Monday, August 15, 2011
Posted by Will at 9:22 AM
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in St Helena 4.9! More info here.
- Updated - Enviroment Pollution in The North sea - Official situation update Nr 3:
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- George Soros:'You Need This Dirty Word, Euro Bonds'.(Spiegel).In a SPIEGEL interview, billionaire investor George Soros criticizes Germany's lack of leadership in the euro zone, arguing that Berlin must dictate to Europe the solution to the currency crisis. He also argues in favor of the creation of euro bonds as a way out of the turbulence. SPIEGEL: Mr. Soros, we currently see a global banking crisis, a currency crisis and a sovereign debt crisis. Has the financial dilemma become too big to handle? How can politicians on both sides of the Atlantic be expected to solve such a multitude of crises?
Soros: The politicians have not really tried to fix any crisis; they have so far only tried to buy time. But sometimes time is actually working against you if you refuse to face the relevant issues and explain to the public what is at stake.
SPIEGEL: Are you talking about the Germans? Many experts think Chancellor Angela Merkel has been particularly hesitant to address the euro crisis.
Soros: Yes. The future of the euro depends on Germany. This is the point I really want to bring home. Germany is in the driver's seat because it is the largest country in Europe with the best credit rating and a chronic surplus. In a crisis, it is always the creditor that calls the shots. Sure, this is not a position Germany or Chancellor Merkel ever desired and they are understandably reluctant to embrace it. But the fact is: The Germans are now in the position of dictating to Europe what the solution to the euro crisis is.
SPIEGEL: Why should Berlin embrace that idea?
Soros: There is simply no alternative. If the euro were to break up, it would cause a banking crisis that would be totally outside the control of the financial authorities. So it would push not only Germany, not only Europe, but the whole world into conditions very reminiscent of the Great Depression in the 1930s, which was also caused by a banking crisis that was out of control.
SPIEGEL: What, then, needs to be done to fight this crisis?
Soros: I think there is only one choice. It is not a question of whether Europe needs a common currency. The euro exists, and if it broke apart all hell would break loose. Germany has to make it work. To make it work, you have got to allow the members of the euro zone to be able to refinance the bulk of their debt on reasonable terms. So you need this dirty word, the "euro bonds". But when you study what it involves to have euro bonds, you really have a problem because each European country remains in control of its own fiscal policy, and you have to rely on the country to meet its financial obligations.
SPIEGEL: Germans hate the euro bonds idea. They fear that under this scenario they will ultimately need to bail out everyone, even large nations like Italy.
Soros: That is why you need to establish fiscal rules that will ensure the solvency of every member. This should make the euro bond acceptable to German voters. Europe needs a fiscal authority that has not only financial but also political legitimacy. The difficulty is agreeing on the rules. Unfortunately, Germans have some funny ideas. They want the rest of Europe to follow their example. But what works for Germany can't work for the rest of Europe: No country can run a chronic surplus without others running deficits. Germany must propose rules that other countries can also follow. These rules must allow for a gradual reduction in indebtedness. They must also allow countries with high unemployment, like Spain, to continue running cyclical budget deficits until they recover.Hmmmm......I hate to say it but i've been saying the same thing for a while only Euro bonds might save the Euro.Read the full story here.
- Breaking Taboos - Concerns Mount in Germany Over ECB Bond Buys."A country like Italy can't be saved."By SPIEGEL ONLINE Staff.under the pressure of the euro crisis, Europe's central bankers have assumed duties listed nowhere in their statutes. For example, the ECB is drafting austerity programs for heavily indebted countries, including Greece, Ireland and Italy, bailing out major banks and propping up the value of the sovereign bonds of five euro-zone countries. Critics have come to ridicule the ECB as "Europe's biggest bad bank," and the reputation of ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet has also suffered. Indeed, even some of Trichet's close companions believe he has become all too eager to bend to political will. For example, in a guest contribution published in London's Financial Times on Aug. 8, former ECB chief economist Otmar Issing criticized the bank for considering an amendment to its "no bail-out" clause. Doing so, he wrote, would be "a move on a slippery road to a regime of fiscal indiscipline drowning hitherto solid countries in the morass of over-indebtedness."Indeed, the common currency that was supposed to unite the Continent is now threatening to split it apart. And one of the deepest fissures runs straight through the ECB itself. Trichet and his colleagues from heavily indebted countries in southern Europe favor a massive effort to purchase sovereign state bonds. But the head of the Bundesbank and his colleagues from the EU's "net payer" countries, such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands, believe that would be a major mistake because they fear it would only trigger inflation. Almost two years after Greece's government acknowledged that the country was much more indebted than previously known, the currency crisis has reached a whole new stage. Until now, euro-zone governments have been trying to protect the common currency by piling more and more money into bailout funds. But that's not enough for investors anymore. Now they're demanding that the net-payer states offer practically unlimited guarantees for almost every conceivable amount, even when it comes to seriously indebted countries, such as Spain and Italy.
