Monday, January 13, 2003

News Feed 20130114

Financial Crisis
»Italian Court Declares Historic Ceramics Maker Bankrupt
»Italy: Bersani Seeks to Reassure Markets in WaPo Interview
»The End of America’s Grand Economic Bargain
»Caroline Glick: Chuck Hagel — It’s the Anti-Americanism, Stupid
»Chicago Police Chief Says There Will be Tragedies When His Officers Shoot Legal Concealed Carriers
»Detroit Auto Show Sees Volkswagen in Good Mood
»For All But Shell, Alaska Was Just Too Risky
»Frank Gaffney: A World Without America
»Gun Control Shootout at the DC Corral
»NASA’s Donated Spy Telescopes May Aid Dark Energy Search
»NY Times Environmental Desk Goes the Way of Global Warming
Europe and the EU
»Domestic Violence Campaign Targets Scottish Muslims
»German Chancellor Declares Christians ‘Most Persecuted’
»Gunmen Shoot at Greek Prime Minister’s Office
»Italy: Naples: Controversy Over Scampia’s Refusal for Gomorrah Film
»Italy: Priest to Stand Trial for ‘Misappropriation of Funds’
»Italy: Founder of Anti-Racket Association Attempts Suicide
»Italy: Indictments Requested for 11 in State-Mafia Talks Case
»Italy: Berlusconi Prefers to be Economy Minister Than Premier
»Italy: Police, Protesters Clash at Monti’s Railroad Unveiling
»Italy: Centre-Left Will Try to Work With Monti, Bersani Tells WaPo
»Kurdish Militants Warn France After Paris Killings
»Property Tax Review ‘Not Dangerous’ Says Rehn
»Prosecutors Say ‘Save ILVA’ Decree Violates EU Charter
»Sweden: Eight-Year Wait for a Home in Stockholm
»Swedes Most Worried About Organized Crime
»Ugly Face of UKIP: Sunday Mirror Exposes Racist and Homophobic Views of Party Members
»UK: Acid Found on Train Sparks Manhunt
»UK: Alarming Rise in Child Sexual Exploitation
»UK: Boy: 13, Who Raped Woman in Front of His Friends is Jailed for Just Three Years… Because He Said ‘Sorry’
»UK: Chichester Hospital Worker Charged With Raping Patient
»UK: Heroin Use Shouldn’t be a Crime PM Urged and Dealers Should be Licensed to Sell ‘Legal Highs’, Say MPs and Peers
»UK: Paranoid Schizophrenic ‘Broke Into Rural Home and Stabbed Man 80 Times in Killing of Extraordinary Ferocity’
»UK: Taxi Driver Who Stole £270 From Blind Pensioner in Oldham Spared Jail
»UK: Youths Brandishing Machetes and Truncheons Target Kenley Home in ‘Violent’ Night Burglary
North Africa
»Al-Azhar’s Double Game to Islamize Egypt and Maintain Power
»Egypt: 15 Years in Prison for Mother and Seven Children, Converts to Christianity
»Libya: After Attack on Italian Consul, Security to be Upped
Middle East
»Diana West: The Fox Effect, Pt. 3
»Migration Flows to Saudi Arabia Must be Regulated to Avoid Another Rizana Nafeek
»Russia to Produce Soyuz Successor by 2020
South Asia
»Indonesia: Aceh Bans Women From Straddling Motorcycles
»Sri Lanka: People in the Streets to Mark the Justice System’s ‘Black Friday’
Far East
»China: Beijing Bathes in Thick Smog, Deemed Dangerous by UN
Australia — Pacific
»Police Struggle to Keep Lid on More Racial Clashes in Logan, While Logan Mayor Pam Parker Calls for “Zero Tolerance” Approach
Sub-Saharan Africa
»China Expands Media Reach in Africa
»France Fears Somali Islamists May Display Dead Frenchmen
»Mali Rebels Take Central Town of Diabaly
»Mali’s Islamists Threaten to Strike on French Soil
»Mali: Hundreds Fleeing to Mauritania
»Malian Islamists Take Over Town North of Capital
»Turkey Sets Its Sights on Africa
»Immigration is British Society’s Biggest Problem, Shows Survey of Public
»Ireland: Doctor Who Worked in Hospitals Here Failed to Reveal Conviction for Drugs Smuggling
»Obama Will Seek Citizenship Path in One Fast Push
»Paul Ryan Backs Marco Rubio’s Immigration Plan
»‘We Don’t Know How Many People Will Come From Bulgaria and Romania’: UK’s Housing Market to Come Under Pressure From New Wave of EU Immigrants, Eric Pickles Warns
Culture Wars
»Ban on Graphic Abortion Signs a Free Speech Threat
»French Government Holds Firm on Gay Marriage
»Message to Teacher: Either Religious Items Go… Or You Do
»The Progressive Global Sharing Economy
»Child Trafficking on the Rise, UN Says

Financial Crisis

Italian Court Declares Historic Ceramics Maker Bankrupt

Closing of Richard Ginori puts more than 300 out of work

(ANSA) — Florence, January 7 — A court in Florence declared the historic ceramic maker Richard Ginori bankrupt Monday, sources said, ending a lengthy struggle and eliminating more than 300 jobs.

The ruling was filed by court judges Monday morning, which apparently ends efforts to sell the company — founded in 1735 — to a buyer from the United States.

Last fall, the Tuscan ceramics producer sought court assistance as the company began to go through its liquidation process.

The company had stopped manufacturing at the end of July, laying off 337 employees.

The regional government said at the time that it hoped to find another business with plans for reinvestment to revitalize the ceramics producer.

Late last year, the company thought it found a solution and said it had a purchase offer from a consortium led by Lenox Corp., of the US.

The Florence court appointed Andrea Spignoli as administrator of Richard Ginori during the liquidation process.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Bersani Seeks to Reassure Markets in WaPo Interview

Tells Washington Post the Left is for opening markets

(ANSA) — Rome, January 14 — The leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Pier Luigi Bersani — who is favored to become Italy’s next premier in elections on February 24 — sought to reassure markets in an interview with The Washington Post released online on Sunday. “The markets have nothing to fear as long as they accept the end of monopolies and dominant positions. I understand that it could seem bizarre to see the Italian Left as opening markets, but this comes from the fact that in Italy, the Right does not have a liberal tradition, but tends to be statist and is more influenced by professional lobbies,” Bersani said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

The End of America’s Grand Economic Bargain

The “grand bargain” that has been the basis of the American economic system since 1913 is entering its end-game phase. What will replace the expiring order is unknown, but there are two substantially different substitutes that could emerge over the medium term. One is a return to the free market that existed before the institution of the progressive income tax and the Federal Reserve in 1913. This isn’t likely, given the weakness and inability of so-called conservative “leaders” to communicate ideas effectively. The other is a form of financial repression resulting in the kind of fascistic state seen in Venezuela. This is the more likely scenario, given President Obama’s mesmeric hold over the mainstream media, government employee unions and the burgeoning recipient class.

What is the “grand bargain” that has persisted in America for a hundred years? It is the unstated, but easily recognizable, agreement among the four economic divisions in the country (socio-economic “classes,” if you like) that has directed America’s economy since Woodrow Wilson’s first days in office….

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]


Caroline Glick: Chuck Hagel — It’s the Anti-Americanism, Stupid

Chuck Hagel hates Jews. Or should I say, he hates Jews who think that Jews have rights and that their rights should be defended, in Israel by the government and the IDF, in America by Israel’s supporters.

As I mentioned before, it is not at all surprising that Obama appointed Hagel, and I see little chance that the Senate will reject his appointment. Israel and its American friends however can take heart that Israel will not be Hagel’s chief concern.

Hagel — and Obama — have bigger fish to fry than Israel. They are looking to take on the US military. They will slash military budgets, they will slash pensions and medical benefits for veterans in order to save a couple dollars and demoralize the military. They will unilaterally disarm the US to the point where America’s antiquated nuclear arsenal will become a complete joke. And I don’t see the military capable of stopping it. Anyone remember the F-22?

I find the whole Israel angle on Hagel irritating because of this. Yes, Hagel will be bad to Israel. But we can minimize the damage by diversifying our own arsenal and weaning ourselves off of US military handouts that only serve as work subsidies for US military contractors at the expense of Israeli ones.Moreover, for years that military aid has been a corrupting force on Israel’s general staff. I’ve been advocating ending US military aid to Israel for more than a decade, but better late than wait until we find ourselves at war and out of spare parts because Hagel and Obama won’t sign the requisition orders to Boeing and Lockheed.

Unlike Israel, the US military cannot minimize the damage that Hagel and Obama will cause. America’s capabilities will suffer at the hands of the duly reelected Commander in Chief and his duly appointed Defense Secretary. The only chance to dodge that bullet was on Election Day and the American people blew it…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick[Return to headlines]

Chicago Police Chief Says There Will be Tragedies When His Officers Shoot Legal Concealed Carriers

“I don’t care if they’re licensed legal firearms, people who are not highly trained… putting guns in their hands is a recipe for disaster,” Chicago’s Police Chief Gary McCarthy told a Windy City radio interviewer at WVON 1690 am. “So I’ll train our officers that there is a concealed carry law, but when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that. I’m telling you right up front.”

Oddly, police chiefs and sheriffs in the other 49 states where concealed carry has been legal for some time don’t seem to have that problem. Is the Chief just trying to scare people away from getting their carry permits once the new Illinois law is in place?

