Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121223

Financial Crisis
»ECB Advises Italy to Help Monte Paschi by Taking Up Shares
»The Lie That Prosecuting Bank Fraud Will Destabilize the Economy is What is Really Destroying the Economy
»“Swedes” Charged With Terrorism in US Court
»Agenda 21 is Being Rammed Down the Throats of Local Communities All Over America
»Big Business and Marxist Collusion — Bourgeois Socialism
»Egypt Adopts a Sharia Constitution — Americans Can Prevent it From Happening Here
»Teachers — it is Time to Arm Yourselves Regardless of the Law
Europe and the EU
»Austria: Three Churches Burned at Same Time
»Belgium: Man Killed in Brussels Stabbing
»Doubts as to CCTV Efficacy in Big Brother Britain
»France: Alps Murder: Truth About Saad Al-Hilli’s ‘Family Feud’
»German Websites Gain Ground at Home
»Germany: The Long Path From Forest to Living Room
»Germany: Brit 7/7 Widow ‘Plotted Station Horror’
»Italy: Monti Poll Rating Up But 60% Don’t Want Him to Stand
»Italy: Berlusconi Says ‘Forced’ To Lead Centre Right Again
»Italy: Over 70% of Homeless Are in Rome and Milan
»Sweden: Court Upholds Sentence for Subway Robber
»The Most Violent Country in Europe: Britain is Also Worse Than South Africa and U.S.
»‘Ugly’ Metal Christmas Tree Roils Many Belgians
»UK: Koran-Ripping Case Jury Discharged at Leicester Crown Court
»UK: Lib Dem President Tim Farron Says the Tories Could “Go Off to the Far Right”
»UK: Mother Overhears Her Daughter, 15, Being Raped at Knifepoint as She Calls Her Mobile During Attack
»UK: The Truth is That Politicians Are Telling Lies
»UK: The Persecution of Sheikh Mo Dawah
North Africa
»Egypt’s Constitution Approved in Vote, Say Rival Camps
»Egyptian Govt Denies Central Bank Governor Resignation
»Egyptian President Appoints 90 Member of Upper House
»Egypt Votes ‘Yes, ‘ Unofficial Results Show
»Ennahda Activists Besiege Opposition Rally in Tunisia
»Quenching ‘Sharia Thirst’ On the Nile
Israel and the Palestinians
»Christians in Bethlehem Will Celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, But Dream of Living Elsewhere
Middle East
»Christianity ‘Close to Extinction’ In Middle East
»Saudi to Open Human Rights Offices in Prisons
»Sunni-Shiite Barriers Stall Bahrain’s Arab Spring
»Syrian Muslim Rebels Threaten Two Christian Towns
South Asia
»Afghanistan: Fire Sweeps Through Kabul Market
»Indonesia: As Minister Resigns in Jakarta Over Corruption Inquiry Storm Hits Yudhoyono and Democrats
»Rape Protest Ban Fails to Stop Crowds in India
»US Wants Immunity for Pakistanis Implicated in Attacks That Killed 166
Far East
»S. Korea Lights Christmas Tree at Northern Border
»Vietnam’s Fragile Middle Class
Australia — Pacific
»Man Stabbed — Canley Vale
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Crew Freed From Somali Pirates After Three Years
»UN Helicopter Shot Down in South Sudan
Latin America
»Argentina: Bringing Bikes to the Streets of Buenos Aires
»‘Foreign Infiltration is a Myth’
»Online Translation Breaks Language Barriers

Financial Crisis

ECB Advises Italy to Help Monte Paschi by Taking Up Shares

Issuing more debt would burden bank further, ECB says

(ANSA) — Rome, December 20; The European Central Bank has suggested Italy should take ownership of new shares in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, as opposed to issuing more debt to help the troubled lender. The Italian government earlier this month approved a 3.9 billion euro salvage package for the Siena-based bank after Monte dei Paschi had been forced to remedy the weakness in its capital base. The issuance of additional debt could create further difficulty to the lender as it would increase its repayment obligations, the ECB said, adding that it was preferable the bank issue new stock to raise capital instead.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The Lie That Prosecuting Bank Fraud Will Destabilize the Economy is What is Really Destroying the Economy

The Departments of Justice and Treasury are pretending that criminally prosecuting criminal banksters will destabilize the economy.

The exact opposite is true.

Failing to prosecute criminal fraud has been destabilizing the economy since at least 2007 … and will cause huge crashes in the future.

After all, the main driver of economic growth is a strong rule of law.

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that we have to prosecute fraud or else the economy won’t recover:…

[Return to headlines]


“Swedes” Charged With Terrorism in US Court

Two Swedish citizens appeared in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York on Friday on charges that they had trained and fought with al-Shabaab, a Somali group designated as terrorists by the United States.

“The defendants are not aspiring terrorists, they are terrorists. They did more than receive terrorist training: they used it in terrorist operations with al-Shabaab,” said George Venizelos of the FBI in New York.

The two Swedes, aged 27 and 29, along with a 23-year-old defendant, are accused of participating in weapons and explosives training with al-Shabaab, a United States-designated terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda, during a four-year period beginning in 2008.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Agenda 21 is Being Rammed Down the Throats of Local Communities All Over America

Have you ever heard of Agenda 21? If not, don’t feel bad, because most Americans haven’t. It is essentially a blueprint for a “sustainable world” that was introduced at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Since then, it has been adopted by more than 200 counties and it has been modified and updated at other UN environmental summits. The philosophy behind Agenda 21 is that our environmental problems are the number one problem that we are facing, and that those problems are being caused by human activity. Therefore, according to Agenda 21 human activity needs to be tightly monitored, regulated and controlled for the greater good. Individual liberties and freedoms must be sacrificed for the good of the planet. If you are thinking that this sounds like it is exactly the opposite of what our founding fathers intended when they established this nation, you would be on the right track. Those that promote the philosophy underlying Agenda 21 believe that human activity must be “managed” and that letting people make their own decisions is “destructive” and “dangerous”. Sadly, the principles behind Agenda 21 are being rammed down the throats of local communities all over America, and most of the people living in those communities don’t even realize it.