Germany's Tough Choices
"Germany is in the driver's seat," says George Soros, the major investor and hedge fund manager based in New York. As he sees it, Germany's government is facing a difficult decision: Either it accepts that the ECB will provide long-term assistance as a financer of state debt, or it clears the way for the introduction of so-called "euro bonds," ones common to all euro-zone member states. In effect, the latter option would mean that Germany would automatically be jointly liable for any loans taken out by fellow euro-zone countries, such as Italy or Greece.German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble opposes this second option and believes that economic assistance should only be given out under strict conditions. "We're not going to bail out countries at any price," Schäuble told SPIEGEL in an interview published this week. Although he left open the question of potential consequences, there's no denying they would be significant: Greece would go bankrupt and possibly abandon the monetary union. The whole euro zone could break up. Indeed, with ECB President Trichet saying this "is the worst crisis since the second world war," it's hardly surprising that the government coalition in Berlin -- made up of Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) -- is getting increasingly nervous. Senior party officials are worried they might not secure majorities in the upcoming votes on the euro bailout package in the Bundestag, Germany's federal parliament. What's more, they're afraid that Trichet's controversial bond plan might spark opposition within their own ranks. "It would be a serious matter if we reached the point where Germany was outvoted on the ECB's governing council by the debtor countries," says Alexander Dobrindt, the CSU's general secretary. "The ECB needs to regain its political independence as quickly as possible and only make decisions based on stability principles."Such displeasure is understandable given the considerable political pressure the ECB has been facing in making its decisions. For example, when the risk premiums on Italian government bonds rose to all-time highs in early August, the ECB initially bought up Irish and Portuguese bonds, just as it had already done a number of times before.Hmmmm.....Which countries are among the board of the ECB?Read the full story here.
- Five Questions About Rick Perry.(NationalReview).He’ll face these obstacles on his way to the nomination.When the implosion of the Gingrich campaign freed up key former aides to Rick Perry, chatter in the pundit class immediately focused on the possibility of the Texas governor’s running. It initially seemed like inside-baseball talk run amok, but soon enough came word that Perry was seriously thinking about it, reports of his meeting with outside policy experts, and then this weekend — the announcement.There are two schools of thought on Perry. One says his strength on the cusp of his announcement mostly had to do with his being a relative unknown and not yet in the race. Others see a truly formidable candidacy in the making — one that can steal establishment support from Mitt Romney and compete with Michele Bachmann for tea-party and evangelical voters, all while touting a record of accomplishment more impressive than any of the other candidates’.It surely is some of both. Perry hasn’t yet had a campaign flub, nor had to endure the constant scrutiny of the campaign trail. It’s easy for people to project whatever they want onto him. But he starts off from a position of strength. He gets an automatic entrée into the top tier and an excellent chance to become Romney’s chief competitor, if not himself the frontrunner. Besides Bachmann, he’s the only current officeholder among the top candidates. There’s no arguing with his experience as governor the last ten years of one of the country’s most populous and economically dynamic states. He has a natural narrative as the outsider who has succeeded in addressing the nation’s foremost problem — jobs — by rejecting the nostrums popular in Washington today. He’s a down-the-line conservative with a no-holds-barred combativeness when both substantive purity and a hard-line affect are highly prized by the party’s grassroots.He must be taken seriously. Whether he gets the nomination will depend in part on these five questions:
- Can he win Iowa?
- Is he “too Texas” to win a general election?
- Will being a career politician hurt Perry?
- Do the Bushies matter?
- How much will immigration hurt?Hmmmm.......6.What's his relation with the Aga khan? 7. What's his relation with the Bilderberg group?Read the full story here.
