Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/15/2009

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/15/2009The big story of the day concerns the successful effort of Hamas to eliminate a competing radical group in Gaza. A group called Jund Ansar Allah considers Hamas too “moderate”, and defied Hamas by declaring an Islamic emirate in Gaza. Hamas responded with deadly force, and after a seven-hour firefight killed JAA’s leader and pretty much wiped the group out.

In other news, Washington D.C. (which may have the heaviest concentration of Obama supporters in the nation) purportedly received more than five times as much stimulus money per capita as did Oklahoma, in which not a single county voted for Obama. Coincidence? You decide.

Thanks to AA, C. Cantoni, Insubria, Lexington, Lurker from Tulsa, Steen, TB, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Headlines and articles are below the fold.
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Financial Crisis
Is Oklahoma Getting Its Fair Share of Stimulus Funds?
Europe and the EU
French Muslim Minister Calls for Total Burka Ban
In Germany it is Better to be a Muslim Than a Baptist
Italy: Police Quiz Hostages on Return From Somalia
Italy: Farmhands Not Forced to Break Fast
Italy: No Agnelli Inheritance Probe Yet
Italy: L’aquila Man Wants Premier’s Villa
Sicily Cradle of the Mafia: Apologies to Lombardo
Stallone to Get Venice Film Award
Sweden’s Assman Hosts Human Duck Race
UK: Swimmers Are Told to Wear Burkinis
Kosovo: Young; 73% Unemployed, One Third Prepared to Emigrate
Serbia: Living Cost Increased by 9.6% in Belgrade
Serbia: About 23% of Privatization Deals Terminated
North Africa
Tunisia: Woman Kills Son in Order to Get Married
Israel and the Palestinians
Clash Between Hamas and Radical Group, Victims
Fatah: Barghuti’s Release Discussed in Israel
Gaza Islamist Leader Dies in Raid
Gaza: HRW Requests Investigation Into Civilian Deaths
Hamas Battle With Radicals Kills 13, Injures 100
Middle East
Iran: Protesters ‘Tortured to Death’ In Prison
Saudi Arabia: Sex Life on TV, Other Channel Offices Closed
Saudi Activist, Fatwas Do Not Solve Today’s Problems
Syrian Press, Prisoner From Golan Heights Released
Syria: President May Soon Visit Iran
Yemen: News of Abducted Europeans Among Sanaa Conditions for Rebel Ceasefire
South Asia
British Sniper Describes Moment He Shot Taliban Commander… From Two Kilometres Away
Tamil Nadu: Dalit Christians “Reconverted” To Hinduism for Economic Reasons
Islam: Coldiretti, 10% Non-EU Day Labourers in Agricolture
Netherlands: ‘Reply This Month on Cost of Immigration’
Drug Promises Fix for Radiation Poisoning

Financial Crisis

Is Oklahoma Getting Its Fair Share of Stimulus Funds?

OKLAHOMA CITY — Researchers at Oklahoma City University are examining if Oklahoma got a fair share of federal stimulus funding.

Economics professor Steve Agee and incoming freshman Joel Cranmer are investigating how stimulus funding was distributed to each state. They started the project to see if states that voted Democratic in the presidential election received more money.

“We did get a little bit of a surprise,” Agee said. States that voted Democratic in the election, were allotted twice as much money as states that voted Republican. But Agee blames the difference on population not politics.

“I don’t think anything unfair is going on, or sinister is going on,” Agee said.

The states that voted Democratic tended to have higher populations. When the researchers broke the funding down per person, blue states were allotted 52 percent of the funds while red states received 48 percent.

“It’s not entirely equal, but it’s pretty close to it,” Agee said.

Washington D.C. topped the list with $4,000 per person. Oklahoma ranks 24th with about $777 per capita, more than all neighboring states except New Mexico.

“I thought it was interesting that we did get more than our surrounding states,” Cranmer said.

The team plans to continue examining the data to see why certain states ended up at the top of the list.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

French Muslim Minister Calls for Total Burka Ban

A ban on wearing the all covering burka in France would stem the spread of what French minister Fadela Amara called the “cancer” of radical Islam, a report quoted her as saying Saturday.

The Muslim minister for urban regeneration told the Financial Times newspaper that the head-to-toe body covering and veil represented the “oppression of women, their enslavement, their humiliation.”

Amara, who is of Algerian descent, said France was a beacon for an enlightened Islam at ease with modernity, so it was necessary to fight the “gangrene, the cancer of radical Islam which completely distorts the message of Islam.”

“The vast majority of Muslims are against the burka. It is obvious why,” Amara told the newspaper.

“Those who have struggled for women’s rights back home in their own countries — I’m thinking particularly of Algeria — we know what it represents and what the obscurantist political project is that lies behind it, to confiscate the most fundamental of liberties,” she said.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

In Germany it is Better to be a Muslim Than a Baptist

by Thomas Landen

The Federal Republic of Germany is a democracy. It is no fun, however, to be a Baptist in Germany. For the past two decades, the German authorities have been clamping down on Baptists who want to raise their children in accordance with their own religious principles. In Germany, the state rather than the parents is considered to be primarily responsible for the well-being of children. Hence, the draconic measures taken against Baptists. When, however, it comes to meeting the demands of Muslim the German state is far more lenient…

           — Hat tip: AA[Return to headlines]

Italy: Police Quiz Hostages on Return From Somalia

Rome, 14 August (AKI) — Italian anti-terrorism police have interviewed a group of Italians hostages freed by Somali pirates. Ten Italians, five Romanians and a Croatian were travelling aboard the cargo ship Buccaneer in the Gulf of Aden when they were captured by pirates on 11 April.

The group was freed last Sunday and the Italians were flow into Rome’s Ciampino airport late Thursday aboard a military aircraft.

The ship’s captain, Mario Iarlori, and the first officer, Mario Albano, and eight other Italians were met by police from the Division of General Investigations and Special Operations (DIGOS) and other agencies on their return.

The pair spoke to police until the early hours of Friday morning and recounting details of the conditions they faced during their capture.

Sources told Adnkronos that the men were questioned as part of an inquiry being conducted by Italian anti-terrorism prosecutors led by Pietro Saviotti into piracy and terrorism.

