Clan troubles in Pakistan: Two young boys dead, killer not yet arrested

A joint investigation team of Abbottabad and Murree police is yet to apprehend a man accused of murdering two of his nephews and severely injuring another.

According to the Abbottabad police, Nadeem, a resident of Lora village in Havelian, took his nephews to Murree for a picnic on April 13 and later killed them, dumping their bodies in a forest in the limits of Trait police station in Murree. Eight-year-old Mehr Ali and four-year-old Qadir Ali were found dead on Monday after their injured six-year-old brother Zain Ali managed to survive and find help. Zain is undergoing treatment at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad.

The throats of all three minors were slit with a dagger, a police official said, adding a criminal case was registered against Nadeem in Murree.

According to the deceased boys’ father, Ziaur Rehman, a resident of Chita Pul Malikpura, the accused was his wife’s first cousin and might have killed his sons to settle a score with his wife who was opposed to Nadeem’s proposal for marriage to her younger sister.

The accused had allegedly been pressing Zia’s wife for the marriage, but other family members had rejected the proposal...


If talks fail, Abbas said to be weighing dissolution of Oslo, PA

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly threatened to dissolve the PA and disband Palestinian security forces operating in the West Bank if peace negotiations with Israel fail, a move which would create huge security and diplomatic problems for Israel.

According to Palestinian sources cited by Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday, Abbas and top PA officials are considering the drastic move, which would involve cancelling the 1993 Oslo Accords and announcing that the Palestinian Authority is a “government under occupation” without full sovereignty, which would technically move full responsibility for the Palestinians, in the West Bank at least, to Israel.

The threat, which has reportedly been passed on to Israel, would also disband and abolish PA security forces operating in the West Bank, theoretically opening the way for expanded Palestinian unrest against Israeli forces. The move could also prompt a surge in international legal and diplomatic action against Israel...


Thoreau’s ‘Walden’: Phony testament of the Greens

Henry David Thoreau was one of the most successful literary scam artists in American history. Walden was a masterpiece of fraud.

This book has been inflicted on helpless English majors ever since the 1930's. It is anti-capitalist and pro-green. It has been the supreme literary testament of the greens.

It was fake from day one.

Henry David Thoreau was a practicing capitalist. His family owned a pencil-making business. He worked for it for most of his adult life. He was an American version of Frederick Engels, who converted Karl Marx to socialism in 1843. He bankrolled Marx for the rest of Marx's life. Engels had the money to do this. He ran the family's textile mill until he retired a wealthy man...


Christians in Turkey mark Easter with masses

Patriarch Bartholomew performs a mass for Easter at Saint George Church in Istanbul

Christians celebrated Easter with church masses in several cities across Turkey on April 20.

The Greek Orthodox community gathered for a mass at the Fener Orthodox Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul’s Balat neighborhood, performed by Patriarch Bartholomew in the Saint George Church. The mass was attended by locals as well as visitors from Greece and other parts of Europe.

Easter masses were also performed in cities with small Christian populations, such as in the southern provinces of Hatay and Mersin.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated the Christian community of Turkey on the occasion of Easter...


Inexperienced 25-year-old third mate was steering South Korean ferry at time of disaster

Lee Joon-Seok (centre), captain of the South Korean ferry capsized at sea off Jindo, and two of his crew. The 25-year-old third mate steering the ferry at the time of a major accident was navigating those waters for the first time, a prosecutor said

A prosecutor says that the third mate steering a South Korean ferry at the time of a major accident was navigating those waters for the first time.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin told reporters that the 25-year-old mate was steering the ship as it passed through an area with lots of islands clustered close together and fast currents.

The ferry sank Wednesday. The number of those confirmed has risen to 56 dead with 246 still listed as missing. Many of the dead are schoolchildren who were on a school trip...


Source: Ukraine synagogue firebombed

Synagogue in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev, Ukraine. Not sure if it the same one

The main synagogue in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev reportedly was firebombed.

The synagogue was empty of worshippers when it was firebombed early Saturday morning, according to the Chabad-affiliated website.

Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the door and window, the report said, citing Yisroel Gotlieb, son of the city’s chief rabbi, Sholom Gotlieb.

A passer-by put out the fires with a fire extinguisher, according to the report...

CCTV cameras caught it.

h/t Elila Shadowheart


Beverly Hills Hotel boycott over Sultan of Brunei's plan to stone gays

The Beverly Hills Hotel is owned by the Dorchester Group, which is controlled by the Sultan of Brunei

An LGBT advocacy group has moved the location of a conference it is planning to hold later this year from the Beverly Hills Hotel to a different location in protest of anti-gay policies being adopted by the Sultan of Brunei - the owner of the hotel - that calls for homosexuals to be stoned to death.

The Gill Action Fund, which was founded by activist Tim Gill, was scheduled to host its 'Winning the Heartland' conference for political donors at the Hotel from May 1-4.

However, because of the draconian laws regarding 'sexual crimes' Brunei is set to adopt later this month, the group has canceled its conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel and is looking for a new location...

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This time, I must agree with the LGBT group!


Anglican leader highlights suffering of Pakistani Christians in Easter sermon

Christians attend Easter vigil mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore on April 20, 2014

LONDON: Justin Welby, the leader of the world’s Anglicans, was to praise the resilience of persecuted Christian minorities around the world in his Easter sermon on Sunday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was also to highlight the suffering of people in Syria, Ukraine, Rwanda and Pakistan.

Welby’s Easter address at Canterbury Cathedral in southeast England will be his second since becoming the spiritual leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans last year...