So how is this being done? Well, after Agenda 21 was adopted, an international organization known as the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives” (ICLEI) was established to help implement the goals of Agenda 21 in local communities. One thing that they learned very quickly was that the “Agenda 21” label was a red flag for a lot of people. It tended to create quite a bit of opposition on the local level.

As they try to implement their goals, they very rarely use the term “Agenda 21” anymore. Instead, they use much more harmless sounding labels such as “smart growth”, “comprehensive land use planning” and especially “sustainable development”.

So just because something does not carry the Agenda 21 label does not mean that it is not promoting the goals of Agenda 21.

The goals of Agenda 21 are not only being implemented in the United States. This is a massive worldwide effort that is being coordinated by the United Nations. An article that was posted on discussed some of the history of Agenda 21…

[Return to headlines]

Big Business and Marxist Collusion — Bourgeois Socialism

The Occupy Movement, as we all know, was and is a tool of the elite. Skilled in projection and deflection, they screamed that big business was the enemy of the people and Marxism was the cure. No sane American would fall for that tripe. What the lame movement, if they had been honest, would have railed against was big business in collusion with big government. A marriage made in hell and brought to you by Barack Obama and the bourgeois socialists.

Listen to what Andrew Wilkow has to say on bourgeois socialism (there are no images — only audio):

We now have many, many examples of these elitists who have crawled into bed with the Marxists… From Warren Buffet, to Jeffrey Immelt of GE, the list is long and inglorious. These are wealthy and powerful businessmen and women looking for security in the arms of Comrade Obama while keeping the proletariat riffraff (that would be you and me) in check and busily working for them and their luxuries in a slavish society that is forcefully equal in misery, except for the upper levels of the bourgeois socialists. GE is probably the worst of the worst. Immelt praises the Chinese communists:…

[Return to headlines]

Egypt Adopts a Sharia Constitution — Americans Can Prevent it From Happening Here

Here is what Americans can do to stop Assistant US Attorney General Perez and other advocates of adoption of OIC Blasphemy Codes here.

We can get behind the movement to pass the American Law for American Courts (ALAC) state legislation that has been enacted in Rep. Franks’ home state of Arizona, as well as in Louisiana, Tennessee and Kansas. The 2012 Republican Convention adopted an anti-Sharia ALAC plank sponsored by Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach.

The American Public Policy Alliance website contains background information on the model law developed by David Yerushalmi, Esq. The website notes the purpose of ALAC: ALAC was crafted to protect American citizens’ constitutional rights against the infiltration and incursion of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, especially Islamic Shariah Law.

We need to make a New Year’s resolution to form a grass roots movement to enact ALAC in as many states as possible.

Here in Florida, we nearly achieved that in the 2012 legislative session in Tallahassee, when the ALAC legislation, which passed the House resoundingly, failed to be brought up for a final vote by outgoing Florida Senate President, Mike Haridopolos. Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz had indicated his support for ALAC in the last session. The objective in the 2013 session will be to seek Senator Gaetz’s and Florida House Speaker, Will Weatherford’s commitment to press for passage of ALAC. We need to enlist Floridians and others to meet with State Senators and Representatives seeking their support informing them that Florida’s legal system needs the protections of ALAC to stop insinuation of Sharia and bolster Constitutional First Amendment Free Speech guarantees.

[Return to headlines]

Teachers — it is Time to Arm Yourselves Regardless of the Law

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding teachers and teaching in America, one of them holds that in order to be a public school teacher; you are required to become a progressive dolt. This, however, is not necessarily true. While the mainstream educational system is engineered to encourage socialism and dependency in our children, it also has a tendency to condition staff and administration with a collectivist mindset as well. For those who seek out teaching positions, it may feel like joining in with the socialist / globalist ideal makes life in our federalized educational system far easier to cope with. After all, teachers who stray from the establishment curriculum and who break conventions by offering individualist and anti-state views are very often subject to in-house persecution. This peer induced conformity creates a Petri dish of inbred thinking, but ultimately, the final decision of what to believe falls to the teacher and no one else.

While some educators might feel that gun ownership is counter to the yuppie culture they have immersed themselves in, and may fear standing out as the “lone conservative nut” at their workplace, they are going to have to accept that there are far bigger concerns than being a part of the herd. As the events in Newtown, Connecticut reveal, teachers need to start considering their own survival and the survival of their students.

The shooting in Newtown by itself is not the primary issue. The event will be forgotten within a few weeks by a majority of people, just like the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the Aurora Theater Massacre. That might sound cold, but it is reality. The tragedy itself will only stay with the victims and their families. The debate over what to do in the aftermath of the tragedy, though, will plague the rest of us for quite some time, and perhaps this is the root of the problem…

Establishment politicians (Neo-Lib and Neo-Con) and the useful idiots they employ have drawn out the debate on practical solutions beyond all reason. What they have done, time and again, is to exploit the deaths of innocents in order to push the political agenda of control, rather than looking at the hard facts and implementing a strategy that would truly work. If you want to actually fix a problem, you look at the fundamentals and apply what works, not what you WISH would work based on your biased worldview. To get to this point, we have to be willing to admit to those methods which DO NOT WORK. In the wake of the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School, what do we know about the environment on the ground and how it was exploited by the gunman?

