Tuesday, May 31, 2005

China's Oil quest raising tensions

China's Oil quest raising tensions

"There is a bidding war going on," said Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Washington research group. China's sudden thirst for oil has also shifted the strategic landscape, as the world's most populous country scours the globe to keep its burgeoning middle class humming along in new cars and its military fueled for modernization. "The Chinese do believe now that they are living through an energy crisis and that they have to secure supplies in order to maintain economic growth, create jobs and preserve social stability," said Daniel Yergin, author of "The Prize," a survey of the international pursuit of oil. With its domestic production unable to keep up with soaring demand, China for the first time in its 5,000-year history is dependent upon foreigners for a commodity it can't do without. "They regard energy," said Yergin, "as a critical security issue." America's leaders have long held the same view.

No progress in China-Japan talks

China and Japan have failed to make progress in resolving a bitter dispute over gas fields in the East China Sea. Japan said China had refused its request to stop exploring the gas fields, as talks on the issue ended in Beijing. The talks follow weeks of rising tensions between Japan and China, amid rows over history textbooks, Japan's bid for a UN seat and energy. Japan and China are increasingly being seen as rivals for natural resources to feed their economic growth.

China may "seriously consider" sending troops to Kyrgyzstan

China may "seriously consider" sending its troops to Kyrgyzstan, the Huaxia Shibao newspaper on Tuesday reported Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao as saying. According to some mass media, on May 25, Kyrgyz acting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced that he would agree to deploy in the country troops of the Collective Security Treaty Organization led by Russia, as well as of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, including Chinese troops. The announcement came following mass riots in Uzbek regions bordering on Kyrgyzstan. The Uzbek authorities blamed the upheavals on Islamic extremists. Liu Jianchao underlined that so far China had never deployed its forces in other countries, the newspaper reported.

Iran Demands Pakistan Head Explain Nuke Remarks

Iran Demands Pakistan Head Explain Nuke Remarks

Iran demanded an explanation Sunday from Pakistan over a purported comment by President Pervez Musharraf that Tehran was ``very anxious'' to develop nuclear weapons. In an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel news weekly published Saturday, Musharraf was asked how Iran could be dissuaded from trying to make a nuclear weapon. ``I don't know. They are very anxious to have the bomb,'' he was quoted as responding. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters Sunday it was unlikely Musharraf made the comment, but called for an explanation from Islamabad. ``Mr. Musharraf knows better than anybody else that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not after nuclear weapons,'' he said. Asefi insisted that Iran was not seeking atomic weapons and said it was not Pakistan's business to make such comments. Musharraf's reported comments are of particular interest because of involvement by the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, in providing Iran with centrifuges, a device used to enrich uranhium. The German news weekly also quoted Musharraf as saying a pre-emptive attack by the United States against Iran would be ``a disaster.''

Swedish Help for Iranian Bio-Weapons?

There’s concern that Swedish scientific institutions have been helping Iran develop biological weapons. Swedish Radio News reports that the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control and the Karolinska Institute have been working with the Pasteur Institute in Tehran. According to the report one of their projects involves the deadly CCHF virus, which the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products says can be used as a biological weapon of mass destruction. However, the head of Pasteur Institute, Mohammad Taghikhani, denies the accusation.

Saudi investigates Christ posters

A Saudi newspaper said Sunday authorities were investigating complaints posters of a crucified Christ were being distributed to school children. The semi-official daily al-Watan said Saudis in the western al-Taif region have complained expatriates from an unidentified southeast Asian country were "selling stickers and posters of Christ on the cross to elementary school children." Unidentified sources told the paper the stickers and posters were being sold by Asian street peddlers at traffic lights and in front of schools. The sources complained selling these products was contrary to Islamic beliefs Jesus himself was not crucified, but rather someone else who resembled him. The paper said because young children were the target market for the stickers, "adults have become suspicious." It added parents have called on authorities to take action against street peddlers to "prevent sedition."

Art stolen by Nazis 'cannot be returned'

IT WOULD be illegal for the British Museum to return art- works looted by the Nazis to a Jewish family, despite its "moral obligation" to do so, a High Court judge ruled yesterday. Vice-Chancellor Sir Andrew Morritt ruled that the British Museum Act - which protects the collections for posterity - cannot be overridden by the ethical merit of a claim involving plundered art. The heirs of the art's original owners, Dr Arthur Feldmann, a Czech lawyer, and his wife Gisela, who died at the hands of the Nazis, said they were "very upset" at the ruling. They called on the government to introduce legislation that would allow the pieces - four Old Master drawings stolen from the family home in Brno by the Gestapo in 1939 - to be returned to them swiftly. Lawyers for the British Museum, which had agreed in principle three years ago to the restitution of the drawings to the family, also said they were "disappointed" by the outcome of the test case. Anne Webber, the co-chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, which is representing Dr Feldmann's heirs, said the ruling had "prolonged the agony of a family who have already suffered". "The family are very upset by the outcome but nevertheless they have confidence in the British Museum's commitment to restitution. The government needs to move swiftly."

Hitler's aryan sex doll

It sounds like a bizarre joke, but it's a true story. During World War II, Hitler's war machine dedicated quite a bit of resources to creating the world's first sex doll: Borghild. The ”field-hygienic project” was an initiative of Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, who regarded the doll as an ”counterbalance” (or regulating effect) for the sexual drive of his stormtropers. In one his letters, dated 20.11.1940 he mentions the ”unnessessary losses” the Wehrmacht had suffered in France inflicted by street prostitutes. ”The greatest danger in Paris are the wide-spread and uncontrolled whores, picking by clients in bars, dancehalls and other places. It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health, just for the sake of a quick adventure.” The project was naturally kept top secret, but quite a bit of resources was put into creating the perfect aryan sex doll, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and, one assume, racial dilution of the great German army. Psychiatrist Dr. Rudolf Chargeheimer wrote the following note as the project went forward: ”Sure thing, purpose and goal of the dolls is to relieve our soldiers. They have to fight and not be on the browl or mingle with ”foreign womenfolk”. However: no real men will prefer a doll to a real woman, until our technicians meet the following quality standards-

1. The synthetic flesh has to feel the same like real flesh
2. The doll’s body should be as agile and moveable as the real body
3. The doll’s organ should feel absolutely realistic.”

Monday, May 30, 2005

A New Europe?

How much EU leaders respect their people:

The EU has continued harmonising and integrating in the manner described by Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker to Der Spiegel in 1999: ”We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”

A New Europe?

It's hard for Americans to appreciate just how out-of-touch the establishment (and it really is a single establishment) of Paris, Berlin, the Hague, and Brussels is. Its arrogance almost beyond belief. Former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the father of the 448-article constitution, early on in the campaign dismissed complaints about the document's opacity by assuring his countrymen, "The text is easily read and quite well phrased, which I can say all the more easily since I wrote it myself." As Ivan Rioufol of Le Figaro, writing in the Wall Street Journal, commented, "The French didn't know whether he was simply cynical or unaware of the absurdity of his statement. And so he became a caricature of the self-obsessed, aloof politician." Europe deserves better than the political class and the political discourse (to use a European formulation) that it has been stuck with.

An EU Without Turkey will Resemble 'Medieval Europe'

Today, in many EU countries religious and ethnic discrimination is at a paramount and among the victims are millions of Moslems. The situation stands as a disgrace and paradox for Europe that prides itself as being the land of democracy and liberty. Such a picture is especially hard to conceive when looked from Turkey. It must not be forgotten that even though Christians constitute much less than one percent of Turkey’s population, almost every province, even small towns, have a church. There are synagogues in many of the cities. Not a single individual has left Anatolia for the past 1000 years under Turkish rule because one cannot practice his/her religion freely. Moslems probably grumbled over this even more

Temperatures rise over soccer bread

From Aftenposten:

Fans of rival Oslo soccer clubs have been battling it out lately over, of all things, bread. Now a bake shop employee has received death threats for selling Vålerenga (VIF)-brand bread in Lillestrøm country. "It's completely impossible for us to have control over what fans do in their free time," said a chagrined leader for the Lillestrøm club, Petter Olafsen. "But it's clearly an unfortunate development when they begin to threaten a bakery employee." The ruckus began last week, when employees of the Kiwi grocery store chain in suburban Bærum refused to sell the Vålerenga bread. Fans for the local rival soccer club Stabæk had mounted a massive e-mail campaign against Kiwi, and the chain backed down. Things turned more serious this week, when a female employee of the Martin Nordby bakery, which runs its own chain of bake shops, said she'd received death threats at the shop in Lillestrøm, home of Vålerenga's arch rival LSK. A Nordby official said she was "relatively shocked" upon learning that LSK fans had threatened the bakery employee's life, threatened to damage her car and puncture her tires, and to set fire to her house if she kept selling the Vålerenga bread. Tone Melgård of Baker Nordby said the bakery was taking the situation seriously and was considering filing a police report.

