Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20121227

Financial Crisis
»Egypt: S&P Downgrades 3 Major Banks, From B- To C
»Italy: Spread Down to 315 After Good Bond Auctions
»More Tax on Wealth: Less on Employment and Enterprise
»Purchasing Power of Italian Families Dropped by 4% in 2012
»UK: Feeling Poor? Who Took All Your Money? Not Capitalist Bastards?
»E.P.A. Chief to Step Down
»Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Commander in Persian Gulf War, Dies at 78
»Local Authorities Cave to USDOJ, Approve Norwalk, Connecticut Mega-Mosque
»The 10 Most ‘Ridiculous’ Lawsuits of 2012
Europe and the EU
»Foreign Aid: EU Money Only Benefits the Corrupt
»France: Clashes Over Mont-Saint-Michel Embankment
»Italy: Two Public Health Officials Arrested for Taking Bribe
»Italy: Monti, Berlusconi on Collision Course, Says Financial Times
»Italy: Priest Calls Women to ‘Self-Examination’ For Femicide
»Netherlands: Number of Sexually Exploited Girls Underestimated, Says Official Report
»Swiss Mull Slashing ‘Fat-Cat’ Salaries
»The Press in Europe (1/5): El País: Delusions of Grandeur
»The Sniffer Dog and the Money Mules
»Up to 70,000 British Jobs ‘Are at Risk From Brussels Climate Change Law’
»Vatican Daily Osservatore Romano Endorses Monti
»Wilders to Step Up International Anti-Islam Campaign
North Africa
»Egypt: Salafist El Nour Party Will Not Abort Beach Tourism
»Egypt’s Islamists Still Have the Upper Hand
Israel and the Palestinians
»Hamas Holds Rallies in Judea and Samaria: Raising Security Concerns in Knesset Elections
»Israel Putting Up New Barrier in Golan Heights
Middle East
»Iran’s Only Female Cabinet Minister Dismissed
»Why is America Midwiving a Muslim Brotherhood-Ruled Syria?
»New India-Russia Billion-Dollar Arms Deals Signed
»Putin Says He Will Sign Bill Banning Americans From Adopting Russian Children
»Russian Anti-Putin Blogger Navalny Accused of Fraud
Far East
»Chinese Satellite Navigation System to Compete With GPS
»Korean Unification May Cost South 7% of GDP: Finance Ministry
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Jacob Zuma Says Owning a Dog ‘Is Not African’
»South Africa’s Jacob Zuma in Dog Ownership Row
»Italy: Human-Trafficking Charges Brought Against Moroccan Women
»Pope Says Attitude Toward Migrants is Main Moral Question
»Switzerland: Top Businessman Calls for Immigrant Quotas
Culture Wars
»Denmark: Govt. Wants to Rename Christianity Studies
»Facebook Purges Pro-Gun Accounts
»Customized Mass Production Using 3D

Financial Crisis

Egypt: S&P Downgrades 3 Major Banks, From B- To C

Downgrade subsequent to Egypt’s slide from B to B-

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, DECEMBER 27 — Standard & Poor’s has lowered the credit rating of three of Egypt’s most important banks from B- to C. The agency feels that the number of state bonds held by the two publicly-owned banks, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Banque Misr (BM), and one private one, the Commercial International Bank (CIB), results in a higher risk level. Earlier this week S&P lowered Egypt’s rating from B to B- “due to the political tensions” dividing the country over the past few weeks. “The downgrade of NBE, BM and CIB reflects the negative outlook expressed on Egypt,” according to statement released by the agency, raising serious concerns over the country’s solvency. Over the past two years, notes Al Ahram Online, the Egyptian government has borrowed huge amounts of money from the domestic market in order to cover the immense deficit that, according to the latest outlook, is likely to top in at around 33 billion dollars by the end of the 2012/14 fiscal year (12% of the country’s economic output). In the eyes of S&P, things will only get worse. “From our standpoint, the political and social tensions in Egypt are growing at a constant rate and will remain high at least over the medium term.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Spread Down to 315 After Good Bond Auctions

Yield 4.52%

(ANSA) — Rome, December 27 — The bellwether spread between Italian and German 10-year bonds edged down to 315 points Thursday after two good auctions of short-term State paper.

The yield on Italian 10-year bonds fell to 4.52%.

In the first auction, the Treasury had no problem offloading 8.4 billion euros’ worth of six-month bonds, although the yield edged up to 0.949% from 0.919% at the last such auction on November 28.

In the second, the Treasury sold 3.25 billion euros’ worth of CTZs and the yield fell to 0.884% from 1.923% on November 27.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

More Tax on Wealth: Less on Employment and Enterprise

Aim is to reduce overall tax levy while safeguarding weaker groups and middle class

The slim document — just twenty-five pages — went online late yesterday on a dedicated site: Inside is a list of policy actions, some to be implemented in the first hundred days of the next government. As many have observed, the agenda presents a clutch of macro-economic data that constitute a litmus test indicating Italy’s current situation and lay down the boundaries within which the upcoming executive will have to act: structural budget balancing (written into the Italian constitution) and reducing public debt by one twentieth every year (currently debt is more than 120% of GDP) to move towards compliance with the UE wishlist, enshrined in the Fiscal Compact.

INTRODUCTION — The document gets straight to the point, perfectly mirroring the character of its author. The observation “as soon as general conditions permit” recalls the anthropological distance that separates Mr Monti from the crowd-pleasing smoke and mirrors of the professional political hype merchants who promise much and deliver little. The call for a commitment “to reduce the overall tax levy giving priority to labour and business” indicates an effective passage to Stage Two, the one the premier failed to implement because of parliamentary resistance and the brevity of his tenure at the helm.

