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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 7, 2011.
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Merkel Charged with "Endorsing a Crime"

An interesting and strange development in Germany.  Der Speigel:

A Hamburg judge has filed a criminal complaint against Chancellor Angela Merkel for "endorsing a crime" after she stated she was "glad" that Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces. Meanwhile a new poll reveals that a majority of Germans do not see the terrorist's death as a reason to celebrate.

Schadenfreude, the enjoyment of others' suffering, may be a famously German concept, but it is apparently not a feeling that many Germans aspire to. The political and public fallout following Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement on Monday that she was "glad" Osama bin Laden had been killed was among the most hotly debated topics in the German media this week.

Politicians, including those within her own center-right coalition, said that no death was cause for celebration, and reproved the remark as un-Christian and vengeful.

But Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann went even further. He alleges that the chancellor's statement was nothing short of illegal, and filed a criminal complaint against Merkel midweek, the daily Hamburger Morgenpost reported Friday.

"I am a law-abiding citizen and as a judge, sworn to justice and law," the 54-year-old told the paper, adding that Merkel's words were "tacky and undignified."

In his two-page document, Uthmann, a judge for 21 years, cites section 140 of the German Criminal Code, which forbids the "rewarding and approving" of crimes. In this case, Merkel endorsed a "homicide," Uthmann claimed. The violation is punishable by up to three years' imprisonment or a fine.

"For the daughter of a Christian pastor, the comment is astonishing and at odds with the values of human dignity, charity and the rule of law," Uthmann told the newspaper.

A Sober German Reaction

While the judge's reaction may seem extreme, his sentiments are apparently shared by 64 percent of the German population. That was the proportion of Germans who said bin Laden's death was "no reason to rejoice" in a poll published by broadcaster ARD on Friday.

I must say this is very strange coming from the descendants of the Goths whose military tradition extends back thousands of years, but I suppose the Germans have lived with such enforced pacifism since the War that they can do no other. What would Bismark say? Or aren't we allowed to ask?

Posted on 05/07/2011 7:12 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Fly Delta

If you were a Muslim man living in America, would you put on the full Muslim garb to get on an airplane, or would prudence suggest you dress in normal street clothes? From the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Two Muslim clerics traveling to a religious conference were kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight Friday morning at Memphis International Airport, on orders from a pilot.

Imam Mohamed Zaghloul of the Masjid An-Noor Mosque and Imam Masoud Rahman, a previous imam of the Muslim Society of Memphis, were subjected to extra security screening at the gate, then barred from the flight, Rahman said.

The men cleared security at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint and boarded their plane. “They were screened and cleared to fly,” said TSA spokesman Jon Allen. “The decision to deny boarding was made by the airline, not TSA,” Allen said.

Jarek Beem, spokesman for Atlantic Southeast Airlines, the Delta Connection carrier that was operating the flight, said the incident was under investigation, that the airline regretted any inconvenience to passengers, and that the airline takes passenger security very seriously. He would not comment on specifics of the case.

The men, dressed in traditional Muslim cleric garb including skullcaps, were traveling to the North American Islamic Jurisprudence Council in Charlotte.

The plane left the gate, then returned, and the clerics were told to get off, said Rahman, 35.

We don't know what was said or done on the plane to make the pilot turn around.

Delta was apologetic for the pilot’s actions and put the clerics on a later flight. They arrived too late for prayer and the conference’s opening activities, Rahman said.

“I don’t know what kind of pilot he was, I don’t know his mentality,” Rahman said. “I think some action should be taken so this won’t happen with other people, any religion, any person, any professional.”

I know what kind of pilot he was - a careful one.

“It is something ridiculous,” added the Indian-born imam. “It does not happen in any country, and this is a civilized society.”

I didn't happen on 9/11 to our eternal sorrow.

Nabil Bayakly, chairman of Muslims in Memphis, said, “Both of them are good friends of mine, and I know how mild-mannered they are. I think the pilot has been really obstinate.”

How many terrorists have been described as mild-mannered? Most of them.

