Readers links for Sept. 17 – 2015

(Stephen Coughlin speaks in Ottawa Canada today!)

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About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

102 Replies to “Readers links for Sept. 17 – 2015”

  1. German refugee authority chief resigns (DW, Sep 17, 2015)

    “The Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Thursday that it had accepted the resignation of Manfred Schmidt, head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

    The ministry cited “personal reasons” for Schmidt’s departure from Germany’s top migration authority.

    Earlier this month, Schmidt was criticized by the German opposition party SPD for not responding to applications for asylum quickly and for not expanding his office’s capacity to handle the refugee crisis.

    The BAMF is said to have more than 250,000 unprocessed asylum applications with the average turnaround time averaging more than five months, a stark difference to Germany’s neighbor the Netherlands, which handles cases in an average of eight days.

    The decision comes amid Germany’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, with some 800,000 to 1 million refugees expected this year alone, five times the previous year’s total.

    German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere thanked Schmidt for the “extraordinary work” he completed during his tenure as Germany’s migration chief.

    Schmidt held the office since December 2010.”

  2. Austria urges ‘new and better rules’ on migrants (reuters, Sep 17, 2015)

    “Austria called on Thursday for “new and better rules” on migration, urging a European Union summit on the issue as thousands of migrants streamed into Croatia in search of new routes to western Europe.

    The influx into Croatia puts Slovenia next in line on the route to Austria and the chosen destination of most migrants, Germany.

    Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, speaking after talks with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann in Ljubljana, said Slovenia would stick to the rules of Europe’s Schengen zone of border-free travel.

    His government has said it will receive asylum requests, but not create a “corridor” for refugees to simply pass through Slovenia and into Austria.

    “We need to deal with the problem where our (the EU’s) external borders begin,” Faymann said.”

  3. Migrant crisis: UN ‘shocked’ over clashes in Hungary (BBC, Sep 17, 2015)

    “UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is “shocked” after Hungarian police fired tear gas and water cannon to force migrants back from its border. Mr Ban said such treatment of asylum seekers was “unacceptable”. Hundreds were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border on Wednesday, trying to breach a razor-wire fence….”

  4. Migrant crisis: Central Europe influx continues apace (BBC, Sep 17, 2015)

    “A steady flow of migrants is continuing in the Balkans and Central Europe despite attempts to restrict them, as the EU struggles to weather the crisis. More than 6,000 have reportedly so far entered Croatia from Serbia after Hungary closed its border. Meanwhile 7,266 migrants arrived in Germany on Wednesday, twice the number for the previous day…”

  5. MI5 boss warns of technology terror risk (BBC, Sep 17, 2015)

    “Advances in technology are allowing terrorists to communicate “out of the reach of authorities” the head of MI5, Andrew Parker has told the BBC.

    In the first live interview by a serving MI5 boss he told Today that security services could potentially no longer obtain crucial information.

    He said internet companies had an “ethical responsibility” to alert agencies to potential threats.
    But MI5 was not about “browsing the lives” of the public, he added.

    Ministers are currently preparing legislation on the powers for carrying out electronic surveillance…”

  6. Saudi diplomat accused of rape leaves India (BBC, Sep 17, 2015)

    “A Saudi diplomat accused of raping two Nepali women hired to work as domestic help has left India under diplomatic immunity, the foreign ministry says.

    The women, aged 30 and 50, said they were starved and sexually abused by him and other Saudi nationals.

    Saudi Arabia denies all the charges and refused to revoke diplomatic immunity for the official, making it impossible for him to be tried in India.

    Analysts say his departure resolves a diplomatic dilemma for India…”

  7. Iraq: Baghdad market bombings kill at least 14 (BBC, Sep 17, 2015)

    “At least 14 people have been killed in multiple bomb attacks in Baghdad, Iraqi police say.

    Dozens of others were injured in the blasts, which struck mainly Shia neighbourhoods in the capital.

    At least two of the attacks were caused by suicide bombers at police checkpoints in market places.

    It is not known who was behind the attacks, which were similar to previous bombings carried out by insurgents from so-called Islamic State (IS).

    The bombers hit Wathba and Haraj markets during morning rush-hour, killing police and civilians…”

  8. Activists: Syrian government launches heavy air raids on Islamic State-held Raqqa (reuters, Sep 17, 2015)

    “Syrian warplanes mounted around a dozen air strikes on the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa on Thursday, activists reported, in an unusually heavy attack by government forces on an area also being targeted by a U.S.-led coalition.

    Activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said on its Twitter feed that “regime jets” had mounted more than 12 raids on the city, which is a major base for Islamic State in Syria, and listed eight targets.

    “There is news about a large number of martyrs and wounded,” it said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said jets believed to belong to the Syrian military had mounted at least 11 air strikes.

    There was no mention of the air raids on Syrian state media.”

  9. Exclusive: Syrian army starts using new weapons from Russia – military source (reuters, Sep 17, 2015)

    “The Syrian military has recently started using new types of air and ground weapons supplied by Russia, a Syrian military source told Reuters on Thursday, underlining growing Russian support to Damascus that is alarming the United States.

    The source described the weapons as highly accurate and effective. The army had started using them in recent weeks having been trained in their use in Syria in recent months, the source said.

    “New weapons are being delivered, and new types of weapons. The Syrian army is being trained in the use of these weapons. In fact, the army has started using some of these (weapon) types,” the source said in response to a question about Russian support.

