Settler leader calls new Israeli government ‘a wet dream’


The new Netanyahu coalition will give settlers and their supporters more executive power than any previous government in Israel has until now. 

With the Housing and Industry ministries in their hand, and political ally Moshe Ya’alon as the new defense minister, the settlers are very pleased by the new Netanyahu government. Head of the Samaria region (the northern West Bank) Gershon Mesika told the Ynet news site:

“On the face of it, it does look like a wet dream – Ya’alon on defense and Ariel on housing is something which carries great potential, but in these things you can’t foretell what will happen.”

The Ynet piece quotes other settler leaders who were extremely satisfied with the new coalition.

The Jewish Home party (formally known as the National Religious Party) registered an all-time high of 12 seats in the last elections. The settlers also did very well in the internal Likud primaries, with many of their favorites – Moshe Feiglin, Tzipi Hotovely, Yariv Levin and Danny Danon – ranking in high places on the united Likud-Yisrael Beitenu list.

With the help of Yair Lapid, the centrist leader who formed a pact with Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett during coalition negotiations, the settlers were able to fulfill two of their most important political goals: replacing Ehud Barak with a more hospitable defense minister, and taking over the Housing Ministry. The Defense Ministry is the final authority on all civilian projects in the West Bank, while the Housing Ministry can help speed up the bureaucratic process and finance projects in the occupied territories. The Housing Ministry has special importance in the right-wing effort to establish a Jewish presence in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

Bennett’s Jewish home party will not oppose Netanyahu’s effort to renew negotiations with the Palestinians, since they believe that even if talks resume, they cannot lead to evacuation of settlements, let alone a solution.

However, it is unclear what would become of the government if the U.S. administration is able to impose another settlement freeze. In such a case, pressure on Jewish Home to leave the government would increase.

(Source / 17.03.2013)

March 19 in Ramallah: Palestinians for Dignity to protest Obama visit

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Palestinians For Dignity call for a demonstration in objection to President Obama’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territory

Tuesday March 19 at 4:30 pm

 Starting at Al Manara Square, marching towards Al-Muqata (Ramallah)

Long Live Free Palestine

Palestinians For Dignity


President Obama’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territory comes at a time when our prisoners are waging a hunger strike battle in the face of Israeli government obstinacy, and in the face of US silence towards the slow murder these heroes are being subjected to. Most recently Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat died during interrogation inside the Israeli prison of Megiddo. Moreover, the visit comes in light of the continued international isolation of Israel and the ever-increasing boycott campaigns against it.

On one hand, it is simply naive to presume that U.S. policy toward Israel has changed since Obama took office. A March 2012 report by the U.S. Congress discusses a $3.1 billion in military aid for the year 2013 only, including financing the Iron Dome system, and increasing US bilateral support to Israel to $115 billion since 1949. In addition, the US is committed to maintain Israel’s security at the expense of the lives, land and livelihood of Palestinians; whether by justifying the massacres against Palestinians in Gaza, or through its silence concerning settlement expansion, destructions of homes, forcible transfer and other Israeli policies.

On the other hand, it is hypocritical and disingenuous that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) disregards the role of the Obama administration in blocking its membership request in 2011 at the Security Council, and its vote against the resolution at the General Assembly in 2012. Furthermore, the US congress has imposed financial sanctions on international institutions recognizing “Palestine”. And to add insult to injury, while the PLO/PA assure Palestinians they consider Jerusalem the Palestinian capital, yet they receive the US President in the Ramallah enclave.

Despite the attempts of the Palestinian “leadership” to ease the atmosphere, with statements about Obama pressuring the Israeli government on the issue of Palestinian political prisoners, or promises of petty US aid, however, the ultimate objectives of the visit are clear.

The visit aims to achieve three goals; first, to relieve the pressure off the Israeli government, which is suffering increased international isolation (albeit with words more than actions). Second, to restrain the frustration of the Palestinian street simmering in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and finally, to prolong the expected lifetime of the PA, which after 20 years is becoming more and more disconnected from its people.

The Palestinian people will not accept to play a role in achieving these interests, and will not succumb to these pressures. What is required of us as Palestinians is to persue a complete boycott of our occupier on all fronts: security, economical, political, cultural and academic, and to rebuild a representative entity for Palestinians everywhere. Not aid in relieving the pressure on the Israeli government by engaging in a futile process, and allowing it to complete its expansionary policies and annexation through uprooting Palestinians from their land and homes.