Schroeder regrets French vote, ratification to continue

Schroeder regrets French vote, ratification to continue

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed regret on Monday over the rejection by French voters of the European Union constitution, but he vowed the ratification process for the treaty must continue. "I very much regret the result of the French referendum, but the will of the voters must be respected," said Schroeder in a statement. Schroeder said the vote was a setback for the European Union (EU) constitution but stressed, "it's not the end." "The ratification process of the member states must continue," said Schroeder. So far nine of EU states have fully ratified the constitution treaty. Meanwhile, the deputy leader of Germany's
conservative opposition, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said on Monday the European Union was "in a crisis" following the rejection by French voters at the weekend of the bloc's proposed constitution. The CDU and Merkel oppose allowing Turkey to join the EU and have raised doubts over planned accession for Romania and Bulgaria in 2007.

Zapatero upbeat despite massive French 'No' vote

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the ratification process of the EU constitution must continue despite a massive rejection of the treaty by French voters. French voters delivered an overwhelming 'No' vote against the proposed constitution, throwing the whole prospect of adopting a new treaty into doubt. Zapatero had campaigned in France last week for the 'Yes' vote. Spain ratified the constitution after a referendum in February, despite a low turn-out. After the French result, a Spanish government spokesman said: "Zapatero believes that the process should continue. "The (constitutional) treaty has already been approved by nine countries, including Germany, Spain and Italy and should be submitted to a vote in the other members of the Union.

Paris Metro stations closed for 'security' during vote

Several metro stations along Paris's famed Champs-Elysees were closed on Sunday for "security reasons" linked to France's referendum on the EU constitution, police and transport officials said. The stations at Concorde, Champs-Elysees Clemenceau, Franklin D. Roosevelt and George V were closed at 6:00 pm and were not to reopen "until further police order", officials said. Passengers travelling through those stations were to be allowed to make connections but not to exit the metro system. Trains were not to stop at all at the George V station.

Madrid may cut state payments to the Church

Spain's Socialist government may trim public financing of the Catholic Church when it renegotiates a current deal with the Vatican. Spanish justice minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, in an interview published by the Spanish daily La Vanguardia: "The government won't be seeking friction with the Church." But he explained it would be rational to renegotiate the deal that was signed in 1979 because it runs out next year. That deal not only assures public finance of the Catholic Church, but also of private Catholic education. Spanish tax payers can sign a covenant whereby some of their contributions to the state are redirected to church coffers. But since 1989 this has covered only 70 percent of its needs, estimated at EUR 110 million euros. Despite Spain's 80 percent Catholic population and being home to the influential Vatican group Opus Dei, its socialist government of prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is frequently challenging Vatican doctrine.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Denial is a River in Egypt

I've signed my blog up for something called StatCounter, which is free and quite useful. Among many other things, it shows all websites that link to my posts. Reading reactions from totally unknown forums to my posts is interesting. Here is one I just discovered, commenting my post about the ongoing collapse of Swedish society. A lady from Sweden reacts to the story about two Swedish girls who were sent home from school for wearing sweaters showing a tiny Swedish flag. (Swedish link). This could of course be deemed offensive by immigrants. Publicly displaying your flag the way Norwegians do it is considered dangerous nationalism and almost impossible in Sweden today:

Is Swedish Democracy Collapsing?

it seems you know extremely little of the political climate in sweden. the swedish flag has become a nazi symbol. ordinary people don't WEAR patches with the swedish flag -- only nazis do. thus, if you as an immigrant see a person wearing one, the natural response is to feel unsafe. i doubt these girls were sent home from school ONLY because of the patch, a very good guess is they were notorious nazichicks.

So, wearing a sweater with a tiny flag from your own nation makes you a "notorious nazichick". Welcome to a parallel universe. The poster, who seems to be of immigrant background herself, also claims Runar Søgaard didn't receive any death threats for calling Muhammad a "confused pedophile":

actually the "death threats" were a fabrication of the tabloid expressen. as far as anybody knows runar hasn't received any threats beyond those he saw in expressen's headlines. the only major thing that happened after runar's blooper was a handful of muslims standing outside of his church with banners saying "all we want is respect". the whole deal was forgotten a goddamn WEEK ago.

Gaddafi's Danish-residing son in trouble

Hannibal Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, received a four-month suspended prison sentence in a Paris court on Thursday, for battering his pregnant girlfriend and keeping illegal weapons. Hannibal Gaddafi, who is registered as student in Denmark, did not appear in court to hear his sentence, daily newspaper Politiken reported. Gaddafi, who is in his twenties and the Libyan president's youngest son, has been enrolled in a Masters degree program at the Copenhagen Business School since November 2003. He caused a diplomatic unease in February, when France issued an official protest over his behaviour to the Libyan government, after he got involved in brawls in two Parisian luxury hotels and pulled a gun. His pregnant girlfriend reported young Gaddafi to the police for hitting her, so that she was forced to seek medical assistance. She later withdrew her accusations. The French Foreign Ministry has decreed that Hannibal does not enjoy diplomatic immunity. He has run up a long police record in Europe, for speeding in Paris and attacking Roman police officers with a fire extinguisher. He is currently said to be living in Gentofte, a Copenhagen suburb.

Suspected Bomb in Sweden

More about this in Swedish here and here. Is it related to the recent terror threats against Sweden or is it just blackmail and organized crime?

Bomb suspect held by police

Stockholm police have arrested a man in connection with the discovery of three suspected bombs in the oil harbour in Södertälje, 40km south west of Stockholm. The man is suspected of serious blackmail and of planning to cause serious damage to property. Throughout Friday a large area was closed off while police searched for more devices. Police confirmed that specific threats have been made against one of the oil companies based in the harbour. "We are now investigating whether the threat can be linked to the explosive devices," said police officer Peter Matilainen, who is leading the search, to TV4. On Friday afternoon a special vehicle turned up to take the suspected bombs away. "It's a military vehicle which is otherwise used for munitions clearance," said Björn Pihlblad, spokesman for Stockholm police. He told news agency TT that the police are exploring alternative security measures and continuing to search the area. But he explained that the police would not be able to destroy the devices where they were found because of the high quantity of explosive gas stored in the harbour. A 700 metre stretch of the dockside was cordoned off and a stretch of railway used by local commuter trains running from Södertälje Sud to Södertälje hamnstation was closed. Water traffic has also been stopped and police banned low-flying aircraft while the investigation continues. The three devices were found at the fuel company Aga on Thursday afternoon. They were described as "plastic tubes which were blocked up at one end and had blinking lights and cords at the other end".

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Chirac counts on jungle tribes to swing EU vote

Hat tip to Kledo:

Chirac counts on jungle tribes to swing EU vote

Britain has the Pitcairn islands and the Dutch have West Indian Curaçao, but these cannot compete with the impressive French portfolio of dominions around the globe from the Pacific to the Amazon jungle. Their 1.4m voters could swing the result in the closely fought May 29 French referendum on the European Union’s constitution and determine the future of Europe. The Wayampi do not know him but excitement was building last week at the prospect of playing their part in the politics of the palan isi lena, or the “land of the white man”, as Europe is known. Many speak only rudimentary French and have little understanding of qualified majority voting, but an election is always a welcome occasion for a gathering in this alligator-infested corner of French Guiana in South America. But how free and fair an election will they hold in the Amazon? Or, for that matter, in the Wallis and Futuna islands in the Pacific, where three kings rule by fiat? So narrow was the victory of the “yes” camp in the 1992 referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, which paved the way for the euro, that it prompted unsubstantiated rumours of skulduggery in the overseas territories. Suspicions arose partly because the “yes” vote there averaged 70%, far higher than in France.

"Short Skirts Cause Cancer in Women"

What about all the Muslim women who suffer from vitamin D deficiencies due to seclusion and lack of sunlight?