Saviotti is expected to decide in the next few days whether to question other members of the ship’s crew.

There has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden since the beginning of 2008.

The International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme, have expressed their concern about the number of attacks on foreign ships in the region.

This increasing incidence of piracy has added to an increase in shipping costs and hindered the delivery of food aid shipments to the struggling Horn of Africa.

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

Italy: Farmhands Not Forced to Break Fast

Muslim workers can refuse to drink water during Ramadan

(ANSA) — Rome, August 14 — Muslim farmhands will not be forced to break their Ramadan fast by drinking water in the fields during the day nor will they be fired for refusing to do so, the Coldiretti farmers’ union said on Friday.

The union explained that a local farming safety committee in Mantua on Thursday did not issue an ‘order’ telling Muslim farmworkers they had to drink water, but had only released a series of ‘recommendations’ regarding health and safety.

Coldiretti issued its clarification after the president of its chapter in Mantua, Roberto Cagliari, who is also the local farmers safety committee chairman, said that Muslim farmhands who refused to drink water during the day ‘will be temporarily suspended from work and if they repeat the infraction, they will be fired”.

“No obligation was imposed nor threat of dismissal made. These were only recommendations drawn up by national health authorities and worker representatives in the interest of guaranteeing the health of farmhands, which is the duty and responsibility of all,” Coldiretti said.

A ‘suggestion’ to drink water, the union recalled, “was also expressed by a representative from the local Islamic community in Mantua”.

The recommendations were made by the safety committee — made up of farm owners, unions and health officials — “because we all feel that it is our ethical and moral duty and responsibility to inform workers of the danger to their health when working out in the sun in 30-degree temperatures without sufficient nutrition,” Coldiretti explained.

During the month of Ramadan, which this year runs from August 22 to September 19, Muslims seek to purify themselves through fasting, self-restraint and good deeds.

It it strictly prohibited to eat, drink, smoke, have sex or do anything in excess from dawn and dusk.

Cagliari had also said that ‘we issued our order because we want to safeguard the health of our workers as much as possible. Last year the refusal to drink water during Ramadan on the part of various farmhands created considerable problems in melon fields”.

But a representative of the Mantuan Islamic community, Ben Mansour, said the order was illegal and unnecessary. “There is no work contract and no legal provision requiring us to drink during Ramadan and if any Muslim worker is fired for this, then we will contest it,” he said. “If a Muslim farmhand feels unwell, he can take a break and if he then realises that the feeling is not a passing one, he may take a drink. But that is his own decision and no one else should be able to force that on him,” Mansour added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: No Agnelli Inheritance Probe Yet

Taxman to look into alleged hidden assets abroad

(ANSA) — Turin, August 13 — No official probe has been opened nor possible charges formulated in connection with possible tax evasion involving the estate of Fiat’s late chief Giovanni (Gianni) Agnelli, prosecutors said here on Thursday.

Speculation that a criminal charges could be brought against the estate and family heirs arose after the revenue service said on Wednesday that it had opened an investigation into possible tax evasion on over one billion euros Agnelli is alleged to have had in undeclared accounts abroad.

Gianni Agnelli, one of the most powerful businessmen in post-war Italy and whose grandfather founded the carmaker in 1899, died in January 2003 at the age of 81 after a long battle against cancer.

Although his inheritance was settled at the time with an agreement among family members, it jumped back into the headlines two years ago when Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen, the Fiat patriarch’s only surviving child, announced she was suing the executors of her father’s estate.

According to Margherita, they had failed to fully inform her on the full value and extent of Agnelli’s assets and holdings when settling her share of her father’s estate.

Because of all the publicity the affair has received, the director of Italy’s revenue service, Attilio Befera, announced on Wednesday that his agency had no choice but to look into the alleged ‘hidden’ accounts.

“Rumors concerning the estate have been flying in the press for months and since there were reports of possible undeclared assets abroad we decided to open our own probe,” Befera told ANSA.

In regard to the duration of the probe, Befera said the case “is one of the 170,000 we have under investigation and these involve accounts in places like Switzerland and Liechtenstein”.

“Our job is to go after the money and the current government has decided to intensify its crackdown on undeclared assets abroad. We are not only focusing on millionaires but anyone with foreign accounts and holdings we don’t know about,” he added.

Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen has always maintained that she was acting in her children’s interests and was forced to go to court because the estate’s executors refused to give her a complete account of her father’s estate and review her settlement accord. Her actions have put her against her own family, not only her mother — Marella Caracciolo Agnelli, who has defended the executors and claims Margherita received more than ample compensation for being excluded from family business affairs — but also her children, including John Elkann, the Fiat deputy chairman who is being groomed to take over the family empire.

Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen had three children from her first marriage to the writer Alain Elkann — which aside from John include Lapo and Ginevra — and five from her second marriage to Russian count Serge Graf von der Pahlen.

photo: Gianni Agnelli

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: L’aquila Man Wants Premier’s Villa

Left homeless by quake, he wants berlusconi’s hospitality

(ANSA) — Pescara, August 13 — An unemployed man who lost his home in the devastating earthquake which struck the Abruzzo region in April has asked to be put up in Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s luxury villa in Sardinia or his stately palazzo in Rome.

Antonio Bernardini’s house in the historic area of the city of L’Aquila was severely damaged in the April 6 quake and since then he has lived in a camp site and in a hotel along Abruzzo’s Adriatic coast.

“This isn’t a challenge, it’s a legitimate request,” Bernardini told ANSA on Thursday, explaining why he had asked for lodgings at Villa Certosa or at Palazzo Grazioli, in Rome.

“The premier had publicly pledged to provide hospitality in his homes for the homeless,” said Bernardini, who added that he could also give Berlusconi advice on reconstruction in L’Aquila since he “knows a lot about the city”.

On April 10, during a visit to the city Berlusconi, told journalists that like many Italians who had voluntarily offered their homes he too was willing to do his bit.

“Many people have offered their own houses to help the homeless from the earthquake, and I will also do what I can by offering my houses,” he told journalists.

The premier, whose homes also include two mansions outside Milan, did not specify which homes he would make available.

Bernardini was fired from a biotechnology consortium six years and is waiting to be reinstated in his job following two court orders.