Accordingly, we call on the masses of the Palestinian people to change this path and demonstrate against receiving he who considers Israel “the closest ally in the region”, and to refuse the return to futile negotiations. We call for entrenching the sacrifices of the martyrs and prisoners  by refusing to surrender and to work with Palestinians everywhere to establish  a strategic program of resistance, where political, economic, military, popular and various other forms of resistance and duties are shared each according to their ability.

(Source / 17.03.2013)

What is the Light a Muslim Receives for Reciting Surah Al-Kahf on Friday?


Light on the Day of Judgment

By Abu Amina Elias for


I read the hadith which says a Muslim will receive light on Friday if he recites Surah Al-Kahf. What is this light?


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ قَرَأَ سُورَةَ الْكَهْفِ فِي يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ أَضَاءَ لَهُ مِنَ النُّورِ مَا بَيْنَ الْجُمُعَتَيْنِ

Whoever recites the chapter of the cave (surah al-kahfon the day of Friday will have a light for him between this Friday and the next.

Source: Al-Bayhaqi, Sunan Al-Kubra 5856

Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Al-Bahuti Al-Hanbali

The meaning of “light” in this narration is that it is guidance from Allah. Light is a common metaphor for guidance, as in the verse:

وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ

We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light…

[Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:46]

In the narration of Abu Hisham, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ قَرَأَ سُورَةَ الْكَهْفِ كَمَا أُنْزِلَتْ كَانَتْ لَهُ نُورًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Whoever recites the chapter of the cave (surah al-kahf) as it was revealed will have light on the Day of Resurrection.

Source: Al-Bayhaqi, Sunan Al-Kubra 5856

Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Al-Bahuti Al-Hanbali

According to this narration, the good deed of the recitation of Surah Al-Kahf will appear as light on the Day of Resurrection. This light will protect the Muslim from the horrors of the grave and the Hereafter. This is similar to the narration of Abu Abdullah ibn Burayda, in which the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

تَعَلَّمُوا سُورَةَ الْبَقَرَةِ وَآلِ عِمْرَانَ فَإِنَّهُمَا الزَّهْرَاوَانِ يُظِلَّانِ صَاحِبَهُمَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَأَنَّهُمَا غَمَامَتَانِ أَوْ غَيَايَتَانِ أَوْ فِرْقَانِ مِنْ طَيْرٍ صَوَافَّ

Learn Surah Al-Baqarah and Surah Ali Imran because they are the two bright ones and they shade their people on the Day of Resurrection just as two clouds, two spaces of shade or two lines of birds.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 22441

Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Ibn Kathir

An-Nawawi said:

سُمِّيَتَا الزَّهْرَاوَيْنِ لِنُورِهِمَا وَهِدَايَتِهِمَا وَعَظِيمِ أَجْرِهِمَا

They are called the “two bright ones” because of their light, their guidance, and their tremendous reward.

Source: Sharh Sahih Muslim

Therefore, a Muslim who recites Surah Al-Kahf on Friday will receive light from Allah in the form of guidance, whether in this life or in the Hereafter.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best

(Source / 17.03.2013)

Bahrain court jails 17 for trying to kill policemen

DUBAI (Reuters) — A Bahrain court sentenced 17 people to 15 years in prison on Sunday after convicting them of trying to kill four policemen with a homemade bomb during political unrest last year.

The attackers planted the bomb in a roadblock formed of tires, palm tree trunks and garbage bins, and detonated it when a police patrol approached, state news agency BNA quoted prosecutor Mamdouh Al-Maawda as saying.

The four policemen were seriously hurt and burned during the attack in April 2012, BNA reported.

The tiny island kingdom has been plagued by sometimes violent street protests since pro-democracy protests led by its Shiite Muslim majority erupted in early 2011.

Also on Sunday, a group of people attacked a diesel tanker with Molotov cocktails, BNA quoted police as saying. Civil defense personnel extinguished the flames before they reached the diesel cargo.

(Source / 17.03.2013)

Tribunal calls on ICC to probe Israeli ‘crimes’ in Palestine

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) called Sunday for the International Criminal Court to investigate “crimes” committed by Israel in the territories as it wrapped up four years of investigation.

Meeting in Brussels, the people’s tribunal, which has no legal status but aims to draw international attention to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, said it would “support all initiatives from civil society and international organisations aimed at bringing Israel in front of the International Criminal Court”.

Since Palestine was awarded observer status at the UN in November, it can now file complaints against Israel with the ICC.

The tribunal also called on the ICC to recognise Palestinian jurisdiction and for an extraordinary session of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, set up for South Africa, to this time examine the Israeli case.

