Britain’s oldest industry will close its doors next month, citing among recent financial constraints, the publics’ “Dwindling appetite for scandal”. The Mill, whose vast foundries have forged speculation, manufactured allegation and fabricated gossip for countless mongers since the dawn of man is set to mothball its base of operations and cease idle chit-chat by the end of August, with the loss of 10,000 jobs.
Name-checking Murdoch and the recent NotW closure, its chairman explained. “There have been tell-tale signs for quite some time, and – while I don’t expect ordinary people to be savvy about the rising cost of tittle-tattle – without ongoing public investment in the product, the spectre of moral bankruptcy was perhaps inevitable. The closure will have a knock-on effect for thousands of related services, such as Gossip-mongers, Fishwives and Quidnuncs.
Gossipy housewife Tracey Higginbottom said in a recent statement: “The business of casual malice and trading of unsubstantiated rumour has been our only means of support since time immemorial. The decision to close the mill, therefore, takes away the very meaning from our lives. She then offered some ‘juicy titbits’ of ‘common knowledge’ for sale concerning the woman next door and a black man, at which point, our reporter made their excuses and left.
I saw this coming, with the rise of the uppity jungle drums and bush telegraph, to say nothing of those Chinese whispers. Perhaps it will survive as a cottage industry.
Fjordman has given an interview in a magazine called VG (with thanks to Andrew Bostom):
In an exclusive interview with VG, Peder Jensen (36) sheds his alias as the right wing blogger «Fjordman», and talks about his shock at being cited as an influence by terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.
Thursday he was questioned for several hours by Norwegian police about his supposed interaction with Breivik (32).
Under the alias «Fjordman», he has been a prolific blogger on different far-right websites, and was cited extensively in Breivik's rambling manifesto.
The 36 year old man, originally from the coastal town of Ålesund, agreed to an interview in a café in Oslo Thursday evening.
In accordance with his lawyer, he has elected to be interviewed in VG using his real name, and asks that journalists do not contact his neighbors or family.
- I have warned my family about this interview, and because of my own safety, I'm now going into hiding, says Jensen.
Soft spoken and unassuming, he is dressed in a white t-shirt and dark jeans. He says he was horrified at being cited a total of 111 times in Breivik's 1500 page manifesto.
- I have not read the manifesto, but I have seen bits and pieces referred in the media, and some parts have been shown to me by others, he says.
During the period between 2009 and 2010 he received a handful of emails from Breivik, where he told Jensen that he was working on a book. In one email written towards the end of 2009, he also asked if he could meet his political idol «Fjordman». Jensen refused.
- I don't know why he wanted to meet me, but I declined. Not because of his extreme views, but because he didn't seem very interesting - like a vacuum cleaner salesman. «Pie in the sky», I thought to myself when I re-read the emails, says Jensen, again stressing that he never met Breivik personally.
Police sources confirm that Jensen has been questioned as the blogger «Fjordman», and that they are certain of his identity.
- I feel it's my duty to give a statement to the police, and I wanted to do this interview because my name eventually would have emerged anyway, resulting in a media frenzy. It is also a way for me to clear my name, says Jensen.
Norwegian police confiscated his computer Thursday, and even though he was questioned as a witness, he feels that the police are looking to implicate him.
- They won't find anything on my computer regarding any criminal matters or Breivik, he says.
Jensen has a masters degree in culture and technology from the University of Oslo, and has studied Arabic at the University of Bergen and the American University in Cairo. In his master's dissertation he wrote about censorship and blogging in Iran.
He has never been a member of any political party in Norway, and after completing his compulsory military service, he says he has never touched a gun.
After the terrorist attack and his blog being cited as an influence, Jensen says he will never use the alias «Fjordman» again.
- I don't wish to be associated with Breivik and his horrible actions, he says.
A DAD told his young daughter it was forbidden to play with non-Muslim children, a court has been told. When he went to court seeking custody of the little girl, who was born in 2007, a federal magistrate said it was disturbing that he had tried to alienate the girl from the non-Muslim community in Australia.
The Federal Magistrates' Court, sitting in Victoria, heard that the girl had refused to play with another, fair-haired girl during a visit with a family counsellor. The girl allegedly said "Baba says it is haram", explaining to her mother that she was not allowed to play with non-Muslim children. The family counsellor searched for the meanings of the words on the internet and discovered "Baba" meant father and "haram" meant forbidden, the federal court heard.