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Detroit Auto Show Sees Volkswagen in Good Mood

German carmaker Volkswagen has announced record 2012 sales hours before the official opening of the North American Auto Show in Detroit. The group has successfully dealt with an unfavorable business climate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

For All But Shell, Alaska Was Just Too Risky

“Once-in-a-generation” oil and natural gas fields apparently lured the Royal Dutch Shell company into ignoring clear dangers about drilling in the Alaskan Arctic. It could soon be paying the price.

While environmentalists might be breathing a sigh of relief that the Kulluk oil rig didn’t spill a drop of its 150,000 gallons of oil after running aground off the coast of Alaska late last December, the Royal Dutch Shell company is likely still holding its breath.

On January 3, a group of 45 Democratic congressmen from the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition called for a formal investigation of the Kulluk incident in order to determine whether Shell should be allowed to continue drilling for oil in Alaskan waters — into which Shell has invested $5 billion (3.75 billion euros).

“The recent grounding of Shell’s Kulluk oil rig amplifies the risks of drilling in the Arctic,” the group’s announcement read. “This is the latest in a series of alarming blunders, including the near grounding of another of Shell’s Arctic drilling rigs, the 47-year-old Noble Discoverer, in Dutch Harbor and the failure of its blowout containment dome, the Arctic Challenger, in lake-like conditions.”

On Thursday, January 10, Democratic Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, claimed that Shell’s decision to move the oil platform was solely to avoid an Alaska state tax liability it would have incurred on January 1.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Frank Gaffney: A World Without America

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly declared that “a world without America is not only desirable, it is achievable.” While that sentiment won’t be embraced in President Obama’s inaugural address next week, all other things being equal, it seems likely to be the practical effect of his second term.

Of course, Iran’s regime seeks a world literally without America. More to the point, Ahmadinejad and the mullahs in Tehran are working tirelessly to secure the means by which to accomplish that goal. Specifically, they have or are developing the ability to engage in devastating electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, biological warfare and other asymmetric terrorist strikes…

           — Hat tip: CSP[Return to headlines]

Gun Control Shootout at the DC Corral

“Leave me alone” finds security in independence. “Let’s fix it” finds security in dependency.

Americans are suckers for a sob story. But a lot of them are also suckers for personal freedom. Whenever a bullseye is put on freedom for the greater good, two narratives battle it out for the soul of the country. “We have to fix this” and “Leave me alone.”

Think of We have to fix this” and “Leave me alone” as the devil and angel on the shoulders of every cartoon character for the last hundred years. “We have to fix this,” wears an earnest expression and her appearance is calculated to suggest nurse, teacher or PTA member, when in reality she’s usually an Ivy League grad with a lot of time spent in government and political advocacy and whose kids are raised by Elena from Guatemala, whose immigration status is that of Undocumented Democrat.

“We have to fix this” has the manner of a customer service rep who knows why you’re getting screwed and whose job is to get you to stop being so angry about it. “We have to fix this” may be a committed leftist, but also knows that most people don’t want to hear it. Like all liberal activists, she’s a community organizer, and the job of a community organizer, like that of every meeting chairperson ever, is to encourage the people who agree with her to speak and shut up those who don’t by either shaming them or tricking them into compromising their position.

This impromptu community organizing goes on everywhere. Many college students graduate already knowing how to manufacture a consensus by controlling the debate.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

NASA’s Donated Spy Telescopes May Aid Dark Energy Search

Astronomers are excited by the possibility of using one of two cast-off spy satellite telescopes gifted to NASA to probe for dark energy. They have already come up with a design that would incorporate the spy telescope into the proposed Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a high-priority NASA mission that would hunt for dark energy, exoplanets and supernovae.

Though a final review and economic analysis won’t be released until April, the new design based on the donated scopes would boost WFIRST’s abilities significantly, some researchers say. But the concept could also require more power and a bigger launch vehicle, potentially raising the project’s roughly $1.5 billion price tag.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

NY Times Environmental Desk Goes the Way of Global Warming

The Times lied about global warming—now called “climate change”—on a daily basis.

“What’s in worse shape”“, asked the Heartland Institute’s Director of Communications, Jim Lakely, in a January 11th blog post. “The state of the Earth’s climate? Or the state of the New York Times? Global temperatures are not rising all that quickly, so the Earth is doing fine. Meanwhile, the Old Gray Lady is shutting down its Environmental Desk.”

The Heartland Institute has cause to celebrate because it has led the effort to debunk the global warming hoax, sponsoring international conferences that brought together the world’s leading scientists and others to demonstrate how specious the alleged “science” of global warming was and is. It did so in the face of a United Nations agenda to advance the hoax and a compliant and cooperative media that did nothing to dispute it.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Domestic Violence Campaign Targets Scottish Muslims

A new campaign asking Muslim men and women to speak out against domestic violence is being launched in Scotland.

The Change This campaign wants people to report any violence they have seen or experienced.

Muslim women’s charity Amina will use Islamic teachings and an Imam to challenge the misconception that Islam allows violence against women.

The charity said it was aware of many cases where people used their religion in an attempt to justify violence.

As part of the campaign, it will be going out and speaking to men and women about the issue.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

German Chancellor Declares Christians ‘Most Persecuted’

“Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world.” To anyone moderately aware of world events, this passing comment by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is an obvious fact. However, it created a stir in her country and beyond by groups with anti-biblical agendas.

Several “human rights” organizations from the German Green Party to Amnesty International, to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religious Belief declared her statement to be either “totally senseless,” or “misguided.” They said her opinion was based on “occasionally rumored numbers.”

The highly respected Christian international aid society, Open Doors, jumped into the fray, countering that 80% of the religiously persecuted individuals worldwide were Christian, totaling some 100 million people in all. Open Doors’ list of 50 most religiously repressive regimes fall primarily in two categories: Muslim or “Marxist-legacy.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Gunmen Shoot at Greek Prime Minister’s Office

Two unknown individuals have fired shots at the Greek prime minister’s office in Athens. Police said nobody was hurt in the incident.

Gunmen shot at the headquarters of the ruling New Democracy Party near the center of Athens Monday. There were no casualties.

“At around 3 a.m. (0100 UCT) security guards saw two men come out of a black car and open fire with a Kalashnikov on the building, which was empty at the time in question. A bullet went through the window of the political office of the prime minister, Antonis Samaras, and nine rounds of ammunition were found on the ground,” said a police officer.

A spokesman for the Greek government, Simos Kedikoglou, speculated that the attack was a symbolic one directed against Samaras.

“It is a new and worrying escalation from those who want to spread terror in our society,” he said.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is scheduled to meet Greece’s left-leaning opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, in Berlin later on Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italy: Naples: Controversy Over Scampia’s Refusal for Gomorrah Film

‘We aren’t Baghdad’. Clash Saviano-De Magistris

(ANSAmed) — Naples, January 7 — The president of the municipality of Scampia (Naples) is clashing with television producers while Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris is fighting with writer and journalist Roberto Saviano over the decision of Scampia’s local municipality — supported by the local government — to refuse a permit to film a television series on Saviano’s bestseller book Gomorrah based in part in this crime-torn district of Naples.

After the international success registered by the movie, Sky television is producing a tv series on the book. But production companies Fandango and Catteleya have been denied a permit to film the series in Scampia, where renewed fighting between gangs with the local camorra criminal organization is sowing violence. ‘I denied the authorizations because we must stop the instrumental exploitation of Naples and in particular this neighbourhood’, said the municipality’s president Angelo Pisani. ‘Always emphasizing the negative things, which naturally exist, solves nothing and confirms a negative image which Scampia has to endure. This in spite of positive things which are never discussed. We have been bombarded by media outlets from all over the world. I think it is time to end this and stop the media’s exploitation of commonplaces: Scampia is not Baghdad’.

De Magistris also wrote on his facebook page: ‘We are tired of seeing the image of Scampia, not only nationally, reduced as a territory to be conquered by the fighting camorra as if nothing else existed in Scampia apart from drug trafficking and clan in-fighting’. The mayor also suggested that TV rights could finance projects to promote the territory launched by associations and schools.

Saviano also intervened, indirectly criticizing De Magistris. ‘The revolutionary in power is the most fervent of reactionaries’, said Saviano on the website of Rome daily La Repubblica. ‘When policy making is inadequate it prefers to stop the stories. When nothing changes, due to management faults, it is better for writers and filmmakers to remain silent and still.

And if instead they work and move, it is better to present their work as an artfully reconstructed truth speculating on evil and suffering while power is awaiting to justify its inadequacy’.

Meanwhile the series is not being filmed. Cattleya producer Riccardo Tozzi told ANSA: ‘We are surprised by the no of the municipality’s president, there is not such a precise identification of Scampia which represents 5% of the series at the very most. There is a great variety of environments and situations and the most important thing is that the series is far from giving a positive image of the camorra but we rather give great relevance to positive people in the territory who are the other characters in Saviano’s world, those who are fighting to change things. We are waiting to meet the mayor and hope is not too busy in the electoral campaign and that filming in Scampia will resume after further clarifications’.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Priest to Stand Trial for ‘Misappropriation of Funds’

Accused of taking advantage of elderly teacher

(ANSA) Florence, January 4; Prosecutors are calling for a priest to stand trial for allegedly taking 40,000 euros from a retired teacher that is now deceased. Magistrates suspect the woman in question may have been weak of mind and taken advantage of. The priest has always defended his actions, saying he had used the funds in question to look after the elderly teacher as her relatives had neglected her. The teacher had spent her working life teaching at an elementary school in the town of Rignano Sull’Arno, in Tuscany. Upon retiring, she had returned to her home town of Nepi, in the central Italian Lazio region, where she was reunited by chance with her former parish priest, Giovanni Concordia, who was 83 at the time. In the three years leading up to 2012, the woman had withdrawn 80,000 euros in cash and signed cheques for 20,000 euros.