1) Federal Laws Guaranteed A Gun Free Zone For The Attacker

Federal laws, including the Gun Free School Zones Act and the Gun-Free Schools Act, prohibit the possession of firearms within 1000 feet of school grounds (some states allow carry with the possession of a CCW, but this does not stop schools from firing teachers who do decide to carry if discovered). The Gun-Free Schools Act imposes a federal requirement on school districts to adopt a gun-free schools position that demands zero-tolerance policies and minimum one-year expulsions from school for gun possession in exchange for federal funds for district schools, meaning, the Feds are paying off school districts to entice them to go along with gun regulation:

Of course only law abiding citizens care about this regulation, and so, in the midst of an attack by a criminal element, teachers, staff and students will be the only disarmed people present. Most violent and mentally disturbed perpetrators still have a deep desire to live, which is why they rarely if ever go on a rampage at a gun range, or a federal building with armed guards, or an NRA convention. These men don’t want to die, at least not until they have finished their heinous act, and so it only makes sense that they would choose movie theaters in cities that have laws against conceal carry or elementary schools that are filled predominantly with progressives who are going to avoid gun ownership and yield to federal dictates. A school is an easy target, nothing more.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Austria: Three Churches Burned at Same Time

by Cheradenine Zakalwe

Three churches in the Austrian town of Amstetten (pop: 21,000) were burned this morning. All of the indications point to arson. Several eye-witnesses saw a suspect. As is their custom, the police and newspapers have given a detailed account of his stature and clothing, but fail to mention his skin colour. Amstetten has a large Mohammedan population.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Belgium: Man Killed in Brussels Stabbing

A young man has been stabbed to death just metres away from Brussels Central Railway Station. The Brussels Judicial Authorities report that that his suspected assailant, a teenage boy, has been detained. The boy is reported to be a member of a gang and has a criminal record.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Doubts as to CCTV Efficacy in Big Brother Britain

Perhaps Germany should look to the UK — the CCTV center of the world — as the former debates whether to use more public cameras after a murder in Berlin and a bomb plot in Bonn. In both cases, no footage was on hand.

Police in Bonn looking for terrorists who planted a potentially devastating bomb at the city’s main train station don’t have an image of who did it because no closed-circuit television (CCTV) captured the event. In Berlin a man was savagely beaten to death in a main square, again with no camera footage to help police catch the perpetrator.

Now German government ministers are calling for more and up-to-date surveillance equipment in the country’s public spaces, while critics warn of a knee-jerk reaction infringing on civil liberties.

The arguments echo those that have long been bouncing back and forth between supporters and opponents of CCTV in the UK — the country with the highest CCTV density in the world, according to some statistics. One recent report estimates there are just under two million surveillance cameras in the UK — one for every 32 people.

“In Britain we seem to have seen CCTV as an end in itself, when in reality it’s a very, very small part of the overall approach to policing,” Nick Pickles, head of Big Brother Watch, a pressure group fighting for the protection civil liberties, said in an interview with DW.

“Despite the millions of cameras, Britain’s crime rate is not significantly lower than comparable countries that do not have such a vast surveillance state,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France: Alps Murder: Truth About Saad Al-Hilli’s ‘Family Feud’

The Iraqi family of Saad al-Hilli, the Briton murdered in the French village of Chevaline, tell Colin Freeman that their relative was not a money-launderer for Saddam Hussein.

Hussain al-Hilli’s final memories of his cousin Saad are of an anxious, desperate man, burdened with a secret that may have taken him to the grave. Last February, six months before Saad and his family were murdered, the pair were having one of their regular Facebook chats, normally a chance to swap notes on two very different lives. While Saad would bring news from leafy Surrey, Hussain would bring talk of life — and sometimes death — in Baghdad, the war-torn Iraqi capital from which Saad’s side of the family had left decades before. This time, though, Hussain noticed something odd straightaway…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

German Websites Gain Ground at Home

For the first time in years German — and not American — websites have shown the most dynamic growth in Germany, a study commissioned by the Focus news magazine showed.

Results published on Sunday showed that, Deutsche Telekom, the retailers C&A and Otto, Check 24 and savings bank websites showed the strongest growth. The study was conducted by the market research firm Comscore.

The only US companies to make it into the top 10 were Ask Network, Ebay and Amazon. Last year six of the top eight websites with the most dynamic growth were from US companies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: The Long Path From Forest to Living Room

For most families, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a Christmas tree. They didn’t become a widespread tradition until the 19th century, but decorating trees has been going on for longer than you might think.

A 30-meter, eight-ton crane was needed to set up the Bavarian spruce in downtown Frankfurt. There on the Römerberg, the historic heart of banking capital, in front of the town hall, the city’s Christmas tree can be admired by visitors to the Christmas market in the square.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Germany: Brit 7/7 Widow ‘Plotted Station Horror’

Terror bomb failed

SECURITY chiefs fear an al-Qaeda cell funded by the British “White Widow” plotted to bomb a German railway station, The Sun can reveal.

The attack in Bonn would have resulted in a massacre like the one in the Spanish capital Madrid in 2004 which left 191 people dead.

But the device failed to explode and was disarmed before it could detonate. Intelligence sources in Germany say that al-Qaeda was behind the conspiracy — which encompassed “many operatives” overseas, including wanted Brit Samantha Lewthwaite…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti Poll Rating Up But 60% Don’t Want Him to Stand

Monti-led ticket would get 15.4% says poll

(ANSA) — Rome, December 21 — The approval rating of Premier Monti has risen from 33% to 38% over the last week but 60% of Italians don’t want him to stand in the upcoming general election, the SWG polling agency said Friday. If he does decide to lead a group of centrist forces wanting him to stand, the ticket would get 15.4% of votes, SWG said.

