Reader links for Oct. 25 – 2015

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In order to preserve the flow of conversation about various posted items, and also in order to make it easier for visitors to find the list of related links being shared by other readers, regulars and interested parties in one place, each day a post is automatically created at a minute past midnight ET.

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Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

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

68 Replies to “Reader links for Oct. 25 – 2015”

  1. Teacher questioned for punishing primary school student with 40 lashes: Egypt’s education minister (tribune, Oct 25, 2015)

    “An Egyptian teacher was summoned to questioning for lashing a fourth-grade primary student 40 times, said Minister of Education and Technical Education El-Hilali El-Sherbini on Saturday, revealing the latest major assault on a student in Egyptian schools.
    The ministry said in a statement that the teacher, who works for Kebaa Modern School in Cairo’s Basatin district, lashed the student for talking to a peer during class.

    The student sustained multiple wounds on different parts of his body. The statement did not reveal what the teacher used to lash the student.

    Fourth grade primary students are normally between the ages of 10 and 11.

    Corporal punishment, although banned according to education ministry regulations, is common in many Egyptian schools.

    According to some studies, cases of abuse are particularly common in Egypt’s public schools where teachers are usually underpaid and inadequately supervised.

    Last March, the education ministry ordered the temporary closure of Cairo’s Al-Shuhada elementary school after a pupil died three days after being brutally beaten by his teacher.

    The victim, a fifth-grade student at a public school in the working-class district of Sayeda Zeinab, was transferred to a hospital, unconscious and suffering from brain hemorrhaging, before he was pronounced dead.”

  2. Want Pakistan to expand counter-terrorism efforts: US State Dept (tribune, Oct 25, 2015)

    “The United States has said it wants to see Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism expand.

    “We want to see those efforts expand. But it’s such a complex dynamic,” US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said during his weekly press briefing.

    The spokesperson said Pakistan has been deeply affected by terrorism and also acknowledged the steps it has taken to fight the menace of terrorism. “Pakistan has been, as we all know, deeply affected by terrorism and has taken steps to counter that terrorism in the recent past. We want to see those efforts expand.”

    Pakistan and US agreed on Thursday to take effective action against all terrorist groups. According to a joint statement issued after a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Barack Obama, Pakistan ensured that Taliban, including Haqqani Network, are not able to operate from Pakistan. Further, Nawaz said that Pakistan would take effective action against United Nations-designated terror entities including the likes of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates.

    Further, Toner stressed the need for dialogue between Pakistan and India to strengthen regional stability. “We’ve been very clear that India and Pakistan need dialogue.”…”

  3. Egyptian jailed for insulting Kuwaiti Amir on Twitter (arabianbusiness, Oct 25, 2015)

    “An Egyptian in Kuwait has been jailed after he insulted the Kuwaiti Amir on Twitter, hoping to be deported without trial and avoid facing other criminal cases pending against him.

    Local media has reported that an Egyptian, already accused of swindling and fraud, was arrested after posting insulting tweets to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah and the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, and publishing photos of Saddam Hussein.

    The suspect denied the tweets and claimed his account was hacked, but detectives found no evidence of hacking.

    Local media stated that his acts hurt the feelings of Kuwaiti citizens and that they were made to avoid other criminal cases pending against him.”

  4. Greek parliament approves TV bill to regulate ‘vampire’ media–business.html

    ATHENS (Reuters) – The Greek parliament on Saturday approved a bill to regulate the awarding of TV licences to broadcasters, as part of the leftist government’s efforts to clean up a sector it says is mired in debts and corruption.

    In the first such reform for years, the bill would require television stations to bid for 10-year licences via auctions.

    “This law is part of a wider plan. To change things, the political system must change, the banking system and the business model must change,” Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragassakis told parliament.

    He called Greek media “vampire businesses” living on loans they are not likely to repay. “It’s not some sporadic scandals in an otherwise healthy system… It’s a system of power which has been created,” Dragassakis said.