Of the total, 40,000 allegedly ended up with the elderly priest.

The priest had allegedly taken to accompanying her on various occasions when she went back to her bank branch in Tuscany to carry out financial transactions.

The investigation into the finances of the deceased teacher were triggered by her son, who filed a police report after becoming suspicious upon seeing her bank account statements. Prosecutors contend she may have been unsound of mind towards the end of her life and that the priest may have taken advantage of her.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Founder of Anti-Racket Association Attempts Suicide

Dire financial situation thought to be to blame

(ANSA) — Milan, January 4 — The founder of an anti-racket association was receiving hospital treatment on Friday after trying to take his own life.

Frediano Manzi, founder of ‘Sos racket e usura’ (SOS racket and usury), was found by Carabinieri police in his apartment near Milan after slitting his wrists. The gesture was thought to be linked to Manzi’s reported “desperate economic situation” and he said he had had to close two commercial activities just the day before. For the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia crime syndicate he was ‘a dead man walking’, Manzi said. Prosecutors have been able to open several important investigations particularly into organised crime and corruption as a result of reports made by Sos racket e usura. However recently the association’s founder was convicted of staging an arson attack.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Indictments Requested for 11 in State-Mafia Talks Case

Prosecutor cites ex-ministers, ex-police, ex-Mob bosses

(ANSA) — Palermo, January 10 — A prosecutor in Palermo requested on Thursday that charges be brought against 11 defendants in a probe into alleged negotiations between the Mafia and the Italian State in the early 1990s, including notorious Mafia bosses, ex-anti-Mafia police officers and current members of parliament. It has been suggested that State officials entered negotiations with Cosa Nostra in a bid to stop attacks after a long campaign of violence that culminated in two bombings in 1992 which killed anti-Mob prosecutor Giovanni Falcone, his wife, fellow prosecutor Paolo Borsellino, and several bodyguards. In a preliminary Palermo court hearing on Thursday morning, prosecutor Nino Di Matteo asked a judge to bring charges against nine defendants for violence and threats against the State.

Di Matteo cited Mafia bosses Leoluca Bagarella, Toto’ Riina, Giovanni Brusca and Nino Cina’. Riina is currently serving multiple life-sentences after leading the Corleonesi faction to the top of the Sicilian Mafia, waging a ruthless campaign of violence against rival mobsters and the Italian State in the 1980s and early 1990s. In the wake of the 1992 bombings, Riina is said to have made a list of demands for the Italian State, the so-called “papello”.

On Wednesday, the chief of Italy’s anti-mafia parliamentary commission, Beppe Pisanu, reported that the State did not heed the Mafia demands, however a “partial, tacit understanding” rather than “negotiations” did take place between State law enforcement and the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia in the early 1990s.

Bagarella, who is believed to have been one of Riina’s successors and is also in prison serving a life-sentence for several murders, denies ever having had contact with “politicians of any sort”. Senator Marcello Dell’Utri, who has worked closely with Berlusconi since the 1970s and helped found the ex-premier’s Forza Italia political party in 1993, was also cited on Thursday in Palermo, as was ex-minister and current parliament member Calogero Mannino. Mannino requested to be given a fast-track trial, which would shorten the penalty by a third if found guilty. Di Matteo also asked to indict three ex-officers in the anti-Mafia police: Antonio Subranni, Mario Mori and Giuseppe De Donno. Di Matteo asked for charges of false testimony for Nicola Mancino, who served as interior minister from 28 June 1992 to 19 April 1994.

The prosecutor requested charges of Mafia association for Massimo Ciancimino, son of former Palermo mayor Vito Ciancimino, the first Italian politician to be convicted of Mafia membership, a year before his death in 2002.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Berlusconi Prefers to be Economy Minister Than Premier

Partner Northern League does not want ex-premier to head govt

(ANSA) — Rome, January 14 — Silvio Berlusconi said Monday that he prefers to be economy minister, rather than premier, if the centre right wins next month’s general election in Italy amid controversy about the coalition’s failure to say who their candidate to head the government is.

The uncertainty comes after Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party agreed a pact to revive its long-standing alliance with the Northern League earlier this month.

League leader Roberto Maroni made it a condition of the agreement that Berlusconi will not take the helm of an Italian government for the fourth time. The leaders said they will name a premier after the elections if the centre right prevails.

At the weekend, however, the PdL unveiled a campaign logo that featured the words ‘Berlusconi President’.

This sparked speculation that in reality the 76-year-old media magnate does want to lead another government, although Maroni said it referred to the fact that Berlusconi is president of the PdL.

Berlusconi moved to deflate the polemics on Monday when he said that the position of premier is not so appealing to him as it does not carry real power. “I’d prefer to be economy minister because that’s where you have to work on the great machinery on the state,” Berlusconi said in a telephone call to a programme on his Mediaset TV network.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Police, Protesters Clash at Monti’s Railroad Unveiling

‘We must overcome kneejerk resistance’ says premier

(ANSA) — Turin, January 14 — Clashes between police and protesters broke out on Monday in Turin where Italian Premier Mario Monti was unveiling a piece of a controversial high-speed rail line that will link Italy to France. One demonstrator was hospitalized for a cut to his head and one policeman received first aid, while a number of protesters were cited for disorderly conduct. The high-speed rail line, known in Italy as the TAV, will eventually connect Turin to Lyon.

It has sparked years of protests, sometimes violent, from locals concerned over the environmental and financial cost, and activists from both countries have joined forces to block the multi-billion-euro project, to little avail. “We must overcome kneejerk resistance, that have on some occasions blocked infrastructure progress that is important to the transport system and the competitiveness of our country,” said Monti at the inauguration of the Porta Susa international rail hub.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre-Left Will Try to Work With Monti, Bersani Tells WaPo

Left will partner Monti for reform, not favours, Bersani says

(ANSA) — Rome, January 14 — Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the Democratic Party (PD) and front-runner to become Italy’s next premier, told The Washington Post in an interview published Sunday that his centre-left coalition, if elected in February, would try to collaborate with outgoing premier Mario Monti to continue reforms aimed at fixing Italy’s economy. “We are open to collaboration. Not exchanging favors, but signing a pact for reforms and reconstruction of the country,” Bersani told the American newspaper.

Monti was appointed to guide Italy from the brink of financial disaster in November 2011 as the head of a technocrat government. Since then, he has introduced a series of austerity measures and systemic reforms that won international praise and saw interest rates on Italian bonds fall by more than half since he took the helm. The measures have been unpopular and created new recessionary pressure on Italy, already suffering a decade of stagnation exacerbated by the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Monti resigned in December after the centre-right People of Freedom Party (PdL), led by Silvio Berlusconi, abstained in a parliament vote, threatening Monti’s majority. Monti has since proposed a policy agenda for the next government, to be elected February 24, and announced he would run for premier with the support of a coalition of centrist political parties.

When Bersani was asked why he seemed to stand on the sidelines as Monti and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi hashed out differences in the public spotlight, Bersani explained, “Mr. Berlusconi was responsible for the premature fall of Monti’s government. And Mr. Monti did not like it one bit”.

“We kept our promise to support Monti until the very end — we kept our promise, although it was not easy. So now we just keep watching,” added Bersani.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Kurdish Militants Warn France After Paris Killings

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said Friday it would hold France responsible if it does not quickly shed light on the slaying of three female Kurdish activists in Paris.

“The fact that the attack was carried out in France is a clear demonstration of France’s responsibility,” the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the military wing of the rebels, said in a statement published on its website.

“France has a responsibility to immediately shed light on the massacre,” it said. “Or it will be held responsible for the murder of our comrades.”

The warning came a day after three Kurdish women, one of them a founding member of the PKK, were found shot dead at a Kurdish cultural centre in Paris.

Turkish authorities blamed the killings on hawkish factions within the PKK which they said may have wanted to derail recent peace talks between Turkey and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The PKK accused Ankara of trying to shift the blame on Kurds for what it called a “well-organised and professional political murder.”

The killings came days after Turkish media reported that Turkey and the PKK leadership had agreed a roadmap to end a three-decade old insurgency that has claimed more than 45,000 lives. Neither side has confirmed the reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Property Tax Review ‘Not Dangerous’ Says Rehn

‘But stick to budget consolidation’ says EU commissioner

(ANSA) — Brussels, January 11 — Italy can safely review its policy on the IMU property tax introduced by the technocrat government of Mario Monti but it needs to stay clear of “choppy waters”, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Friday.

“It is never dangerous to reconsider policies, but it is important that Italy remains on the path of cautious budget consolidation in order to break even,” he said. The three main contenders in next month’s general election have made the highly unpopular tax on primary residences a top issue.

The poll-leading centre-left Democratic Party and outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s new centrist group have said they will reduce it for low earners while ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, currently polling second, has said he will scrap it altogether.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Prosecutors Say ‘Save ILVA’ Decree Violates EU Charter

Measures ‘violate rights to physical, mental health’

(ANSA) — Taranto, January 9 — The Italian government’s ‘Save ILVA’ decree is a “clear violation” of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, prosecutors say in their legal challenge to the law.

