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Worthy News and Views

Walking holiday in County Kerry, Ireland

Ladies View, in Killarney National Park, named after the women in Queen Victoria’s retinue who admired this vista in 1861 Photo: ALAMY
Banter filled the Purple Heather in Kenmare, County Kerry. The bar on the town’s attractive high street had been recommended by our hotel doorman as the ideal place to wind down after a hike on the nearby Beara Peninsula.

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I ordered a Murphy’s and eavesdropped on conversations, one with a tip for a horse running that afternoon at Navan. My nosiness got me nowhere, however, as the horse, on which I rashly placed a bet, came nowhere. But the hapless nag was the only blemish on a day that had begun in bright sunshine as we met our walking guides, Dermot and Helen Corkery, at our hotel, the nearby Sheen Falls Lodge.
We’d come to this part of Ireland – first popularised as a holiday destination by the Victorians – to explore the Kerry Way, the Beara Way and the Killarney National Park. It was quickly evident that Dermot was the man to show us. He grew up locally and his family has farmed in the region for generations; walking was in his blood, not least because his childhood involved a daily six-mile round trip to school.
We followed paths that took us through a breathtaking landscape of lakes and hills, and at every turn Dermot had a tale. The route took us to Gleninchiquin and up Knockagarrane for a view across Kenmare Bay to Kenmare itself and on to the striking Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Carrantuohill, Ireland’s highest mountain at 3,400ft. On route, we passed the Uragh Stone Circle, five striking neolithic megaliths. Its remote location made it even more evocative.
For the more adventurous, and for those with a tent, the well-signposted route along the Iveragh Peninsula, is also worth tackling, or for an easier stroll nearby head to Dromore Woods for a walk that is part woodland and part coast.
After the pub we made for Sneem, known for its nature garden and various international sculptures dotted around the village. But it was all rather underwhelming – and I only found a couple of works, including an incongruous installation by the artist James Scanlon. It all seemed like a work in progress in a village that is known as the knot in the Ring of Kerry (something to do with the confluence of the river).
The Ring of Kerry – the popular name for the Iveragh Peninsula – is the stunning scenic route that links the likes of Kenmare, Killarney, Killorglin and Cahersiveen in the west. It is best avoided in July and August but offers access to some of the loveliest parts of the country.
We headed anticlockwise from Kenmare past the “Lakes of Killarney”, lower, middle and upper; lower is the largest and home to some 30 small islands. In early morning it has an almost mystical air and othrworldly stories abound. One tells of an Irish chieftain who is said to hold eternal court beneath the waters and to rise once a year on the eve of May Day.
After stretching our legs again with a climb to Torc waterfall, we headed for Muckross House, a striking Victorian mansion built in 1843 for an ambitious MP, Henry Arthur Herbert. It passed to the state in the Thirties, when the 11,000-acre estate became Ireland’s first national park.
On a brief tour of the rather sombre interior, we heard of the costly (for the host) visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1861, the zenith of Muckross’s history. Victoria’s entourage consisted of more than 100 people and the trip was planned six years in advance – yet the Queen stayed just two nights.
But Victoria’s visit gave a seal of approval to Kerry, which proved popular with the great and the good. Wordsworth and Byron made earlier appearances, and Tennyson wrote about Killarney in Blow Bugle Blow. We were less taken by the busy town, with its profusion of bars, but did like the fabulous neo-Gothic cathedral, designed by Pugin, and the racecourse, whose July and August meetings are a high point.
Escaping the town, we took a delightful jaunting horse-and-carriage ride to Ross Castle. Michael, “the driver”, cheerily told us his family had been in the business for five generations and he has eight draught horses that trek routes around Killarney.
Back at our hotel we had tea in the library then explored the beautifully kept cemetery, which includes a reminder of the Irish potato famine of the 1840s. Kenmare was badly hit and the simple plot is a sober reminder that not all could join the 5,000 locals who took up a controversial emigration scheme to America.
Near the graveyard we also found a well, adorned with prayer pledges, dedicated to the fifth-century monk St Finian, who is said to have cured leprosy.
We only touched on the region during our long weekend, missing out on fishing, the beaches and a ride in the hotel’s grand 1936 Buick Roadmaster, but we had already had a sense of why the Victorians were so captivated by Kerry.
Getting there
Ryanair (0871 246 0000; http://www.ryanair.com) has flights to Cork from £32. Sixt car hire (0844 248 6620; http://www.sixt.co.uk).
Staying there
Sheen Falls Lodge (00 353 64 664 1600; http://www.sheenfallslodge.ie) offers a “Walk This Way” package from €345 (£285) per person, including two nights’ accommodation, full Irish breakfast daily, dinner in La Cascade (a smart restaurant that specialises in imaginative, locally sourced dishes), a half-day guided walk and a one-hour massage in the health club.
Further information
The Purple Heather, Henry Street, Kenmare (664 1016). Muckross House, The National Park, Killarney (667 0144; http://www.muckross-house.ie), adults €7 (£5.77). For general information, contact Discover Ireland (www.discoverireland.com).