The premier has said repeatedly that the homeless will all be rehoused by November. “We’ll hand over 2,267 prefabricated villas in September and we’ll have all of them rehoused by November,” he said last month,adding that the reconstruction effort had “broken all records”.

‘We’ll deliver homes furnished with domestic appliances, furniture, sheets, duvets and even sponges,” the premier said on his visit to L’Aquila on July 16.

Berlusconi has made countless visits to L’Aquila to supervise reconstruction and will return there on Saturday, on the national holiday of Ferragosto, to verify the progress of works.

The April 6 quake killed 299 people and left an initial 60,000 homeless. Some people, whose homes were only slightly damaged and repaired, have been allowed to return.

Berlusconi’s hands-on response to the quake, when he visited Abruzzo capital L’Aquila and other affected areas almost daily, was credited with giving him a boost in opinion polls.

He also moved the July 8-10 Group of Eight summit — which Italy hosted in its role as rotating president of the G8 this year — from the Sardinian island of La Maddalena to the Abruzzo capital to help boost morale, get the local economy back on its feet and draw international attention to the plight of the homeless.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sicily Cradle of the Mafia: Apologies to Lombardo

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 10 — Hotel association NH Italia will officially apologise to the president of the Sicily Region, Raffaele Lombardo, after today’s article in La Repubblica in which was revealed that a brochure was printed in 2004 in which Sicily is branded as the “mafia’s cradle.” Sources in NH Italia said that “the brochure in which Sicily is described as the mafia’s cradle was printed five years ago, in 2004. It was ordered by a German subsidiary and has never been published. The person who was responsible for the incident was dismissed immediately after the affair.” The same sources underlined that they are “curious to know how the affair has been discovered. We are surprised by what has happened, because we strongly believe in Sicily, were we continue to invest. These stereotypes are certainly not our policy. We apologise to the Sicilians, even though we are not directly responsible for the affair.” Sicilian Tourism Councillor Nino Strano commented: “Let’s not turn this into a drama, it’s mere rhetoric of poor taste. Obviously we condemn the mafia and we feel contempt towards this kind of message. In response to this kind of campaign” he added “we can only say: welcome to Spain, the land of the ETA and of bomb attacks on tourists.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Stallone to Get Venice Film Award

Rocky- Rambo star’s mark on contemporary cinema recognised

(ANSA) — Venice, August 12 — Sylvester Stallone will receive this year’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

The award, to be handed out at the end of festival on September 12, is given each year to someone who has left their mark on contemporary cinema.

On learning that he had been chosen for the prize this year, the American actor-director-writer said that “to receive an award at the Venice festival is a dream I always hoped would come true”.

“Now that this has happened I can say that it was well worth the wait,” the 63-year-old star added.

A statement issued by festival organizers said that in his films “Stallone travelled through the light and the darkness of the American Dream and each of his films were remarkably anchored in its own present time”.

Stallone’s cinema, above all his Rocky and Rambo series, “is capable of tenderness even when dripping with blood,” the statement added. “And the way he has developed ‘his’ characters, even in his ‘minor’ films or those not directed by him, stands out for clarity and communicativeness,” organized said.

The award ceremony will include a world premiere screening of scenes from the latest film Stallone has written, directed and starred in: The Expendables.

“It’s a story of heroism and the price people pay to save others. It is a great mix of action and humor,” Stallone explained.

The Venice Film Festival opens September 2 and the jury will be headed by filmmaker Ang Lee and include French actress Sandrine Bonnaire, Italian director Liliana Cavani, American moviemaker Joe Dante, Indian director Anurag Kashyap and Italian rocker and one-off filmmaker Luciano Ligabue.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Sweden’s Assman Hosts Human Duck Race

The small western Sweden village of Uddebo will play host to a slew of “flabby old men” dressed as ducks racing down the Assman waterway next Saturday.

The race will pit the amphibian wits of around 15 participants clad in tight-fitting wet suits and heads adorned with plastic duck regalia.

Prizes will be given for the best-dressed human duck and bets will be taken on the fastest swimmer. Local artist Claes Blixt will be among those seeking to waddle ahead of the field.

“Spectators will be able to place bets on the fastest ‘duck swimmer’ and there will be a prize for the one that looks the most ridiculous,” Blixt told The Local on Friday afternoon.

Uddebo is a small community in the Västergotland county of western Sweden. It has an official population of around 250, which has been in decline for some years. Even the local football team was discontinued a couple of years back due to lack of numbers.

The duck race is part of “Gula Dagen” (Yellow Day) — an event organized by “Gula Huset” (The Yellow House) which is a new local initiative and part of an attempt to breath new life back into the sleepy village.

“Uddebo is a little village that has pretty much met its maker in recent years. But now a group of creative people want to resuscitate a country village, and not just to benefit those who want to sit inside and watch television,” said Blixt, who makes a living giving courses in coffin making.

“Gula Huset is a building that has fallen into disrepair but since it was taken over by the collective about six months ago it plays host to exhibitions, courses and other exciting happenings.”

The day will also feature exhibitions by local artists, music and an auction of a painting of the US president Barack Obama.

When asked by The Local how he saw his chances in the race, Claes Blixt laid down the gauntlet to his fellow man-ducks.

“It is mostly a bunch of flabby old men that are taking part. I am lean, lithe and lightning fast — the prize is there for the taking.”

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

UK: Swimmers Are Told to Wear Burkinis

British swimming pools are imposing Muslim dress codes in a move described as divisive by Labour MPs.

Under the rules, swimmers — including non-Muslims — are barred from entering the pool in normal swimming attire.

Instead they are told that they must comply with the “modest” code of dress required by Islamic custom, with women covered from the neck to the ankles and men, who swim separately, covered from the navel to the knees.

Michael Phelps and swim suits under spotlight at US championshipsThe phenomenon runs counter to developments in France, where last week a woman was evicted from a public pool for wearing a burkini — the headscarf, tunic and trouser outfit which allows Muslim women to preserve their modesty in the water.

The 35-year-old, named only as Carole, is threatening legal action after she was told by pool officials in Emerainville, east of Paris, that she could not wear the outfit on hygiene grounds.