  5. EU mini-summit seeks unity in Balkans over migrant crisis

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker will on Sunday meet with leaders from central and eastern Europe to push for a coordinated response to the influx of refugees before winter sets in.

    The mini-summit, which EU diplomats said was sought by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is the latest in a series of top-level EU meetings that have so far failed to settle on a common approach on how to deal with the thousands of migrants streaming into the EU every day.

    Juncker, who heads the European Commission, has called leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, plus refugee organizations involved, to attend the meeting in Brussels.

    “Every day counts,” Juncker said on Sunday in an interview in German weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag. “Otherwise we will soon see families in cold rivers in the Balkans perish miserably.”

  6. Support for Merkel’s conservatives at three year low on refugee crisis

    BERLIN (Reuters) – Support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has dropped to its lowest level in more than three years, a poll showed on Sunday, as her allies in the state of Bavaria stepped up criticism of her handling of the refugee crisis.

    Horst Seehofer, head of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria, the entry point for most migrants coming to Germany, said that the existence of the conservative bloc was at stake if she did not “correct” her asylum policy.

    The Emnid poll put Merkel’s conservatives down 1 percentage point at 36 percent, its lowest since Sept. 2012, with the opposition Greens gaining 1 point to reach 10 percent.

    The other main parties remained unchanged with the Social Democrats (SPD), who share power with Merkel, at 26 percent and the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has made gains in recent weeks, at 7 percent.

    Merkel has been criticized by some conservatives for opening up Germany’s borders to Syrian refugees, a move they say has spurred more migrants to come. Critics, especially in Bavaria, want to introduce limits on the number of refugees allowed to enter the country.

  7. Yemen government forces make gains in southwest city Taiz, locals say

    DUBAI (Reuters) – Yemeni forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi made gains on Sunday in the southwestern city of Taiz after days of battles with Houthi fighters, a local official and residents said.

    The Hadi supporters, who have been backed by air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition since March, made particular progress around the presidential palace, the locals said. The complex has changed hands several times and been all but destroyed in the fighting.

    Medical sources said 13 Houthi fighters were killed in the fighting in Yemen’s third largest city. So were eight fighters loyal to Hadi. Reuters could not independently verify their accounts.

    The Arab coalition is trying to restore Hadi’s government and fend off what it sees as creeping Iranian influence. The Houthis are allied to Iran and also have support from forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

    Several residents said Hadi loyalists had taken control of a number of mountain peaks on the southern approach to Taiz, Yemen’s cultural capital.

    At least 5,600 people have been killed in Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, and the United Nations says the humanitarian situation, exacerbated by the Arab coalition’s blockade of Yemeni ports, grows worse every day.

  8. Illegal affirmative action based on sexual orientation in California

    At the Washington Post, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh recently wrote about apparent “preferences for gay-, lesbian-, bisexual-, and transgender-owned subcontractors in California.” This controversial legislation is not only impractical and unfair, but also probably a violation of the state constitution.

    As Volokh notes, the California legislature recently enacted California Public Resource Code § 25230, which mandates that State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission loan and grant recipients provide “outreach” to “LGBT business enterprises” alongside enterprises owned by women, “African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Pacific Americans,”

    “LGBT business enterprise” means a business enterprise that is at least 51 percent owned by a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person or persons, or, in the case of any publicly owned business, at least 51 percent of the stock of which is owned by one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of those individuals.


    • Obama math: 10,000 refugees actually means 1 million

      Serious national security issues exist regarding “refugees” from Muslim-majority countries entering America, primarily because the government is not reporting their numbers accurately and is not properly vetting them — if it is vetting them at all.

      Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently remarked that he is “committed” to properly screening refugees entering America. But he also admitted:

      [Vetting] is a time-consuming process, and one of the challenges we will have is that we’re not going to know a whole lot about the individual refugees that come forward from the UN High Commission on Refugees for Resettlement and Vetting.

