Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Dark Age Alert! Brunei Introduces Tough Islamic Penal Code

Brunei ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced the
implementation of Sharia punishments on Wednesday
BBC: Brunei will introduce a tough Islamic penal code from Thursday, its leader has announced.

Sharia punishments that will include the severing of limbs for theft and death by stoning for adulterers will be brought in over three years.

In April, the UN voiced "deep concern" about the planned change.

Brunei already adheres to a stronger form of Islamic law than neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia, banning the sale and consumption of alcohol.

The tiny state, on the island of Borneo, is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and has grown rich on oil and gas exports.

Almost three-quarters of those who live there are Malay Muslims, but there are sizeable Buddhist and Christian communities.

'Degrading treatment'

The move - delayed from last week - came from the Sultan.

"Today... I place my faith in and am grateful to Allah the almighty to announce that tomorrow, Thursday 1 May 2014, will see the enforcement of Sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases," AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

The penal code will be introduced over three years, with offences in the first phase covered by fines and prison sentences, the Brunei Times reported.

Amputations come under the second phase, and stoning, for crimes including adultery and homosexual acts, under the third phase. » | Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A new era for Brunei »

Brunei: Steinigung und Amputation werden Teil des Strafrechts »

Dolce et Gabbana condamnés en appel à 18 mois de prison

Les stylistes Stefano Gabbana (à gauche) et Domenico Dolce.
TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: La cour d'appel de Milan a confirmé la peine de 18 mois de prison prononcée à l'encontre des deux célèbres stylistes italiens Domenico Dolce et Stefano Gabbana, poursuivis pour fraude fiscale estimée à quelque 200 millions d'euros.

Les stylistes italiens Domenico Dolce et Stefano Gabbana, poursuivis pour fraude fiscale estimée à quelque 200 millions d'euros, ont été condamnés mercredi par la cour d'appel de Milan (nord) à 18 mois de prison, ont annoncé les médias italiens.

Les deux créateurs Domenico Dolce, 55 ans, et Stefano Gabbana, 51 ans, ont été reconnus coupables d'escroquerie aux dépens de l'Etat italien et pour des inexactitudes dans leurs déclarations de revenus. En première instance, en juin 2013, les deux créateurs de la marque de vêtements et d'accessoires de luxe Dolce & Gabbana, d'origine sicilienne, avaient été condamnés à un an et huit mois de prison pour une fraude fiscale estimée à près d'un milliard d'euros. » | afp/Newsnet | mercredi 30 avril 2014

Brunei: Steinigung und Amputation werden Teil des Strafrechts

DIE PRESSE: Das südostasiatische Sultanat führt das strenge Strafrecht der islamischen Scharia ein. Der OHCHR äußert scharfe Kritik.

Im südostasiatischen Sultanat Brunei wird von Donnerstag an das strenge Strafrecht der islamischen Scharia eingeführt. Die neuen Rechts-vorschriften würden schrittweise eingeführt, erklärte Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah am Mittwoch. Eigentlich sollte das Scharia-Strafrecht in dem mehrheitlich muslimischen Königreich bereits vor einer Woche starten.

Der Termin wurde jedoch zunächst auf unbestimmte Zeit verschoben. Bolkiah, dessen Familie das rund 400.000 Einwohner zählende Königreich seit sechs Jahrhunderten streng autoritär führt, hatte die Einführung der Scharia im Oktober angekündigt. » | APA/AFP | Mittwoch, 30. April 2014

Julie Gayet: pourquoi elle a quitté le président

La comédienne n'a pas souhaité jouer les remplaçantes de Valérie Trierweiler Une fois le secret levé, leur amour n’y a pas résisté. Pour vivre heureuse, l’actrice aura préféré vivre cachée. Une décision réfléchie.

Julie Gayet respire mieux. Les caméras l’ont lâchée. Dans son loft du onzième arrondissement décrit par ses amis comme « la maison du bonheur », elle a repris une routine rassurante au côté de ses deux fils. Tadéo, 15 ans et Ezéchiel, 13 ans. L’actrice l’a décidé, ils n’auront pas à subir la pression médiatique. Dans son téléphone, la voix de François Hollande ne résonne plus. Elle a brisé le lien.

 En femme indépendante, Julie a choisi un trajet qui ne lui est imposé ni par la raison d’Etat, ni par l’opinion. Quitte à rayer de la carte deux ans d’amour, de cache-cache et surtout d’admiration pour un homme dont l’intellect l’avait touchée au plus profond. » | mardi 29 avril 2014

Julie Gayet 'ends relationship with François Hollande' »

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Approves Nicolas Sarkozy's 2017 Presidential Bid

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has thrown her support behind her husband
Nicolas Sarkozy's comeback plan
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy rubber stamps husband Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to run for re-election as president in 2017, stating it would be good for France

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has thrown her support behind her husband Nicolas Sarkozy's comeback plan, saying it would be good for France if he ran for the presidency in 2017.

The 46-year old supermodel-turned-singer who married Mr Sarkozy in 2008 told a US chat show host that while she was not personally keen on him returning to frontline politics, she would support him if that was his wish.

"I want him to be happy and I care about my country," she told Ellen DeGeneres, the talk-show host.

Looking slightly embarrassed, as Mr Sarkozy was in the audience, she added: "As a woman I wish he wasn't going back. But as a French citizen, yes. He never stops me doing anything I like. He just encourages me. So I don't see myself saying 'don't do it'." Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy was in New York to promote her fourth album, Little French Songs. » | Henry Samuel, Paris | Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ukraine On 'Full Combat Alert' as President Warns Threat of Russia Starting a War 'Is Real'

THE INDEPENDENT: Oleksandr Turchynov spoke of a possible invasion from 40,000 Russian troops gathered at the border with Ukraine

Ukraine is on “full combat alert” over a possible invasion by Russian troops gathered at the border as the interim president warned that “the threat of Russia starting a war against mainland Ukraine is real."

Oleksandr Turchynov made the remarks during a ministerial meeting, where he also told regional governors Ukraine’s police and security forces are "helpless" to quell unrest in two eastern regions bordering Russia. » | Heather Saul | Wednesday, August 30, 2014

Pictured: Child with Black ‘Jihadi’ Flag at Rally by Anjem Choudary Supporters in London

LONDON EVENING STANDARD: MPs and counter-extremism campaigners today called for new efforts to combat the radicalisation of young Londoners after a child was pictured carrying a black “jihadi” flag associated with al Qaeda on a London street.

