Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/26/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 7/26/2009A deadly apartment fire in Rinkeby in Sweden has killed a number of people, including several trapped in an elevator. The victims in this case were immigrants, but it’s not yet clear whether this is an instance of Cultural Enrichment — that is, a lethal escalation of the routine arson prevalent in Swedish immigrant enclaves.

In other news, India has launched a nuclear submarine.

Thanks to AA, Barry Rubin, Gaia, heroyalwhyness, Insubria, JD, Sean O’Brian, Steen, TB, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
- - - - - - - - -
Financial Crisis
Fiscal Ruin of the Western World Beckons
Constitutional Crisis Looming?
Kosher ‘Cosa Nostra’, Shas Rabbis Worry Israel
Europe and the EU
German Politicians Get Into Hot Water on Holiday
Italy: Neither-Nor Generation of 700,000 “Convinced Inactive” Youngsters Aged From 15 to 35
Jewish Family: German Officer Spat on Our Passports
Six Die in Stockholm Apartment Fire
Sweden: ‘Overwhelming Evidence’ Against Father: Court
Switzerland: Government Sets Date for Minaret Ballot
UK: Boy, 16, Arrested After Muslim Woman’s Lover is ‘Forced to Drink Acid’
UK: Equality Boss ‘Played Race Card to Save Job’Jonathan Oliver and Jack Grimston
UK: Muslims Refuse to Use Alcohol-Based Hand Gels Over Religious Beliefs
UK: Man Held After Confronting Gang at Home
UK: Secret Labour Tax on Having a Patio: Millions of Homes Assessed for Charge Which Hammers Middle Classes
North Africa
Egyptian Teen’s Murderers Sentenced to Death
Libya Asks for Lockerbie Bomber to be Freed
Israel and the Palestinians
Nonie Darwish: ‘An Arab for Israel’
Tomb Probe Finds Remains of St Paul
Middle East
2009: A Diplomatic Odyssey
Iran Accused of ‘Zionist’ Tactics
Is There a War on the ‘Veil’ In Jordan?
Saudi Veiled Girl Crowned Miss Moral Beauty
UN: Arab Populations From 317 to 396 Mln in 5 Years
South Asia
India Launches Nuclear Submarine
Pakistan Holds Pro-Taliban Cleric
Far East
Communist Party Magazine Gets English Edition
Rio’s Hardball Garners Faceless Doll, China Crisis
Australia — Pacific
Anzacs’ Atrocity Had to be Done: Digger
Chinese Hack Film Festival Site
Latin America
The Chavez-Obama U.N. Plot Against Honduras
Why Brazil Gave Way on Itaipu Dam
Books: Dreams of Sand, Migrants Stuck in the Maghreb
Italy Asks for EU Help, AI Wants Rights Defence
UK: Points Bonus for Scots Immigrants
Culture Wars
The U.N. Seizure of Parental Rights, Part 1
Peer-Reviewed Study Rocks Climate Debate!
Researchers Produce Cells They Say Are Identical to Embryonic Stem Cells

Financial Crisis

Fiscal Ruin of the Western World Beckons

For a glimpse of what awaits Britain, Europe, and America as budget deficits spiral to war-time levels, look at what is happening to the Irish welfare state.


No doubt Ireland has been the victim of a savagely tight monetary policy — given its specific needs. But the deeper truth is that Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the US, and Japan are in varying states of fiscal ruin, and those tipping into demographic decline (unlike young Ireland) have an underlying cancer that is even more deadly. The West cannot support its gold-plated state structures from an aging workforce and depleted tax base.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Constitutional Crisis Looming?

The inflammatory issue of Barrack Obama’s birth certificate is gathering steam across America: Was he or was he not born in the United States?

If he was born anywhere other than on American soil, then his presidency is invalidated. Why? The Constitution of the United States pointedly requires that the President be a natural born citizen.

Defusing the issue would be easy: Obama could simply provide a legitimate and complete birth certificate proving his birth location. Not only has he stubbornly refused to do so, but he has spent several million dollars in legal fees to thwart various citizen lawsuits that demand proper disclosure.

Obama has also legally cloaked records that could potentially support or discredit his citizenship claims, like school records and transcripts from Harvard and Occidental College. Some investigators suspect that he may have applied for admission as a foreign student.

The pack of critics (called “birthers” by Obama defenders) is getting larger by the day. Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh are both talking about it. WorldNet Daily devoted an entire issue of WhistleBlower Magazine to it. Lawyers have filed dozens of lawsuits. Military officers are challenging poten tially illegal orders to be deployed to combat zones overseas. Left-wing organizations are being drawn into vocal opposition, thus stirring the pot even more.

As the battle heats up, the attacks on the “birthers” by their detractors (mostly left-wing) is taking on a familiar pattern. The former are being being ruthlessly ridiculed, scorned and marginalized as the “lunatic fringe.”

So far, neither side has blinked. Neither is willing to give an inch. The battle lines have been drawn.

Herein lies the problem.

Barrack Obama’s approval rating is already dropping like a rock and the public is more sharply polarized than ever.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Kosher ‘Cosa Nostra’, Shas Rabbis Worry Israel

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, JULY 24 — Directors of the orthodox Shas party, one of the most influential in Israeli politics, are holding their breath while awaiting the results of an FBI investigation into New Jersey rabbis which yesterday led to dozens of arrests. Despite the imminent arrival of the sabbatical rest, the local press gave ample room to the issue. Orthodox Jewish websites are expressing worries insofar as well known exponents of the orthodox environment have been placed under arrest, some of whom have interests in Israel. Shas is particularly worried that the issue may have serious consequences for the finances of (eastern) Sephardic religious institutions in Israel, which traditionally receive the support of Jewish communities of Syrian origin which are especially active in New York, Panama, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Yesterday the FBI arrested three key figures of this community: rabbi Shaul Katzin (aged 90, suspected of money laundering, even though Israel claims that he abandoned all activities some time ago); financier Edmund Nahum, aka ‘Nahum the Wise’, and rabbi Eliahu Ben Haim. In Israel the latter is said to be a close friend of rabbi Yaakov Yossef, son of the sounder of Shas Ovadia Yossef. The orthodox press commented that the FBI deftly manipulated a high profile operation to gain prestige, by “artificially connecting three unrelated investigations”, i.e. money laundering, organ trafficking (with the involvement of rabbi Levy Itzhak Rosenbaum), and corruption of US politicians. Members of orthodox ashkenazite Jewish sects of central European origin such as the Belz and Satmar have also been placed under arrest. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

German Politicians Get Into Hot Water on Holiday

One is in hot water after her car was stolen in Spain, another found himself in alligator-infested waters in Florida: the holiday season has been anything but relaxing for two German politicians.

Health Minister Ulla Schmidt was under fire on Sunday after it emerged that thieves had made off with her €90,000 official Mercedes S-class during her holiday on the Costa Blanca in eastern Spain.

The minister flew to Alicante at her own expense but her driver drove the 2,387 kilometres (1,483 miles) from Berlin to assist her in carrying out some official duties, prompting outrage from the press and rival politicians.

The head of campaign group “The Taxpayers’ Union”, Reiner Holznagel, told mass circulation newspaper Bild am Sonntag, “We want an explanation as to why her official car had to be taken some 5,000 kilometres across Europe. Taxpayers’ money should not be used for the comfort of a minister.”

Schmidt’s spokeswoman said she intended to use the car only for official functions such as a meeting on Monday with Germans living in Spain, but the head of the parliamentary budget committee said she would have to explain why she did not use an embassy vehicle.

The press was kinder to the former Bavarian state premier, Günther Beckstein, who said he “came within a whisker of being eaten by an alligator.”

The 65-year-old was on a trip through the Florida everglades to observe alligators when their boat suddenly capsized. “Thank God no alligator attacked us,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Italy: Neither-Nor Generation of 700,000 “Convinced Inactive” Youngsters Aged From 15 to 35

No work, no studies

MILAN — “My name is Maria Elena Crespi, Malena for my one or two friends. I’m 23, I live just outside Milan and I don’t work or study. Do I feel ashamed? No”. Malena has a name, a surname, a fresh complexion and the history of disillusion and disengagement that the Spanish have labelled the “Generación ni-ni: ni estudia ni trabaja”. The generation that neither studies nor works. Teens and young adults in Spain, Italy, Britain and America. Lots of them, and the number is growing, although they are not yet in the majority. In Italy, the phenomenon has not been named, or at least not yet, but sociologists and psychologists know it well. And unpublished data in the Youth Report 2008, from the department of social, economic, actuarial and demographic studies at La Sapienza university in Rome, appear to confirm it. Further corroboration comes from cross-referencing the figures with data from the ISTAT national statistics institute’s study Work Force 2008. In the 15-19 age group, there are 270,000 young people (9%) who do not study and do not work. Most are unable to find a job but 50,000 say they are unemployed by choice and 11,000 say they want nothing to do with work or study (“I’m not interested”, “I don’t need to”).