- Turkey issues 'final word' to Syria.(Ynet).Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday told Bashar Assad military operations against civilians must end immediately and unconditionally, warning the Syrian president that these were Ankara's "final words". "This is our final word to the Syrian authorities, our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally," Davutoglu told a news conference. "If these operations do not stop there will be nothing left to say about the steps that would be taken," he said, without elaborating. Turkish leaders, who once backed Assad, have repeatedly urged him to end violence and make reforms after street protests against his 11 years in power erupted five months ago.Meanwhile, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the Syrian president had rejected a proposal from Madrid for political asylum for himself and his family, as well as a plan to end violence in Syria. According to the report, Madrid sent one of President José Luis Zapatero's aides to Damascus last month to convince Assad to accept the plan.The Spanish proposal included three stages: Immediate cessation of the violent crackdown, a conference of all parties to the conflict in Madrid, and the establishment of a new government with representation to the opposition. The Spanish aide told the paper he got the impression Assad would not compromise and that Syrian officials were all "out of touch with reality."Hmmmm.......Would Erdogan oppose Ahmadinejad?......I don't think so!Perhaps the Saudi king.... Yes."Barking dogs don't bite".Read the full story here.
- Nuclear Expert: Radioactive Rain-Outs Will Continue For a Year - Even In Western U.S. and Canada - Because Japanese Are Burning Radioactive Materials.(Washington'sblog).Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says in a new interview that the Japanese are burning radioactive materials. The radioactivity originated from Fukushima, but various prefectures are burning radioactive materials in their terroritories.Gundersen says that this radioactivity ends up not only in neighboring prefectures, but in Hawaii, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and California.He notes that radioactive rain-outs were documented recently in British Columbia and Oklahoma with geiger counters.Gundersen is working with scientists who will publish a paper in the near future definitively debunking Canadian and American health officials' claims that only harmless levels of radiation are being released. Gundersen has a high-level contact in the State Department who says that the U.S. government has decided - within various agencies, including the State Department, FDA, and other agencies - to downplay the dangers from Fukushima. Because of this policy decision, the government is not really testing for radiation.Gundersen says that well see another year of radioactive rain-outs, as the Japanese continue to burn radioactive materials.Read the full story here.
- Turner Blasts Obama State Department For ‘Blatant Jerusalem Insult’.(Matzav).“President Obama has found a new way to try to humiliate our Israeli allies and placate that nation’s enemies, and he needs to reverse himself immediately,” businessman and congressional candidate Bob Turner (R) demanded on Erev Shabbos.Mr. Turner, who has been endorsed by former Mayor Edward I. Koch (D) for his resolute support of Israel and of protecting Social Security and Medicare for New York seniors, is taking issue with the Obama State Department for furtively altering its website recently to remove references of Jerusalem being in Israel. The State Department is also denying Americans born in Jerusalem the right to stamp “Israel” as their nation of origin in their passports, a continuation of a policy begun under the Bush Administration. It is a blatant insult to the State of Israel and to Israeli-Americans and it is historically inaccurate, Mr. Turner says.The State Department’s official position now reads:
“Current U.S. Government policy is that U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem may not have ‘Israel’ listed in their passports as their place of birth. See the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual 7 FAM 1300 Appendix D for further details.”
“The Obama Administration has spared no pains in finding ways large and small to ostracize the State of Israel on the world stage,” Mr. Turner continued. “Jerusalem is Israel’s beating heart, yet, through these actions, Mr. Obama’s State Department is denying that Jerusalem is even part of the Israeli nation. Symbolic slights like this, however small, are widely noticed by Israel’s enemies. They do not need any further invitations to aggression.”Mr. Turner released a :30 television spot, called “Send a Message,” contrasting Mr. Weprin’s and President Barack Obama’s (D) support of a Mosque in the shadow of the fallen World Trade Center with Mr. Turner’s firm opposition to the construction, which Turner calls “a purposeful and confrontational act of provocation.”Read the full story here.
- Abbas Wants US-led NATO Force for PA State.(ArutzSheva).Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas told visiting US Congressmen on Thursday he wants the security of a future PA state to be handed to NATO under US command, the Maan news agency reported Friday.The PA state must also be "empty of settlements," Abbas said, according to official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA.Members of the US Congress and Senate delegation, headed by Democrat Senator Steny Hoyer, met with Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday, and quizzed Abbas on Israel's designation as a Jewish state, the status of refugees, and reconciliation between Abbas' Fatah party and rival Hamas, Presidential adviser Nimir Hamad said. Abbas reiterated the Palestinian Authority's well-known positions on these matters, Hammad added, and specified that security responsibility for the Palestinian Authority would be handled by a third party, suggesting the US-Europe military alliance NATO. In September 2010, Abbas outlined his government's acceptance of international forces from NATO or similar to the UNIFIL force operating in southern Lebanon playing a role in PA security, as long as forces did not include one single Israeli, whether from the civilian population or the military. Hmmmm......This combined with the news that the OIC wants a Muslim peacekeeper army doesn't sound good at all.Gen Petraeus was in favor of such a plan is Obama's plan coming together?Read the full story here.