But across the UK municipal pools are holding swimming sessions specifically aimed at Muslims, in some case imposing strict dress codes.

Croydon council in south London runs separate one-and-a half-hour swimming sessions for Muslim men and women every Saturday and Sunday at Thornton Heath Leisure Centre.

Swimmers were told last week on the centre’s website that “during special Muslim sessions male costumes must cover the body from the navel to the knee and females must be covered from the neck to the ankles and wrists”.

There are similar rules at S

horpe Leisure Centre, in North Lincolnshire, where “users must follow the required dress code for this session (T-shirts and shorts/leggings that cover below the knee)”.

In Glasgow, a men-only swimming session is organised by a local mosque group at North Woodside Leisure Centre, at which swimmers must be covered from navel to knee.

At a women-only class organised by a Muslim teacher at Blackbird Leys Swimming Pool, Oxford, to encourage Muslim women to learn to swim, most participants wear “modest” outfits although normal costumes are permitted.

The dress codes have provoked an angry reaction among critics who say they encourage division and resentment between Muslims and non-Muslims, putting strain on social cohesion.

Ian Cawsey, the Labour MP for the North Lincolnshire constituency of Brigg and Goole, said: “Of course swimming pools have basic codes of dress but it should not go beyond that.

“I don’t think that in a local authority pool I should have to wear a particular type of clothes for the benefit of someone else. That’s not integration or cohesion.”

Labour MP Anne Cryer, whose Keighley, West Yorkshire constituency has a large number of Muslims, said: “Unfortunately this kind of thing has a negative impact on community relations.

“It’s seen as yet another demand for special treatment. I can’t see why special clothing is needed for what is a single-sex session.”

Muslim swimming sessions are also held at a number of state schools around the country. At Loxford School in Ilford, east London, a local Muslim group organises weekly sessions for Muslim men, with the warning that “it is compulsory for the body to be covered between the navel and the knees.

“Anyone not adhering to the dress code or rules within the pool will not be allowed to swim”.

The practice of holding special Muslim swimming sessions has led to non-Muslims being turned away.

David Toube, 39 and his five year old son Harry were last year refused entry to Clissold Leisure Centre, in Hackney, east London, after being told the Sunday morning swimming session was for Muslim men only.

Council officials later said staff had made a mistake and both Mr Toube, a corporate lawyer, and his son should have been admitted.

After discovering the rules at Thornton Heath one Croydon resident, 34-year-old Alex Craig, said: “I think it is preposterous that a council should be encouraging this type of segregation over municipal facilities.

“Surely if Muslims want to swim then they should just turn up with their modest swimwear at the same time as everyone else.”

Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, last night condemned the practice. He said: “This kind of thing is extremely divisive.

“Non-Muslims see these extremist demands as an example of Muslims wanting things to fit into their lifestyle, when there aren’t similar things organised for Hindus, Buddhists or Jews.

“It also puts moderate Muslims in an awkward position as it suggests, wrongly, that they are not devout enough, simply because they choose not to cover themselves in a shroud in a pool.”

A press officer at Croydon council, which introduced Muslim-only swimming in 2006, claimed that the wording on the website was a mistake and the dress code should be regarded as a suggestion rather than a requirement.

The website was late changed to remove the reference to the dress code.

However, an official at the leisure centre said the dress code remained compulsory.

Earlier, defending the segregation policy, a Croydon council spokesman said: “We appreciate that certain religious groups, such as Muslims, have strict rules on segregation for activities including sports, so in response to requests from the local community, we have been running these sessions at Thornton Heath Leisure Centre.”

           — Hat tip: Lexington[Return to headlines]


Kosovo: Young; 73% Unemployed, One Third Prepared to Emigrate

(ANSAmed) — PRISTINA, AUGUST 14 — In Kosovo, 73% of young people are unemployed, and a survey has shown that a third of them are prepared to leave the country in search of fortune elsewhere. According to daily newspaper Koha Ditore, there is an increasing trend amongst young people to emigrate. The paper believes that this shows the authorities’ inability to respond to the requests and needs of young Kosovars. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Serbia: Living Cost Increased by 9.6% in Belgrade

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, AUGUST 12 — Living costs in Belgrade in July this year increased by 9.6% year-on-year, the city bureau of statistics said, reports BETA news agency. The price of personal hygiene items rose 5%, the price of food increased by 5.1%, household supply prices grew by 8.9%, while the cost of services went up 26.3%, a statement from the bureau said. Construction material prices increased the most 37.2%, while tobacco products cost 26.7% more than in July, last year. The cost of shop services increased 0.6%. Shoe, newspaper and school supply prices stayed the same as last year, while, surprisingly, the cost of clothes dropped 4%. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Serbia: About 23% of Privatization Deals Terminated

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, AUGUST 12 — Since 2002, 424 privatization deals have been terminated in Serbia, accounting for about 23% of the total number of companies sold in tenders and auctions, the Serbian Privatization Agency announced reports BETA news agency. According to the privatization data 108 companies were sold in tenders and contracts with 21 buyers were terminated due to their failure to meet contract terms. Of the 1,717 companies that were auctioned off, the privatization deals for 403 companies were terminated. The most frequent reason for contract annulment is failure to meet contractual obligations concerning investments and the implementation of the social program, as well as the cessation of production, failure to pay the purchase price and sale of company property. The Privatization Agency said that the property of 134 companies, whose sale deals had previously been abolished, were sold on the Belgrade Stock Exchange, bringing a revenue of 60.4 million euros. The revenue made from the auctioning of companies amounted to 1.1 billion euros, with privatization deals totaling 286.6 million euros terminated, the agency added. A total of 2,504 Serbian companies were sold in tenders, auctions and on the stock market for 2.9 billion euros, the agency said.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Tunisia: Woman Kills Son in Order to Get Married

(ANSAmed) — TUNIS, AUGUST 12 — In order not to lose her fiancé a Tunisian women killed her 8-year-old son with the help of the man and another friend, then threw the boy’s body down a well, reported Le Temps today. The victim, born out of wedlock, represented an obstacle to the couple’s marriage and the woman’s boyfriend required the mother to get rid of the child. The trio then decided to kill the boy, first beating and then strangling him. The women, who confessed to the crime, is in jail awaiting trail. Her accomplices are still fleeing from authorities. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Clash Between Hamas and Radical Group, Victims