There is a similar trend among young adults aged from 25 to 35, of whom 1.9 million neither study nor work. That means one in four (25%): 1.2 million of these young people are unemployed, although some of them say they aren’t looking for work seriously because they are “discouraged” or because “there isn’t any work anyway” but 700,000 are “convinced inactive” youngsters who are not looking for work and are unwilling to look for it. It has been estimated that if Italy had an unemployment rate comparable to the Netherlands, which leads the EU table with 81.3% employed in the 15-39 age group, our GDP would be one or two percentage points higher. But the Neither-Nor phenomenon goes beyond mere numbers. In Spain, according to a recent Metroscopia survey published in El País for the media debut of the “Generación ni-ni”, some 54% of young people in the 18-35 age group say they “have no plan onto which to project their interests or ambitions”.

The recurring theme is: “Studying is a waste of time. It doesn’t open any doors to the future. I’m not looking for work because I wouldn’t find it anyway”. The crisis seems to have exasperated the reluctance to make an effort. Young Spaniards, 80% of whom are satisfied with their private lives, feel they are victims of “employment devastation”. Even those who in the end opt for study feel they have no prospects. “When they realise what awaits them, they continue to study and travel, perhaps working as waiters to pay for a master’s degree while mum and dad wait for them at home”. The snapshot of Italy’s “neither nors” is much the same. Cosseted by society and hyper-protected by their families, like the “bamboccioni” (stay-at-homes), but much too aware of their choices to be labelled as such; as listless and relatively defenceless as Generation X but too young to be lumped in with it; surrounded by siblings and friends who are emblematic of the “1,000-euro Generation” but too disillusioned to look for a place in their world. “They don’t work because their family maintains them and they can’t get a job. They don’t study, or study less than they used to, because syllabuses are less challenging and there is no selection”, says psychotherapist Anna Oliviero Ferraris. “If the model is Big Brother (if you want to earn some cash, all you have to do is get on TV), then the idea that you don’t have to make an effort to succeed takes root. And they drift on to the age of 30 without a life plan. But motivation has to be nurtured from childhood. Along with the idea that struggle and sacrifice are part of real life. And they’re what make it so good”.

In her book-lined room, Malena agrees: “That’s right. But I struggle for what I want. For the time being, I’m fine like this. Perhaps my parents are less happy, like my old Italian teacher who always saw a future for me that was ‘promising’ (what an awful word). And perhaps like society, which won’t accept anyone looking for a way forward that isn’t the 1,120 euros a month my doctorate-holding sister earns”. Daniele, a pseudonym, adds: “If that road ever existed, they’ve taken it away from me. My brother did all he could to please other people and now he has no job and no life of his own. I refuse to give up what I am but I’m not happy like this”. Enrico B., 26, doesn’t study or work but he has a partner and a little boy to look after: “My job? For months it was looking for a job. Now I take whatever comes along”. Who looks out for your boy? “My mother and my father. For the time being, we’re living with them. Later on, we’ll see”.

English translation by Giles Watson

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Jewish Family: German Officer Spat on Our Passports

Michael and Dvora Sitbon fly with their four children from France to Israel with layover in Germany, where they say border officer humiliated them, made hand motions pretending to shoot them

The Sitbon family will not forget their most recent flight to Israel for quite some time. Paris residents Michael and Dvora Sitbon flew with their four children from France to the Holy Land. During their layover in Germany, they claim they were subjected to degrading and racist treatment by one of the German border officers.

Once the border officer saw 26-year-old Dvora’s Israeli passport, he spat on it and made a gesture with his hands as if he were trying to shoot her, the Sitbon couple told French-Jewish radio station Radio Shalom.

“We were shocked. It is very painful. My wife is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. She lives and breaths this issue and was shocked by the incident,” said Michael, 28. “We flew by way of Germany because it was the least expensive, but my wife never wants to go back there.”

According to the couple, who have been living in France for the past three years, they arrived in the German airport on Thursday night from France with only a few minutes to catch their connecting flight to Israel. A border officer detained them at passport control. “When he saw that my wife’s passport is from Israel, he spat on it and didn’t let us pass, saying that she has overstayed her visit in France,” said Michael.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Six Die in Stockholm Apartment Fire

At least six people have died in a fire that broke out in an apartment in Rinkeby in western Stockholm on Saturday evening. Five of the dead are reported to be minors.

“They are born from the end of the 1990s to the end of the 2000s, but I do not want to confirm their exact ages,” said Håkan Westin of Stockholm police to news agency TT, confirming the five deaths.

The fire began on the ground floor of the building on Kuddbygränd in the district of Rinkeby, about 15 kilometres (10 miles) west of the Swedish capital, and all the victims died of smoke inhalation.

According to Westin there are indications that four of the victims died after becoming stuck in an elevator in the building.

The apartment was described by the emergency services as a loft apartment and it is not known how many people were inside when the fire broke out. By the time emergency services arrived on the scene the apartment was ablaze.

Twelve apartments in the building were evacuated and residents were unable to return to their homes later on Saturday night. Temporary accommodation was arranged for those affected.

Many of those interview by TT at the scene commented on what they felt was a inordinate delay in the arrival of the emergency services.

The cause of the fire had not yet been established by Sunday morning.

“We have called in technicians to examine what has happened,” said Lars Byström of Stockholm police at a press conference in Rinkeby.

TT’s reporter described chaotic scenes in the vicinity of the burning building and on Sunday morning many local residents remained in the dark over the safety of their friends, family and neighbours.

“I was woken up by the sirens during the night, I have friends that live in the building and I am trying to get hold of them now,” a neighbour told TT’s reported at the scene.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Sweden: ‘Overwhelming Evidence’ Against Father: Court

A guilty verdict appears likely for the father of four in Uppsala accused of abusing his wife and children and keeping them confined to the family apartment. The district court has found that there is overwhelming evidence against the man and has ordered him to undergo a physiatric evaluation.

“He is not yet convicted, but it is close,” the man’s lawyer, Claes Nylander, said.

When Friday’s trial against the 58-year-old father concluded, the Uppsala district court found ‘overwhelming evidence’ that he was guilty of the crimes. The court now has called for a so-called “paragraph 7” investigation to determine the sentencing.

“That is usually a sign that it will be a guilty verdict,” said Måns Karlsson, court reporter, but adds that it can be also called into use as new evidence in case of another trial.

Assistant prosecutor Anna Möller told TT that the mother and children are relieved that the trial is over and they have been able to testify.

According to the older daughter’s testimony, it has always been her dream to be able to live as everyone else. She was born in Sweden but has had to fight to learn the language, something she has done successfully.

“It’s called ‘learn by fear’, because if you are afraid of not being able to make it in the future, and you have a dream, then you put everything you have into it,” the 22-year-old said during the trial.

She also testified their 16-year-old sister was never subjected to the same treatment as the other three children.

“In my entire life, I have never been him hit her or raise his voice to her. She was allowed to watch Bolibompa, while we had to stay in our rooms. He bought her nice presents, and he got ours out of the rubbish bin.”

The younger sister testified on Friday. According to her, the father never confined nor hit members of the family. But the district court found overwhelming evidence of illegal imprisonment, abuse, illegal threat as well as one count of gross violation of a woman’s integrity.

Nylander, the father’s lawyer, emphasized the lack of supporting evidence, such as medical documentation, and that is the testimony of the accused that prevails in a case of one person’s word against the other.

Public prosecutor Johan Strömbäck argued in his closing statement that the investigation confirmed the testimonies of the mother and three children and called the father to be receive at least two years in prison.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Switzerland: Government Sets Date for Minaret Ballot

Voters will decide on November 29 on a controversial minaret ban proposed by righting parties.

Two other issues, including a ban on the export of war material, will also be put to a nationwide vote the same day, according to a statement by the Federal Chancellery on Wednesday.

In a recent interview with, Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said she hoped emotional factors would not influence the debate in the run-up to the ballot.

The cabinet and parliament have rejected the minaret initiative. The initiative has prompted widespread concerns, including from Muslim organisations.

As a general rule nationwide votes takes place four times a year.

The next ballot is scheduled for September 27 when citizens decide on a temporary increase in Valued Added Tax to shore up the disability insurance scheme and on a restriction of the scope of people’s initiatives. with agencies

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

UK: Boy, 16, Arrested After Muslim Woman’s Lover is ‘Forced to Drink Acid’

A 16-year-old boy is being held in custody after the attempted murder of a man in an alleged ‘honour’ acid attack.

The man, 24, was suspected of having an affair with a married Muslim woman. She has since been warned her life could also be in danger

Her alleged lover is fighting for his life after a masked gang stabbed him twice and forced him to swallow sulphuric acid.

The assailants also poured acid over his body and are feared to have beaten his face with bricks, leaving him blind in one eye.

Two men, aged 19 and 25, have been charged with attempted murder and Scotland Yard have now revealed a 16-year-old has been re-arrested over the attack.

‘Police have rearrested a 16 year old male in connection with the attempted murder of a 24 year old man in Leytonstone on July 2. He is currently in custody at an east London police station,’ a spokesman said.

The attack was allegedly carried out because the woman’s family believed she was having an affair with the 24-year-old man. She has denied having a relationship with him.

Police have reportedly warned the woman, whose family is from Pakistan, that her life may be at risk.

Detectives from Scotland Yard were said to have given her an ‘Osman warning’ — a formal alert she is under threat — but she has denied that she could be at risk.