The technocrat premier, life Senator and former European commissioner is expected to say on Sunday whether he will run in the election, expected on February 24.

The centre-left Democratic Party is currently leading polls with more than 30% ahead of former comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement with 19% and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party with 17%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Says ‘Forced’ To Lead Centre Right Again

Will rally forces to beat left, ex-premier says

(ANSA) — Rome, December 21 — Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Friday said he had been forced to re-enter the political fray and take on the job of uniting Italy’s centre right to defeat the left.

The media magnate repeated that he would have been willing to let outgoing Premier Mario Monti play that role “but I didn’t even get one phone call from Monti”.

Speaking on Italian radio in his sixth media foray in as many days, Berlusconi reiterated his claim that Monti’s technocratic government had “taken orders” from northern European countries led by Germany and that the spread between Italian and German bonds, a gauge of market confidence in Italy’s ability to pay down its huge debt, was not affected by government action.

Berlusconi resigned in November 2011 with the spread above 550 points and Italy on the brink of a Greece-style crisis.

He recently backtracked on a pledge to stay out of front-line politics, saying the struggling centre right had not found anyone capable of wooing back enough voters to win a general election set for late February.

In Friday’s radio interview, Berlusconi added that centrist leader Pier Ferdinando Casini and affiliated “little parties” set to back Monti would “let the left in” unless he stood.

He voiced confidence of luring back voters who have deserted him amid sex and corruption scandals and said a third of his election candidates would be women.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Over 70% of Homeless Are in Rome and Milan

(AGI) Rome — Over 70% of Italy’s homeless are living on the streets of Rome and Milan according to ISTAT .

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

Sweden: Court Upholds Sentence for Subway Robber

A Swedish court upheld an 18-month prison sentence for the 28-year-old man who robbed a drunken man who lay passed out on a Stockholm subway track and left him to have his legs mangled by a train.

The Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm also confirmed the 5,000 kronor ($765) in damages that the 28 year-old had been ordered to pay to the 38-year-old victim.

The robber, a Tunisian citizen, will be deported upon the completion of his prison sentence, and will then be barred from re-entering Sweden for five years.

However, the court did not uphold the prosecutor’s demand for a tougher sentence.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

The Most Violent Country in Europe: Britain is Also Worse Than South Africa and U.S.

Britain’s violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed.

Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa — widely considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

The figures comes on the day new Home Secretary Alan Johnson makes his first major speech on crime, promising to be tough on loutish behaviour.

The Tories said Labour had presided over a decade of spiralling violence.

In the decade following the party’s election in 1997, the number of recorded violent attacks soared by 77 per cent to 1.158million — or more than two every minute.

The figures, compiled from reports released by the European Commission and United Nations, also show:

  • The UK has the second highest overall crime rate in the EU.
  • It has a higher homicide rate than most of our western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
  • The UK has the fifth highest robbery rate in the EU.
  • It has the fourth highest burglary rate and the highest absolute number of burglaries in the EU, with double the number of offences than recorded in Germany and France.

But it is the naming of Britain as the most violent country in the EU that is most shocking. The analysis is based on the number of crimes per 100,000 residents.

In the UK, there are 2,034 offences per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-placed Austria with a rate of 1,677.

The U.S. has a violence rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, Canada 935, Australia 92 and South Africa 1,609.

[Return to headlines]

‘Ugly’ Metal Christmas Tree Roils Many Belgians

It’s the Christmas disaster that’s rocking Belgium: an 80-foot (24-meter) art installation instead of a traditional Christmas tree. Some Belgians see an anti-Christian conspiracy in it. Others see an ugly piece of metal.

Over the past few weeks, Brussel’s City Hall has experienced unusually heavy protest — over a tree. The council’s decision to swap its traditional pine tree on the city’s central square with a modern art installation has resulted in a minor national scandal.

Online petitions have garnered twenty-five thousand signatures and a Facebook group with some 4,500 followers demanded the return of the traditional “Sapin de Bruxelles.” Protests spread from the online petitions and social networks to debates on national television.

“We want to change the image of the Christmas market of Brussels. The image from ten years ago is very boring,” said Brussels Councilor for Tourism Philippe Close. He says the “tree” was a daring move to give Christmas a modern spin.

The 80-foot tall steel structure is called the Abies Electronicus, or electronic tree. At night, it’s the centre of attention in a spectacle that lights up the whole central square at Grand Place. Music blasts through speakers as the tree’s many spotlights display flashy light effects in and around its base. In the daytime, visitors climb the stairs to an 80 feet high balcony with an astonishing view on the city centre.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UK: Koran-Ripping Case Jury Discharged at Leicester Crown Court

The jury in the trial of a man who staged an anti-religion protest by ripping out pages from the Koran in front of Muslims has been discharged. The eight women and four men on the jury at Leicester Crown Court failed to agree on a verdict. They sent a note to the judge saying there was no prospect of them reaching either a unanimous or a majority verdict on which at least 10 of them agreed.

Peter James Crawford (52) was said to have torn pages from his own copy of the Koran and thrown the holy book on the ground next to a stall run by the Islamic Information Centre, near the Clock Tower, in Leicester city centre, on the afternoon of May 12…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Lib Dem President Tim Farron Says the Tories Could “Go Off to the Far Right”

by Matthew Barrett

A Wikipedia summary of far right ideology:

“The far right is commonly associated with persons or groups who hold extreme nationalist, xenophobic, racist, religious fundamentalist or reactionary views.The most extreme-right movements have pursued oppression and genocide against groups of people on the basis of their alleged inferiority.”

