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Bangladeshi academic Anisuzzaman gets death threat (BBC, Nov 11, 2015)
“One of Bangladesh’s most prominent academics, Professor Anisuzzaman, says he has received a death threat because of his support for secularists.
Five secularists have been killed. An Islamist group said they carried out the most recent attack on a publisher.
Professor Anisuzzaman told local media he filed a police complaint after received the threat in a text message.
He was one of several public figures who issued a statement urging the government to act on the murders.
It comes as the US issued a travel alert for Bangladesh, urging Americans to be cautious after the recent killings of two foreigners.
A Japanese man was shot dead last month and an Italian aid worker was also killed in Dhaka in September in attacks claimed by the Islamic State militant group.
“There is reliable information to suggest that terrorist attacks could occur against foreigners in Bangladesh, including against large gatherings of foreigners,” the State Department said in the travel alert.
Anisuzzaman – known only by his surname and a professor of Bengali literature at the Dhaka University – told bdnews24.com that the death threat text message “asked in proper English why I support bloggers and if I wanted to die on being struck by machete”.
Timeline: Attacks on bloggers and publishers
27 February: Avijit Roy attacked and killed while walking home from a book fair. His wife Bonya Ahmed was also hurt
30 March: Washiqur Rahman hacked to death near his home in Dhaka
12 May: Blogger Ananta Bijoy Das attacked and killed in Sylhet
7 August: Blogger Niloy Neel hacked to death at home by gang armed with machetes
31 October: Secular publisher Faisal Arefin Dipon is hacked to death in Dhaka”
Kurdish militants kill three Turkish policemen in car attack (reuters, Nov 11, 2015)
“Three Turkish policemen were killed after Kurdish insurgents opened fire on a police car in the southeast near the border with Iraq, security sources said, the latest in a string of clashes in the mainly Kurdish region.
The southeast has been rocked by a spate of clashes with insurgents that has left hundreds dead since a two-year-old ceasefire between the Turkish state and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants broke down in July.
Security sources said a wide scale operation against the PKK militants started after the attack late on Tuesday, and one police officer was being treated for his wounds.
Also on Tuesday, one Turkish soldier was killed and 20 others were injured in two separate attacks in the region.
Areas of the southeast have been intermittently subject to round-the-clock curfews in response to the conflict. Security sources said six people had died in clashes in the town of Silvan in Diyarbakir province since a curfew was imposed there eight days ago.
Last Thursday, the PKK ended a month-old ceasefire it had declared before the Nov. 1 election. That vote was won by the AK Party of President Tayyip Erdogan, who subsequently vowed to fight the PKK until all fighters were “liquidated”…”
France arrests ‘Islamic State’ supporter for plotting Toulon naval base attack (DW, Nov 11, 2015)
“A Frenchman with links to the ‘Islamic State’ militant group in Syria has been arrested. French authorities said the man was plotting to attack servicemen at the country’s largest naval base in Toulon.
French authorities said Tuesday that a 25-year-old Frenchman was arrested for plotting to attack military personnel at a major naval base in southeast France.
“Having been placed under surveillance for a year due to his radicalization and support of jihadist doctrine, this individual attempted to acquire tools to act,” said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve in a statement.
The statement added that the Frenchman, who had links with members of the “Islamic State” militant group in Syria, “attempted to acquire material to carry out a violent attack on Navy personnel in Toulon.”
According to judicial sources, the man was sent a parcel containing at least one balaclava and a knife…”
ISIS beheadings of Shiite Hazaras spark biggest protest in Afghanistan in years
Thousands of people rallied in the Afghan capital Kabul in protest against the killing of seven people by Afghan militants claiming loyalty to the Islamic State. The protesters said the security situation in the country deteriorated after the incident and government did not take any measures to deal with it. The victims were kidnapped by the terrorists along a main road in Ghazni months ago.
RT – FRANCE -Teargas & Water Cannons: Police clash with migrants in Calais
DAILY MAIL – British activists are blamed for organising three nights of rioting at Calais that has seen police attacked with rocks
Police used tear gas and baton charges against crowd of refugees in Calais
Extremist political activists from UK accused of inciting the violent scenes
No Borders group campaigns for all immigration controls to be scrapped
Extremist political activists from Britain are provoking the migrant riots in Calais, the French authorities said today.