"Short Skirts Cause Cancer in Women"

Describing women who are morally decayed, the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said that they are “women dressed but naked, corrupt and corrupters, their hairs are like the inclined hump of female camel, they do not enter the Heaven nor smell its fragrance” [Refer to Abu Daud]. The prophet also said “the prayer of a mistreating woman is not acceptable until she purifies her self” [Refer to Imam Ahmed, Abu Daud & Ibn Maja]. The modern scientific researches confirmed that the nakedness of women, their body displaying & their moving in an obscene shape id a disaster on them. The current statistics showed that there is a clear spread of the malignant cancer which affects the naked and displayed part of the women bodies particularly those women who dress short clothes. It was published in the British Medical Magazine that “the melanoma malignant cancer which was one of the most rare cancers is now spreading among women. It affects their legs. The medical publication went on saying that the main cause behind the spread of short dress & fashions which expose the body of women to the rays & light of the sun. Therefore have we realized the wisdom behind Islamic legislation which aimed to protect women not only from passers by but also from a skin disease called cancer. The subject Islamic legislation called upon women to corner their bodies properly & with loose and not narrow and not transparent clothes.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Unions block Polish workers

Workers from the Confederation of Danish Trade Unions initiated a blockade of Norwegian shipping magnate Tom Bringsværd’s building project on the island of Falster. The blockade came in response to reports that approximately 10 craftsmen from the Polish construction company Novo-Bau were working for DKK 45 an hour. The union workers sought a collective bargaining agreement with the Polish craftsmen. ‘At this stage, we are not talking about a physical blockade, but all of our members have been pulled out of the project, so electrical and plumbing work cannot be completed. That requires Danish authorisation and cannot be completed by Polish craftsmen. We will stay until we get an agreement in place,’ said Peter Hougaard Nielsen, the chairman of TIB, a union for construction workers. The minister of employment expressed his support of the Danish trade unions. While he acknowledged the Polish craftsmen were legally allowed to work in Denmark, the trade unions also had the right to force the Polish workers to sign a collective bargaining agreement.Trade unions initiated a campaign last year to restrict the flow of cheap labour from eastern Europe. Until now 177 cases of cheap labour from eastern Europe have been reported.

The Next Pandemic?

International health officials are warning that a deadly avian influenza virus may soon spread rapidly, overwhelming unprepared health systems in rich and poor countries alike. If the virus mutates to become easily transmittable among humans, the death toll of the resulting global pandemic could number in the millions. Since it first emerged in 1997, avian influenza has become deadlier and more resilient. It has infected 109 people and killed 59 of them. If the virus becomes capable of human-to-human transmission and retains its extraordinary potency, humanity could face a pandemic unlike any ever witnessed. If an influenza pandemic struck today, borders would close, the global economy would shut down, international vaccine supplies and health-care systems would be overwhelmed, and panic would reign. To limit the fallout, the industrialized world must create a detailed response strategy involving the public and private sectors.

Egypt approves direct election for presidency

Egyptian interior ministry yesterday announced that 82.9 per cent of voters had approved a constitutional change introducing direct and multi-candidate presidential election, but opposition dismissed the results as fake. "Some 13.55 million out of valid votes of 16.4 million said yes to the referendum on amending the article 76," Interior Minister Habib Al Adli told a press conference, referring to a constitutional item governing regulations on running for presidency. Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak won his four previous six-year terms after being approved by a legislature dominated by his ruling National Democratic Party and elected unopposed by popular referendum. "Voters understood that responsible political participation is the only way to the future," Al Adli also said.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dutch Muslims Encouraged to Vote on EU Constitution

Leading Muslim activists in The Netherlands have encouraged fellow Dutch Muslims to make their voices hard in the July vote on the European Constitution, falling short of sponsoring a specific position. "What is important is for Dutch Muslims to cast their ballot, rather than say "yes" or "no" to the European constitution," Dris Boujoufi, the deputy chairman of the council of Muslim representatives in the Netherlands, told IslamOnline.net. The Netherlands chapter of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe , for its part, is not only encouraging Dutch Muslims to vote but also to say "yes" to the European Constitution. "We go for the Muslim participation in the referendum and support for the constitution to overcome narrow-minded nationalism which negatively affects Muslims," Yahya Bouyafa, the chapter's chairman, told IOL.

EU call to re-run treaty referendums

Via the Eurabian Times:

EU call to re-run treaty referendums

France and the Netherlands should re-run their referendums to obtain the "right answer" if their voters reject Europe's constitutional treaty in imminent national ballots, Jean-Claude Juncker, the holder of the EU presidency, said on Wednesday. The Luxembourg prime minister said all 25 EU member countries should continue their attempts to ratify the treaty whatever the outcome of the French and Dutch votes. His comments reflect a mood of deepening pessimism among Europe's leaders about the outcome of the referendums. "The countries which have said No will have to ask themselves the question again. And if we don't manage to find the right answer, the treaty will not enter into force," he said in an interview with the Belgian Le Soir newspaper. The French and the Dutch governments have for the moment ruled out the prospect of a second referendum and hope they can win their votes on Sunday and Tuesday respectively. Jacques Chirac, France's president, will tonight launch a last-ditch televised appeal to voters to back the treaty, which lays out new rules for the expanded EU and deepens integration.

"Kosovo" Music Video Sparks Diplomatic Row

Kosovo is today one of the main centres for Islamic Jihad activity in Europe, of drug traffic etc:

"Kosovo" Music Video Sparks Diplomatic Row

Well, this is interesting. Remember that music video from the Norwegian troops, to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Kokomo"? After getting out on the Internet, it sparked a full-blown (and admittedly, legitimate) diplomatic incident. Yahoo News and Al-Jazeera both cover the clash. But only Winds of Change.NET has the lyrics, along with the video links to "Kosovo" and the full version of the British Dragoons' "Is This The Way To Armadillo".

"Sweden one of the best governed countries in the world"

Sweden the best governed country in the world? Uh well, unless you live in Malmö, are a walking dildo or need help from the police:

Sweden "best brand in the world"

Sweden has topped the rankings in an international survey of the top nation brands. People around the world see the Swedish government as the most trustworthy administration in the world, the Swedish people as the world's most hospitable, and think of Sweden as the best place in the world to live and work. The findings were made in the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index, a survey of 10,000 consumers in ten countries. The report's author, Simon Anholt, says Sweden is "almost universally admired". One measure in which Sweden did particularly well was hospitality. That Sweden came top in rankings of good government may come as something of a surprise to opposition Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt, but he can take comfort from the fact that most people responding to the survey were probably judging Sweden from a position of complete ignorance. "It is unlikely that many of our respondents would be able to name a member of the Swedish government, or identify the party currently in power: these scores are almost certainly pure brand image, and appear to require little substantiation," says Anholt.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Icemen Cometh

It's beautiful, but the climate is vile. Resources are few and history books tell of dismal poverty. Yet tourism booms, the capital swarms with the international clubbing crowd, housing prices are soaring and economists talk of a new "tiger" of Europe. Ireland? Nope. Iceland. Just last week, the Swiss International Institute for Management Development rated Iceland the most competitive economy in Europe. Despite its diminutive population—293,000—Iceland has been busily shedding its cod-and-Viking image for more than a decade. Since the mid-' 90s, the country's center-right government has pushed free-market reforms. Companies now pay just 18 percent on profits, down from 50 percent. The country has focused on such sectors as high technology, where the brainpower of a highly educated work force compensates for distance. (How better to spend those long winter nights than surfing the Web?) Along the way, the capital of Reykjavik has become home to a slew of niche companies selling their expertise to the wider world in arenas from software and pharmaceuticals to prosthetic limbs. And if Iceland is short on conventional resources, it's rich in geothermal energy—think volcanoes—and untapped hydropower, a big draw for energy-hungry industries.

Denmark: Aristocrats fear for their good names

Denmark's aristocrats may be few and stripped of their noble privileges, but they are proud of their names. Now, a proposed liberalisation of the country's name law has them up in arms that anyone will be able to begin using their inherited names. 'The nobility has no privileges. They disappeared with the constitution of 1849,' said chairman for the Danish Nobility Association Henrik Wedell-Wedellsborg. 'The family name is all that's left and many of our members are of course very attached to their names.' According to the terms of the liberalisation, if 1000 people in Denmark carry a particular surname, then the name is open for use by anyone. The Nobility Association's 185 families fear their family heritages would be watered down if people could use their surnames freely. 'Being noble means that there is a historic continuity,' said Wedell-Wedellsborg. 'It gives a feeling of pride that someone in the family has done something great.' Among the changes included in the liberalisation of name laws is the right to keep a married name after divorce. That would mean children of a remarried ex-noble spouse could inherit the noble name, even though they bear no relation. In the long term, they fear name liberalisation could sound the death knell for Danish nobility. The proposal to liberalise name regulations is currently under debate in the parliament and is expected to pass by a wide margin.