Lib Dem President Tim Farron speaking on the Week in Westminster today:

“From an entirely partisan point of view, I rub my hands together with glee and think well, David Cameron, if you want to go off to the far right, you’ll find there are very few votes there. You only win elections in the centre ground, and David Cameron seems to be completely vacating it.”

There are two ridiculous points made here. Firstly, the idea that David Cameron or the Conservatives would “go off to the far right”. It is so utterly un-serious that it hardly merits any response. The second point is that Mr Farron implies there is no ideological space between “the centre ground” and “the far right”. One can either be in the centre or the “far right” in Mr Farron’s world…

[Reader comment by Harold on 22 December 2012 at about 7 pm.]

David Cameron is not going off to the far right. He is joining Farron in the pale pink soft ultra left. There they can live happily in never never land and eat marshmallows together, on tic.

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: Mother Overhears Her Daughter, 15, Being Raped at Knifepoint as She Calls Her Mobile During Attack

A mother overheard her 15-year-old daughter being raped when she called her during the horrific ordeal, it was revealed today.

The teenager was attacked in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, and threatened with a four-inch kitchen knife.

And her mother heard the attack when she called her mobile phone because she was concerned when her daughter hadn’t returned home.

Police describe the attacker as a man in his late teens, about 5ft 8ins tall, with dark skin and slim build, and wearing a black leather jacket and a black fleece hat.

[Return to headlines]

UK: The Truth is That Politicians Are Telling Lies

by Janet Daley

Government is simply unaffordable

Was 2012 the year when the democratic world lost its grip on reality? Must we assume now that no party that speaks the truth about the economic future has a chance of winning power in a national election? With the results of presidential contests in the United States and France as evidence, this would seem to be the only possible conclusion. Any political leader prepared to deceive the electorate into believing that government spending, and the vast system of services that it provides, can go on as before — or that they will be able to resume as soon as this momentary emergency is over — was propelled into office virtually by acclamation…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

UK: The Persecution of Sheikh Mo Dawah

by Khadija Burlington Symthe

It does not surprise me that you so-called defenders of free speech at Harry’s Place have been quick to defend a law-breaking enemy of Islam, but have said not a peep about the continuing persecution of Sheikh Mo Dawah, whose precious words have been repeatedly silenced by his enemies and detractors. Let us all hope, for their own sake, that they soon see the error of their ways.

The Sheikh is currently at liberty, and has indeed been kind enough to spare some time to describe my own humble efforts and recent travails in the cause of Da’wah. Before shadowy forces behind the scenes yet again try to close his account down, I advise you to take advantage of his wise and benign message of peace. Some commenters have been asserting that Islam is an enemy of free speech. Not so — and here is Sheikh Mo Dawah’s eloquent explanation, revealed to me in a private communication.

For an Islamic principle to be in conformity with Islamic principle a principle must be in conformity with itself. This can be confusing. Therefore it requires men like me schooled in Islamic sciences of rationalism to interpret what is in conformity with Islam, and what is free speech, what is mischief making, and what is sincere. This is a burden I accept with reluctance but see it as my duty to serve my deen and my society of Britain, which is threatened by rascals, so-called secularism & anti-faith bigotry.

Although no one can be a greater advocate for free speech than myself, I do wonder — what are the motives of those who would explore further matters which have already been satisfactorily resolved? And I hope you will all think long and hard (and perhaps contact Cage Prisoners while you are at it) about why Sheikh Mo Dawah has been banned from sharing his pearls of truth and clarity, when EDL supporters tweet unopposed?

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt’s Constitution Approved in Vote, Say Rival Camps

CAIRO (Reuters) — A constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly was approved by a majority of Egyptians in a referendum, rival camps said on Sunday, after a vote the opposition said drove a wedge through the Arab world’s most populous nation.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled President Mohamed Mursi to power in a June election, said 64 percent of voters backed the charter after two rounds of voting that ended with a final ballot on Saturday. It cited an unofficial tally.

An opposition official also told Reuters their unofficial count showed the result was a “yes” vote.

The referendum committee may not declare official results for the two rounds until Monday, after hearing appeals. If the outcome is confirmed, a parliamentary election will follow in about two months.

Mursi’s Islamist backers say the constitution is vital for the transition to democracy, nearly two years after the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in an uprising. It will provide stability needed to help a fragile economy, they say.

But the opposition accuses Mursi of pushing through a text that favors Islamists and ignores the rights of Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population, as well as women. They say it is a recipe for further unrest.

“According to our calculations, the final result of the second round is 71 percent voting ‘yes’ and the overall result (of the two rounds) is 63.8 percent,” a Brotherhood official, who was in an operations room monitoring the vote, told Reuters.

His figures were confirmed by a statement issued shortly afterwards by the group and broadcast on its television channel.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

Egyptian Govt Denies Central Bank Governor Resignation

(AGI) Cairo, Dec 22 — Chaos is reigning in Egypt. A government spokesman denied the piece of news — given by the State television network — that Central Bank Governor Farouk el-Okadah resigned, shortly after the vice-president, Mahmud Mekki, did. All this happened on the second day of the referendum on the controversial new constitution wanted by President Morsi.

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

Egyptian President Appoints 90 Member of Upper House

CAIRO, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has issued late Saturday a republican decree, appointing 90 new members of the Shura Council, upper house of the parliament, official MENA news agency reported on Sunday morning. The appointment came after several rounds of national talks attended by Morsi, his deputy Mahmoud Mekki who had submitted a resignation Saturday, and some political forces including the Muslim Brotherhood, while the country’s main opposition bloc National Salvation Front boycotted the dialogues…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Egypt Votes ‘Yes, ‘ Unofficial Results Show

A majority of Egyptians voted “yes” to a new draft constitution, unofficial results showed Sunday. State TV reported that 63.5 percent of the ballots cast in the two-stage referendum were in favor of the charter.

