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calendar   Wednesday - February 15, 2006

Most Ridiculous Headline Of The Day

How can anyone use the words “mighty French warship” in a sentence and keep a straight face? That is a phrase that is way up there on the list of oxymorons, right next to “peaceful Muslim” and “honest Democrat”. All descriptions of things that do not exist, never did exist and never will exist. Sacre bleu, mon ami! Que pensaient-ils ? Nous nous rendrions plutôt que combattre!

imageimageMighty French Warship Ends Its Days
February 15, 2006, 6:20 AM EST
PARIS (AP)

When it first took to the seas nearly 50 years ago, the Clemenceau was the crown jewel of French naval prowess. Today, the decommissioned aircraft carrier is an albatross for France amid an uproar over the toxic waste the hulking ship carries. The saga underlines the trouble many countries face in getting rid of retired vessels. It has also become an embarrassment for the French Defense Ministry, which environmentalists criticize for not addressing the potential risks of sending the ship to India for dismantling.

The Clemenceau—now known as the Q 790—first set sail in 1957. Taken out of service in 1997, it is now in the Arabian Sea, having left the French Mediterranean port of Toulon on Dec. 31. Egypt kept the ship from crossing the Suez Canal for more than a week last month before officials there ruled it would not harm the environment. It’s expected to reach a shipbreaking yard in western India early next month, though the ship’s journey has been stalled as French and Indian courts seek to determine how much asbestos is on board and the risks to workers taking it apart.

French officials have said there are 45 tons of asbestos on the ship, but environmentalists put that number at up to 1,000 tons. Environmentalists insist the Clemenceau should have been cleaned up before leaving port and say France’s transfer of the vessel violates the Basel Convention, an international accord on trade in potentially hazardous waste. On Tuesday, President Jacques Chirac’s spokesman announced that the French leader was personally handling the Clemenceau issue, just days before leaving for a visit to India. The spokesman did not explain why Chirac was intervening, but it was a measure of France’s discomfort that he felt the need to get involved.

French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France had few options other than sending the ship to India. “There’s no solution for dismantling thousands of warships now rusting in certain places in the world, which is extremely harmful to the environment,” she said Tuesday on Europe-1 radio. “There are no dismantling yards in Europe; none in the United States.” Capt. Lawrence M. Jones, who runs the U.S. Navy’s Inactive Ships Program, corrected her in an Associated Press phone interview, saying his program uses three scrapping yards in the United States.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/15/2006 at 08:06 AM   
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calendar   Monday - February 06, 2006

Meanwhile In London …

Muslim protestors in Britain are running around dressed up as suicide bombers and carrying signs glorifying last summer’s tube bombings? Fortunately, the British government is having none of that. Probably because most British citizens are mad as hell about it and have been pressuring police to stop it. Why do I get the feeling that we’re looking at 1914 or 1939 all over again ... ?

imageimageNumber 10 Backs Protest Arrests
LONDON (BBC)

The behaviour of some Muslim protesters demonstrating in London over cartoons of Prophet Muhammad was “completely unacceptable” Downing Street has said. There have been calls for arrests after placards glorifying the 7 July bombings and calls for the enemies of Islam to be killed featured in Friday’s demo. A Number 10 statement said: “The police should have our full support in any actions they may wish to take.”

Scotland Yard has received more than 100 complaints about the protest. Earlier, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said that the police must bear down “very heavily” on those responsible. No protesters at the demonstration outside the Danish embassy - over the cartoons first printed in a Danish newspaper - were arrested on Friday, but specialist police officers were understood to have taken film and photographic evidence.

One protester, who dressed as a suicide bomber, has said he made “no apologies”. Speaking to the Daily Express newspaper, Omar Khayam, 22, from Bedford, said he wanted to highlight “double standards”. Mr Hain told the BBC it was worrying that demonstrators were “doing things and saying things that are completely unacceptable and intolerable”.

