeze at temperatures below -7 degrees Celsius before being harvested and processed. The cold makes a particularly sweet beverage.

Using the so-called Oechsle scale to determine the density of grape must, German vintners recorded levels from 150 to 200 degrees. The higher the rating, the riper and more sugar content must has.

Whereas the Korrell vineyard along the Nahe River harvested an ice wine with 190 degrees Oechsle, the vineyard Balthasar Ress in the Rhinegau region brought in a Riesling ice wine reaching 170 degrees.

Büscher said the ice wine harvest could continue well into this week, with meteorologists forecasting double-digit minus temperatures for much of Germany.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Catholic Weekly Calls Berlusconi ‘Dinosaur’

Former premier derided for returning to politics

(ANSA) — Rome, December 11 — Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana in an editorial on Tuesday derided ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi as a ‘dinosaur’ for returning to Italian politics. “The dinosaur is coming back to throw the country into chaos,” it said, referring to Berlusconi’s plans to come out of political retirement and stand in general elections. “The Pied Piper is coming back to enchant with alluring promises”. The article, which will be published later this week, blasted the media mogul for “blocking the virtuous path to reform — albeit unpopular” and for “sapping up hope for equality and growth, as well as (Italy’s) international prestige”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Devout Christian Murdered by Muslim Ex-Boyfriend After Row Over Converting Their Daughter to Islam

A Muslim man was jailed for life today for stabbing his devout Christian ex-girlfriend 13 times after they split following bitter rows about him wanting their young daughter to convert to Islam.

Esther Arogundade, 32, was attacked by kitchen porter Shola Adebiyi in her own home after she began a relationship with another man…

Rob Hall prosecuting said: ‘These arguments were ignited by differences of opinion over the religion of their daughter — the defendant wanted her to convert from Christian to Islam, but Esther was a church goer.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Grandfather, 57, Set Fire to Himself After Amassing Debts of More Than £150,000 That He Kept Hidden From Wife and Children

A grandfather set fire to himself at home after amassing hidden debts of more than £150,000 and keeping them hidden from his wife of three decades, an inquest heard yesterday.

Ibrahim Omar, 57, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, put family photos and other personal items in his daughter’s car and left the car keys outside his house before setting himself alight indoors.

The former petrol station cashier suffered ‘95 to 97 per cent full thickness burning and charring’ to his whole body and was declared dead at the scene, the inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Benghazi Explained: Interview With an “Intelligence Insider” (Part III)

Advancing the agenda of Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood in North Africa, Middle East. We’re doing their work, pitting ourselves against Syria, Iran and ultimately Russia and China.

I’ll give a brief, perhaps somewhat oversimplified recap going back to the beginning, giving context for what’s taking place at this very moment. I suppose I cannot overstate this or say this enough. The so-called “Arab Spring” is an initiative by Obama and his foreign policy advisers, Clinton in her capacity of Secretary of State, and others including some of the most powerful people in the world. International bankers, the power brokers and string pullers. It is a plan to reshape the Middle East and North Africa, and change the geopolitical balance of power. It’s not about some feel good mission to free the oppressed. Never was. It’s about the U.S., through the CIA, using groups ideologically aligned to al Qaeda aligned to overthrow various Middle East nations to install regimes controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s a globalist agenda, using the blueprints and agenda created by Saudi Arabia for the North African and Middle East portions of the globe, to shape that area geopolitically. They are using the United States as their surrogate and their military muscle, and the Obama led U.S. “regime” is all too willing to comply…

There have been reports out of the U.S. and the UK that Assad is preparing to use chemical weapons against the rebels. Assad denies that he would ever use them, and there is a reason we should believe him in this case. The condemnation that would result is unnecessary and certainly unwarranted. There reports are to condition people to immediately suspect Assad when a chemical incident occurs. In this case, it’s the U.S., the UK and other Western backed countries constantly asserting that Assad will launch a chemical attack, and we’re getting ready just for that case.

But if you look at the evidence, it’s the anti-Assad, Western backed forces that have taken possession of chemical storage areas. There was a recently released video, very graphic in nature of anti-Assad rebels conducting the test of a nerve agent on two rabbits. The video displayed chemicals bottles with the name of a Turkish country on them. I’m not going to give the name or video channel, but people can find the video for themselves on YouTube. It’s a set-up to topple Assad and put a Muslim brotherhood leader in his place.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Better Dictators Than Elected Islamists

by Daniel Pipes

Who is worse, President Mohamed Morsi, the elected Islamist seeking to apply Islamic law in Egypt, or President Husni Mubarak, the former dictator ousted for trying to start a dynasty? More broadly will a liberal, democratic order more likely emerge under Islamist ideologues who prevail through the ballot box or from greedy dictators with no particular agenda beyond their own survival and power?

Morsi’s recent actions provide an answer, establishing that Islamists are yet worse than dictators.