      To complicate matters, the number of refugees being reported is woefully underestimated. For example, the Obama administration announced it began accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees Oct. 1. However, the New York Times reported that that number is in addition to the roughly 70,000 refugees already entering America every fiscal year. And according to Fox, the total number of refugees and asylum seekers who have entered the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries since 2009 is roughly 750,000.


  9. Economic migrants use children as ‘human shields’: Czech leader

    The Czech president Sunday accused economic migrants of using children as “human shields” in their bid to reach Europe, as the continent grapples with its biggest migration crisis since World War II.

    President Milos Zeman has made several fiery broadsides against migrants, earning sharp criticism from the UN’s human rights chief, who this week also accused Prague of systematically detaining migrants in degrading conditions to put off others.

    In his latest outburst, to the Blesk tabloid, Zeman accused wealthy economic migrants of cynically exploiting children to reach the European Union.</strong

    `“They serve as human shields for guys with iPhones to justify the wave of migrants,” President Milos Zeman said in a video interview on the website of the Blesk tabloid.

    “Those hiding behind the children … in my opinion, do not deserve any compassion,” added the outspoken veteran leftwinger.

    “They bring the children over in rubber dingys, knowing they might drown,” said Zeman, in office since 2013 as the Czech Republic’s first-ever directly elected president.

    The statements follow his earlier fiery remarks targeting refugees, including “no one invited you here.”

    Zeman also recently said migrants would “respect sharia (Islamic law) instead of Czech laws” and that “unfaithful women will be stoned and thieves will have their hands cut off.”

    He has lashed out at Islamic women wearing the veil saying “we’ll be deprived of women’s beauty, because they’ll be covered from head to toe.

    “This would obviously be an advantage for some women, but they’re few and far between.”

    On Thursday, United Nations rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, termed the Czech president’s remarks “Islamophobic”.

    Hussein also sharply criticised the Czech Republic, an EU and NATO member, over poor conditions at centres where it locks up refugees, including children, detained on their way to western Europe.

    Zeman on Sunday invited Hussein to come to the Czech Republic to inspect conditions at the camps.

    More than 600,000 migrants and refugees, mainly fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have braved the dangerous journey to Europe so far this year, according to UN numbers.

    • Germany: Thousands demonstrate against HoGeSa in Cologne

      Several thousand anti-fascist demonstrators marched through Cologne on Sunday, as they protested against the demonstration by the right-wing, anti-Muslim group ‘Hooligans against Salafists’ (HoGeSa).

    • Germany: Police use water cannon against HoGeSa counter-demo in Cologne

      Police sprayed anti-fascist protesters with water cannons during a counter-demonstration against a march by the right-wing, anti-Muslim group ‘Hooligans against Salafists’ (HoGeSa), in Cologne on Sunday.

  10. ISIS Group Claims Capture of Israeli Pilot in West Dara’

    An Islamist group affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) has claimed the capture of an Israeli pilot inside the Dara’a Governorate’s western countryside on Saturday night – the group, “Liwaa Al-Shahada” (Martyrs Brigade), is currently engaged in a fierce battle with their former allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Al-Qaeda faction “Jabhat Al-Nusra” in this region of western Syria.

    According to social media activists from the Syrian Opposition, the Israeli pilot allegedly ejected from his aircraft after losing control of it in western Dara’a; this resulted in his reported capture by the ISIS affiliate, despite providing no visual proof to confirm this peculiar claim.

    If this report of the Israeli pilot’s alleged capture by Liwaa Al-Shahada in western Dara’a proves true; this will mark the first time since the Lebanon War of 2006 (also known as the Hezbollah War of 2006) that a member of the Israeli Armed Forces has been captured by an enemy unit.