Police, who have charged two men with attempted murder, are assessing how to protect her. Sources said one of the men is the woman’s brother.

Witnesses said the gang wore masks and gloves as they carried out the assault.

The victim’s tongue was destroyed by the acid he was forced to swallow and his throat was severely damaged. He suffered skull fractures and the acid caused 50 per cent burns to his body.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

UK: Equality Boss ‘Played Race Card to Save Job’Jonathan Oliver and Jack Grimston

Trevor Phillips, the government’s equality champion, has been accused of playing the “race card” to save his career, amid new, high-level walk-outs at his £70m, taxpayer-funded quango.

Phillips, the £120,000-a-year chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), told colleagues his enemies were trying to oust him because he was a “black man”, it was claimed last night.

He is alleged to have said his critics thought a “white woman” would have been able to do the job better.

Meanwhile, Phillips’s right-hand man, Kamal Ahmed, has this weekend resigned his post as director of communications.

It is understood a sixth member of the commission’s 16-strong ruling body is on the brink of quitting in protest at Phillips’s autocratic management style. Baroness Greengross, vice-president of Age Concern, said she was considering her future.

The allegations that Phillips has played the race card were made by Kay Hampton, a South African-born academic who quit as a commissioner in March.

Hampton, a black woman who is a veteran of the struggle against apartheid, said: “Nobody is prepared to challenge Trevor for fear of being accused of racism.

“He has already played the race card in the commission. I suspect this could be the reason why Harriet Harman (the equality minister) reappointed him (earlier this month).”

She recounted how in a telephone call earlier this year, Phillips had complained to her that he was a victim of racism.

“He told me: ‘There is a group [in the commission] that think I am not good enough because I am a black man, and a white woman should have got the post’.”

Hampton said Phillips had made phone calls making similar allegations to at least two other commissioners. “If he was not black, people could look more clearly at the wrongdoing rather than his colour and background,” she said.

The alleged remarks are surprising because in public Phillips has criticised trivial allegations of discrimination and taken issue with those who talk about “black victimhood”.

“In many parts of the country, the colour of a person’s skin is simply not an issue,” he wrote in January.

A spokesman for Phillips said: “We do not comment on private telephone conversations.”

Asked whether Phillips should now quit, Hampton said: “That is not for me to say. Trevor should examine his conscience.” Diane Abbott, the senior black Labour MP, added: “Trevor must consider his position.”

Yesterday, Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall who quit as a commissioner last week, added to the pressure on Phillips by disclosing his concerns about the chairman’s “probity”.

The new controversy over Phillips’s leadership was reignited earlier this month when Phillips was appointed for a second three-year term by Harman.

Last week, a scathing report from the National Audit Office (NAO) found the EHRC had spent nearly £1m when it re-employed seven staff from the defunct Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) immediately after they had received severance and early retirement payments. The EHRC had failed to seek Treasury approval.

Hampton, who was chairwoman of the CRE before it was merged into the new equality commission in 2007, said she had urged Phillips to take action over the arrangements.

“I warned him at the beginning about the whole problem. He did not want to know,” she said.

Summerskill, in his resignation letter to Harman, blamed Phillips personally.

“If your proposed re-appointment were to be made then, as chair of the commission’s audit and risk committee, I would feel entirely unable to offer future reassurance to the NAO that the commission was being led … with appropriate probity,” he wrote.

The commission said Phillips had played no role in the reappointments.

Nearly half Phillips’s fellow commissioners have now quit, accusing him of treating the quango as a personal platform.

Summerskill accused Phillips of running “a one-man show. He has made controversial announcements on the hoof without telling or consulting anyone”.

Others who have walked out claim he has treated them with disdain, working only through a tight group of cronies.

Phillips, 55, a former television executive, was seen as the man to weld together single-issue lobby groups on race relations, gay rights and disability rights into the EHRC.

He infuriated some commissioners with his public statements, claiming, for example, that the police were no longer “institutionally racist”.

The splits burst open in March when Hampton became the first commissioner to leave. The following month, Nicola Brewer, chief executive, went.

Phillips’s enemies then tried to manoeuvre with the government to get rid of him. Baroness Royall, the Labour leader in the Lords, Jack Straw, the justice secretary, and Maria Eagle, deputy to Harman, were sounded out.

Various other jobs were suggested for Phillips, including, according to one source, a peerage. It is understood Sir Gus O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary, quietly discouraged this.

The latest walkouts also include the disability campaigners Sir Bert Massie and Baroness Campbell and the human rights lawyer Francesca Klug.

Remaining members have been told they must reapply for jobs on a slimmed-down EHRC. Harman will choose the winners — a chance to pick a more pliant group.

An advertisement for eight commissioners’ jobs appears in today’s Sunday Times. The advert says they must “hold the chair … to account” and warns they will work in “a highly political environment”.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Muslims Refuse to Use Alcohol-Based Hand Gels Over Religious Beliefs

Some Muslims have refused to use alcohol-based hand gels to combat the spread of swine flu because they claim it is against their religion.

Some of those employed by St Albans Council in Hertfordshire have complained about the antibacterial lotion, which is considered a key strategy in containing the virus.

Officials were concerned because the Koran bans Muslims from consuming alcohol, so council chiefs issued them with non-alcohol hand gels, which studies have shown to be less effective in killing bugs.

But Muslim leaders criticised the council’s decision to change the gel, pointing out that Islamic teachings allow Muslims to use alcohol for medicinal purposes.

The Muslim Council of Britain said: ‘We would advise people to follow the medical advice so we would, of course, encourage people to use hand gel. ‘People need to find ways to accommodate their beliefs.’

Councils, schools and businesses across the country have ordered supplies of alcohol-based hand gels to reduce the spread of swine flu.

A spokesman for St Albans Council said it had issued hand gel to all employees in May.

           — Hat tip: Gaia[Return to headlines]

UK: Man Held After Confronting Gang at Home

A businessman was held on suspicion of attempted murder after confronting a gang of youths who allegedly threatened to kill his wife and attacked his stepson outside their home.

Colin Philpott was roused from bed and, still barefoot, challenged the group as his stepson, Alex, was battered in the front garden of the family’s £500,000 property.

In the scuffle which followed, one of the youths, named locally as Josh Hasler, was stabbed a number of times and collapsed in the street. Police were called, leading to the arrest of Mr Philpott and five of the youths, aged 16 and 17.

The incident took place in an estate in Crowthorne, Berks, which residents said had been plagued by problems with drunken, rowdy teenagers from outside the area who congregate at a nearby park.

Mr Philpott’s wife, Susanne, said she confronted the gang on Friday night after her husband’s van was damaged.

“It was all so very surreal and scary. You never expect this kind of violence to happen in your neighbourhood, let alone on your doorstep,” said Mrs Philpott, a training consultant.

“When the police arrived and arrested Colin, I was gobsmacked. It was heartbreaking to see him handcuffed and carted off like a common criminal — he is a hardworking, honest family man.

“Any action taken by my husband was as a result of a desire to protect his family and loved ones, and to defend his property.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

UK: Secret Labour Tax on Having a Patio: Millions of Homes Assessed for Charge Which Hammers Middle Classes

Shocking new details of a stealth tax of up to £600 for householders with views of any kind, patios, conservatories and even a nearby bus stop are revealed for the first time today.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show millions of homes have already been secretly assessed by Labour in preparation for council tax hikes expected to target the middle class after the Election.

Homes have been given ‘value significant codes’ which will make virtually every desirable feature taxable.

Although not every home has been assessed, so far nearly 100,000 householders face being penalised simply for having a scenic view from their windows.

Even those who have a mere glimpse of a river, hill or park — or any other pleasing outlook — stand to pay more under a special category for ‘partial scenic views’.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Egyptian Teen’s Murderers Sentenced to Death

Five young Egyptians were sentenced to death on Saturday for hurling a teenager to his death from a moving train after stealing his mobile phone, judicial sources said.

A court in Ismailiya, northeast of Cairo, found the men aged between 19 and 24 guilty of the murder last April of Mohammed Mahmud Hamed, 16.

The teenager was in an empty carriage of an Ismailiya-Zagazig train when he was set upon by the five assailants who seized his mobile and three Egyptian pounds (about $0.55).

They tied him up and threw him off the train, the court heard, and Hamed died on the spot when his head smashed against the ground. His attackers were tracked down after they sold the phone.

In Egypt, death sentences have to be approved by the mufti as being in line with Islamic law. Amnesty International said at least two people were executed in the country last year.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Libya Asks for Lockerbie Bomber to be Freed

The Libyan government has formally asked Scotland for the compassionate release of the former Libyan agent jailed for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the Scottish government said on Saturday.

Libyan authorities made the application on behalf of Abdel Basset al Megrahi, who was sentenced to life for blowing up a Pan Am airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

All 259 people on board the London to New York flight were killed, including 189 Americans, along with 11 people on the ground.

“We can confirm an application for compassionate release has been made by Mr al-Megrahi, and forwarded by the Libyan Government to the Scottish Ministers,” a Scottish government spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Scottish ministers will not comment on the content of the application and will now seek advice on the application.”

Libya has repeatedly brought up the fate of the 57-year-old Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, most recently at a meeting in Italy between Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier this month.