Shot fired through Malmö politician's window

Trouble in Malmö - again. Sweden's third largest city, or the "Scandinavian Beirut", has been mentioned here quite a few times before. Massive immigration has turned it into a nightmare of street violence, rapes and general chaos. It seems to be turning into a battle between Muslim gangs and neo-Nazis. Malmö's Mayor Ilmar Reepalu was mentioned in my post a couple of weeks ago about the general collapse of Swedish society:

"This is one of Sweden's finest meeting places," says the Prime Minister as he enters the platform after listening to Socialist anthem The Internationale. "In a Malmö I love. Sweden's face to the world." Persson doesn't notice that the police are taking action against a neo-Nazi counterdemonstration nearby. "Open to the winds of the world lies my fair country," says Persson. "There is no greater freedom than security. A society with clean air, clean water and safe people, open to the world.". It's 3.3o pm and a police patrol is cutting down a doll resembling a politician being hanged, carrying a photo of Malmö's Mayor Ilmar Reepalu.

Shot fired through Malmö politician's window

A shot was fired through the first floor window of the home of Malmö commissioner, Ilmar Reepalu, early on Sunday morning. Nobody was hurt in the attack, but it's the latest and most serious incident apparently connected to a local controversy over the care of a 98 year old man. Police were called at 8.26 yesterday morning following reports of shots being fired at the Sofielund home of Reepalu, one of Malmö's leading Social Democrat politicians. On arriving at the scene, officers discovered a single bullet hole through a first floor window. Both Reepalu and his wife were out at the time and their home was empty. It's thought a pistol or revolver was used. The shooting is being treated as a political crime and Säpo, the security police with responsibility for protecting politicians, have been called in. Last Thursday, a black swastika was sprayed onto another of Reepalu's windows. Reepalu has been at the centre of a local political storm during the last few weeks over what should happen to 98 year old Gustaf Holmström. Holmström refused to be taken home following hospital treatment, saying he did not feel safe there and demanding a place in a home for the elderly. The local council wanted to provide him with an alarm and home help. Reepalu was interviewed by SVT's Sydnytt and Rapport news programmes in April, following which he was inundated with hate mail. Some of the letters and e-mails he received made personal threats against him. One of the letters came from senior Malmö police officer, Bengt Lindström. In his letter, Lindström demanded Reepalu withdraw "the enormous subsidies to all the bloody niggers." Reepalu reported Lindström, who is now the subject of an investigation. Last week, Reepalu lodged a complaint regarding the news programmes with the broadcasting watchdog 'Granskningsnämnden för Radio och TV'. In his complaint, he claimed that SVT had heavily edited the interviews and given a false impression.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Government Sponsored Swedish Feminists: "Men are Animals"

Here's one of the reasons why I am tired of parts of the women's movement. I know these feminists are extremists, but they do have too much influence. Sweden is of course the country where leading feminists, some of whom have compared Swedish men to the Taliban and called for a special tax to be levied on men, want to form their own party. It is also the country which is disintegrating because of immigration and mismanagement, and where rape statistics have risen sharply parallel to the influx of Muslim immigrants. But don't talk about that, because that would be racist:

Men or mice?

Dick Erixon has a post with some choice quotes from the first programme, including scarcely veiled threats directed at the reporter from a government expert on gender issues, as well as these little charmers from Ireen von Wachenfeldt, chairman of ROKS, The National Organization for Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Shelters in Sweden: "That which happens in war also happens on the quiet in peacetime. But when war breaks out, it is fully ok to use violence openly. I sometimes say that we are involved in a civil world war, a gender war. Men are animals"

Shelter Leader Calls Men ”Animals”

Controversy continues here surrounding ROKS, the National Organization for Women’s Shelters, one of Sweden’s largest non-government organizations to help the victims of domestic violence. In a television documentary broadcast Sunday night the group’s president opposed rehabilitation centers for men who abuse their partners, with the comment that all ”men are animals”. Following that outburst at least one long-established local group is leaving ROKS, and affiliating instead with a smaller network of women’s shelters. The opposition Christian Democrat Party has called for an end to the millions of dollars in public funding ROKS receives every year, saying that the government has made an extreme feminist group the representative of all of Sweden’s women. ROKS has issued a press release distancing itself from its president’s comments, but says she was provoked by the television reporter.

"Strange that not more women hate men"

This is revealed in Swedish Televisions documentary "The Sex War". The documentary which is being aired this Sunday shows a strong connection between the government's sex equality policies and the national feminist organisation, Roks. In Roks' magazine WomenPressure, the former equality minister Margareta Winberg writes in a coloumn: - Sometimes I am baffled that not more women really hate men. "What do you mean by that?" - When you look around the world to see how women are treated, you can start wondering why women still have patience with men, says Margareta Winberg. "How do you think such a statement will be received?" - Yes, it can be provoking, particularly for men. But, I do not belong to the groups who are manhaters. I just want to emphasize that.

- The fraction within Roks which is radical is not part of government policy, says Margareta Winberg. Roks last year received 11.7 million kroner in government support, and organizes two/thirds of the women's organizations in Sweden. In 2006 the women's organizations are going to share 100 million kroner according to an agreement between the Social Democratic government, the Green Party and the Left Party. In Roks magazine, the extreme feminist Valeria Solana is hailed in a recent review. She writes in her manifesto: "To call a man an animal is to flatter him: He is a machine, a walking dildo, a biological mishap." In the documentary, the chairwoman Irene von Wachenfelt is asked whether she agrees with Solana. - Yes, men are animals. Don't you agree? says Ireen von Wachenfeldt to the reporter.

US keeps its head down as European crisis looms

US keeps its head down as European crisis looms

The United States is doing its best not to be seen as taking sides as the European Union agonises over whether to approve a landmark constitution. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said that US officials would be happy to see a French "no," because it "would correspond to their idea of a weak Europe". French President Jacques Chirac has also played the anti-American card in his campaigning for the May 29 vote.

Dutch No looks irreversible

Less than two weeks before the Dutch referendum on the EU Constitution, pollsters see a rejection of the treaty as irreversible. A poll by Interview/NSS for public television predicted that no less than 63 percent would oppose the constitution, while 37 percent of the Dutch would endorse the text. Chances for an eventual "yes" are "very small".

Eurovision harmony dies a death

The notion that the Continent's peoples are basically a bunch of genocidal whackoes champing at the bit for a new bloodbath is one I'm not unsympathetic to. But it's a curious rationale to pitch to one's electorate: vote for us; we're the straitjacket on your own worst instincts. However the French and Dutch votes go, it seems unlikely that the EU's rulers will allow anything as footling as the will of the people to derail the project at this late stage. In Euro-referendums, there's only one correct answer; it's just that sometimes you have to have two votes before the people figure out which one it is. My sense is that the French will vote narrowly for the constitution and the Dutch will narrowly reject it, but either way the EU will figure out a way to inflict it on the Continent. A stitch-up in time saves, nein?

Russian military chief calls for steps to prevent North Korea nuclear test

Russian military chief calls for steps to prevent North Korea nuclear test

Russia's military chief of staff reportedly called Monday for steps to prevent North Korea from conducting nuclear tests, expressing a sense of urgency amid increasing U.S. concern that Pyongyang may soon conduct a test. "Today it is necessary to do everything possible in order not to allow North Korea to conduct (nuclear) tests," the Interfax news agency quoted Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the general staff of the armed forces, as saying. He did not specify what might be done to prevent it. "We simply must not allow to testing or existence of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula," he said. North Korea says it has removed fuel rods from a reactor - a step toward extracting weapons-grade plutonium - and U.S. officials say spy satellites spotted the digging of a tunnel and the construction of a reviewing stand in northeastern North Korea, possibly suggesting an upcoming test.

N. Korea Nuke Test Would Pose Challenges

With U.S. officials increasingly concerned that North Korea may conduct a test soon, how would Washington respond? "A North Korean test would embarrass China and might actually rally other nations to our position. But the result might push Kim Jong Il to take whatever steps he felt were necessary to rally his people into war," Weldon said. "The potential downside of a test is enormous," said Kurt Campbell, former assistant secretary of defense for Asia in the Clinton administration. "It would set off a chain reaction in the region with completely impossible-to-predict consequences." It could even lead South Korea and Japan to rethink their current policy against nuclear arsenals, Campbell said. "A surgical strike is not likely going to be effective. Furthermore, any military action creates the high risk that North Korea will respond using its substantial conventional forces, specifically its artillery, to pulverize Seoul".