- NGO Monitor slams Belgium funds for ‘anti-Israel’ group.(JPost).Yesh Din denies it files suits against Israeli officials; Belgian official says country funds activities, not organizations.BERLIN – The Jerusalem-based watchdog organization NGO Monitor has issued a report alleging that Belgium taxpayer funds are being used to finance ‘anti- Israel’ NGOs, including lawsuits against Israeli officials.According to the newly released NGO Monitor report on Belgium, the Federal Public Service, an intermediary governmental agency in Belgium, provided payments in 2010 to “political advocacy NGOs that claim a human rights mandate, such as Yesh Din, Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and Combatants for Peace (CFP).”“The transfer of over 800,000 euros in the past three years from Belgian taxpayers to opposition groups, under the façade of promoting peace and human rights, adds to the resentment of many Israelis, including Knesset members.Many criticize this as manipulative and anti-democratic,” Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO Monitor, told the Jerusalem Post.NGO Monitor charged that Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights used funds to initiate litigation against Israeli officials because of alleged human rights abuses.The use of foreign money to influence Israel’s political and judicial systems has been the source of a heated debate in the Knesset, including bills designed to promote transparency among foreign funding of NGOs in Israel.Asked about Belgium’s role in financing Israeli NGOs, Michel Malherbe, a spokesman for the Belgium Foreign Ministry, told the Post, “Belgium does not fund NGOs. We fund specific activities and examine the track record of the execution organization on a number of criteria. Respect for human rights is a major one.“The project executed by Yesh Din does not include legal action against Israeli officials. It does include filing petitions based on the Israeli Freedom of Information Act.”According to Yesh Din’s website, the NGO “is an Israeli human rights organization working to achieve long-term structural improvement in the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.We are an independent nongovernmental organization, supported by donations from individuals and institutional donors.”In an e-mail to the Post on Saturday, Hila Aloni, a representative from Yesh Din, denied that the organization files law suits against Israeli officials.“As a human rights organization, Yesh Din promotes accountability by the Israeli government, and demands it to do its job of proper law enforcement in the occupied territories, according to both Israeli and international law.We do not file suits against Israeli officials, but assist Palestinians to petition the Israeli justice system to challenge allegedly illegal or unjust actions taken by Israeli authorities. All of our financial information is completely public and transparent, unlike pro-occupation organizations that do not reveal their funding sources,” Aloni wrote.For Yesh Din, “A sum of 80,000 EUR has been approved by the Belgians this year, although the money hasn’t been received yet,” she added.According to the Belgium Foreign Ministry spokesman, the Federal Public Service in 2009-2010 provided about 850,000 euros to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, “of which 600,000 was in occupied Palestinian territory (450,000 medical work).”He added that the following year, the FPS gave about 450,000 euros in public monies for activities in the Palestinian Territories and Israel.Steinberg told the Post that “Foreign Minister [Steven] Vanackere’s support for the Israeli NGO transparency law is important, as is the publication of information on Belgium government funding for political advocacy NGOs in Israel.This information is necessary for an informed debate on the morality and impact of this funding. In contrast, Belgian transparency is incomplete, with an absence of information on grants to Palestinian and European political groups.”The Belgium Foreign Ministry spokesman responded: “We believe our transparency is complete and goes beyond the Belgian legal requirements. Israel legal requirements provide for transparency for funding from public sources. Transparency should apply to all types of funding, also private funding. We do not know what NGO Monitor means when it speaks about ‘Palestinian and European political groups.’ “Belgium also finances organizations including Peace Now, Palestinian Medical Relief Society and the Parents Circle.”Read the full story here.