See also “How Easter is celebrated across Pakistan”


Deutsche Welle: Pilgrims crowd streets of Jerusalem as Passover and Easter coincide

From the rooftop of the Austrian Hospice the muezzin's cry breaks the hubbub of the Christian pilgrims below at the intersection of Via Dolorosa as prayers come to a momentary standstill.

All day, pilgrims have been carting wooden crosses along the Via Dolorosa, following the footsteps Jesus took nearly 2,000 years ago. They stop along the way at 14 stations of the cross for prayer and recitation of the liturgy.

Christians descended on Jerusalem's Old City in the same way they have every year, but this year, Easter and the Jewish Passover coincide so the religious happenings merge within the city. Growing tensions in and around al-Aqsa mosque this year are also part of the dynamic in the Old City, the site that has always been holy to Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

On Good Friday Israeli police cordoned off parts of the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the “Way of Suffering,” as the procession of Christian pilgrims traveled toward the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Pilgrims packed behind cordons as Israeli border police gradually allowed them to trickle through on their way to the church. They were then herded around the holiest places within the church.
The Old City has always been an assault on the senses, but during Easter processions the three religions became gridlocked as they tried to move amongst one another.

The narrow streets surrounding Via Dolorosa are lined with shops selling spices, underwear, imported incense, painted pottery, kitchenware, crosses and religious memorabilia, head scarves and keffiyeh, pro-Israel T-shirts and others calling to “free Palestine.”

The streets became alive as nuns, priests, ultra-Orthodox Jews and devout Muslims, non-religious tourists, pilgrims, residents and armed Israeli border police were all woven together.
On Monday police arrested five Jews suspected of intending to sacrifice a goat at the al-Aqsa mosque complex - an attempt to re-enact an ancient Passover ritual. The Jews managed to smuggle the goat through strict bag inspections on entry.

Tensions at the complex remained high during the week. Thirty Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli police on Wednesday when the compound was opened to Jewish visitors.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said Palestinians threw rocks and firecrackers and police and police responded with stun grenades and close the complex to Jewish visitors.

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated bullets and stun grenade canisters. Many remained inside al-Aqsa mosque out of fear of being arrested when they tried to leave.

Jewish fringe groups have vowed to build a third temple on the site Jewish people call Temple Mount.

A Palestinian shop owner in the Old City, Basem Hallak, told DW that Muslims had been forced to pray in the street within the Old City.

“Tensions have been high and many Muslims have had to find alternative places to worship to avoid trouble,” he said.

On Good Friday Palestinians lined the streets of Khan az-Zait and al Wad streets, laying out prayer mats as it became difficult during Christian processions to get access into the mosque as Israeli border police blocked some access.

Member of the PLO's executive committee for Jerusalem affairs Ahmed Qurei condemned the police attacks saying it constituted "aggressive racism."

“The persistence of the Israeli occupation authorities is a continued attempt at Judaization of al-Aqsa mosque,” he said.

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DW fails to note that Orthodox and Western Easter are on the same day this year, greatly increasing the crowds.   Also note that the Temple Mount has no special significance for Christians.

The modern young people of Europe--who wrote this article--must know next to nothing about Christianity.

As usual, it is Muslims being obnoxious that is causing most of the problems.


Police, Arab rioters skirmish on Temple Mount

Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters on the Temple Mount after Friday prayers on Feb. 22

Israeli police clashed with dozens of Arab stone throwers on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount as thousands of Christian worshipers descended on the Old City for Easter Sunday.

At least 16 rock-throwers were arrested, the Israel Police said, and two Border Police officers were lightly injured during the incident, which came after Israeli authorities opened the site, holy to both Judaism and Islam, to tourists. According to Palestinian media, police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque and injured several Palestinians.

The police later decided to close the site to visitors and restrict Muslim prayer to Israeli ID holders over the age of 50.

Riots on the Temple Mount are not uncommon, and often accompany political tension or visits by Israeli right-wing activists.

Sunday’s renewed violence accompanied the rare coincidence of both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Easter, which has drawn thousands of Christian faithful to Jerusalem’s Old City. The police dispatched large numbers of officers across the historic area of Jerusalem to help maintain security...


Rare historical photos

Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife on the day they were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, 28 June 1914

Soldiers raising the Soviet flag over the Reichstag, Berlin 1945.

More here.

h/t *✿*Blueburb*✿*


NYT editorial upset by off-shoring of jobs, lumps Canada in with Mexico on NAFTA

Many Americans have watched their neighbors lose good-paying jobs as their employers sent their livelihoods to China. Over the last 20 years, the United States has lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs. In that same time, however, the prices that Americans pay for basic goods like T-shirts and televisions have fallen. The cost of clothing is down 8.2% since 1993, as “made in China” and “made in Bangladesh” labels have crowded out “made in U.S.A.” on the shelves of the local mall.

There is a national ambivalence about our trade of goods and services with the rest of the world, which has more than doubled in the last two decades. Americans want the benefits of trade — and they are potentially big and quite real, including opening up new markets to American cars and software — but they’re increasingly anxious about the downside, which includes closed factories and lower wages. The country needs to pursue new trade agreements, but this time we need to get the agreements right.

This page has long argued that removing barriers to trade benefits the economy and consumers, and some of those gains can be used to help the minority of people who lose their jobs because of increased imports. But those gains have not been as widespread as we hoped, and they have not been adequate to assist those who were harmed. As the Obama administration negotiates two big trade agreements — one with 11 countries along the Pacific Ocean and the other with the European Union — it is appropriate to take stock of what we have learned in the 20 years since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and use that knowledge to design better agreements.