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS — The text reflects Mr Monti’s high regard for the enormous sacrifices made by Italians to get the country back on track: “This year’s tax adjustment, made at the cost of such sacrifice by Italians, marked a turning point. With the primary surplus achieved, debt is on a path of steady reduction from next year. This means that if the roadmap is adhered to, it will be possible to reduce taxes”. The document says: “In the upcoming legislature, commitment to reducing the tax levy on labour and business will be required. This will involve transferring the relevant burden onto significant wealth and onto consumption that does not impact the weak or the middle class”. What follows is a possible gradual reduction of the tax wedge on workers and businesses, which could perhaps be effected through a hard-to-implement wealth tax at the — huge — risk of capital flight abroad…

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

Purchasing Power of Italian Families Dropped by 4% in 2012

Consumer group warns households face rising costs ahead

(ANSA) — Rome, December 27 — Italian families saw their purchasing power drop by 4% while prices rose in 2012, a consumer group warned Thursday.

And there is little chance of improvement in 2013, added Codacons, using data collected by the national statistical agency Istat.

“The economic situation is extremely bad,” said the consumer group.

It blamed new and increasing taxes, higher retail prices and frozen salaries for a significant fall in their purchasing power in the year now ending.

For the average family, purchasing power fell by 4% or about 1,398 euros for a family of three, or 1,540 euros for four people.

“This is a real blow, worse than in 2009, the black year of the economic crisis,” said Codacons president Carlo Rienzi.

All this suggests there is little hope for an economic recovery in 2013, he added.

Consumer groups also warned Thursday that Italian households will see their expenses rise by a whopping 1,500 euros each in 2013.

Hikes in train tickets, car insurance, household bills, bank and postal charges, waste-disposal levies and the new IMU property tax will be “unsustainable” for the countless households already struggling to make ends meet, said Adusbef and Federconsumatori.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Feeling Poor? Who Took All Your Money? Not Capitalist Bastards?

Actually it was nurses and firemen and teachers

Comment Lies, damned lies and statistics: we all know the saying, but you’d be surprised just how many of these “facts” manage to enter the national consciousness, emerging as Guardian headlines and stories on Radio 4’s Today.

Allow me to tiptoe through the process as to how this happens.

Let’s start with this lovely little chart:…

[Return to headlines]


E.P.A. Chief to Step Down

Lisa P. Jackson is stepping down as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency after a four-year tenure that began with high hopes of sweeping action to address climate change and other environmental ills but ended with a series of rear-guard actions to defend the agency against challenges from industry, Republicans in Congress and, at times, the Obama White House.

[Return to headlines]

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Commander in Persian Gulf War, Dies at 78

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the American-led forces that crushed Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf war and became the nation’s most acclaimed military hero since the midcentury exploits of Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur, died on Thursday in Tampa, Fla. He was 78.

[Return to headlines]

Local Authorities Cave to USDOJ, Approve Norwalk, Connecticut Mega-Mosque

As night follows day we have the latest example of the Mega-Mosque campaign backed by US Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the US Department of Justice. As noted by Ryan Mauro in a Radical article, “DOJ Forces Mega-Mosque on Norwalk, CT Community”, the local protesters alleged traffic and safety issues, as well as an 80 foot minaret dominating the 27,000 square foot $3.5 million, Al-Madany Islamic Center complex. This Connecticut Long Island Sound community is located within commuting distance of New York. The Islamic Center has less than 100 family members. The new structure would have capacity for 1,000. The playbook takes a leaf out of what happened with the Murfreesboro Mosque that we have chronicilled . It is the same modus operandi. Small Islamic center acquires land makes filing to build large complex, locals squawk about size, adjacent traffic and safety issues, Mosque leaders complain to their protectors at the USDOJ civil rights division about Islamophobia and USDOJ steps in threatening suit on grounds of denial of freedom to worship and protections under the arcane Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), see here. With an 80 foot minaret, the local protesters might have inveighed Connecticut and EPA noise pollution standards, assuming they exist, with muezzin calls several times day. But no matter. As in the instances of Murfreesboro, Temecula California and Brookfield, Wisconsin Mega- Mosques , among a dozen or more Mega-Mosques popping up across America, local planning commissions kowtow to Federal lawyers waiving warnings about violation of First Amendment freedom to worship and the RLUIPA exemptions.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

The 10 Most ‘Ridiculous’ Lawsuits of 2012

Yes, there was a Dallas Cowboys fan who sued the team over a “hot bench,” and a woman who wanted $5 million for leftover gas. These and more are the winners in the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2012, released Thursday and based on a year’s worth of online votes.

“Abuse of our legal system is no joke, and these examples range from the outrageous to the absurd,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of the organization. “This poll reminds us that as a society, we sue too much. In turn, these abusive lawsuits inflict harm on lives, jobs, and our economic growth.”

And the top 10 are:

  • An intoxicated Florida driver pleads guilty to manslaughter, then sues the victim.
  • A Michigan woman files a $5 million suit for the leftover gas still in her repossessed car.
  • A 13-year-old Little Leaguer is sued by spectator who got hit with a baseball.
  • A maximum-security inmate who went to jail with five teeth sues the prison for dental problems.
  • Anheuser-Busch is sued when a long-neck bottle is used as a weapon in a bar fight.
  • A National Football League fan sues the Dallas Cowboys over a hot bench.
  • A California restaurateur is sued for disabilities act violations in a parking lot he doesn’t own.
  • A Colorado man wins $7 million blaming his illness on inhaling microwave popcorn fumes.
  • A $1.7 billion suit claims the city of Santa Monica, Calif.’s wireless parking meters cause health problems.
  • San Francisco Bay Area parents sue a school after their son was kicked out of an honors class for cheating.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Foreign Aid: EU Money Only Benefits the Corrupt

De Standaard Brussels

According to the European Court of Auditors, it’s almost impossible to check how EU aid money is spent by developing countries. As a major EU aid fraud scandal hits Uganda, commentators in Kampala wonder why European donors continue to funnel cash into a corrupt country.

Mark Schenkel

Timothy Kalyegira has a simple piece of advice for his government: steal as much aid money as possible. If European countries “have nothing better to do with their taxpayers’ money than give it to a government with a proven track record of corruption,” then it is “only logical” that corrupt government officials will spend the money on houses and expensive cars.