  11. Chinese Warships to Make Naval Station Mayport Port Visit Amidst South China Sea Tension

    A trio of Chinese warships in the middle of a world tour are in route to Naval Station Mayport, Fla. for a scheduled goodwill port visit next month, U.S. Navy officials told USNI News on Thursday.

    The officials would not specify the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) combatants involved but USNI News understands the three ships are the Type 052C Luyang II-class guided-missile destroyer Jinan (152), the Type 054A Jiangkai II-class guided-missile frigate Yiyang (548) and the Type 903 Fuchi-class fleet oiler Qiandao Hu (886).

    Jane’s reported the trio was in Stockholm late last month.

    “Three vessels are on an around-the-world deployment and will conduct the goodwill visit after completing port calls in Europe,” read a statement from Navy Region Southeast.
    “The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) will serve as the host ship. In Mayport, sailors from both navies will participate in sporting events and interact during ship tours.”

    U.S. officials would not elaborate if there would be an at-sea training component to the visit slated to run from Nov. 3rd to the 7th.

    • Thing of this as China telling the US that they know Obama has weakened our military to the point that they think they can take over the seas anytime they want.

  12. Rights group: Russian airstrikes in Syria may have killed dozens of civilians (CNN, Oct 25, 2015)

    “Airstrikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes in western Syria are reported to have killed dozens of civilians, Human Rights Watch says, suggesting that the bombings appear to be war crimes.

    The aerial attacks took place in the northern part of Homs governate on October 15 as Russian and Syrian planes were supporting a ground offensive by the Syrian military and its allies against rebel groups, the rights group said in a statement Sunday.

    Russian forces have faced a series of allegations of striking civilian areas since they began bombing parts of Syria last month in an effort to bolster the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Moscow. The Syrian American Medical Society has accused Russian warplanes of repeatedly targeting hospitals.

    Russia has strongly denied such claims, saying it isn’t targeting civilians during its military operations inside Syria. And CNN is unable to independently verify the allegations…”

  13. Saudi Shiite Cleric’s Death Sentence Upheld, Brother Says (abcnews, Oct 25, 2015)

    “A high court in Saudi Arabia has upheld on appeal a guilty verdict and death sentence against a widely revered Shiite Muslim cleric who galvanized young activists with his outspoken criticism of the Sunni monarchy, his brother said Sunday.

    Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was a central figure in Shiite protests that erupted in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring, and any decision to carry out his execution would likely spark new unrest among the OPEC powerhouse’s Shiite minority.

    He was found guilty of sedition and other charges in October last year in a case that highlighted the limits on free speech in the kingdom.

    His brother Mohammed al-Nimr announced the latest ruling on his Twitter account. He told The Associated Press the family was informed of the decision by phone.

    Saudi King Salman must still sign off on the sentence before it is carried out…”

  14. Islamic Militants Storm Supermarket in Yemen’s City of Aden (abcnews, Oct 25, 2015)

    “Islamic militants stormed a supermarket in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Sunday, firing into the air and briefly taking hostages, security officials and witnesses said.

    About 30 militants arrived at the supermarket in four pickup trucks on Sunday afternoon, the officials and witnesses said. Shoppers fled when the militants fired in the air, but an unknown number were trapped inside when the gunmen locked the doors. The militants freed the hostages after less than an hour and left the scene.

    Some supermarket employees were slightly hurt when the militants kicked and punched them.

    The witnesses said the militants shouted that they were protesting the mingling of men and women in the supermarket and demanded that female employees cover their faces, in keeping with a strict interpretation of Islamic law. A supermarket worker said the militants told them this was the final warning.