The girl, apparently no older than 12, was seen holding the flag during a rally by supporters of the extremist preacher Anjem Choudary outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Charles Street on Friday.

Several other children, some looking no older than five or six, also joined adult protesters to decry the “crimes” of Saudi Arabia.

The flag, featuring the “shahadah” — a declaration of the belief of the oneness of Allah — has become identified with Islamist and terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and its affiliates in countries including Syria and Somalia.

The images come only weeks after London Mayor Boris Johnson called for children subject to radicalisation to be taken into care and prompted new demands for action to protect the young from extremist parents. » | David Churchill and Martin Bentham | Monday, April 28, 2014

Dutch Right-Winger Geert Wilders Loses Backing of Jews

Geert Wilders
Anti-Islam Leader Tainted by Xenophobic Remarks

THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD: THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS — (JTA) — Standing in front of a giant flag, a tall blond politician asks his excited followers whether their country should have greater or fewer Moroccans.

When they are done chanting “fewer,” the speaker, Geert Wilders of the far-right Dutch Party for Freedom, promises his listeners that he will “take care of it.”

Wilders was speaking at an event here to celebrate his party’s strong showing in March 19 local elections, and he chuckled as supporters cheered his pledge.

A fierce critic of Islam who has compared the Koran to “Mein Kampf” and called the Prophet Muhammad the devil, Wilders had steered clear of slurring specific Muslim communities, instead peddling a unique brand of populist conservatism that eschewed the kind of Nazi-inflected, anti-Jewish rhetoric popular among far-right groups elsewhere in Europe.

But his “fewer Moroccans” comment has generated a furious backlash because it was seen as the first time he had engaged in open racism that targeted an entire group as undesirable by definition. The statement has cost him much of the sympathy he enjoyed in some quarters of the Dutch Jewish community and blurred the lines that had separated him from other European far-right leaders.

“This is different from his past statements,” the pro-Israel journalist Ratna Pele wrote on the website “Before it was about Islam or Moroccan criminals, now it’s about the entire group that he says is unacceptable and needs to get out of the country.” » | Cnaan Lipshiz | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dutch Leader Geert Wilders Slammed as New 'Hitler' for 'Fewer Moroccans' Remark »

Antibiotics Are Losing Effectiveness in Every Country, Says WHO

THE GUARDIAN: World Health Organisation warns of 'devastating' consequences and says once-beaten diseases could re-emerge

Antibiotics are losing their power to fight infections in every country in the world, according to new data from the World Health Organisation – a situation that could have "devastating" consequences for public health. It raises the possibility that once-beaten diseases will re-emerge as global killers.

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health, says the WHO. It is no longer something to worry about in the future, but is happening now and could affect anybody, anywhere, of whatever age.

"Without urgent, co-ordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill," said Dr Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director general for health security.

"Effective antibiotics have been one of the pillars allowing us to live longer, live healthier, and benefit from modern medicine. Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public-health goods and the implications will be devastating." Read on and comment » | Sarah Boseley, health editor | Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Severe Weather Threatens Eastern US States

BBC: Severe weather is threatening as many as 73 million Americans in the eastern states, after two days of powerful storms killed up to 34 people.

Government forecasters have warned of severe thunderstorms from the Gulf of Mexico up to the Great Lakes.

On Sunday and Monday, tornadoes cut a broad track of death and destruction through the southern US states.

The storms flattened buildings, overturned cars, and left thousands of residents without power.

"Widespread thunderstorms are forecast across the central Gulf Coast region, with several severe [or] supercell storms possible," the National Weather Service wrote in a morning forecast.

More than two million people are said to be at risk of tornadoes and high winds in parts of Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday.

As the storm moves further east, parts of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are expected to be under threat of severe weather, forecasters say. (+ BBC videos) » | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

'UK Should Get Out of the EU,' Says Former French PM

Michel Rocard, a grandee of the French Socialist Party, has
identified Britain as the source of all the EU's problems
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Britain should leave the EU and the British elite is the only thing holding the people back from doing so, says former French prime minister

Britain should leave Europe because it is killing the European Union dream, a former French Prime Minister has said.

In a blistering attack, Michel Rocard, a grandee of the French Socialist Party who served as premier under Francois Mitterrand, identified Britain as the source of all the EU's problems.

"Britain is a great country that has always refused that to allow Europe to interfere in its affairs. It has blocked any further integration," he told Trombinoscope, a French parliamentary magazine.

"If they go, it becomes possible to respond to the needs of governing in Europe. Even Germany realises this and demands it. I hope for it a lot because they have prevented it from developing, they killed it."

Mr Rocard, 83, said that it was clear that the "British people want to end with Europe" and are only prevented from leaving the EU by Britain's political and financial classes. » | Bruno Waterfield, Brussels | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jacques Delors: Britain could leave the European Union »

Top Family Judge Calls for No-fault Divorce for All and Putting Cohabitees On A Par with Married Couples

Sir James Munby, President of the High Court Family Division
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Sir James Munby, President of the High Court Family Division, calls for radical overhaul of divorce law to recognise decline of traditional nuclear family

Unmarried couples should have similar legal protections as those who are married, Britain’s top family judge has said as he outlined ideas for a radical overhaul of divorce law to cope with a society in which the traditional nuclear family is being replaced.

Sir James Munby, president of the High Court Family Division, the most senior family judge in England and Wales, called for the idea of fault or blame to be completely removed from divorce.

He added that divorce could largely be taken out of the court system altogether, with marriages dissolved by officials instead of judges, in a similar way to the registration of births or deaths.

The family itself had changed beyond recognition in the past few decades, he added, with the nuclear model increasingly replaced by unmarried parents, single parents, step-families and same-sex couples.

Christian campaigners said removing the idea of fault was "downgrading" commitment. » | John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My comment:

The West is going to Hell in a handbasket. It won't be long now before its total destruction. Rome went the same way too. It's sad, I know; but Western leaders haven't got a clue how to reverse the decline. They keep heaping coals on the fire. It appears that we have a one-way ticket to self-destruction. – © Mark

This comment appears here too.