But the British government has said it is a matter for Scotland, which has a separate legal system from the rest of Britain.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill will now consider whether the application should be granted.

If it is, Megrahi would not be required to drop his appeal against his conviction.


Earlier this month, the Scottish Appeal Court said his hearing would not be concluded until next year, raising concern that Megrahi will die before the appeal is settled.

Megrahi, convicted in 2001 in a special Scottish court meeting in the Netherlands, is in Greenock prison in Scotland.

Some relatives of those killed in the bombing support the move to allow him to go home, since they have never been convinced of the Libyan’s guilt.

In May, Tripoli made an application to the Scottish government on Megrahi’s behalf for him to return to his homeland as part of a Prisoner Transfer Agreement. A decision is likely to take up to 90 days.

Megrahi has previously been denied bail to go home, requested on humanitarian grounds.

Four years after Megrahi’s conviction, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing and agreed to pay about $2.7 billion in compensation to the victims’ families — a move that helped clear the way for the lifting of sanctions and the restoration of Libya’s ties with Western states.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Nonie Darwish: ‘An Arab for Israel’

By Véronique Chemla

Nonie Darwish is an Egypt-born American writer. Her father was the chief of the Egyptian Military Intelligence in Gaza and was killed by the Israeli army in 1956.

Nonie Darwish was brought up in the hate of Jews and Israel.

She worked as a journalist in Egypt.

In 1978, she moved to the United States, and converted to Christianity.

Since September 11, she has advocated for a reform of Islam and peace with Israel. She has founded ArabsforIsrael.

She is the author of Now They Call Me Infidel, Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and The War On Terror (Sentinel, 2006) and Cruel and Usual Punishment, The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law (Thomas Nelson, 2009).

Slight, lively, she has gracefully accepted an interview in Paris.

Véronique Chemla: Nonie Darwish, thank you for accepting an interview. Let’s begin with your childhood…

Nonie Darwish: I was born in Cairo and grew up in Egypt-ruled Gaza in the 50’s. My memories of Gaza date until I was 8 and half years old. I was brought up in a Muslim Egyptian family.

My father, Lt. General Mustafa Hafez, lead the Egyptian Military Intelligence in Gaza. After the revolution, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt, was committed to unifying the Arab world and destroying Israel.

Egypt started the fedayeen operations against Israel from the Gaza strip. Fedayeen literally meant a man who self-sacrifices or ‘to give up oneself for jihad’. The fedayeen crossed the border into Israel, killed people, blew up things and came back to Gaza. My father had a hard time finding volunteers to do the fedayeen operations and fight. Traitor was a common description of Arab Palestinians in many Arab countries.

Véronique Chemla: What were you taught in the Gaza public school?

Nonie Darwish: I was taught hate, vengeance, retaliation, that jihad is a war. Peace was never discussed.

We used to recite poetry every day about jihad. It was part of the culture. For instance, we used to play songs: “Arabs are our friends, Jews are our dogs”.

Véronique Chemla: How were Jews presented in the Arab World?

Nonie Darwish: Jews were always presented as deceitful people, who want to kill Arabs, especially children and women. We heard incredible stories such as “Jews baked cookies with blood of Arab children”. We were told: “Don’t take a candy from a stranger. He could be a Jew trying to poison you”. We never saw a Jew.

Véronique Chemla: Were Christians hated too?…

           — Hat tip: AA[Return to headlines]

Tomb Probe Finds Remains of St Paul

Pope’s announcement after identification of sarcophagus under Roman basilica: “Profound emotion”

ROME — Benedict XVI made no attempt to conceal his profound emotion as he made what is a landmark announcement for the history of the Church. A probe into St Paul’s tomb, underneath the basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura, has made a preliminary identification. The papal message said that tests carried out and the remains discovered, which include bone fragments, grains of incense and a piece of gold-sequinned linen, confirm an almost 2,000-year-old tradition of venerating the apostle of the Gentile’s remains in the sarcophagus.

METICULOUS ANALYSIS IN PAULINE YEAR — The could be no more fitting end to the Pauline Year, dedicated to the 2,000th anniversary of St Paul’s birth. The Catholic Church has in the past excavated and investigated to identify with certainty the tomb of St Peter, pivotal to the Catholic faith and primacy of the bishop of Rome, but doubts have always surrounded the sarcophagus of St Paul and its contents. Benedict XVI described the recent meticulous scientific examination at an ecumenical service in the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura, attended by an Orthodox delegation from Constantinople (Istanbul). He said: “A tiny perforation was made in the sarcophagus, which has never been opened over the centuries. A special probe was introduced, which detected traces of a precious purple-dyed linen fabric covered in gold sequins and a blue fabric with linen threads. Grains of red incense, as well as protein and calcareous substances, were also detected”.

CARBON DATING — “Tiny fragments of bone were found. After carbon dating by experts who had not been informed of their provenance, the fragments were found to be from an individual who lived in the first or second century. This appears to confirm the undisputed tradition that they are the mortal remains of the apostle Paul. All this fills our spirit with profound emotion”. At his side was the dean of the basilica, Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who just two days ago at a Vatican press conference said only that there were plans to identify the remains in the future. The Acts of the Apostles describe how Paul was accused by the Jews of the Temple and arrested in the late 50s AD, after going to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost with the local Christians. As a Roman citizen, Paul asked to be tried in Rome, where he arrived in 60-62 AD. Before his arrival, he had been under house arrest at Caesarea Maritima for years and then had an eventful voyage, during which he was shipwrecked on Malta. In all probability, St Paul was freed and re-arrested. He suffered martyrdom by decapitation, the penalty reserved for Roman citizens, in 66-67 AD on the Via Laurentina, at a place then known as “The Three Taverns” and which today is “Le tre fontane” [The Three Fountains]. His body was buried on the Via Ostiense, where the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura now stands. Prayers were already being offered at the tomb in the second century AD, we are informed by Caius, a contemporary presbyter, and veneration has continued over the centuries down to the present day. It is of course not possible to carry out modern scientific procedures, such as DNA testing, but the results presented by Benedict XVI today provide significant corroboration of the religious tradition.

English translation by Giles Watson

           — Hat tip: heroyalwhyness[Return to headlines]

Middle East

2009: A Diplomatic Odyssey

By Barry Rubin

“‘If anyone unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song. There is a great heap of dead men’s bones lying all around, with the flesh still rotting off them. Therefore pass these Sirens by….

“‘Come here,’ they sang… ‘He who listens will go on his way not only charmed, but wiser, for we…can tell you everything that is going to happen over the whole world.’“ —The Odyssey, Book 12

So sang the Sirens to Odysseus. They promised not material or carnal joy but wisdom, for they claimed to predict the future. And thus warble the two Sirens, those of America and those of Europe. And what do they sing to Israel?

More! More! More concessions; take a risk; take a chance; prove you want peace. If you make a deal with Arafat; if you give control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip; if you offer to come down from all the Golan Heights; if you withdraw from south Lebanon, if you withdraw from the Gaza Strip, if you offer a state, then we will love you and help you and you will live in peace! We know the future and it will be a future of peace if you only heed us, you silly, stubborn people!

Come the delegations, come the parliamentarians, come the journalists, to the shores and luxury hotels, and conference rooms. And those who comply are rewarded, for a short time, with honeyed words and nice media coverage. Blessed are those Israelis who make unilateral concessions for they are called “moderates.” And cursed be those Israelis who don’t make unilateral concessions, for they will be called “hawks” and “hardliners.”

But soon their bones, or rather those of their less fortunate countrymen, lay all around. And the Sirens reset and start all over again.

We are only looking for your own good, they say. We want to help you. These are the lotus wholesalers.

As Homer also wrote:

“The Lotus-eaters did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return.” —The Odyssey, Book Nine.

For no sooner is a concession given, a risk taken, that it is forgotten by those who ate lotus at the diplomatic banquets, at the international conference buffets. And so is the promise of support.

Remember the 1990s’ version of the Sirens’ song?

Here’s the plan: Create a Palestinian Authority, give them lots of money and guns. Let them bring in tens of thousands of Palestinians. Turn over more and more of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

And by governing they will learn responsibility. And Yasir Arafat will become moderate, and a statesman. And there will be no more terrorism or incitement to terrorism. And there will be a two-state solution.

And what about the 2006 song: Stop the war with Hizballah and the UN will establish a strong force to patrol south Lebanon. Hizballah will not be able to return or to build military installations. Arms smuggling will be halted. For we are the entire international community, almost 200 nations strong.

And each time, the chorus goes: if this doesn’t work out, we will support you. We will recognize the risks you have taken, and the concessions you have given, and the losses you have suffered. And the name of Israel will be exalted as a great peacemaker. And the media will say nice things about you.

The above is written in what I hope to be an entertaining style. But it is deadly serious—as dead as hundreds of Israelis are as a consequence of Western advice and promises, along with hundreds of Palestinians whose deaths are also a direct result of these failures.

That’s what happened. And here we are at the end of that process as if none of it has happened.

As if the concept of having a “reset” of policy is just a euphemism for short-term memory loss.