    The incident happened in the late afternoon when the Zamaran supermarket, the city’s largest, is usually packed with shoppers. It appeared to be intended as a show of force by the militants who have in recent months wielded significant influence in parts of the city overlooking the Arabian Sea…”

  15. DAILY MAIL – New ISIS video shows yet another sick method of execution as it crushes 19-year-old captive under the tracks of a battle tank

    ISIS executed a 19-year-old Syrian soldier by running over him with a tank
    Captive is forced to confess to running over jihadis’ bodies in sick video
    Human rights group claims this is the first execution of its kind by ISIS

  16. The Shi’ite Leopard: Iran’s Religious Persecution

    In the wake of the infamous nuclear deal with the hard-line Iranian regime, countries around the world, led by U.S. President Barack Obama, are busy trying to bring the Islamic Republic, so long sanctioned and held at arm’s length by decent people, in from the cold. Business deals beckon, great claims are made of coming dialogue and a slackening of the tensions of the Middle East. We are told that war has been avoided.

    But has the Shi’ite leopard, overnight, truly changed its spots? It still executes more people per capita than China, it still supports and conducts terrorist activities in several countries, its leaders still preach hatred for America, Israel, and the West. In reality, nothing has changed, yet the theocratic, human-rights-denying regime is now to be everybody’s best buddy.

    An important indicator of Iran’s unfitness to be counted among the nations as a legitimate actor must be its treatment of its many minorities, above all its religious minorities. As with Saudi Arabia, the theocratic character of the state is most clearly exposed when it comes to its treatment of religions and sects that are not held by the majority. A strict interpretation and application of Islamic law unfailingly leads to disrespect for and harshness towards non-Muslims.

  17. The Holocaust is OVER

    Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, set off a firestorm on October 21 by saying that the Mufti of Jerusalem had actually planted the idea of exterminating the Jews in Hitler’s mind; that Hitler would have simply ousted them from Europe.

    Scholars, academicians, politicians, friends and enemies of Jews, Israel, and Netanyahu leapt to the barricades. The Washington Post had the story on the front page. Twitter and blogs have overflowed with it. The Chancellor of Germany found it oddly necessary to say, “Germany is responsible for the Holocaust.”

    But enough about who, between two long-dead anti-Semites, was the worst. It is a distraction and provides cover for today’s racists and those who would destroy Israel.

    Palestinian agitator Saeb Erekat used the tumult to weigh in. In the latest Palestinian effort to rewrite history, he said, “Palestine’s efforts against Nazis, are deep-rooted part of our history.”

    Palestinian Authority (PA) strongman Mahmoud Abbas, a Holocaust denier at least since his PhD days (and now in the 10th year of his four-year term, so he cannot be called “President”) did not say anything on that subject. He does, however continue to incite Palestinians to kill Jews. Right now, today, this minute.

    Abbas has been lying about threats to the status quo on the Temple Mount, and proposing his own change: The Jews, he said, have no right to “desecrate” the mosque with their “filthy feet.” He then assures those Palestinians who go out to kill Jews — because they understood the recommendation to be officially sanctioned — that, “Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.”

  18. Belgium: Merkel wants further refugee crisis talks with Turkey

    Extraordinary times need extraordinary measures,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels, Sunday, as she commented on the refugee crisis. Speaking to journalists, Merkel stated the crisis cannot be solved with one meeting only. “That needs further talks with Turkey. Only in cooperation with Turkey it will be possible to turn illegality into legality and to adjust the burden sharing between Turkey and the EU,” Germany’s leader concluded.

    • Belgium: Refugee crisis could lead to EU collapse, says Slovenian PM Cerar

      Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said that the European Union and Europe as a whole will start to collapse unless “immediate” and “concrete” action is taken with regard to the ongoing refugee crisis, speaking from Brussels, Sunday.

  19. CANADA – CBC – Muslim, indigenous women come together for Islamic History Month

    Meet and greet encourages ‘sisterhood’ between women of different cultures, organizer says

    Muslim and indigenous women came together to share stories of struggle, strength and inspiration in Winnipeg Saturday as part of Islamic History Month.

    About 200 women attended a unique luncheon aimed at bridging the culture gap to form a connection that goes beyond religion or ethnicity.