Prosecutors in the southern port city of Taranto have gone to Italy’s Constitutional Court with their fight against government efforts to keep open the giant steel mill while it makes upgrades to meet environmental standards.

The ILVA steel plant, which is Italy’s largest, has for years emitted toxins that endanger public health. The government’s recent decree protecting the troubled steel mill contravenes EU-guaranteed rights to physical and mental health, and undermine Italy’s international obligations, the Taranto prosecutors say in their written appeal.

Prosecutors have also claimed that the decree passed by the Italian government, which defines conditions under which the steel plant can continue to operate, constitutes a conflict of powers between branches of the State.

Late last year, Italy’s outgoing technical government passed the decree designed to countermand orders by the Taranto court, which would have effectively shuttered the plant and left thousands of workers off the job.

Last July, the Taranto court ordered a shutdown of the plant’s smelting areas. Months later, the court also sequestered manufactured parts awaiting shipment.

ILVA appealed the court’s seizure orders on the basis of the government’s decree, which permits plant operation at partial capacity while ILVA undertakes well-defined clean-up measures.

When the Taranto court rejected ILVA’s appeal in late November, the company declared imminent total shutdown of the plant, sparking strikes and protest at its facilities in Taranto and near Genoa.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sweden: Eight-Year Wait for a Home in Stockholm

Would-be Stockholm residents now have longer to wait for an available apartment than ever before, with new statistics showing an average waiting time on the region’s housing queue of eight years.

Last year, 400,000 people were signed up and waiting for an apartment in the nation’s capital, 9 percent more than in 2011 and roughly double the figure from 2006.

The average wait for a house in the region also shot up to 8.5 years — or 15 years for those who prefer to live centrally. The central island Kungsholmen has an average waiting time of 17 years.

These statistics come fresh from Stockholm’s municipal housing queue, run by Stockholms Stads Bostadsförmedling AB.

Maria Nordlöf of Bostadsförmedling explained that the city’s housing scheme is a whole different game from 10 to 20 years ago when it was possible to find a home in the centre of Stockholm.

“If you’re looking for a rental apartment, you should consider the entire Stockholm region,” she told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper (SvD).

Further outside the centre of the Stockholm region, in areas such as Huddinge, Upplands Väsby, Järfälla or Botkyrka, the average waiting time dropped to six years.

But living outside of the city is no solution, according to Lina Glans, CEO of the (“I need a house now”) website and lobbyist for increased housing in the nation’s capital.

“The situation is extremely frustrating and affects a whole generation,” she told the paper.

She stated that many people can’t begin a real life as an adult until they have a stable housing situation in the same area as their work.

“That young people can’t live where all the work is will affect Sweden’s future development and growth.”

Despite the extensive waiting times and long list of housing hopefuls, only 1,700 new homes were built in Stockholm last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Swedes Most Worried About Organized Crime

Sweden’s defence and security elite gathers for three days of debating, dining and skiing amid reports that a majority of Swedes believe organized crime is the biggest security threat.

The conference in the popular winter resort Sälen is organized annually by Society and Defence (Folk och Försvar), an umbrella organization that aims to stimulate public debate about defence and security policy.

Sweden’s Prince Daniel is attending the 2013 conference and among the speakers are the commander in chief of Sweden’s Armed Forces, Sverker Göranson; Defence Minister Karin Enström; EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström; Nato General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen; National Police Commissioner, Bengt Svensson; and Swedish Security (Säpo) chief, Anders Thornberg.

As the conference participants gathered in Sälen, a report from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap) showed that a majority of Swedes see international organized crime as the top security threat to the country.

Three out of four respondents said that they are quite worried or very worried about organized crime.

Seventy-three percent said they are most worried about relations between the Muslim and Christian world, while two out of three respondents cited depletion of the Earth’s resources as their top concern.

The past year’s events in the Middle East and an influx of refugees are two other issues that concern Swedes, cited by 65 and 56 percent of respondents respectively.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Ugly Face of UKIP: Sunday Mirror Exposes Racist and Homophobic Views of Party Members

The UK Independence Party has surged to a record high in the opinion polls under its brash leader Nigel Farage.

But a Sunday Mirror investigation today reveals a sickening catalogue of racist and homophobic views held by some of its biggest supporters.

They use the party’s official online “members forum” to express extremist and offensive opinions on issues ranging from gay marriage to bogus links between homosexuals and paedophilia.

Their outbursts are exposed as the party gears up against both the Tories and Labour in next year’s European elections, with its flagship policy that Britain should pull out of the EU.

On the forum, senior UKIP member Dr Julia Gasper branded gay rights a “lunatic’s charter” and claimed some homosexuals prefer sex with animals. She added: “As for the links between homosexuality and paedophilia, there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the subject.”

The former parliamentary candidate and UKIP branch chairman in Oxford now faces the sack over her comments.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Acid Found on Train Sparks Manhunt

A bottle of hydrochloric acid left on a train sparks a major alert and leads to a station being evacuated and closed.

Police have released CCTV images of a man wanted in connection with the discovery of hydrochloric acid on a train.

Police want to speak to this man in connection with the discovery

Middlesbrough station was evacuated and closed after a passenger reported a burning smell on board a Northern Rail train to Darlington at around 7.16pm on Sunday.

The hazardous liquid was left in a drinks bottle in the middle of the train.

Emergency services, including firefighters and an ambulance, were called to the station as a precaution due to the fumes from the highly corrosive substance.

Detective Inspector Mick Jackson, of British Transport Police, said: “We have been making enquiries, including checking CCTV, to ascertain how and why the bottle came to be on the train, and believe the man pictured may be able to help.

“If you know him, we would like to hear from you.”

Police do not believe the discovery was terror-related.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes[Return to headlines]

UK: Alarming Rise in Child Sexual Exploitation

The UK has seen an “alarming” 22% year-on-year rise in children being sexually exploited, the charity Barnardo’s says.

Barnardo’s said that a quarter of the 1,452 victims it had recorded had been trafficked for sex within the country.

Chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: “There is an alarming rise in the number of children being moved around the country by abusers.

Ms Carrie said: “Domestic trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most sophisticated form of this abuse; organised violation through networks of criminals.

“Yet it isn’t monitored nearly well enough by the authorities and comparatively little focus is given to stopping vulnerable children from being exploited in this way.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Boy: 13, Who Raped Woman in Front of His Friends is Jailed for Just Three Years… Because He Said ‘Sorry’

A boy of 13 who overpowered a woman then raped her in front of his two friends will spend just three years locked away for his crimes.

Balal Khan — thought to be one of the youngest convicted rapists in Britain — targeted the 20-year-old as she walked home.

He subjected her to a severe beating then screamed at her ‘Do what I say or I’ll kill you’, before putting her through the ordeal of a terrifying sex attack.

Then he stole her bag and phone and even took a call from his victim’s boyfriend to whom he bragged about what he had done.

But after pleading guilty to charges of rape and robbery the teenager was sentenced to just three years because of his age — and because he said ‘sorry’.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Chichester Hospital Worker Charged With Raping Patient

A healthcare assistant has been charged with raping a female patient at a hospital in West Sussex.

Sajin Panikkassery, 29, is charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of rape at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester on 10 January, say police.

Mr Panikkassery, who worked at the hospital, is due to appear before Worthing magistrates on Monday.

The patient, aged in her 20s, is receiving help and support and is no longer at the hospital.

Sussex Police said it was receiving full co-operation from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

The trust said Mr Panikkassery would not be working while the court proceedings took place.

Police have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Heroin Use Shouldn’t be a Crime PM Urged and Dealers Should be Licensed to Sell ‘Legal Highs’, Say MPs and Peers

The possession and use of heroin, ecstasy and crack cocaine should be decriminalised, a powerful group of MPs and peers say today. In a controversial finding, their report says giving criminal records to young drug users creates ‘higher levels of unemployment, homelessness and relationship problems’.

It also has little impact on drug use, according to the politicians, who include senior figures such as former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson and ex-MI5 chief Baroness Manningham-Buller.

The study also calls for licences to be issued to allow drug dealers to sell so-called ‘legal highs’, which have flooded on to the market in recent years.

Lord Lawson and Baroness Manningham-Buller, the cross-party group of MPs and peers contains other heavyweight figures such as former Labour Cabinet Minister Lord Richard and former Lib Dem president Lord Dholakia.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Paranoid Schizophrenic ‘Broke Into Rural Home and Stabbed Man 80 Times in Killing of Extraordinary Ferocity’


A paranoid schizophrenic suffering from delusions stabbed a father-of-three more than 80 times and sawed into his neck after walking into a rural home through an unlocked door.

Severely injured Daniel Quelch managed to flee to the kitchen of his parents’ home despite suffering a catalogue of horrific wounds at the hands of complete stranger Benjamin Frankum.

But the attacker managed to overpower Mr Quelch inflicting the deadly neck wound with a large serrated knife, in what prosecutors have described as a killing of ‘extraordinary ferocity’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Taxi Driver Who Stole £270 From Blind Pensioner in Oldham Spared Jail

Shafak Hussain, 36, took unsuspecting passenger Jill Holland, 52, to a cashpoint after he had picked her up from hospital.

She had wanted to take out £30 to pay for her fare.