To gain the support of a divided Congress and public, the administration must ensure that new agreements are much stronger than NAFTA and other pacts. President Obama, who criticized the agreement with Canada and Mexico as a candidate in 2008, promised that his negotiations would avoid a race to lower costs and standards by requiring that countries adhere to common regulations in areas like labor rights, environmental protection and patents. Living up to that promise should be one of his highest priorities.

If done right, these agreements could improve the ground rules of global trade, as even critics of NAFTA like Representative Sander Levin, Democrat of Michigan, have argued. They could reduce abuses like sweatshop labor, currency manipulation and the senseless destruction of forests. They could weaken protectionism against American goods and services in countries like Japan, which have sheltered such industries as agriculture and automobiles.

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Easter Sunday in Bangladesh

Members of the Christian community join Easter Sunday Service in front of the Parliament Building on Sunday morning.

More pictures here.


Iran slams U.S. justice verdict on Manhattan skyscraper

The 36-story building largely owned by the Iranian Alavi Foundation

(Reuters) - Iran on Saturday criticized a U.S. government move to seize a Manhattan skyscraper owned largely by a foundation that promotes its language and Islamic culture, saying this violated the right to religious freedom in the United States.

According to a court document filed in New York on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to distribute proceeds from the sale of the Fifth Avenue high-rise to families affected by alleged Iranian-aided attacks, including the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.

The settlement marks the latest turn in a long-running battle over the 36-storey building owned chiefly by Alavi Foundation, a non-profit Persian and Islamic cultural center.

Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said the decision "lacks legal justification and negates America's commitment to protecting its citizens' religious freedom."

"Confiscation of the properties of an independent charity organization raises doubt about the credibility of U.S. justice," she was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency...


Can you spot the racist, homophobic anti-Semites in this special 10 item quiz?

As we all know, racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism are very bad and should be condemned. Not only do I condemn all of those things, I'd encourage you to share this quiz to all of your liberal friends so they can wag their fingers right in the faces of the awful people who said all of these terrible things.

1) Who said, “We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”

A) Rush Limbaugh

B) Mark Levin

C) Laura Ingraham

D) Al Sharpton

See here for the rest of the quiz and the answers.


Failed migrant's journey to Europe echoes in Africa

A man in Mogadishu looks out at the Indian Ocean from the Somali coastline. Human smugglers are increasingly preying on young Africans

MOGADISHU, Somalia— Mustaf Hussein Abukar wanted a better life for his younger brother, in Europe. Instead, he got an encounter with a human-smuggling racket that nearly bankrupted his family, a common story in this East African nation and across the continent.

Two years ago, Mustaf Abukar sold his father's farm to help pay his brother's smugglers in the hope his sibling might prosper in Europe. But German security forces caught the brother, Hashim, trying to sneak into the country, and he has been stuck in immigration limbo for the past year.

Now without land or savings, Mustaf says he is near destitution. He thinks about what Hashim could have done with the money they spent, such as starting a business in Mogadishu to sell mobile phone credit.

"I regret it," Mustaf Abukar said. "Really, it was a big mistake."

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British rebel fighter offers insight into life in Syria with a jihad version of MTV's Cribs

Like a surreal version of the hit MTV series 'Cribs', a British citizen who fights with the rebels in Syria has released a video tour of the home he shares with fellow fighters in the war-torn country.


Beware Wynne selling our stuff

Governments are often as bad at selling things as they are at keeping them.

That’s why skepticism is called for regarding Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement the Liberals are appointing an expert panel to consider privatizing or reducing the government’s stake in Crown assets such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Hydro One.


Happy Easter!

Pip is not impressed.


No ID, no checks... and vouchers for sob stories: The truth behind those shock food bank claims

The revelations undermine the Trussell Trust's claims last week about how many people are using food banks

Volunteers for a charity that blames welfare cuts for the soaring use of its food banks have admitted that fraudsters routinely ‘take advantage’ of the handouts.

The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest provider of food banks – which highlighted a ‘shocking’ rise in demand for emergency food packages last week – last night pledged to investigate after volunteers were filmed admitting that people could take free food without checks, and that many visitors were asylum-seekers.

One worker at a bank run by the trust said that people regularly ‘bounce around’ locations to receive more vouchers than they are entitled to.

A Mail on Sunday investigation has also found inadequate checks on who claims the vouchers, after a reporter obtained three days’ worth of food simply by telling staff at a Citizen’s Advice Bureau – without any proof – that he was unemployed...


For a minute I thought it was an Ernst Zundel Look-A-Like Contest but it was only our Mangy local Anti-Zionists

The Zionists Are Taking Over Our Government!

That Jack-ass is Elias Hazineh, recently cleared of hate-crime charges stemming from his antics at last year's annual Queen's Park Jew-Bait-A-Thon AKA al Quds Day.

Boy am I glad I had to work when this went down. Check out the pathetic crowd.

Speaking of hate...Zafar Bangash will be hosting a 25th Anniversary Bash Celebrating The Death Of Khomeini

I can get behind that. I'm glad he's dead.


UK: Charities chief goes to war on Islamists

Islamist militia in Somalia: charities working there need to be ‘particularly vigilant’

THE Charity Commission has warned that Islamist extremism is the “most deadly” problem it faces and is urging the government to introduce laws to prevent convicted terrorists from setting up charitable organisations.