“The police need to bear down on them very heavily and trace down those who have committed offences and prosecute them where they can get the evidence,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “There’s freedom of speech on the one hand, that’s sacrosanct, but on the other hand incitement to terror, incitement to suicide bombing, all of those are clear infringements of the law.” Radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed told Today that in Islam, whoever insulted a prophet must be “punished and executed”.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/06/2006 at 07:02 AM   
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Memory Lapse

Amnesia International is at it again. They conveniently forget that the prisoners at Gitmo are not criminals - they are prisoners of war. They were captured on the battlefield. They are being pampered and treated better than any prisoner anywhere in the world.

So what’s the beef? Nothing, really. Some people just got to gripe. And Amnesia Intl. has that down to a science. It’s too bad the group seems to have been AWOL when Saddam Hussein was murdering thousands or when Castro was locking up dissidents or when ..... oh, never mind - they’ll always go after the soft targets, don’t they ... ?

Amnesty Intl. Calls for Closing Guantanamo Camp
February 5, 2006, 10:27 PM EST
LONDON (AP)

Amnesty International called Monday for closing the U.S. Guantanamo prison for terror suspects and the release of nine British residents the rights group says are held by U.S. authorities at the Cuban camp. Nine British citizens have been freed from the Cuban camp for terrorist suspects after pressure from the British government, but Amnesty said another nine with ties to Britain were still being held.

The British government has said it cannot represent people who are not British citizens. Kate Allen, director of Amnesty’s British wing, criticized the government’s reluctance to act on behalf of British residents. “These men have become forgotten prisoners,” she said. The prison on the U.S. Navy base in Cuba opened in January 2002 and now holds about 500 prisoners from some 40 countries, many captured during the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Many have been held for years without charge or trial.

“The U.S. authorities should immediately close down Guantanamo and either release prisoners or bring them before proper courts on the U.S. mainland,” Allen said. “After four years Guantanamo has become a byword for abuse and an indictment of the U.S. government’s failure to uphold human rights in the war on terror,” she said. Amnesty said Libyan-born Deghayes, 35, who was granted refugee status in Britain with his family in the 1980s, has been held at Guantanamo for more than three years. He has alleged he was abused by his captors.

Last year, he was identified as one of dozens of inmates holding a hunger strike to protest their detention. “I’m not looking for any special treatment for my brother. I just want his basic human rights to be respected,” said his sister, Amani Deghayes. “What disappoints me most is the unwillingness of the U.K. government to lift a finger for my brother.”


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/06/2006 at 06:39 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsEUro-peons •  
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calendar   Wednesday - February 01, 2006

Eur-Peon Spines?

Imagine that? Euro-Peon newspapers republishing cartoons poking fun at Mohammed to show they will not be cowed by MOOS-lim rioters and protestors. Is it possible that Jacques and Heinz have finally grown spines? Sacre bleu! Mein Gott! Will miracles never cease? In a related story, The Skipper is waiting with bated breath for ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and FOX to show the cartoons live on TV. They better hurry ‘cause The Skipper is waiting to exhale ....

imageimageNewspapers Republish Muhammad Caricatures
February 1, 2006 6:00pm GMT
PARIS (AP)

French and German newspapers on Wednesday republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that have riled the Muslim world, saying democratic freedoms include the “right to blasphemy.” The front page of the daily France Soir carried the headline “Yes, We Have the Right to Caricature God” along with a cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud. Inside, the paper reran the drawings.

“The appearance of the 12 drawings in the Danish press provoked emotions in the Muslim world because the representation of Allah and his prophet is forbidden. But because no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society, France Soir is publishing the incriminating caricatures,” the paper said. Germany’s Die Welt daily printed one of the drawings on its front page, arguing that a “right to blasphemy” was anchored in democratic freedoms. The Berliner Zeitung daily also printed two of the caricatures as part of its coverage of the controversy.

The Danish daily Jyllands-Posten originally published the cartoons in September after asking artists to depict Islam’s prophet to challenge what it perceived was self-censorship among artists dealing with Islamic issues. A Norwegian newspaper reprinted the images this month. The depictions include an image of Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse, and another portraying him holding a sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry.

Angered by the drawings, masked Palestinian gunmen briefly took over a European Union office in Gaza on Monday. Syria called for the offenders to be punished. Danish goods were swept from shelves in many countries, and Saudi Arabia and Libya recalled their ambassadors to Denmark. The Jyllands-Posten — which received a bomb threat over the drawings — has apologized for hurting Muslims’ feelings but not for publishing the cartoons. Its editor said Wednesday, however, that he would not have printed the drawings had he foreseen the consequences.