    Hiba Kasen, one of the event organizers, said the get-together provided an opportunity to build relationships in the community.

    “We all live in Canada in the same place. Especially in Manitoba … we all need to feel included, understand and respect each other.”

    It gave the women a chance to get to know each other and an opportunity to bond over their different experiences living in Canada.

    “We hope to be the role models for more communities coming together to share what our differences are and to celebrate what our similarities are and create a real sisterhood,” said Diane Redsky, an organizer with the event.

    Redsky added that she hopes the women who participated in the event left feeling they’ve made a new friend.

  20. Poland Ousts Government as Law & Justice Gains Historic Majority

    Poland’s opposition Law & Justice, championing more state in the economy and a tougher stance against refugees flooding into Europe, won an unprecedented parliamentary majority in Sunday’s election, according to an exit poll.

    Law & Justice won 39.1 percent of the vote and a projected 242 seats in the 460-member lower chamber, the first time that a single group will command a majority since the re-introduction of democracy in Poland in 1989, according to the Ipsos poll.

  21. Fancy dress burkas: Ebay under fire for ‘dehumanising’ Halloween costumes

    EBAY has come under fire for selling burkas as Halloween fancy dress costumes.

    An advert on the auction site even describes the traditional outfit as being “perfect for stag parties”.

    A leading anti-Islamophobia organisation has called for the listings to be removed.

    Fiyaz Mughal OBE, a director of Tell MAMA, said the costume “dehumanises” women who wear the veil. He said: “Many Muslim women do not wear the burka, though to associate it with Halloween further stigmatises women who wear it.

    “We ask that eBay remove these so-called costumes and understand the impact that it has on women, perceptions within wider communities and to the safety of some Muslim women.”

    Sellers Dragons Den Fancy Dress have the outfit listed as a “Halloween Fancy Dress Idea Sharia Burka”.

    It comes in a range of sizes from small to extra-large at prices between £22.55 and £29.95 and is on sale in a selection of colours including Forest Green, City Blue and Royal Blue.

    Also available on the site is a mini-skirt and veil combo described as a “Middle Eastern Arab Girl Burka Halloween Fancy Dress Costume”.

    The outfit, worn in a photo by a white girl wearing saucy high heels, is on sale for £16.99.

    An eBay spokesman said: “We do not allow any items that promote intolerance toward religion.

    “We always welcome feedback from our members and take this into account when reviewing items on our marketplace.”

  22. Raped, pregnant and afraid of being jailed (BBC, Oct 25, 2015)

    “… Under Islamic Sharia, which forms the basis of the UAE’s Penal Code, extramarital sex is classified as Zina – a category that also includes adultery, fornication and homosexuality.

    There are no official figures on the number of people prosecuted under the Zina laws. What is clear, though, is that the weight of these laws falls overwhelmingly on the thousands of Asian and African women who have been brought to the Emirates to cook and clean in the homes of the rich. An investigation by BBC Arabic suggests that hundreds of migrant women are imprisoned in the UAE every year for Zina crimes, including consensual sex.

    According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the UAE’s Zina codes violate international human rights law. Rights groups also point out that the Zina laws are applied disproportionately to women.

    Although domestic workers have been sentenced to flogging – and, in extreme cases, stoning – for Zina crimes, there is no evidence that these punishments are actually carried out in the UAE.

    The BBC’s investigation does confirm, however, that women accused of sex outside marriage are routinely shackled and chained. Footage, filmed secretly in a UAE courtroom, shows a young Filipina woman shuffling along a corridor with her feet chained together….”

  23. U.S., Saudi Arabia to bolster support for moderate Syrian opposition (reuters, Oct 25, 2015)

    “The United States and Saudi Arabia agreed to increase support to Syria’s moderate opposition while seeking a political resolution of the four-year conflict, the U.S. State Department said after Secretary of State John Kerry met King Salman on Saturday.