    “The weapons are highly effective and very accurate, and hit targets precisely,” the source told Reuters. “We can say they are all types of weapons – be it air or ground.”

    The source declined to give further details about the weapons…”

  10. At least nine killed in Saudi-led strikes on Yemen: medics (Sep 17, 2015)

    “At least nine Yemeni civilians were killed in air strikes by Saudi-led warplanes that targeted the home of a leader in the dominant Houthi movement in the capital Sanaa, medical sources said on Thursday.

    The leader, Ibrahim al-Shami, was not in the house at the time.

    The air raids by a Saudi-led coalition have intensified in recent weeks as a Gulf Arab ground force and fighters loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi prepare a campaign to recapture Sanaa, seized by the Houthis in September 2014.

    Residents of the Yemeni capital said warplanes made repeated sorties on Yemeni army bases and the vacant homes of relatives of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, an ally of the Houthis, for several hours on Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

    The deadliest attacks were in al-Jaraf neighborhood, in northern Sanaa, where warplanes targeted Sham’s home…”

  11. Somalia bomb kills three soldiers; al Shaabab claims responsibility (reuters, Sep 17, 2015)

    “At least three off-duty Somali soldiers were killed by a bomb blast as they collected their pay in the city of Kismayu on Thursday, in an attack that Islamist al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for, police and the group said.

    Al Shabaab, which seeks to overthrow the Western-backed government and impose its strict version of Islamic law, has remained a potent threat in Somalia even after being forced out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011.

    The blast came weeks after al Shabaab retook the central Somali town of Buqda and two other settlements this month once African peacekeepers had left the area. In August, a raid on their base killed at least 12 people…”

    • Somali president says rebel attacks don’t mean resurgence (reuters, Sep 17, 2015)

      “Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has dismissed the capture of settlements by al Shabaab militants this month, saying they had no strategic value and it did not signal a resurgence of the Islamist group.

      Al Shabaab, which wants to topple Mohamud and his Western-backed government, retook the central Somali town of Buqda and two other southern settlements this month and has attacked African troops.

      The raids follow a military campaign by the African Union’s AMISOM forces and Somali troops that pushed the rebels out of towns on the coast and drove them into increasingly small pockets of countryside mostly in the south of Somalia.

      “AMISOM and Somali National Army have liberated most of the major towns in Somalia and have taken over the strategic locations,” Mohamud told Reuters in an interview in the capital Mogadishu.

      “In the remote areas, al Shabaab may move around to take over some smaller towns, but these are not strategic.”

      He said the group that had once ruled much of Somalia, now had limited had access to the sea, which experts said had been used in the past to generate cash for the group from smuggling or importing arms.

      Al Shabaab controls the Haradheere port town in central Somalia but it lost control of Kismayu port in 2012.

      “Al Shabaab is not regaining strength at all. It lost everything that could give it strength.”

      Western diplomats say the group is being slowly weakened, but can still pack a punch and threaten the pace of Somalia’s gradual reconstruction and state-building process….”

  12. Turkish executives kept in custody in Gulen-linked operation – media (reuters, Sep 17, 2015)

    “Turkish police kept in custody overnight seven business executives and university administrators as part of an operation targeting supporters of a U.S.-based cleric accused by President Tayyip Erdogan of plotting a coup.

    The police took Memduh Boydak, chief executive of furniture-to-cables conglomerate Boydak Holding, and the six others for routine health checks at 6 am (0300 GMT) in the central Turkish city of Kayseri, state-run Anadolu Agency said on Thursday.

    Anadolu has said the probe targets a “parallel state structure”, which Erdogan accuses cleric Fethullah Gulen of operating in Turkey’s judiciary, police, media and education.

    However, the operation is likely to be seen by Erdogan’s critics as an attempt to squash opponents less than two months before a Nov. 1 snap election in which the AK Party he founded is seeking to win back a single-party majority.

    Broadcaster CNN Turk said the detainees were expected to be sent to a court around midday. The court was then to decide whether to keep them in custody or release them, CNN Turk said.

    At the center of the investigation is the city’s Meliksah University, whose board of trustees is headed by Boydak.

    In a statement on its website, the university denied an allegation of “theft by expropriation” over real estate.

    “This is an operation to shape perceptions and a legal scandal,” it said, adding that a search carried out at the university campus was unlawful and that it would file an official complaint.

    Authorities have renewed their push against companies with links to Gulen’s religious movement, which blends conservative, Islamic values with a pro-Western outlook, and controls newspapers critical of the government.

    Recent police raids have targeted Gulen-affiliated conglomerates including mining-to-media group Koza Ipek Holding and Kaynak Holding, which is involved in publishing.

    The clampdown on Gulenists coincides with daily deadly clashes in southeast Turkey between militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and security forces following the collapse of a ceasefire in July.

    Government officials have accused Gulen’s followers of having ties to the PKK. Gulen denies such links and himself describes the PKK as a terrorist organization.

    A survey published by the pollster Metropoll this week indicated the Gulen movement ranked low among the major problems which Turks believe they face.