“They are imams,” Bayakly said. “They are religious figures. They usually wear the traditional Muslim gowns and head covers. Just like what the pope would wear or the Orthodox Jew would wear.”

Osama bin Laden was a religious figure - a sheikh. So is the blind sheikh Rahman now doing time for plotting a terror attack after the first strike on the World Trade Center.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, said the men called the council after the incident. Hooper said his group would review the incident to see if further action is warranted.

Calling it a “Juan Williams thing,” a reference to the fired PBS correspondent who said he was leery of flying with people in Muslim garb, Hooper added, “I think it’s possible the whole bin Laden situation factored into this with heightened sensitivity all around.”

Which one would think might make these imams consider dressing  normally when attempting to board an aircraft.

Posted on 05/07/2011 12:30 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Kevin Myers: Why the US was morally right to hunt down and kill Bin Laden

From an Irishman who single-handedly raises his countrymen's mean IQ to 100 (no small feat), a good article on shooting the bastard:

Certainly, no moral impediment prevented the British from trying to assassinate Rommel in Libya in 1941. The operation was a very British shambles, not least because Rommel had never even been in the house that the commandos attacked. The raid leader, Lt Colonel Geoffrey Keyes, was killed, and though having achieved nothing, was quite bizarrely awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Rommel showed a remarkable restraint in not having the surviving commandos shot, though he was legally justified, for they were in civilian clothes.

The Americans were (as one would expect) rather more efficient when they decided in 1943 to assassinate Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbour, after US Navy code-breakers had worked out his schedule. In order to allow for breakdowns, 18 twin-engined fighters were tasked for the 1,000-mile mission to shoot down Yamamoto's plane, making it the longest-range successful interception in the entire war.

So there's nothing new in a democracy trying to murder an opposing leader. Actually, what's more difficult to understand is how little murder of opposition leaders there has actually been in counter-terrorist war. How on earth did IRA leaders in South Armagh remain alive through 25 years of the Troubles? Was it heroic restraint by the British, or simply failure of will, or good old inefficiency? Who can say?

Easy. Keeping America sweet, with its dopey, soppy Irish lobby. Irish Americans and their mawkish, potato-brained supporters, funded terrorist attacks on the UK for three decades. With 9/11, Tony Blair said: stop funding the IRA and we'll back you. They did and we did. And we British have paid into that kleptocracy the EU more or less what the profligate Irish took out in subsidies, and we're still bailling them out. By God, they owe us. Back to Myers:

Certainly, sometimes enemies are allowed to remain alive because their successors might possibly be more formidable. According to the official history of the SAS, a British sniper could have killed Rommel in France in 1944, but was ordered not to, because by that time the allies understood the German's mind and felt they could anticipate his strategies: but what of his unknown successor?

It's unlikely that anything about Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's successor, is unknown to the many arms of US intelligence. And either way, that knowledge probably made little difference to any assessment of the possible utility of the operation to kill Bin Laden. The Bin Laden brand had long been created, the franchises taken up and the al-Qa'ida network established, just as Asa Candler had spread Coca-Cola long before he died, or Ray Krok with McDonald's.

The real question must be, not whether any great outcome results from Bin Laden being murdered (let us use the word), but whether it can ever be right for a great power like the US to allow any mass murderer of its citizens to live out his days in peace. For there is not merely an enduring moral duty to the thousands of Americans who were killed on 9/11, but also an obligation to lay down a marker for all those who plan terrorist war against the US: once they embark upon that route, they must be sure they will never, ever be safe -- even if they place their bunker 100yds from the entrance gate to the army cadet school of the supposed ally of the US, Pakistan.

And it is that revelation, and that knowledge of Bin Laden's whereabouts must have been widespread across Pakistan's military and intelligence elite, which depresses me most about the killing. What would any state make of Ireland, if the latest Calibans of the IRA had set up their conspicuously fortified headquarters, 100yds from the front gates of the Curragh Camp? So what and who may now be trusted in Pakistan? And what alternative to assassination is there, if a supposed "ally" can allow the greatest enemy of the USA to live within the broader protection of a vital military base? There you have it: duplicity masked by treachery, camouflaged by deceit, wrapped in betrayal and concealed in perfidy.

