Friday, November 15, 2013
And some multiculturalism in British airspace
Passengers watched in "fear and panic" as two RAF jets escorted their Boeing 777 to Stansted Airport after two men threatened to blow up the plane, a court has heard.
Two men from Nelson in Lancashire have appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court which was told that the Pakistan International Airlines plane was travelling from Lahore to Manchester on May 24.
It was carrying 308 passengers and 14 crew but was diverted to Stanstead Airport ten minutes before landing.
Tayyab Subhani, 30 of Brierfield, Townley Street, and Mohammed Safdar, 42, of Hallam Street, both Nelson, near Burnley, deny endangering the safety of the Boeing 777 by communicating intentionally that some passengers and some crew would be killed and the aircraft blown up.
Describing the scene on the plane, prosecutor Brian O'Neill, QC, told jurors they would hear from witnesses "the fear and panic caused for passengers from the threats to kill and blow up the plane."
"As a result of the behaviour of these two defendants, especially Safdar the aeroplane had to be diverted to Stansted accompanied by two RAF Typhoon fighter jets. "Their behaviour included threats to kill members of the cabin crew, threats to kill fellow passengers and blow up the plane while in flight.
"The crew had no option but to inform Pakistan Airlines what was happening in the skies above and two RAF fighter jets were scrambled to accompany the plane.
"At Stansted, the plane taxied to a remote area and was surrounded by armed police and the accused were arrested.
"When it was established they did not have the capability of carrying out the threats, the other passengers were allowed off."
Nigel Farage: 'Blunkett right to warn Roma migrants could trigger riots'
David Blunkett's warning that an influx of Roma migrants could lead to riots in Britain should be taken very seriously, according to Ukip leader Nigel Farage.
The comments follow the former home secretary's suggestion that an influx of Roma migrants could create “frictions” with local people and lead to race riots.
"Mr. Blunkett should be admired for the courage he has shown by speaking so plainly on this issue. Of course the type of language he has used I would have been utterly condemned for using," Farage said.
"The fact that he is talking of the significant difficulties with the Roma population already in his constituency should be taken seriously by the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.
"My question is if they won't listen to the dangers of opening the door to Romania and Bulgaria next year when UKIP speak out on it, will they listen to David Blunkett? I certainly hope so.
“I would also challenge Mr. Blunkett to support UKIP in explicitly opposing the opening of the doors next year to Romania and Bulgaria.
“The political class are trying to sweep this issue under the carpet but they should listen, act and stop the relaxing of border controls with Romania and Bulgaria next year."
Backing from Ukip came as a leading Roma support group condemned Blunkett's intervention as "extremely dangerous" and warned his comments could themselves trigger unrest by fuelling "more hatred".
Dezideriu Gergely, executive director of the European Roma Rights Commission, said: "It is extremely dangerous in a way because you can have ... far-right groups all over Europe using this type of rhetoric.
"What is concerning is that [while] in the past it is only far-right movements using this type of rhetoric it is now more and more mainstream. Politicians and public figures are using this type of discourse"
He added: "If Roma are only blamed and pointed out without finding proper solutions for the situation it doesn't help at all. It only fuels more hatred against Roma."
Mr Gergely said Blunkett's intervention was in line with rhetoric on the rise throughout Europe based on "misconceptions, misperceptions or stereotyping" of Roma communities, especially by linking them to criminality.
A spokesman for the Roma Support Group expressed disappointment that Blunkett had added to the "fanfare" of fears about Roma migration and pointed out that his Sheffield constituency has benefited from migration funding in the past.
David Blunkett warned on Monday that British cities could face race riots as an influx of Roma migrants creates “frictions” with local people.
Anti-social behaviour by Roma people in his Sheffield constituency has resulted in “understandable tensions” among the indigenous community that must be addressed to avert disorder, Mr Blunkett said.
Roma migrants from Slovakia must “change their culture” and send their children to school, stop dumping rubbish and loitering in the streets in order to soothe tensions, Mr Blunkett said.
Otherwise, the community could “explode” in the same way northern towns were rocked by disorder between Asian and white neighbourhoods in the summer of 2001, Mr Blunkett said.
Abortion Activists Characterize Pregnancy as "Inescapable Curse," "Death Sentence"
A new campaign conflates wildly different realities, putting restrictions on all birth control (Philippines) and the criminalization of miscarriages (El Salvador) on the same level as abortion clinic regulations (North Dakota, USA) and the presence of pro-life demonstrators (Texas, USA).
The descriptions of pregnancy as an "inescapable curse" and "death sentence" do not come from the makers of the video, but from liberal promotion site Upworthy, which encourages women to "enjoy the miracle of life on their terms."
The video begins with a legitimately distressing look at the trials women have to face in other countries. Specifically, a woman in the Philippines tells a story about how birth control is completely restricted yet her husband forces her to have sex when they cannot afford to support another child. A woman in El Salvador shared her harrowing experience of miscarriage that resulted in her arrest and accusation of murder. These two cases would appall any reasonable American.
Nevertheless, the video was not meant to remain sane for too long. The stories move from El Salvador to... North Dakota. The message that Draw the Line sends is that the strict requirements for abortion clinics that have left only one remaining fall under the same category as criminalized miscarriage. An abortion supporter laments how someone once called her a member of the "Satanic Nazi Abortion Death Squad." She thereby further degrades the intense and unimaginable struggles of the women interviewed just minutes before by complaining about name-calling.
Another activist characterizes the pro-life movement as one whose goal it is to "stigmatize" and "shame" women - not to save a human being. A third woman says she "doesn't feel it's fair for me to be influenced and persuaded" by pro-life demonstrators. She never takes a moment to consider why is it that women heading into the abortion clinic might be influenced and persuaded in the first place. She does not admit that if they were certain in their hearts that abortion was the right thing to do, then they wouldn't have to worry so much about pro-life influences.