In a judgment published this week, Federal Magistrate Philip Burchardt ordered that the child live with her mother and spend time with the father every second weekend. . .
"Furthermore, his conduct in seeking to alienate (the girl) both from the non-Muslim component of the Australian community and from her mother and grandmother is very disturbing," Mr Burchardt said.
The court heard that the parents had an arranged marriage but the mother claimed the relationship was characterised by physical and verbal abuse, claims denied by the father. The father, who is a devout Muslim, also complained to the family counsellor about the mother's style of dress. Although he denied using denegrating words to describe his ex-wife, Mr Burchardt said his denials were dishonest
The hunt for the man who police say shot and killed two women and seriously injured a man in Berlin on Thursday, has gone nationwide, after authorities admitted they could not find him – and that he was still armed.
Mehmet Yildirim, 25, is being sought across the country, a police spokeswoman said on Friday, a day after the bloodbath in the capital’s Wedding district.
It is thought at least 14 shots were fired at a car in which Yildirim’s 24-year-old former wife was sitting with her 45-year-old mother and 22-year-old sister as well as two men aged 27 and 24.
Yildirim’s former wife, named by the city’s tabloid newspaper BZ on Friday as Feride, was unharmed in the attack, but her mother died at the scene, while her sister died of her injuries later in hospital. The 27-year-old man who was hit in the head by a bullet, was operated on Thursday night and remains in a critical condition.
The shooting was particularly shocking as it happened in a busy district of the city in broad daylight and seemed to be carried out with precision. Witnesses described it as an outright execution. Wedding is known as a centre for Berlin’s Turkish-born population, which one neighbour called “socially difficult.”
“It’s a terrible thing to see,” said Edward Fisch, standing outside the Beth Tikvah Synagogue on Bayview Ave., north of Sheppard Ave. E. Friday morning. “When I see a swastika I see the Nazis coming, grabbing people and throwing them into the Danube.”
The words “Islam will rule” are scrawled on a brick wall in black paint beneath a red and black swastika.
Similar stencilled red and black swastika have been reported in two other locations in Toronto this month, Anita Bromberg, the national director of legal affairs for B’nai Brith Canada said.
Both a Korean-language church not far from Beth Tikvah and a laneway near Avenue Rd. and Roselawn Ave. were defaced, Bromberg said.
Toronto Police are investigating the incident and are reviewing surveillance camera video taken by a small camera perched nearby in an attempt to identify the vandals.
For Low-Lying Shanghai The Typhoon Will Provide A Taste Of Disasters To Come
As the waters rise, some cities will suffer far more than others. Miami, for example, or Anchorage, Alaska, or New York, in the United States, will have special problems.
And in China, if you needed proof that the Chinese are not farseeing and infallible -- as some in the West enjoy thinking -- you have only to consider how they have built up, and built up and built up, Shanghai, a city likely to be among the worst sufferers from the rise in the waters that global climate disruption will cause.
If typhoon Muifa strikes this weekend, it will provide a monitory preview.
Rainfall from Muifa will cover a million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) as the typhoon lingers for up to 11 days, Lou Maoyuan, deputy chief of the Zhejiang Provincial Meteorological Station, told Xinhua.
Waves from Muifa could reach 40 feet (12 meters) in the East China Sea and almost 15 feet (4.5 meters) along the coast near Shanghai and Zhejiang, forecasters told Xinhua. Authorities called more than 9,000 vessels back to harbors, the news agency reported.
Meanwhile, Muifa was raking the Japanese island of Okinawa on Friday, Stars and Stripes reported. Almost 18 inches of rain had fallen on the island in 24 hours, and wind gusts of almost 100 mph were recorded at the U.S. Air Force's Kadena Air Base.
Sana'a Airport Cancels Flights Due to Clashes; Yemen on Verge of Chaos
Yemen Post Staff
Sana'a International Airport cancelled all its flights after hundreds of armed tribesmen belonging to the notorious Hashed tribe clashed with republican guards in the heart of the capital Sana'a forcing thousands to re evacuate Hasaba zone of Sana'a. At least six flights were cancelled Friday night and Saturday morning due to security reasons.
The anti government Arhab tribes are promising to support Hashed and are threatening to takeover the airport and control all flights entering and leaving the country. Hashed has called on its gunmen to prepare for a long war against a regime that is gasping its final breath.
Opposition and government tanks were suddenly stationed in main roads of the capital for the first time in months Saturday morning, eyewitnesses said.