Nearly 71 percent of those who voted in Saturday’s final phase of the referendum approved the draft, the broadcaster said. No specific date has been set yet for the official results.

Voters had reportedly turned out in large numbers, although reliable turnout figures were not available early Sunday. The referendum’s second round had involved 17 provinces, many of them rural. Queues in Giza, Port Said and Luxur prompted four-hour polling extensions. Saturday’s voting had been open to half of Egypt’s 51 million voters.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ennahda Activists Besiege Opposition Rally in Tunisia

(AGI) — Midoun (Tunisia) — Hundreds of supporters of the Ennahda movement have besieged an opposition meeting in Tunisia.

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

Quenching ‘Sharia Thirst’ On the Nile

by Andrew Bostom

Three days before the first round of voting began for Egypt’s constitutional referendum on December 15, 2012, Hesham Darwish, from Cairo’s Hadayeq al-Qobba district, summarized the views of those who planned to vote “yes,” and affirm the charter:

People are thirsty for Sharia. [emphasis added] We do not support the president for who he is, but rather for the Islamic project he promises.

Saturday, during the second round of voting, Hesham Darwish’s mindset held sway overwhelmingly in two Upper Egypt governorates on both sides of the Nile. Eighty-three percent (83.2%; 763,729/918,034) voted “yes” in Minya approximately 150 miles south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, which flows north through the city), while in Qena, situated on the east bank of the Nile, some 300 miles south of Cairo, 84.7% (307,839/363,518 ) affirmed the charter, according to unofficial final tallies published by Al-Ahram.

When pooled with the first round of voting, a total of 64.0% (10,543,893/16,472,241), including 67.5% (162,231/240,224) of Egyptian expatriates, approved Egypt’s recently drafted, more Sharia-compliant constitution.

The referendum’s final results validate remarkably consistent polling data of Egyptian attitudes towards the Sharia chronicled since at least early 2007, through an Egyptian Vote Compass self-administered survey whose results were revealed just a week prior to voting began on 12/15/12.

Within a few days of their publication in April, 2007, I highlighted data from Egypt indicating that 74% of Egyptians favored “strict” application of the Sharia in general. As recently as December 2010, Pew polling data revealed that 84% of Egyptian Muslims rejected freedom of conscience in the most ugly terms claiming apostates should be killed (i.e., that percentage would likely be well over 90% if less draconian punishments, such as imprisonment and beating till recantation were queried), 82% favor stoning adulterers to death, and 77% approved of mutilating punishments for theft. Summarizing these findings, and other overall survey trends, pollster Douglas Schoen in an essay published February 10, 2011, cited additional composite data indicating that at least 60% of Egyptians held “fundamentalist” Islamic views, while only 20% could be classified as “secular” in their orientation. Finally, Dutch Political Scientist André Krouwel, working with an academic team of Egyptian political scientists at Vote Compass Egypt, who applied an interactive electoral literacy application, predicted in an interview published 12/8/12,

About 70 per cent of the population will vote in favor of the constitution…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Christians in Bethlehem Will Celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, But Dream of Living Elsewhere

Arab Christians will crowd into Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve, but social and economic pressures mean they are a dwindling minority in the town where Christ was born.

Christian Arab families from Bethlehem will crowd into the town’s Church of the Nativity to celebrate Christmas Eve, as their ancestors have done for nearly 2000 years. Midnight Mass, televised around the world live from Bethlehem, will be a moving and beautiful spectacle as it is on this night every year. But even as they celebrate in the town of Christ’s birth, many of Bethlehem’s dwindling population of Christians will be dreaming of a new life far from the Holy Land…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Christianity ‘Close to Extinction’ In Middle East

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group. And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”. It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East. The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Saudi to Open Human Rights Offices in Prisons

RIYADH, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Saudi Arabia will set up offices for the National Human Rights Society in five prisons, Al Riyadh newspaper reported on Sunday. The program, directed by Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif, aims to ensure better services for inmates and detainees. The National Human Rights Society has received those offices, some of which are nearly operational, Dr Saleh Al Shirida, member of the society, told the newspaper…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Sunni-Shiite Barriers Stall Bahrain’s Arab Spring

Political and religious divides between Sunnis and Shiites have relegated local Arab Spring protests to little more than a memory in Bahrain. But some are trying to bridge the differences.

Jihan Kazerooni sits down on a comfortable chair in her large living room in an upscale neighborhood of Manama, the capital of Bahrain. She explains how she got involved in her country’s Arab Spring uprising.

“When the revolution started on February 14 last year, I wasn’t a participant,” she says. “I was a government supporter, because I didn’t know we had poor people in Bahrain.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Syrian Muslim Rebels Threaten Two Christian Towns

BEIRUT — Rebels have threatened to storm two predominantly Christian towns in central Syria if residents do not “evict” government troops they say are using the towns as a base to attack nearby areas. A video released by rebels showed Rashid Abul-Fidaa, who identified himself as the commander of the Ansar Brigade for Hama province, calling on locals in Mahrada and Sqailbiyeh to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s forces or prepare for an assault…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: Fire Sweeps Through Kabul Market

At least six hundred shops have been destroyed by a fire which swept through a market in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

No-one was injured in the blaze but the fire destroyed much of the goods on sale and forced traders to flee, says the BBC’s Bilal Sarwary in the city…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Indonesia: As Minister Resigns in Jakarta Over Corruption Inquiry Storm Hits Yudhoyono and Democrats

Sports and Youth Minister Andi Malaranggeng quits after his family finds itself in middle of scandals over tender in the case of a sports centre. President and his party end up in the middle of a scandal and shady dealings.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — For the first time in the political history of the country, a cabinet minister has resigned because of scandals over corruption and shady dealings. Popular anger and media campaigns have forced Sport and Youth Minister Andi Malaranggeng (pictured) to resign. This is a major blow to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Democrat Party (DP). The scandal could actually bring down the government in a country already reeling from many cases of corruption and abuses by public officials.