It is childish to suppose that in times of war, even democratic states do not break the "rules". The Free State ended the Civil War by executing (murdering, actually) 77 captive enemies.

In what way are lawful, ineffectual ways to end a war more humane than illegal, draconian and effective ones? What if the Provisional IRA leadership had all been killed in 1971? Better still, what if George Elser's bomb had killed Hitler in Munich in 1939? Or if the CIA had managed to assassinate Osama bin Laden in May 2001 rather May 2011?

Lawful states may legitimately kill lethal enemy individuals if arrest and detention are impossible -- as they clearly were for Bin Laden. Moreover, even if capture were possible, how many hostages might have been taken once Bin Laden had been brought to the US for trial and imprisonment? Sometimes a complex problem is like an IED: you don't deal with it, component by component, but simply smash it.

Yes, of course, a new problem then arises. So be it. We did not choose this war.

Posted on 05/07/2011 4:06 PM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Muslim with intimate 7/7 links works for Scotland Yard

From The Sunday Telegraph

A man described as a suspected terrorist sympathiser closely linked to the July 7 bombers has worked for Scotland Yard and a string of councils to run training courses about "engaging" Muslim youths.

Tafazal Mohammad was described as an "individual of interest" by MI5 in 2001 when he attended a training camp with the bombings' ringleader, Mohammed Sidique Khan. Despite a host of links with the suicide attackers, Mohammad now promotes himself as a "professionally qualified youth and community worker" and has been paid thousands of pounds by organisations including the Metropolitan Police and Chester University. His company, Muslim Youth Skills, charges up to £115 a head for its courses to "engage and empower hard-to-reach and marginalised groups".

The Bradford-based firm says its courses, many of which are led by Mohammad, are designed for police community support officers, social workers, advisers from the government-run Connexions service for teenagers and youth workers

The 45-year-old was a trustee of a jihadist bookshop along with Khan, who bombed the Edgware Road train killing six, and Shehzad Tanweer, who murdered seven in the Aldgate explosion.

The coroner described him as a "suspected terrorist sympathiser" and said the bookshop was a haunt of "men with extremist views". Mohammad's website says he is an expert on "faith, culture and responses to work with young Muslims post 7/7" but it makes no mention of his close personal links with the murderers themselves.

Mohammad's links to the July 7 attacks were detailed at length in the inquest into the bombings. Khan gave Mohammad's name as a referee when he applied for a job, the inquest heard, and Mohammad's Renault Espace was seen by surveillance officers at another training session attended by the ringleader in 2003. Mohammad oversaw the Iqra bookshop in Beeston, Leeds in 2003 and 2004. After the bombings, it was exposed as an incubating chamber for extremist Muslim views and this year a Charity Commission report found the shop, which was a registered charity, had been "mismanaged" in 2004 by the trustees who included Mohammad.

Posted on 05/07/2011 4:50 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Pakistan "A Proud Nation" With Its "Wounded Pride" Etcetera

From The Telegraph:

Pakistan must hear the truth about the raid

Wounded pride and tall stories about bin Laden’s killing could be a lethal mix, says Peter Oborne in Islamabad.

Mobs gathered in the streets across Pakistan yesterday to mourn the killing of Osama bin Laden
Mobs gathered in the streets across Pakistan yesterday to mourn the killing of Osama bin Laden Photo: AP

Their anger and frustration was palpable. The mobs who gathered in the streets across Pakistan yesterday rallied to mourn the killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces – and promised revenge. Hundreds of men spilled out of Friday prayers in the military town of Abbottabad, where the al-Qaeda leader was killed this week. Tyres were set alight and abusive chants directed at the United States rang through the streets.

Similar rallies were taking place in several other Pakistani cities – but it must be said that their scale and ferocity was by no means as great as the country’s militant religious groups had hoped.