NASA refocuses to align with Bush's Mars vision

NASA refocuses to align with Bush's Mars vision

President Bush set a new course for the troubled space program in January 2004 -- his own version of President Kennedy's Apollo Project -- intending to inspire America's stargazing youths. Man would return to the moon by the year 2020, he said. "We will then be ready to take the next steps in space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond." "The human thirst for knowledge ultimately cannot be satisfied even by the most vivid of pictures," Mr. Bush told a crowd at NASA's headquarters. "We need to see and examine and touch for ourselves."

NASA Chief to KSC: Shuttles' End is Coming

New NASA administrator Mike Griffin, visiting Kennedy Space Center today, made it clear the shuttle would be replaced, and soon. "I report to the president," he told journalists. "The president has said we’re retiring the orbiter by 2010, and that’s what we’re doing." The agency should have a transition plan ready by summer’s end, he said, that would outline how much of the International Space Station might actually be finished by the time the shuttles are done.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Forced marriages in Norway

Forced marriages in Norway

"You and you and you and you are witnesses to the fact that I must now kill my daughter in order to regain the honor of this family," says an Iraqi man, apparently to four people, in Norway. You see, his 17-year-old daughter kept trying to divorce the native Iraqi to whom she was forced to marry, which would be a major scandal in the family. A report released by the Human Rights Service on Tuesday revealed that there has been an sharp increase in arranged marriages for second-generation compared to first-generation immigrants in Norway. Forced marriages are a huge problem here. I used to volunteer at the International Red Cross in Oslo, and around three years ago, I helped with some translation work for the Forced Marriages Hot-Line they run. Many of the calls they receive are from young second-generation girls who fear their parents are going to marry them off when they visit "the homeland" during their summer vacations from school. This is a critical situation, because once the families are abroad, there is virtually nothing the Red Cross or anyone can do to help the girl. If the family wants her to marry uncle Aqbah, then she's probably going to have to go through with it, unless she manages against all odds to run away, hitchhike from her village and make it to a Norwegian Embassy or to a women's shelter, which is pretty unlikely. And, thanks to disturbingly lenient family reunion laws in Norway, uncle Aqbah usually gets to join the family back to Norway, where he can screw his young niece/wife to his heart's content.

Court cracks down on forced marriage

A court in Drammen has issued its first ruling against forced marriages. It handed down prison terms for the father and brother of a 17-year-old Norwegian girl after they threatened her into marrying a man from Northern Iraq. The city court in Drammen sentenced the girl's father to 10 months in jail after he threatened her life and physically abused her. Her brother was sentenced to eight months in prison for similar threats. Some of the threats had been made in the presence of Norwegian social workers. "The family believes its Kurdish honor has been destroyed dbecause of this case."

Bush's Indian gambit

ITS logic is inescapable yet the idea has been inconceivable: a strategic partnership between the two great democracies, the US and India, long divided by distrust and the Cold War. Yet it is happening. George W. Bush has reached out to India and one of the coming debates in global politics will be over the manner and meaning of his decision to support India's quest to become a global power. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Washington in July, with Bush reportedly saying this will be treated as a "grand event", and at the year's end Bush will visit India. India is being wooed and its pride at this is palpable. The Bush administration has launched a diplomatic offensive with India that is stunning in its rhetoric and serious in its content. "India's relations with the US are now the best they have ever been," says Rajiv Sikri, the senior official on East Asia at India's external affairs ministry. Bush's thinking is shaped by India's democratic values in contrast with China's authoritarianism. Its strategic essence is the US view that India as a second Asian giant, capitalist, multicultural and democratic, will exert a gravitational pull that must limit China's aspiration as a future hegemon and help to balance its rise.

Battle of Trafalgar Anniversary Sunk by Political Correctness

Admiral Horatio Nelson may have guided the British naval fleet to a famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, but he faces a far tougher foe during celebrations to mark its 200th anniversary -- the massed forces of political correctness. According to a newspaper report on Sunday, organisers of a re-enactment of the sea battle next month have decided to bill it as between a "Red Fleet" and a "Blue Fleet", rather than Britain and its French and Spanish adversaries. This is being done to avoid the embarrassment of assembled French dignitaries at the event feeling humiliated by watching their nation routed again, The Sunday Times said. Official literature for the planned event next month will also be toned down, describing the extravaganza as a re-enactment not of Trafalgar but of "an early 19th century sea battle". Trafalgar, in which the British Royal Navy saw off a combined Franco-Spanish fleet off the southern coast of Spain, marked a crucial defeat for Napoleon's sea power. Nelson himself fell during the battle, mortally wounded by a French sharpshooter.

"Global Warming Deadlier than Hitler"

GLOBAL warming is a bigger threat to the world than Hitler, a leading historian has warned. Dr Jim Hunter told a conference on renewable energy that it would finish the job of the Highland Clearances Dr Hunter, former chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said Scottish communities would be obliterated over the next two generations by climate change. He said: 'Global warming is a more insidious and longer-term danger than Hitlerism,but it's one that could be far more deadly. Dr Hunter added that windfarm objectors in the Highland and Western Isles were missing a very serious point. He said: 'In 1940, the notion that an airbase should be resisted because of the way it would irrevocably alter the nature and the character of the community that hosted it would have seemed patently absurd. 'The Nazi threat was deemed, correctly, to be a greater hazard to our way of life than the concrete and the tarmac being spread across the landscape.' Dr Hunter, director of the UHI Centre for History in Dornoch, was speaking at a conference being hosted on the Knoydart peninsula.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Art of Hiding Bad News

Unexpected Baby Boom in France

The results of France's 2004 Census are out—and fresh forecasts based on the numbers paint some 75 million people into the French landscape by midcentury, compared with 62.5 million today. And what is going on? Like Italians, the French live in a family-friendly society. So why a French baby boom and an Italian bust? The difference apparently comes from policy and social supports that lessen pressure on would-be parents. Can Europe solve its looming demographic crunch by embracing the French exception? You can bet governments across the continent will be looking closely.

Of course, what Newsweek fails to say here is that although Muslims make up about 10 % of the general population in France today, unofficial numbers indicate that maybe more than 30 % of newborn babies are Muslims. The reason is that Muslims get many more children than Christian Europeans. Everybody knows that, including probably both the Newsweek journalists and the French people interviewed here. How do you present the fact that the natives are being outbred in their own country and that their culture will become extinct? You smile and pretend it's good news. France may very well have 62 million inhabitants by mid-century, but it won't be "France" in any traditional sense of the word. It may be a Muslim majority nation, if it hasn't succumbed to Lebanon-style civil war long before that.

This strategy of the authorities and the media hiding the truth and lying to their own people is not unique to France. I've been saving a story from the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. They talk about an unexplained "baby boom" in Oslo, presenting it as great news and showing a photo of a white, Norwegian kid. Aftenposten is the dominant newspaper for the Oslo region. It is impossible for them not to know and see that Norwegians are being replaced in their own capital. The people causing this baby boom are in all likelihood Somali, Iraqi and Pakistani immigrants. According to some numbers, children from immigrant background are approaching the majority in primary schools in Oslo. The journalists are thus lying with a straight face. Statistics Norway have been doing this for some time, according to Dr. Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, editor of HonestThinking.org. His numbers indicate that ethnic Norwegians will become a minority in their own country before 2050 if the current trends continue. It will happen far sooner in Oslo:

Baby boom in Oslo

More babies were born in Oslo last year than in any single year since 1946. Researchers aren't sure what's fueling the baby boom, but some note that Oslo has a high percentage of young residents. "We have to dig deeper into the statistics, though, to see whether fertility is on the way up or whether the city has more young female residents," said Geir Thorsnaes, a consultant for the city.