In his first interview since becoming the watchdog’s chairman in October 2012, William Shawcross told The Sunday Times: “The problem of Islamist extremism and charities . . . is not the most widespread problem we face in terms of abuse of charities, but is potentially the most deadly. And it is, alas, growing.”

He said the commission was taking tough measures against any charity that was “sending cash to extremist groups in Syria” or “dispatching young Britons for training in Syria by al-Qaeda or other extremist groups”.

“I’m sure that in places like Syria and Somalia and other [such] places, it’s very, very difficult for agencies always to know what the end use of their aid is. But they’ve got to be particularly vigilant.”

The regulator is investigating three charities raising funds for Syria and monitoring seven others.

Shawcross also attacked a “ludicrous” loophole in the charity commission’s law, which means that those convicted of terrorism or money-laundering offences are not automatically disqualified from setting up charities or becoming trustees.

Last month, he wrote to the prime minister requesting laws to strengthen the regulator’s powers. “It is ludicrous that people with convictions for terrorist offences are not automatically disqualified from serving as charity trustees,” he said.


Fear in Nigeria as Islamists abduct schoolchildren

Boko Haram, led by Abubakar Shekau, has frequently targeted schools

WHEN the schoolgirls first saw the heavily armed gunmen appear outside their dormitory in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, they assumed they were soldiers.

Disguised in military uniforms, the insurgents told the boarding school’s headmistress that Islamic militants from the dreaded Boko Haram were about to attack and they needed to leave immediately.

Terrified, 129 female pupils, aged 15 to 18, climbed into pick-up trucks. By the time the girls realised they had been tricked it was too late — they were already being driven towards caves that hide a Boko Haram base deep inside a forest.

Under the leadership of Abubaker Shekau, the group, whose name means “western education is a sin” in the local Hausa dialect, has spread fear across the region, forcing dozens of schools to close.

“We were crying,” said Godiya Isaiah, 18, who jumped from one of the trucks before fleeing into the bush. Others escaped by clinging to low hanging branches.

Most of the girls were not so lucky. About 85 were still being held yesterday.

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Internet use may cut retirees’ depression

Spending time online has the potential to ward off depression among retirees, particularly among those who live alone, according to research published online in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. In the article "Internet Use and Depression Among Retired Older Adults in the United States: A Longitudinal Analysis," the authors report that Internet use reduced the probability of a depressed state by 33% among their study sample.

Late-life depression affects between 5 and 10 million Americans age 50 and older. This new study shows that the Internet offers older Americans a chance to overcome the social and spatial boundaries that are believed to fuel depression...


Fears in Cameroon of Boko Haram recruitment

Boko Haram is suspected to be recruiting fighters in Cameroon’s Far North Region

MAROUA, 16 April 2014 (IRIN) - Nigeria’s extremist Islamist group Boko Haram are believed to be actively recruiting fighters across the border in Cameroon’s Far North Region, according to residents and local government officials.

More than 100 suspected Boko Haram fighters and preachers (the latter presumed to have links with the group), have been arrested in Far North Region since 2012, but many have been released due to lack of evidence, according to a local security official.

Cameroon is shaded yellow

“There are many Muslim brothers coming from Nigeria with the aim of preaching to the youths. The government has warned against this practice, but they still reach out to the young people because they make them promises and give them money,” said Ibrahim Haman, an Islamic preacher and elder in Mora District in the Far North.

Residents of Mayo-Sava area in Far North Region say that unidentified preachers are secretly reaching out to youths in their locality. Haman pointed out that some youths have managed to escape the sect after being recruited, but many others have not returned.

“Boko Haram is considered here as just another religious group, and it is not difficult to be a member if you want to. Young people from here have been induced into joining Boko Haram,” he said...


UK ‘loses control’ of immigration

What a difference half a century makes. In 1964, when the Sixties started swinging, the net immigration figure for the UK was “minus 50,000” as the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962 started to restrict numbers of entrants.

Now, net migration for 2013 is put at “plus 212,000” — and that is despite the closing of what was called the post-study work route of Tier 1 of the Points Based System for entrants. Indeed, a figure of around plus 200,000 seems to have become the norm. No wonder then that, as Chris Magrath of the specialist immigration firm Magrath LLP points out, immigration is now the most potent of election issues. Moreover, immigration lawyers are mostly of like mind — the UK’s immigration system is “a big mess”.

The fact that hard-nosed professionals — not sensational pundits or ideological politicians — collectively agree on this is highly significant.

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Muslims being starved out of Central African Republic

In normal times, the rickety wooden bridges at each end of the red-dirt main street in Boda were gateways to shops and a bustling market in the diamond-mining town in Central African Republic.

Today, they mark the fine line between life and death for hundreds of Muslims living under siege, encircled by Christian 'anti-balaka' militia fighters bent on chasing out the country's Muslim population.

"We live in a prison," said Adou Kone, a tailor. "Everything is blocked, nothing comes in. It's very expensive to buy food ... Our life is at a critical stage."
"We can wait for 10 years for them to leave - and if they don't leave, we will still be there, holding our positions," said Captain Dopani Firmin, the 'anti-balaka' chief in Boda, wearing a red Paris St Germain football shirt.

"We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term," Firmin said. "It's our right to kill Muslims..."


US: Sheriffs limit detention of immigrants

Dan Staton, the sheriff in Multnomah County, Ore., is among those who are resisting federal immigration detention requests

Sheriffs in nine Oregon counties announced this week that they would no longer hold people in jail based on requests from federal immigration authorities after a United States magistrate judge in Portland ruled that an immigrant’s rights had been violated when she was held in a county jail on such a request.