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, AUGUST 14 — One was killed and about 15 were injured in a clash today in the Gaza Strip between Hamas (the Palestinian Islamic movement holding power in the area) police and members of a small, ultra-radical group inspired by Al Qaeda slogans. Reports were from eyewitnesses who had initially said that there was tension and shootouts but no victims. The clash occurred in Rafah, near the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, outside a sermon held by an ultra-radical leader in a mosque during the Friday prayers. According to the latest information, the clash is still underway inside and around the mosque. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Fatah: Barghuti’s Release Discussed in Israel

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 12 — The election to the Fatah Central Committee of Marwan Barghuti, the popular representative of the organisation in the West Bank, has once again raised the issue of his possible release in view of his possibly taking on a central role for a resumption of peace talks. Barghuti is serving five life sentences in Israel due to his involvement in attacks which cost the life of Israelis during the second Intifada. Barghuti has always denied the accusations. The Israeli Minister for Industry and Trade, Benyamin Ben Eliezer, interviewed this morning on state-owned radio, said that he believed “we should release Barghuti immediately and bring him to the negotiating table, since there is no one other than himself who can make difficult decisions. Peace is not made with pure souls but with leaders able to make decisions and to impose their authority over all Palestinian factions.” Other government sources quoted by the broadcaster said that Barghuti’s release “is not under consideration”. Israeli Minister for Culture and Sport Limor Livnat has taken a stand against Barghuti’s release. In his view “the release of an assassin will not lead to peace”. The leader of the opposition and the relative majority party Kadima, Tzipi Livni, has taken a similar line. Barghuti’s election to a leading position within Fatah is not, in her opinion, a sufficient reason to release him. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Gaza Islamist Leader Dies in Raid

The leader of a radical Islamist group involved in a shootout with Hamas in Gaza is one of at least 22 people killed in the raid, reports say.

Abdul-Latif Moussa died in an explosion, officials said, but it was not clear whether he blew himself up.

On Friday Hamas, which controls Gaza, launched a bloody crackdown on the group, Jund Ansar Allah, after it declared an “Islamic emirate”.

Scores were injured in the attack, on a mosque in Rafah, near the Egypt border.

Hamas also stormed Abdul-Latif Moussa’s house.

‘Hasty declaration’

The fighting lasted seven hours and ended at about midnight on Friday.

Followers of the group said Abdul Latif-Moussa blew himself up in a crowd of Hamas police, but Hamas has denied this.

Six Hamas fighters, including a senior commander, and one civilian died. The rest of those killed were from Jund Ansar Allah.

About 120 people were injured, with some in a critical condition, the BBC’s Rushdi Abu Alouf says.

The Hamas spokesman, Taher al-Nono, said: “We hold Abdul-Latif Moussa and his followers fully responsible for what happened because of his hasty declaration during Friday prayers of a so-called ‘Islamic Emirate’.”

The Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of the Companions of God) is thought to be linked to al-Qaeda.

Mr Nono said: “Anyone who belongs to this group has to immediately hand himself and his weapons over to the Palestinian police and security forces.”

Another Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, branded the cleric’s speech “wrong thinking”.

Sealed off

Hamas fighters on Friday fired rocket-propelled grenades at Ibn-Taymiyah mosque, where at least 100 Jund Ansar Allah supporters were holed up.

The entire neighbourhood was sealed off as the shooting continued after dark — in what was one of the most violent incidents in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip since an Israeli offensive in December and January.

Abdul-Latif Moussa and his armed supporters had sworn to fight to the death rather than hand over authority of the mosque to Hamas.

During his own Friday sermon, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, dismissed Mr Moussa’s comments.

“These declarations [of an Islamic emirate] are aimed towards incitement against the Gaza Strip and an attempt at recruiting an international alliance against the Gaza Strip.

“And we warn those who are behind these Israeli Zionist declarations: the Gaza Strip only contains its people.”

Jund Ansar Allah gained some prominence two months ago when it staged a failed attack on horseback on a border crossing between Gaza and Israel.

The group is very critical of Hamas, which seized Gaza in 2007, accusing the Islamist group of not being Islamist enough.

Hamas has cracked down hard on al-Qaeda-inspired groups in the past, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Katya Adler says.

Hamas is concerned they may attract more extremist members, and has forbidden anyone except what it describes as Hamas security personnel from carrying weapons in Gaza, our correspondent says.

           — Hat tip: Zenster[Return to headlines]

Gaza: HRW Requests Investigation Into Civilian Deaths

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 13 — Human Rights Watch (HRW), based in New York, has asked Israel to investigate seven cases of Palestinian civilians, apparently hit by military fire despite the fact that they were waving white flags, during operation ‘Cast Lead’, the three week offensive launched by Israel against Hamas in Gaza at the end of last December. HRW affirms, after collecting witness reports and other proof, that 11 unarmed Palestinian civilians, among them 5 women and 4 children, were killed by Israeli fire while having white flags. HRW expressed disappointment over Israel’s response to accusations of war crimes launched by several international humanitarian organisations and said that other governments, on the basis of international law, should work on charging the people responsible for the crimes that were committed by both Israel and Hamas. According to HRW, at the moment of the incidents, no combat activities were in course and no Hamas fighters were hiding among the civilians. Operation Cast Lead cost, according to Palestinian estimates, the lives of some 1,400 people. According to a Palestinian NGO 900 of these were civilians; Israel maintains that 900 fighters were killed and 300 civilians. Israel pushed back the accusations from different international organisations of war crimes during Cast Lead, an operation, it indicated, that was launched to put an end to years of rocket firings from Gaza against the civilian population of southern Israel. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Hamas Battle With Radicals Kills 13, Injures 100

At least thirteen Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others injured in the Gaza Strip on Friday in an exchange of fire between radical Islamists and Hamas police, medical sources said.

The clash took place when Hamas police confronted the Islamist dissidents, who had gathered at a mosque in the southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt.

Gaza Ambulance and Emergency Chief Dr Muaweya Hasanein told Al Arabiya that those killed in the clashes include two from Hamas and rest from the Islamist radicals.