Gauck weist Erdoğans Vorwürfe zurück

SUEDDEUTSCHE: Zank zwischen Berlin und Ankara: Bundespräsident Gauck hatte den türkischen Premier Erdoğan kritisiert, Erdoğan sprach daraufhin von Gauck als "Pastor". Nun kontert der Bundespräsident: Seine Kritik sei "eher noch zurückhaltend gewesen."

Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck hat Vorwürfe des türkischen Ministerpräsidenten Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wegen seiner Kritik an Demokratiedefiziten in der Türkei zurückgewiesen. "Ich habe mir erlaubt, das zu tun, was ich immer tue. Nämlich die kritischen Themen, die in einer Gesellschaft diskutiert werden, aufzunehmen. Das ist normal unter Freunden", sagte Gauck. "Ich habe nichts erfunden, ich bin eher noch zurückhaltend gewesen." » | Quelle und Bearbeiter: | Dienstag, 29. April 2014

Erdogan attackiert “Pastor” Gauck »

Murdered Teacher Ann Maguire 'A Mother Figure and Heart of the School'

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Ann Maguire, a 61-year-old mother-of-two, had already reached the age when she could have retired, after 40 years teaching at Corpus Christi Catholic College

To her students, Ann Maguire was, quite simply, “the best teacher in the world”.

Having spent 40 years teaching at Corpus Christi Catholic College, the 61-year-old mother-of-two had already reached the age when she could have retired.

But she chose to carry on serving the pupils who had come to depend on her.

For any teacher to be murdered at work would have been shocking enough but students at the Leeds secondary school were unanimous in their disbelief that Mrs Maguire should have been targeted.

Nathan Mulenga, 18, who left the school two years ago, said: “She was such a great teacher, the best in the world. » | Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

10 Good Reasons Not to Vote for Ukip

THE GUARDIAN: Nigel Farage may seem genial but his party is anything but. The polls tell us that many voters are tempted to vote Ukip at the next election, while others dismiss them as a joke – but the prospect of them gaining more power in Europe is no laughing matter

If the polls are right, and they probably are, legions of ordinary British people, decent in so many respects, will back Ukip in the forthcoming European elections.

Some will tick the Farage box because they believe the party to be the future, setting out with clarity our country's political, social and economic future. Others will give their endorsement because they have come to despise the other parties and the establishment. Indeed Farage has been encouraging them to turn away from the political elite and to see Ukip as a new way of doing things.

There will be those, genuinely unhappy, who wish for tougher action on migration and a handbrake turn away from Europe. Both are hot-potato issues and Ukip serves up a mash more easily digestible than that available elsewhere.

And then there is the contingent that thinks some or none of these things but will vote for the party as a form of interactive entertainment. "That Farage, he's a good bloke," they will say. "You can have a laugh with him."

Ukip will do well because it can best survive in the polluted atmosphere that engulfs debate about migration and Europe, but also because it's a perfect vehicle for a protest vote. No one takes it very seriously. And that's the sadness. Because Ukip isn't and has never been much of a laughing matter. Here's why … » | Hugh Muir | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Has Wealth Made Qatar Happy?

Souq Waqif was torn down – and rebuilt in replica
BBC: Oil and gas have made Qatar the richest country in the world - rich enough to be ready, apparently, to spend $200bn (£120bn) on stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. But has virtually limitless wealth brought the country happiness?

It's still cool enough to sit outside in Qatar's capital, Doha. In another few weeks it will be too hot and most people - those who don't have to work outside - will be retreating indoors to the comfort of air-conditioning.

For now, though, families relax in the afternoon sun on the waterfront promenade, the Corniche. The view has changed beyond recognition in the last few years. Glass and steel towers rise like an artificial forest from what was once a shoreline of flat sand.

"We have become urban," says Dr Kaltham Al Ghanim, a sociology professor at Qatar University. "Our social and economic life has changed - families have become separated, consumption culture has taken over."

Qatar's government puts a positive spin on the pace of change.

From desperate poverty less than a century ago, this, after all, has become the richest nation in the world, with an average per-capita income topping $100,000 (£60,000).

What's less well understood is the impact of such rapid change on Qatari society itself. » | Matthew Teller | Doha | Qatar | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Inside Story: Should We Be Worried About the MERS Virus?

Health officials on alert as cases rise in Saudi Arabia and threaten to spread across region.

Ex-Chancellor Parties with Putin

SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL: The conflict in eastern Ukraine threatens to escalate, but that didn't stop former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from celebrating his 70th birthday with Vladimir Putin on Monday. By doing so, he is making a mockery of Berlin's foreign policy.

There's nothing you can do about your relatives, but you certainly have a choice when it comes to picking your friends. This sage wisdom also applies to Gerhard Schröder, the former German leader and confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He himself can decide whom to embrace and with whom to celebrate his 70th birthday -- after all, true friends stick together, even in the toughest of times. Normally, one would call this strength of character.

But when it comes to Schröder and Putin in the context of the Ukraine crisis, things are a little more complicated. … » | A commentary by Roland Nelles | Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Erdogan attackiert "Pastor" Gauck

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Der Staatsbesuch von Joachim Gauck in der Türkei ist plötzlich von scharfen Tönen geprägt. Der Deutsche hatte vor Gefahren für die Demokratie gewarnt - jetzt reagiert ein wütender Premier Erdogan.

Ankara - Die Kritik des deutschen Staatsoberhaupts will der türkische Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan nicht auf sich sitzen lassen. Der Regierungschef wirft Joachim Gauck vor, sich mit seiner Warnung über die Demokratiedefizite in die inneren Angelegenheiten der Türkei eingemischt zu haben.

"Ich habe dem deutschen Staatspräsidenten gesagt, dass wir seine Einmischung in die inneren Angelegenheiten unseres Landes niemals dulden werden", sagte Erdogan am Dienstag nach Angaben der Nachrichtenagentur Anadolu. Mit Blick auf die aus seiner Sicht belehrenden Worte des früheren Pfarrers Gauck fügte Erdogan bei einer Fraktionssitzung seiner Partei AKP in Ankara hinzu: "Der deutsche Staatspräsident denkt wohl, er sei immer noch ein Pastor." » | heb/amz/AFP | Dienstag, 29. April 2014

Conservatives Stuck on Stupid! We Should Celebrate That We Are a Multi-cultural Nation, Says Michael Gove

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Britons should celebrate the fact that their country is a “multi-cultural nation”, senior Conservatives have said.