If Israel’s leaders and people believed that a freeze in settlement construction would actually bring benefits—either for real peace or for at least real and full Western support based on an understanding that the Palestinian leadership didn’t want peace and that Arab states would do almost nothing to bring it about—it would happen despite all the political obstacles. But the Israeli public is, for good reasons, doubtful.

If only, we were told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would accept a two-state solution, how we will appreciate you! And he did. And they didn’t.

How many weeks after the freeze, for example, would the Europeans find some new reason to stop advancing toward Israeli integration with the European Union?…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin[Return to headlines]

Iran Accused of ‘Zionist’ Tactics

One of the defeated moderate candidates in Iran’s presidential election, Mehdi Karroubi, has accused security forces of using harsher methods than Israel.

“The behaviour of Iran’s security agents is worse than those of the Zionist in occupied Palestine,” a statement on his website said.

Hundreds were arrested following protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election last month.

Activists around the world demonstrated against the crackdown on Saturday.

Mr Karroubi and other moderate candidates say the 12 June election was marred by massive fraud.

Iran’s top election body, the Council of Guardians, has said the poll was free and fair. Officials results gave Mr Ahmadinejad more than 62% of the vote.

‘In the gutter’

Days of streets protests against the election results were violently suppressed, drawing international condemnation.

A letter to Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei posted on Mr Karroubi’s website says that “women were attacked with clubs and beaten and thrown in the gutters” during the protests.

“This is more painful in comparison to crimes committed by the Zionists against the oppressed people of Palestine… The Zionist aggressors have some reservations when it comes to confronting women.”

A separate statement signed by Mr Karroubi, as well as leading moderate candidate Mir Hosein Mousavi and former President Mohammad Khatami, also criticised the crackdown.

It called the government’s interrogation methods “a reminder of the dark era of the Shah”. The authorities say most of those arrested in the wake of the election have been released.

Meanwhile activists have taken part in a “global day of action” on Iran.

Protests supported by leading groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were held in 80 cities — including Sydney, Seoul, Geneva, London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and Dublin.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Is There a War on the ‘Veil’ In Jordan?

Recent remarks by the General Security Directorate regarding gang-related crimes and thieves wearing the veil, raised several questions amongst concerned people about whether it was time information about these gangs is revealed and also about western pressure on the Islamic World in the name of freedom, democracy and globalization.

Justification by the General Security provided an opportunity for speculation from observers and religious scholars, in terms of the government’s directions to alter the law to achieve more freedom and openness for sake of society’s well-being.

But the General Security confirmed through the Director of Criminal Investigations, Brigadier General Jamal Al Bdour that the General Security appreciates and respects Islamic clothing. He confirmed that what is occurring is a campaign to protect the people.

The spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood Group thinks that what is occurring regarding “preventing to wear the veil” “reflects the desire of some people to remove the appearances, which are linked with the Islamic religious dress of the woman.”

Regarding accusations from Islamic scholars that the General Security Directorate is working to distort the image of Islamic dressing, Brigadier Al Bdour said that: “It is not a battle against the veil, which we appreciate and respect, but we are fighting the people who use this dress for criminal purposes.”

Brigadier Al Bdour said that 170 crimes had been committed by 50 men who disguised themselves with the veil.

The former Minister of Religious Endowments, Dr. Ibrahim Zeid Al Kilani warned the Government about adopting policies preventing people from wearing the veil, because this matter may cause a popular revolution.

Dr. Al Kilani confirmed that the veil is a religious obligation, which is mentioned in the Holy Quran. Those who fight the veil are fighting Islamic values. He considered the attack against the veil as activating to Sidaw agreement and other personal status laws.

Dr. Al Kilani indicated that the criminals use all the available means and added that the crime is not restricted with the veil.

Brigadier General Al Bdour said, “There are groups, which used the Islamic dress to carry out financial robberies in financial and investing foundations.” He added, “There are males who used the veil to enter residential buildings and break into some apartments.”

He said that the Islamic dress is used also in the healing, in black magic and for sexual harassment. A large number of suspects had been arrested for such behavior.” He indicated to phenomenon of using this dress by the women in the big markets to steal the women’s purses.

The spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhoods, Jamil Abu Baker refuted these allegations by saying that it is not reasonable to disfigure image of the veil for purpose of achieving the security and searching for gangs and criminals who wear the veil.

Abu Baker said that the Muslims Brotherhood Group condemns attacks on personal freedom and the Islamic dress code of a woman. He considered the recent attempts as an “attack” against Islamic features and believes that the intention is not crime prevention.

Abu Baker thinks that crime should be tackled through educational, directive and media programs, which are accompanied by legal procedures and not by interferring with the donning of the veil to recognize criminals.

The Security Directorate confirmed through the Director of Criminal Investigations, Brigadier General, Jamal Al Bdour, in a press conference, which was convened earlier this week that “We are in a country of law, discipline and freedom of religion, but our problem is with disturbed people.”

Regarding the authorities that are granted to the policemen, Brigadier Al Bdour said: “To make sure of the identity of a person who wears the Islamic dress,” he confirmed that it is impossible to uncover faces of ladies unless there is a security statement or criminal suspicion.

Between justifications of the General Security Directorate and condemnation of the Muslims Brotherhood to the attacks against the veil, Dr. Al Kilani thinks that dealing with the crime will be through improving morality and the fabric of society.

Dr. Al Kilani considered the actions against the veil as a legal violation and colonial aim, which seeks to dismantle the Muslim family. He called on the Ministry of Religious Endowments to enlighten the citizens through qualified preachers.

Political analyst Bassam Al Emoush, who belongs to “The Islamic Stream”, considers wearing the veil as a “personal freedom of choice, which relates to religious understanding for some people”. He confirmed that the Jordanian State does not “adopt western concepts”, because this matter “is linked with personal status”.

Al Emoush thinks that what is being done by the Government and the security services as a warning to the citizens.

Al Emoush reiterated the importance of Ministry of Religious Endowments’ role to enlighten the citizens and caution them against suspecting veiled women, there are women who are religious because of choice. There are people who are contributing to the betterment of society.

Abu Baker confirmed that what is being committed against the veil is considered as an introduction to make laws for preventing wearing it. He refused any procedure to disfigure the veil.

Head of the Islamic Labor Front, Hamzah Mansour told “Fact International” in exclusive statements that the issue of criminals who exploit the veil had been manipulated in an unpleasant manner.

Mansour confirmed that Islam is innocent from these gangs, which sought to disfigure image of the Muslim woman.

The general observer of the Muslim Brotherhood, Dr. Hammad Sa’eed confirmed that the people who commit the crimes can use several techniques and means, such as wearing uniform of the policeman and not the veil only. He indicated that there is a heinous attack by hateful people against the Islamic dress. They are upset because of modesty of our women, so they provoked the issue by talking about the veil.

Dr. Hammam did not deny the presence of gangs, which attacked Jordanians by abusing the veil, but he confirmed that this is not a sufficient justification for a war against innocent veiled Muslim women.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Saudi Veiled Girl Crowned Miss Moral Beauty

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but for a fully veiled Saudi beauty queen who trounced 274 rivals without showing her face and body, morals, not physical beauty, are what matters.

With her face and body completely covered by the black head-to-toe abaya, or long overgarment, 18-year-old Aya Ali al-Mulla was named “Queen of Beautiful Morals,” winning a crown, jewelry and a trip to Malaysia late on Thursday, Saudi-based al-Watan reported Friday.

No swimsuits or evening gown competitions and heavy media coverage of beauty pageants were the highlights of the Saudi contest based in the eastern city of Safwa.

Instead, the winner and the two runner-up princesses had to undergo a three-month test of their dutifulness to their parents and family, and their service to society. Tests probing their psychological state-of-mind, social and cultural awareness determined the winner.

Mullah, a high school graduate, managed to pip her rivals in the huge field, with good grades and hopes to go into medicine.

She raked in a 5,000-riyal ($1,333) prize, a pearl necklace, diamond watch, diamond necklace, and a free ticket to Malaysia with her win.

Beauty contests focused on physical beauty are non-existent in segregated Saudi Arabia, where women cannot mix with unrelated men, and must appear in public completely covered — even in photographs.

Miss Moral Beauty pageant organizer Khadra al-Mubarak kept the focus on inner beauty, as defined by Islamic standards of Saudi Arabia.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

UN: Arab Populations From 317 to 396 Mln in 5 Years

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JULY 21 — The United Nations report on human development in Arab countries in 2009 was presented in Beirut today. The report — titled ‘Challenges to human security in Arab countries’ — was created by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), centred in Lebanon with the participation of many scholars from the region. From the scarcity of natural resources, to the demographic pressures, to the increasing vulnerability of women and refugees, the report paints an alarming picture regarding the current conditions of human development in the region. The demographic pressure, according to EU data, will bring populations in Arab nations to 395 million citizens in 2015, compared to the current 317 million. This growth is a large hazard to the availability of natural resources, and above all water resources — already at risk. Available water sources in the Arab nations, according to the EU’s estimates, is close to 227 billion cubic metres yearly, of which 43% is used exclusively by these nations, while the remaining 57% is shared with other areas such as Africa and Asia. There exists yet another problem confronting water resources in the region: the issue of growing desertification. The EU has estimated that the region’s deserts have swallowed two thirds of the available terrain since 1960. With regards to human rights, the European Union has emphasized that a large part of the Arab states have failed to introduce laws for social inclusion, equal distribution of wealth and protection of ethnic diversity. Furthermore there remains the problem of violence against women: many Arab women are still subject to physical and cultural violence — fruit of patriarchal, discriminatory and misogynistic attitudes still present in many of these nations. Human trafficking as well, has remained a growing concern in these countries. The trading has become a multi-million dollar transnational industry which is particularly active in Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Yemen and Lebanon. The trade indiscriminately involves men, women and children. Finally, the question of refugees: The European Union estimates that there exist close to 7.5 million in the region, 46.5% of the total number of refugees registered by international organizations. The highest concentrations are held within Jordan, Syria and Palestinian Territory. The UNDP has emphasized that human development in the Arab nations depends heavily upon the peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

South Asia

India Launches Nuclear Submarine

India has launched its first nuclear-powered submarine, becoming only the sixth country in the world to do so.