    Kerry was in Riyadh for meetings with the Saudi monarch, crown prince, deputy crown prince and foreign minister – the last stop in a trip that also included Vienna, where he met counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia.

    “They pledged to continue and intensify support to the moderate Syrian opposition while the political track is being pursued,” the State Department statement said after Kerry’s meetings in Saudi Arabia. It did not spell out what kind of support would be offered.

    Rebels have appealed for more military support from foreign backers, including Saudi Arabia, to confront major Syrian army offensives. Those offensives are backed by Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian fighters and Russian air strikes.

    The United States and Saudi Arabia, together with other states opposed to Assad, already provides some military support to Syrian rebels. That includes training by the Central Intelligence Agency and anti-tank missiles…”

  24. Refugees will freeze to death, warn EU head

    Leaders warn the continent was “falling apart” trying to deal with the migrant crisis

    Migrants crossing the Balkans will begin freezing to death as winter approaches, the head of European Union has said, as leaders warned the continent was “falling apart” trying to deal with the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

    As leaders of eastern European countries turned on each other at a foul-tempered emergency summit in Brussels, they said the Schengen visa-free zone and even the European Union itself could be pulled apart as states threw up borders to halt the influx.

    Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said a solution was urgently needed or thousands of refugee families facing winter temperature on the hillsides and freezing river-banks of Eastern Europe, would die.

    “Every day counts,” he said. “Otherwise we will soon see families in cold rivers in the Balkans perish miserably.”

    Miro Cerar, the Slovenian prime minister, said the EU was days from collapse as his country buckled under an “unbearable” influx of migrants.

    “If we do not deliver some immediate and concrete actions on the ground in the next few days and weeks I believe the EU and Europe as a whole will start falling apart,” he said.

    Werner Faymann, the Austrian chancellor, said Sunday’s meeting would “either consolidate the unity of Europe or watch the slow decomposition of the EU.”

    In the worst refugee crisis since the second world war, more than 670,000 people have crossed into Europe this year. Some 56,000 people landed on Greek islands in just six days last week, a record influx as those fleeing Syria race to avoid spending another winter in the refugee camps along the country’s border.

    • Merkel on fresh drive to tackle migrant crisis

    But poorly dressed and under-fed, there are mounting fears they will fall victim to rougher seas and the Balkan winter that can reach minus 15C as they attempt to reach Germany and Sweden.

    Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister of Greece, the first port of arrival for most migrants, said: “We are in front of a huge humanitarian crisis.

    Aid agencies and human rights groups have also weighed in on the crisis. “As winter looms, the sight of thousands of refugees sleeping rough as they make their way through Europe represents a damning indictment of the EU’s failure to offer a coordinated response to the refugee crisis,” said John Dalhuisen of Amnesty International.

    Medecins Sans Frontiers, the charity, warned of frostbite and said there was an urgent need for hot food, warm shelters and washing facilities at major transit points. The UN has announced plans to distribute thousands of raincoats, tarpaulins and socks to migrants exposed in south eastern Europe.

    Johannes Hahn, the EU’s ‘neighbourhood’ Commissioner, said there were now 20 million refugees in Europe’s backyard, and that regime’s new Russian- and Iranian-backed assault on Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, would produce an “immediate impact” in the numbers reaching Europe.

    The United Nations High Commission for refugees said last week the renewed fighting was creating a “dynamic of displacement”. Initial statistics suggested that some of the almost eight million displaced people who had stayed inside the country were now also starting to leave.

    The US and Saudi Arabia dramatically responded to Russian air-strikes in support of the Assad regime by agreeing to boost their own military and diplomatic support for the Syrian rebels, threatening an ever worsening downward spiral.

    In the latest evidence of states’ sluggish response to Mr Juncker’s demands for action, the European Commission revealed last night that just eight out of 28 member states had volunteered emergency equipment and experts to address the crisis, a month after they were asked to come forward with offers.