Saudi scholars want Islamic court to rule on alleged Quran abuse

Eighteen Saudi Muslim scholars and thinkers demanded Saturday that those involved in the alleged desecration of the Quran at the US detention facility of Guantanamo Bay be tried by an Islamic court. “It won’t do any good if the State Department (eventually) apologizes or if it rejects this act, or if its authors are tried,”“That would amount to throwing dust in the eyes as was the case in the trials of those who committed the crimes (of abusing prisoners at Iraq’s) Abu Ghraib jail ... The Islamic nation will not settle for less than the trial (of the Guantanamo culprits) by an Islamic court,” said the mostly Salafi signatories. Riots have broken out across the Muslim world following a report in Newsweek magazine that US investigators had found that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay threw a Quran in a toilet to rattle Muslim inmates. The magazine this week retracted the story after its source developed doubts. “All Muslims are required to strive seriously to expose the intentions of the aggressor through various media and to revive the boycott of US products,” said the Saudi scholars, who also demanded the release of the Guantanamo detainees.

Europe Closing Shop? The Death of a Civilization

Europe Closing Shop?

The population of Europe is set to start shrinking soon. And if recent events there are any indication, that's not a good thing. We may be watching the slow-motion death of a civilization. On Friday, it was announced in Germany's Hesse state that all schools will soon offer instruction in Islam to Muslim students. Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Weekly Standard reports that a recent confidential government study found a surprising rise in religious expression among Muslims in French public schools. We assume that the Europe we'll be dealing with tomorrow will be much the same as Europe today — one that understands and shares our cultural values. The fact is, as Europe slowly becomes more Muslim and less European, it is at risk of dying — not as a place, but as a culture. This means the U.S. will increasingly be isolated in world affairs. Europe's politics may also become more unstable. Al-Qaida cells have already been found in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Politicians in the Netherlands have been assassinated for "insulting" Islam. Two years ago, at a much-hyped conference in Spain titled "Islam in Europe," 2,000 European Muslim leaders called on Muslims around the world to help bring about an end to the capitalist system. As the biggest player in that system, the U.S. faces a delicate task: how to keep an old but estranged friend from committing suicide.

It's too late for mere 'respect', far too late

There are no boundaries of class or party among those who sense, or know, that British society is in profound trouble. Yet the consensus that this anxiety has created remains largely unexpressed. Politicians dare not tell the whole truth about it for fear of adding to public alarm, and losing by it. Complaint over the quality of public provision, or about the education system, or about the statistics of violent crime regularly break surface, but in fragmentary fashion. The renaissance of a battered society which has had its sense of identity and direction dislocated requires a national effort equal to that which wars have in the past demanded. Without it the institutions and ethics of a truly free civil society will not be recomposed. The notion of each citizen belonging to a social and moral order worth defending has slipped through our fingers and smashed to smithereens on the ground. In such circumstances a bemused public - now little more than a random aggregation of individuals - must stare helplessly at accounts of "feral youths" stalking the streets, while with ancient ceremony empty promises of redemption, as in the Queen's Speech, are addressed to the air.

On Fertility, Abortion, and Civilization's Decline

That Europe may be entering into an Age of Decay is most strongly suggested by its emerging demographic crisis. Following the baby boom, fertility rates in every western European nation dropped below replacement level. In Spain and Italy, the total fertility rates stand at a heartbreaking (I say this a man of Italian descent) 1.1 and 1.2 children per woman respectively, only half of what is necessary to maintain the population. Despite government policies in numerous countries which essentially bribe women to reproduce by offering increasingly hefty sums for each child born after the first, there has been no sustained recovery in fertility in any major western European nation.

Senate panel eyes Japan nuke option to press China on N. Korea test

U.S. policymakers should highlight Japan's possible nuclear pursuit and other security repercussions for China in pressing Beijing to stop North Korea from testing its nuclear weapons, a Senate Republican policy panel said in a recent report. ''A test in North Korea would certainly raise the prospect of a major public debate in Japan over whether to turn its latent nuclear capabilities in its civilian and space sectors into an overt nuclear weapons program,'' the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee said in the report distributed to senators this week. While also pointing out various other ''far-reaching'' effects on the security and political dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region, the panel said, ''It's not too late to avert a North Korean nuclear test. However, the key to preventing a nuclear test lies primarily on China.''

German restaurant delights diners with fried maggots

Sarah Azubi, 17, had hers deep fried. "They were crunchy like chips and tasted a bit like nuts,". "There was a soft juicy bit in the middle around the crunchy shell." Another diner, Nancy Weinhold, 25, was less convinced by the plump maggots. "I will try most things once but was really tempted to give this a miss," she said. "They looked disgusting - two-inch long, fat, squishy grubs that looked as if they should have been eating the lettuce, not lying on it waiting to be eaten. I closed my eyes for the first bite, but they were really not that bad." Few diners seem to share her reservations. Since the head chef, Uwe Engert, started dishing up yellow kingworms (Zophobas morio) in everything from salads to cocktails as a "nutritious and extremely tasty" alternative, the Espitas has been full every night. Mr Engert himself is a convert, describing the beetle larvae as a "protein bomb for those who are not too squeamish". The restaurant owner, Alexander Wolf, stumbled across the delicacy during a trip to Mexico. Given the popularity of Mr Engert's larvae salads at €13 (£8.90), fried larvae with cactus and corn (€19), and larvae in ice cream or chocolate sauce (€7), he now intends to branch out into grasshopper and ant dishes.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Norwegian Snøhetta wins praise for Ground Zero plans

Noted Norwegian architect firm Snøhetta unveiled its design for the Cultural Center to be built at the site of the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on Manhattan, and their vision met with lavish praise. "Snøhetta has designed an airy, light and optimistic building. It has become a fine project that supports the whole idea behind my master plan," said chief architect for Ground Zero, Daniel Liebeskind, to Aftenposten. "Snøhetta's architecture shows understanding and great respect for how sensitive an area Ground Zero is," said NY mayor Michael Bloomberg. The planned cultural center at the World Trade Center site will house a visual arts area devoted to drawing, a visitor's hub and a center focusing on the global struggle for freedom, according to plans unveiled Thursday. The model, a transparent crystalline structure, will act as a prism, capture the shifting daylight and be as easy to see out of as in. The Cultural Center will house the International Freedom Museum, an information center for Ground Zero and an art gallery, The Drawing Center. Groundbreaking for the cultural center is scheduled for 2007 with completion in 2009. Snøhetta was chosen from 34 applicants and is best known for the Alexandria Library in Egypt, the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin and the soon-to-be-completed New National Opera in Oslo.

Controversial Muslim scholar wins in court

With thanks to blog.willy.no. Hani Ramadan is the brother of Tariq Ramadan:

Controversial Muslim scholar wins in court

A controversial Muslim scholar who was fired from his teaching job after publicly defending death by stoning has won a second victory in a Geneva court. However, the cantonal authorities responded by saying Hani Ramadan, who is also director of Geneva’s Islamic Centre, would not be reinstated. It was the second time the courts have ruled in Ramadan’s favour, saying that his dismissal was unfair and demanding that the cantonal government recognise Ramadan’s status as a public servant and resume paying his salary. He was dismissed by the cantonal authorities in 2003 a few months after making his remarks in the French newspaper Le Monde. In the article, the imam defended death by stoning for adultery as set out in Islamic Sharia law. Ramadan also said that believers were protected from being infected with Aids. Last year, the appeals board had already said that Ramadan was still a public servant, but the government refused to budge and went one step further a few months later by cutting off his salary. His lawyer, Eric Hess, says his client now wants his job as a high school French teacher back. "He wants nothing less than full reintegration," he told swissinfo.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Anyone can put a goldfish in a blender

Men’s magazine FHM was in its full right when it printed photographs of goldfish swimming in blenders, the City Court of Frederiksberg has ruled. The verdict came as a defeat for Marco Evaristti, one of the Denmark’s most controversial artists, who is to pay FHM a compensation of DKK 20,000 for legal expenses. Evaristti achieved world fame and notoriety in 2000, when he put live goldfish in ten blenders and exhibited them as a part of an art exhibition in a Kolding art museum. A few visitors to the exhibition could not resist the temptation to push the button, turning the contents of some of the blenders into a murky soup. Animal welfare activists were outraged by the exhibition and said Evaristti was brutally playing with the lives of living creatures in an artistic practical joke. In August last year, FHM illustrated an article about a blender test with goldfish swimming in blenders. Evaristti said he decided to sue the magazine because he had sold his blenders to art collectors, and did not want the buyers to think he was selling the right to the artworks to magazines and advertisement agencies. The Frederiksberg court, however, said the picture did not breach the artist’s rights.