Carsten Juste also said the international furor amounted to a victory for opponents of free expression. “Those who have won are dictatorships in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia, where they cut criminals’ hands and give women no rights,” Juste told The Associated Press. “The dark dictatorships have won.” Demonstrations and condemnations across the Muslim world continued. The Supreme Council of Moroccan religious leaders denounced the drawings on Wednesday.

“Muslim beliefs cannot tolerate such an attack, however small it may be,” the statement said. In Turkey, dozens of protesters from a small Islamic party staged a demonstration in front of the Danish Embassy. About 200 riot police watched the crowd from the Felicity Party, which laid a black wreath and a book about Muhammad’s life at the gates of the embassy building. Despite the show of solidarity among Europe’s newspaper editors, not all Europeans appreciated the drawings.

Norway’s deputy state secretary for foreign affairs, Raymond Johansen, said they encourage distrust between people of different faiths. “I can understand that Muslims find the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the Norwegian weekly ... to be offensive. This is unfortunate and regrettable,” Johansen said on a visit to Beirut. There was also anger in France, which has Western Europe’s largest Muslim community with an estimated 5 million people.

Mohammed Bechari, president of the National Federation of the Muslims of France, said his group would start legal proceedings against France Soir because of “these pictures that have disturbed us, and that are still hurting the feelings of 1.2 billion Muslims.” French government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope struck a neutral tone, saying France is “a country that is attached to the principle of secularism, and this freedom clearly should be exercised in a spirit of tolerance and respect for the beliefs of everyone.”

France Soir, which is owned by an Egyptian magnate, has been struggling to stay afloat and bring in readers in recent years. French theologian Sohaib Bencheikh spoke out against the pictures in a column in France Soir accompanying them Wednesday. “One must find the borders between freedom of expression and freedom to protect the sacred,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, the West has lost its sense of the sacred.”

Memo To Sohaib: Actually, the West has a great sense of what is sacred. Most important above all is human life. Something the MOOS-lim religion doesn’t appear to think much of.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/01/2006 at 01:30 PM   
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calendar   Monday - January 30, 2006

Mixed Signals From Paleswine

Hamas has appealed to the European Union not to halt funding to the Palestinian Authority following the militant group’s election victory. At the same time masked gunmen on Monday briefly took over a European Union office in Gaza to protest a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons deemed insulting to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you, is there?


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/30/2006 at 07:15 AM   
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calendar   Friday - January 20, 2006

The End Times?

France is threatening to use nukes in retaliation for any terrorist attacks ...

BREST, France (AP) - President Jacques Chirac warned Thursday that France could respond with nuclear weapons to a state-sponsored terrorist attack, broadening the terms of his country’s deterrence in the face of emerging threats. The warning came as France worked with other Western nations to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear power. But officials and experts said Chirac’s comments were not aimed specifically at Tehran.

“Nuclear deterrence ... is not aimed at dissuading fanatic terrorists,” Chirac said in a speech delivered at the L’Ile-Longue nuclear submarine base in the western region of Brittany. “Leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, just like anyone who would envisage using, in one way or another, arms of mass destruction, must understand that they would expose themselves to a firm and fitting response from us,” he said. “This response could be conventional. It could also be of another nature.”

France’s nuclear arsenal is considered a purely deterrent force to protect the nation’s vital interests and is not intended for regular combat. But Chirac, who has the power to decide on deploying nuclear weapons, said there should be no doubt “about our will and our capacity to use nuclear arms” if the country’s vital interests are threatened. “In numerous countries, radical ideas are spreading, advocating a confrontation of civilizations,” he said, adding “odious attacks” could escalate to “other yet more serious forms involving states.”

The Hildabeast is spewing venom at President Bush for not taking Iran seriously and calls for sanctions against Iran...