But the driver callously withdrew £300 — pocketing £270 and handing her the £30. Father-of-two Hussain, who complained of racism after he was arrested, was rumbled when Miss Holland called her bank the following day.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

UK: Youths Brandishing Machetes and Truncheons Target Kenley Home in ‘Violent’ Night Burglary

The man said: “We heard this almighty crash downstairs. I thought at first it was the mirror falling off a wall.

“But then we heard another noise, so my wife opened the bedroom door and then she was confronted with four or five blokes coming up the stairs. They were shouting, ‘give us your money’.

“They came through the door and pushed my wife back into the bedroom, and they just kept on asking for money. I kept on saying there is no money.

“That’s when they pushed me in the chest and they raised their truncheons. We gave them the money in my wife’s purse and they took money from our friends who were in the other room.

“They didn’t say they were going to kill us, but you know what is going to happen to you if you don’t do what they say.

“My wife is very traumatised, I mean, five people with truncheons and a machete, she feels very vulnerable in her own home. We have been violated.

All the raiders were hooded, with scarves covering up to the bridge of their noses.

Liban Ali, 19, of Moffat Road, Thornton Heath, has been charged with aggravated burglary. Three other men have been arrested and bailed.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Al-Azhar’s Double Game to Islamize Egypt and Maintain Power

In recent years the authorities of the most important Sunni university, supported the youth of the revolution and are now with the Muslim Brotherhood. For the great scholar of Islam Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, such behavior is typical of the University, which has always supported those who govern. The new constitution based on Sharia will not transform Egypt into an Islamic state, for now. It takes advantage of the ignorance of a population that only trusts imams, all formed by al-Azhar. The document is primarily a ideological move by Islamists to appear like “real Muslims” before the Islamic world. Sharia, Islam, religion reassure the population. The future game of the Muslim Brotherhood and of Islam itself will evolve in the coming months on specific topics: jobs, the economy and development.

Cairo (AsiaNews) — After replacing the heads of the Constitutional Court, officials close to the Islamist line President Mohamed Morsi and the passage of the Constitution, only the University of al-Azhar has the power and the authority to stop the spread of Islamic extremism in Egypt. The entrance of the Sharia into civil law concerns not only the Christian minority, but also Muslims. Until now, the most important university of Sunni Islam has maintained a moderate position and more than once its Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb gave the impression of being on the side of the secular opposition against the establishment dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis. However, according to the great scholar of Islam Samir Khalil Samir, such behavior is just a tactic employed by al-Azhar to maintain power. Starting from the very history of the university, responsible for the formation of thousands of imams, the priest examines the situation in Egypt, a victim of an Islam that uses ignorance and illiteracy to dominate the population. The constitution based on Sharia law approved in December is the result of this strategy and will not turn Egypt into an Islamic state. It is confusing and full of contradictions and is being used by Islamists to show the Egyptians that they are “true Muslims.” For the scholar of Islam, al-Azhar has a great responsibility in the current situation in the nation. The university forms all imams in Egypt and most of the Sunni Muslim religious authorities throughout the world.

For centuries, al-Azhar, has followed the ruling power. The rector of the University is appointed by the President of the Republic. The expenses of the organization and the formation of its imams are largely paid for by the government. As a result its support for the Constitution that binds civil law with Islamic law and its future support to the Muslim Brotherhood is not surprising. On the one hand the university presents itself as the spokesman for more balanced and representative Sunni Islam. On the other, it is opposed to the Salafists, but only because the majority of the population considers them too extreme. By supporting them, it would lose support.

For this reason, when in 2011 the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis launched overtly Islamic extremist slogans, the university turned against them, pointing out that what was taking place on the streets did not represent the true Islam, which by its nature is a religion of the just middle ground, without excesses. Only al-Azhar can represent the true Muslim faith, said the imam. It is responsible for the formation not only of the Egyptian imams. Its campus is attended by tens of thousands of young Muslims from all over the world.

The statements made in recent months by the Imam al-Tayeb, at first glance, against the Islamist government, only serve to safeguard this image in the eyes of the Sunni Muslim world. The imams who study at al-Azhar are viewed with admiration by the entire Muslim population.

Playing a double game to maintain power

Since the fall of Mubarak the university’s leaders, among them the Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb, have played a double game. Before the election, and they criticized the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, asserting that Islam is the religion of the just middle ground, represented by al-Azhar, giving the impression of being on the side of the young people of the Arab Spring. When the Islamists won, al-Azhar recognized their success, claiming it was the result of the vote of the majority of Egyptians.

Until now, al-Azhar has maintained a moderate position, but it has never really stood up to the Islamists. As pointed out by Noha El-Hennawy, in an article published last January 7 in the Egypt Independent, it has always been with the State. Its leaders are on the side of those in power.

On January 5 Salafist imams issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from greeting Orthodox Copts for Christmas, which falls on January 7 according to the Julian calendar. Al-Azhar immediately pronounced itself against this position, knowing that no one would dare to contest its view, also because it is a centuries-old custom. In this way, the institution gained the admiration of Christians and moderate Muslims and has not lost support among the population.

Al-Azhar’s role in the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory

For decades, Egyptian presidents were life-long leaders. Only Hosni Mubarak (1981 — 11 February 2011) was deposed by a popular uprising. The Arab Spring was a novelty in our world, a concrete example of change. But then how did the Muslim Brotherhood win the elections?

The movement founded by Hasan al-Banna in 1928, was banned by the government since the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser (1956 — 1970). There were openings under Anwar al Sadat (1970 — 1981). He was closer to the position of the Muslim Brotherhood and allowed them to participate in political life, but not to expose their symbol. With Hosni Mubarak, they had about 20% of the parliament, but entered under other names. Throughout the period, the Brotherhood entered into the system, hiding under a different guise, but in fact it has been in politics for decades.

In 2011, they created a recognized party (Justice and Freedom), they emerged and found no real political opposition. In the elections the party of Mubarak and his men were sidelined, branded as members of the regime. The young leaders of the protests splintered into dozens of movements. Amr Moussa, Mohamed el-Baradei and Hamdeen Sabahi, the only political leaders or experts, formed three different parties. The only solid block were the Muslim Brotherhood, followed by Salafis and today they still are.

In Egypt, the population is simple, about 40% are illiterate and blindly follows the decisions of its religious leaders. For many Egyptians religion is the only certain thing. Sharia and Islam are words that reassure people. For this reason many voted for an Islamist majority and this Constitution, even if few actually read it. People voted trusting in others, especially the Imams. They are all trained by al-Azhar, which has several components within its structures, including many close to radical Islam. If the University comes out against those who promote Sharia and Islam it would be a scandal. It can only raise its voice against the Salafists, considered too extreme, but it can not oppose Muslim Brotherhood in strict sense.

The true nature of the Constitution based on Sharia

As was the case for the elections for the Constitutional referendum the people voted blindly. The document was promoted among the people by imams and persons recognized as true Muslims.

But what is the real significance of this Constitution based on sharia? What does the victory of the “yes” in the referendum actually mean?

In Egypt, less than 1% of the population can read or understand a legal text. This document is actually a habitus, an ideological game of the Islamists to say: “We are true Muslims and govern a Muslim country, trust us.” But it is impossible to build a State governed by this Constitution. In Sharia there are unacceptable points for contemporary thought, especially all the physical punishments (hudud) required by Islamic law. If you read the articles of the Constitution, they do not have the precision that is expected of a constitutional text, everything is very confused, generic, open to contradictory interpretations. The attempt is to unite religion and state. However, the population is becoming increasingly aware that it is one thing to act according to the rules of Islam and another to have them within the civil law. One example is the treatment of homosexuals.

In principle the four Sunni schools (85% of Muslims) considered homosexuality the equivalent of adultery for married heterosexuals, who are punished with death by stoning, or as immoral for those who are not married, a crime that carries with it the penalty of flogging. In order to proceed with punishment condemnation, however, is required which includes presenting proof, the testimony of four men, a photograph, or a DNA test. According to the most famous Sunni jurist, the Egyptian Yusuf al-Qaradawi:

“The jurists have had differing opinions about the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same penalty for zina, or should both the active and passive participant be killed? Although this may seem a cruel punishment, it was advised to maintain the purity of the Islamic society, and to cleanse it from these perverted elements. “

In practice, few Muslim countries apply these rules of law. In Egypt, the police sometimes put homosexuals in jail, but frees them after a few weeks. If Sharia is applied to the letter, officers would be required to kill them. Thank God they do not! In fact, the idea of ??introducing Sharia law into society is very ambiguous. Until now, its presence allows the Muslim Brotherhood to present themselves to the people as true Muslims. However, no one knows how it will be applied in this Constitution. Therein lies the problem.

Could Egypt ever become an Islamic state?

Egypt will never be an Islamic state like Saudi Arabia or Iran. This would represent the major loss of this government, which has already been subjected to strong criticism. Throughout the history of the country no government has ever fought against an opposition that embraces such a large part of the population.

Respect for the dictates of Sharia is relative in modern Egypt. Islamic law should be interpreted. The vagueness of the Constitution, and therefore its interpretation mute the idea of ??a strict application of the law, but for those who do not believe that Sharia is the “word of God” — Christians, but also many Muslims — it is unacceptable.

The opinion of many is that the Egyptian Muslim world has to experience an Islamic government led by the Muslim Brotherhood to realize their true nature. To obtain approval, the Islamists have always used their status as persecuted, portraying themselves as victims of despotism and secularism. Now that they are in government we will see if their system is correct or not, but in order to decide, the people must first see them at work. In the coming months, they will be judged on concrete issues: the economy, jobs and infrastructure. Not only on ideas or adherence to Islam. If their presence corresponds, however, to the will of the majority, tehn we must let them try.