    According to 42.2 percent of respondents, the biggest problem faced by Turkey was “terrorism/PKK”, followed by the economy on 22.4 percent. The Gulen movement ranked 13th with 0.2 percent of participants saying it was the biggest problem…”

  13. Kidnapped Chibok School Girls Now Fighting For Boko Haram, Former Captive Says (abcnews, Sep 17, 2015)

    “Three women freed from Boko Haram militants are sharing their harrowing stories about their time in captivity. The women, all married to Boko Haram fighters, are part of a group of 128 women returned by the Nigerian military to the Borno state government in northeastern Nigeria.

    In a disturbing new revelation, one of the recently freed women told ABC News that many of the Chibok school girls who were abducted in 2013 have become Boko Haram fighters.

    According to 21-year-old Tabitha Adamu, she was captured alongside her mother after Boko Haram invaded her village. Her father and brother were killed in the attack, and she was soon separated from her mother.

    In the custody of Boko Haram militants, she said she was asked to convert to Islam and received a new name. Tabitha was then forced to marry a member of Boko Haram who impregnated her.

    “Many people asked me since we were liberated particularly about the pregnancy,” Tabitha told ABC News. “I don’t know the right answer to give because I actually do not know what to do. I don’t know what the authorities would do about it but I think it is too late to abort it. But my prayer is that I give birth safely.”

    Prior to her capture, Tabitha had completed high school and earned a certificate in computer appreciation. She said she is looking forward to her future now that the Borno government has promised to help her.

    According to a report released by Amnesty International, at least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by the terror group since the start of 2014. A separate report released by UNICEF last April said there is evidence that many of the young girls and women taken by Boko Haram are being subjected to forced marriage, forced labor and rape….”

  14. RPT-UPDATE 1-Germany could spend up to 25 bln euros on migrant intake -banks (reuters, Sep 17, 2015)

    “(Reuters) – Germany’s lead in housing hundreds of thousands of migrants heading to Europe from a war-torn Middle East could cost its Treasury tens of billions of euros over the next two years, according to some early private estimates.

    The Japanese investment bank Mizuho was one of the first to put a number on it on Wednesday, saying that accepting up to 1 million refugees a year over the next two years could cost Berlin 25 billion euros ($28.25 billion).

    That is derived from a basic calculation of 12,500 euros per migrant, according to Peter Chatwell, senior rates strategist at Mizuho. Part of the extra spending may have to be met by extra borrowing, he told Reuters.

    “There will be a fiscal burden in the first two years at least. The government won’t go into deficit, but it will require looser fiscal policy and therefore more issuance of debt than would otherwise be the case.”

    Over half a dozen banks contacted by Reuters broadly agreed with Mizuho’s calculations.

    “It seems like a reasonable starting point but it’s a very complex issue,” said Investec chief economist Philip Shaw.

    The short-term expense of taking in migrants could be offset by a longer-term boost to growth from the rise in population, much of which could be skilled and relatively cheap labour.

    While some banks said they planned to publish their own calculations in the coming days, others were wary of putting their own number on it with the refugee crisis becoming a sensitive political issue in places like Germany.

    Support for the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a right-wing opposition party that backs a tough line on immigration, has risen to its highest level in nearly four months, a poll showed on Tuesday.

    The German government says it has earmarked 6 billion euros to deal with the refugee and migrant influx.

    Germany’s budget surplus stood at 21.1 billion euros, or 1.4 percent of gross domestic product, in the first half of 2015. Economists at Commerzbank expect this to rise to around 30 billion euros next year, before refugee-related costs are factored in.

    Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said last week the government did not intend to fund any of its extra refugee and migrant spending through extra borrowing. But even if it does, it would be able to do so easily.

    Federal borrowing costs are currently negative all the way out to eight years maturity, meaning investors are effectively paying for the privilege of lending to Berlin. The yield on two-year government bonds, for example, is -0.23 percent.

    “Some of this funding will need to be met by the issuance of short-end paper, in particular by two-year bonds. Negative rates would make it an easier sell politically,” Chatwell and his colleague Antoine Bouvet said in an email. ($1 = 0.8849 euros) (Reporting by Jamie McGeever and John Geddie, editing by Mark Heinrich)”

  15. Now Croatian riot police are sent to deal with migrants after 6,000 arrive in the country in 24 hours, as Hungary faces condemnation for using tear gas to disperse crowds at its border (dailymail, Sep 17, 2015)

    “Helmeted riot police tried to control growing crowds of refugees at the Croatian border town of Tovarnik this morning, as thousands of migrants jostled to board buses after crossing into the country from neighbouring Serbia.

    Over the past 24 hours more than 6,000 new arrivals have entered the EU member state via its eastern border – the route of choice for those hoping to reach western Europe after Hungary sealed its southern frontier with Serbia.

    Long queues formed for buses bound for migrant reception centres elsewhere in Croatia, stretching the country’s infrastructure to breaking point. Over 100 riot police officers were deployed to control the crowds and keep them back from railway tracks.

    In the capital Zagreb, riot officers surrounded a hotel housing hundreds of refugees after they began chanting ‘Freedom! Freedom!’ and throwing rolls of toilet paper from balconies and windows
    Thanks to its close proximity to the Serbia, thousands of migrants are expected to pass over the Croatia-Hungary border in the coming days, despite the fact it was heavily mined during the Balkans War in the 1990s and remains incredibly dangerous.