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - Sen. Hillary Clinton called for United Nations sanctions against Iran and faulted the Bush administration for “downplaying” the threat Tehran’s nuclear program poses. In an address Wednesday evening at Princeton University, Clinton, D-N.Y., said it was a mistake for the U.S. to have Britain, France and Germany head up nuclear talks with Iran over the past 2 1/2 years. Last week, Iran resumed nuclear research in a move Tehran claims is for energy, not weapons.

“I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and chose to outsource the negotiations,” Clinton said. Earlier this week, a meeting in London produced no agreement among the U.S., France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China on whether to refer the dispute over Iranian nuclear enrichment to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

The Iranians listen to all this and decide to pull all of their money out of European banks ...

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Embroiled in a nuclear standoff with the West, Iran said on Friday it was moving its foreign assets to shield them from possible U.N. sanctions and flexed its oil muscles with a proposal to cut OPEC output. “Yes, Iran has started withdrawing money from European banks and transferring it to other banks abroad,” said a senior Iranian official, who asked not to be named.

Central Bank Governor Ebrahim Sheibani was quoted earlier as saying Tehran had started shifting funds, but he sidestepped a question on whether the assets would go to accounts in Asia. It is far from clear how placing assets in Asia or anywhere abroad would protect them from being frozen as few governments or major banks would be willing to flout U.N. sanctions openly.

The United States and the European Union want the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the Security Council at an emergency meeting on February 2. The council has the power to impose trade or diplomatic sanctions, though no swift action to punish Iran is likely. Russia and China, which both have major commercial interests at stake in the Islamic Republic, have urged caution.

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA in Vienna said hauling his country to the council would be difficult because of the views of Russia, China and some European and developing countries. “Sending Iran to the Security Council lacks a legal basis,” Aliasghar Soltaniyeh told the semi-official Fars news agency.

On top of all that, a whale sailed up the river Thames today and attacked London ...

LONDON, England (AP) - A whale swam up the River Thames past Parliament and Big Ben in central London on Friday, then beached itself. The whale was a Northern bottlenose, said Richard Sabian, a zoologist at the Natural History Museum in London, who went to the scene. “I can confirm reports that it is a whale,” he said, as television networks provided live coverage.

Sabian said such whales rarely swim in the nearby English Channel and this was the first sighting of one in the River Thames since the museum began recording them in 1913. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue group said it would help the whale if it became stranded. At one point the whale appeared to get stuck in shallow water in the River Thames, and officials wearing yellow jackets could be seen running up and down the shoreline at low tide trying to push it back into deeper water.

Witnesses, including people riding in boats and walking along the banks of the river, first spotted the whale near Parliament and said it appeared to be 20 feet long. “I saw it blow. It was a spout of water which sparkled in the air,” said Tom Howard-Vyne, a spokesman for London Eye, the large Ferris wheel on the banks of the river. “It was an amazing sight.”

Is this like ... Armageddon or what?


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/20/2006 at 09:11 AM   
Filed Under: • EUro-peonsHildabeastOdd-StrangeRoPMA •  
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calendar   Monday - January 16, 2006

Goober Galloway Goes Nuts

British liberal MP George Galloway is barking mad. As the old saying goes “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun”. My problem is I can’t figure out which category this doofus belongs in. Remember, this is the clown who made money off the oil for food program, buddyed up to Saddam Hussein and slams the US at every opportunity. What I’m afraid is happening here is that Liberals all over the world are slowly losing their minds. I expect to see Teddy Kennedy down on all fours eating Kibbles ‘n’ Bits off the floor any day ....

imageimageFrom Firebrand To Pussycat:
Galloway’s TV Transformation

(GUARDIAN-UK)

He purred and mewed, his greying whiskers giving his face the appearance of a Cheshire cat. Next, George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and scourge of Capitol Hill, got on all fours and pretended to lick milk from the cupped hands of the once-famous television actor Rula Lenska. She rubbed the “cream” from his “whiskers” and stroked his head and behind his ears.

When he steps out into the real world, Mr Galloway may regret his decision to accept the producer’s challenge to mimic a pet on live television last night. He may feel his flirtation with a reality TV youth audience was not worth the loss of credibility that many of his critics claimed yesterday was an inevitable consequence.

The firebrand parliamentarian earned the grudging respect of even his political enemies through his performance before the US Congress last year. But yesterday viewers only saw rolling footage of the cat performance. Commentators called it excruciating and his own supporters said it was an indignity.