Timothy Kalyegira is a well-known political commentator in Uganda. He regularly voices his opinion in the independent newspaper Daily Monitor. Kalyegira’s sarcastic comment is a reaction to one of the larger scandals concerning aid in his country.

The European Union, Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Germany have suspended €225 million in aid to Uganda. Donor countries are responding to the theft of at least €10 million that was intended for northern Uganda, an area that is recovering from armed conflict. They demand that those funds are recovered before they resume their aid programme.

Citizens sleeping on the streets

Commentators, journalists and newspaper readers in Uganda have retorted with scorn, ridicule and disbelief. Of course, primary responsibility lies with the Ugandan government officials who have pocketed the money, but are the European countries not also partly to blame? They continue giving to a government that has, all too often, proven its inclination to steal donor funds. “Somehow, though,” says Kalyegira, the European governments plagued by recession would “rather see their own citizens sleep on the streets and starting to get their meals from soup kitchens,” than see Africans get by without western aid…

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

France: Clashes Over Mont-Saint-Michel Embankment

Beauty vs. safety, conservationists vs. government

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, DECEMBER 27 — UNESCO World Heritage site Mont-Saint-Michel will be an island once more by 2015, but conservationists and the government are clashing over the height of the embankment that is to connect it to the mainland.

The Society for the Preservation of French Landscapes and Esthetics (SPPEF) and the Friends of Mont-Saint-Michel say the structure must be no more than 6.80 meters high, or the historic and esthetic integrity of the island will be violated. The government says the embankment has to be at least 7.30 meters high to allow firefighters and other emergency rescue services access to the island 365 days a year. The conservationists have called on UNESCO to block the government’s plan, sacrificing safety in the name of esthetics.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Two Public Health Officials Arrested for Taking Bribe

An envelope containing hundreds of euros found as they leave bar

(ANSA) — Milan, December 24 — Italian finance police arrested two public health officials in Lodi, near Milan, for taking a bribe from a local cafe-bar on Monday.

The public health officials, employed by ASL — which has a food hygiene and nutrition division — were arrested as they left the bar. An envelope containing several hundred euros worth of 50 euro bills was found on one of the officials.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Monti, Berlusconi on Collision Course, Says Financial Times

Bersani ‘will bid to balance EU fiscal discipline with growth’

(ANSA) — Rome, December 27 — Centrist politicians in Italy are “rallying behind” Premier Mario Monti’s offer to lead an alliance into February elections, Britain’s respected Financial Times newspaper reported Thursday.

And that, it says, is setting the stage for a confrontation between Monti and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi in his attempt to return to power.

The newspaper, quoting political sources, says that Monti, who was appointed technocrat premier 13 months ago, was scheduled to meet with prospective coalition partners on Thursday to discuss strategy and candidate lists.

Monti, who is already assured a seat in parliament as a life senator, published a 25-page political manifesto on the Internet during the Christmas holidays.

It has drawn endorsements from a civic movement led by Ferrari chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and small centrist parties, including Pier Ferdinando Casini’s Catholic UDC, says the newspaper.

A few other politicians from mainstream parties have also backed Monti, who is expected to be joined by several of his cabinet colleagues including Corrado Passera, his industry minister.

The Financial Times is also watching Democratic Party chief Pier Luigi Bersani closely for clues about what kind of government he might form after the elections on February 24-25.

In recent articles, it describes Bersani, who leads the main centre-left party, as the front runner in the campaign.

And it quotes Bersani as saying he would be willing to give more power to Brussels over Italian government spending in exchange for greater freedom from the European Union to give key Italian economic sectors a boost.

“I am ready to discuss — if it will be my turn to run the country — how to strengthen the mechanism of fiscal discipline to monitor national budgets in exchange for new policies aimed at stimulating the economy,” Bersani told the Financial Times.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Priest Calls Women to ‘Self-Examination’ For Femicide

‘How often do they provoke?’ asks flyer posted in church

(ANSA) — Turin, December 26 — A flyer displayed on a church bulletin board by a priest in the northern region of Liguria, and then subsequently posted on the social network Facebook by outraged members of the congregation, has caused an uproar for allegedly “encouraging” violence against women.

The priest from the San Terenzo church in the town of Lerici, father Piero Corsi, entitled the leaflet “Women and femicide — healthy self-criticism. How often do they provoke?”.

The lengthy discussion written by Corsi asks if men are just “randomly crazy, or are they pushed?”.

“The fact is that women are increasingly the cause…and end up exacerbating tensions by leaving children to themselves, keep dirty houses, put cold dishes on the table, buy fast food and provide filthy clothes. So if a family goes to the dogs and is pushed to crime (violence must be condemned and punished firmly) often the responsibilities are shared”. The bulletin also examines sexual violence against women, noting that women and girls often “go around dressed provocatively”.

Maria Gabriella Carnieri Moscatelli, president of the Italian emergency hotline Telefono Rosa said on Wednesday that the flyer was a “true instigation to violence against women” and called for both Premier Mario Monti and Pope Benedict XVI to speak out against the message.

According to the association, sexual violence causes more fatalities among women in Italy than cancer and is most often committed by a spouse or former partner.

“Italy has the highest percent of femicide in Europe…a message like this (by Corsi) is unacceptable,” Moscatelli said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Number of Sexually Exploited Girls Underestimated, Says Official Report

The number of under-age girls forced into prostitution has been underestimated, according to a new independent report due out later on Monday, Nos television reports.

Last year, some 195 out of the 1,200 officially-registered victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking were under age, the report’s author Corinne Dettmeijer told the broadcaster.

But this is an underestimation because youth social workers and other organisations fail to report all cases to CoMensha, which collates cases, Dettmeijer’s report into the trafficking and sexual violence against children says.


In addition, Dettmeijer expects that many young victims — those aged 18 to 23 — were also forced into prostitution when they were minors.

Some 60% of under-age prostitutes have Dutch nationality and are often the victims of sweet-talking young pimps, known as loverboys in the Netherlands, Dettmeijer said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swiss Mull Slashing ‘Fat-Cat’ Salaries

Attention all high-flying executives in Switzerland: go ahead and splurge on diamonds, fine art and vintage champagne this holiday season because next year you may be tightening your belts.