    The news comes as Hungary faces worldwide condemnation for using tear gas to disperse crowds at its border, with Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vucic accusing the country of ‘brutal’ and ‘non-European’ behaviour towards migrants and warning it not to fire tear gas onto its territory again…”

  16. PASSPORT TO TERROR: MailOnline reporter buys Syrian papers being sold to ISIS fighters sneaking into Europe hidden among refugees (dailymail, Sep 17, 2015)

    “ISIS fighters and economic migrants are able to buy Syrian identity documents that allow them to hide among refugees travelling to Europe with frightening ease, an investigation by MailOnline can reveal.

    Our reporter was able to buy a Syrian passport, identity card and driving licence from a fraudster in a Turkish border town this week.

    The genuine documents were stolen from Syria when they were blank. The forger added our reporter’s picture and gave him the identity of a Syrian man from Aleppo killed last year…”

  17. Universities ordered to ban campus hate preachers: Cameron demands clamp down to ‘protect questionable young minds’ (dailymail, Sep 17, 2015)

    “David Cameron last night demanded universities clamp down on hate preachers on campus to ‘protect impressionable young minds’.

    From Monday, colleges will for the first time have a legal duty to put in place specific policies to stop extremists radicalising students. They will also have to tackle gender segregation at events and do more to support students at risk of radicalisation.

    The Government’s new Extremism Analysis Unit revealed that at least 70 events featuring hate speakers were held on campuses last year.

    They involved speakers known to have promoted rhetoric that aims to undermine core British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. The unit named and shamed the worst offenders – Queen Mary, King’s College, SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) and Kingston – all universities in London.

    Security officials also have concerns about the number of young people being radicalised and travelling to join Islamic State jihadis.

    The Government has urged the National Union of Students to drop its opposition to the anti-radicalisation strategy, which critics have claimed will create a culture of suspicion at academic institutions and could restrict freedom of speech.

    Mr Cameron called on universities to do more to ensure their institutions did not become breeding grounds for terror. ‘I said in July that tackling extremism will be the struggle of our generation; one which we will defeat if we work together,’ he said…”

    • Some of those tents or virtues seem to be mutually exclusive… Most people here will immediately sense what I am thinking of. How can you be tolerant of “my religion,” if it goes against tolerance of other religions, democracy, personal freedoms and, and, and…

  18. Exclusive: Syrian army starts using new weapons from Russia – military source

    BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian military has recently started using new types of air and ground weapons supplied by Russia, a Syrian military source told Reuters on Thursday, underlining growing Russian support to Damascus that is alarming the United States.

    The source described the weapons as highly accurate and effective. The army had started using them in recent weeks having been trained in their use in Syria in recent months, the source said.

    “New weapons are being delivered, and new types of weapons. The Syrian army is being trained in the use of these weapons. In fact, the army has started using some of these (weapon) types,” the source said in response to a question about Russian support.

    “The weapons are highly effective and very accurate, and hit targets precisely,” the source told Reuters. “We can say they are all types of weapons – be it air or ground.”

    The source declined to give further details about the weapons.

  19. Riot police try to control migrant crowds in Croatian border town

    TOVARNIK, Croatia (Reuters) – Helmeted riot police tried to control growing crowds of migrants at a Croatian border town on Thursday, as migrants crossing from Serbia jostled to board buses headed into Croatia, a Reuters reporter said.

    Long queues formed for buses bound for migrant reception centers elsewhere in Croatia. Over 100 riot police officers were deployed to control the crowds and keep them back from railway tracks.

    More than 6,000 migrants have entered Croatia from Serbia since Wednesday morning, after Hungary sealed its southern frontier with Serbia.

  20. PASSPORT TO TERROR: MailOnline reporter buys Syrian papers being sold to ISIS fighters sneaking into Europe hidden among refugees

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    ISIS fighters and economic migrants are able to buy Syrian identity documents that allow them to hide among refugees travelling to Europe with frightening ease, an investigation by MailOnline can reveal.

    Our reporter was able to buy a Syrian passport, identity card and driving licence from a fraudster in a Turkish border town this week.

    The genuine documents were stolen from Syria when they were blank. The forger added our reporter’s picture and gave him the identity of a Syrian man from Aleppo killed last year.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  21. With this number of fighters moving into Europe next summer is going to be real nasty. and don’t forget that there are probably fighters from various Shiite groups in the mix.

  22. U.N. rights chief calls Hungary callous, xenophobic, anti-Muslim

    Hungary’s “callous” treatment of refugees arriving at its border in hope of finding asylum in the European Union has included “clear violations of international law”, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said in a statement on Thursday.

    “High Commissioner Zeid deplored the xenophobic and anti-Muslim views that appear to lie at the heart of current Hungarian government policy,” the statement said.

    Hungary violating international law in response to migration crisis: Zeid

    GENEVA (17 September 2015) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Thursday said he was appalled at the recent actions and attitudes displayed by the Hungarian Government and authorities in relation to refugees and migrants, and also urged European institutions to resolve their impasse and take firm action to respond to the crisis in Hungary and elsewhere.

    “The images of women and young children being assaulted with tear gas and water cannons at Hungary’s border with Serbia were truly shocking,” Zeid said. “I am appalled at the callous, and in some cases illegal, actions of the Hungarian authorities in recent days, which include denying entry to, arresting, summarily rejecting and returning refugees, using disproportionate force on migrants and refugees, as well as reportedly assaulting journalists and seizing video documentation. Some of these actions amount to clear violations of international law.* ”

    The Hungarian Government has just finished building a fence on its border to Serbia and closed the border crossings, while a new law criminalizing irregular entry into Hungary came into effect on Tuesday. Hungary has reportedly already begun returning refugees to Serbia, following very summary proceedings. The Government is also talking of building more fences along its other borders with Romania and Croatia.