In response to the judge’s decision last week, the nine sheriffs, including those in the counties where Portland and Salem are located, said they would no longer comply with documents, known as detainers, issued by the federal immigration enforcement agency.

Sheriff Gary Bettencourt of Gilliam County, the president of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, said Friday that he expected more counties would make similar policy changes in the coming days.

“We will no longer violate anybody’s constitutional rights, I can guarantee that,” Sheriff Bettencourt said.

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The Drudge 'Grandma Hillary' report outraged Clinton fans

As a testament to Hillary Clinton's enduring popularity, it didn't take long for some of her supporters to rally in outrage against Thursday's Drudge Report banner headline, "Grandma Hillary." The Drudge Report recent image and headline of Hillary was interpreted as sexist and ageist, an overt effort to focus on Hillary's age as a vulnerability.

To his credit as a Hillary defender, as quick as New York Daily News opinion editor, reporter Josh Greenman could capture the Drudge Report banner and add a bit of text and some red arrows, he tweeted, "Drudge interpretation," his take on the message the Drudge Report was sending on Twitter. Greenman's added text read, "She's old! She's old!"


Religious music brings benefit to seniors' mental health

A new article published online in The Gerontologist reports that among older Christians, listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increases in life satisfaction, self-esteem, and sense of control over their lives. In particular, listening to gospel music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and an increase in sense of control.

These associations are similar for blacks and whites, women and men, and individuals of both low- and high-socioeconomic status.

The article, titled "Listening to Religious Music and Mental Health in Later Life," was authored by Matt Bradshaw, PhD, of Baylor University; Christopher G. Ellison, PhD, of the University of Texas-San Antonio; Qijan Fang, MA, of Bowling Green State University; and Collin Mueller, MA, of Duke University.

"Religion is an important socioemotional resource that has been linked with desirable mental health outcomes among older U.S. adults," the authors stated. "This study shows that listening to religious music may promote psychological well-being in later life..."


Evening photo: Switzerland

Zermatt, Switzerland. Picture: Pierre Hanquin, from Flickr.


Italian politician parodies Primo Levi Holocaust poem to rip gov’t

Beppe Grillo

Beppe Grillo, an Italian comic-turned-politician, refused to apologize for his parody of a Primo Levi poem about the Holocaust to criticize Italy’s government and political system.

Italian-Jewish leader Renzo Gattegna called the parody on Grillo’s blog an “obscenity.”

Grillo, who heads the anti-establishment Five Stars movement, paraphrased “If This Is a Man,” which served as the introduction to Levi’s memoir about his experiences in Auschwitz.

The parody, called “If This Is a Country,” lambasted the Italian media, President Giorgio Napolitano, the Italian government and disgraced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi...

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Grillo may be “anti-establishment,” but he is a Khomeini-admiring anti-Semite married to an Iranian woman.  If this is all Italy can come up with as an opposition to the established parties, the place is going Islamic for sure.

There are anti-immigrant parties in Italy, but I believe they are restricted to the north.


Police raid the home of a Muslim man who praised his brother for fighting 'holy war'

Mustakim Jaman was on Newsnight in December to talk about his older sibling Ifthekar – who boasted of fighting a “five-star jihad”.

Now he has been targeted by police amid fears he too may go to the Middle East.

The Jaman family home was searched as part of an operation to stop young Muslims joining the Syrian conflict.


More Muslim Immigration Please: Four Bradford Muslims face charges of sexual offences and trafficking of 13 year old girl

Five men, including four from Bradford, will appear at Sheffield Crown Court later this month to face charges of sexual offences and trafficking against a 13-year-old girl.

Shakeal Rehmen, 26, of Haworth Road, Bradford, has been charged with rape and trafficking the girl, who cannot be identified.

Mohammed Shapal, 21, also of Haworth Road, and Yaseen Amini, 36, of Broadway, Bradford, have been charged with sexual activity with a child and trafficking.

Usman Ali, 20, of St Mary’s Road, Manningham, has been charged with sexual activity with a child.

Wise up Mr. Government, this isn't considered criminal or even immoral behavior under Islam's deviant ideology.


Today's Multicultural Moment: Private school chief linked to Islam Trojan Horse plot says: Stone all adulterers to death

A Muslim hardliner who says adulterers should be stoned to death and that gay men and fornicators should be lashed 100 times has set up an Islamic school that has received almost £1million of taxpayers’ money.

Ibrahim Hewitt, one of Britain’s most prominent Islamic firebrands – who also heads a charity branded a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the US – is the founder and chairman of trustees of the Al-Aqsa school in Leicester, which teaches 250 boys and girls aged between three and 11.

He has vilified homosexuals as paedophiles and said a man can take on a second wife if his first fails to satisfy him sexually. Mr Hewitt has published his views in a book on Islam, which he claims has sold more than 50,000 copies in Britain.

h/t Del


Justin Trudeau's selfie life

Flaherty’s widow walked into the church. Followed by a very somber-looking Stephen and Laureen Harper. Then came Justin Trudeau. But as he was walking into the church, he stopped for a moment – this was all on TV – and he ran over to a fan on the street, to take a “selfie.” That’s a photo of him and his fan, on a cellphone.

Seriously. He did that. And then he ran back into the church, followed by Thomas Mulcair and his wife.


Democrat almost meets timely end

Senator Richard Blumenthal Nearly Hit By Train At Press Conference

"Just as Milford Mayor Ben Blake started to say, "safety, as you know, is paramount," a train came whooshing by the platform, inches from the senator who had his back turned and was partly standing on the yellow line.