August 25, 2010 Posted by | natural | , | 1 Comment

Sharia Law in Canada and Britain: By Eileen F. Toplansky

The spread of sharia law to the entire world is part of jihad. In Canada and Britain, jihad is advancing.

A June 2010 report entitled “Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights” begins with Secretary General of the Islamic Sharia Council Suhaib Hasan saying, “IfSharia law is implemented, then you can turn this country [Great Britain] into a haven of peace because once a thief’s hand is cut off nobody is going to steal.” Furthermore, “once[,] just only once, if an adulterer is stoned[,] nobody is going to commit this crime at all,” and finally, “[w]e want to offer it to the British society. If they accept it, it is for their good and if they don’t accept it they’ll need more and more prisons.”


This perverse logic is illustrative of the brutality that is sharia law’s penal code. The writers of the report have compiled evidence of “the discriminatory nature of these courts and make recommendations for curtailing sharia and religious tribunals on the basis that they work against and not for equality, and are incompatible with human rights.” The authors explain that “whilst there is an obvious difference between stoning a woman to death and denying her the right to divorce and child custody, the fundamentals and misogyny behind sharia‘s civil and penal codes are the same — it is just a matter of degree. It is deceptive, or at best a mistake, not to see the civil aspects of sharia law as part of and an extension of its penal code.”


The first Sharia Council was begun in Birmingham, England in 1982. Muslim tribunal courts begun passing sharia judgments in August 2007 in Great Britain. In September 2008, Richard Edwards of the Telegraph reported that five sharia courts had been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford, and Manchester, and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The British government had “quietly sanctioned” the sharia courts and made their rulings “enforceable with the full power of the judicial system.” Prior to this, “the [sharia] rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.” These cases dealt with sharia civil code, i.e., Muslim divorce and inheritance. In one inheritance case, the sons received twice as much as the daughters because men are favored over women in sharia law. Under British law, the daughters would have received equal amounts; in addition, in sharia law, “a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s.” Furthermore, “a woman’s marriage contract is between her male guardian and her husband,” and finally, “a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim.” 


Opposition leaders in Britain voiced their deep concerns about a dual legal system. Nonetheless, Muslims had taken advantage of a British clause in the Arbitration Act of 1996. Thus, “under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.” Given the second-class status of women under sharia law and the intimidation of women therein, it becomes rather clear that theirs is often not a voluntary decision. Furthermore, “the proceedings are not recorded, nor are there any searchable legal judgments. Nor is there any real right to appeal.” Sharia law is absolute.


The Muslim Tribunals cite the Jewish Beth Din courts, which have handled civil legal cases for over one hundred years. But as Melanie Phillips has explained, this is a total misrepresentation. The implication is that British Jews are not bound by the law of the land but instead get an exemption. This is false. Though Jewish religious courts (Beth Dindeal with such issues as dispute arbitration, family issues, marriage, and divorce, the Jewish courts “have never sought official recognition of their rulings, and these are not recognized under English law. … Jewish religious marriage and divorce rituals have no status in English law. … Jews have to marry or be divorced according to English law just like everyone else. … But the crucial difference is that … Muslims want their rulings to be accepted by the state as having the same legal authority as English law” (emphasis mine). While Jews have always acknowledged that as a minority, they live under the law of the land and do not seek to change, the Muslims have a very different outlook and intent. Therefore, sharia law’s “imposition represents a concerted attempt by Islamists to gain further influence in Britain.” Unlike aborigine, Catholic, or Jewish tribunals, Muslim tribunals seek “to impose their cultural values on Western society.” For example, Jewish kosher laws are never imposed upon non-Jewish people; the same cannot be said concerning Islamic halal food. In one British nursing home, the non-Muslim residents were obligated to forgo bacon in their meals in deference to Islamic halal demands.


Thus, life in Nigeria has resulted in Christian provinces now forcibly being made to accept sharia law in place of the secular constitution. In 2003 in Aubervilliers, Fance, the city council was forced to close the municipal swimming pool so that Muslim women could swim in private. And in America and Great Britain, seeing-eye dogs raise the ire of Muslim taxicab drivers who consider dogs “impure.”