Britons should celebrate the fact that their country is a “multi-cultural nation”, senior Conservatives have said.

The comments have emerged after new research said that the Tories had to do more to attract black and ethnic minority voters if they wanted to win next year’s general election.

The description multi-cultural is often used by rightwing critics to criticise community groups who do not mix with their neighbours.

However, Michael Gove, the Education secretary and a Tory moderniser, issued the call for the Conservatives to reclaim the term at the Asian Business Awards dinner earlier this month.

He told the 500-strong black tie dinner at a hotel in central London earlier this month that Britain was a “stronger country” because of its history of immigration. » | Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent | Monday, April 28, 2014

Leeds Teacher Murder: Boy, 15, In Custody after Anne Maguire Stabbed to Death

Anne Maguire
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, arrested on suspicion of murder after Anne Maguire was repeatedly stabbed in front of other pupils at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds

A high-achieving middle-class schoolboy was in custody on Monday night after a teacher was stabbed to death in the first murder of its kind in a British classroom.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested on suspicion of murder after Anne Maguire was repeatedly stabbed in front of other pupils at a secondary school in Leeds.

The pupil is said to have excelled at the Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds but had become increasingly withdrawn following the separation of his parents.

Mrs Maguire, 61, who taught Spanish and Religious Education and was described as the “figurehead” of the school where she had taught for 40 years, was the first teacher to be killed by a schoolboy since Philip Lawrence, a London headmaster, was stabbed at the gates of his secondary in 1995.

It is the first time in Britain a teacher has been murdered in a classroom allegedly by one of their pupils. (+ videos) » | Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ukraine: La Russie promet de répliquer aux nouvelles sanctions

Au nom de Vladimir Poutine, le vice-ministre russe des Affaires
étrangères Sergueï Riabkov a déclaré que la Russie disposait
d'une « large » gamme d'options pour répondre aux sanctions.
TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: Une nouvelle série de sanctions a été annoncée lundi contre la Russie, accusée par les Occidentaux de jeter de l'huile sur le feu dans la crise ukrainienne, et qui a aussitôt promis de répliquer.

Américains et Européens ont dévoilé quasi-simultanément lundi les nouvelles sanctions censées convaincre Moscou de ne pas déstabiliser davantage la situation déjà explosive en Ukraine.

Côté américain, sept responsables russes et 17 sociétés, jugés proches du président russe Vladimir Poutine, vont se voir imposer des sanctions. Washington va également revoir les conditions d'autorisation à l'exportation en Russie de certains équipements high-tech qui pourraient avoir un usage militaire, a indiqué la Maison Blanche dans un communiqué. » | afp/Newsnet | lundi 28 avril 2014

Zürich: Pour le Böögg, l'été sera très chaud

Le Böögg brûle à Zürich
TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: En moins de 8 minutes, le Bonhomme hiver du Sechseläuten a explosé, signe que les températures seront élevées cette année. Des conseillers fédéraux ont participé au défilé.

Le «Böögg», le Bonhomme hiver auquel les Zurichois boutent le feu chaque année, a tenu 7 minutes et 23 secondes avant d'exploser.

Il annonce ainsi un très bel été. La manifestation marquant la fin de l'hiver s'est pourtant déroulée sous un temps pluvieux et plutôt frisquet. » | ATS/Newsnet | lundi 28 avril 2014

View from Russia Today: 'Last Thing US Wants in the World Is Democracy. It Wants Control'

The crisis in Ukraine and the steadily dropping temperature in relations between Moscow and Washington made many talk about a new Cold War; and many others are worried it may turn 'hot'. But there's another war going on right now: the information war. US Secretary of State Kerry has already attacked RT, calling it "Putin's propaganda machine." But Washington itself uses dubious evidence and fake facts. What is the information war? What methods is America using? Sophie talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and veteran correspondent Chris Hedges.

2pm Lie-ins and a Daily Führer Cake...

Elisabeth Kalhammer, one of Hitler's maids at the Berghof,
Obersalzberg, Austria
MAIL ON SUNDAY: Elisabeth Kalhammer, 89, responded to newspaper advert in 1943 / She did not know her employer at Berghof, Germany, would be Hitler / Reveals dictator pretended to be healthy but had insatiable sweet tooth

As far as his closest aides were aware, he kept to a strict healthy diet and drank only lukewarm water.

But Adolf Hitler would regularly stave off attacks of midnight munchies by tucking into specially made ‘Fuhrer Cake’ and other gooey treats.

He would raid the kitchen after staying up late talking to guests and rarely get up before 2pm, according to a maid who worked at his mountain retreat in Bavaria.

Elisabeth Kalhammer has broken her silence after 71 years to reveal what life was like at the Berghof when the Nazi dictator was in residence.

Mrs Kalhammer, 89, says that Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun – whom staff greeted with a ‘Heil M’lady’ – ran the house.

All the maids knew Hitler had trouble with his spleen and kept to a strict diet devised by a personal cook.

But the famously sweet-toothed dictator secretly feasted on chocolate biscuits and cream scones, Mrs Kalhammer says. » | Allan Hall | Sunday, April 27, 2014

SALZBURGER NACHRICHTEN: Im Dienst des Diktators: Adolf Hitlers Hausmädchen: "Denken durfte ich, aber sprechen nicht." Elisabeth Kalhammer hat am Berghof das Reden beinahe verlernt. Sie erinnert sich, was sie im Haushalt des Diktators erlebte. » | Von Michaela Hessenberger | Samstag, 26. April 2014

SALZBURGER NACHRICHTEN: Hitlers Stubenmädchen: Seltene Blicke auf den Diktator: Als Stubenmädchen hat Elisabeth Kalhammer für den NS-Diktator gearbeitet. Durch den Vorhang hat sie Adolf Hitler beobachtet. Gesehen hat sie ein "armseliges Mandl", erinnert sie sich im zweiten Teil des SN-Gesprächs. » | Von Michaela Hessenberger | Montag, 28. April 2014

Arrested for Quoting Winston Churchill…

MAIL ONLINE: Paul Weston was arrested on the steps of Winchester's Guildhall / Chairman of Liberty GB was detained on suspicion of racial harassment / He quoted a passage from Winston Churchill's 1899 book The River War

A candidate in the European elections was arrested on suspicion of racial harrassment after quoting a passage about Islam, written by Winston Churchill, during a campaign speech.