    On Monday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán defended the measures by saying that they concerned “defending European lifestyles,” contrasting this with Islam. High Commissioner Zeid deplored the xenophobic and anti-Muslim views that appear to lie at the heart of current Hungarian Government policy, and which were reflected in a blatantly xenophobic Government poster campaign earlier in the year.

    “The package of measures brought in overnight between Monday to Tuesday is incompatible with the human rights commitments binding on Hungary,” the High Commissioner said. “This is an entirely unacceptable infringement of the human rights of refugees and migrants. Seeking asylum is not a crime, and neither is entering a country irregularly.”

    “Many have made harrowing sea journeys to avoid other border fences,” Zeid added.

    “They have put themselves at the mercy of smugglers because they had no other option to escape from war and misery. Other avenues for entry – including resettlement programs as well as regular migration channels – were simply not there. I am extremely concerned at the repeated failures of the European Union to agree firm and principled action to respond to the crisis in Hungary and elsewhere. Current events highlight the urgent need for bolder and more human-rights driven migration and asylum policies in Europe.”

  23. China’s island airstrips to heighten South China Sea underwater rivalry

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s apparent construction of a third airstrip on its man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea could fill a gap in Beijing’s anti-submarine defenses, complicating operations for the U.S. Navy and its allies, Chinese and Western experts said.

    While most attention has been on the power projection China would get from its new islands in the Spratly archipelago, China could also use them to hunt rival submarines in and beyond the strategic waterway, they said.

    Possessing three airstrips more than 1,400 km (870 miles) from the Chinese mainland would enable Beijing to extend the reach of Y-9 surveillance planes and Ka-28 helicopters that are being re-equipped to track submarines, the experts added.

    A Pentagon report in May noted China lacked a robust anti-submarine warfare capability off its coastline and in deep water.

  24. Greece’s Tsipras walks political tightrope in search of election win

    ATHENS (Reuters) – Alexis Tsipras was elected in January on a far-left platform, promising Greeks an end to five years of financial pain.

    But as prime minister, Tsipras ended up performing the biggest political U-turn of recent European history, agreeing to more spending cuts, tax rises and privatisations. Most lawmakers from the hard-left core of his Syriza party have quit in anger.

    Now, after seven rollercoaster months at the helm, Tsipras, 41, is asking voters for a second chance, in a tightly-fought election to decide who will lead Greece’s angry and impoverished population through its third international bailout programme.

    For Sunday’s vote, the telegenic Tsipras has moved to the centre-ground to buttress his support, saying he will implement the bailout while also introducing measures to cushion the impact of austerity.

  25. France’s Marine Le Pen gambles with political patricide

    PARIS (Reuters) – By pushing her maverick father out of the far-right party he founded four decades ago, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen is banking on an act of political patricide to ensure he does not end up ruining her bid for power.

    The risk is that the 86-year-old former paratrooper, suspended from the party on Monday over provocative comments on the Holocaust, does not go down quietly.

    The feud between Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter has few parallels in modern European politics and has been compared to everything from slapstick farce to “King Lear”, Shakespeare’s tragedy of a father driven to madness after turning his kingdom over to his daughters.

    But Marine, whose core strategy since taking over the party in 2011 involves making it more palatable to mainstream voters, was always going to have to find a way of silencing her father before the 2017 presidential election.

  26. Croatia overwhelmed by flood of migrants, EU calls summit

    TOVARNIK, Croatia (Reuters) – Amid chaotic scenes at its border with Serbia, Croatia said on Thursday it could not cope with a flood of migrants seeking a new route into the EU after Hungary kept them out by erecting a fence and using tear gas and water cannon against them.

    The European Union’s newest member state said it may try to stop taking in migrants, just as the 28-nation bloc announced it leaders would hold an emergency summit on Sept. 23 to try to resolve the migration crisis, which has deeply divided it.

    More than 7,300 people entered Croatia from Serbia in the 24 hours after Wednesday’s clashes between Hungarian riot police and stone-throwing refugees at its Balkan neighbor’s frontier.

    At the eastern border town of Tovarnik, Croatian riot police struggled to keep crowds of men, women and children back from rail tracks after long queues formed in baking heat for buses bound for reception centers elsewhere in Croatia.

  27. Air Force general: Russia has closed the air superiority gap

    Good thing Mitt Romney was wrong when he declared during the 2012 presidential debates that Russia was the biggest threat to our national security, prompting Barack Obama to attempt a joke (actually, he mangled the joke, borrowed from “Seinfeld,” but that’s the least of his problems). On Monday an Air Force general said that Russia had caught up with U.S. air superiority through the development of new surface-to-air missile systems that threaten to mitigate any advantage the Pentagon has in the air.

    “I don’t think it’s controversial to say that they’ve closed the gap in capability – not just in Europe, everywhere,” General Frank Gorenc, Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, said Monday at the Air and Space Conference in Washington, D.C.

    Gorenc’s remarks place him in the growing ranks of military officials who believe that U.S. military superiority is waning relative to key rivals. These remarks have escalated during the looming threat of sequestration and the prospect of deep cuts to military spending.