The 6,000 tonne Arihant was launched by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a ceremony on the south-east coast.

It was built entirely in India with Russian assistance and a second one is due to be constructed shortly.

It will undergo trials over the next few years before being deployed and will be able to launch missiles at targets 700km (437 miles) away.

Until now, only the US, Russia, France, Britain and China had the capability to build nuclear submarines.

‘China threat’

Launching the INS Arihant, Mr Singh said India had no aggressive designs on anyone.

But the sea was becoming increasingly relevant to India’s security concerns, he added.

“It is incumbent upon us to take all measures necessary to safeguard our country and to keep pace with technological advancements worldwide,” he told the ceremony in the port city of Visakhapatnam.

The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says until now India has been able to launch ballistic missiles only from the air and from land.

Nuclear submarines will add a third dimension to its defence capability.

When it is eventually deployed, the top-secret Arihant will be able to carry 100 sailors on board.

It will be able to stay under water for long periods and thereby increase its chances of remaining undetected.

By contrast, India’s ageing conventional diesel-powered submarines need to constantly surface to recharge their batteries.

Our correspondent says the launching of the Arihant is a clear sign that India is looking to blunt the threat from China which has a major naval presence in the region.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Pakistan Holds Pro-Taliban Cleric

A radical cleric who brokered a failed peace deal in Pakistan’s Swat valley has been arrested, officials say.

Sufi Mohammad was held in Peshawar in the north-west after being warned not to hold meetings there, officials said.

Provincial information minister Iftikhar Hussein told a news conference Sufi Mohammad had been detained for encouraging terrorism and violence.

The cleric negotiated a peace deal in February, widely seen as allowing the Taliban to take control of the valley.

Militants were allowed to impose Sharia law in the district in exchange for an end to two years of fighting.

However the deal later collapsed when Taliban fighters failed to disarm and moved into neighbouring districts.

“Instead of keeping his promises by taking steps for the sake of peace, and speaking out against terrorism, he did not utter a single word against terrorists,” Mr Hussein told a news conference on Sunday.

He said that the influential cleric’s stance “encouraged terrorism. It encouraged violence”. “He has been involved in activities which help militancy and militants and sabotage government efforts to combat them,” Mr Hussein said.

Banned group

The government’s military operation to remove insurgents from the region displaced some two million people in Pakistan’s north-west.

Pakistan’s military says it has killed more than 1,600 militants in the offensive. The claim cannot be independently verified.

Sufi Mohammad is the founder of a banned militant group, Tehrik Nizam Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM).

He is also the father-in-law of the Taliban leader in the Swat valley, Maulana Fazlullah.

In June, two of Sufi Mohammad’s aides — who were under arrest — were killed when militants attacked a convoy transporting prisoners to Peshawar, military officials said.

Maulana Fazlullah’s whereabouts are unknown. The government says he was seriously hurt in an air strike but the Taliban have denied this, saying he is “alive and healthy”.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Far East

Communist Party Magazine Gets English Edition

China’s ruling Communist Party is planning an English edition of Qiushi, the revolutionary magazine used by Chairman Mao to spread his ideology.

The move marks the latest step in China’s attempts to communicate its values and culture to the outside world.

The Communist Party has budgeted 45 billion yuan (£4 billion) to expand its overseas media, including a United States edition of the China Daily newspaper and several English newspapers and magazines.

The decision to launch an English platform for serious Communist Party thought was reportedly made by Li Changchun, one of the nine members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo and the boss of China’s Publicity ministry.


“The issue of profitability won’t be a top priority of the English-version Qiushi in the initial stage,” said an unnamed source to the SCMP. “The main purpose [at the outset] is to secure a footing in the Western media and allow the party’s voice to be accessed and understood by mainstream Western readers.”

[Comments from JD: These nine members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo run China.]

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Rio’s Hardball Garners Faceless Doll, China Crisis

By Jesse Riseborough and Rebecca Keenan

July 27 (Bloomberg) — Rio Tinto Group is known for playing hardball when negotiating iron-ore prices, prompting Japanese steelmakers to present the company with a faceless doll as a tribute during one round of talks.

“The gift signaled how tough Rio had played the negotiations,” Doug Ritchie, the London-based company’s global head of strategy, said in May. Now Rio faces higher stakes in China, which overtook Japan in 2003 as the world’s biggest buyer of iron ore, and this month arrested four of the company’s executives as annual price talks with Chinese mills stalled.

China, destination for half of the $52 billion global seaborne iron ore trade, has accused four members of Rio’s iron ore team in Shanghai, including Australian Stern Hu, of stealing state secrets. Hu’s detention by Chinese security officials is related to a criminal probe into the talks, Australia’s foreign minister Stephen Smith said this month.

“What they appear to be wanting to do, in classic Stalinist fashion, is discipline the steel industry and intimidate their negotiating partners at the same time,” said Paul Monk, founder and director of Austhink Consulting in Melbourne, and former China analysis head at Australia’s Defence Intelligence Agency. “From a point of view of a state that is trying to establish its credentials in the market economy of the world, it is a really stupid thing to have done.”


China has been “chagrined” by being on the losing end of price talks and the collapse of a proposed investment in Rio, said Austhink’s Monk. China has had to absorb six years of gains in contract prices and so far this year hasn’t been able to win from Rio a bigger reduction than the 33 percent iron ore price cut agreed by other Asian mills.

Rio last month abandoned a $19.5 billion deal with Aluminum Corp. of China, or Chinalco, four months after agreeing to what would have been China’s biggest overseas investment. Chinalco denied on July 10 any connection with the detentions and said July 23 it was looking for new investments in Australia.

“Rio has been making some serious cultural mistakes, and it wasn’t just the last six months or 12 months,” Mona Chung, a business lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne and author of “Shanghaied: Why Foster’s could not Survive China,” said in an interview. “Rio needs to re-examine its way of dealing with the Chinese.”

Steady Prices

Rio’s move in 2008 to boost sales on the cash market and away from fixed annual contract prices to benefit from surging spot prices, provoked concern from the China Iron & Steel Association, which accused the company of not seriously honoring the contracts. To strengthen China’s bargaining power and control pricing, the association capped domestic resale prices of ore, threatened to set limits on auction prices and is mulling cutting import licenses.

“All the moves taken by the government and CISA are to achieve steady iron ore prices,” said Zhou Xizeng, a Beijing- based analyst with Citic Securities Co. “Regulating the market is easier when prices are weak. It is becoming more and more difficult amid stronger demand from steelmakers.”

Hu, a classically-trained violinist who chose his English first name after virtuoso Isaac Stern, according to a person familiar with the Rio executive, is head of Rio’s iron ore unit in China. Rio has been the lead negotiator for producers in this year’s stalemated talks, the longest-running in their 40-year history. Its ore is shipped from Australia, the biggest exporter and China’s top supplier.

“China will perhaps use the Hu situation to try and get at least some temporary advantage if not some permanent advantage” in price talks, said Shanghai-born Vic Edwards, senior lecturer in banking and finance at the Australian School of Business in Sydney. “They are releasing information through the media slowly and certainly that wouldn’t be acceptable in Australia because it is preconditioning the public to a view or an attitude and it’s almost prejudging him.”

‘Gentle Person’

Hu, born in 1956 and married with two children, has been held since July 5 after police searched Rio’s Shanghai office, according to a Rio official who declined to be named. Hu had met with Australian consulate officials and was in “very good health,” Australian trade minister Simon Crean said July 20.

Rio Tinto spokeswoman Amanda Buckley declined to comment on whether Hu had been appointed a lawyer.

“He’s a very gentle person, great sense of humor, but he’s totally dedicated to his family and I think any incarceration of such a period would be devastating,” Ron Gosbee, who worked with Hu at technology firm AWA Ltd. in Australia, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “My feeling is that perhaps Stern was providing information — market intelligence — back to his company in Perth and that’s been taken as being giving away state secrets.”

Studied History

China has also accused Hu, who studied history at Peking University, of bribing mill officials during this year’s talks, Australia’s Smith said on July 10, citing a statement from Shanghai’s Security Bureau. Rio denied the bribery allegations on July 17 and said July 9 it wasn’t aware of any evidence that would support an investigation by Chinese authorities. Hu’s arrest was an individual judicial case and wasn’t political, said Qin Gang, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, said July 9.