The Swiss will vote on an initiative in March that could put an end to the big pay hikes of top managers at publicly-listed companies in the country.

If the “rip-off salary” initiative is approved, shareholders would have an annual binding vote on the total compensation of a company’s board of directors and management. Executives would also bid adieu to other perks like compensation paid in advance or golden parachute rewards upon departure.

Executive compensation has become a topic of heated discussion and ample hand wringing around the world since the financial meltdown of 2008. A “yes” to the initiative would instantly thrust Switzerland into the international spotlight as one of a handful of countries taking concrete steps to rein in rocketing executive pay.

“This is not a Swiss issue,” Thomas Minder, a small businessman in Schaffhausen and a senator, tells The Local. “All over the world, there’s the same discussion.”

It hasn’t been easy getting to this point. Minder embarked on his odyssey to change executive pay when he handed in his initiative nearly five years ago. He blames the delay on intense lobbying by pro-business groups and a drawn-out political debate in the capital of Bern.

The current executive pay system is rotten, Minder says. To start with, he says, the salaries of top managers have increased dramatically and don’t necessarily reflect the performance of their companies.

Top executives at companies such as drug maker Novartis and the big banks UBS and Credit Suisse have come under fire in recent years for multi-million-franc pay-outs to their top leaders. Minder believes it’s time that executives are paid according to their performance, whether measured by profits or share price.

Big pay packets should not be a given every year, he says. “Not one (publicly-traded) company, not in Switzerland, not in the world, knows a minus,” Minder says. “I wouldn’t have launched the initiative if there would be a minus system in compensation.”

Payments granted to executives before they start work, along with severance payments awarded to departing managers, also stoke Minder’s ire. “There is no meaning or no explanation why a guy getting kicked out should get a golden parachute.”

Many of his fellow Swiss citizens are also fed up with soaring executive pay. According to a GfS Bern poll in May, 77 per cent of people questioned said they were definitely or somewhat for the initiative.

Although Switzerland is clearly prosperous, those making up its large middle class are increasingly unhappy and uncertain, according to a recent study from the Avenir Suisse think tank. The study points to a source of their discontent: income gains among the highest earners have outpaced those of the middle class during the past two decades.

The “winner takes it all” mentality has left the middle class feeling like they’re falling behind, the report said. Still, not everyone thinks Minder’s initiative is a wise idea.

Business lobby group Economiesuisse says there are isolated excesses. But in general, the pay ratio between executives and employees in Switzerland is smaller than in other countries, Meinrad Vetter, the group’s head of regulatory affairs and competition, tells The Local.

He acknowledges that salaries for top managers have increased in recent years thanks to globalization and the subsequent “internationalization of management.” Higher salaries in Anglo-Saxon countries put pressure on compensation in other parts of the world, he says.

Vetter says a better solution would be parliament’s counter proposal, supported by Economiesuisse, among other organizations. This proposal would let shareholders decide for themselves if they want to have a binding vote on executive pay.

Vetter worries that the rip-off initiative, if passed, could damage Switzerland’s attractiveness as a good place to do business for firms around the world. The increased bureaucracy could make companies think twice about coming, he says.

“It’s the wrong solution,” Vetter says. “It threatens the success of the Swiss export model and gambles with Swiss jobs.”Some heads of Swiss companies, including Nestlé chief executive officer Paul Bulcke and Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez, have spoken out against the initiative and warned about the long-term consequences for the Swiss economy.

The initiative isn’t yet on the radar of executives who talk to Guy de Brabois, country manager at recruitment firm Robert Walters in Zurich. The fallout would be limited, as only Swiss-listed companies would be affected and there would be no actual cap on executive salaries, he tells The Local. “I see it more as a corporate governance rule…than a real intention to push salaries down.”

Minder insists, perhaps optimistically, that the initiative will serve as proof to the business world that their money is safe in Switzerland.

Besides, the Swiss won’t be the first, as he points out: Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands all have binding votes on shareholder pay, and the European Union is reportedly drawing up similar plans…

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

The Press in Europe (1/5): El País: Delusions of Grandeur

Mediapart Paris

A success story of the transition to democracy and a showcase for Spanish journalism, today the left-wing daily is struggling to cope with huge losses, which have even affected its editorial line — a crisis exacerbated by the newspaper’s managers who have refused to take responsibility for their actions. Excerpts.

Ludovic Lamant

When Juan Luis Cebrian, the all-powerful boss of El País, outlined the main elements of a restructuring plan to his staff in October, he justified himself with an argument that brooks no contradiction: the newspaper, which is the leading daily in Spain, could no longer “continue to live so well” with too many overpaid journalists.

His reasoning was reminiscent of conservative government leader Mariano Rajoy’s message to the Spanish people, who, with every new austerity plan, assumes a contrite air and announces that the country can no longer afford “to live beyond its means”.

Is what is happening at El País emblematic of the economic stagnation in the rest of the country? The crisis which has struck the jewel of the Spanish-speaking press, owned by the PRISA media group, has much in common with the collapse of the country.

Record-breaking indebtedness caused by colossal investments, control in the hands of magnates from the world of finance, little or no concern for the interests of the press, bosses on multi-million euro salaries, summary layoffs which may prove to be counterproductive; “It is a metaphor for what Spain is experiencing today,” remarks Miguel Mora, the newspaper’s Paris correspondent.

Some 129 journalists have now been shown the door. That is close to a third of a total workforce of 466 employees, and the list of those who have been let go includes some of the major names associated with the newspaper. Four local editions of El País (including the Valencian and Andalucian editions) are to be closed down, while the journalists who have escaped the restructuring plan are to have their salaries cut by 15 per cent.