Paul Weston, chairman of the party Liberty GB, made the address on the steps of Winchester Guildhall, in Hampshire on Saturday.

A member of the public took offence at the quote, taken from Churchill's The River War and called police.

The passage from the book, written by the wartime Prime Minister and first published in 1899, focuses on Churchill's observations about Islam while serving during the Anglo-Egyptian reconquest of the Sudan.

Mr Weston told his audience: 'Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

'Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

'No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.'

Police officers arrested Mr Weston, mid-speech, for failing to comply with their request to move on under the powers of a dispersal order made against him. He was further arrested on suspicion of religious or racial harrassment. » | Lizzie Parry | Monday, April 28, 2014

LIBERTY GB: Paul Weston Could Face Two Years in Jail for Quoting Churchill » | Liberty GB | Monday, April 28, 2014

Debbie Schlussel: Amal Alamuddin: George Clooney’s Anti-Israel Druze Arab Chick

DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL: Over the past few months, actor George Clooney’s been photographed all over the place with Amal Alamuddin, a very anti-Israel Lebanese Arab who worked for the United Nations and represented Wikileaks’ anti-American former chief, Julian Assange. The Lebanese legal book she authored is extremely anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Alamuddin, who was Clooney’s date to the Obama White House last month, is not Muslim. She’s Druze, which is an offshoot of Islam. I’m familiar with Ms. Alamuddin (pronounced “Ah-lah-muh-DEEN”) and her family because I met her and them at the wedding of her cousin in the mid-1990s. They are extremely anti-Israel, and I was subjected to their absurd, non-stop anti-Israel questions and comments as the only non-Arab (other than the bride and her family) at a dinner the night before the wedding. » | Debbie Schlussel | Thursday, March 20, 2014

WIKI: Druze »

Saudi Arabia: Eight More Deaths Due to MERS

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The latest cases bring to 102 the number of people who have died after contracting the disease

Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry said on Sunday that eight more people have died after contracting a lethal Middle East virus related to SARS as the kingdom grapples with a rising number of infections.

The ministry reported the deaths in a statement on its website late in the evening. It said it had detected a total of 16 cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus over the past 24 hours.

The latest cases bring to 102 the number of people who have died after contracting the disease in Saudi Arabia since September 2012. A total of 339 cases have been recorded to date in the kingdom, which has been the site of the bulk of confirmed infections. » | AP | Edited by Bonnie Malkin | Monday, April 28, 2014

John Kerry Warns Israel Could Become 'Apartheid State'

John Kerry was speaking after Benjamin Netanyahu's
government suspended negotiations with the Palestinians
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: US secretary of state risks Israeli anger with warning that absence of peace deal with Palestinians could lead towards apartheid-style situation

Israel risks evolving into an apartheid state if it fails to negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians to end the historic Jewish-Arab conflict, John Kerry, the US secretary of state has warned.

The highly inflammatory remarks, which seemed certain to provoke an angry reaction from Israeli leaders, followed last week's near collapse of American-brokered peace talks, which Mr Kerry has energetically promoted.

Speaking at a meeting of senior international figures last Friday, America's top diplomat said it was essential to pursue the two-state solution - commonly defined as Israel existing alongside a sovereign, independent Palestine - to avoid dire consequences. » |Robert Tait, Jerusalem | Monday, April 28, 2014

Israel Says No to Peace Talks until Hamas Recognises Israel

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Israeli prime minister Netanyahu says there will be no negotiations with a Palestinian unity government unless the Hamas movement gives up its vision of destroying Israel and embraces peace

Speaking on CNN, the Israeli leader said the preferable course of action to get peace negotiations back on track would be for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to renounce Hamas, the Islamist movement whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.

"Either Hamas disavows the destruction of Israel and embraces peace and denounces terror, or president Abbas renounces Hamas," Netanyahu said.

"If one of those things happened, we could get back to the peace negotiations. I hope he renounces Hamas and gets back to the peace table, as I've just said. The ball is in his court."

Netanyahu suspended peace talks with the Palestinians last week after the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas agreed to work together to form a unity government, in a move to end years of bitter political rivalry. » | AFP | Sunday, April 27, 2014

Egypt Sentences 683 Islamists to Death in Mass Trial

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Mohamed Badie, Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, handed death penalty as same court reverses 492 death sentences passed last month

The supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has been sentenced to death with 682 other people after a five-minute hearing which will renew international concern over Egypt's so-called "road-map to democracy".

Mohammed Badie was found guilty of inciting riots in the town of Edwa last summer which led to mass arrests of what the authorities said were Brotherhood supporters furious at the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi.

No attempt was made at least in the public hearing to distinguish the parts played by any of the other hundreds of defendants in the riots, in which churches, businesses and government offices were burned down and some policemen killed.

In the same hearing, the judge, Said Yussef, commuted to life imprisonment all but 37 of the 529 death penalties he handed down in a separate case last month, linked to a similar riot in the nearby town of Mattay. He gave no explanation for the decision, though the verdicts had been automatically referred to Egypt's Grand Mufti for a clerical opinion.

Life terms in Egypt usually mean 25 years in jail. » | Richard Spencer, Minya | Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Denying Hillary Clinton the Presidency

Apr. 22, 2014 - 6:20 - Charles Krauthammer weighs in on the Democrats' expected presidential pick for the 2016

UK Non-Christian Claims 'Absurd', Senior Tories Say

BBC: The UK is a Christian country and those who deny it are "deluding themselves", two senior Conservative MPs have said.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the Daily Telegraph modern Britain had "Christian heritage".

Deputy PM Nick Clegg has also said it is "obvious" that Christianity is integral to the UK's identity.

A group of public figures recently objected to David Cameron's description of the UK as a "Christian country". Mr Cameron had also said Britons should be "more confident" in defending "Christian values".

Mr Grieve, a patron of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, said atheism had not made "much progress" in the UK.

"Many of the underlying ethics of society are Christian-based and the result of 1,500 years of Christian input into our national life," he said.

"It is not going to disappear overnight. They [theists] are deluding themselves." » | Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas condamne le "crime odieux" de la Shoah

Le président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas.

LE POINT: Cette condamnation du "crime le plus odieux qui soit survenu contre l'humanité pendant l'ère moderne" est la plus forte du président palestinien à ce jour.