As the cat scenes continued to play out, the Labour party moved into the absent MP’s constituency, in the form of Westminster chief whip Hilary Armstrong armed with a petition - as well as her own television cameras - demanding that the missing MP return to work. She urged Mr Galloway to “respect his constituents, not his ego”.

And as supporters argued that Channel 4 was censoring Mr Galloway’s political message, the Big Brother website was laden with innuendo after the cat incident, saying: “The task may be over, but George, it seems, just can’t keep his inner beast caged. George seemed to be feline frisky. First he starts a restless circling of the kitchen, looking every bit like a caged tiger marking his territory. Next he purrs something quietly in fellow feline Rula’s ear that makes her bottom jump and tighten excitedly. Sadly we don’t know what George said, but whatever it was got this reaction from our Polish thoroughbred: ‘Well I’m glad it can still do that for you.’ “

Those working for the MP said he had been prepared to suffer such indignities in the belief that his political message was getting across to millions of viewers. But, they claim, when he discovers his political message has been muted, he will be furious. Ron McKay, Mr Galloway’s spokesman and friend, said: “I would hope people will realise it’s just a bit of silliness and even MPs can indulge in that. I rather wish he hadn’t been given that particularly silly task.

- More on this feline funkiness here ...

- Here’s the video of the clown ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/16/2006 at 07:21 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsEUro-peons •  
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calendar   Friday - January 13, 2006

High Noon

The United Nations and the European Union, both international embaressments, have decided to get tough with Iran and today started rattling sabers butter knives at the Mad Mullahs. You can probably guess where this is heading. These asshats will totally screw things up, the US will have to spank Iran for getting uppity and then the UN/EU will howl in protest at the US. Same story, different day ....

UN: Iran Sanctions May Be Considered

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council may consider imposing sanctions on Iran if it fails to comply with demands over its nuclear program, but may look at other measures first, Britain said on Friday.

“I am not necessarily saying there will be a U.N. sanctions regime. That will be on the table,” Straw told BBC Radio after Britain, France and Germany called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog to discuss Iran’s resumption of research into nuclear fuel.

“There are prior stages here, and there are plenty of examples where the Security Council has made what are called Chapter Seven resolutions ... imposing obligations on a member state without the resort to sanctions. Obviously if Iran failed to comply, the Security Council would then consider sanctions,” Straw said.

- More on this story here ...

So, how do the Mad Mullahs respond? You guessed it! They told the UN to go pound sand ...

Iran Threatens to Block Nuke Inspections

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran threatened on Friday to block inspections of its nuclear sites if U.N. Security Council confronts it over its nuclear activities. Germany, Britain and France said Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran had reached a dead end after more than two years of acrimonious negotiations and the issue should be referred to the Security Council.

However, the Europeans held back from calling on the 15-nation council to impose sanctions and said they remained open to more talks. France said Friday that it favors a step-by-step approach with Iran over its nuclear program and that any sanctions request at this stage would be premature.

“We, like our partners, like the British and the Germans, consider that this co-request for sanctions is premature for the moment,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said.

Iran said that if it were confronted by the council, it would be obliged to stop cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. That would be, among other things, the end of random inspections, said Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

“In case Iran is referred to the U.N. Security Council ..., the government will be obliged to end all of its voluntary cooperation,” the television quoted Mottaki as saying.

- More on this story here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/13/2006 at 07:36 AM   
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calendar   Tuesday - January 03, 2006

Danish Dilemna

Clash of civilizations: twenty-first century Europeans versus tenth century Muslims. There is too big a gap there and something’s gotta give sooner or later. Now the Muslims are declariing jihad over a few stupid cartoons? Get real, folks! This is childish at best. Dangerous at the other extreme. Do the Danes censor the press and deny freedom of speech to its citizens or do they tell the Arabs to go pound sand? Regardless, the cartoonists have started receiving death threats and the newspapers have had to hire bodyguards for staff. We report, you decide ...

imageimageGrowing Islamic Anger Over Mohammed Cartoons
(CNSNews.com)

For the government of one small European nation, the new year begins with a deepening crisis: growing anger in the Islamic world over a newspaper’s decision to publish cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed. The Danish daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten last fall published 12 caricatures of Mohammed, causing an uproar that continues to build more than three months later. Muslims consider any images of the prophet who founded Islam in the seventh century to be blasphemous.