One of the most difficult and emotional parts of the video is filmed in Texas, where an abortion doctor describes how a 16-year-old crossed the border to Mexico to receive an unsafe abortion that left her so badly infected that he had to give her a hysterectomy to save her life. Nobody would deny that that story is an unforgivable tragedy. But it is chilling that abortion activists believe that the only problem with that story was that abortions were too hard to get in Texas.
So many factors have contributed to this crisis on a societal scale, including a decline in sexual morality, aversion to the child-centered traditional family, ignorance about birth control, lack of parental support, and absence of community acceptance in the face of widespread stigma. The reality is that progressive activists haven't presented any other solution than "abortion on demand and without apology."
The women in the beginning of the video face immense difficulties, and it is a fact that women's rights have not yet been realized in many places around the world. However, the women in North Dakota and Texas are suffering less from injustice than from their own victim complexes.
The Center for Reproductive Rights should not bite off more than it can chew. It will have a hard time making a difference in the lives of women abroad if it continues to fabricate oppressions in America.
Saudi migrant crackdown closes shops, raises fears
Garbage is piling up on streets around the mosque housing the burial site of the Prophet Muhammad. Grocery stores have shut their doors and almost half of Saudi Arabia's small construction firms have stopped working on projects.
The mess is because foreign workers on which many businesses rely are fleeing, have gone into hiding or are under arrest amid a crackdown launched Nov. 4 targeting the kingdom's 9 million migrant laborers. Decades of lax immigration enforcement allowed migrants to take low-wage manual, clerical and service jobs that the kingdom's own citizens shunned for better paying, more comfortable work.
Now, authorities say booting out migrant workers will open more jobs for citizens, at a time when unemployment among Saudis is running at 12.1 percent as of the end of last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. But the nationalist fervor driving the crackdown risks making migrant workers vulnerable to vigilante attacks by Saudis fed up with the seemingly endless stream of foreigners in their country.
Since the Saudi government began issuing warnings earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have been deported, though some were able to avoid arrest by getting proper visas in an amnesty program. That amnesty ended last week, and some 33,000 people have since been placed behind bars. Others have gone into hiding.
With fewer people to do the job, the state-backed Saudi Gazette reported that 20,000 schools are without janitors. Others are without school bus drivers. Garbage became so noticeable around the mosque housing the Prophet Muhammad's tomb that a top city official in Medina helped sweep the streets, the state-backed Arab News website reported.
About 40 percent of small construction firms in the kingdom also have stopped work because their foreign workers couldn't get proper visas in time, Khalaf al-Otaibi, president of the World Federation of Trade, Industry and Economics in the Middle East, told Arab News.
Saudis say dozens of businesses like bakeries, supermarkets, gas stations and cafes are now closed. They say prices have also soared for services from mechanics, plumbers and electricians.
Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press that if the kingdom wants to be serious about the problem, authorities should look at the labor laws and not at the workers. Saudi Arabia's sponsorship system, under which foreign laborers work in the kingdom, gives employers say over whether or not a foreigner can leave the country or change jobs, forcing many into illegal employment.
"The entire system by which Saudi Arabia regulates foreign labor is failing," he said.
The owner of a multi-million dollar construction company in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, said he had to halt all of his projects. He told the AP he was not the legal sponsor of most of his laborers but that they made more money working as freelance hires.
"These people have worked in this country and their blood is in the stones and buildings," he said, speaking anonymously for fear of government reprisal. "You cannot just, like that, force them out."
Despite feeling the loss of the everyday work the foreign laborers provided, Saudis largely have cheered on the police. Residents have taken matters into their own hands on several occasions, despite police calling on the public not to make citizen arrests.
Over the weekend, Saudi residents of Riyadh's poor Manfouha neighborhood fought with Ethiopians, detaining some, until police arrived more than two hours later. Video emerged of a crowd of Saudis knocking on the door of an Ethiopian man's house, then dragging him out and beating him in the street. A Saudi and a migrant were killed and dozens wounded in the clashes.
The violence began when east Africans protesting the crackdown barricaded themselves in the narrow streets of Manfouha, throwing stones, threatening people with knives and damaging cars. Days earlier, an Ethiopian man was killed by police chasing down migrants.
Violence broke out again days later in the same neighborhood, and a Sudanese man was killed in clashes Wednesday. In the Red Sea coastal city of Jiddah in the poor al-Azaziya neighborhood, clashes also broke out when police combed the area for migrants.
"This is not racism or a lack of respect for diversity, but you cannot imagine how much negative comes from these groups instead of positive. These people, every day, cause problems," said Jiddah resident Abdulaziz al-Qahtani, who posted online video from the Riyadh clashes that he said a friend took.
Since the weekend clashes, Saudi officials say 23,000 Ethiopians, including women and children, have turned themselves in to the police. Authorities are now holding them in temporary housing ahead of deportation, saying many have no documentation at all, having made their way into the kingdom with the help of smugglers by way of Yemen.
Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that officials in Addis Ababa sought an explanation from Saudi Arabia's envoy over the "mistreatment" of Ethiopians in the kingdom.
Workers from neighboring Yemen also face harassment. Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman posted a picture last week on her Facebook page of what appeared to be a Saudi man in his car grabbing hold of a Yemeni man for a police officer.
Saudi columnist Abdul-Rahman al-Rashed cautioned Saudis to remember that without "a strong state and oil revenues" they too may have emigrated in search of work.
"Those deprived of the chance of a proper life can understand the feeling of those wanting to seek a better life," he wrote in the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.