“Eight of the injured people have very critical wounds in their heads as they were exposed to direct shooting inside the mosque,” he said.

Islamist radicals from a Palestinian group called Jund Ansar Allah defied the Hamas rulers of Gaza earlier by declaring an “Islamic emirate” in the territory and staging a defiant display of arms.

Though the “Warriors of God” rallied only a few hundred men for their event at a Gaza mosque, it was the latest challenge to Hamas’s nationalist brand of Palestinian Islam by groups espousing a pan-Arab militia aligned with al-Qaeda.

Theocratic rule

Speaking before weekly prayers, Abdul Latif Moussa — known to followers by the al-Qaeda-style nom de guerre Abu al-Nour al-Maqdessi — announced the start of theocratic rule in the Palestinian territories, starting at Rafah.

“We declare the birth of the Islamic Emirate,” declared Maqdessi, a heavily-bearded, middle-aged cleric in a red robe who was guarded by four black-clad, masked men with assault rifles. One wore what appeared to be an explosive suicide belt.

An audience of several hundred men filled the mosque with cheers and shouts. Al-Qaeda uses the historical term “emirate” to mean clerical rule across the Islamic world.

Ismail Haniyeh, who heads Gaza’s Hamas government, denied in his Friday sermon that there were any non-Palestinian gunmen in the territory, as alleged by Israel which charges that veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken up residence.

“Such groups do not exist on the soil of the Gaza Strip … there are no fighters in Gaza except Gazan fighters,” he said.

Such “Zionist propaganda” from Israel was simply an attempt to turn the world against Hamas, he said.

Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri called Maqdessi’s speech “wrong thinking” and in a clear reference to al-Qaeda added that his group “has no affiliation with foreign groups.”

Hamas’s Interior Ministry was blunter, calling Maqdessi “mad.”

Hamas .. a moderate movement

His group announced its existence in Gaza two months ago, after three of its members were killed in a border raid on an Israeli base in which gunmen rode on horseback.

Outside the mosque on Friday, nearly 100 masked fighters of the group in Pakistani-style dress, wearing their hair long, carried automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

Men of the Hamas armed wing and security forces took positions nearby.

The group accuses Hamas of oppressing them, including making arrests and confiscating weapons.

Hamas is an Islamist group described by its leaders as a moderate movement and by independent analysts as giving priority to Palestinian nationalist goals over international religious aims typical of al-Qaeda’s network. Observers detect strains within Hamas ranks between pragmatic and more radical factions.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal

Hamas refuses to renounce violence against Israel but has condemned al-Qaeda bombings in other countries. It has made little public attempt to impose fundamentalist law or strict dress codes, but it is encountering more frequent challenges from groups who want more traditionalist Islam in Gaza.

Human rights groups last month criticized an order by a Hamas-appointed judge that women lawyers cover their hair, and a campaign by its religious affairs ministry to encourage the public to follow Islamic instructions.


Maqdessi warned Hamas against implementing a decision to take over the mosque where he leads prayers for his followers: “If they approach the mosque they should know their days will be cut short,” the grey-whiskered cleric said.

Maqdessi said his group would not initiate attacks against Hamas but “whoever sheds our blood, his blood will be shed.”

He urged “everyone who has a weapon” to join the group and carry out decisions to be issued by the armed wing in coming weekly sermons. The group believes democracy is prohibited by Islam because it follows earthly law instead of God’s word.

“Who are you afraid of? America? Britain? France? The European Union? You should fear only God,” Maqdessi said in a warning to Hamas leaders seeking dialogue with the West.

Israel unilaterally ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005 and withdrew its forces. Islamist radicals began to surface in Gaza following the takeover of the Israeli-blockaded enclave by Hamas in 2007, when it routed the forces of the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]

Middle East

Iran: Protesters ‘Tortured to Death’ In Prison

Tehran, 14 August (AKI) — One of Iran’s defeated opposition presidential candidates has claimed some protesters held after July’s disputed poll have been tortured to death in prison. Mehdi Karroubi made the claim after previously claiming a number of prisoners, both male and female, had been raped.

Senior Iranian officials denied the rape claims, but admit that abuses have taken place since hundreds of people were arrested during protests after the 12 June presidential election.

Karroubi said he had testimonies from prisoners who said they were abused while in detention and from others who claimed to have seen others being brutally tortured to death.

The detainees were held in Kahrizak prison in Tehran.

Karroubi is one of two defeated reformist candidates who challenged Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the election. His statement was posted on his website late Thursday.

Claims of mistreatment of detainees arrested in Iran’s post-election crackdown have shaken the establishment and drawn condemnation from reformists and conservative clerics alike.

Karroubi alleged that a number of detainees had been tortured to death on Thursday.

“Some young people are beaten to death just for chanting slogans in [post-election] protests,” his website said.

Karroubi called for an independent committee to review his evidence in “a calm atmosphere”.

United Nations human rights experts on Thursday voiced serious concern on Thursday over accusations of torture and rough interrogation tactics used against protesters jailed during the recent unrest in Iran.

UN’s special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said he had brought more than 300 cases of alleged torture and ill-treatment to the attention of Iranian authorities. The allegations came from ex-detainees as well as relatives and lawyers of people still being held, Nowak said.

Most of the allegations involved alleged torture at Evin prison in Tehran or at Kahrizak detention centre outside the capital, but also concerned police stations, according to Nowak.

On Sunday, Karroubi claimed that some opposition protesters were raped in detention, but the allegation was dismissed as “totally baseless” by the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani.

“Based on parliament’s investigations, detainees have not been raped or sexually abused in Iran’s Kahrizak and Evin prisons,” he said.

The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei late last month closed the Kahrizak detention centre saying it had failed to “preserve the detainees’ rights” and police recently admitted that some prisoners may have been tortured there.

Both the Iranian parliament and judiciary have established committees to investigate the post-election unrest and the government’s response.