As I understand it, one explanation for the muted reaction may be that Pakistan feels like a country on the edge of a nervous breakdown. It is a profoundly proud nation and its people are finding it painful to come to terms with the discovery of the world’s most wanted terrorist on national soil.

Some are taking refuge in denial, and, as I walked round Abbottabad earlier this week, few people – even those who had actually witnessed the US attack – were ready to admit that bin Laden had been even living in the town. For almost a decade Pakistan politicians and religious leaders have been adamant that the terror chief was outside Pakistan or, at worst, living in one of the remote tribal areas, and effectively outside the control of the state.

Even al-Qaeda took a full four days to acknowledge its figurehead was dead – only doing so yesterday, in a statement which also vowed to wreak dire retaliation.

No wonder that, when I stopped a group of schoolboys in Abbottabad, not one disagreed when Faisan, an intelligent 14-year-old, told me: “I don’t believe he is dead.” Indeed, a poll of Pakistanis yesterday said 66 per cent do not believe bin Laden has been killed.

But there can be no doubt about one thing: to the army – Pakistan’s largest and most powerful institution – last week’s event has come as a disaster. Since the country secured independence from Britain 63 years ago, the army has been the symbol of the country’s independence and virility. During an era when most other national institutions have failed, only the army has been seen as competent and honest by Pakistanis.

The discovery that bin Laden has been hiding under its nose near a military garrison is a blow to its reputation on almost as great a scale as defeat at the hands of the Indian army over Bangladesh in 1971. A lawyer in Abbottabad, Mohammed Iqbal, told me of his shock that a 700,000 strong army should have been unable to arrest bin Laden, and “foreigners should come here and take him away”.

The impotence of the Pakistan army was rubbed in again last night, when the United States led another drone attack on Pakistan soil, reportedly killing 10 militants in the remote north-western province of Waziristan.

The killing of bin Laden is also a major blow for the country’s president, Asif Ali Zardari. The operation was kept secret from Zardari because he was not trusted by his US allies. Meanwhile there are charges that the house was connected to the Pakistan intelligence service, the ISI – an institution now privately regarded by the US as akin to a terrorist organisation.

So it is hard to exaggerate the mood of shock, and even shame, in the country’s capital last night. In this mood of insecurity and national flagellation, authorities are braced for revenge attacks. The United States has put restrictions on the movement of its personnel, while the British High Commission even cancelled the annual Queen’s birthday party event.

There is also a steadily growing anger at the American decision to dump the body at sea, with many asserting that this practice is contrary to Islamic tradition and gravely insults Pakistan’s 170 million Muslims.

It is this combustible climate which makes the White House’s contradictory and muddled account of bin Laden’s death dangerous. Within hours of the attack, John Brennan, the loud-mouthed White House counter-terror adviser, had informed Fox TV that the terrorist had died in a firefight with US special forces. He also claimed that bin Laden had used his 24-year-old wife as a human shield. Brennan implied bin Laden’s actions had revealed him to be a coward, saying that his conduct “just speaks to how false his narrative has been over the years”.

The White House has now been forced to admit that this account was false. In fact, the al-Qaeda leader was unarmed and did not try to hide behind his wife. According to the Al-Arabiya news channel, Bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter said US forces captured her father unarmed and alive – only to shoot him dead in front of his family.

If this account is true – and it is implicitly denied by President Obama, who insisted US forces would have taken bin Laden alive if possible – the Americans have presented bin Laden with a priceless posthumous propaganda gift. For it shows that the al-Qaeda leader was granted the death he wanted – killed by enemy forces, rather than submissively taken into captivity.

As well as this, Obama’s exultant claim that “justice has been done” has enraged Pakistanis. Many are asking why the terrorist leader was not made to stand trial – as Nazi war criminals were after World War Two – rather than being killed in cold blood.

Further confusion now concerns the level of Pakistani involvement in the operation that killed bin Laden. According to the United States, the Pakistan government only found out about the raid after it had finished. Many security experts say this account defies credibility. President Zardari may not have known, they say, but someone in the upper echleons of power must have.