More immigrants needed "to pay for welfare"

I've heard claims made that immigration costs Sweden 40 - 50 billion Swedish kroner every year, and has contributed significantly to Sweden's economic woes:

More immigrants needed "to pay for welfare"

More immigrants should be allowed into Sweden in order to safeguard the welfare system. That’s the view of Pär Nuder, Sweden’s finance minister. Speaking at a conference on demography at Statistics Sweden, Nuder argued that getting more people with a foreign background into the labour force is “totally crucial” for securing the Swedish welfare state. Nuder stated that he was open to the idea of sanctioning new immigration and that such a measure may enhance existing integration policies. “Importing labour can break new ground and serve as a model for others. At the minimum it can get employers and others to realise the value of the immigrants that are already here”. Nuder explained that the key to preserving the welfare state involves increasing the total number of hours worked by the Swedish labour force. This can be achieved by getting young people into jobs earlier than today and encouraging older workers to remain in employment for longer. However, Nuder submitted that the greatest potential of all lies in people with a foreign background who are already living here. He pointed out that currently some 60% of people who have moved to Sweden are in employment. If this figure could be raised to 80% which is the level for native Swedes, this would result in 115,000 new jobs and a gain of 17-18 billion SEK annually for the public finances.

’Europe is pregnant with Islam and will give a birth to an Islamic nation’

In 1908, Saidi Kurdi foretold that Europe would become an Islamic nation. He wrote that his followers should take with pleasure the advantages of Europe - like technology and industry - that would assist them in their progress toward their goal and in the development of their civilization. Muslims in Turkey advocate Turkey’s accession to the European Union more than secular people in Turkey for several reasons. First, Muslims will freely increase their missionary activity in Europe. Secondly, they will not have any pressure from the Turkish military, a long-term check on Islamic activities, because the role of the military will decrease. Thirdly, the unsolved problems, such as wearing the headscarf, will be solved because the EU’s value of freedom of religion will overcome the threat to secularism that the scarves pose today. If we look at the AK Party, Erdogan is following exactly the same line that Fethullah Gulen is using, pressing Turkey to join the European Union. He uses a secular cloak to disguise his fundamental Islamic spirit characterized by his pre-prison poem.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Norwegian Inquisition - Sunset in the Land of the Midnight Sun

(Note: This essay is an English continuation of one published in Norwegian and translated to Swedish before)

Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament, in April 2005 passed a new Discrimination Act. The act says in pretty clear words that in cases of suspected direct or indirect discrimination due to religion or ethnicity, Norwegians are guilty until proven otherwise. To me, it is surprising that they are allowed to pass such legislation at all. Isn't it a fundamental part of all international law that a person should be innocent until proven otherwise? Aren't our politicians thus depriving Norwegians of even the most basic human rights? However, I have heard claims that it is technically legal to do this. The act was passed in April with the approval of all parties in parliament, more than 80 % of MPs, with the sole exception of the right-wing Progress Party. Immigration spokesman for the Progress Party, Per Sandberg, is deeply disappointed and fears the consequences of the new legislation. "This law will jeopardize the rights of ordinary, law-abiding Norwegian citizens. The principle of reverse burden of proof means that Norwegians are guilty of discrimination unless they can prove otherwise. It will lead to many convictions of innocent people. Reverse burden of proof is also combined with liability to pay compensation, which means that innocent persons risk having to pay huge sums for things they didn't do."

It is unclear why this act is needed at all, given that a survey of immigrants only a few months ago indicates that a vast majority don't feel they've been discriminated against in Norway. Racism appears to be less widespread than earlier believed. And why on earth are we supposed to show this ridiculous reverence and respect for their utterly failed Islamic cultures in the first place? Why should people who come from some of the most advanced countries on the planet have to crawl for those who come from the most backward ones? If their Islamic societies are so great, how come people from these countries burn their passports and treat their fingers with acid to remove fingerprints, all in order to get into ours?

"Anti-racist" organizations are given a significant role in the new law. There is a new, state-sponsored Equality Ombudsman who will be responsible for enforcing it, and coerce all employers who refuse to abide by it. A multicultural Inquisition, in other words. Cabinet minister Erna Solberg, who has earlier called for the establishment of a sharia council in Norway, proposed the new act. It will cover everything from the workplace to the housing market. In a recent case, a local furniture store wouldn't allow a female employee to wear a head scarf, arguing that it violated the store's dress code. Solberg’s proposal will toughen the law, and also require those charged to mount proof of their innocence. Solberg argues that existing law already makes it illegal for employers, for example, to prevent women from wearing head scarves if their religion calls for it. Her proposed law "would make this even more clear." This law could open the floodgates for all kinds of unreasonable demands from Muslim immigrants in particular, who will be given a licence for extortion of employers, courtesy of the Norwegian parliament. For instance, it is likely that they can now claim that it is “discrimination” if they don’t have a special prayer room provided. Already, Muslim taxi drivers demand a separate prayer room at Oslo Airport, where they can pray during working hours, but have received a negative answer. The leader of the Somali Taxi Association, Ali Hassan, finds this discriminating and unacceptable, and is planning a law suit over the matter: "We think we have a right to pray during working hours. We demand to get a room where we can perform prayers, without losing our spot in the taxi queue." At the same time as this is going on, blind people with their guide dogs are finding it increasingly difficult to get a taxi ride in the Oslo region, where Muslims make up a high percentage of cab drivers.

It is frustrating that Norwegian authorities make it mandatory for all non-Muslims to accept hijab, the Islamic veil, in their workplace. Many non-Muslims find hijab offensive, and even some Muslims, too. The veil, is not ”just a piece of cloth”. It serves as a demarcation line between proper, submissive Muslim women and whores, un-Islamic women who deserve no respect and are asking for rape. The veil should more properly be viewed as the uniform of a Totalitarian movement, and a signal to attack those outside the movement. An Islamic Mufti in Copenhagen, Denmark, sparked a political outcry after publicly declaring that women who refuse to wear headscarves are "asking for rape." Apparently, he isn’t the only Muslim in Europe to think this way. Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported in 2001 that 65 percent of rapes in Oslo were performed by "non-Western" immigrants – a category that, in Norway, consists mostly of Muslims. The article quoted a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, Unni Wikan, as saying that "Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes" because Muslim men found their manner of dress provocative. The professor's conclusion was not that Muslim men living in the West needed to adjust to Western norms, but the exact opposite: "Norwegian women must realize that we live in a multicultural society and adapt themselves to it." In January 2005, Norwegian media reported that 2004 saw the highest number or rape charges ever recorded in the capital city of Oslo. Strangely enough, there was now no mentioning of how immigrants were grossly overrepresented in rape cases. Why not? Unless there has been a sudden and unexplained drop in the number of immigrants raping Norwegian women between 2001 and 2004, which is unlikely, the statistics should be at least as staggering in 2005 as they were before. If they are not revealed, it can only mean that “somebody” didn’t like the numbers presented in 2001, and decided to bury them. That “somebody” must be a person high up in the police hierarchy, maybe even in the government. The same thing happens in Sweden. So in the end, the safety of young Scandinavian women is sacrificed in order to keep the glossy image of a multicultural society intact.

Militant Islamists like Mullah Krekar do reside in Norway. Besides, Norwegian police have already issued a mobile security alarm to Progress Party leader Carl I Hagen. They worry that he's a target for terrorists unhappy with some anti-Islamic remarks he made last summer. Hagen criticized Islam, and could see no similarity with the concept of moral and justice found in Christianity. Hagen also said that if Israel loses in the Middle East, Europe will succumb to Islam next, if Islamic fundamentalists have it their way. Christians should support Israel and oppose Islamic inroads into Europe. In an unprecedented step, a group of Muslim ambassadors to Norway blasted Carl I Hagen in a letter to newspaper Aftenposten, claiming he had offended 1.3 billion Muslims around the world. Pakistan’s ambassador in particular has interfered in unacceptable ways in Norwegian internal affairs before, trying to instruct and intimidate a Norwegian politician of Pakistani origin who dared to voice her support for banning Islamic veils from Norwegian schools.