  28. Germany: Merkel urges economic migrants to ‘leave our country’

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “those who come to Germany for economic reasons need to leave, so we can help those that need our protection,” during an address at the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt on Thursday.


    Migrants from countries not suffering from internal conflicts and crises should not be attempting to seek asylum in Germany and must leave, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — Not only Europe, but the whole world suffers from the escalating migrant crisis, Merkel said, adding that the European Union should develop its “competitiveness” to strengthen its financial background.

    “We will provide protection to those who need it, to the rest we have to say: you have to leave Germany until you need protection,” the chancellor said in opening remarks at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

    Germany is among EU countries dealing with an escalating refugee crisis, as hundreds of thousands of people flee war-torn regions in the Middle East and North Africa, seeking refuge in the European Union.

    Merkel noted that refugees arriving in Germany needed proper social integration, and urged prospective employers to have an open approach to migrants who “deserve a chance.”

    Last week, the chancellor stressed that migrants who came to the country for purely economic reasons would be unable to stay in Germany.

    Under a new European Commission quota plan, Germany must accept over 31,000 asylum seekers to relieve the refugee burden on Greece, Italy and Hungary. Earlier in September, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that as many as a million refugees could come to the country by the end of 2015.

    • Weary of refugees, Munich gears up for Oktoberfest

      MUNICH – Germany’s decision to restore border controls to stem a tide of refugees may have stunned Europe, but it is being cheered in Munich as it gears up for a far bigger influx of 6 million beer-swigging visitors to the 182nd Oktoberfest.

      The annual festival, known here as the “Wiesn” because it is held on the Theresienwiese, an open space near the city centre, is a fun-loving celebration where 7.5 million litres of brew are consumed over a two-week period by locals and tourists alike, many decked out in traditional lederhosen and dirndls.

      But this year city officials are working overtime to assure the public it will not turn into a “Krisen-Wiesn”, or Oktoberfest in crisis, amid a flood of over 60,000 refugees into Munich’s train station in the last week alone.

      Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann raised eyebrows at the weekend by suggesting that refugees descending from trains in Munich, after harrowing journeys from the war-torn Middle East, were likely to encounter crowds of violent drunks returning from the festival, which starts on Saturday.

      “Refugees from Muslim countries may not be used to seeing extremely drunk people in public,” Herrmann said. “It might seem a bit odd to some of them, if I may say so, but this is the reality.”

      The risk of that seems to have been greatly reduced since Germany imposed the controls on its border with Austria, cutting the inflow of asylum seekers through Munich to a trickle. Only 765 refugees arrived in the central station on Monday, according to police, down from 13,000 on Saturday.

      Herrmann’s boss, state premier Horst Seehofer, has been vilified on social media for suggesting that one reason he pressed Chancellor Angela Merkel to impose the controls was so Oktoberfest could go on without a hitch. His comments sparked a new hashtag #Oktoberfestung (October fortress) on Twitter.


      At a news conference on Tuesday, police and city officials played down the link between the border crackdown and the annual festival. The measures, announced on Sunday, prompted other countries to follow suit, raising questions about the future of the bloc’s 20-year old frontier-free Schengen zone.

      “We see a clear separation between the Oktoberfest and the situation in the train station, with the refugee crisis,” said Wilfried Blume-Beyerle, a city official.

      A tent camp for migrants lies just two kilometres from the Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest has been held since 1810 — minus breaks for the two world wars — in honour of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

      But the camp is only used as a first daytime stop for refugees arriving in Munich and none are sleeping there.

      “That refugees might actually go to the Oktoberfest, I think this is far-fetched,” said Blume-Beyerle.

      Florian Ziegenaus, a 22-year-old electronics student, drinking a beer in the sun with two friends outside Killian’s Irish Pub in central Munich, disagreed.

      “I would expect some refugees to come. If they find out there’s a party going on then why would they stay away?” he said. “Not everyone will be happy, but it’s a very diverse crowd with lots of foreigners so most people will be very welcoming.”

      Muslims may think twice about going because of the free-flowing alcohol and pork dishes — an estimated 60,000 Schweinshaxen, or pig’s knuckles, will be consumed during the festival, along with half a million roast chickens and 100 oxen.

      Neither Ziegenaus and his friends, nor city officials said they saw any reason to cancel the Oktoberfest because of the suffering of the refugees, many of whom are risking their lives to get to Europe.

      “Even after 9/11 we didn’t do this,” said Blume-Beyerle. “There was a serious debate then about whether we should cancel for ethical and moral reasons. The question was asked: can you celebrate in days like this?”

      “But we decided to go ahead. The view was that people who had a problem with it didn’t have to go to the Wiesn.”

    • Eventually the number and content of the videos is going to insure that the politicians who keep supporting Planned parenthood are going to be voted out of office.

  29. GERMANY BERLIN – ‘Islamist’ shot dead after knife attack on German policewoman: prosecutors

    Man had previously been sentenced in 2008 to a jail term for planning an attack against former Iraqi PM Allawi

    German police on Thursday shot dead an Iraqi man who wounded a policewoman with a knife in Berlin, with prosecutors saying he was a “suspected Islamist”.

    The 41-year-old man had previously been sentenced in 2008 to a jail term for planning an attack against former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, a prosecution spokesman told AFP.