The Americans say that the four US helicopters set off from the Afghan town of Jellalabad before entering Pakistani airspace. They flew for a full seven minutes before reaching Abbottabad, the military town where Bin Laden was hiding. The helicopters stayed in Abbottabad for 45 minutes while the operation was carried out, before flying back to Afghanistan with the dead body of bin Laden.

This account assumes a level of incompetence from the Pakistan which local security experts tell me is simply not credible. Even if the helicopters had evaded Pakistan’s expensive early warning radar systems – itself highly unlikely – they say that there is no way they could have remained unnoticed for 45 minutes in one of Pakistan’s premier garrison towns. Furthermore, even trying to avoid detection would be highly dangerous in case Pakistani fighter planes shot down the US helicopters.

Officials and diplomats told me that they accepted there had been no formal communication between the United States and Pakistan ahead of the raid, and that politicians were not informed. They also accepted that the Pakistan intellegience service – the ISI – was not formally told about it through the usual channels of communications.

But it was suggested to me that trusted individuals within the Pakistani defence and security establishment – and certainly the Pakistan chief of staff, General Kayani – were informed through discrete channels, most probably when General David Petraeus paid a surprise visit to Islamabad last week. General Kayani is now under bitter attack from Pakistan politicians and may face calls to quit.

Amidst the wave of international condemnation of Pakistan, one country has stood resolutely by its side. Neighbouring China has issued supportive statements, and there have been voices emerging calling China a “trustworthy ally” and demanding a change of allegiance towards the east.

This would mark a dramatic change of posture for Pakistan, which has regarded the United States as its closest ally and supplier of aid ever since the collapse of the British empire more than 60 years ago. [Pakistan has regarded the United States as a country ruled by the endlessly gullible, especially its generals, and has taken full advantage of that gullibility for more than a half-century]. But such has been the scale of humiliation faced by the military and political leadership in Islamabad that it would be no surprise if this week were indeed a fundamental turning point.

If that is not to happen – and if bin Laden’s death is not to become a seductive clarion call to jihadists – then the Pakistan people urgently need to be told the truth about how the terrorist died.

There is an important and relevant analogy here. After the death of Hitler in 1945, reports, fuelled by Soviet Russia, which falsely said that no corpse had been found when its troops entered the bunker - swiftly started to spread that the Nazi leader was still alive.

These reports were potentially very dangerous, so the British dispatched the Oxford historian Hugh Trevor-Roper to prove that Hitler was indeed dead. The resulting book, called The Last Days of Hitler, became an historical classic and the basis for the cult film Downfall.

There is no doubt that many films will be made about the life – and death – of Osama bin Laden. But first the world urgently needs a new process of demystification, and find accuracy among the tall stories of bin Laden’s death. Otherwise, as I can see from the troubled streets of Pakistan today, he will become more dangerous in death than in life.

Posted on 05/07/2011 5:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 7 May 2011
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Pettin' In The Park (Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler)

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 05/07/2011 6:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 7 May 2011
These Days Nothing Is Lost Save Spelling, Syntax, Grammar
Posted on 05/07/2011 7:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 7 May 2011
What With All The Excitement About OBL, It's So Easy To Overlook Global Climate Disruption

Whatever other disruptions and expenses and terrors and miseries  those who take Islam to heart cause and will continue to cause, not the least of what they do is divert attention, mental and other resources, from many other world-quaking matters, including global climate disruption.

Here's the latest:

Dramatic Sea Level Rise Expected From Faster Melting of Arctic Snow and Ice
By Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Environmental News Network
 May 7, 2011


Washington, DC, May 6, 2011 – Sea levels could rise up to 5 feet by the end of this century, driven by warming in the Arctic and the resulting melt of snow and ice, according to a new study by the International Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP). This is more than two and a half times higher than the 2007 projection of a half to two feet by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“The largest and most permanent bodies of ice in the Arctic – multiyear sea ice, mountain glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet – have all been declining faster since 2000 than they did in the previous decade, ” according to the Arctic study.  “The Arctic Ocean is projected to become nearly ice-free in summer within this century, likely within the next thirty to forty years.”