The Christian victims of extremism and responsibilities of al-Azhar

The vast majority of Muslims are against violence against Christians and extremist attitudes, such as those of Islamic radicals in Syria or against the Copts in Egypt. In some videos filmed in the Syrian war many young militants are shown attacking villages because inhabited by Christians, shouting “Allah Akbar” (God is great). This phrase is both a prayer and a war cry. These small groups do not represent Islam, but they are a reality that has been part of this world for 14 centuries. The Salafists, the most extreme fringe of Sunni Islam, are fanatics, because rendered fanatics by the imam, who thanks to their authority justify violent acts in the name of Islam and God. Al-Azhar has an immense responsibility towards this world that has made its official entry into Egyptian politics. Although the University does not explicitly follow and indeed rejects the extremist line, it harbors a fanatical minority within its structures which encourages people to use violence in the name of religion.

To fight an evil we must recognize that it is an “evil”. These contradictions have their origin in the genesis of Islam. Many of the teachings that justify violence are based on facts attributed to Muhammad. When a Muslim does something violent, he always refers to a passage from the Koran or an episode in the life of the Prophet. Changing this vision requires a real commitment on the part of al-Azhar, not only statements issued by its religious leaders.

In order to survive Islam must change. Many Muslims say that you can not grow while believing that nothing has changed over the past 14 centuries. This is the line of dialogue with other worlds and with faiths other than Islam. The Koran can not be understood as text determined by God, and for this reason immutable and impossible to interpret. A critical and fresh reading of the Koran is imperative, at the risk of no longer being credible.



Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, The lawful and the prohibited in Islam (Al-Falah Foundation, nd), chap. 3, Section 1. The Physical Appetites, p. 165: “Sexual Perversion: A Major Sin”.’s-double-game-to-Islamize-Egypt-and-maintain-power-26856.html

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

Egypt: 15 Years in Prison for Mother and Seven Children, Converts to Christianity

The case concerns Nadia Mohamed Ali, a mother of eight children, born Christian, but converted to Islam to marry her husband. After his death, she decides to return to her original religion with her children. The authorities accuse her of having changed names on documents to skip procedure.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The criminal court of Beni Suef (115 km south of Cairo) has sentenced an entire family to prison for converting to Christianity. Nadia Mohamed Ali and her children Mohab, Maged, Sherif, Amira, Amir, and Nancy Ahmed Mohamed abdel-Wahab will spend 15 years in prison. Seven other people involved in the case were sentenced to five years in prison.

The case of the family of Nadia Ali Mohamed began in 2004 when, after the conversion, she and her children decided to replace their Muslim names on their identity cards with their Christian names and city of residence change. To do this she was aided by seven Registry office employees e. Born Christian, she had changed her religion to marry her husband Mustafa Mohamed Abdel-Wahab. After the man’s death in 1991, Nadia decided to return to her religion of origins and to push her seven children to convert. In 2006, one of the boys was arrested by police in an information center in the city of Beni Suef. Suspicious of the young man from the documents he as carrying, where he had changed its name to Bishoy Malak Abdel-Massih, police agents interrogated him for hours until he confessed his conversion to Christianity as desired by the mother. The judges then decide to stop not only the woman, but all of her children and seven clerks from the registration office, responsible for changing the documents.

An individuals religious faith is listed in Egyptian identity cards. Christians, converted to Islam for various reasons that attempt to return to the religion to which they belong have enormous difficulty in correcting their names on the documents. This leads many people to forge them, risking prison. The reverse process, ie the transition from Christianity to Islam is not hindered, and in many cases is favored by the very Registry officials.

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

Libya: After Attack on Italian Consul, Security to be Upped

Salafist extremists behind attack, Rome will not leave Cyrenaica

(ANSAmed) — ROME — Security measures were upped for Italian consul to Benghazi Guido De Sanctis after gunmen opened fire on his armoured car Saturday in an attack which could have been deadly, well informed sources in Libya said. The diplomat was given an armoured vehicle following the September 11 attack against the US consulate in Benghazi in which US ambassador Chris Sevens and another three American officials died.

According to the same sources, Italy is considering whether to postpone the arrival of the new consul who will replace De Sanctis, who had been scheduled to leave next week for his new post in Doha. After the attack however, the same sources said, it is hard for Italy — the only European country with a diplomatic post in Benghazi except for Malta which has a small office — to abandon Cyrenaica, a region with 80% of Libya’s economic resources. The consulate has an important role not only as far as cultural relations and visas are concerned, but also in assisting Italian companies which are already in the area or planning to invest there.

After this last, failed attack, authorities in Tripoli are working to boost security in the country and are aiming to create a special force to protect foreign diplomats in the country. The diplomatic security unit would be comprised of police forces and troops trained abroad and operate under the supervision of the defence ministry.

Security measures around the Italian consulate were already high and all foreign diplomats have now to warn authorities in Tripoli if they mean to travel more than 80km from their base.

But Libyan authorities still consider these measures insufficient.

The attack by unidentified gunmen who opened fire with Kalashnikov guns against De Sanctis’ vehicle has been compared to an attack last June against the convoy of British Ambassador Dominic Asquith which was reportedly better organized. The British diplomat was unharmed.

According to the same sources who quoted local press reports, many in Libya believe that the attack against De Sanctis should be attributed to the success of the mission in Italy of provisional Libyan leader El-Mgarief, who was received last Thursday at the Italian foreign ministry together with a delegation of Tripoli’s government and 70 Italian companies.

The militants behind the attack are allegedly concerned that efforts by the new government to boost economic and diplomatic relations with the international community could signal the success of the revolution. Many believe they are members of extremist Salafite movements close to al Qaida active in Cyrenaica. The area has been a stronghold of the revolution but is now at the centre of terror activities against members of countries which supported the revolution to oust Gaffadi, which led to the deadly attack in which Ambassador Stevens died.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Diana West: The Fox Effect, Pt. 3

Saudi journalist Hazma Kashgari (photo above) has spent almost the entire past year in a Saudi prison — the Islamic Gulag — for tweeting an imaginary conversation with Mohammed. King Abdullah — the man Barack Obama bowed to, the man George W. Bush kissed and held hands with, and the man whose nephew, Prince Talal bin Alwaleed, is a major stock-holder in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. — put him there. Kashgari’s story, and treatment of his story at Fox and elsewhere, is below.

From the vault:…

           — Hat tip: Diana West[Return to headlines]

Migration Flows to Saudi Arabia Must be Regulated to Avoid Another Rizana Nafeek

Source talks to AsiaNews about illegal labour practices involving migrants to Saudi Arabia from Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. “Exporting” countries fail to protect their migrants. In Rizana Nafeek’s case, Sri Lankan authorities failed to provide her with a lawyer during her trial.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) — “The government of Sri Lanka deserted Rizana Nafeek; first, by allowing her to go to a foreign country even though she was a minor; then, by leaving her all alone to face the court without a lawyer,” an anonymous Saudi source spoke to AsiaNews about the young Sri Lankan Muslim woman who was executed yesterday in Saudi Arabia for allegedly killing an infant.

Although Sri Lankan authorities expressed their condolences to the family, with parliament holding a minute of silence in her memory, Rizana’s fate shows that the real problem is not the death penalty but “the trafficking of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers into the kingdom,” the source said.

In her case, errors were made from the start, the source explained, beginning with her arrest in 2005 following the child’s death and in 2007 when the court sentenced her to death.

“Where was the Sri Lankan Embassy in the past five, six years? A Sri Lankan national, a human being above all, was in prison. If she had received assistance right away, perhaps things might have turned out differently.”

The single case aside, the problem of underage migrant workers remains. “From a Sri Lankan perspective, I do not see any good reason to allow minors to emigrate for work,” the source said. “Caring for babies is a hard job and requires training. If something happens to the infant who is to blame?”

From this point of view, “the government of Sri Lanka is responsible for what happened to Rizana Nafeek.” At the same time, “Saudi Arabia is also responsible for allowing a minor to come in to do a tough job.”

News about children, sometimes their mothers, killed or beaten by maids, babysitters and cleaning ladies appear in Saudi media on a regular basis. “This is becoming a humanitarian issue that must be dealt with,” the source explained.

Clear rules to regulate migration flows are needed. First of all, human traffickers must be identified and arrested in labour “exporting” countries likes Sri Lanka, India or Pakistan as well as in Saudi Arabia. Secondly, “Bilateral agreements protecting the rights of migrants must also be signed,” the source said. “Migrants should be 21 or older and have an adequate level of education and training.”

In 2011, Saudi Arabia signed a series of agreements with the Philippines in that sense.

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


Russia to Produce Soyuz Successor by 2020

(AGI) Moscow, Jan 14 — Russia is planning to replace its Soyuz spacecraft with a more modern version by 2020, the space agency Roscosmos made the announcement on its website. The project is expected to cost around 70 billion dollars. It is also planning to send an unmanned vehicle to the moon. ..

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

South Asia

Indonesia: Aceh Bans Women From Straddling Motorcycles

Indonesia’s northwestern province Aceh has introduced a controversial new law banning women from sitting on motorcycles with their legs apart. Activists are calling for a reversal of the ban.