This issue came up in an interesting debate for Intelligence Squared U.S. in early October when Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress argued “Better elected Islamists than dictators,” while Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and I argued the counter-argument. Well, no one really argued “for” anyone. The other team did not endorse Islamists, we certainly did not celebrate dictators. The issue, rather, was which sort of ruler is the lesser of two evils, and can be cudgeled to democracy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Middle East

99% of Syrian Rebels Are Islamic Extremists and Jihadist Terrorists

After denying the reality that the U.S. government is shipping arms, money, and foreign fighters with a Jihadist and sectarian worldview into Syria, the U.S. media is finally admitting the obvious to the American people. Numerous articles in American papers point to the growing visibility of Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria, but they are only telling half-truths about the radical policies of the White House and the CIA.

The first half-truth is that the arming of radical Jihadist terrorists is not U.S. policy, but the accidental byproduct of outsourcing the war against Syria to the Gulf monarchies. We’re supposed to believe that the CIA was unaware that this would happen after their experience in Afghanistan and Libya.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Horrific Footage Shows ‘Syrian Rebels’ Forcing Boy to Behead Captive With Sword


It is perhaps the most disturbing piece of video footage to emerge out of the Syrian crisis to date.

A young boy is egged on by a group of older men, believed to be rebel fighters, and filmed hacking the head off a man who is lying on the ground.

An older man is then seen picking up the head before placing it on top of the body like a macabre trophy.

In the background militants can be heard chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’, or ‘God is great’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Saudi Aramco: Foreign Hackers Tried to Cork Our Gas Output

The attack on Saudi Aramco — which supplies a tenth of the world’s oil — failed to disrupt oil or gas output even though it infected 30,000 computers and crippled the national oil company’s electronic networks. In a press conference on Sunday, Saudi officials blamed unnamed foreign groups for orchestrating the digital assault…

Hacktivists from a group called Cutting Sword of Justice claimed responsibility for the cyber-attack, which was carried out in August. They claimed the assault allowed them to lift documents from Aramco’s computers, which they threatened to leak. But no information was subsequently published. The group said it had hacked Saudi Aramco in retaliation against the Al Saud regime. The miscreants accused the ruling royal family of interfering in the affairs of neighbouring countries, such as Syria and Bahrain.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

The Rise of Syria’s ‘Third Army’, Jabhat Al-Nusra

As the conflict in Syria continues a third army has emerged, theJabhat al-Nusra (“the Support Front”), a small group of Islamist militants fighting for their own cause. The United States on Monday labelled the group a foreign terrorist organisation.

Amid Syria’s ongoing bloody civil war, a third army has emerged that is officially fighting neither for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime nor for the rebels of the Free Syrian Army. Despite its relatively small numbers — only several hundred fighters compared to the rebels’ tens of thousands and the regime’s hundreds of thousands — the Jabhat al-Nusra was officially recognised as a terrorist organisation on Monday by the United States, which believes it is essentially a wing of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Officially, Jabhat al-Nusra militants are independent, loyal to no one but themselves. But on the ground they have often teamed up with the Free Syrian Army, according to one of FRANCE 24’s Observers, a local rebel commander.

Describing themselves as “soldiers of God”, Jabhat al-Nusra is made up of fearless and mostly foreign militants from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Central Asia. The radical Islamists say they have carried out 500 attacks since their formation earlier this year, with numerous victories helping to boost their notoriety. Their latest coup — Monday’s capture of the Sheikh Suleiman army base, the last major base west of Aleppo still under control by Syria’s armed forces — was strategically vital.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

U.S. Will Grant Recognition to Syrian Rebels, Obama Says

President Obama said Tuesday that the United States would formally recognize a coalition of Syrian opposition groups as that country’s legitimate representative, intensifying the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to give up his bloody struggle to stay in power.

Mr. Obama’s announcement, in an interview with Barbara Walters of ABC News on the eve of a meeting in Morocco of the Syrian opposition leaders and their supporters, was widely expected. But it marks a new phase of American engagement in a bitter, nearly two-year-long conflict that has claimed at least 40,000 lives, threatened to destabilize the region and defied all outside efforts to end it.

The announcement puts Washington’s political imprimatur on a once-disparate band of opposition groups, which have coalesced, under pressure from the United States and its allies, to develop what American officials say is a credible transitional plan to govern Syria if Mr. Assad is forced out.

[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India Ponders Its Beef With the Cow Smugglers

Legalization of the export of cows from India, where the animals have a powerful religious significance, has been suggested as a way to curb border violence. However, there is strong opposition to the idea.

Although the cow is held sacred in Hinduism, cattle are still smuggled out of India in large numbers.

Across the border in Bangladesh, beef is considered a delicacy.

India’s Border Security Force (BSF) guards kill dozens of people each year, most of whom are cattle smugglers, according to Indian authorities. Since 2006, the BSF is said to have killed 261 Bangladeshis.

India has been criticized in the international forums for not reining in its “trigger-happy” border guards.

Mr Utthan Kumar Bansal, who last week retired as the head of the BSF, questioned India’s current policy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Far East

Airbus Lands Giant Deal With China

China Southern Airlines has announced it will order ten new aircraft from European planemaker Airbus in efforts to boost its capacity in a growing market. The deal is the second large order for Airbus within two weeks.