Previously presided by the French resistance hero and Holocaust survivor Stephane Hessel, who died on February 27, the RToP is modelled on the Russell Tribunal on Vietnam, a private investigative body which examined American foreign policy during the Vietnam War, named after the British philosopher Bertrand Russell.

RToP members include prominent rights activist Angela Davis and ex-Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters.

Since it was set up in 2009, the tribunal has gathered evidence from experts and witnesses to make 26 recommendations on Sunday, in its fifth and final session after previous meetings around the world.

These include “further criminal investigations of corporations aiding and abetting Israeli violations” and the “establishment of an international committee of former political prisoners to campaign on prisoner issues”.

Members of the tribunal also criticised Israel’s main ally, the US, but also the UN and the European Union for policy that was “complicit” in what it says are Israel’s violations of international law.

The tribunal also called for a boycott on imports of goods produced in West Bank settlements.

Israel dismissed the conclusions which it said had no real weight.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP: “They can write what they like, they only represent themselves. It’s a private body with no legal or political weight and has moral weight only among its members.”

“It has no political or legal significance, it is an ideological and propaganda document that people write for their like-minded friends.”

(Source / 17.03.2013)

Ayman Sharawna arrives in Gaza Strip

People carry freed prisoner Ayman Sharawna on a stretcher as he gestures upon his arrival to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, March 17.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Ayman Sharawna arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening after signing a deportation deal to end an 8-month long hunger strike in Israeli jail.

Sharawna arrived at the Erez crossing, where a Palestinian ambulance was waiting to take him into Gaza. Hundreds of people crowded at the Palestinian side of the checkpoint to greet him.

Sharawna signed an agreement with Israeli authorities to be deported to Gaza for 10 years, bringing an end to a hunger strike he launched on July 1, said Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

The undersecretary of the PA Ministry of Detainee Affairs, Ziad Abu Ein, told Ma’an the agreement was signed without notifying the ministry. He said Israeli authorities were pressuring Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for 228 days, to make a similar deal.

Earlier Sunday, the Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqe said the Palestinian Authority rejected the deportation of prisoners as political blackmail.

Sharawna, 36, is from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and is married with nine children.

He was released in the Oct. 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas but was rearrested in Jan. 2012 and accused of violating the terms of his release.

Israeli authorities refused to reveal how Sharawna violated his release terms, even to his lawyers, and he was jailed without charge or trial.

Israeli prosecutors sought to cancel Sharawna’s amnesty and jail him for 28 years, the remainder of his previous sentence. He went on hunger strike to demand his release.

(Source / 17.03.2013)

Palestine: Hunger strikers vow to resist occupation

Palestinian political prisoner and hunger striker Samer Issawi wrote in the Guardian on March 3: “Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance.”

As of January, according to Palestinian human rights groups, Israel held 4812 Palestinian prisoners in its jails.

Of these political prisoners, 1031 were being held until the conclusion of legal proceedings; 178 were in administrative detention, held indefinitely without trial or charge (in February at least a further 382 Palestinians were detained adding to this number); 166 were under the age of 18; 23 were children under 16; and six were women.

The remainder have been sentenced, in a harsh and unfair military system, with torture commonplace, almost complete lack of due process, vague charges, very low standards of evidence (or no evidence) presented and proceedings in Hebrew.

These political prisoners include 25 members of the Palestine National Council and the Speaker of the Parliament. Various writers, scholars, students and artists are also political prisoners.

Holding members of parliament is a violation of international law, and one of many laws Israel regularly breaks with impunity in its treatment of Palestinian political prisoners and the Palestinian people generally.

The conditions of their imprisonment are outrageous. Detainees are often held in solitary confinement for long periods, abused, tortured and denied proper health care.

No charge, no trial

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says that “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.”

The Israeli military has subjected Palestinians to administrative detention since the beginning of the Israeli occupation. Since 2000, Israel has issued 20,000 detention orders on Palestinians.

This is a system under which a military court can order suspects to be detained indefinitely, subject to renewal every six months by a court, without trial or charge. Israeli military law is sham justice. Palestinians are detained on the slightest excuse and held on false charges, on secret evidence unseen by lawyers or the accused, or on imprecise charges and no evidence.

Those re-arrested are often made to serve the remainder of their sentences or be sentenced on new charges.

Detained prisoners cannot dispute charges, cannot see alleged evidence against them and can be held for an indefinite period. This phony justice system depends on the whim of the Israeli military, denies due process because that’s the way the Israeli system operates, and abuses prisoners’ human rights and violates numerous international laws.