The Arctic temperature increase and the decline of snow and ice feed upon themselves, in an accelerating feedback loop that is causing more rapid melting and sea level rise.  The reflective Arctic ice and snow act as a protective shield, sending solar radiation into space.  As the ice and snow disappears it is replaced by darker seawater or land, which absorbs more of the incoming radiation.  This absorbed energy is released as heat during the summer months, further adding to Arctic warming, which in turn accelerates melting.

Among the feedbacks of greatest concern is the melting of Arctic permafrost (permanently frozen ground).  Circumpolar permafrost regions contain the equivalent of about 6,000 billion tonnes of CO2. As more permafrost melts due to increasing Arctic temperatures, more of the gases that were previously trapped in the frozen ground are released. 

According to the report, the temperature in the Arctic permafrost has increased by up to 2ËšC over the past two to three decades.  This warming has caused the southern boundary for melting permafrost to move steadily northward, by 19 to 50 miles in Russia and by more than 80 miles in Quebec.

The combination of these changes could lead to “run-away” feedbacks that could push past other critical tipping points in Earth’s climate system including the loss of Hindu-Kush-Himalaya-Tibetan glaciers, which provide the head-waters for most major river systems of Asia, (the  source of freshwater for hundreds of millions of people), and the die-off of the Amazon forest.

In addition to the global impacts, the increasing temperatures in the Arctic are expected to create fundamental changes in Arctic ecosystems, possibly erasing entire habitats. This will contribute to species extinctions, and dramatically impact Arctic societies, creating challenges for local communities and traditional ways of life.

Emissions of black carbon soot – produced mostly from diesel engines and burning of biomass – also contribute to the Arctic problem by darkening snow and ice and reducing their ability to reflect the sun’s radiation. Recent studies indicate that black carbon may be responsible for 50% of Arctic warming, or nearly 1.0ºC of the 1.9ºC warming since 1890.

“Slowing the feedback mechanisms will not be easy or simple, but there’s no alternative.” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Without the Arctic, we’re facing an extremely grave and uncertain future.”

Combating this threat to the Arctic and the globe requires tackling the problem of climate change. This in turn requires cutting emissions of CO2, the principal greenhouse gas, protecting and expanding forests and other “sinks” to absorb CO2, and developing other strategies to draw down current excess CO2 from the atmosphere on a time scale of decades rather than the thousands of years the natural cycle takes to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.  It also requires cutting the other global warming gases along with black carbon soot.  These other non-CO2 climate pollutants can complement cuts in CO2.  Both are needed to win the battle against global warming. 

According to a recent UNEP/WMO report, full implementation of a package of sixteen emission reduction measures targeting black carbon and ozone precursors, including methane, can cut the rate of global warming in half for the next 30 to 60 years, and by two-thirds in the Arctic.

The AMAP report will be delivered to the foreign ministers of eight Arctic nations next week, including Sec. Hillary Clinton.

Alarming State of Glaciers Prompts Workshop and Report Commissioned by Vatican

Glaciers are in rapid decline and loss of these glaciers will have profoundly negative impacts on climate and human life, according to a report published yesterday by a scientific working group that was commissioned by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Science.

The co-authors of “Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene” list numerous examples of glacial decline around the world and the evidence linking that decline to human-caused changes in climate and air pollution. The threat to the ways of life of people dependent upon glaciers and snow packs for water supplies compels immediate action to mitigate the effects of climate change and to adapt to what changes are happening now and are projected to happen in the future.

“This group’s consensus statement is a warning to humanity and a call for fast action—to mitigate global and regional warming, to protect mountain glaciers and other vulnerable ecosystems, to assess national and local climate risks, and to prepare to adapt to those climate impacts that cannot be mitigated,” reads the report.

Though scientists usually refrain from proposing specific action, Professor Ramanathan from the Scripps Institution, at the University of California, San Diego, and one of the workshop co-chairs, said the circumstances of climate change warranted advancing suggestions from the working group. 