As police used tear gas and baton charges against hundreds of refugees trying to get to the UK for the third night in a row, the No Borders organisation was accused of inciting the violence.
It is a group made up of self-styled anarchists who campaign for all immigration controls to be scrapped.
‘No borders’ activists from Britain are provoking migrant riots in Calais, French say
EXTREMIST political activists from Britain campaigned for no border controls are provoking the migrant riots in Calais and causing further violence, French authorities said today.
French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said “it is No Borders” who “take advantage of the disarray of the migrants and push them into rioting”.
50 social workers travelled to Calais’s ‘Jungle’ refugee camp
Migrant crisis: Slovenia begins building fence on border with Croatia
Raw: Slovenia Starts Erecting Border Fence
Slovenia: Army erect razor-wire fence on Croatian border to stem refugee flow
Tensions are mounting on the Slovenia-Croatia border after Slovenia started building a fence on disputed territory to stem an influx of migrants.
AP journalists saw Croatian police demand that Slovenia take down a section of the fence on Wednesday.
Croatian special forces have arrived at the Harmica border crossing on the Croatian side, while Slovenian special police with long barrel weapons are standing on the Slovenian side. A helicopter is flying above illuminating the area with a spotlight.
Croatia authorities are claiming that the Slovenian fence has entered Croatian territory in seven locations and want it removed.
Slovenia denies any part of the fence is on Croatian soil. Both countries are locked in a dispute over certain parts of their territory after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Dozens of asylum-seekers in a Czech reception center are on hunger strike to protest their detention and a possible return to their country of origin.
Media say about 44 people, mostly from Iraq, are refusing to eat in the Drahonice facility located west of Prague.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told Czech public radio that they started their protest after some 40 other migrants were returned from the center to another European country.
In a statement sent through Mikulas Vymetal, a Protestant priest, to the local CTK news agency, the asylum-seekers complain they’ve been detained too long and say they would rather die than return home.
There are currently more than 140 people in the center.
Czech authorities say hunger strikes are not rare in the migrant centers.
Press freedom hits rock bottom in Turkey ahead of G-20 summit (todayszaman, Nov 11, 2015)
“Despite calls in a recently released European Union’s progress report for the elimination of restrictions on media freedom in Turkey, the country’s journalists continue to be prosecuted and discriminated against for their critical views more than ever ahead of a G-20 summit to be held in Turkey on Nov. 15-16.
In its annual progress report on Turkey released on Tuesday, the EU called for counter measures against intimidation of journalists and for investigations into threats and attacks against journalists. However, restrictions on the freedom of the press continue to be a major challenge for journalists to perform their profession in the country, with many having to go to court for their writings or views.
In one recent examples of such restrictions, veteran journalist Ahmet Altan, an outspoken government critic, testified to prosecutors on Wednesday as part of two investigations launched into him on charges of insulting the president and “inciting hatred and animosity among the public.” One of the investigations was launched following a complaint by President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s lawyer while the other was launched by the Justice Ministry’s General Directorate of Penal Affairs.
Altan faces the accusations due to an interview he gave to grihat.com in April and interviews he gave to Bugün TV and Samanyolu TV in September.
Speaking to reporters in front of the ?stanbul Courthouse, Altan said if a president is violating the Constitution so many times in the country, he will definitely be criticized.
Two separate investigations have also been launched into prominent journalist Cengiz Çandar over claims that he insulted President Erdo?an in seven of his columns in the Radikal daily. Radikal reported that Erdo?an’s lawyer Ahmet Özel had submitted a petition to the ?stanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office and said Çandar had attacked Erdo?an’s personal rights by insulting him in the media. In a written notice sent to Çandar, the prosecutor’s office cited seven of Çandar’s columns published on radikal.com.tr between July 26 and Aug. 19 as the reason for the investigation.
Under the presidency of Erdo?an, it has been an almost daily occurrence in Turkey for journalists and public figures to face legal action on charges of insulting the president or the government and some even receive prison sentences. Several columnists including Ertu?rul Özkök, Hasan Cemal and Perihan Ma?den are already facing investigations for insulting Erdo?an while Özkök, a columnist for the Hürriyet daily, is facing a 30-month prison sentence on charges of insulting a senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) official.
Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Kene? was convicted of insulting the president and handed a suspended prison sentence of 21 months earlier this year on grounds that he insulted the president in a Twitter post. Kene? did not even mention the president’s name in his tweet and his sentence has attracted worldwide condemnation.