The Israeli military says it uses administrative detention to suppress any acts of resistance and dissent by Palestinians against the brutal Israeli occupation.

Hunger strikers fight for basic rights

Last year several Palestinian political prisoners went on hunger strike to protest their unfair detentions and mistreatment in Israeli jails. Issawi started his hunger strike in August and was joined by three other hunger strikers to protest the injustice of their administrative detention and that of other Palestinian political prisoners.

In December, he said: “My detention is unjust and illegal, just like the occupation is. My demands are legitimate and just. Thus I will not withdraw from the battle for freedom, waiting for either victory and freedom — or martyrdom.”

All the men initially took vitamins. Now, they drink only water and are refusing medical treatment and any food supplements.

Issawi, 33, is a political activist and member of resistance organisation the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He organised numerous protests against the Israeli occupation. He was arrested by Israeli forces on April 15, 2002 in Ramallah. He was wrongly charged with planning military attacks on Israel. There was no evidence for the charges, but he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Issawi was released in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel. But he was re-arrested by the Israeli military for allegedly violating the terms of his release.

He was told to leave Jerusalem, but was arrested in the village Hizma, which is within the boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality. Israel’s claims were false and just an excuse to re-arrest Issawi. He has since been detained without charge. It is Israel that has broken the release agreement by re-arresting Issawi and other former political prisoners.

Issawi had been on hunger strike for 200 days on February 27 and was transferred to hospital. He was reported to be suffering various health problems and in a critical condition. He recently escalated his hunger strike and has stopped drinking water, and is resisting continuous pressure from the Israeli military to end the hunger strike.

Ayman Sharawna, 36, was also released in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal.

But Sharawna was re-arrested by the Israeli military authorities for allegedly violating the terms of his release. He has since been held in jail without charge or trial, on the basis of a “secret administrative file” that neither he nor his lawyer have seen. They have not been told the nature of the alleged breach.

The Israeli military have also threatened to cancel his early release. This means he could be made to serve the remaining 28 years of his original sentence.

Sharawna has been on hunger strike since July last year, except for a brief break in December, when he was told he would be released. He resumed the hunger strike in January after learning that the Israeli Prison Service had lied about their promise. Sharawna’s health has seriously deteriorated.

Tareq Qaadan and Jafar Ezzedine have been held in administrative detention on secret changes that even their lawyers havenot seen. Qaadan and Ezzedine have been on hunger strike since November, to protest their detention without charge and demanding their release.

They were both transferred to hospital after their health seriously deteriorated when they refused to drink water.

In February, eight more Palestinian hunger strikers joined the protests.

Campaign against inhumane actions

Last year, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination urged Israel to end the practice of administrative detention, saying it was discriminatory and constituted arbitrary detention, which is illegal under international law.

European Union spokesperson Catherine Ashton said on February 18: “Israel must adhere to international human rights obligations regarding hunger striking Palestinian prisoners.”

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, once again called on Israel to either charge administrative detainees and allow them a fair trial or release them immediately.

The hunger strikers have brought to the world’s attention the plight of the Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention. Israel uses administrative detention to arrest and imprison Palestinians without cause, charges or trial and hold them indefinitely, many facing months or even years in prison.

The international community has a responsibility to condemn the continued practice of arbitrary administrative detention against Palestinians and compel Israel to comply with international humanitarian law and human rights laws in this regard and in other improper and illegal procedures used against Palestinian prisoners.

For far too long the US, Australia, Britain and other governments have turned a blind eye to the rogue state behaviour of Israel. It is overdue that the world community say they have had enough, and pressure governments to make Israel respect the human and civil rights of the Palestinian people.

The just cause of the Palestinian political prisoners requires immediate international exposure and support to improve their dire conditions. Many Palestinian political prisoners have been imprisoned illegally and deprived of their basic rights and liberties that are guaranteed by human rights and Geneva conventions and international law.

The Israeli occupation continually violates international law and conventions in its mistreatment of the Palestinian people. The international community must exert real pressure on Israel to end its blatant violations of human rights laws and stop the brutal abuses inflicted on Palestinian political prisoners.

The people of the world must let their respective governments know they have had enough of Israeli brutality and demand the UN, the EU and other world bodies stop their negligence of and complicity in Israeli crimes and take measures to force Israel to comply with international and human rights laws.

The world’s peoples and governments cannot allow Israel to continue to commit crimes with impunity, and have a moral responsibility to act.

Issawi said in his Guardian article: “My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.