Union fury

The announcement of the “ERE” (a Spanish acronym for a restructuring) prompted a number of violent shocks within the company. For three days in November, virtually all of the staff went on strike, and the newspaper, which is the sole centre-left daily in Spain, had to make do with publishing news agency reports. And the struggle between Cebrian and the committee of journalists formed in response to the restructuring is not over yet…

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

The Sniffer Dog and the Money Mules

Amateur money traffickers on Italian-Swiss border

COMO — The classic hiding place is a lined belt, used mainly by those crossing the border on foot or by train. Some prefer body belts with ultra-thin pockets that swallow up €500 notes. Female mules tuck the cash into their bra or pants, perhaps thinking that financial police will refrain from making intimate searches. But they are wrong. Many of the customs officers are female and the smugglers also fail to reckon with Tango, a money-sniffing Labrador who never misses a banknote.

Housewives, business people, pensioners, shopkeepers and office workers make up the army of amateur mules who take currency into, but also out of, Switzerland, defying financial police controls without recourse to the cars with hidden compartments used by their professional counterparts. Money trafficking is taking on growing proportions. In the past twelve months, financial police officers at the Ponte Chiasso border crossing have gone into action 650 times, intercepting €54.4 million in banknotes (€13 million) and bearer bonds (€42.4 million), and issuing on-the-spot fines for €500,000.

Lieutenant Colonel Alessandro Luchini, commander of the financial police’s Gruppo Ponte Chiasso, points out that “People think that most of the money is going into Switzerland. But that’s not the case. Fifty per cent of the money intercepted is coming into Italy and this year there has been an increase in the overall amount”. On Tuesday alone, officers winkled out €400,000, without the assistance of Tango, who had the day off.

The first victim was a lady from Siena who withdrew €36,000 from a bank in Lugano and hopped onto the Milan train. She was stopped by financial police at the border, where checks brought to light the banknotes that were hidden in her belt. Officers issued her with an on-the-spot fine of €3,900. A few hours later, a mum and her two kids attempted to drive into Italy at Ponte Chiasso. The trio had split among them the €30,000 they had withdrawn from a bank a few metres into Switzerland, convinced that they were in the clear (the limit is €9,999 per person). While customs officials were writing up the fine, plainclothes officers stopped a 45-year-old commercial graphic designer from Brescia who was driving across the border without declaring the €20,000 he had tucked away in his jacket. He had to cough up a €500 fine.

After lunch, a 60-year-old pharmacist from Molise stepped onto the train bound for Italy with €80,430 in large-denomination banknotes crammed into her pants, jacket and bra. “I need the money to pay my taxes in Italy”, she told officers. Then in the evening, officers pulled off the day’s coup. They stopped an Alfa Romeo Giulietta at the Brogeda crossing. At the wheel was a Denmark-based Australian financial adviser whose case contained a carefully folded pair of jeans with €270,500 in undeclared notes. Officers made a precautionary seizure of €130,000 on the spot until the ministry decides what penalty to impose.

Luigi Corvi

20 dicembre 2012 | 13:02

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

Up to 70,000 British Jobs ‘Are at Risk From Brussels Climate Change Law’

Up to 70,000 British jobs are at risk as a direct result of European carbon reduction targets, according to a report.

The policies have pushed up the cost of energy, threatening the vital mineral industries which deal in materials such as cement, chemicals, glass, ceramics and steel, the study claims.

It says the aluminium industry has been ‘virtually eradicated’ after closures in Anglesey and Northumberland, and blames policies which penalise ‘energy-intensive’ industries for emitting too much carbon dioxide.

As a result, firms in such industries, which employ 70,000 people, could be driven abroad where there are less stringent targets, costing jobs on our shores with no overall environmental benefits.

The study by think-tank Civitas claims the only way to save the £400billion-a-year industry is to scrap plans to fine firms which produce too much carbon dioxide.

Ministers should exempt such companies from the climate change levy — a tax on industries which do not use renewable energy — to the maximum extent permitted under EU directives.

And it says the Coalition should abandon its ‘unachievable’ target of generating 20 per cent of electricity by renewable methods by 2020 — the most far-reaching target in the EU.

[Return to headlines]

Vatican Daily Osservatore Romano Endorses Monti

Church appeals ‘to restore noble’ sense of politics

(ANSA) — Rome, December 27 — The Vatican’s daily on Thursday backed caretaker premier Mario Monti’s bid for a second term at the helm of a centrist Catholic coalition. L’Osservatore Romano said Monti had launched “an appeal to restore the highest and most noble sense of politics which is still, also etymologically, care of the common good”. Italian media has commented that the daily paper’s backing is practically a papal endorsement for Monti and a turn away from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi whose relationship with the Vatican was damaged by an alleged affair with the Moroccan-born belly dancer ‘Ruby’ whom his is reported to have paid for sex when she was 17. The Vatican has said it is “troubled” by the affair, dubbed Rubygate, and the Osservatore Romano wrote last January that it “caused a dent in Italy’s image that will be hard to repair”.

Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas greeting Tuesday urged Italian voters to keep high values in mind when making choices. The Vatican continues to hold significant sway in Italian politics.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Wilders to Step Up International Anti-Islam Campaign

PVV leader Geert Wilders is to step up his campaign against Islam in 2013, the parliamentarian told Nos television in an interview.

The fight against Islam is a mission for life, Wilders told the broadcaster.

Wilders said he would step up his fight against ‘the biggest sickness’ the Netherlands has had at home and internationally, ‘from Australia to America, from Switzerland to wherever.’