Last month, TV producer and journalist U?ur Dündar and Sözcü daily columnist Necati Do?ru were also sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in prison by an ?stanbul court for insulting former Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m and President Erdo?an, respectively, though the court allowed them to pay a fine in lieu of serving their sentences.
These developments are widely considered to be a new method of intimidating political opponents and critical voices. Dozens of others including journalists Sedef Kaba?, Hidayet Karaca and Mehmet Baransu as well as high school students, activists and even a former Miss Turkey, Merve Büyüksaraç, have been prosecuted for insulting Erdo?an in print and on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Another method used by the AK Party government and Erdo?an to silence critical journalists and hinder their work is the implementation of an accreditation ban against them, as a result of which these journalists and news outlets cannot cover events attended by Erdo?an or government officials.
There are claims that Erdo?an and the AK Party government aim to avoid being asked tough questions by critical journalists on a range of controversial issues by preventing independent journalists from covering the events they attend. Before the accreditation ban, there were instances in which journalists cornered Erdo?an and other government officials at news conferences with questions on corruption and allegations about the government or Erdo?an’s direct meddling in the media. In most cases, Erdo?an rebuked the journalists and failed to give them accurate answers.
Today’s accreditation ban faced by some journalists means that they are prevented from covering events that take place in a public area. Journalists in Turkey have even faced an accreditation ban for an event held in the courtyard of a mosque during the funeral of a slain prosecutor in April.
The accreditation ban is now being taken to the international level with the exclusion of some journalists and media organs from the G-20 summit to be held in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya on Sunday and Monday, where the leaders of the G-20 major economies including the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia and Brazil are set to meet to discuss global economic issues.
Many media organizations, including Today’s Zaman, have not yet been granted accreditation by the Turkish government to cover the summit. Despite most other media organizations having received confirmation from the Office of the Prime Minister’s Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) about a month ago, the Zaman daily, Today’s Zaman, the Cihan news agency and the Sözcü daily have still not been granted accreditation to cover the summit….”
TURKEY -American Fighter Jets Sent to Help Protect Turkish Airspace
WASHINGTON, November 10, 2015 — The first six of 12 U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle jet fighters arrived on Incirlik Air Base in Turkey Nov. 6, to conduct combat air patrols in Turkish airspace at the request of its government, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters this afternoon.
The United States agreed last month to the Turkish government’s request for support to secure the sovereignty of its airspace, Cook said.
The request came “on the heels of the incursions we saw by the Russians … and it’s a request we’ve honored,” Cook said.
The U.S. action reflects “both our commitment to ensure the safety of our NATO ally and our commitment to degrade and ultimately defeat the [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] in Iraq and Syria,” he added.
F-15E’s Also Will Deploy
The U.S. Air Force will also soon deploy F-15E Strike Eagle jets to Incirlik as part of the coalition’s counter-ISIL operations, although their number and date of arrival are yet to be determined, Cook said.
“We commend Turkey’s decision to open these [airspaces] to us and other coalition members participating in air operations against ISIL and Turkey’s participation in coalition counter-ISIL air operations,” he added.
The U.S. presence in Turkey includes U.S. personnel recovery assets and manned and remotely piloted aircraft already conducting counter-ISIL missions from Incirlik, Cook said.
Mission To Support Turkish Fighters
The American fighter jets will join Turkish F-16s at Incirlik, which regularly participate in coalition counter-ISIL missions in Syria, including strike missions, he added.
“Beyond air operations, we continue our dialogue with Turkey to evaluate options on the most-effective means of countering ISIL, including along its borders in a manner that supports Turkey’s security and regional stability,” Cook said.
Secretary of State John Kerry to Deliver Remarks on U.S. Strategy in Syria
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver remarks on U.S. strategy in Syria at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 12, at the United States Institute of Peace, in Washington, D.C.
The Secretary’s address will be set against the backdrop of diplomatic efforts to achieve a political transition in Syria and the continuing military campaign against the terrorist group ISIL, or Daesh.
Due to limited camera positions, the event will be pooled press coverage for video cameras and photographers. It will be open press for writers.
Climate change intensifies conflicts, John Kerry says
Nigeria and Syria violence exacerbated by climate change effects such as severe drought, US secretary of state warns.