The contract signed by China Southern Airlines was for ten new Airbus A330-300 aircraft, China’s largest airline said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange Wednesday.

According to the European plane maker’s price list, the deal would be worth $1.88 billion (1.43 billion euros), but China Southern Airlines said it was granted “certain price concessions” from Airbus.

Noting that the order would be financed through international funding and bank loans, the airline said it was expecting delivery of the first aircraft to begin between 2014 and 2016.

China Southern Airlines also said the order would boost the carrier’s current capacity by 5.7 percent and enhance its competitiveness in the rapidly expanding Chinese travel market.

The deal came just two weeks after Airbus secured another major order from smaller airline, China Eastern Airlines. The Shanghai-based carrier bought 60 Airbus 320s in a deal reportedly worth $5.39 billion.

According to latest Airbus figures, the European plane-making consortium had 853 aircraft in service in China by the end of October, accounting for about half of the country’s total fleet of aircraft of over 100 seats.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Korea Says North Korea Has Fired Long-Range Rocket

North Korea defied the likelihood of more sanctions by the United Nations Security Council to launch a rocket on Wednesday, demonstrating that the government of its new leader, Kim Jong-un, was pressing ahead to master the technology needed to deliver a nuclear warhead on a intercontinental ballistic missile.

It was not immediately known whether the rocket had succeeded in North Korea’s stated goal of putting a rocket into orbit.

[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Conservatives in Liberal Media Embrace Cultural Surrender

As American conservatives contemplate the future of the Republican Party in the face of President Obama’s Marxist onslaught and reelection, the rapid deterioration of the British Conservative Party stands as proof that the situation could get far worse. British conservatives lead the British government as members of a coalition and are pushing legislation for what they euphemistically dub “Equal Civil Marriage” — gay marriage. They think this is the key to being politically relevant and winning elections.

Here in the U.S., former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal on November 21 to make the “conservative case” for backing gay marriage. But there can be no “conservative case” for gay marriage, unless the term “conservative” is redefined as the British Conservative leaders are trying to do.

Mehlman, a former lieutenant to Karl Rove, came out of the closet and announced that he was a homosexual in August of 2010. He has since launched a “Project Right Side” to make the “conservative” case for gay marriage. He points to Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger at The Washington Post, who has declared that social conservatives have “lost” the battle over gay marriage and should just “move on.” Rubin has also attacked conservative Senator Jim DeMint, who is resigning to take over the Heritage Foundation, in a column headlined, “Good riddance, Mr. DeMint.”

[Return to headlines]

Winning the Demographic War and the Culture War

Progressives want every child to grow up to be a slave of the state.

Above all else, education is the future. Traditionalists who fail to understand this will allow the educational system and the entertainment industry to transform their children into progressives. Progressives know that control of the educational system means control of the future. Without the educational system and immigration, progressives are doomed to be cafe radicals. With them, they can count the generations until they control everything.

The progressives have few children of their own. Your children are their children. If they can corrupt your children, then they have a future. If they cannot, then they will go off and die in a corner. The progressives have three strengths, class warfare, cultural programming and immigration. America had prosperity that negated class warfare, but it neglected to safeguard its culture from the left and did not consider the consequences of Third World immigration. With their political and culture power, the left destroyed prosperity and now with all three cards in their hand, the progressives are rising high…

Cultural secession means cutting away the educational and entertainment culture of the left out of your home. It means creating your own alternative education and entertainment and grouping in communities that act as a support structure for traditional values. Is it easy? No. It involves sacrifice. But groups such as the Amish and Orthodox Jews have done it and have thrived doing it.

Some wars are settled by guns, but cultural wars are settled by the schoolbook and the movie. They are settled by the family.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Climate Tyranny Avoids Scrutiny

U.N. isn’t just involved in climate treaties. It is seeking control over the Internet, the oceans, gun control, regulating the rights of parents to exercise control over their children.

You likely did not read much, if anything, in the mainstream press about the climate change conference that was held in Doha, Qatar. The same applies to television and radio news. These are the folks who introduced the Kyoto Protocols in 1997 with the intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions said to be causing global warming. The U.S. Senate unanimously rejected them in an exercise of good sense we don’t always associate with that august body.

COP18, shorthand for the Conference of Parties, brought together under the aegis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was especially devious. Thanks to the Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow those of us keeping an eye on these charlatans, intent on transferring billions from developed nations to those that have failed to keep pace, we learned on December 8th that “The negotiations here in Doha have gone into overtime.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Yes! It’s the TARDIS PC!

No, it won’t allow you to enter the Vortex, “that mysterious region where time and space are”, as Terrance Dicks so aptly put it, “one.” Nor, even if you max out the available storage options, will it give you space enough to hold the entire Matrix. Its CPU is not APC.

But — let’s be honest — you don’t buy a PC casing that looks like a Police Box for the spec.

No, you do so because you’re a Doctor Who nut, or you know someone who is.

And now, thanks to Scan Computers, this is exactly what you can buy [1].

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]