The published cartoons showed “Mohammed” in various settings. One depicts him wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with its fuse lit, while another has him with eyes blacked out and carrying a large, curved knife, flanked by two women in top-to-toe burqas. In another, the prophet is shown telling a line of suicide bombers seeking entry to paradise: “Stop, stop, we have run out of virgins.”

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), representing 57 Muslim states and territories, issued a memorandum on January 1 accusing the Danish government of “indifference” after Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen declined to intervene in the dispute. Rasmussen called it a matter of freedom of speech, echoing the reasoning of the newspaper at the center of the row. Jyllands-Posten had said it wanted to test the limits of free speech at a time it was under threat because of the influence of radical Islam.

The OIC dismissed the free speech argument, saying in its statement this week that the publication of the cartoons “was meant to disturb and infuriate Muslims, and could not be considered as an innocent behavior falling within the scope of freedom of expression in which everyone believes.” Claiming that the publication “has offended hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world,” the organization announced that the governments and cultural organizations in all OIC member states had been asked to boycott a forthcoming cultural project on the Middle East, partly funded by the Danish government.

Last week, foreign ministers of the Arab League mandated the 22-nation bloc’s secretary-general, Amr Moussa, to take up the issue directly with the Danish government. In a declaration, they voiced “surprise and indignation over the Danish government’s reaction, which was disappointing, despite the political, economic, and cultural bonds with the Muslim world.”

Not only did Rasmussen refuse to take up the matter with the newspaper, he also declined to meet with a delegation of ambassadors from 11 Muslim nations who wanted to discuss the “tone” of the debate over Islam in Denmark. “As prime minister I have no tool whatsoever to take actions against the media, and I don’t want that kind of tool,” he said at the time.

The growing pressure - the U.N. and European Union have also waded in, while a group of former Danish ambassadors said the premier was wrong to refuse to meet with the Muslim envoys - appears to have left the government cold. “Now it is important to stand our ground and say that we have a separation of powers in Denmark and something called freedom of expression,” the Copenhagen Post quoted the ruling party’s foreign affairs spokesman Troels Lund as saying in response to the Arab League complaints.

- Read more on this story here ...

- Click here to view all twelve of the cartoons ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/03/2006 at 06:05 AM   
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Putin Blinks

It looks like Europeans will stay warm after all this winter. The Russians caved in to pressure and turned the gas back on last night. This story isn’t over yet though. What’s really interesting about this story is the quote below about “reconsidering the decision to phase out nuclear energy” in Germany. Now there’s a thought. Look for the European envirowhackos to freak out over that ...

Russia Steps Back From Brink With Ukraine
and Restores Gas Supplies to Europe

MOSCOW (UK GUARDIAN)

Russia’s image as a reliable international energy supplier became increasingly tarnished yesterday as a stand-off with Ukraine over gas prices disrupted supplies to Europe. The Russian energy group Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing about $25m (£14.5m) worth of natural gas from transit supplies destined for other European countries, but most EU members blamed President Vladimir Putin for the crisis. Last night Gazprom appeared to bow to international pressure by increasing transit supplies flowing through Ukraine by the amount allegedly siphoned off.

Germany’s economy minister, Michael Glos, called on Moscow to compromise in its feud with Ukraine. “Russia has the presidency of the G8 and therefore has to act responsibly,” he said. The Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom switched off flows to Ukraine on Sunday after a bitter, politically charged dispute over gas prices. A drop in deliveries to other countries sent through the same pipeline network was noticed within 24 hours. In the UK the energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, admitted the dispute could affect European and global markets. Speaking to the BBC, he reminded Russia it had “never let down Europe during the cold war” and expressed hope it would be “mindful of its reputation as a secure energy supplier”.