Negative effects of climate change such as extreme drought are linked to deadly violence in countries such as Syria and Nigeria, and those still denying there’s a problem are putting the entire planet at risk, the US secretary of state said.
John Kerry addressed a group of about 2,000 people on Tuesday at the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
“It’s not a coincidence that immediately prior to the civil war in Syria the country experienced its worst drought on record, as many as 1.5 million people migrated from Syria’s farms to its cities, intensifying the political unrest that was just beginning to royal and boil in the region,” said Kerry.
“In Nigeria, climate change didn’t lead to the terrorist group Boko Haram, but the severe drought that the country suffered and the inability of the government to cope with it helped create the political and economic vitality that the militants exploited to seize villages, butcher teachers, and kidnap hundreds of school girls,” he added.
Kerry’s comments came ahead of a meeting that will bring 195 countries together to seek a binding climate change agreement aimed at limiting the rise in global temperatures. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change lasts from November 30 until December 11 in Paris, France.
Kerry had earlier said he was convening a task force to integrate climate and security analysis into broad foreign policy planning.
“It would be better for all of us if I was exaggerating the urgency of this threat, but the science tells us unequivocally that those who continue to make climate change a political fight put us all at risk.
Norway: Huge blaze engulfs refugee accommodation centre in Hemsedal
RAW: Syrian female pro-Assad warriors battle jihadists near Damascus
EU migrant crisis: Advanced countries need to take more migrants, says International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde
The head of the influential International Monetary Fund has thrown in her two cents on the EU’s migrant crisis with a two-page blog post published today.
Lagarde said those who had accepted large numbers of refugees should be commended, but that “others, especially among the advanced countries, should look at how they might increase their scope for admitting more refugees.”
After explaining the advantages of receiving migrants – they can boost a country’s labour force, encourage investment and stimulate growth – she outlined her top tips for migrant integration:
First, strengthening the ability of labour markets to absorb migrants — by enabling immediate ability to seek work and providing better job matching services.
Second, enhancing access to education and training — by providing affordable education, language and job training.
Third, improving skill recognition — by adopting simple, affordable and transparent procedures to recognise foreign qualifications.
Finally, supporting migrant entrepreneurs — by reducing barriers to start-ups and providing support with legal advice, counselling and training.
In Sweden, for instance, an introduction program for refugees provides employment preparation and language training for up to 24 months, together with financial benefits. The program is beginning to help the latest inflow of refugees to find jobs—even though it will inevitably take time to fully succeed.
Another international organisation, the World Bank, has also told developed countries to get better at accepting migrants as mass economic migration is set to be a recurring theme over the 21st century as advanced economies look to counter ageing populations.
Figures from the UN show that over 200,000 migrants arrived at the EU’s borders in October.
VICE NEWS – Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria ( 32 min 18 )
Unemployment up for foreigners in Sweden (thelocal, Nov 11, 2015)
“More than one in five foreign-born people in Sweden are without a job, and unemployment within the group is expected to rise, employment authorities suggested on Wednesday.
While Sweden’s unemployment on the whole continues to slowly fall, rising numbers of foreigners in the Nordic country are struggling to find work. A total of 21.8 percent are currently unemployed, according to fresh figures from Sweden’s Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).
“It is of course a challenge for Arbetsförmedlingen, because so many of those come to us are quite far from the labour market. They have a longer distance to go to be able to get a job, and require more assistance,” the authority’s chief analyst Mats Wadman told the TT newswire.
“At the same time it’s an opportunity, because we do need some labour immigration,” he added.
At the end of October around 372,000 people aged 16-64 were registered as job seekers with the Employment Service, down by some 800 from the previous year, bringing Sweden’s total unemployment to 7.8 percent.
But the number of foreign-born unemployed has gone up by 17,000 to 183,000 people. This is double the number there was in 2008, when Sweden was hit by the global financial crisis.
Wadman estimates that the trend will continue as the Nordic country continues to accept unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers. Up to 190,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Sweden by the end of the year.
“The heavy influx right now won’t be noticeable at the Employment Service until at some point next year. It takes time for them to get residence permits, and it’s not until then that they come to us,” he said.
“We’re in ongoing discussions with the government about how much and what type of resources we need.”