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

Saudi Arabia: Sex Life on TV, Other Channel Offices Closed

(ANSAmed) — RIYADH, AUGUST 10 — The Saudi Arabian government decided on the closure of the second office run by the Lebanese broadcaster LBC, after it put the details of a man’s sex life on the air, reported a spokesman for the government in Riyadh. As a result of his “red light” tales, Mazen Abdul-Jawad, 32, risks the death penalty. Mazen Abdul-Jawad was arrested last month after having spoken from his bedroom on his sex life and on how couples can make their evenings spicier: “Everything happens in this room”, Jawad said in one of the episodes of the programme entitled, “Ahmar Bilkhat al-Areed’ (Wide Red Lines), before explaining the tricks to courting women in Jeddah and supplying recipes for aphrodisiacs. Yesterday, a spokesman from the Minister of Culture announced the closure of LBC’s local offices due to this interview. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Saudi Activist, Fatwas Do Not Solve Today’s Problems

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 13 — The legal authority associated with fatwas is “disastrous” because they are incapable of “solving today’s problems,” said Bahija Bint Baha Azzi, the secretary general of the International Organisation for Women and Family (IMOWF) in an interview with Saudi magazine ‘Roaa’, reports the Asia News website. The Saudi activist also spoke of “cultural factors” that have resulted in women being “victims of attacks”, not only in the Arab world. Some societies are characterised by “cultures that marginalise women,” said the advisor to the Saudi Shura Council, instilling a “discrimination between sexes that leads to conflict”. But “excluding women from public affairs does not aid development”, she says, and for true social growth to occur “equal dignity” policies between men and women “without discrimination” should be pursued. As for Saudi women, Bahija Bint Baha Azzi underlined “a mistaken conception of habits and traditions”. The IMOWF, a non-profit organisation, works to “attain social and family security,” explained the activist, promoting a greater awareness of modern technology. Regarding fatwas, the responses of judges and religious experts to any aspect on life, women are “the first victims of them” she concluded, “although they are issued with the best of intentions, because they are not able to solve today’s problems”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syrian Press, Prisoner From Golan Heights Released

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, AUGUST 12 — While reports from Israel indicate that Syria was asked by Russia on behalf of the Israeli state for information on a soldier who disappeared years ago in the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel, the press in Damascus today has reported the liberation of a Syrian prisoner from the Golan Heights who was held in Israel. “Kamil Khater (33-years-old) has been freed after eight years,” was written on the front page of state-run newspaper al Thawra, specifying that the man, a barber, was arrested and convicted of “illegal weapons trafficking” in 2001 and sentenced to eight years in prison. The main websites of Syrian activists in the Golan Heights report that Khater returned on Monday to Majdal Shams, his city of birth and one of the four Syrian towns in the Golan Heights spared from the destruction carried out by the Israeli Army during the wars in 1967 and 1973-1974. The Israeli press reported today that the government indirectly asked Syria for information on Guy Hever, who disappeared in the Golan Heights 12 years ago. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Syria: President May Soon Visit Iran

Damascus, 13 August(AKI) — Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is expected to travel to Iran shortly for an official two day visit following the controversial re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah’s TV network Al-Manar, backed by Syria and Iran, reported the proposed visit which has not yet been officially announced by Damascus.

Assad’s visit would be his fourth official visit to Iran since Iran’s hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was first elected in 2005.

The Syrian president was one of the first heads of state to congratulate the Iranian leader with a telegramme after the disputed 12 June election.

In his message, Assad expressed his faith in strengthening the “friendship” between the two countries and a further consolidation of relations between Syria and Iran.

News of a possible visit was announced as a US delegation, including Major Gen. Michael Moeller of the US central command (CENTCOM) and Frederick Hof, from the office of US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, were visiting Damascus.

In June, the top US commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, said there has been a “significant decrease” in the number of foreign fighters entering Iraq in the past few months, including those from Syria.

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

Yemen: News of Abducted Europeans Among Sanaa Conditions for Rebel Ceasefire

The government wants the information delivered or on the five Germans and a Briton kidnapped in June along with three women found dead. Exchange of accusations of violating the truce, the rebels speak of “criminal acts”.

Sanaa (AsiaNews / Agencies) — There is a demand for “information” about the fate of six Europeans — five Germans and a Briton — abducted in June in the north of Yemen among the conditions imposed by the Sanaa government to put an end to the heavy attacks that the army is conducting against the Houthi rebels. The rebels, who complain of air strikes and bombardment of peaceful villages, are a Shiite minority that takes its name from Abdulmalik al-Houthi, their spiritual leader. Al-Houthi speaks of “criminal acts” and describes the deaths of two children, due to the attacks.

The government accuses the Houti of wanting to restore a form of state — along Iranian lines — similar to the one in the region of Sa’ad that lasted until the ‘60s, and of attacks against government installations, as well as kidnappings, like that of June. On that occasion three women, two German and one South Korean, were also abducted but later found dead.

The current clash, which local sources call the “Sixth War of Sa’ad” involves, in addition to the army, members of the Hashid tribe, who are also Shiites. This highlights the intricacy of the situation.

Last Saturday, a mediation committee had established “steps” to reach a stable ceasefire, but the government and rebels accuse each other of making any truce impossible, which was supposed to have substituted an existing one, that had also been violated.

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

South Asia

British Sniper Describes Moment He Shot Taliban Commander… From Two Kilometres Away

A British sniper killed a Taliban leader with the longest-ever fatal bullet shot in Afghanistan — from nearly TWO KILOMETRES away.

Corporal Christopher Reynolds, 25, camped on the roof of a shop for three days as he waited for the perfect conditions to shoot the terrorist commander.

He calculated the range, wind and trajectory before pulling the trigger — and the bullet flew 1,853 metres before hitting the target in the chest.

The warlord, known as ‘Mula’, is thought to be responsible for co-ordinating several attacks against British and American troops since the outbreak of war in 2001.

Cpl Reynolds, of 3 Scots, The Black Watch, who has already killed 32 rebel fighters, has now been credited with the longest kill in Afghanistan at 1.15 miles away.

The incident happened last week during heavy fighting in the town of Babaji in Helmand Province.

Today he told how the Taliban chief slumped into the arms of a stunned colleague after being hit by the ‘lead sleeping tablet’.

Cpl Reynolds, a father-of-one, said: ‘We were in a bazaar for days in some very heavy fighting and had taken up a position on a shop roof to observe the surrounding area.

‘From the first few minutes after we landed, we came into contact with the enemy.