- Islamists targeted High speed Russian train, report says.(HurriyetDaily).Russian security serves have foiled a plot by a group of Islamists to blow up a high-speed train running between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the Kommersant business daily said Monday.A blast on the same route that authorities blamed on Muslim rebels killed 26 people in November 2009.The respected daily said the group of North Caucasus-based militants had already prepared a fertilizer bomb and were in the closing stages of their operation when they were arrested by Federal Security Service (FSB) agents.FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov on July 18 reported to President Dmitry Medvedev that his service had averted a "major terror act" in the Moscow region in the preceding days.Bortnikov added at the time that militants had plans to target public places and "transport infrastructure" in the Moscow region.Russia is battling a Muslim insurgency in the North Caucasus, and suicide and other attacks have returned to the Russian capital in recent years.A suicide bomber from the North Caucasus killed 37 people at Russia's busiest airport in January. Two female suicide bombers from that region killed 40 and wounded dozens on the underground during morning rush hour last year.Russia's leading Islamist rebel Doku Umarov in February vowed to make 2011 "a year of blood and tears" and has claimed most recent attacks.Read the full story here.
- ‘Mystery’ still surrounds reported capture of PKK leader Karayılan.(TodaysZaman).Conflicting reports about the capture of the number two man of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization by Iranian forces were not resolved yesterday at the time Today's Zaman went to print, presenting a bit of a mystery to Turkish officials who were asked by the media to comment on breaking news coming from Tehran.A senior Iranian member of parliament said on Sunday that Iranian forces had captured a high-level member of the PKK while both Iranian and Turkish government officials denied their knowledge of the arrest.The capture of senior PKK leader Murat Karayılan by Iranian security forces, as reported by Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency, was not confirmed by Turkish government officials yet."Our country's intelligence forces have carried out an important task and have arrested the second [highest] person in the PKK," Alaedin Boroujerdi, head of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, told the news agency. However, according to Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency report on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, over the phone that he did not have any information regarding the capture of Karayılan. The Turkish ambassador in Tehran also told Anatolia that Boroujerdi had denied he had said Iranian security forces had captured Karayılan. The report was also denied by the pro-PKK Fırat news agency on its website.Commenting on weekend news reports of Karayılan's capture by the Fars news agency, Boroujerdi confirmed the reports, saying, “Our intelligence forces accomplished a significant achievement by capturing Karayılan.” Recalling that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been carrying out operations against the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), a PKK offshoot, since July 16, he said this was what they expected from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.Sources from the Office of the Prime Ministry and the Foreign Ministry have not confirmed what Boroujerdi had said. EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış said he had no knowledge of such an arrest, but warned that the fate of terrorists would either be capture by security forces or eventual death. “In today's world, no one can achieve anything using terror tactics. Such attempts are futile,” he said. Other Turkish officials also noted that they were not aware of any official notification from Iran of the capture of the PKK's number two man.The PKK leadership came onto the Iranian radar recently after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for an explosion at a gas pipeline that runs from Iran to Turkey. The explosions on Aug. 3 and Aug. 11 were carried out by the PKK, disrupting gas supply to Turkey.Experts point out that Karayılan's extradition to Turkey is very unlikely, saying Iran would want to try the terrorist leader itself for the crimes committed against the Islamic Republic. Recai Birgün, a former deputy who worked as the chief bodyguard of former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, says he does not expect Iran to hand Karayılan over to Turkey. “Even if Iran decides to hand him over, this is of no benefit to Turkey. We have nothing to learn from this man as we know pretty much everything about the PKK,” he told Today's Zaman.Professor Aytekin Geleri from the Ankara-based Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) also said the extradition is quite unlikely. “Iran has been after this number two man for a long time for attacks perpetrated against Iran. They will want to try him in a court of law and sentence him there,” he said.Both Birgün and Geleri also warned that this might be the result of an internal fight within the PKK. Stressing that Karayılan is considered to be very close to PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and represents the dovish wing of the PKK, Geleri said the more hawkish groups of the PKK might hand him over to Iran to have a freer hand in operations against Turkey.Birgün said he believes Karayılan's capture was only possible after a deal made between the PKK and Iran. “This could be another Şemdin Sakık incident. Sakık was captured by Turkey in an operation near Arbil on April 13, 1998. It could also be possible that Karayılan sought refuge in Iran and turned himself in to Iranian authorities,” he noted.Hmmmm......Was US info transmitted to Iran on Karayılan's whereabouts?Read the full story here.More here.