Dr. Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, editor, HonestThinking.org, believes that Norwegian authorities have cheated with prognoses for the number of immigrants. According to his numbers, ethnic Norwegians will become a minority in their own country before 2050 if the current trends continue. The number of Muslims in Norway over 15 years has quadrupled, meaning an annual growth of more than 9%. A Norwegian researcher warns that ethnic gangs can give Norway the kind of immigrant-related organized crime that accompanied waves of migration to the USA. Dr. Inger-Lise Lien concludes that the ethnic groups themselves are worried. Oslo, which used to be a safe Scandinavian city, today looks more like New York City pre-Giuliani. Native Norwegians are quietly moving out of the immigrant ghettos in inner-city Oslo in large numbers. Tensions with immigrants have spread even to smaller towns. The trend is identical to what can be seen in neighboring Sweden, where several cities are now on the verge of collapse. Norway has already experienced what seems to have been an attempted Islamic terror attack. At the same time, there is new legislation proposed against "discriminating" statements made about specific groups, even on Internet discussion forums and websites. Which means that Norwegians can't say too much about Muslim immigrants destroying the country, because that is racism and thus illegal. At a time when the multicultural ideology is increasingly seen as a mistake in many countries, the authorities here respond by making it the official state ideology and banning all opposition. The heavily left-leaning Norwegian media are remarkably quiet about this, and do not make a fuzz about this infringement of freedom of speech.

Scandinavia is a Utopia lost. Previously quiet Scandinavian nations now suffer Islamic terror threats and death threats against people criticizing Islam. Norway celebrates 100 years as an independent state this year. Judging from this new discrimination act and the runaway Muslim immigration, perhaps the anniversary should be called “From independence to colonization”. At the same time as their women are no longer safe in the streets because of immigrant gangs, the authorities respond by making Norwegians de facto second-rate citizens in their own country. They use their own people as stepping stones for their personal careers in the UN bureaucracy. Pompous, hypocritical Scandinavian clowns, lecturing about how to create the perfect society while their own citizens find it increasingly hard to live in their major cities.

To Americans out there: Tired of hearing Europeans criticize you and how “fascist” your administration is? Well, it wasn’t the USA that just passed a law - with the support of more than 80 % of the lawmakers – that states that their own citizens are guilty until proven otherwise. Want to get even with some smug anti-American Europeans? Here’s your chance. Leave a message on my Fjordman blog if you want to write something about this case. I will try to help with translations as much as I can. There is unfortunately no shortage of material.

Injustices Created Muslim Thai Unrest: ICG

The Thai government failure to address injustices and open a genuine dialogue with Muslim leaders in the south is the real reason behind unrest in the country, an influential think-tank said, as Thailand is urged to give more power to its Muslims. The International Crisis Group (ICG) further warned Wednesday. The group said the violence, which has killed nearly 700 people since January last year, was being driven by local grievances and there was no evidence yet of external involvement. “But if this situation is left to fester, it could attract jihadists from outside Thailand,”. Thaksin vowed Thursday, February 17, to crush what he termed “separatist revolt” in the south within four years, saying his government would cut off aid to villages who help the “separatists”. Commenting on the problem, Anand Panyarachun, chairman of a new national reconciliation commission, said Thailand must consider allowing its alienated ethnic Malay Muslim minority to have greater say in managing their own communities if it is to resolve century-old tensions in the troubled south. “We have to think about the need for the people in the area to govern themselves,” Anand, a highly respected former Thai prime minister, told the Financial Times.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pakistan: Mixed marathon brutally dispersed by police

The leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami is "moderate Muslim" Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who last year toured Norway and met our dhimmi politicians. His organization calls for bringing the world under Islamic dominance. As long as he's not visiting infidel Western countries, of course:

Pakistan: Mixed marathon brutally dispersed by police

Police barred a gathering of women and men organised by HRCP and the Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights on the Main Boulevard in Gulberg and swept 40 of the activists to the police station. The “mixed-marathon” was organized to promote liberalism and “enlightened-moderation”. It was scheduled on May 14 at 5:00 pm from Qaddafi Stadium to Kalama Chowk. Following the directions of the Lahore District Government, police beat up and detained dozens of citizens and human rights activists including HRCP Chairperson Asma Jehangir, HRCP Secretary General Syed Iqbal Haider, JAC convenor Shah Taj Qizalbash, Hina Jillani and several others when they tried to hold the mixed run. Around 40 activists were brutally dragged into police vans as soon as the run started and held for a couple of hours at local police stations. Journalists were abused and shoved aside. The city government had ‘disallowed’ the mixed run on the pretext of a “negative report” by the police and fear of mullas attacking the runners. The police claimed that it had received information of an impending assault on the mixed rally by activists of the Shabab-e-Milli, the youth wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

China sets 2020 growth goal

Chinese President Hu Jintao says China aims to lift the size of its economy to $4 trillion by 2020 -- effectively quadrupling its gross domestic product of five years ago. A $4 trillion economy would give China's 1.3 billion people a per capita income of $3000 by 2020, compared with about $1230 now. Hu, delivering the keynote address at the Fortune Global Forum in Beijing on Monday night, said the 2020 target was a "formidable challenge" that would require an uphill battle. But he told the forum China was committed to seizing the window of opportunity to build a prosperous society. He said economic development was China's central task and top priority. A 2020 gross domestic product of $4 trillion would put China in sight of Japan, which is now the world's second-largest economy ($4.1 trillion) behind the United States ($10 trillion). China, with a GDP of $1.65 trillion last year, now ranks fourth behind Germany, after overtaking the UK and France. "We are deeply aware that China, for a considerably long period of time to come, will remain a developing country," Hu told the forum.

The Battle of the Game Consoles

Photos of the new consoles presented by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo at E3 Expo in Los Angeles:

The new Playstation 3 console.

The new Xbox 360 (Xbox 2) console.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sweden and Norway were "close to war"

Sweden and Norway were "close to war"

These days the two Scandinavian neighbours are the best of buddies but a hundred years ago it was a very different story. As Norwegians throughout Sweden don their festive garb to celebrate their country's national day on Tuesday, Dagens Nyheter reported that previously unpublished government records show that the two countries were perilously close to war in 1905. That was the year Norway declared its independence, dissolving the union with Sweden that had been in place for over 90 years. The split has been viewed by history as being largely peaceful. In September 1905, in an atmosphere of suspicion, Sweden went so far as to send 5,000 fully-equipped soldiers to the Norwegian border. Norway responded with the partial mobilisation of its army. But with the posturing threatening to burst into conflict, Lundeberg met Norway's leader, Christian Michelsen and they reached a compromise.

May 17th - Norway's Constitution Day

May 17th, is Norway's National Day. It is celebrated all over the nation, from the largest community to the smallest, with parades, bands, flags, national costumes, festival services and festivities with everyone taking part, marking the day in 1814, when Norway adopted its new constitution. In Oslo, the children's parade is the main attraction, with all the city schools represented, 110 in all, each headed by the school's banner and brass band. (Photo: Karl Johans Gate - Oslo's Parade Street). This unique parade has become a world attraction, and each year thousands of visitors from all over the world come to watch. A few have been fortunate to obtain special seats set up in front of the Royal Palace, mainly reserved for diplomats and special guests. The length of this year's parade is again a new record with 113 schools participating. The long parade march up Oslo's main street, Karl Johans gate, to the Royal Palace, where they are received by the Royal Family standing on the front balcony, waving to the crowd.

Norwegian National Day, 17th of May

The Norwegian National Day. Norway celebrates 100 years as an independent state this year.

The Karl Johan street and the Royal Palace, Oslo

The Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand

Photos from Aftenposten.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Denmark excluded from EU defence plans

Denmark excluded from EU defence plans

Denmark has been excluded from the European Union's military plans because of its opt-out from EU's defence cooperation, national radio news channel DR reported Friday. Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller told the parliament's foreign affairs' committee that EU's chief of foreign policy Javier Solana had made it clear that Denmark could not participate in the union's new so-called civilian-military cell within the union's military projects. Solana said Danish officers could not continue to participate in the planning cell as they have since 2000, since the opt-out bars them from participating in possible military operations. The EU-sceptic Danish People's Party and the Red and Green Alliance said they were surprised by the decision. The Radical Liberal Party, however, said the decision showed the 'absurdity of the defence opt-out.'

Is Denmark being punished for their cooperation with the Americans in Iraq, and thus "disloyalty" to the EU?

Troops will remain in Iraq, MPs decide

A broad majority in parliament agreed last week to give the military an extended mandate in Iraq until February 1 2006. The parliament also decided to add DKK 100 million to reconstruction in the country in addition to the 150 million already granted in this year's budget. The decision was made after the Liberal-Conservative coalition government secured the support of the Danish People's Party, the Social Democrats, and the Radical Liberal Party, without the two latter insisting on withdrawal in 2006. National radio news channel DR said, however, that the two opposition parties had pushed through their demand that more emphasis be placed on education and training of Iraqi police and military. Conservative Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller said he was pleased with the deal.