    In the incident Thursday, four police cars were called to the western Berlin district of Spandau when the man was reported acting aggressively toward passers-by, police said.

    When a policewoman approached him, he stabbed her with a knife, leaving her badly wounded before her colleagues opened fire, killing the Iraqi man.

    Prosecution service spokesman Martin Steltner identified the man as “Rafik Y.”, saying he was sentenced in 2008 to an eight year prison term for his role in a plot against Allawi.

    National news agency DPA said the man had removed an electronic ankle monitor he had been ordered to wear.

    In the 2008 court case, Rafik Mohamad Yousef was one of three Iraqi men sentenced to jail terms.

    The three were convicted of belonging to a foreign terrorist organisation — Iraqi militant group Ansar al-Islam — and attempted conspiracy to commit murder.

    The court found that their plot to assassinate Allawi had been hatched only days before his brief trip to Berlin in December 2004.

    Authorities insist they foiled the planned attack but conceded before the start of the trial in June 2006 that they knew too little of the plan to charge the defendants with attempted murder.

  30. US Pastor Talks Down Islamist Gunman While Saving Flock

    A potential tragedy was prevented in Texas this week when a man carrying a gun was talked down from an attack on a church congregation by the pastor. Rev. John D. Johnson III is a former parole officer trained in verbal de-escalation, crisis prevention and dealing with mentally ill criminals.

    Rasheed Abdul Aziz, 40, entered the Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Bullard Texas hours after the regular Sunday morning service and asked to see the pastor. Church members had stayed behind to plan an upcoming festival. The pastor’s 17 year-old son was in the conference room with him.

    As Aziz was shown into the conference room, “Every hair on my neck just stood up,” said Rev. Johnson, 45. “It was almost like you could just like feel the presence of just negative energy.”

  31. Scientist, Activist, Beauty Queen – Meet Fabiola al-Ibrahim
    Meet the 22-year-old Syrian Miss Arab USA, from Brooklyn New York, Fabiola al-Ibrahim.

    The Miss Arab USA Pageant is held once a year to celebrate Arab cultural heritage in America. It is managed by the Arab-American Festival Association as “a non-political platform for young ladies to achieve personal growth and development, take pride in their heritage, discover their inner beauty in achieving their humanitarian goals in life and laying a strong foundation as leaders of the future.”

    The pageant supports its winners as Ambassadors for Humanity, putting forward a message of peace and human rights.

    In contrast to other beauty pageants, Miss Arab USA does not include a swimsuit round out of deference to Islamic standards of modesty. The pageant has an official Facebook page.

    Fabiola al-Ibrahim is Miss Arab USA 2015. She is 22 and was born in Brooklyn, New York. After her father passed away in 2003 she moved with her mother to Syria where she grew up. She speaks Arabic, Armenian and French and enjoys horseriding, swimming and basketball.

    When not busy with her duties as Miss Arab USA, she is a research scientist on a bioengineering project.

  32. Keep the Beard or Lose Your Head: New Draconian ISIS Rules
    The executions began last week for anyone who trimmed or shaved their beard in Mosul and other ISIS areas of Iraq, according to reporters.

    The Islamic State has increased the punishment for trimming or shaving one’s beard. Instead of lashes, the punishment is now execution.

    ISIS began executing every man who trims or shaves his beard in Mosul last week, the head of the Ninevah Reporters Network Rafat Zarari told Sputnik.

    Beards were initially banned in Mosul at the beginning of June this year. ISIS threatened to execute in cruel and terrible ways anyone who didn’t grow their beard.

    Most ISIS men grow beards and some of them reach the chests, according to pictures released by the group on social media.

  33. New York Times: Muslims Throwing Stones at Jews is “Rite of Passage”
    Can we make local teenagers mugging New York Times reporters a “Rite of Passage” too?

    Can we make local teenagers mugging New York Times reporters on the way to the LIRR a “Rite of Passage” too? I bet when terrorists kidnap reporters, they also think of it as a “Rite of Passage”.

    Anyway Kevin Williamson at NRO copyedits the New York Times’ latest piece on the murder of a Jewish man by Muslim rockthrowers while effectively highlighting all the bias, passive voice and assorted hedges that we’ve been so saturated with that we have come to ignore it. The whole thing is worth reading, but the Rite of Passage one caught my eye.

    Palestinians frequently argue that rocks and crude incendiary devices are among their only weapons to press for independence, and to defend themselves against Israeli forces during confrontations. For some young Palestinians in areas where there are frequent tensions, their use has become a rite of passage.

    Now this is in an article about the murder of a 64-year-old man by rock throwers, though of course the New York Times doesn’t call it a murder. It’s just a rite of passage gone wrong or right… depending on your point of view.

  34. Why Western Nations Should Only Accept Christian Refugees

    As refugees from the Middle East flood the West, a number of countries—including Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Cyprus, and Australia—are defying political correctness by wanting to accept Christian refugees only.

    While more “progressive” voices cry “racism,” the fact remains: there are several objective reasons why the West should give priority, if not exclusivity, to Christian refugees—and some of these are actually to the benefit of European host nations.


    Christians are true victims of persecution. From a humanitarian point of view—and humanitarianism is the chief reason being cited in accepting refugees—Christians should receive top priority simply because they are the most persecuted group in the Middle East—well before the Islamic State phenomenon came into being. As Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop put it, “I think that Christian minorities are being persecuted in Syria and even if the conflict were over they would still be persecuted.”