Five EU countries yesterday confirmed that the amount of gas arriving from Russia had fallen off dramatically. Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia all reported a sharp drop in supplies, with Hungary saying its gas deliveries had gone down by 40%. “This situation cannot be accepted. Russia is mixing its foreign policy with its policy for gas supplies,” Poland’s deputy prime minister, Ludwik Dorn, told broadcaster Radio Zet. While harsh judgment of Russia from former Soviet satellite states was predictable, there was fresh debate from “old Europe” as to how it should respond ahead of tomorrow’s emergency meeting of EU energy experts. The EU buys a quarter of its gas from Gazprom. Mr Glos, who belongs to a conservative coalition led by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, said the country should now reconsider its decision to phase out nuclear energy.

- More on this story here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/03/2006 at 05:53 AM   
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calendar   Monday - January 02, 2006

Checkmate

What we have here is a classic game of chess. The problem is that the Russians are masters of the game and Russian President Vladimir Putin is proving to be well versed in the strategies involved in a good match. Since the end of the Cold War, countries that used to be part of Russia’s realm of inflluence (the Warsaw Pact countries) have gradually moved out from under Russian influence and into Western Europe’s embrace.

Old Soviet satellites are now part of the European Union thus Russia lost most of its pawns in the opening game. Russia held onto the rebellious countries like Chechnya with brutal charges by knights and rooks in the middle game. Now Russia finds its queen in jeopardy as Ukraine went through its “Orange Revolution” recently and elected a pro-Western government. Putin simply responded with a brilliant counter-move. He decided that if his Ukrainian “queen” was going to defect to the West then the Ukraine would have to pay the same prices for gas that the West does.

Needless to say, Ukraine cannot afford the new prices and so Putin cut off their supply of gas. This puts his opponent’s king in jeopardy as Russia supplies a quarter of Europe’s gas ... through Ukraine. If it weren’t for the fact that this puts Europe in jeopardy of freezing this winter, I would have to congratulate Putin on an absolutely brilliant move. Check and mate!

The only viable solution is for Europe and the West to surrender the game but there is a way to do this with honor. Simply invite Russia to join the European Union and NATO. Bring the Russians into our camp. That’s all Putin and the Russians really want anyway. Why continue to keep them isolated on the continent? It is only going to involve more and more of these back-and-forth political chess matches and that’s what screwed up Europe so badly in the run-up to World War I. Which led to World War II. Which made a mess of everything.

I urge the member countries of NATO and the European Union to get together, admit they’ve been beaten by a wily, cunning opponent and invite him to join the team. After all, one must keep one’s friends close and one’s enemies even closer ... and “Pooty-Poot” is not really an enemy. He’s just a better chess player.

imageimagePutin Sends a Shiver Through Europe
(UK NEWS-TELEGRAPH)

Russia took Europe to the brink of a winter energy crisis yesterday when it carried out a Cold War-style threat and halted gas deliveries to Ukraine, the main conduit for exports to the West. With a quarter of its gas supplied by Russia, Europe is facing serious disruption and price rises for as long as the dispute rumbles on.

Moscow turned off the tap at 10am after Ukraine refused to sign a new contract with the Russian state monopoly Gazprom quadrupling prices. Critics of the Kremlin say the rise was punishment for the Orange Revolution in 2004 which brought in a westward-leaning government that promised to remove Ukraine from the Kremlin’s sphere of influence.

The American State Department said that “such an abrupt stop creates insecurity in the energy sector in the region and raises serious questions about the use of energy to exert political pressure”. The European Union has called an emergency meeting of energy ministers on Wednesday.

Britain is less vulnerable than mainland Europe because it does not receive direct supplies from the former Soviet bloc. But as other countries seek to shore up their reserves, less gas is likely to be pumped through the pipeline that links the Continent with Britain. That could mean higher prices and, if there is no quick resolution, possible breaks in supplies.

The European Commission says that most countries have between a week and two months’ emergency reserves. Ukraine has upset Moscow by pushing to join the EU and Nato. However, Russia insists that the price rise merely brings Ukraine in line with the price that most of Europe pays: about $240 per 1,000 cubic metres.