The press conference was called after Blumenthal slammed Metro-North Railroad for collecting $552,000 in fines over the past decade for safety violations and defects."

h/t RM


Black Lollipop man sacked after ‘racist’ King Kong jibe

Jon Seymour, fired

A long-serving lollipop man from a Camden primary school has been sacked by the council following allegations he racially abused a council employee.

Jon Seymour was dismissed by Camden Council last week for gross misconduct having served as a lollipop man at Carlton Primary School, in Grafton Road, Kentish Town, since 1994.

Mr Seymour had been suspended by the council since July after an altercation with a black member of staff whom he called “King Kong”.

Following the decision last Friday, Trinidad-born Mr Seymour told the Ham&High: “It was not racial. I said he was angry like King Kong. No one looks like King Kong. “I apologised to him and we shook hands after, but Camden wanted to take it further for some reason.”

Last week, the council held an internal disciplinary hearing, after which it was ruled that Mr Seymour was in breach of the council’s code of conduct for 

Louise McBride, chairman of the hearing, sacked Mr Seymour having considered the allegations of an altercation between the former lollipop man and a council officer at the Town Hall Extension, in King’s Cross, on July 17.

Mr Seymour was also accused of breaching the code of conduct for bringing his suspension to the attention of the press through a story published by the Ham&High last year.

* * *
So a black man can be fired for racism against another black man? The wonders of diversity. Earlier blog post on this case here.


Man Beats Son To Death, Set Free Under Sharia Law

ABU DHABI // A father who whipped his 12-year-old son to death has had his one-year jail sentence overturned by the court of cassation.

Emirati R M admitted repeatedly hitting his son with an electrical wire and a cane, claiming he only wanted to discipline him for poor school grades.


Iran rape victim bound for gallows unless she changes story

Rape victim Reyhaneh Jabbari has been sentenced to death in Iran

An Iranian rape victim has been offered the option of avoiding the gallows if she complies with terms for forgiveness set by the son of the predator she murdered.

Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, an Iranian intelligence agent, was killed by Reyhaneh Jabbari after she was lured to flat to undertake interior design work but sexually abused.

Jabbari pleaded self defence but was sentenced to hang for Sarbandi's death. The interior designer's lawyer has warned the sentence could be carried out within weeks.

Iran's Islamic based legal system gives the family of victims the right to grant clemency in capital punishment sentences but Sarbandi's son, Jalal has demanded that Jabbari must change her version of events if she hopes to live.

"Only when her true intentions are exposed and she tells the truth about her accomplice and what really went down will we be prepared to grant mercy," he said.

The son said Jabbari, 26, had conceded a man was present in the apartment where his father was stabbed to death "but she refuses to reveal his identity"...

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Strange story.  More to this than we are hearing, not that I am sympathetic to the Iranian regime or sharia.


Father of teenage fighter killed in Syria calls on UK to arm rebels

Abdullah Deghayes is believed to have died earlier this month

The father of a Muslim teenager from Brighton killed in a battle in Syria called on the government to arm Islamist rebels in the country to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Abubaker Deghayes, whose son Abdullah was killed in fighting in Homs city earlier this month, called for British intervention to provide military hardware to the Syrian opposition as it fights against state forces.

Abdullah, 18, had been offered a place at Brighton University but chose to join hundreds of other young British men travelling to Syria to join the pre-dominantly Islamist opposition attempting to overthrow the Damascus government.

“Nobody’s intervening to stop the massacres there, this made him think of [this] action,” Mr Deghayes, who fled Col Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya to bring up his family in Britain. “British government should, if they want to help, step up the effort to stop Bashar and stop his killing machine, which is making this whole problem.

“They are capable of doing that - arming the Syrians to fight Bashar, to get rid of him. I think this would help everybody.”

Abdullah’s brothers, Jafar, 16, and Amer, 20, also travelled to Syria, where one was also injured in the fighting.

Mr Deghayes is the brother of the former Guantanamo inmate Omar Deghayes who secured a £1 million payout from the government over its complicity with his incarceration at the facility...

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Much as I feel sorry for any parent who has lost a child, this guy can take a hike.  If three of his kids are fighting there, it sounds like the parents are as Islamist as all get out.  Your contemptible religion is killing your children and the people of Syria.


Confession: I like the damn movie. So there

Okay so it's Easter!

It's also a few days after the 102nd anniversary of the Titanic sinking.

I was going to do a thing; I was going to go photograph a grave or two here in Halifax and exhibit the photos for your general edification; but the truth is that the scene is very mundane. Just like any other graveyard. (And then there is the fact that mainly, of course, I'm lazy. Also, I have trouble uploading pics on this computer.) J. Dawson's tombstone is over a decade past the tourist rush and now neglected. The grave of the unidentified child is always - from what I've seen - very touchingly covered in kitsch and flowers.

Also, CNN is a joke. Ha ha!

So, anyway. Here's Thomas Hardy's truly great poem on the subject.

And here , God help us all, is Celine.

I know. I'm sorry.



Conference illuminates problem of Islamophobia in today’s society

For more than seven hours Thursday, students and community members gathered at the UC Berkeley School of Law to discuss the presence of Islamophobia in culture and society.

At the Fifth Annual International Conference on Islamophobia Studies, founded and directed by UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian, attendees listened to panelists describe issues ranging from the discrimination against Muslims to the representation of Muslim women in the media.