Wilders also again renewed his statement that the Netherlands has a ‘Moroccan problem’. It is Moroccan racism that they rarely rob each other, Wilders said.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egypt: Salafist El Nour Party Will Not Abort Beach Tourism

Minister, 10.5 million visitors till November, up 17.4 than 2011

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, December 27 — Salafist El-Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakar denied the party will seek to abort beach tourism in the country, MENA reports. “Beach tourism is a major part of the country’s whole tourism industry, “ Bakar said. “No official can halt an active and important industry like tourism.” Tourism accounted for 10 per cent of Egypt’s economic activity during the final years of the Mubarak era. Egypt’s tourism minister said 10.5 million tourists visited Egypt till end of November of 2012, up 17.4 percent than 2011, injecting 9.37 billion dollars into the economy. According to MENA, Hisham Zazou said there is still a demand on the Egyptian tourist destination but certain measures should be adopted to develop tourism industry. Zazou made the remarks during a meeting with the Egyptian Tourism Federation late on Wednesday that was followed by a national dialogue with political parties in Egypt. He said 25 percent of occupancy in different tourist destinations were lost over the latest political developments in Egypt prompted by the constitutional declaration and the referendum on the new constitution that were met by angry protests and clashes that left some protesters dead. Though December is traditionally considered the start of Egypt’s peak season, many foreigners preferred to stay away because of the televised scenes of protests and clashes on the streets of Cairo in the battle over a controversial constitution. Zazou made clear that services offered to tourists and their quality should not be affected by low prices given to them to encourage them come to Egypt, calling on all staffers in the tourism sector to coordinate with travel agencies to reach suitable price compatible with excellent services they offer. Security, high unemployment rate and declining investments are the most important challenges to tourism sector, he said. He called for improving security, launching many campaigns to promote for Egyptian tourism abroad and facilitating visa procedures for tourists.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Egypt’s Islamists Still Have the Upper Hand

The Islamist-dominated Shura Council received the authority to legislate in Egypt until a new lower house of parliament is elected. For lack of other legal means, the opposition pins its hopes on upcoming elections.

Egyptian journalist Ahmed Esmat said the mood among Egyptians was “calm on the surface, but it’s boiling underneath.” But there could be mass demonstrations again soon, he told DW. “It all depends on the Shura Council’s decisions.”

The Shura Council is Egypt’s upper house of parliament. Two-thirds of its 270 members are elected, the others were appointed by President Mohammed Morsi. According to the new constitution signed into law by Morsi on Tuesday (25.12.2012), the Islamist-dominated body is to legislate in Egypt until a new lower house is elected in about two months’ time. Official reports say about 64 percent of the Egyptian electorate voted in favor of the constitution. Voter turnout was a mere 33 percent.

Officially, at least, Morsi has lost part of his power. Following the dissolution of the lower house in the summer by a court order, he had assumed the legislative tasks now delegated to the Shura Council. Esmat said he was convinced the body dominated by Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood will maintain Morsi’s course.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Hamas Holds Rallies in Judea and Samaria: Raising Security Concerns in Knesset Elections

While the PA security is monitoring these rallies, doubtless Israel’s security services may be concerned about rising support in the disputed territories for Hamas and its charter that seeks destruction of the Jewish state. Israel also has to be concerned about the homegrown version of Hamas, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement whose leader, Sheik Raed Salah has called for the establishment of a mini-Caliphate in Jerusalem. What may also concern Israel is whether the PLO-Fatah/ Hamas marriage of convenience might foster the eruption of possible Third Intifada in the disputed territories. [. . .] The emerging conservative shift may also be reflected in Israeli PM Netanyahu’s campaign message emphasizing dealing with Iran, and the Islamic Republic’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. That campaign message focuses on Israel’s “long arm” reach preventing achievement of Iran’s nuclear weapons program possibly crossing red lines of nuclear enrichment in 2013. So far, the Iranian Islamic Republic has not been deflected by US and EU sanctions, or P5+1 negotiations. This despite reports that Iran’s economy may be in meltdown. This come amidst new reports of another Stuxnet malworm attack on Iran’s commercial oil and uranium processing facilities at Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf. As Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Washington, DC- based Foundation for Defense of Democracy, said on Fox News “Happening Now” yesterday, that US and Israeli resolve to counter Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons must be backed by a credible military option — watch here. That bolsters Netanyahu’s electoral campaign message of putting security first.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon[Return to headlines]

Israel Putting Up New Barrier in Golan Heights

Concerns over possible attacks from Syria

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV — Construction of a new barrier along the line of demarcation between the Golan Heights (occupied by Israel in 1967) and Syria has been stepped up, according to the Israeli commercial television station Channel 2. The barrier was rendered necessary after decades of calm by several border incidents over the past few months in the Golan Heights. The broadcaster noted that Israel is concerned that Islamic groups working in Syria to bring down Bashar Al-Assad’s regime might in future launch attacks also at Israeli objectives in the Golan Heights. The old border fences are being replaced by a much higher and more solid structure, similar to the one along the border between Israel and Egypt. So far, Channel 2 notes, four kilometres of the barrier have been completed near the Druze city Majdal Shams, the capital of the occupied Golan Heights.

Over the coming months another 54 kilometres will be put up between the zones of 54 Kuneitra (northern Golan) and Mevo Hama, in the south. “The situation is still calm,” Col. Tamir Heiman, military commander of the zone, told the broadcaster. “But we must be ready to deal with even the worst case scenario.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran’s Only Female Cabinet Minister Dismissed

Iran’s president has dismissed the only female minister in his cabinet. Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi was the first and only woman to have held a ministerial position in the Islamic Republic’s 34-year history.

According to Iranian state television, Ahmadinejad sacked his health minister on Thursday, after she called for the price of certain medicines to be hiked. Dastjerdi had proposed the hikes in response to the sharp depreciation of the Iranian currency, the rial, as a result of Western sanctions related to Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

The president, who has sought to downplay the economic effects of the sanctions, had fiercely opposed any price hikes. In a short statement he said he had appointed Mohammad Hassan Tariqat Monfared as interim head of the ministry.

Dastjerdi was appointed in 2009 as the only female government minister to have served since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Trained as a gynecologist, she became an advocate for women’s rights in Iran.

Last month she criticized authorities for failing to provide funds to import vital medicines. She said only a quarter of the $2.4 billion (1.8 billion euros) earmarked for medicine imports had been provided in the current year and there was a shortage of foreign currency for the shipments.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Why is America Midwiving a Muslim Brotherhood-Ruled Syria?