    Leaders gathered in Mr Juncker’s office to discuss plans to dispatch 400 border guards and set up new checkpoints, in exchange for frontier states dropping their policy of giving arrivals rapid passage to the borders of their neighbours.

    A draft statement circulated last night called for repatriations of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan and Pakistan to be speeded up.

    However, as they arrived the leaders lashed out at each other.

    Mr Cerar, the Slovenian prime minister, attacked Croatia for dumping migrants on its border without warning. He said some 12,000 people a day were arriving in the tiny state of two million.

    Viktor Orban, the Hungarian leader, demanded an end to Europe’s “open border policy” which he blamed for the crisis.

    Mr Tsipras criticised the lack of “responsibility” from other states, and said Turkey, the launching point for many trips to Europe, should have been invited.

    “Till today, it was difficult to find a solution, because a series of countries adopt a stance ‘Not in my backyard’,’” he said. He said Turkey should have been called to the talks. “The discussion will be among the countries of the corridors, but everyone knows at the end of the corridor there is an entrance,” he said.

    Zoran Milanovic, the Croatian Prime Minister, attacked Mr Tsipras. “Why doesn’t Greece control its maritime half with Turkey?” he said.

    Meanwhile, the bodies continued to wash up on the beaches of the Mediterranean.

    A woman and two children drowned when an inflatable dinghy carrying 63 migrants hit rocks off the Greek island of Lesbos, Greek authorities said. Another seven people were missing.

    Another 43 bodies of drowned migrants and refugees were recovered off the coasts of Libya yesterday as rough seas plagued smugglers’ boats in the Mediterranean.

    Aleksandar Vucic, the Serbian prime minister, said he was prepared for “hard, not very pleasant” talks, adding: “What are we going to do with hundreds of thousands of these people?”

    With Mr Juncker warning that the Schengen agreement was at risk from unilateral border closures, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia warned they would not accept being turned into a “buffer zone” for the influx of migrants.

    “If Germany and Austria and other countries close their borders, we will be ready to also close our borders at that very same moment,” said Boyko Borisov, the Bulgarian Prime Minister.

    Austria’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, attacked neighbouring Germany.

    “Germany is currently accepting simply too few refugees”, she told the Kronen Zeitung, which reported that 6,500 refugees were arriving a day. “We have reached the limit.”

    She said if the influx into Greece was not halted, a Slovenian plan to build a fence along the border with Croatia “is to be expected”.

    But in Germany, there were reports of alarm among state security officials that Angela Merkel’s refugee policy was too generous. She is facing a backlash for offering asylum to all Syrians who arrive.

    According to Welt am Sonntag, an unsigned discussion paper circulated among security official warns: “We are importing Islamic extremism, Arabic anti-semitism, the national and ethnic conflicts of other nations and other concepts of rights and society.”

    It warns of an extremist backlash among the “mainstream middle class”. “We will see many people turning away from this constitutional state.”

  25. UAE students urged not to film violent staff (7days, Oct 25, 2015)

    “Pupils have been urged to report abuse if they witness it in their schools – not film it and post it on social media.

    The warning follows a number of recent incidents in which teachers were filmed allegedly assaulting children in their care, including one of a laboratory assistant in?Al Ain filmed by a student in which he appears to hit a child during a visit to a health centre.

    A senior Abu Dhabi prosecutor said that while teachers are not allowed to hit children, filming someone without their permission and publishing the video on social media is also illegal.

    Mohammed Rashid Dhanhani, chief prosecutor in the Bani Yas area of Abu Dhabi, said: “This video was undermining to the teacher, especially if his wife and children watched it. Children should avoid misusing social media as it can land them in jail or paying big fines as per the cybercrime laws.”

    Dhanhani advised children to instead report abusive teachers to the police or Ministry of Education.

    Last week, the ministry said it had introduced a hotline for children and parents to report abuse if it is happening at their school.”

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