(Source / 17.03.2013)

Settlers torch chicken coop in Nablus, official says

NABLUS (Ma’an) — A group of settlers set fire to a chicken coop in a Nablus village on Sunday, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers from Migdalim set fire to a chicken coop belonging to Jamal Abu Rida in nearby Qusra village.

Daghlas called on the international community to end settler attacks against Palestinians.

Settler violence against Palestinian communities and their property is routine in the occupied West Bank, with settlers enjoying widespread impunity for their crimes.

Annual figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.

(Source / 17.03.2013)

Cairo police use tear gas to disperse protesters outside Muslim Brotherhood HQ

An Egyptian protester from the black bloc group gestures in front of riot police and armored vehicles during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo on March 9, 2013. (AFP Photo / Mahmoud Khaled)
An Egyptian protester from the black bloc group gestures in front of riot police and armored vehicles during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo on March 9, 2013.

Egyptian police have used tear gas on a crowd of protesters outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo. The demonstrators turned out to condemn what they called an assault on journalists.

It comes just one day after an RT cameraman and other journalists were attacked outside the headquarters by Brotherhood supporters.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital Sunday afternoon, chanting slogans against President Mohamed Morsi and the Islamist group from which he hails.

Some of the then were holding banners which read, “Down with Brotherhood rule.”

The demonstration turned violent after a group of protesters tried to break through security forces which were guarding the group’s headquarters. Officers used teargas to disperse the crowds, while protesters set tires on fire in the street.

The newly elected head of the Journalists’ Syndicate, Diaa Rashwan, condemned the attacks and called on Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie to apologize. He also urged Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to condemn the assaults.

Rashwan did not rule out that the violence against journalists had been carried out under orders from the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders; the reporters were covering a meeting between Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

At the same time, Brotherhood spokesperson Yasser Mehrez, has denied that his members intentionally attacked the journalists.

“Clashes erupted because some people tried to break into the Brotherhood’s headquarters. The young members of the Brotherhood did not intend to assault journalists or anyone else,” Ahram Online quoted Mehrez as saying. “Everybody has freedom of expression and the right to protest, but insults and sabotage are unacceptable.”

The Muslim Brotherhood insisted that guards outside the headquarters were provoked and insulted by the activists and journalists. Reporters said the assault took place after activists sprayed anti-Brotherhood graffiti on the ground outside the headquarters; Brotherhood guards retaliated with sticks and chains.

RT’s Mohammad Moukhtar, cameraman for the Arabic department, was among the crowd of journalists filming the activists drawing graffiti. He sustained a head injury while he was trying to protect his camera as a gang of men armed with sticks and knives attacked a group of activists and journalists. Despite Mohammad’s efforts, RT’s camera was broken and stolen.

The latest violence against journalists comes amid unceasing unrest in Egypt, with anti-government protests being staged in the capital Cairo and across the entire country.

Sunday’s protests at the Journalists’ Syndicate in downtown Cairo was the first of three demonstrations the journalists plan to hold. They will gather at the prosecutor-general’s office on Tuesday, and outside of the Brotherhood’s headquarters on Wednesday.

(Source / 17.03.2013)

Assad’s wife, children make rare Damascus appearance

In this image made available by the Syrian presidency media office on March 17, 2013, shows Asma al-Assad, the wife of the president of Syria, Bashar, is greeted by people during an event in Damascus.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s wife and his children have made a rare public appearance at a charity fund-raiser in Damascus for mothers of soldiers killed in the two-year conflict, his office said on Facebook Sunday.

The office said that Asma al-Assad, her three children as well as their cousins “took part Saturday in a charity event called… at the Damascus Opera House on the occasion of Mother’s Day.”

The event, dubbed ‘Mothers Rally’, was aimed at raising funds for the mothers of Syrian soldiers killed in fighting with rebels through the sale of crafts, the office said in a statement.

Assad’s stylish British-born and British-educated wife is rarely seen in public, let alone with her three children — two sons and a daughter.

In June last year Russia dismissed as “rumors” speculation on the Internet she had taken refuge in the country amid the escalating violence in Syria.

In January Assad’s mother, Anisa Makhluf, reportedly left the war-torn country for Dubai to join her daughter Bushra, according to Syrian expatriates and an activist in the United Arab Emirates.

Bushra’s husband General Assef Shawkat, an army deputy chief of staff, was killed along with three other high-ranking Syrian officials in a July 18, 2012 bombing at the National Security headquarters in Damascus.

The following September, Syrian residents in the Gulf emirate said that Bushra had enrolled her five children at a private school in Dubai where she had moved.

(Source / 17.03.2013)