Sweden was criticized by the International Monetary Fond (IMF) earlier this autumn for having one of the highest differences in employement levels between natives and immigrants in the OECD area (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
“The Swedish labour market has become increasingly polarized. Although overall employment is high, unemployment falls heavily on the low-skilled and the foreign-born,” noted the IMF in September.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has previously insisted he will achieve his goal of Sweden having the lowest unemployment rate in the EU by 2020. However, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson noted in an interview with the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper earlier this month that his promise was looking increasingly “harder to reach”.”
My system is exceptionally ragged, probably for another week off-&-on.
Meanwhile, a smile:
It’s Not Just Campuses—Liberal Think Tank Employees Want Safe Space From Netanyahu
Sweden must combat extremist ‘mirage’ (thelocal, Nov 11, 2015)
“With violent Islamist extremism a growing problem in Sweden, an Abu Dhabi-based scholar argues authorities can do more to expose the ‘mirage’ of extremism.
According to some scholars in Sweden, the greatest terrorist threat to Sweden is violent Islamist extremism. The problem grows in scope as more and more Swedes travel to join movements such as Isis.
Sweden’s Intelligence Service Säpo estimates over 300 Swedes have travelled to Syria to fight for extremist movements like Islamic State, a figure that means Swedish migration to Isis is the second largest in Europe in relation to population size. Among these migrants there are between 30 and 40 women and a recent report on extremism in Sweden by the Stockholm Free World Forum stated there could be many more “hidden” extremists among the population.
The rise of extremism among the young is an issue we know all too well in the Middle East. And the basic appeal of extremism here is no different than it is elsewhere: groups like Isis and Al Qaeda lure young people with a false promise of justice and glory. A mirage.
Young people in Sweden, as with anywhere else, are network-minded. They grew up in the world of social media, a space in which blocs and borders are rendered hazy. Equally hazy is the distinction between truth and fiction.
The whole idea of a caliphate is that of a giant social network united by a monstrous misinterpretation of religious duty. Extremists offer youth the chance to be part of something bigger than themselves: a league of superheroes who fight historical and religious wrongs. As wrongheaded and dangerous as this may be, it is the prevailing narrative.
Warriors are of course in high-demand by Isis, and the appeal of dying for a cause which promises heavenly rewards is very attractive, particularly to young men. But women are swelling the extremist ranks as well. In the caliphate, women are lured by promises of getting important roles in the new Islamic State and by the opportunity to “community-build”.
Therein lies the two-fold solution helping young people combat the lure of extremism. First, young people must be exposed to the true means and ends of extremists. Second, we must create opportunities for honour and justice at home, within our borders.
The violence and horror perpetrated by Isis can only be rationalized in the name of greater glory. When it comes to extremism, the myth of the moral righteousness of wanton bloodshed can and must be punctured. The greatest crime in Islam is the taking of innocent lives. The Koran also makes suicide an instant disqualifier for heaven. Furthermore, Islam calls on its faithful to be the best Muslims they can be, and this includes promoting educational and social advancement….”
Sweden to introduce border controls at noon (thelocal, Nov 11, 2015)
“UPDATED: Sweden is to introduce temporary border controls in the south of the country from noon on Thursday, the government has announced.
Anders Ygeman, Minister for Home Affairs, told a press conference in Stockholm on Wednesday evening that border controls would take place on the Öresund Bridge and the ferry terminals in Skåne and apply initially for 10 days, said Ygeman.
Ygeman said that border controls could be extended in 20-day periods.
According to Ygeman the introduction of border controls means that refugees coming to Sweden face three choices: to return to the country they came from, seek asylum in Sweden or select a different route (if Sweden had been chosen as a transit country).
Ygeman also said that the Swedish police had judged that the Schengen area trigger points regarding threat to internal order and security have been activated and so allow border controls to be introduced.
The Swedish Migration Board is under “extremely heavy pressure,” Ygeman said, and had requested the border checks.
Ygeman added that the government would also ask ferry operators serving Swedish ports to check passengers’ identity documents.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, speaking to news agency TT from an EU summit in Malta, said Sweden needed “order on our borders. There must be order in our reception of refugees.”
When questioned about his government’s plans four hours prior to the press conference, Löfven would only say that he “couldn’t rule out” border checks. Speaking after the decision was made, he said officials had been examining the issue.
Mikael Hvinlund of Swedish Migration Board told the press conference that the agency had asked for border controls because it can no longer fulfil its mission…”
CHANNEL 4 – Refugee crisis: huge queues on the Serbian-Macedonian border