Despite opposition from human rights activist, authorities in Aceh’s city administration of Lhokseumawe decided to release a law banning women from straddling motorbikes earlier this week.

“We’re going ahead with the ban. There’s no resistance here. The criticism did not come from Aceh,” Dasni Yuzar, the city secretary of Lhokseumawe, stated in an interview with DW.

Yuzar also said around 50 streamers had already been distributed all over Lhokseumawe, explaining the proper way for women to sit on the back of motorbikes. Almost a week ago leaflets were distributed to government offices and villages to inform residents about the planned bylaw.

Mayor Suaidi Yahya, who had proposed the law, appealed to the public on Monday, January 7, saying it was not meant to discriminate against women, but instead help the implementation of Sharia law in Aceh.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Sri Lanka: People in the Streets to Mark the Justice System’s ‘Black Friday’

After a sham impeachment process, parliament votes a motion against Supreme Court Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. President Mahinda Rajapaksa wants to replace her with one of his cronies. Thousands of people take to the street to mourn the death of justice.

Colombo (AsiaNews) — For thousands of people-lawyers, politicians, religious leaders and activists-, today is ‘black Friday’, a day to mourn the death of justice in front of parliament building, wearing dark hats and flags.

The debate over the motion began in the legislature yesterday and will end tomorrow. If lawmakers vote in its favour, President Mahinda Rajapaksa can replace Justice Badaranayake with another justice.

Various opposition parties, including the United National Party and the Tamil National Alliance, said they would vote against the motion. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna party, a Marxist party, said it would boycott the vote.

Tabled in parliament in November, the motion against Badaranayake blames her for some 20, vaguely defined offences that range from having undeclared assets to violating the constitution.

More than a month ago, the chief justice was subjected to sham hearings by a select committee of parliament that culminated in her lawyers walking out on 7 December when the committee refused to give them the list of witnesses.

Civil society groups, including Catholic and Buddhist leaders, and the international community have criticised the whole process as a way for the government to interfere with the courts.

Yesterday, some government supporters who tried to attack a march organised by ordinary Sri Lankan and lawyers organisations were stopped by police.

Anton Marcus, a Catholic, was among the protesters. He said that the government is showing how far it it is willing to go to ride roughshod over anybody to violate the constitution.

For Fr Sarath Iddamalgoda, a human rights activist and a member of the Christian Solidarity Movement, independent courts are essential for democracy.

“There is always talk about development, but the poor are denied their rights in the name of the economy,” he said.

Local and foreign private enterprises, he noted, are grabbing land from farmers with the support of the government, and the exploitation and underpayment of workers is a major problem.

“For these people, the only hope is the courts’ relative independence,” the priest explained. “However, if the government takes over the courts, then no one can be sure that their rights will be protected.”

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

Far East

China: Beijing Bathes in Thick Smog, Deemed Dangerous by UN

Chinese media have criticized high levels of smog in the capital, after authorities were forced to advise people to stay indoors at the weekend. Pollution has hit levels deemed dangerous by the World Health Organization.

The Chinese capital Beijing was blanketed in thick grey smog for a fifth consecutive day on Monday, prompting the national press to question what can be done to improve the city’s air quality.

Pollution levels peaked over the weekend at a level more than twice as high as the benchmark considered dangerous by the World Health Organization.

Some construction sites were instructed to down tools, schools cancelled outdoor activities and some factories ran below capacity on Monday, as the city sought to bring the pollution levels under control. The measures showed some signs of progress by the afternoon, according to figures compiled by the US Embassy.

“How can we get out of this suffocating siege of pollution?” the Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, asked in a front-page editorial. “Let us clearly view managing environmental pollution with a sense of urgency.”

State media are thought to have a comparatively free hand to report on issues like pollution, primarily because it is so apparent to all.

China is in the midst of its coldest winter in years, prompting higher use of energy at home. The country is also one of the world’s fastest-growing car markets.

Authorities on Saturday warned people to stay indoors, avoid outdoor exercise and steer clear of the most polluted areas in central Beijing if possible.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Police Struggle to Keep Lid on More Racial Clashes in Logan, While Logan Mayor Pam Parker Calls for “Zero Tolerance” Approach

RACIAL violence erupted in Logan again last night, as police struggled to separate a group of Pacific Islanders and Aborigines for the third night.

Premier Campbell Newman joined police in appealing for calm, while Logan mayor Pam Parker demanded an immediate increase in police presence and a “zero tolerance” approach in the south-eastern Queensland multicultural community.

Two families living just 200m apart have blamed each other for violent clashes that have turned suburban streets into a battlefield.

Up to 40 people fought with sticks, planks, metal bars and bricks over consecutive nights at Douglas St, Woodridge.

Both sides claim racial tensions are behind the violence, which started after cars were vandalised on Saturday night.

Soane Palau needed eight stitches for a head wound he said was sustained outside his home while defending his family from an angry mob early yesterday.

He has lived in Douglas St for five years with his eight children, including four adult sons, and said it was the first incident of its kind.

He said the violence came from run-ins over a period of years between Islander and Aboriginal residents.

“As Tongans we are very friendly people and we want to leave it that way,” Mr Palau, 47, said. “Because of what has happened before with Pacific Islander boys, we copped it as well. They look at us and think we’re all the same but we’re not. We want to live in peace.”

Colin Barlow, from the rival house down the road, said he was forced to hide as Islanders pelted the home with bricks and threatened to set it alight on Saturday night.

“There were 11 of us all in the back room with the door locked, cupboards pushed up against it,” he said. “My son was next to the door with a knife. He said ‘I’m going to die before I let anyone hurt my family’. As far as the Aboriginal people are concerned, it is racial. It’s been going on for too long. People being attacked, set upon, the same group of people.”

The area has attracted growing attention after a series of tragic encounters, including the death of Aboriginal youth Jackson Doolan, 17, last month…

           — Hat tip: The Observer[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

China Expands Media Reach in Africa

With the introduction of a radio broadcaster, news agency, TV station and newspaper to the African market, the reach of Chinese media is rapidly expanding. Some say China aims to dominate the African media sector.

In the first six months of 2012 alone, China invested $45 billion (34 billion euros) in Africa, while Sino-African trade has tripled in the last three years. Now, the Asian giant is seeking to make a name for itself in the African media sector by investing in modern technologies and giving scholarships to African journalists to work in China.

Mary Harper, author and Africa expert with the BBC, said China’s growing influence in the media sector is a “natural progression.”

“If you look at China in the past few years, it looks at Africa as a giant resource and it’s now Africa’s biggest trading partner — it’s replaced the West,” she told DW.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

France Fears Somali Islamists May Display Dead Frenchmen

(AGI) — Paris, Jan 14 — France fears that Somali jihadists are planning to display the bodies of soldiers and an intelligence agent. “All indications unfortunately lead us to believe that al-Shabab are preparing to organise a disgraceful and macabre display,” said Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The agent was killed during a failed operation to rescue a French hostage who has been held since July 2009 by al-Shebaab.

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

Mali Rebels Take Central Town of Diabaly

Jihadists in Mali have seized a central town as they push southwards. The developments followed assurances from France that Mali rebel advancements had been halted after airstrikes in the north of the country.

Islamist rebels battling to take control of Mali on Monday took the town of Diabaly, in the center of the country, according to the French defense ministry.

The developments come after jihadists launched a counter-offensive earlier in the day against Malian government forces backed by French air raids and ground troops. The latter alliance has been trying to prevent Islamist rebels, who already have control of northern Mali, from pushing southwards.

And the news also comes despite earlier assurances from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday that the Islamist rebels had been largely seen off. “Blocking the terrorists, that’s done,” Fabius told RTL radio and LCI television in an interview. “What we started today was taking care of the terrorists’ strongholds.”

Fabius added that Gao, one of three northern Malian towns captured last year by the al Qaeda-linked rebels, was one of the strongholds that had been targeted.

Defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had also told i-Tele channel that the strikes were to prepare the ground for a combined Malian and African force to retake control of the country by attacking rebel camps, infrastructure and warehouses.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Mali’s Islamists Threaten to Strike on French Soil

Islamists based in northern Mali, under daily bombardment by France’s warplanes, vowed Monday to avenge the assault on French soil as well as in Africa.

“France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France,” said Abou Dardar, a leader of Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an offshoot of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), speaking to AFP by telephone.

Asked where they would strike, he said: “Everywhere. In Bamako, in Africa and in Europe.”

The French offensive has blocked the advance of Islamist forces towards the capital Bamako from their bases in the north which they have controlled since last April.

On Sunday, French aviation struck at targets in the central Islamist strongholds of Gao and Kidal.

Sixty Islamists were killed in Gao alone on Sunday, according to residents and a regional security force.

The MUJAO official also referred to France’s eight hostages held in the Sahel region.

“We will make a statement on the hostages today. From today all the mujahedeen are together.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Mali: Hundreds Fleeing to Mauritania

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, JANUARY 14 — Hundreds of Malians, mostly from the cities of Lere’ and Konna, have been fleeing the conflict by crossing the border with Mauritania in the past few hours, the local press reports. Once in Mauritania, the refugees are reportedly travelling to the city of Fassala. According to reports citing the refugees, jihadist militants who were based in Lere’ and Konna have been fleeing the area hit by French air raids.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Malian Islamists Take Over Town North of Capital

(AGI) — Bamako, Jan 14 — The Islamists who occupy the north of Mali are advancing south into government-controlled areas. They have taken the town of Diabaly, 400 kilometres north of the capital, Bamako. A Malian security source said a helicopter has been sent to the area. The rebels are believed to come from the area near the border with Mauritania, and are fleeing French bombardments.