In “Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene” the working group – made up of glaciologists, climate scientists, meteorologists, hydrologists, physicists, chemists, mountaineers, and lawyers – makes three central recommendations to minimize climate impacts:


  • Reduce emissions of carbon dioxide quickly and aggressively, including through protection of forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other carbon sinks, and through the development and deployment of strategies to draw down excess CO2 in the atmosphere, all within decades;

  • Reduce concentrations of other climate warmers and air pollutants, including black carbon soot, methane, lower atmosphere ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by as much as 50 percent, also within decades; and

  • Prepare to adapt to climate change impacts that will undoubtedly occur even if mitigation measures are successful.

“Climate change is a moral issue, as well as a scientific issue,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development and a member of the working group. “Hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable of the Earth will suffer needlessly,” he added, “unless we take fast action to slow and ultimately reverse global warming.”  


Zaelke continued, “The Vatican’s support for fast action to mitigate climate change is heartening. Religious leaders have the authority to build a groundswell of support that persuades even conservative political leaders to take the strong and fast action we need to protect the Planet.”

Report authors met at the Vatican from April 2 to April 4, 2011 under the invitation of Chancellor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo of the pontifical academy. The report was issued by the Vatican yesterday and will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI. 

The report title refers to the term coined by Crutzen to describe what is considered a new geologic epoch that began when the impacts of mankind on the planet became a major factor in environmental and climate changes.

Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic Executive Summary

Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene:

Members of the working group commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:

Ajai, L. Bengtsson, D. Breashears, P.J. Crutzen, S. Fuzzi, W. Haeberli, W.W. Immerzeel, G. Kaser, C. Kennel, A. Kulkarni, R. Pachauri, T. Painter, J. Rabassa, V. Ramanathan, A. Robock, C. Rubbia, L. Russell, M. Sánchez Sorondo, H.J. Schellnhuber, S. Sorooshian, T. F. Stocker, L.G. Thompson, O.B. Toon, D. Zaelke

Posted on 05/07/2011 8:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Muslim Mob Attacks Coptic Church In Cairo, Six Dead, 120 Wounded

From CNN:

6 dead in Egyptian sectarian violence

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 7, 2011
Egyptians gather as firefighters extinguish a fire in a church after clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo on Saturday.
Egyptians gather as firefighters extinguish a fire in a church after clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo on Saturday.
  • "People attacked us, and we have to protect ourselves," says a Christian resident
  • 120 people were injured in the clashes
  • Tensions have risen this year between Egypt's Muslim majority and its Coptic minority

Cairo, Egypt -- Six people were killed and 120 injured in sectarian clashes outside a church in Cairo on Saturday, officials said.

An angry group of Muslim Salafists attacked the Saint Mena Coptic Orthodox Church. They were upset over reports of a woman being held against her will after allegedly converting to Islam.

"With my own eyes I saw three people killed and dozens injured," said Mina Adel, a Christian resident. "There's no security here. There's a big problem. People attacked us, and we have to protect ourselves."

Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman Alla Mahmoud said in a statement that six people were killed and 120 injured in the violence.

Authorities sent soldiers and police to help secure the area.

Tensions have risen this year between Egypt's Muslim majority and its Coptic minority.

A Coptic church in the town of Alexandria was bombed on New Year's Day, killing 23 people. The Palestinian Islamic Army, which has links to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for what was the deadliest attack on Christians in Egypt in recent times.

Ten days later, a gunman killed a Christian man and wounded five other Christians on a train in Egypt.

In November, a group with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq announced that all Christians in the Middle East would be "legitimate targets," as the group's deadline for Egypt's Coptic church to release alleged Muslim female prisoners expired.

The group's claim that the Coptic Church in Egypt is holding female prisoners is based on widespread rumors of Coptic women in Egypt converting to Islam and being detained by the church in an attempt to compel or persuade them to return to their original faith.

About 9% of Egypt's 80 million residents are Coptic Christians. They base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt, according to St. Takla Church in Alexandria, the capital of Coptic Christianity.

The religion split with other Christians in the 5th century over the definition of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Posted on 05/07/2011 8:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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