“If any company is guilty of corrupt dealings, that concerns us,” said Hugh Young, who helps oversee $30 billion as Asian managing director for Aberdeen Asset Management Plc in Singapore. Young said about 3 percent of Aberdeen’s regional funds are invested in Rio stock.

Boosted Sales

Hu, born in Tianjin, began work for Rio in the mid-1990s and was first based in Beijing where he managed relations with the company’s steel mill customers in northern China, the Rio official said. He did a good job in increasing sales, said Philip Kirchlechner, 48, who left JPMorgan Chase & Co. to head Rio’s Hamersley iron ore office in Shanghai from 1996 to 2001.

Hu “was perceived as a Chinese with an Australian background,” said Kirchlechner, who was interviewed in Hong Kong by Hu and Sam Walsh, the chief executive officer of Rio’s iron ore division. “He was basically received quite positively by customers,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said July 15 that the world was watching how the case was handled and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urged “greater transparency” and due process. Hu could face life in jail, the Australian newspaper reported July 23, citing Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei.

“I can’t see an easy and quick settlement,” said Grant Craighead, managing director of Stock Resource, a Sydney-based mining and energy research group, with a ‘hold’ recommendation on Rio. “The various parties will have to wait for it to all die down and move into the background before you can have an arrangement that allows Stern Hu to get his freedom.”

—Helen Yuan in Shanghai, with assistance from Claire Leow in Singapore. Editors: Keith Gosman, Teo Chian Wei.

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

Anzacs’ Atrocity Had to be Done: Digger

TO REGINALD MESSENGER, it was “just something that had to be done”. He was a trooper in the 6th Light Horse Regiment at Beersheba in 1918 when he took part in what is emerging as one of the darkest, and and most overlooked, chapters of Australian military history.

Known as the Surafend massacre, it involved 200 Anzac troops, some from the famed Australian Light Horse, who retaliated for the murder of a New Zealand soldier by razing a Bedouin village in Palestine and murdering between 40 and 120 of its inhabitants.

“Dad told me about it numerous times,” Reginald’s son, Oliver, said. “He said that they were camped next to this Gyppo village and one day they woke up to find that some of their blokes had their throat cut and their things stolen. It had been going on for some time — the Gyppos would steal from them all the time — and so they decided to do something about it, because no one else would.”

One night in December 1918 the soldiers surrounded the Bedouin village of Surafend, emptied it of woman and children, then fell upon the men with bayonets and heavy sticks.

“Dad never expressed any remorse about it,” Mr Messenger said. “I gather that they had put up with it for too long. They were good soldiers, those blokes, but they didn’t put up with any sh**.”

The incident occurred shortly after the end of World War I, and has been all but obliterated from the official record.

Just three pages of H.S. Gullet’s 844-page official war history mention it, and neither the NSW Returned and Services League nor the Light Horse Association had heard of it.

A new book, called Beersheba, by the journalist Paul Daley, re-examines the Surafend massacre, and the long shadow it cast over the legend of the Light Horse, famed for their 1917 cavalry charge at Beersheba.

Daley says that, after the massacre the British commander-in-chief, General Sir Edmund Allenby, “wiped his hands” of the Light Horse, even maliciously withdrawing citations and decorations. “Dad said that after the incident, a general — perhaps it was Allenby — addressed the men and called them cowards,” Mr Messenger said. “But the men just counted him out [counted loudly, in unison]. They just drowned him out, you know?”

A spokesman for the Australian War Memorial, said: “The Anzac legend is an uplifting one but, like all legends, there are some unfortunate aspects. But this doesn’t detract from acts of heroism and bravery.”

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Chinese Hack Film Festival Site

Chinese hackers have attacked the website of Australia’s biggest film festival over a documentary about Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.

Content on the Melbourne International Film Festival site was briefly replaced with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans on Saturday, reports said.

In an earlier protest on Friday, Beijing withdrew four Chinese films.

Melbourne’s The Age newspaper says private security guards have been hired to protect Kadeer and other film-goers.

She is due to attend the screening of Ten Conditions of Love, by Australian documentary-maker Jeff Daniels, on 8 August.

‘Vile language’

Chinese authorities blame Kadeer, leader of the World Uighur Congress, for inciting ethnic unrest in Xinjiang — charges she denies.

Earlier this month, around 200 people died and 1,600 were injured during fighting in the region between the mostly Muslim Uighurs and settlers from China’s Han majority.

Kadeer, 62, spent six years in a Chinese prison before she was released into exile in the US in 2005. In 2004, she won the Rafto Prize for human rights.

Richard Moore, head of the Melbourne International Film Festival, told the BBC that he had come under pressure from Chinese officials to withdraw the film about Kadeer and cancel her invitation to the festival.

He said the attacks on the festival’s website began about 10 days ago.

“We’ve been subjected to a number of these attacks and we can see behind the scenes on our website that there are hundreds, well, if not thousands, of people from outside of Australia trying to get into our website and trying to damage us,” Mr Moore told the BBC’s World Today programme.

“This has been going on… since obviously the call from a Chinese consular official who told me in no uncertain terms that I was urged to withdraw this particular documentary from the film festival and that I had to justify my actions in including the film in our programme,” he went on.

“Hey, we’re an independent arts organisation and it’s our programme!”

He said police were investigating the website attacks, which appear to come from a Chinese internet address.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Latin America

The Chavez-Obama U.N. Plot Against Honduras

The United Nations on Thursday begins a debate over a new U.N. military doctrine called the “Responsibility to Protect,” which would authorize the world organization to be used as cover to intervene in the sovereign affairs of a nation state, supposedly to protect the people of a country against their own government. The first target could be anti-communist Honduras.

The “Responsibility to Protect,” also known as RtoP or R2P, is mostly the work of the World Federalist Movement, a group dedicated to world government by strengthening the United Nations system. It is the major force behind the “International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect.”

R2P was sold as something to be exercised against regimes practicing genocide against their own people. But the new doctrine is so vague and subject to political manipulation that one can speculate it could be used to justify some form of U.N. intervention in Honduras on the pretext that the people there are somehow being victimized by a popular military-backed regime. In fact, some Hondurans are telling this columnist that they are fearful that U.N. “blue helmets” are right now being prepared to invade their country.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Why Brazil Gave Way on Itaipu Dam

An agreement over one of the world’s largest hydro-electric dams signals a change in relations between Brazil and Paraguay, writes the BBC’s Andrea Machain.

Itaipu — the world’s largest dam in terms of energy generation — is owned equally by Brazil and Paraguay.

But in a deal signed by the nations’ presidents after months of tough negotiations, Paraguay’s sovereignty over it has been acknowledged.

The 31-point document, signed by Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva from Brazil and Fernando Lugo from Paraguay, was signed in Asuncion, Paraguay.

It concedes to Paraguay the possibility of selling its share of the electricity directly to the Brazilian market and triples Brazilian compensation payments for the use of its energy.

The deal is considered a significant victory for Paraguay’s government. “The opening of the markets is key to Paraguay development and its energy-generating capacity,” Carlos Mateo, Itaipu-Paraguay director, told the BBC.

The Itaipu power plant is built on the Parana river in the region known as the triple border.


The new deal signed with Brazil also contemplates building a powerful electricity line to the capital.

This line will be completed in the year 2012 and will be fully paid by Itaipu.

Many may wonder why Brazil changed its attitude towards Paraguay after so many years of denying the possibility of reviewing the original arrangements.

Personal loyalties?

Some think it may have to do with President Lula’s personal sympathy towards former bishop Fernando Lugo, who won elections in Paraguay last year after 60 years of rule by the Colorado Party.

But it may also have to do with Brazil’s new concept of leadership in the region.

“Leadership comes with responsibility and Lula has incorporated Paraguay in his concept of social inclusion,” says Mr Mateo.

“It is not convenient for Brazil to have a poor and powerless neighbour.”