Yet, by October 2008, secret talks were underway to bring Islamic sharia law courts to Scotland. Again, many raised concerns about the establishment of a “dual legal system.”


A Scottish Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken stated that “in criminal matters Scottish courts must have total jurisdiction. … We cannot have private arrangements when human rights are an issue.” Nevertheless, by June 2009, “at least 85 Islamic sharia courts” were operating in Britain. This figure was “17 times higher than previously accepted.” Academic and Islamic specialist Denis MacEoinstated that “among the [sharia] rulings, we find some that advise illegal actions and others that transgress human rights standards as applied by British courts.”


In a Spring 2010 report entitled “An Unjust Doctrine of Civil Arbitration: Sharia Courts in Canada and England,” author Arsani William scrutinizes the gender-biased discrimination of sharia. The report examines the former Canadian Attorney General Marion Boyd’s examination about the use of Muslim sharia law in private arbitration. Interestingly, it was Canadian Muslim women who claimed that sharia law would treat women in the Islamic community in ways contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights. Boyd, however, concluded that sharia law would not be problematic when used in private arbitration.


Notwithstanding, author William argues that “sharia is a dangerous doctrine of civil arbitration,” and he advocates for “its rejection from binding arbitration.” And, in fact, attempts to set up sharia courts in Canada in 2005 were abandoned after protests. William notes that “verdicts of an entire community of Islamic Sheiks could neither be answerable nor accountable to anyone.” He highlights Boyd’s failure to address the danger of “Muslim women [being] forced to cave into social pressure and accept unfair decisions.” Furthermore, since the Jewish community and the Catholic community did not want Muslims introducing sharia into Canada, they accepted the decision to ban all religious arbitration in Ontario, including their own respective tribunals. Robert Spencer mused that “it is … unfortunate that other religious arbitration arrangements [had] to be sacrificed, which feeds the assumption that they are all morally equivalent. If Western authorities could dare to speak honestly about the distinctive characteristics of Islamic law, this would not be necessary.”


With this Canadian backdrop, William, in the Stanford Journal of International Relations, amplifies that “sharia courts threaten the integrity of law in the British democracy, by promoting the unequal treatment of women in the British Islamic community.” He writes that “In Islam, marriages are seen as contracts. The dissolution of these contracts will provide for settlements that undermine the status of women, as women are not granted equal compensation or child-custody claims.” Unlike contractual Jewish law, “sharia recognizes men as superior to women in matters of civil arbitration. Men can divorce their wives suddenly. … However, [Muslim] women must undergo multiple legal proceedings to be granted a religious divorce. … In disputes over child custody, sharia recognizes the absoluteness of a father’s ownership if the child is over seven years old.” Furthermore, in several documented cases, English Muslim women who were victims of domestic abuse and being judged under sharia law were “told to halt police investigations and continue with marriage peacefully.”


Russel Bywaters, an English lawyer known for his work in marital and inheritance settlements, points to the “horror at Malaysia’s attempts to run the two systems — a civil code/Sharia.” The fact that sharia law conflicts with many of the precepts of the Human Rights Act of 1998 makes it incompatible with Canadian law, and it was these fears that “prompted its ousting from the Canadian system.” 


It behooves every American to seriously consider what is happening as sharia law advocates (e.g., Obama appointee Dalia Mogahed) continue to insinuate their beliefs into this country. As Maryam Namazie, spokesperson of the British One Law for All Campaign, has written, “The existence of a parallel legal system that is denying a large section of the British population their fundamental human rights is scandalous.” Sharia law is antithetical to freedom and equality. Oklahoma is leading the way and has already established a firewall against sharia law. The evidence continues to mount that the Islamists will keep chipping away if we do not push back, and push back hard!

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

American Thinker: Sharia Law in Canada and Britain

American Thinker: Sharia Law in Canada and Britain.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Britain, London, politics, religion | | Leave a comment

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Auschwitz, crime, history | , | Leave a comment

Massive artificial reef off California coast grows like wild « ReefCIs Blog

Massive artificial reef off California coast grows like wild « ReefCIs Blog.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | environmental | | Leave a comment

BP frozen out of Arctic oil drilling race

Amplify’d from www.guardian.co.uk

British energy giant BP forced to abandon hopes of Greenland exploration owing to tarnished reputation from Gulf oil spill

BP frozen out of Arctic oil drilling race

Icebergs float in a bay near Greenland
BP confirmed it was no longer trying to win an exploration licence in Greenland (above). Photograph: John McConnico/AP

BP has been forced to abandon hopes of drilling in the Arctic, currently the centre of a new oil rush due to its tarnished reputation following the Gulf of Mexico spill.