In a tense press conference, Mr Malaranggeng confirmed his intention of resigning following days of controversy and rumours over a possible investigation into widespread corruption. The scandal is said to implicate other top DP leaders, including former party treasurer Nazaruddin and lawmaker (and former beauty queen) Angeline “Angie” Sondakh.

Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) imposed a travel ban on the now former minister and his younger brother, businessman Zulkarnain “Choel” Malaranggeng, as well as Arif Taufiqrahman, a major real estate developer.

Prosecutors accuse the Malaranggeng brothers of orchestrating a plan to tinker with the tender process in the case of a sports centre, using their privileged position.

Andi Malaranggeng, a former presidential spokesman during Yudhoyono’s first term in office (2004-2009), has rejected all the KPK accusations, clamouring for his innocence.

Before he became minister, the former minister was known and appreciated for his analyses of the country’s domestic politics. On the basis of this strength, President Yudhoyono brought him into this cabinet. (MH)

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

Rape Protest Ban Fails to Stop Crowds in India

Protests have been banned in the Indian capital New Delhi amid violent weekend demonstrations over the gang rape of a young woman last week. However, a journalist covering protests in Manipur was fatally shot by police.

Angry demonstrations have continued for a second day in the Indian capital New Delhi, with police struggling to control protesters who have rallied since Saturday at the India Gate monument.

The police used batons as well as tear gas and water cannon to hold them back. A journalist, covering related protests in the city of Manipur, was shot dead after police fired shots to disperse an angry crowd.

According to police figures, sex crimes in New Delhi are common, with a rape reported every 18 hour on average, though most sexual assaults go unreported.

But the brutality of the December 16 attack has sparked calls for capital punishment for rapists, and more steps from the government to ensure safety for women.

India’s Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has promised to consider the demands for death penalties to be imposed in the case.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

US Wants Immunity for Pakistanis Implicated in Attacks That Killed 166

The United States government has argued in court that current and former officials of Pakistan’s intelligence service should be immune from prosecution in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks. At least 166 people, including 6 Americans, were killed and scores more were injured when members of Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba stormed downtown Mumbai, India, taking the city hostage between November 26 and 29, 2008.

The Indian government has openly accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) of complicity in the attack, which has been described as the most sophisticated international terrorist strike anywhere in the world during the last decade. Using evidence collected by the Indian government, several Americans who survived the bloody attacks sued the ISI in New York earlier this year for allegedly directing Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Mumbai strikes. But Stuart Delery, Principal Deputy Attorney General for the US Department of State, has told the court that the ISI and its senior officials are immune from prosecution on US soil under the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. According to the 12-page ‘Statement of Interest’ delivered to the court by Delery, no foreign nationals can be prosecuted in a US court for criminal actions they allegedly carried out while working in official capacities for a foreign government. The affidavit goes on to suggest that any attempt by a US court to assert American jurisdiction over current or former Pakistani government officials would be a blatant “intrusion on [Pakistan’s] sovereignty, in violation of international law”. It appears that nobody has notified the US Department of State that the US routinely “intrudes on Pakistan’s sovereignty” several times a week by using unmanned Predator drones to bomb suspected Taliban militants operating on Pakistani soil. Washington also “intruded on Pakistan’s sovereignty” on May 2, 2011, when it clandestinely sent troops to the town of Abbottabad to kill al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. Reacting to the US position, the Indian government expressed “extreme and serious disappointment” on Thursday, arguing that “It cannot be that any organization, state or non-state, which sponsors terrorism, has immunity”. Indian media quoted Foreign Office spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin as saying that all those behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks “should be brought to justice irrespectiv e of the jurisdiction under which they may reside or be operating”.

[Return to headlines]

Far East

S. Korea Lights Christmas Tree at Northern Border

South Korean Christians have lit a Christmas tree-shaped tower near the tense border with North Korea, following their neighbor’s rocket launch. The move defies concerns about a violent response from Pyongyang.

Seoul’s Defense Ministry said that it allowed Christian groups to light the massive steel tower on Saturday, so that it would be clearly visible across the border. It’s to stay lit until January 2.

Dozens of church leaders and followers put up the giant display — featuring thousands of glittering light bulbs on a tree-shaped steel tower — near the heavily-fortified border on Saturday, a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

Pyongyang views the tower as propaganda warfare, though it has not yet responded to this year’s lighting.

The lighting came 10 days after North Korea placed a satellite into orbit aboard a long-range rocket. South Korea and the U.S. say the launch was a test of banned missile technology.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Vietnam’s Fragile Middle Class

A new middle class emerged for the first time in Vietnam in the 1990s. It has won a few freedoms, but remains fragile. Now, the global economic crisis threatens to undo the achievements.

“Supermarket, supermarket, supermarket” cries Mai Chi, the four-year-old daughter of Tuyen and Lien, as she bounces up and down on her parent’s bed. She can hardly wait to get going. Like many families in Vietnam’s new middle class, the Nguyens spend Sunday at the supermarket in Hanoi.