- Ahmadinejad: Iran will respond 'decisively' to U.S., Israel attacks.(Haaretz).Iranian President Ahmadinejad warned that he would respond harshly to any attempts by Israel or the United States to launch a war against the Islamic republic in an interview with Russia Today news network on Saturday, saying Iran would give a “decisive response” to any strike. “We have a saying in our language: If someone throws a smaller stone (at you), you should respond with a bigger stone,” the Iranian president said, adding, “we will defend ourselves within our capabilities.”Ahmadinejad told the Russian news network that the U.S. and Israel “wish to do it (launch an attack against Iran), they want to do it, but they know about our power. They know that we are going to give them a decisive response.” Despite this warning, the Iranian leader expressed hope in the interview that such a reality would never materialize, claiming there is no reason to launch a strike against Iran. Ahmadinejad then went on to accuse Israel of being a regime that depends on terror, occupation and aggression. The international community has called on Iran to halt its nuclear program, leveling sanctions against the Islamic country, however, Iran claims the program is for peaceful purposes and continues to enrich uranium. Earlier this year, former Mossad head Meir Dagan said that an air force strike against Iran's nuclear installations would be "a stupid thing." Dagan claimed that Iran has a secret infrastructure for its nuclear program which is working in parallel with the legitimate, civilian program, but only the latter is under international inspection. "Any strike against that [the civilian program] is an illegal act according to international law," Dagan said. Dagan says that contrary to the situation in Iraq in which the nuclear plant of Saddam Hussein was bombed in 1981, Iran has dispersed its nuclear sites across the country, making an effective attack difficult. He added that Iran has a proven ability to move its nuclear infrastructures from place to place, in order to hide them from international inspectors and intelligence services. "If someone in Iran decides to build a laboratory for centrifuges [for uranium enrichment] in the basement of some school he has no problem doing this," Dagan said. Dagan warned that an air force strike against Iran has "potential for significant complications and it is best to avoid war(s) with non-beneficial results and also those with no lasting effect. It is important to remember that war is only one option among many alternatives."Read the full story here.
- Indonesia Ahmadiyah attack: Outrage over victim jailing.(BBC).Deden Sudjana, who was injured by a machete in the attack, said the verdict was embarrassing. Rights groups have expressed outrage after an Indonesian court jailed a Muslim sect member for defending himself from a brutal mob attack.The court jailed Ahmadiyah member Deden Sudjana for six months, a heavier term than many of the attackers received.Three Ahmadiyah members were bludgeoned to death in an attack by a 1,000-strong mob of hardliners in February. No-one was charged with murder.US-based Human Rights Watch said Sudjana's sentence was appalling. "It seems like the Ahmadiyah face blatant discrimination not just from Islamic militant mobs, but also from an Indonesian court." [Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch].Sudjana was hit with a machete and almost had his hand severed during the attack, which pitted about 20 Ahmadiyah followers against more than 1,000 fanatics in the village of Cikeusik, west Java.But the court ruled that he had disobeyed a police order to leave the scene, and had been filmed punching another man.Sudjana told the AFP news agency that the verdict was embarrassing."I'm purely a victim who has been criminalised in my own country," he said."There was no police order to evacuate and I hit the man because he entered our house of worship, calling us infidels, and ordered people to kill us. Isn't it normal that I hit the man as an act of self-defence?"Video footage of the attack shows crowds of hardliners beating a small group of Ahmadis as police watch.So far 12 of the attackers have been found guilty of minor offences and sentenced to between three and six months.Hmmmm.......Freedom of religion (Ahmadiya) is being punished?There can be only one?Read the full story here.
- Syrian Oppositionist Website: Security Forces Torturing Detainees to Death.(Memri).A Syrian oppositionist website has reported that Syrian intelligence services have adopted a policy of killing detainees as a deterrent.The report added that since the beginning of this month, 10 people have died in interrogation rooms, several days after their arrest.The website also claims that since the onset of the unrest in Syria, some 70 people have died as a result of torture.Hmmmm......Assad the 'reformer'.Read the full story here.