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]


Books: Dreams of Sand, Migrants Stuck in the Maghreb

(ANSAmed) — ROME, JULY 24 — Not all trips finish at their desired destinations: for many travellers the dream becomes a nightmare, a trap from which they are unable to escape. Such are the stories told by the protagonists of “Sogni di Sabbia, storie di migranti” (Dreams of Sand, migrants’ stories), a photographic book edited by Sandro De Luca with texts by Gad Lerner, Yasmina Khadra and Ubah Cristina Ali Farah. The book describes what happens before the tortuous trip (in this case from Algeria) to Lampedusa in boats that are not seaworthy. Departing from Congo, Niger, Mali and the Sahara Desert, many of these travellers will never see the shores of Europe, remaining stuck in the Maghreb nations. “It is not true that these young migrants have nothing to lose. It is that they are the ones with the courage to try. They dive headlong with that ounce of recklessness needed to confront the impossible”. The quote is by Italo-Somali author Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, who wrote one of the book’s two prefaces (the other is written by the Algerian author known by the pseudonym Yasmina Khadra). The book’s royalties will be donated to the International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) for the maintenance of migrant rights, the NGO promoting the book, of which De Luca is a member. Having been constituted in 1983 with headquarters in Rome, the CISP has carried out more than 600 projects across 40 nations. The organization has worked for migrant rights with partners from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb, with educational campaigns on migrant rights as well as opportunities and projects for economic support for migrants who decide to return to their native countries. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy Asks for EU Help, AI Wants Rights Defence

(ANSAmed) — ROME — “Italy has illegal immigration via sea under control. But the same cannot be said for land borders”, because Austria, Slovenia, France, Switzerland “are countries where for some months no controls on the flow of immigrations have been carried, and if they have been it is only for people coming from outside the EU and soon”. So said Italian Interior ministry Roberto Maroni. “Romania, which has control of immigration flows from the Black Sea, will also be part of the Schengen Area. There is a real risk of total inability to carry out controls of immigrant flows from those areas.” he added. “Enough with the reprimands” of Italy from the EU on immigration, Maroni also said speaking in Orvieto. “Instead of criticising, EU countries should apply the principles of solidarity for the reception set out by the EU itself. The regulations state that a refugee,” explained the Interior minister, “must stay in the country where he obtains the status of refugee. It is clear that many more people come to Italy by sea from Africa than arrive in Berlin by air.” Maroni pointed out that last year Italy accepted and looked after 20 thousand refugees. This figure reaches 100 thousand if all the non-EU citizens who live in this condition in Italy are counted. “Unfortunately,” said Maroni, “they often do not work and we have to provide them with food and lodging. When I took part in the EU roundtable, I asked that the model of solidarity on immigration reception between member states be applied. At least in terms of assistance due to refugees that lasts for their lifetime, it is the EU who should take on this burden.” “The reply from EU countries,” concludede Maroni, “was no, thank you. They come to Italy and you can keep them. In reality the principle of sharing the burden is not be applied by the EU and confirmation comes from the fact that no European country has taken on the burden except Malta, Greece, Spain and Italy.” According to Riccardo Noury, spokesman for Amnesty International in Italy, “a veil of silence” covers the conditions and the detention centres in Libya after the agreement with Italy on immigration, and its application already under way, “with hundreds and hundreds of migrants rejected by our country and taken back to Libya, in violation of international norms on human rights.” After the recent frank exchange between Chamber of Deputies President Gianfranco Fini and Libya on the subject, “one needs to move from declarations and letting of steam to facts, not just through monitoring of the Libyan camps but also through a general re-thinking of the agreement.” he added. Amnesty International in Italy, he also said speaking to ANSAmed, is “trying to repair the damage that security crackdown packages, broken down into various different measures, have created in 12 to 13 months.” Save the Children is in the meantime concerned by what has been reported by the weekly magazine L’Espresso, according to which, in one of the detention centres for immigrants in Libya, there are around 800 people, including 30 children, detained in inhumane conditions. “Our organisation,” said Valerio Neri, director general of Save the Children, “has repeatedly expressed our concern over immigrants being immediately returned to a country that does not guarantee the required safeguarding to people who are in flight in search of protection and that does not take due consideration of the more vulnerable groups such as minors.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

UK: Points Bonus for Scots Immigrants

Immigrants who choose to live and work in Scotland could earn British citizenship more readily, according to Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

Writing in Scotland on Sunday, he says moving to Scotland could see immigrants earn points towards their application.

Points are granted according to things like skills, age and potential salary. Mr Murphy said he wants to see Scotland become a melting pot — but he stressed new arrivals must be controlled under a tight immigration policy.

There is to be a consultation process on the proposal, but in his article Mr Murphy writes of the demographic challenge facing Scotland, with an ageing population and the need to recruit in sectors such as tourism.

The article says a new “points-based” test for citizenship will credit applicants if they have set up home in parts of the country in need of increased population.

Scotland has been singled out by the Home Office as a place where points could be earned, because its own population is likely to fall over the long term.

Mr Murphy wrote: “Our need for a growing population is ranked along with the need to recruit to shortage occupations..”

The current system means foreigners can apply for British citizenship on the basis they are settled and have lived in the country for a specified period of time.

           — Hat tip: Sean O’Brian[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

The U.N. Seizure of Parental Rights, Part 1

“…some opponents of Humanism have accused us of wishing to overthrow the traditional Christian family. They are right. That is exactly what we intend to do.”[1] The British Humanist Association,1969

“…if you give me any normal human being and a couple of weeks, …I can change his behavior from what it is not to whatever you want it to be… I can turn him from a Christian into a Communist… We can control behavior.”[2] Psychology Professor James McConnell, 1966

“Article 13. “The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers…”[3] Convention on the Rights of the Child

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

Don’t be deceived! The twenty-year-old Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has little to do with personal rights. It has everything to do with changing values and undermining the traditional family. Since it transfers parental authority to the state, Christian children are legally free to reject safe family guidelines. The state will back their choice! As Hillary Clinton wrote back in the nineties, “It Takes a Village!”


This heartbreaking process is illustrated by a Canadian family. (Since Canada has ratified this Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), it must conform to UN standards):

“The father had ordered the daughter… to remain off the Internet. She didn’t, chatting on websites her father had tried to block and then posting ‘inappropriate’ pictures of herself online, using a friend’s Internet portal. As punishment, the father refused to let her go on a scheduled school trip, so the 12-year-old went to Canada’s judicial system to get her way. …[she] had access to the courts using a court-appointed attorney representing her in her parents’ custody dispute.”[6]

“Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father’s appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed. The father is ‘flabbergasted.’“[7]

Such biased verdicts complement the deceptive language in the UN’s celebrated Universal Declaration of Human Rights…

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


Peer-Reviewed Study Rocks Climate Debate!

‘Surge in global temps since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean’

A new peer-reviewed climate study is presenting a head on challenge to man-made global warming claims. The study by three climate researchers appears in the July 23, 2009 edition of Journal of Geophysical Research. (Link to Abstract:

Nature not man responsible for recent global warming

Three Australasian researchers have shown that natural forces are the dominant influence on climate, in a study just published in the highly-regarded Journal of Geophysical Research. According to this study little or none of the late 20th century global warming and cooling can be attributed to human activity.

The research, by Chris de Freitas, a climate scientist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, John McLean (Melbourne) and Bob Carter (James Cook University), finds that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a key indicator of global atmospheric temperatures seven months later. As an additional influence, intermittent volcanic activity injects cooling aerosols into the atmosphere and produces significant cooling.

“The surge in global temperatures since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean that made warming El Niño conditions more likely than they were over the previous 30 years and cooling La Niña conditions less likely” says corresponding author de Freitas.

“We have shown that internal global climate-system variability accounts for at least 80% of the observed global climate variation over the past half-century. It may even be more if the period of influence of major volcanoes can be more clearly identified and the corresponding data excluded from the analysis.”

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]

Researchers Produce Cells They Say Are Identical to Embryonic Stem Cells

Scientists in China use cells from adult mice to breed new mice. The breakthrough results are hailed as an advance toward eliminating the need for fetal stem cells in a variety of applications.

Two groups of Chinese researchers have performed an unprecedented feat, it was announced today, by inducing cells from connective tissue in mice to revert back to their embryonic state and producing living mice from them.

By demonstrating that cells from adults can be converted into cells that, like embryonic stem cells from fetuses, have the ability to produce any type of tissue, the researchers have made a major advance toward eliminating the need for fetal cells in research and clinical applications.

           — Hat tip: JD[Return to headlines]


heroyalwhyness said...

re: Jewish Family: German Officer Spat on Our Passports

A very similar incident @ Tegel Airport in Berlin took place a dozen years ago.

The German Embassy responded that the officer was suspended and that the customs agent had a history of mental illness. Link

Notice how a 'history of mental illness' is becoming the remedy/diagnosis of choice lately?

Zenster said...

Anzacs’ Atrocity Had to be Done: Digger

“He said that they were camped next to this Gyppo village and one day they woke up to find that some of their blokes had their throat cut and their things stolen. It had been going on for some time — the Gyppos would steal from them all the time — and so they decided to do something about it, because no one else would.”

One night in December 1918 the soldiers surrounded the Bedouin village of Surafend, emptied it of woman and children, then fell upon the men with bayonets and heavy sticks.

“Dad never expressed any remorse about it,” Mr Messenger said. “I gather that they had put up with it for too long. They were good soldiers, those blokes, but they didn’t put up with any sh**.”

My bet is that nothing ever got stolen from the army camp ever again.

Harsh as it may sound, in the absence of targeting Islam's jihadist elite, Massively Disproportionate Retaliation as in the foregoing is most likely what will be required to deter Muslim aggression.

No matter how obsessed with death Islam may be, when whole villages, towns or cities disappear, so do entire familial blood lines and that tends to shake Muslims awake.

It is only overwhelming applications of force that are able to unravel the numerous and close family ties created by consanguineous marriage. Break those bonds and safety nets suddenly disappear. Take away the safety nets and daily life, if not simple survival, becomes very much harder for a lot of people all at once.

It is this sort privation and suffering that gets through primitive Muslim skulls. Individual deaths are regarded as par for the course in daily Muslim life. Wiping out entire clans is what gets their attention. It's what Muslims do to other Muslims, so there must be a reason for it.

We have a choice. Kill about 2,000 people in every Muslim majority country to eliminate the regimes that drive jihad: Or be confronted with the necessity of wiping out entire towns and cities to make an un-ignorable point.