Le président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas a condamné dimanche le génocide juif, dans une déclaration sans précédent, peu avant le début des commémorations de la Shoah en Israël, et appelé le gouvernement israélien à conclure une paix "juste" avec les Palestiniens. "Ce qui est arrivé aux juifs durant l'Holocauste est le crime le plus odieux qui soit survenu contre l'humanité pendant l'ère moderne", a estimé Mahmoud Abbas, selon un communiqué de l'Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP), qu'il dirige, publié le jour où Israël va commencer à commémorer la Shoah. » | Source AFP | dimanche 27 avril 2014

North Korea Labels South's President as 'Crafty Prostitute' after Obama Visit

Barack Obama with the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye,
in Seoul on Saturday
THE GUARDIAN: Tirade against Park Geun-hye hits new low in unusually personal abuse, which analysts say may indicate Kim Jong-un echoing his grandfather

North Korea has launched a vitriolic attack on the South Korean president, comparing her to "crafty prostitute" in thrall to her "pimp" Barack Obama.

It also described Park Geun-hye as America's "comfort woman", a reference likely to enrage many in South Korea, where anger still runs high over the plight of thousands of women who were enslaved in Japanese military brothels during the second world war.

The comments were issued on Sunday by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), which handles cross-border affairs, following the US president's two-day visit to Seoul. He arrived in Malaysia on Sunday for the penultimate stop on his four-nation tour of Asia.

While Pyongyang is known for its aggressive rhetoric, recent remarks have been unusually personal.

Earlier this month state media ran misogynist articles, including one headlined "We accuse Park the bitch", labelling her as a lunatic, idiot and "cold-blooded animal" and emphasising the fact that she has never married or had children.

Those remarks were presented in the form of quotes from ordinary North Koreans, while the latest tirade, carried by state news agency KCNA, is presented as a statement from an official body. » | Tania Branigan in Seoul | Sunday, April 27, 2014

AP: N Korea criticizes S Korea Prez’s ‘Swish of Skirt’ »

New Dark Age Alert! My Brother the Islamist

Eye-opening documentary in which a man discovers that his brother has unexpectedly converted to Islam.

MAIL ON SUNDAY: My brother the terrorist: Filmmaker attempts to understand why stepbrother went from middle-class white boy to Muslim convert and convicted terrorist: In 2010 Robb Leech spent a year filming his stepbrother Richard Dart / Dart converted to Islam and changed his name to Salahuddin al-Britani / Last year he was sentenced to six years in prison for terrorist charges / He was converted to Islam by hate preacher Anjem Choudary / My Brother The Terrorist will be aired on BBC Three at 9pm tomorrow » | Tara Brady | Sunday, April 27, 2014

East Ukraine Detainees: 'We Have Not Been Touched'

A group of kidnapped military observers give a press conference in Slavyansk, east Ukraine, where they are being held by pro-Russian separatists. Colonel Alex Schneider from Germany confirms the eight men have not been physically harmed but they have no indication of when, and under what conditions, they will be released

THE GUARDIAN: Ukraine: kidnapped observers paraded by pro-Russian gunmen in Slavyansk: European military observers deny they are Nato spies while captors insist they are 'not our hostages – they are our guests' » | Luke Harding in Donetsk and agencies | Sunday, April 27, 2014

Crowds Gather for Popes' Double Canonisation

Thousands of people gather at the Vatican for the canonisation of two Popes Emeritus, John Paul II and John XXIII. Pope Benedict leads the unprecedented mass in which his two predecessors are declared saints of the Roman Catholic church. Foreign leaders including Robert Mugabe and Enda Kenny were present for the service

THE GUARDIAN: Popes John Paul II and John XXIII declared saints in double canonization: Hundreds of thousands gather at Rome to witness canonisation of two great figures of 20th-century Roman Catholicism » | Lizzy Davies in Vatican Vity | Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Guide to School Islamisation, by 'Ringleader’ of Trojan Horse Plot

Tahir Alam, chairman of governors at Park View
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: School governor who is alleged ringleader of the Trojan Horse plot in Birmingham wrote 72-page document on manipulating teachers and curriculum

The alleged ringleader of the Trojan Horse plot wrote a detailed blueprint for the radical “Islamisation” of secular state schools which closely resembles what appears to be happening in Birmingham.

Tahir Alam, chairman of governors at Park View school in the city, called for “girls [to] be covered except for their hands and faces”, advocated gender segregation in some school activities, and attacked a “multicultural approach” to collective worship.

He described how state schools must be changed to “take account of Muslim sensitivities and sensibilities with respect to sexual morality” with “girlfriend/boyfriend as well as homosexual relationships” treated as “not acceptable practices according to Islamic teachings”.

The disclosure comes as teachers at Park View said a boy and a girl in their GCSE year have been suspended after being spotted holding hands, only weeks before they were due to take their exams. “They have done this to quite a few students in Year 11,” said one member of staff. “That they should continue with it, even with all the scrutiny we are under, just beggars belief.” Read on and comment » | Andrew Gilligan | Saturday, April 26, 2014

My comment:

Shouldn't this man be jailed, and the keys to his cell be thrown away? – © Mark

This comment appears here too.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury: We Are a Post-Christian Nation

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Exclusive: Former archbishop of Canterbury says Britain is no longer a nation of believers, as Telegraph poll reveals Christians are reluctant to express their faith

Britain is now a “post-Christian” country, the former archbishop of Canterbury has declared, as research suggests that the majority of Anglicans and Roman Catholics now feel afraid to express their beliefs.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Williams of Oystermouth says Britain is no longer “a nation of believers” and that a further decline in the sway of the Church is likely in the years ahead.

While the country is not populated exclusively by atheists, the former archbishop warns that the era of regular and widespread worship is over.

His stark assessment comes after David Cameron ignited a national debate over the place of religion in British public life. The Prime Minister urged Christians to be “more evangelical” about their faith and claimed that Britain should be a more confidently Christian country.

His remarks, in the run-up to Easter, provoked a furious response from atheist and secular groups, and prompted a succession of senior politicians to give their views, culminating in Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England. » | Tim Ross, Cole Moreton and James Kirkup | Saturday, April 26, 2014

Al Qaeda Chief Urges Westerner Kidnappings

Ayman al-Zawahiri
REUTERS.COM: (Reuters) - Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, particularly Americans, who could then be exchanged for jailed jihadists including a blind Egyptian cleric convicted in 1995 of conspiring to attack the United Nations and other New York landmarks.