This comes as General Ali Mohsen threatened to bombard the presidential palace if his military brigade is attacked once more by the republican guards.
General Mohsen claims that the guards attacked his compound on numerous occasions over the last 24 hours.
Government sent more than 2000 of its forces in zones surrounding Hasaba, where the Hashed tribal chief lives, a senior security official told Yemen Post.
Eyewitnesses in Hasaba said that at least 2000 of its residents evacuated the zone fearing that clashes will breakout at anytime.
TEHRAN — Gold-flecked ice cream wasn’t part of the picture that Shiite Muslim clerics painted during the Iranian Revolution, when they promised to lift the poor by distributing the country’s vast oil income equally across society.
But more than three decades later, record oil profits have brought in billions, and some people here are enjoying that decadent dessert. The trouble is, it’s just a small group of wealthy Iranians. Despite the promises of the revolution, many here say the gap between rich and poor has never seemed bigger.
Iran’s new wealthy class has succeeded in tapping the opportunities provided by a vast domestic market, sometimes aided by corruption and erratic government policies. It includes children of people with close connections to some of Iran’s rulers, as well as families of factory owners and those who managed to get huge loans from state banks at low interest rates. The trickling down of the oil windfall — nearly $500 billion over the past five years — has also played a central role in establishing this small group that is visibly enjoying its profits.
Both supporters and critics of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say some of his economic policies designed to counter inequality are actually making things worse for many. And although some statistics show the gap between the Islamic Republic’s rich and poor has been stable over time, scenes of the rich flaunting their wealth have left many Iranians complaining.
From the top of Tehran’s 1,427-foot-high Milad Tower, Iran’s poor are reduced to tiny dots, swarming in the streets below.
“We provide a calm and luxurious atmosphere, away from Tehran’s daily problems,” said Ahmad Talaee, one of the owners of the Crown restaurant, as he received guests in the VIP section, with room for nearly 300 to enjoy $280 fixed-price menus, golden ice cream not included.
Construction workers in worn-out shoes waited in the hallway one recent afternoon to make final fixes at the restaurant, which opened in June, as a young couple in designer clothes fed each other shrimp flown in from the Persian Gulf. “As you can see,” the owner said, “we are re-creating the fairy tales of the legendary stories of ‘1,001 Nights’ right here in Tehran.”
But that ritzy lifestyle, set against a backdrop of increasing economic hardship for millions of ordinary Iranians, is leading to open criticism.
People are writing open letters complaining about the rise in inequality. Influential conservative blogger Amir Hossein Sabeti wrote last month that the shift in the way Iranians conduct themselves in public, increasingly ignoring the soberness that the revolution prescribed, is a bigger threat to Iran’s ideology than the United States or Israel.
“How can we discuss decency, simplicity and support for the oppressed when we have this culture of ostentatiously showing off wealth?” he asked. “Woe unto us the day that our policies stop supporting the needy, but support the wealthy,” he wrote, quoting famous words from the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The popular resentment over inequality has a strong political dimension in Iran. During his two election campaigns, Ahmadinejad attacked a group influential clerics connected to former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, accusing them of using their positions to accumulate vast wealth. But some of his closest aides are also accused of corruption. The public attacks have left the impression that many who lead the country have been unable to avoid temptations to tap the vast oil wealth for personal use.
Iranians’ sense that they had been left out of the oil boom was a key factor in the downfall of Western-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, experts say.
“Anger over inequality had been the main motivation for people to join the 1979 revolution,” said Hossein Raghfar, an economist who recently quit his post as an adviser to Ahmadinejad’s government because, he said, he disagreed with its policies. “But after the dust settled down, we quickly witnessed a marriage of power and wealth in Iran. Now we are no different from the United States.”
Although Ahmadinejad declared recently that inequality is on the decline, Raghfar disputed government statistics. He also stressed that, particularly in a society so strongly based on ideology, perception matters a lot. Reports that some 2.5 million children are working rather than attending school, and, he said, even an increase in legal kidney sales — along with a recent price drop, from $10,000 to $2,000, because so many people are selling their organs for cash — all give people the clear idea that they are sliding into poverty.
The financial pressures on Iranian society can be seen everywhere, he said. “There is a rise in crime, prostitution and an underground economy thriving on corruption,” Raghfar said. “Believe me, this is not what we expected when we joined the revolution.”
The way wealth is distributed in the Islamic Republic is a growing concern for Iranian leaders. In a keynote speech during Iran’s New Year ceremonies in March, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged officials to act, saying the disparities were intolerable and not accepted by Islam.