President Vladimir Putin adopted almost warlike terms when he spoke on television as the hours ticked by before the ultimatum expired. “If no clear response [from Kiev] follows, we will conclude that our proposal has been rejected,” he said.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/02/2006 at 12:46 PM   
Filed Under: • EUro-peonsPolitics •  
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calendar   Thursday - December 29, 2005

Brits Bribe Students

If you ever wanted to see a clear example of socialism gone totally bonkers, look no further than our friends across the pond. I saw this story and couldn’t believe my eyes. I had to read ti twice before it sunk in. The Brits are actually subsidizing schoolchildren over the age of 16 who decide to stay in school. Even more unbelievable is the criteria for this socialist teenage bribery scheme: children qualify for a fistful of money as long as their family income is below £30,000 per year. For the currency-handicapped out there, that is nearly $52,000 annual income. Is that some kind of poverty level or what? And they’re going to give these kids up to £30 (US $52.00) every week and allow them to work part-time? This definitely qualifies Britain as an official “Nanny State” now. And to think ... these blokes once ruled the world. Sad. Very sad.

imageimageStay-on Cash For 380,000 Students
December 29, 2005
(BBC)

Some 380,000 students have received maintenance payments to help them stay on at college in England since the start of the autumn term. Students who continue training or education above the age of 16 and live in households with an annual income below £30,000 are eligible for support. The Learning and Skills Council is urging more young people to apply for the Education Maintenance Allowance.

Payments under the scheme range between £10 and £30 per week. Children’s Minister Maria Eagle said she was pleased so many had benefited. “We would also like to remind parents that EMA doesn’t affect any other family benefits.” She added: “I am particularly pleased they are attaining qualifications and developing skills that will help them to succeed in life.”

Ms Eagle urged all young people who felt tempted to drop out of education and into low-paid work to get in touch with their college to see what help is available under the EMA scheme. “It’s a great way to boost their career prospects and earnings potential in the long term,” she added.

Trevor Fellowes, director of learner support at the council which operates the scheme, said he expected the numbers to increase throughout 2006. He also urged all youngsters to see if they are eligible for the payments. He added: “We would also like to remind parents that EMA doesn’t affect any other family benefits and young people can still work part-time and receive cash while they learn.”

- Read more on this socialist payola here ...


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Posted by Ronald Reagan's Ghost   United States  on 12/29/2005 at 09:33 AM   
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calendar   Wednesday - December 28, 2005

France Cracks Down

My, my! What’s the world coming to? Usually the French crack me up but now they have decided to crack down. On terrorists, that is. I’m sure they still have a full stock of white flags ... just in case. The French have always had a problem deciding whose side to be on in any war. This will probably be no exception to that rule.

PARIS (AFX) - The French parliament has adopted a tough new anti-terrorist law inspired by British measures used to identify the bombers who carried out the July bomb attacks in London. MPs voted 202 to 122 in favour of the law, which will increase video surveillance of railways stations, airports and other public areas, permit official snooping on the internet and mobile telephone records, and lengthen the period of detention for terrorist suspects.

Civil rights groups and left-wing opposition parties have expressed concern over the law, which they fear gives authorities too much power to invade citizens’ privacy and encourages confusion between immigration and terrorism.  The law paves the way for increased use of surveillance cameras in public spaces such as train stations, churches and mosques, shops, factories or nuclear plants.

Mobile phone operators and internet access firms—particularly internet cafes—will be required to keep records of client connections for one year under its provisions. Officials will have greater authority to conduct identity checks on cross-border trains and to automatically monitor vehicles, and police will have wider access to previously confidential customer information from rail, maritime and air transport companies.

Local authorities will have the right to ban certain individuals from entering sporting stadiums. Terrorist suspects can also be kept in custody for a maximum of six days without being put under formal, criminal investigation. The previous duration was four days.


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Posted by Ronald Reagan's Ghost   United States  on 12/28/2005 at 07:31 AM   
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calendar   Wednesday - December 21, 2005

Caption Contest

Today’s caption contest lets you put words into Ronald McDonald’s mouth. The only catch is you can’t use the words “Sacre Bleu!”. The picture below shows the wreckage of a car used by rioters to break through the glass door of a McDonalds fast food restaurant amid the rubble of the restaurant in Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005. Give it your best shot ... !

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 12/21/2005 at 11:54 AM   
Filed Under: • EUro-peonsHumor •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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