- Denmark-Based Salafi-Jihadi Cleric: Bin Laden's Death Heralds "Conquest and Destruction in the Lands of the Infidels".(Memri).On June 2, 2011, the jihadi forum Al-Tahadi published an essay by Salafi-jihadi cleric Abu 'Uzair Al-Jazairi [the Algerian], who resides in Aarhus, Denmark, titled "The Killing of Great Leaders – A Harbinger of Conquest and Destruction in the Lands of the Infidels." The essay, written in rhymed prose, aims to console the Muslims over bin Laden's killing by assuring them that it heralds the imminent destruction of the infidel West and its conquest by the Muslim ummah.Al-Jaza'iri, who identifies himself as Abu 'Uzair 'Abd Al-Ilah Youssef Al-Youbi Al-Husni Al-Jazairi, has in recent months gained some prominence in Salafi-jihadi circles. On April 11, 2011, the Salafi-jihadi website Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad announced that he has joined its shari'a committee, and the jihadi forum Al-Tahadi has established a discussion board on Abu 'Uzair's writings.Read the full story here.
- "Ordinary" everyday Chinese protests, "worse than London '(AsiaNews).Beijing - Thousands of inhabitants of the city of Guizhou (Qianxi County, Guizhou Province) demonstrated yesterday in the streets, smashing police vehicles, protesting a police injustice over a vehicle illegally parked. China's economic miracle is increasingly resembling a powder keg, where citizens, exasperated by the frequent abuses against their rights, are ready to protest every new injustice. According to the website of China National Radio said the protest broke out in a dispute between the city police and the owner of a vehicle parked in an irregular manner: bystanders came to the citizen’s defence and in a short time thousands confronted the police, smashing and overthrowing the government vehicles and blocking roads with heavy vehicles. In the disorder, several policemen were wounded. Radio Free Asia says that the clashes were born after some officials tried to confiscate the electric bicycle of a woman, beating her in an attempt to gain the upper hand. Experts say frequent mass protests explode across the country for trivial reasons, motivated by resentment of the authorities’ attitude towards the citizens and their complete failure to respect basic economic and political rights. According to a 2011 study, in China in 2009 there were at least 90 thousand mass protests. Many believe that the real statistics are far worse. The government no longer releases official data, after the 80 thousand mass protests of 2007 estimated by the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences. The authorities try to prevent even the news of such protests from spreading, which are typically reported by individuals on the Internet. On the Internet, many comment that the situation in China is similar to that of the recent protests in London. Indeed, it is worse, because, as a comment on the popular site Weibo reads, “in fact, China has riots more serious than England 's every week". Read the full story here.
- Global warming strikes New Zealand!New Zealand becomes a winter wonderland after being hit by heaviest snowfall in 30 years.(DailyMail).Flights have been grounded, roads closed and power cuts have plunged vast areas of New Zealand into darkness following the country's heaviest snowfall in decades. Snow and gale force winds have brought the country to a standstill during what forecasters are describing as a once-in-a-lifetime event. Blizzards lashed the South Island before moving onto the more densely populated North Island, with the cold snap predicted to continue until Wednesday The country's official weather station MetService recorded temperatures as low as minus four degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) in the resort of Queenstown. Residents in the hillside suburbs of the capital city of Wellington were told they faced being snowed in after they were hit with the heaviest blanketing in at least 30 years. Civil defence chief Rian Van Schalkwyk warned: 'People should prepare for the worst, which means making sure they're reading in the event that they cannot leave home and may be without electricity and other amenities.'Mail delivery in many towns was disrupted, and many schools, libraries and swimming pools were closed. Hundreds of passengers in Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin were stranded after flights were grounded and major highways became impassable on both islands. One flight which did begin its journey from Palmerston North to Wellington was struck by lightning. None of the 16 people on board were injured and the Air New Zealand plane landed without incident.Four-wheel drive emergency vehicles and a snow plough were scrambled after more than 100 people were trapped in their cars on a road over the Rimutaka Hills, north of Wellington. In Auckland, four people were taken to hospital after heavy winds caused a tree to crash into their home. WeatherWatch service forecaster Philip Duncan told the New Zealand Herald: 'I've been watching the weather closely for about 15 years and I've never seen a prediction like this.'He said the freezing conditions were due to a large high-pressure system reaching from Antarctica to the sub-tropics, which had merged with three neighbouring low-pressure systems. Although Auckland had its heaviest snowfall since the 1970s, much of it was washed away by heavy rain. Mr Duncan added: 'Aucklanders won't have white-out conditions like Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin but certainly a few isolated pockets of snow are likely mixed with the rain. MetService forecaster Peter Kreft told NZPA the freezing conditions were 'a once in many decades event' and suggested the country had not experienced anything like it for half a century. He said: 'We are probably looking at something like - in terms of extent and severity - maybe 50 years.'Read the full story here.