By Andrew G. Bostom

Following significant military [1] successes [2] and diplomatic [3] gains by Syria’s anti-Bashar Assad Sunni Muslim insurgency over recent weeks, Moscow, a key Assad regime ally, announced [2] Tuesday 12/18/12 its preparations for an evacuation of Russian citizens living in Syria.

While the Assad regime’s ruling Alawite minority sect retained a firm hold [2] on their indigenous base in the coastal Syrian provinces, the predominantly Sunni Muslim Syrian rebels have seized [2] the northern and eastern border zones, near Turkey and Iraq, respectively, and dominate [2] wide swathes of rural Syria. The continued rebel assault is even advancing on Assad’s seat of power, Damascus, near the western frontier of Lebanon, having just seized [2] the pro-Assad Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, on the southern edge of the Syrian capital.

By Wednesday, the rebels had reportedly [4] captured at least six towns in the central Hama governorate (Latamneh, Helfaya, Kfar Naboudah, Hasraya, Tibat al-Imn, and Kfar Zita), with skirmishes erupting in the city of Hama itself. As of Friday, the Sunni insurgents were besieging [5] Morek, an Alawite stronghold in Hama governorate, a province which contains dozens of Alawite and Christian villages among Sunni towns, igniting fears [5] of increased sectarian violence…

           — Hat tip: Andy Bostom[Return to headlines]


New India-Russia Billion-Dollar Arms Deals Signed

(AGI) New Delhi, Dec 24 — India and Russia have signed weapons and helicopter deals worth several billion dollars, further bolstering ties between the two countries.

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

Putin Says He Will Sign Bill Banning Americans From Adopting Russian Children

President Vladimir V. Putin said Thursday that he will sign into a law a ban on adoptions of Russian children by American citizens, retaliating against an American law that punishes Russians accused of violating human rights and dealing a potentially grave setback to bilateral relations.

[Return to headlines]

Russian Anti-Putin Blogger Navalny Accused of Fraud

(AGI) Moscow — The Russian lawyer and blogger Aleksei Navalny, a leading opposition figure, is facing his third set of criminal charges in five months.

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

Far East

Chinese Satellite Navigation System to Compete With GPS

China’s new Beidou satellite navigation system has started offering services to users across the Asia Pacific region. Beijing hopes the technology will eventually have the potential to compete with the US’ GPS.

China announced on Thursday it had started making services of its own Beidou satellite navigation system available to Asian users outside the country.

The network would offer services including positioning, navigation, time and text messaging to people in the Asia Pacific region, Beidou spokesman Ran Chengqi said during a press briefing.

Beijing expected the satnav system to generate a 400-billion-yuan (48-billion-euro, $63-billion) market for services to the transport, meteorology and telecommunications sectors.

In October of this year, China launched a sixth satellite in 2012 to join an already existing array of navigation technology forming the Beidou network. According to the Global Times newspaper, Beidou will eventually consist of over 30 satellites.

China’s own satnav system is expected to provide global services by 2020, but looks unlikely to completely replace the US’ Global Positioning System (GPS) in the country. Experts said there was a greater likelihood of both systems being used simultaneously.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Korean Unification May Cost South 7% of GDP: Finance Ministry

Unification of the two Koreas could cost the South up to 7 percent of annual GDP for a decade though the South would benefit in various ways such as cheap labour and the North’s resources, South Korea’s Finance Ministry said on Wednesday.

Korea has been divided since the end of World War Two and the Stalinist North and capitalist South have been fierce rivals since the 1950-53 Korean war.

But both Koreas see themselves as the rightful leaders of the Korean people and while there would appear to be no chance of unification in the immediate future, people in both Koreas harbour that hope.

The Finance Ministry said in a report on mid- to long-term policy-making strategy that if the two Koreas unified within the next eight years, South Korea would likely pay from one to seven percent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) every year for 10 years.

“Unification will contribute to the expansion of the economy’s potential growth through increased labour, investments, production and economic cooperation,” the ministry said in the report.

Seven percent of South Korea’s GDP last year of 1,237 trillion Korean won ($1.15 trillion) would be 86.6 trillion won ($80.62 billion).

The estimates reflect the costs as seen in the short-term, or until 2020.

Though relations between the North, which has twice tested a nuclear device, and the South have been particularly bad over the past few years, they could soon improve.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Jacob Zuma Says Owning a Dog ‘Is Not African’

South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, has declared that having a pet dog is not African, and that black South Africans who buy a dog, take it for walks and to the veterinarian are copying white culture.

Mr Zuma, 70, was speaking at a traditional event in KwaZulu-Natal province, his first public appearance since being re-elected president of the African National Congress a week ago.

He described people who love dogs more than humans as “having a lack of humanity”, Durban newspaper The Mercury reported.

Black South Africans should stop adopting the habits of other cultures, Mr Zuma told an audience of thousands on Wednesday: “Even if you apply any kind of lotion and straighten your hair you will never be white.”

Mr Zuma, a proud Zulu who adheres to traditional practices such as polygamy, said in an August interview that it was “not right” for women to be single, and that having children is “extra training for a woman”.

In November, he endorsed traditional courts in South Africa, saying that problems should be resolved “the African way, not the white man’s way”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma in Dog Ownership Row

The South African government has sought to clarify remarks by President Jacob Zuma that angered dog lovers. Mr Zuma was quoted as saying at a rally on Wednesday that having pet dogs was part of white — not African — culture. But presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mr Zuma was simply warning against loving animals more than humans beings.

He said Mr Zuma’s main message was the need to “decolonise the African mind” in South Africa, where white-minority rule ended in 1994. South Africa’s Mercury newspaper reports that Mr Zuma told thousands of supporters at a rally in KwaZulu-Natal province that people who spent money on buying a dog, taking it to the vet and for walks belonged to white culture. There was also a new generation of young Africans who were trying to adopt the lifestyles of other race groups, Mr Zuma said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Italy: Human-Trafficking Charges Brought Against Moroccan Women

Sisters brought teenagers to Bologna, claimed as own children

(ANSA) — Rome, December 27 — Human-trafficking charges have been brought against two sisters from Morocco accused of bringing two teenagers into Italy and claiming them as their children.