In a wide[-]ranging audio interview, the al Qaeda leader expressed solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood which is facing a violent crackdown by the army-backed government in Egypt and urged unity among rebels in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the Zawahiri tape, but the voice resembled that of the al Qaeda leader.

"I ask Allah the Glorious to help us set free Dr. Omar Abdel-Rahman and the rest of the captive Muslims, and I ask Allah to help us capture from among the Americans and the Westerners to enable us to exchange them for our captives," said Zawahiri, according to the SITE website monitoring service. Read on and comment » | Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Mark Potter | Dubai | Saturday, April 26, 2014

US Doesn’t Object, So Iran Gets Seat On UN Women’s Rights Body

Read the Jihad Watch article here | Robert Spencer | Jihad Watch | Friday, April 25, 2014

Greta: Pres. Obama Outfoxed by Putin and His Boys

Apr. 25, 2014 - 1:42 - 'Off the Record', 4/25/14: Why Putin and his Russian officials are busting a gut - and raking in the cash - tonight

Interfaith Panel Upset: 9/11 Film Calls Hijackers 'Islamists'

Apr. 26, 2014 - 3:40 - Relative of 9/11 victim weighs in

Was bringt uns der Islam?

Der Islam drängt in die Mitte der Gesellschaft. War der Islam bisher die Religion der Migranten, treten die Muslime hierzulande inzwischen mit einem neuen Selbstbewusstsein auf.

Yousef al-Khattab

US-Based Revolution Muslim Website Spreading Messages of Hate »

PRAIRIE PUBLIC NEWS: The Jewish Kid From New Jersey Who Became A Radical Islamist » | Dina Temple-Raston | Friday, April 25, 2014

THE WASHINGTON POST: New Jersey man sentenced to prison for extremist Islamic Web posts: A New Jersey man who used his Islamic organization’s Web site to advocate violence against those whose ideals he found offensive to his religion was sentenced Friday to 21 / 2 years in prison — a term that a federal judge said he imposed so people would “understand the line” between free speech and criminal calls for violence. » | Matt Zapotosky | Friday, April 25, 2014

London's Holy Turf War

Over the last year a quasi-religious turf war has sprung up on the streets of London. Young radicalised Muslim patrols are enforcing Shariah law in the capital. In reaction, far right Christian Patrols are also taking the law into their own hands.

Since the Woolwich killing, anti-Muslim rhetoric as been at an all time high, and the right-wing Christian Patrols are only exacerbating the rising tensions.

These two marginalised but potentially dangerous London subcultures believe that society has failed their communities enough that they are now taking to the streets to implement or defend their ways of life, according to their opposing politicised and religious ideologies.

The irony being that while their shared aggressive approach has resulted in media coverage and media panic, they ultimately are responsible for and justify each other's existence.

Alex Miller meets the leaders and footsoldiers in Britain's holy street patrols, the Anjem Choudary's followers Muslim Patrol and Paul Golding of Britain First's Christian Patrol, in the same area he lives and works, to find out just how effective their operations are, and how genuine their belief is in the battle for East London's streets.

MAIL ONLINE: Holy Turf War: Muslims and Christians clash on Britain's streets as religious 'vigilantes' from both sides threaten late-night drinkers and women in short skirts to 'cleanse' country: Muslims and Christians 'tribes' patrol capital determined to push views / Muslim patrol supported by hate preacher Anjem Choudary / Christian patrol an offshoot of far right group the English Defence League / Three members of Muslim patrol jailed in December last year » | Paul Donnelley | Saturday, April 26, 2014

BBC Documentary: The Crusades: Holy War

Dutch Lap Up Wilders' Hardline Message

BBC: In the Netherlands many polls are predicting the maverick anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) will win the European elections being held on 22 May.

And a recent race row - he told supporters a vote for the PVV would mean fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands - may have done him more good than harm.

This talk is too extreme for many - so what explains his appeal to Dutch voters? I took a spin around The Hague on my bike to find out.

Geert Wilders' Moroccan comments provoked an avalanche of criticism. High-profile PVV members quit, accusing their leader of going too far. More than 5,000 people filed complaints to the public prosecutor, calling for Mr Wilders to be charged with inciting racial hatred. (+ BBC video) » | Anna Holligan | BBC News | The Hague | Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lloyds Drops Overdraft Fee On Islamic Accounts

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Bank accused of discrimination after telling Muslims they would escape overdraft charge of up to £80 a month

Lloyds Bank has been accused of religious discrimination after offering free overdraft accounts to Muslims.

The bank sent customers a booklet this month explaining new charges.

While many will have to pay up to £80 a month if they go into the red, Muslims were told they would escape the charges. The document said: “We are removing the monthly overdraft management fee of £6 from our Islamic Account, Islamic Student Account and Islamic Graduate Account. So, if you use an unplanned overdraft on these accounts, there won’t be any charges.”

One customer, Anita Milton, a nurse of New Eltham, south London, said: “I can’t believe that they’re thinking of offering one account for Muslims and making everyone else pay for the same service. Do I have to change my religion to get the best deal?"

Barclays, Co-op Bank and RBS said they do not offer alternative bank accounts to Muslim customers. » | Keith Perry | Friday, April 25, 2014

My comment:

What the hell is the matter with the powers-that-be in my country? Have they all lost their cojones, or what?

This is supposed to be Great Britain. What a bloody laugh that is! Little Britain would be a more apt name for it. Anything "great" about this country was lost many years ago. The country is turning into a Third World sh**hole! All because our leaders haven't got the courage to say "NO". Whatever happened to the concept of ONE LAW FOR ALL?

There is no such thing as Shari'ah lite. Ultimately, the monster will grow so strong that it will consume us. Are the powers-that-be so bloody stupid that they can't comprehend that? Kick the idiots that make these ludicrous decisions out! We, the people, want our country back. – © Mark

This comment appears here too.