Ahmadinejad’s 2005 campaign promise to establish ‘social justice’ was one of the main reasons that Khamenei said he supported his candidacy. But now some of the president’s supporters say that many of his policies meant to redistribute wealth have had adverse effects.
In December, Ahmadinejad implemented a radical overhaul of the way state subsidies are handed out. By directly giving the money to the poor, he said, justice would be established. At the same time, however, prices of food and utilities have been allowed to rise to market levels, at times tripling or more.
Now, more than 60 million of Iran’s 70 million citizens receive monthly handouts of $40, while inflation has risen 26 percent compared with the same period last year, according to figures released in July by the Iranian Central Bank.
Although the scheme did not lead to the popular unrest that many predicted, its long- term consequences are not yet clear. But plenty of Iranians are unhappy.
Several state-run newspapers printed a rare open letter in June from a housewife from a remote province who said she could no longer afford to feed her family.
Masoumeh Kamali said she voted for Ahmadinejad to help him reduce inequality. “But now,” she wrote, “meat has gotten so expensive that we must banish it from our lives. Mr. President, the increased prices have broken the backs of the people.”
The official Jomhuri-e Eslami newspaper followed with an editorial declaring that Iranians “are tired of false promises, of the cost of living, poverty, unemployment and injustice.”
At the Milad Tower, ordinary Iranians can buy $20 tickets to ride an elevator to the main observatory, with dramatic views of the capital, and, through tinted double glass, a close-up of the restaurant’s VIP section.
Inside, the expensive menu was a source of pride. “We work hard here,” said Talaee, as he asked a waiter to describe the ice cream, which also includes edible silver and caviar. “People have the right to do what they want with their money. That has nothing to do with politics.”
BEIRUT — Syria's government showed off TV and still images of burned buildings and rubble-strewn streets empty of people in Hama, the epicenter of anti-regime protests, and claimed Friday it was putting an end to the rebellion in the besieged city.
Under the suffocating clampdown, residents of the city warned that medical supplies were running out and food was rotting after six days without electricity.
Across the country, tens of thousands of protesters marched, chanting their solidarity with Hama and demanding the ouster of President Bashar Assad. They were met by security forces who opened fire, killing at least 13 people, activists said.
Also on Friday, the U.S. State Department urged Americans to leave the country immediately
Government forces began their ferocious assault on Hama Sunday, cutting off electricity, phone services and Internet and blocking supplies into the city of 800,000 as they shelled neighborhoods and sent in tanks and ground raids.
It appeared to be an all-out attempt to take back the city — which has a history of dissent — after residents all but took it over since June, barricading it against the regime. Rights group say at least 100 people have been killed, while some estimates put the number as high as 250.
The tolls could not be verified because of the difficulty reaching residents and hospital officials in the city, where journalists are barred as they are throughout Syria.
Tanks shelled residential districts of Hama starting around 4 a.m. Friday, just as people were beginning their daily fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — mirroring a bombardment the evening before at sunset, when people were breaking the fast, one resident told The Associated Press.
"If people get wounded, it is almost impossible to take them to hospital," the resident said by telephone, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
Syrian state media on Friday proclaimed army units were "working to restore security, stability and normal life to Hama," which it said had been taken over by "terrorists." The message mirrored the regime's claim that armed extremists seeking to destabilize the country are behind the unrest, as opposed to true reform-seekers.
For the first time since the siege began, government-run TV and the state news agency aired images of the ravaged streets of Hama, strewn with debris, damaged vehicles and makeshift barricades. In one, a yellow taxi was shown with a dead man in the driver's seat and bloodstains on the door. A tank cleared away a large cement barrier and a bus with shattered windows.
There were no reports of protests in the city during the day Friday — a contrast to previous weeks when hundreds of thousands participated in the biggest marches in the country.
A citizen journalist from Hama working with an online global activist group, Avaaz, told AP that people were now too afraid to go to the mosques, which were being targeted by the military.
The man, who identified himself as Sami, described the humanitarian situation as "catastrophic." Everything was closed, including bakeries and pharmacies, he said.
"There are sick people, people with diabetes who have run out of insulin ... The food has spoiled because there's no electricity," he said. "You cannot imagine how tired and terrified people are."
Hama has seen government crackdowns before. In 1982, Assad's father, Hafez Assad, ordered the military to quell a rebellion by Syrian members of the conservative Muslim Brotherhood movement there, sealing off the city in an assault that killed between 10,000 and 25,000 people.