Police arrested the two women at the Marconi airport in Bologna after they arrived Wednesday evening on a flight from Casablanca with a boy aged 12 and a girl of about 15.

Police say the women, 37 and 47 years old, produced documents to support their claims that these were their children and all were returning to their home in the northwestern Piedmont region.

Police became suspicious because the photos on the children’s documents didn’t quite match their features.

The women may have been planning to put the children up for illegal adoption, police said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Pope Says Attitude Toward Migrants is Main Moral Question

(AGI) Vatican City, Dec 26 — In his homily during Christmas Eve mass, Pope Benedict XVI focused on migrants and refugees. “The great moral question for us is our attitude toward the homeless, toward refugees and migrants,” he said .

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

Switzerland: Top Businessman Calls for Immigrant Quotas

Rolf Dörig, the chairman of Swiss Life and staffing company Adecco, is calling for quotas on Europeans working in Switzerland to ensure only those needed by the country are allowed in.

Unrestricted mobility of workers between the European Union and Switzerland combined with an “unconditional multicultural attitude” threatens the country’s social stability, Dörig said in an interview with the Nordwestschweiz newspaper.

“Switzerland needs a controlled free mobility (of workers) with the entire world so that we receive the workers we really need,” he said.

Dörig, who is also a member of the executive board of Economiesuisse, an umbrella group for Swiss business, said he did not believe that Switzerland should abandon its freedom of movement of workers agreement with the EU.

But the agreement “should be applied in as restrictive a way as possible within the framework of the existing accord” — and that means quotas, he said.

Switzerland has experienced a strong influx of foreigners into the country since the free movement of persons agreement with the EU came into effect in 2002.

An estimated 75,000 net immigrants are expected in the country this year, while foreigners account for 22 percent of the population.

The population growth has put pressures on housing availability and affordability and driven development in urban areas.

Switzerland cannot continue to expand without curbs freedom of persons deals with other countries and regions of the world, Dörig said.

The danger is, “if we do not succeed in becoming more restrictive on immigration, citizens will sooner or later massively limit Switzerland’s openness to the rest of the world at the polls (in a referendum),” he said.

Unrestricted immigration also threatens, he said, to bring additional costs to the country to pay for extra infrastructure and social plans.

Dörig acknowledged that the Swiss economy has benefited in recent years from the labour mobility deal with the EU…

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

Culture Wars

Denmark: Govt. Wants to Rename Christianity Studies

The government wants to change the name of Christianity classes in schools. Opposition disagrees.

The government’s proposals for a school reform include a proposal to rename the subject Christianity to Religion, although the content of classes will remain the same, according to Kristeligt Dagblad.

“We find ‘religion’ covers the syllabus content better and is more modern. Christianity will still be central to content because we live in a country in which Christianity has been our cultural fulcrum for centuries,” Social Democratic Education Spokesman Troels Ravn tells Kristeligt Dagblad.

“But at the same time we have to modernise the subject because we now have a society in which other religions play a role,” he adds.

Ravn says that the name change is not a main issue in the reform, but will be part of the negotiating process that follows the publication of the government’s reform proposals.

The current government parties have previously suggested a name-change for the subject, with Education Minister Christine Antorini (SocDem) telling Kristeligt Dagblad a year ago that “it is important that the subject is called Religion”.

Centre-right education spokesmen are surprised at the proposal, with Conservative Spokeswoman Mai Henriksen saying she is sceptical.

“It is important for us to keep the original name. It is important because it signals what the subject is about and because it affects the way it is taught,” Henriksen tells Kristeligt Dagblad.

The Danish People’s Party is even more adamant.

“Denmark is a Christian country; Christianity is the foundation of our society and must therefore be weighted most… A name change will send the wrong signal and put all religions on the same footing,” says Alex Ahrendtsen.

FACEBOOK — Follow Politiken’s News in English

Edited by Julian Isherwood

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

Facebook Purges Pro-Gun Accounts

Facebook is purging accounts that carry pro-second amendment and pro-liberty information in a censorship purge that has accelerated over the past few hours, with innumerable pages being disappeared merely for posting legitimate political content.’s Mike Adams contacted us to alert us to the fact that “Facebook banned our account for posting this,” with an attached image of a Gandhi quote about how the British disarmed the citizenry during their rule in India.

The following is a list of Facebook accounts operated by individuals in the alternative media that have been shut down by Facebook staff over the past 24 hours. Infowars writer Aaron Dykes and political dissident Brandon J. Raub have also had their accounts deleted. Raub was snatched by police and forcibly imprisoned in a psychiatric ward earlier this year for posting political content on Facebook. Infowars editor Kurt Nimmo also had his account suspended this morning.

As we have previously highlighted, Facebook occasionally deletes images and posts that it claims violate “Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” yet constitute little more than political conjecture or a healthy skepticism of official narratives on current events.

[Return to headlines]


Customized Mass Production Using 3D

Until now, products printed using 3D have mostly been prototypes. But the technology can also be applied to serial production, and is set to revolutionize industry, the nature of production, and consumption.

New components — T-girders and mechanical casings — sit in a heap of powder. The Voxeljet company is printing them using a 3D machine. On the other side of the powder mound, a slider moves back and forth. It’s fitted with an extrusion head, like that of an ink-jet printer, which shoots an adhesive into the powder. This is the way components are manufactured using 3D technology: layer by layer.

The technology for printing components in 3D form has already been available for several years. Until now, it has mainly been used for manufacturing rare or expensive prototypes for the research and development departments of major companies. But the technology has advanced enough to be put to use elsewhere, and is now increasingly being used in serial production. The big advantage of this technique is that each component can still be different, even as part of a series.

All sorts of objects can be printed directly using 3D technology. The most common process involves selective laser melting (SLM), which works in a similar way to the adhesive process described above. First a laser beam fuses the contours of the object into an extremely thin layer of plastic and metal powder. Then the machine pushes fresh powder over it, and the laser melts on another layer. Layer for layer, a new component is created.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]