Islamophobia is described by Bazian as “an irrational belief and hostile attitude directed toward Islam and Muslims that problematizes them as a subject matter.”

The annual conference is one aspect of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, founded in response to the rise of Islamophobia in the United States and parts of Europe around the time President Barack Obama was elected, Bazian, who directs the project, said.

The project aims to establish the study of Islamophobia as an academic discipline by engaging scholars around the world with the conference. It also aims to expand the event to other countries, including France and Austria...

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Ever wonder why there are no phobias attached to other religions? Hinduphobia? Buddaphobia? Never heard of them.  Strange, isn’t it?  If it is disguised form of racism, you would think other religions would suffer the same problem.


No studies have been done to link gun legislation to declining firearms-related deaths, but you can draw your own conclusions. — Heidi Rathjen

I try to tune out the white noise that is generated by assorted gun prohibitionists as I have learned there is nothing to gain in engaging in futile quarrels with them.

Certainly, it bothers me when they spout their nonsensical assertions and point their fingers at hunters, sport shooters and collectors, spewing vitriol and denouncing them as the enemies of humankind.


Feminist Fallout: A Roll Call of Regrets

Most women would be happier at home raising a family, and many are just going through the motions by choosing careers. There. I said it. I didn’t say women can’t have careers and they’re not capable of anything more. I happen to think housewife is a pretty noble profession. However, if you don’t scream “Anything men can do women can do better” you’re a sexist pig. Modern feminism has become fascism and it’s making women miserable.


Turkey mulls leaving World Wide Web, minister says

Lütfi Elvan, Minister of Transport

Lütfi Elvan, Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication, has said Turkey may leave the World Wide Web (www) to establish its own “ttt” protocol amid the Turkish government's efforts to rein in global websites including Twitter and YouTube.

During an informal meeting with journalists in the Parliament on April 19, Elvan argued that not only Turkey, but also several European Union countries mull to establish “their own national Internet protocols.”

“Instead of www, a ttt system can be formed. Turkey and other countries can establish their own domains. Such a move would detach the Internet systems from each other. This is a controversial issue,” Elvan said.

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks, while the web is one of the services that runs on the Internet. The hostname of a web server is often www, but the use of www is not required by any technical or policy standard and many web sites do not use it...


Rock and Roll around the world, from the Pathe Archives

Pathe just uploaded 85,000 archival films to YouTube.

Hastings Rocks The Mods (1964)


UK: Islamist plot - six schools face Ofsted special measures

At least six Birmingham schools at the centre of an alleged Islamic takeover plot are set to be placed in “special measures” by Ofsted in a move that could see their entire leadership removed.

The six schools are implicated in the so-called “Trojan Horse” plot by extremists to “Islamise” secular state education in Birmingham which has allegedly seen the illegal segregation of pupils and discrimination against non-Muslim pupils.

Oh but it can't happen here! h/t Del


Deadly virus's spread raises alarms in mideast, now spread to Malaysia, Philippines

Saudi Arabia on Sunday confirmed a surge of cases of a deadly virus in the kingdom over the past two weeks, even as it tried to counter criticism that it wasn't doing enough to contain the outbreak.

The United Arab Emirates over the weekend separately announced six confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, among paramedics there, one of whom died of the illness. The high number of cases among medical workers raised questions about how effective Arab Gulf governments have been in controlling the 1½-year-old outbreak.

"I'm not pretty sure that they are actually seeing how big this thing is," a Saudi doctor said on Sunday at King Fahd General Hospital, the large public hospital in Jeddah that has been hardest hit by a spike in the city this month...

Filipino medical officers observe arrivals from United Arab Emirates as they pass through a thermal scanner.

Related: A deadly viral disease from the Middle East has claimed its first victims in Southeast Asia, killing a Malaysian man who returned from pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

The WHO confirmed a second case in the same region, a nurse in the Philippines who returned home from the Gulf.

The cases touch on some of the biggest worries among health experts since they discovered Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS.

Infectious diseases specialists have feared the disease could spread far afield via the millions of pilgrims who come to the Saudi holy city of Mecca each year for the Muslim pilgrimage.

From there, the concern was it would reach crowded Asian or African countries with little capacity to control any outbreak.

"The concern is that the Saudi health authority has not yet been able to curtail this epidemic, to close it down," said William Schaffner, an expert in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University...

Hospital worker in Jeddah (file photo)

Related: A foreign woman has died after she contracted MERS in Riyadh, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73. The 55-year-old woman, whose nationality was not disclosed, was suffering from chronic illnesses, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The ministry said five other people living in Riyadh were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, two of them foreigners. Late on Thursday, the ministry reported the death of a 70-year-old Saudi woman in Jeddah where the virus has spread in recent weeks...

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The first two links are from WSJ. If you unable to access them, you can read them here. The last link is from al-Arabiya, with no reader restrictions.  The 55-year-old woman is presumably the Filipino nurse referred to by WSJ.


In Damascus, Christians briefly ignore war for Easter

Debris lie inside a damaged church in Mar Bacchus Sarkis monastery, in Maaloula village, northeast of Damascus, after soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad took control of it from rebel fighters, April 14, 2014

(Reuters) - The sound of battles echoes from the outskirts of the capital as Christians in Damascus celebrated the Easter weekend, briefly ignoring the conflict for the yearly ritual.

At the gates of Saint George Syrian Orthodox Church - just a few minutes walk from a school where a mortar attack killed several children and injured dozens earlier this week - incense was burning as several uniformed and armed men stood patrol before Good Friday evening services. They joked with each other and did not check ID cards or handbags as people entered.