Death Threats Issued as Sharia Watch Launches in London

VOICE OF RUSSIA: A new group has been launched at the House of Lords to campaign for greater recognition of the threat posed by Islamic Sharia law. Sharia Watch UK says it wants to highlight the impact of Islamism in Britain and campaign against the prevalence of Sharia tribunals, particularly where it relates to women's rights. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Anne Marie Waters, spokesperson for Sharia Watch, and to Aina Khan, a solicitor in London who specialises in applying Sharia law within the English legal system. (+ video) » | VoR | Thursday, April 24, 2014

HT: regkeane »

Friday, April 25, 2014

Princess Diana in Tears at Princess Grace’s Funeral

The Last Interview with Grace Kelly

Ein Blick zurück in die dunkelste Zeiten des letzten Jahrhunderts: Der gelbe Stern: Jugendverfolgung im Dritten Reich

Christopher Hitchens on Sharia

Christopher Hitchens Explains Islam and Why It Is So Stupid

New Dark Age Alert! The Best Answer to Homosexuals (Lut People) – Mufti Menk

'Gays Are a Lost Cause' Says Moderate Muslim

"Gallup conducted telephone and face-to-face interviews with 500 Muslims in the UK, France and Germany.
"The most dramatic contrast was found in attitudes towards homosexuality," the study said. "None of the 500 British Muslims interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable."
Remarkable. They couldn't find a single British Muslim who would come out publicly in support of homosexuals. Not one."

Giuliani: Iran Leader Has 'No Respect' for US Administration

Apr. 25, 2014 - 6:22 - Former NYC mayor sounds off

France Unveils Plan to Prevent Radicalisation

GULF TIMES: Hoping to thwart would-be jihadists from following the hundreds of French nationals who have travelled to Syria to fight alongside fundamentalist groups, the French government unveiled yesterday a raft of measures to create an "anti-jihadist" plan.

The plan of action presented by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve aims to "dissuade, prevent and punish" the radicalisation of troubled French youths.

The government estimates that around 300 French nationals or residents are currently enlisted with jihadist groups in Syria, with a further 130 en route to the country and another 130 having already returned.

Twenty-five French people have died in the conflict.

The movement, which has swept along teens as young as 14 – some of whom are recent converts to Islam – has accelerated in recent months, according to the interior ministry.

Didier Francois, one of the four French journalists who were released from captivity in Syria at the weekend after being held for 10 months by a jihadist group, said some of his captors spoke French.

France is particularly fearful of the threat such people pose to national security upon their return. » | DPA/Paris | Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hijab Couture

THE ECONOMIST: Designers are profiting from Muslim women’s desire to look good

FEW sartorial choices are scrutinised as closely as those of Muslim women. Their clothing is regulated both in countries where Islam is a minority religion, and in those where it is professed by the majority. France bans face coverings, thus outlawing the niqab, which leaves just a slit for the eyes. In Iran, a theocracy, and Saudi Arabia, a monarchy reliant on clerical support, women must wear a hijab (head covering) and abaya (long cloak) respectively. Only last year did Turkey partially ease a ban, dating from Ataturk’s founding of the modern secular state, on female civil servants wearing headscarves.

Most Muslim women want to dress modestly in public, as Islam prescribes. But increasing numbers want to be fashionable, too. That is partly because of the relative youth and rising prosperity of the Islamic world. A growing sense of religious identity also boosts Islamic style. The Islamic revival of the 1970s, and then a shared sense of persecution in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, led many Muslim women to wear their hearts on their sleeves, says Reina Lewis, an academic at the London College of Fashion and editor of “Modest Fashion: Styling Bodies, Mediating Faith”. Many say that Islamic dress is better suited than their country’s traditional garb to modern life. “The hijab helps women be treated for their minds, not their looks,” says Aziza Al-Yousef, a Saudi professor. » | Saturday, April 26, 2014 | Cairo, Jeddah and Riyadh | From the print edition

Close Adviser to Geert Wilders Resigns from Freedom Party

Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders speaks during an
interview in The Hague on April 17th.
IRISH TIMES: Series of resignations follows row over anti-Moroccan chanting at rally

One month from the European elections, Dutch right-wing leader Geert Wilders suffered another major setback yesterday when one of his closest advisers resigned – suggesting as he left that a row over anti-Moroccan chanting had left his party marginalised.

The Freedom Party has lost its dominant position in the polls and there have been a series of resignations, including the loss of two MPs, since Mr Wilders led the chanting at a rally last month – the first time he’d focused on a particular nationality rather than on “Muslims”.

National outrage, even among his own more conservative supporters, has prompted suggestions that the chanting was a huge political gaffe – which could effectively put paid to plans for a pan-European right-wing Euro-election alliance with Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France. » | Peter Cluskey | Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Benjamin Netanyahu Interview: In Full

BBC: The BBC's Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen's interview with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in full. (+ BBC video) » | Jeremy Bowen | Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Persecution of Tony Blair

THE ECONOMIST: Hating the warmongering former prime minister has become a dismal national sport

ONE of the most hated men in Britain gave a speech on April 23rd that was fated to remind Britons why they so hate him. Listening to Tony Blair talk on “Engaging the Middle East”, at a plush City venue, your columnist could almost sense the gathering invective. The former prime minister’s familiar yet still odd mannerisms— the glottalised accent, designed to erase any trace of his privileged roots, the paddle-wheeling hand movements—seemed almost to invite it, so thoroughly is he reviled. But the main problem was the speech itself, in which Mr Blair showed amazingly little appreciation of this.

The big problem in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere is militant Islam, he suggested, as if this was previously unremarked upon; and the world needs to do something about that, he said, as if it had not tried. Yet Mr Blair, in this self-promoted “keynote speech”, delivered to a small audience of investors and journalists, suggested no new cure for the blight other than “an international programme to eradicate religious intolerance”. That at least sounded better than reinvading those troubled countries; but surely the United Nations is doing something of the sort already?

If Mr Blair appears obsessed with the great scab on his record, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is no wonder. But he will do himself no good by scratching it. He has little credibility, and will probably never have more, on intervention, the Middle East or Islam. He is busted on such issues—and not only with the pacifists who periodically “arrest” him in return for a crowd-funded bounty from, which now stands at £7,414 ($12,438).

The armed forces, stricken by the overstretch and consequent cuts wrought by Mr Blair’s adventurism, also resent him; the Foreign Office distrusts him. Even his own Labour Party, filled with self-loathing over the wars it was persuaded to agree to, considers its former leader an embarrassment. “What he needs to understand,” says a senior Labour figure, “is that people do not want to hear from him.” » | From the print edition | Bagehot | Saturday, April 26, 2014