    Indeed. While they are especially targeted by the Islamic State, before the new “caliphate” was established, Christians were and continue to be targeted by Muslims—Muslim mobs, Muslim individuals, Muslim regimes, and Muslim terrorists, from Muslim countries of all races (Arab, African, Asian, etc.)—and for the same reason: Christians are infidel number one. See Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for hundreds of anecdotes before the rise of ISIS as well as the Muslim doctrines that create such hate and contempt for Christians.

  35. The Fantasy Islam of Ingrid Mattson
    When the commands of Allah in the Koran don’t count.

    As I pointed out in an earlier article, Fantasy Islam is a popular game among many non-Muslims and so-called “moderate” or “reformist” Muslims. Ingrid Mattson appears to be such a Muslim.

    Ingrid Mattson was born in 1963 in Canada to Roman Catholic parents. In the mid-1980s she converted to Islam. In 2006 Mattson became the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In 2011 she resigned as president of ISNA and in 2012 was appointed as the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada.

    The year 2013 saw the release of the Second Edition of Mattson’s acclaimed book, The Story of the Qur’an, Its History and Place in Muslim Life. In her book, Mattson plays Fantasy Islam.

    The Peaceful Conquest of Mecca

    On p. 68 Mattson wrote:

    Before the Muslims marched on Mecca, the Prophet announced a general amnesty and the city was taken peacefully…revenge killings were prohibited…

    It is strange that Mattson makes this claim because the endnotes in this particular chapter of her book frequently refer to specific pages in The Life of Muhammad (Sirat Rasul Allah), by Ibn Ishaq. She apparently overlooked parts of Ibn Ishaq’s book because here is what we find that he wrote about the Muslim conquest of Mecca:

    1. A Muslim force entered the lower part of Mecca and met resistance. The Meccans lost 12-13 men and the Muslims lost three in the ensuing battle – pp. 549-550.

    2. Muhammad had instructed his commanders when they entered Mecca to only fight those who resisted them, except for a select few individuals who were to be killed regardless – p. 550.

    3. Ibn Ishaq listed some of those Muhammad had ordered to be killed. There were nine total, including four women. Four or five of these nine were captured and killed. The others saved themselves by converting to Islam before they could be killed – pp. 550-551.

    4. Shortly after the conquest of Mecca, Muhammad said,

    If anyone should say, The apostle killed men in Mecca, say God permitted His apostle to do so but He does not permit you. (p. 555)

  36. Husband Uses Islamic Laws to Ban Iran’s ‘Lady Goal’ from Competing
    A soccer star’s dreams are crushed in the Islamic Republic.
    September 17, 2015
    Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

    With bold brown eyes, smooth tan skin, and a flawless athletic frame, it is hard not to notice her on the soccer field. Her determination is revealed with every kick of her foot. She is not an average person; Niloufar Ardalan is known as the “Lady Goal” due to her swift moves, talent on the field, and the goals and victories that she has helped win for her team.

    Niloufar, an aspiring and courageous young Iranian woman, is a dedicated and talented player for the soccer team “Zob Ahan Banovan.” Despite all the restrictions she has faced in Iran, including the imposed Hijab that she must wear even when she plays sports, she has made it to Iran’s national soccer team, not just as a player, but as a captain.

    Playing on the national team is the ultimate dream of any woman who plays soccer. She is quite close and hopes that soon she will live her dream. She is only a few steps away from experiencing the achievement of her lifetime. But there is one stumbling block that prevents her from reaching her life-awaited goal.

    With her enthusiasm on the field and willingness to do whatever it takes to win, many might assume that an injury has slowed her attempts. But no, it has nothing to do with an athletic injury. Instead, it is because of Islam.

  37. Why Do Muslims Flock to The “Evil West”?

    Millions of Muslims are trying, through dangerous ways, to reach the borders of a civilization they have historically blamed for all the world’s evils, including in their own countries’.

    Muslims in this part of the world view the Christian West as “evil;” yet they know Christian lands are the most decent places to live economically and politically. Wealthy Arab states rigidly turn their back on the plight of fellow Muslims who are in need of a helping hand; and Islamist hypocrites blame it all on the West.

    Sadly, no one questions why “West-hating” Muslims go West… or why non-Muslims should pay the price for exclusively intra-Muslim wars and the wave of migrants they create.

    “The tragedy of the Palestinians,” Jordan’s (late) King Abdullah wrote in his memoirs, “was that most of their leaders had paralyzed them with false and unsubstantiated promises that they were not alone; that 80 million Arabs and 400 million Muslims would instantly and miraculously come to their rescue.”

    Decades later, Syrians fleeing the civil war in their homeland make up the backbone of the world’s refugee tragedy.

    Officially, Muslim Turkey is home to the largest number of Syrian refugees (1.9 million). Lebanon hosts 1.2 million Syrians; Jordan, more than 600,000; and Egypt, over 100,000. That makes nearly four million predominantly Muslim Syrians.

  38. Germany: Queen Rainia of Jordan criticises language that dehumanises refugees

    Queen Rania al-Abdullah of Jordan warned againststrong> the “danger” of using “blunt pejoratives, like ‘invaders’ or ‘marauding foreigners'” to describe refugees, during a ceremony in which she was bestowed the Walther Rathenau award by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday.

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