World View: France's Anti-Muslim Anti-Immigrant Surges in Polls

This morning's key headlines from

  • Libya's prime minister is kidnapped in broad daylight, then freed
  • Red Cross warns of bubonic plague epidemic in Madagascar
  • France's anti-Muslim anti-immigrant Marine Le Pen surges in polls
  • NIST Time Widget broken

Libya's prime minister is kidnapped in broad daylight, then freed

Ali Zeidan (AFP)
Ali Zeidan (AFP)

In a stunning action by a Libyan militia, Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped early Thursday morning from his hotel in the heart of the capital city, Tripoli. Zeidan was freed unhurt several hours later, apparently because a competing Libya militia charged in to free him.

It's believed that Thurswday's kidnapping was staged by al-Qaeda militants in retaliation for alleged Libyan government collusion in last week's kidnapping by U.S. special forces, in broad daylight, of Abu Anas al-Libi, who was indicted years ago on charges of aiding in the bombing of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. ( "6-Oct-13 World View -- Two U.S. military strikes target Libya and Somalia jihadists")

However, there are other possible reasons for Thursday's kidnapping as well. Libya's government does not have an army or police force, and is really nothing more than a confederation of tribal militias who are responsible for keeping order, but who have their own individual agendas. One simmering issue is that Zeidan wants the central government to have control over Libya's oil fields, while some of the militias want control themselves. In any case, the kidnapping of Zeidan is considered a sign of how weak Libya's government is, following the Nato military action in 2011 that brought down Muammar Gaddafi. BBC and AP and CS Monitor

Red Cross warns of bubonic plague epidemic in Madagascar

Bubonic plague, also called the Black Death when killed half of Europe's population in the 1300s, has never been eliminated, and in fact is endemic in many places. It's endemic in the animal population of Madagascar, and the The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva and the Pasteur Institute are warning of a possible epidemic, especially in the crowded, rat-infested prisons, as summer approaches in this Southern Hemisphere island-nation off the coast of Africa:

"If the plague gets into prisons there could be a sort of atomic explosion of plague within the town. The prison walls will never prevent the plague from getting out and invading the rest of the town."

Bubonic plague is carried by fleas and fleas are carried by rats. According to the ICRC, the prisons are infested with rats that are themselves infested with fleas, and the situation has gotten so bad that an "atomic explosion" may occur in the town, causing an epidemic of the Black Death. BBC

France's anti-Muslim anti-immigrant Marine Le Pen surges in polls

France's far-right National Front party is leading the two mainstream political parties in recent polls. (The term "far right" has different meanings in Europe and America.) A new poll finds that NP is leading with 24%, while the center-right UMP part of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has 22%, and the governing Socialist party of president François Hollande is at 19%. NP is headed by Marine Le Pen, who campaigns for curbing immigration and exiting the euro. Le Pen has styled herself as protecting France against both the "European Soviet Union" and against Muslim immigration. Europe has been generally moving to the right on the issues of immigration and deportation of Muslims. EU Observer

NIST Time Widget broken

In case you're wondering why the "NIST Time Widget" on the Generational Dynamics home page no longer works -- it's because of the government shutdown. NIST

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