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

Turkey Sets Its Sights on Africa

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Gabon, Niger and Senegal as part of an African tour. China, India and Brazil have all increased their presence on the continent. Now Turkey is in the mix.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Immigration is British Society’s Biggest Problem, Shows Survey of Public

Immigration is regarded by the public as the biggest issue facing British society, a major new survey taking stock of the state of the country reveals.

One in three people believes tension between immigrants and people born in the UK is the major cause of division, while well over half regard it as one of the top three causes.

Over the past two decades, both immigration and emigration have increased to historically high levels, with those entering the country exceeding those leaving by more than 100,000 in every year since 1998

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Ireland: Doctor Who Worked in Hospitals Here Failed to Reveal Conviction for Drugs Smuggling

A NIGERIAN doctor who was imprisoned for drugs smuggling went on to work in a number of Irish hospitals.

Dr Chidozie Onovo (43) worked as a senior house officer and a psychiatric registrar in the Munster region between 2004 and 2008.

This was despite him being convicted at Southwark Crown Court in London in 1998 of trying to smuggle 4.5kg of cannabis at Heathrow Airport and sentenced to two years in prison.

A Medical Council fitness to practice hearing held in Dublin this morning heard that, in his registration applications, Dr Onovo denied he had any criminal convictions.

However his criminal record only came to light when he went to work in New Zealand. Background checks by immigration officials revealed his drugs conviction.

He was convicted at the District Court in Christchurch of supplying false or misleading information to an immigration official and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Dr Onovo did not attend this morning’s hearing and the fitness to practice committee heard that efforts to contact him and trace his current whereabouts have been unsuccessful.

The hearing continues.

           — Hat tip: McR[Return to headlines]

Obama Will Seek Citizenship Path in One Fast Push

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Paul Ryan Backs Marco Rubio’s Immigration Plan

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s immigration plan in a Facebook post, a high-profile endorsement from a potential rival.

“Senator Rubio is exactly right on the need to fix our broken immigration system,” Ryan wrote on his Facebook page. “I support the principles he’s outlined: modernization of our immigration laws; stronger security to curb illegal immigration; and respect for the rule of law in addressing the complex challenge of the undocumented population. Our future depends on an immigration system that works.”

Rubio has not introduced a bill detailing his immigration policy. He told the Wall Street Journal that he supports citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but that they should be allowed to stay: “They would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, maybe even do community service.” Most would then be able to apply for permanent residency and possibly citizenship, but “they’d get behind everybody who came before them” in line. The plan already faces some pushback from conservatives who see it as another form of amnesty.

Both Rubio and Ryan are considered likely presidential candidates.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

‘We Don’t Know How Many People Will Come From Bulgaria and Romania’: UK’s Housing Market to Come Under Pressure From New Wave of EU Immigrants, Eric Pickles Warns

Ministers are under fire for refusing to release figures on how many Romanian and Bulgarian migrants could come to Britain when labour market controls are lifted at the end of this year.

An influx of migrants from the two countries will create ‘problems’ with the scarce housing supply, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles warned — but he refused to give out details of how many were expected to come.

Some 21million Romanians and 7million Bulgarians will be free to travel and work in Britain from the end of this year when transitional controls on EU migrants expire.

Mr Pickles yesterday confirmed he had seen estimates of how many would come to the UK but refused to divulge the information.

Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Estonia all joined the EU in 2004 — giving them unrestricted access to the UK’s labour market.

Since then, the number of immigrants from these ‘A8’ nations, which have 73million people between them, has rocketed from just 94,000 to 1,079,000.

Prime Minister David Cameron backed Mr Pickles’ refusal to publish the Government’s immigration estimates.

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Ban on Graphic Abortion Signs a Free Speech Threat

One group of pro-life activists in Colorado has been demonstrating against abortion almost every day. They often carry signs with messages like “Protect the unborn” or “Let your baby live.”

But some are much more graphic.

Now the state Supreme Court in Denver is allowing an injunction against such signs to stand, ruling they cause “psychological harm” to children under 12.

Attorney Rebecca Messall vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“If these pictures cause psychological harm and can be made the subject of an injunction, that opens the door to an end to our First Amendment protection,” Messall said. “It could be argued that a crucifix is too gory for children to view under age 12.”

Anti-abortion protester Ken Scott said he shows such graphic photos because they’re effective in swaying women against having an abortion.

“The reason that we have the signs is because when we’ve talked to women who’ve changed their mind, 50 percent say it’s because they saw the picture,” Scott told CBN News. “A picture’s worth a thousand words and it shows the truth.”

           — Hat tip: Kitman[Return to headlines]

French Government Holds Firm on Gay Marriage

France’s Socialist government vowed to push on with its plans to legalise gay marriage on Monday, a day after hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Paris calling for the bill to be scrapped.

Despite Sunday’s demonstration being considered one of the biggest in recent history with hundreds of thousands taking part, the French government insists it will not listen to those calling for it to bin the proposal.

Speaking to Europe 1 radio on Monday, the Minister of Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem reiterated the Socialists determination to legalise gay-marriage as well as open adoption to same-sex couples.

“The government is totally committed to achieving this historic reform, which will not represent a victory for one side or the other but progress for society as a whole,” she said.

Law should be discussed in parliament, not the street

The turn-out for Sunday’s march in Paris was estimated somewhere between 340,000 and 800,000 with demonstrators travelling from all over France to voice their anger at the government.

“We have taken note of the rally and I am very respectful towards people’s right to protest, which is a fundamental right in our country,” Vallaud-Belkacem said. “But I am respectful of the right that this reform should be discussed by parliament and not on the street.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Message to Teacher: Either Religious Items Go… Or You Do

It’s a question about common sense. When a high school has a gay and lesbian group and also has a Bible study group, why is it that the teacher involved with the Bible study group is the one coming under fire? But that’s exactly what’s happening at one school, where the teacher is being told to remove religious items from her classroom and not participate in the Bible study meetings or activities.

Yes, this story is for real, and it’s just another example of how anything goes in today’s high schools except Christianity, of course. As reported by WIVB Channel 4 in New York, a Cheektowaga high school science teacher is now fighting back with her own law suit.

Joelle Silver, a teacher at the school for seven years, says she received a “counseling letter” to remove the items from her classroom. The suit was filed against the district, President of the Board of Education Brian J. Gould, and Superintendent of Schools Dennis Kane.

The complaint filed by the AFLC claims other teachers and faculty at the school were not required to remove items of personal or religious speech. One of the arguments the document makes is in reference to a social worker at the school, who the complaint alleges, by contrast, is allowed to promote a “gay rights agenda.”

According to the report, all of this started when one student… ONE… complained. And, of course, the student didn’t go through the school system. Instead the student contacted the Freedom from Religion group, who is always willing to threaten legal action all in the effort to force God completely out of society.

The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) has come to the aid of the teacher, Joelle Silver.

Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented, “This is one of the most egregious examples of religious hostility I have witnessed in a public school. Ms. Silver does not cease being a Christian nor does she shed her constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”

According to the “counseling letter,” which is now a permanent part of Silver’s employment file, failure to follow any of the directions would lead to “serious disciplinary consequences, including the termination of [her] employment.”

[Return to headlines]

The Progressive Global Sharing Economy

Another glaring example of a forced march towards communism in the name of social justice, social equity, environmental justice.

U.S. taxpayer, meet the newest liberal scheme to lighten your pocketbook of your hard-earned cash: the Global Sharing Economy. If you think this is not serious, consider the billions that you are already contributing to friends and foes across the globe in aid via United Nations and other myriad of nonprofits under the umbrella of our generous federal government.

This scheme is rather simple. You can tell how serious these progressives are by the length of their report, 170 pages. The London headquartered Share the World’s Resources ( is advocating for an international program of emergency relief to prevent poverty.

We have already spent trillions of dollars in the war on poverty in the past fifty years and we are nowhere close to eradicating poverty. We lost this war long time ago as populations have become accustomed to welfare and a lifestyle of welfare dependency and entitlements without any incentive for meaningful work and contribution to society.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Child Trafficking on the Rise, UN Says

The UN Children’s Fund and Germany’s Federal Criminal Agency have released shocking figures. Offenders rake in billions of dollars with the purchase and sale of children, while authorities remain in the dark.

It’s always the same story: A lack of care and education lead to poverty and despair — hopeless situations that human traffickers worldwide take advantage of.

The force their victims into prostitution, force them to work and misuse them for illegal trade in organs. Experts estimate the number of victims to be in the millions. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report that based on official data supplied by 132 countries, children and young people up to the age of 18 make up a large percentage of all human trafficking cases: 27 percent between 2007 and 2010. Of these, two-thirds were girls.

According to the study, the majority of child victims were found in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific. More than half were found to be forced into prostitution, about 36 percent into forced labor, while others toiled as beggars or maids.

The situation has been getting worse in countries that were part of the former Communist Bloc. Children who grow up in broken families are particularly vulnerable, Anne Lütkes of Unicef’s German branch said Thursday (10.01.2013) at a news conference in Berlin. Many children in Romania are not even registered, she added. “These children can simply disappear without anyone ever knowing they existed,” Lütkes said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]


Anonymous said...

Why does so much of the news feed consist of JD's uneducated rants, rather than actual news?