‘We were taking fire all the time. We were observing down the valley and I saw a group of five Taliban.

‘I identified one straight away as the commander because I watched him through the scope and when he spoke on the radio, the other one would do what he said.

‘I saw that he had a weapon, an AK47. We did all the calculations for range, wind speed and all that.

‘I have to admit the first round landed next to him. We were so far away that he didn’t even realise he was being shot at.

‘We changed our aim and when I took into account different factors like the trajectory of the bullet, my gun scope was actually aiming at the top of a doorway.

‘I fired and the bullet went off, coming down and hitting him in the chest.

‘He dropped straight away into the arms of a fighter behind him. The guy just panicked and dropped the leader and ran away.

‘He had been given a lead sleeping tablet. I was quite proud of that shot — it is the longest recorded kill in Afghanistan.’ Cpl Reynolds, who has been in Afghanistan since March, was camped with spotter Lance Corporal David Hatton when they noticed Mula walk into range.

In the ensuing battle, an Afghan sniper was taken out by one of Cpl Reynolds’ comrades — who fired a state-of-the-art Javelin missile launcher.

L/Cpl Hatton, 20, from Castlemilk, in Glasgow, said: ‘We had been in position for three days when he made that shot. I was the spotter on that job and I was giving him the information about the target.

‘He did a top job that day — but we are all sick about him going on about it and telling us what a great shot he is.’ Cpl Reynolds, of Dalgety Bay in Fife, Scotland, is on his first tour of Afghanistan but has previously served in Iraq.

His wife Becca, 29, who lives in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, with their three-year-old son Joshua yesterday hailed her husband a hero.

She said: ‘I was ecstatic when I found out what he had done. I thought it was fantastic, not only for him but for the whole of Black Watch.

‘He said he keeps on going on about it and everyone over there is telling him to shut up.

‘He is on patrol at the moment but I speak to him about once a week.

‘This is his first time in Afghanistan. he has been there since March and has been in Iraq before as well.

‘He has got his screwed on and really takes his job seriously. He loves it.’

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

Tamil Nadu: Dalit Christians “Reconverted” To Hinduism for Economic Reasons

The Hindu fundamentalist movement VHP organised the ceremony. The return to Hinduism is in reality motivated by the discrimination endured by Dalit Christians who are denied a number of development benefits.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) — More than 200 Christian Dalits from a village near Dindigul (Tamil Nadu) were “reconverted” in a ceremony organised by the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP), sources close to the Hindu extremist organisation said. According to them, a ceremony was held yesterday in Tamaraikulam, ostensibly because of “neglect” by the wider Christian community towards Dalits who had previously embraced Christianity. In reality, Dalits are returning to Hinduism for economic and social reasons that are rooted in Indian law.

“The state is responsible for promoting the VHP’s agenda of discrimination against Dalit Christians on the basis of a constitution that provides scheduled castes certain economic benefits,’ Fr Cosmon Arokiaraj, of the Bishops’ Conference of India, told AsiaNews.

According to Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, better known as the Presidential Order of 1950, “no person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of Scheduled Caste.”

Even a cursory reading of the Order reveals its discriminatory nature. “By restricting the benefits to a particular religion, the Order has divided the entire Dalit community on the basis of religion.”

For the clergyman, “instead of caste and socio-economic backwardness being the criteria for reservation (affirmative action), the linkage of caste and religion is treated as the crux of the problem.”

For Father Arokiaraj, “economic development and social oppression cannot go together. [. . .] Excluding a section, Dalits, from the process of development, just because they are Christians, will be a drag on the process of development and a stigma on the whole nation”.

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


Islam: Coldiretti, 10% Non-EU Day Labourers in Agricolture

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 13 — With non-EU nationals making up about 10% of farm day labourers, it is clear that a high percentage of immigrants work in the agricultural sector — one of the highest of all economic sectors, as the Coldiretti noted in commenting on the decision made by the Mantova Committee for Safety in Agriculture for the prevention of heat stroke and the safeguarding of safety in the workplace. The organisation puts the number of non-EU work contracts listed in INPS files at 98,155, with workers belonging to 155 different nationalities — though those moving to Italy to work in agriculture are mainly Albanians (15%), Romanians (12%) and Indians (10%), as well as many workers from countries of the Muslim religion. This are figures that — according to the Coldiretti — show that the agricultural sector is an important part of the puzzle for the integration of workers from different cultural and religious realities.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Netherlands: ‘Reply This Month on Cost of Immigration’

The cabinet will try to answer questions from the anti-immigration PVV party on the cost of non-western immigrants this month, reports website

The cabinet said earlier this week it would discuss how to tackle this sensitive political issue at Friday’s meeting.

‘We want to reply quickly and clearly,’ quotes integration minister Eberhard van der Laan as saying after Friday’s meeting.

‘We accept the limitations that a fast reply brings with it. You could spend years studying the situation,’ he added.

Van der Laan also said that the cabinet will focus on what the government’s immigration policy has cost and what it has delivered. It does not intend to talk about ‘how much people cost’ reports

The government is obliged to answer questions from MPs. In total Geert Wilders’ PVV party has submitted almost 80 questions about how much immigrants cost the Netherlands to almost all government ministries.

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


Drug Promises Fix for Radiation Poisoning

Dirty bombs are one of the biggest threats to the world’s urban populations. Now an American molecular biologist has developed a drug that may protect against the effects of radioactivity. Military officials are thrilled, and the discoverers could make billions.

On Friday afternoons, as the Sabbath approaches and the sun hangs low in the sky over the Mediterranean, the Restaurant Turquoise north of Tel Aviv is a carefree oasis. Every seat in the place is taken, and the crowd is in high spirits.

Only one patron, Yacov Reizman, seems serious as he glances at a stack of documents — a study recently published by the United States Department of Homeland Security — on the table in front of him. Using a hypothetical scenario, the study describes the medical consequences of a terrorist attack involving a radioactive bomb in a major American city. It concludes that tens of thousands would be killed immediately, while hundreds of thousands more would sustain fatal injuries through the resulting radioactive fallout…

           — Hat tip: TB[Return to headlines]


laine said...

Washington DC, predominantly black, voted for handouts. They got handouts.

It literally pays to vote Democrat.