The company confirmed tonight that it was no longer trying to win an exploration licence in Greenland, despite earlier reports of its interest. “We are not participating in the bid round,” said a spokesman at BP’s London headquarters who declined to discuss its reasons for the reverse.

The setback, which follows the announcement this week of a major find in the region by British rival Cairn Energy, is the first sign that the Gulf of Mexico disaster may have permanently damaged BP’s ability to operate — not just in US waters, but in other environmentally-sensitive parts of the world.

Today the bureau of minerals and petroleum in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, confirmed that the names of successful bidders for future exploration licences would be announced in the next couple of weeks.

The bureau refused to comment on widespread industry rumours that it had not considered BP specifically as a result of the recent Macondo well disaster in the US.

But senior sources confirmed to the Guardian that both the Greenland government and BP had agreed it would be inappropriate for the company to be involved.

“With the Greenpeace ship already harassing Cairn off Greenland — a company which has an exemplary safety record – everyone realised it would be political madness to give the green light to BP,” one source said.

ont of breaking into new frontiers such as Russia and Angola, as well as

There has long been speculation since the Deepwater Horizon accident in April that BP could find itself persona non grata, particularly in sensitive environmental regions such as the Arctic.

BP has traditionally been at the forefront of breaking into new frontiers such as Russia and Angola, as well as drilling the deepest wells in the Gulf of Mexico, but the blowout and enormous environmental damage in the southern states has completely changed its external image and its own ambitions.

BP’s current interests around the Arctic region are centred on Alaska, but there has been extensive speculation that the company is in talks with rivals such as Apache to sell these off in a desperate bid to raise cash to pay for expected oil-spill liabilities of over $30bn.

Cairn’s announcement that it had struck gas this week reinforced the views of the US Geological Survey which said last year that it believed there could be 90bn barrels of oil and 50tn cubic metres of gas in the wider Arctic region.

Environmentalists are particularly nervous about plans to open up Arctic seas for exploration because the cold conditions would make a spill far more damaging. Last month, a report by US government scientists concluded that a quarter of the 4.9m barrels of oil estimated to have been spilled in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico had evaporated or dissolved. Oil spilled in the Arctic would be far harder to disperse and break down.

There will be another round of bidding for drilling off Greenland next year and the year after, but BP’s reverse this week shows that it will be difficult for the firm to secure future exploration licences in the area.

Despite the Deepwater Horizon disaster, major oil companies – BP included — still hope to begin drilling in the Arctic off the coast of North America soon. The US president, Barack Obama, opened up US waters there to exploration shortly before the Deepwater Horizon explosion but suspended the plans while investigations into the disaster took place. Last month, BP, Exxon Mobil and Imperial Oil formed a joint venture to explore for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea in Canada’s Arctic.

The oil industry is already lobbying against new safety regulations requiring them to drill a relief well at the same time as they drill an exploration well in order to speedily plug any leak.

Read more at www.guardian.co.uk

 

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

NY Cab Driver Allegedly Stabbed For Being Muslim: ‘I Feel Very Sad’ | TPMMuckraker

The New York City cab driver allegedly stabbed repeatedly by a 21-year-old man who first asked if the driver was Muslim has released a statement through the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, saying “I never feel this hopeless and insecure before.”

“I have been here more than 25 years,” Ahmed H. Sharif said in a statement. “I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before. Right now, the public sentiment is very serious (because of the Ground Zero Mosque debate.) All drivers should be more careful.”

The release went on to describe the way the alleged incident turned violent, saying that the suspect, Michael Enright of Brewster, New York, “started out friendly, asking Mr. Sharif about where he was from, how long he had been in America, if he was Muslim and if he was observing fast during Ramadan.”

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Muslim | Leave a comment

Man Held in Anti-Muslim Stabbing of Cabby in New York – NYTimes.com

The cabbie has been here 25 years.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Closeted Calamity: The Hidden HIV Epidemic of Men Who Have Sex with Men: Scientific American

Closeted Calamity: The Hidden HIV Epidemic of Men Who Have Sex with Men: Scientific American.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | culture | | Leave a comment

FBI Hunts for Wisconsin Campus Bomb Suspect Leo Burt 40 Years Later

FBI Hunts for Wisconsin Campus Bomb Suspect Leo Burt 40 Years Later.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | death | | Leave a comment