Inside the ancient city walls of the Old City where the church is located, the cobbled streets bustled with evening shoppers and diners, a rare sight reminiscent of pre-war Damascus.

However, a traditional procession that usually sees hundreds of worshippers follow an effigy of Jesus on the cross accompanied by drums and a church band was cancelled...


Hillary Clinton praises ‘incredibly brave’ 19-year-old college student who came out as undocumented immigrant for the first time at her event

Hiding no more: 19-year-old college student Nova Bajamonti came out Thursday as an undocumented immigrant at an event with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, moderated by actress America Ferrera

A 19-year-old college student announced for the first time Thursday that she was an undocumented immigrant while addressing Hillary Clinton at an event in New York City.

Nova Bajamonti was picked to ask the former Secretary of State a question at a 'No Ceilings' event at the Lower Eastside Girls Club on Thursday.

“For the first time publicly, I want to say that I am an undocumented immigrant,” Ms Bajamonti said before tearing up...


Pakistan: No money on pay day: Christian families plan to stay in on Easter Sunday

A baker in Saddar shows Easter eggs on sale for the upcoming holiday on Sunday. These holiday-themed desserts range between Rs10 and Rs160 (10¢ - $1.64 US)

As she prepared to fast on Thursday morning, all Rehana Masih could think about was how her children will not have new clothes to wear on Easter.

The night before her husband had given her some bad news. He had told her that unlike last year or the year before, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) would not be giving its 10,000 Christian employees a stipend.

“All around the globe, governments are helpful and facilitate its citizens in celebrating religious events and rituals,” she said. “In Pakistan, however, I feel helpless. I don’t know how to explain this to my children.” She added that although Easter is an important event in the Christian calendar, Rehana and her husband had decided to stay at home after Sunday Mass because they don’t feel like they can face their neighbours.

The president of the KMC’s Collective Bargaining Agent, Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, told The Express Tribune that their sanitation staff, nurses and paramedical staff had not received their salaries since March. The district South staff, he added, had not been paid for two months.

According to Shah, he had received some information about the March salary being given to grade 1 to 15 employees. “We are not hopeful as time has run out,” he said. “Tomorrow is Good Friday and Easter is on Sunday.” He added that they have decided to celebrate Easter sitting in front of Karachi Press Club with the 10,000 staff members who had not been paid...


Chelsea Clinton at event with Islamic Center director

Executive director of the Islamic Center at NYU Khalid Latif, executive producer Chelsea Clinton and executive director of the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU Rabbi Yehuda Sarna attend the “Of Many” after party during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former US President Bill Clinton, has just announced she is expecting her first baby.


Kittens Packed, Shipped to San Diego…by Accident


h/t PH


Meteorite over Murmansk


NYT op-ed slamming Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Freedom to offend everyone

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

LONDON — The defense of free speech often hides a multitude of sins. Since Brandeis University withdrew an honor it had intended to bestow on the author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, many have flocked to her defense in the name of free expression — no matter how offensive. But implicitly they are suggesting that Islam and Muslims are worthy targets of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s scorn. And their preciousness about the right to offend won’t be credible until they advocate extending it beyond Islamophobes — to racists, anti-Semites and homophobes, too.

Ms. Hirsi Ali is no casual critic of Islam; she has built a career and brand railing against what she calls “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.” She has even come perilously close to justifying the Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, whose killing spree, according to her, was a last recourse because he felt he had been “censored” by “advocates of silence” — a nebulous group that she insists promotes a dangerous mix of multiculturalism and tolerance of Islam.

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Remember the ‘vast right wing conspiracy’? Friday document dump from Clinton Library names names

“No one had yet heard of Matt Drudge,” Farah says. “No one knew about the ‘blue dress.’


Much as I would like to believe this...

I remain skeptical... Holy Fire in Jerusalem: Orthodox Christians celebrate annual miracle in Old City

h/t TON


The Swiss, Tougher Than We Know: Muslim Dad Told To Take A Hike

The Swiss have denied a Muslim Dad's request that his daughter be exempted from school trips due to Islam's forbidding of women to "travel unescorted"

I wonder how such requests are treated by the TDSB in Toronto?


NYT’s heart-warming tale: Muslims in New York City unite on push to add holidays to school calendar

Students at a forum held in March at Public School 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens, calling on New York City's public schools to recognize Muslim holidays

The meeting opened with a pledge from the podium to try to end, God willing, by the hour of the evening prayer. Clusters of colorfully veiled women kept watch over jittery young children. Rows of men conversed in a jangle of languages.

They were Muslims from Bosnia and Montenegro, Egypt and Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh — several hundred in all.

Fadilah Barco, 15, a Muslim student from the Bronx whose high school closed last year for a Muslim holiday. “It meant that they understood that our religion was important to us and that they cared about us,” she said

It was a gathering remarkable in its diversity from among New York City’s Muslims, a growing group whose members often find it difficult to work together politically because of differences in national origin, language, sect and class.

But a single issue has managed to unify them: the push to close the city’s public schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the most sacred Muslim holidays.

The issue might seem of modest importance alongside deeper concerns among many Muslims in the city, including the Police Department’s monitoring of their community since the Sept. 11 attacks. But the rally, held recently in a public school auditorium in Queens and organized in barely a week’s time, was a testament to how the city’s Muslim community is gaining a measure of political confidence.

Like all the major mayoral candidates in 2013, Bill de Blasio pledged to add the Muslim holidays to the school calendar. But since his election, he has declined to give specifics and has warned it will take time.

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