“Sunday is the only day the whole family can be together and do something,” says Tuyen. “I work 50 hours a week, and then there is the three-hour commute every day. So there is not much time. At the supermarket, children can play and parents can take care of some shopping.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Man Stabbed — Canley Vale

Police are investigating an incident where a man was stabbed with a broken bottle in Sydney’s southwest last night.

About 6pm (Saturday 22 December), the 58-year-old man had taken his son to Endeavour Reserve to ride his bicycle.

The pair was approached by three teenage males, one of whom was armed with a broken bottle.

When the teenagers asked to borrow the boy’s bike, the father refused and told his 12-year-old boy to ride home.

The father was then chased by the teenagers before being confronted in the front yard of a house on Prince Street.

The man was stabbed in the elbow and back with the broken bottle. The three teenagers then ran from the scene.

Police established a crime scene and the man was taken to Liverpool Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators have been given only limited descriptions of the males involved, with all three having a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean appearance and aged around 15 years.

Anyone who can assist the investigation is urged to contact Cabramatta Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

           — Hat tip: Salome[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Crew Freed From Somali Pirates After Three Years

A crew of 22 sailors held for almost three years by Somali pirates have been freed after a two-week-long siege by maritime police. Authorities in Somalia’s breakaway region of Puntland organized the rescue.

Authorities in Somalia’s semiautonomous Puntland region have said their forces rescued 22 hostages who had been held captive for nearly three years after raiding the hijacked ship.

Maritime police laid siege to the ship on December 10 near the coastal village of Gara’ad in the region of Mudug.

A statement from the Puntland government said Saturday their forces captured the Panama-flagged MV Iceberg 1 which was docked near the Gara’ad coastal village in Mudung region.

The rescued crew were from the Philippines, India, Yemen, Sudan, Ghana and Pakistan.

They were held for longer than any other hostages of the pirates according to the president’s office of Puntland in a statement. The ship was hijacked March 29, 2010.

“After 2 years and 9 months in captivity, the hostages have suffered signs of physical torture and illness. The hostages are now receiving nutrition and medical care,” said the statement.

The ship originally had a crew of 24, but two had died since the cargo vessel was seized.

Close to 120 hostages are still held by Somali pirates, however this number is considerably lower than in previous years due to higher security at sea and on ships.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

UN Helicopter Shot Down in South Sudan

A UN peacekeeping helicopter on reconnaissance mission in South Sudan was shot down by the South Sudanese army, killing all four crew members.

Deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey said the South Sudanese military had admitted to the UN mission in the country that it had hit the MI-8 helicopter. No reasons for the incident were immediately given. The helicopter was on a “reconnaissance flight” in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state when it was attacked, the spokesman added…

           — Hat tip: JP[Return to headlines]

Latin America

Argentina: Bringing Bikes to the Streets of Buenos Aires

Three million commuters drive through the streets of Buenos Aires each day, turning it into a traffic inferno. But one devoted cyclist believes he can get half the city’s motorists out of their cars and onto bikes.

Mati Kalwill is energetic and outgoing. When strangers ask him about his colourful folding bicycle, he spends a lot of time chatting and laughing with them. The 31 year-old Argentinian is the founder of “La vida en bici”, which means ‘life on a bicycle’ and he has devoted himself to transportation activism.

Kalwill only spends his money in businesses that have bike-friendly policies. Today he’s drinking coffee at a café that gives free lemonade to cyclists. He arrived, of course, on his bike. The activist has 18 two-wheelers in total.

Kalwill’s love of bicycles started when he was seventeen years old. He rode his bike to school each day and thought it was so much fun, that he and his friends started to organize bike-themed parties.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


‘Foreign Infiltration is a Myth’

In his book “The Myth of the Muslim Tide,” Doug Saunders puts theories from critics of immigration under the microscope. He talked to DW about extremism, xenophobia and successful integration.

DW: Mr. Saunders, prominent public figures such as Thilo Sarrazin in Germany and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands have indicated they believe that the West is being overrun with Muslims — at least demographically. Is that true?

The visual impression that they’re swamping us with children — I think the facts contradict that. I hired a research team, people who are not partisans and weren’t activists, but who are good scholars, who know demographics, who know radicalism, who know the history of integration.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the largest Muslim countries, in Iran, in Bangladesh, in Pakistan, doing various forms of journalism and research into migration and urbanization. And first of all, we know that they have the fastest falling reproduction rates in the world. Bangladesh now has a population growth rate falling very quickly toward a European level very quickly. Turkey is very similar.

In Europe and North America, Muslims are not the largest group of immigrants at all. And among immigrants, what we’re seeing is the pattern that poor religious minorities always follow, which is that the very first generation that arrives tends to have a bunch of children after they arrive. And then the European-born second generation has considerably fewer children and by the third generation they pretty much have exactly the same size families as the people around them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Online Translation Breaks Language Barriers

Google and other free translation services on the net enable users to access text in any language, and translation quality ranges from impressive to unintelligible. But it’s improving due to better data and algorithms.

The Internet connects the world, but most people are walled off from each other by language barriers.

So free online machine translators like Google Translate, Microsoft’s Bing and Systran are a godsend.

More than 200 million global users click onto Google Translate alone every month, according to Franz Josef Och, who heads the search engine’s machine translation group.

“Most of the translation on the planet is now done by Google Translate,” he wrote on the company’s blog earlier this year.

Still, Och has no illusions about the challenges of producing readable machine-translated text.

He believes that there’s a lot of work to be done.

“If the webpage is in French and you don’t speak French, the (machine) translation is not as pleasant as a human translation, but you can understand it,” he told DW.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]