Witnesses have painted a grim picture of life in Hama. One resident said Thursday that people were "being slaughtered like sheep while walking in the street." He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
There were also fears of an intensified assault on the oil center of Deir el-Zour to the east, where tanks have been deployed at entrances since earlier this week. Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the London-based Observatory for Human Rights in Syria, said a quarter of the city's population of 600,000 have fled.
Friday has become the main day for protests in Syria, despite the near-certainty that tanks and snipers will respond with deadly force.
Still, the latest protests were smaller than those of previous Fridays, when hundreds of thousands turned out nationwide. That was likely because this was the first Friday of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and go outside less, particularly in the summer heat.
The lower turnout could augur disappointment for protest leaders, who had hoped to escalate the uprising and even mark a turning point in the quest to topple the 40-year Assad family dynasty's rule.
Protests on Friday spread from the capital, Damascus, to the southern province of Daraa, the central city of Homs and in Qamishli, near the Turkish border. Some 20,000 people protested in Deir el-Zour, lower than the hundreds of thousands of previous weeks, likely due to the flight of a large part of the population.
"Hama, we are with you until death," shouted a crowd marching through Damascus' central neighborhood of Midan, clapping their hands and chanting, "We don't want you Bashar!" in amateur video posted online by activists.
In another district of the capital, Qadam, protesters carried a banner reading, "Bashar is slaughtering the people and the international community is silent."
Security forces opened fire with live ammunition and tear gas in several cities, activists said. At least 10 people were killed in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen, Moaddamiya and Dumeir, and three others in Homs, according to the Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees, a group that tracks protests.
One man who had been arrested earlier was found dead outside his home in the Damascus neighborhood of Qaboun with torture marks on his body, the Observatory said.
Activists also said about 50 people were wounded in Friday's protests.
State-run TV reported that two policemen were killed and eight wounded when they were ambushed in the northern town of Maarat al-Numan.
The uprising, now in its fifth month, has proved remarkably resilient, continuing daily and expanding despite a bloody crackdown that has killed at least 1,700 people.
But protesters have so far failed to mobilize the middle class and Muslim Sunni elite to form a real threat to Assad's minority Alawite rule. Organizers had hoped to garner the increased religious fervor of Ramadan to give the protests a further boost. But so far that has yet to materialize.
Since the start of Ramadan on Monday, many anti-government protesters were choosing instead to stage nightly protests, usually numbering in the thousands, following special Ramadan nighttime prayers.
The U.S. State Department urged Americans to leave the country immediately and advised those who remain in the country to restrict their movements. The warning came as congressional calls grew for the Obama administration to impose severe new sanctions on President Bashar Assad's regime.
In a new travel warning, the department said Americans should depart Syria while commercial flights and other transportation are still available "given the ongoing uncertainty and volatility of the situation." It noted that Syrian authorities had imposed tight restrictions on the ability of U.S. and other diplomats to move around the country.
CAIRO -- Egyptian army troops wielding batons and firing in the air dispersed dozens of activists holding a traditional Ramadan meal in Cairo's central Tahrir square Friday, witnesses said.
The soldiers moved in shortly after the activists broke their daily fast during the Muslim holy month with a communal meal after sundown. The clampdown indicates Egypt's military rulers will no longer tolerate any gathering in the square, which served as the epicenter of the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
"I was hit on my head with a stick. They ran after us. We could hear the electrified batons," activist Gigi Ibrahim said. "We kept saying enough we are leaving. They fired in the air all along."
"They are taking control of Tahrir and preventing any attempt of gathering there even if symbolic," she added.
Earlier Friday, scores of protesters attempted to hold a public funeral for a protester who died from injuries sustained during a demonstration last week near the Defense Ministry. Security forces prevented the funeral from taking place in the heart of the square.
Security forces have been heavily deployed in Tahrir since Monday when they drove out the final protesters of a nearly monthlong sit-in. The demonstrators were demanding swifter justice for former regime officials, and pressed the military rulers to weed out remnants of the old regime from public life.
Many people had called for the sit-in to end to give the military time to act on the protesters demands. Although most of the protesters had pulled out by that time, the forceful reaction to the remaining scores was an indication the military was growing impatient with the street pressure.
Also, Mubarak went on trial Wednesday on the charges of conspiring to kill nearly 900 protesters who during the uprising. The trial addressed one of the activists' key demands.