Reader’s links for Dec. 1 – 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

89 Replies to “Reader’s links for Dec. 1 – 2015”

  1. IMF approves China’s yuan as elite reserve currency

    The International Monetary Fund welcomes China’s yuan into its elite reserve currency basket, recognizing the ascendance of the Asian power in the global economy.

    • This news item is the most earth-shaking of all from the standpoint of the US. It will mean that Henry Kissinger’s gambit of opening up PRC as a counterpoint to the Soviet Union has come back like a boomerang and created a Communist economic superpower as well as a Pacific military superpower. Instead of doing things the strengthen the US economically and military, Obama has done everything he can to the US to crap. As John Derbyshire states: “We are Doomed.”

    • UN Experts: Up to 3,000 Islamic State Fighters in Libya (abcnews, Dec 1, 2015)

      “U.N. experts say the Islamic State group has between 2,000 and 3,000 fighters in Libya and intends to control more territory in the strategically located North African country.

      But those experts stressed in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Tuesday that IS is only one player among multiple warring factions.

      The experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against al-Qaida and spinoff groups said in the report that the Islamic State group is benefiting from its “appeal” and notoriety in Iraq and Syria and poses “an evident short and long-term threat in Libya.”

      The 24-page report stressed, however, that the group “faces strong resistance from the population, as well as difficulties in building and maintaining local alliances” — and the experts said its threat “needs to be realistically assessed.””

  2. SYRIA – Fighting between US-backed rebels and Islamic militants in northern Syria kills at least 20

    Fighting between U.S.-backed Syrian rebels and rival militants has killed more than 20 people in northern Syria over the past two days, opposition activists said on Monday.

    The fighting between the so-called Democratic Forces of Syria, which is led by Kurds, and Islamic militants has flared in recent days in the northern province of Aleppo. Most of the fighting has taken place in the border area, where Turkey is examining the possibility of creating a safe zone to protect civilians and moderate rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting is concentrated near the town of Azaz, close to the border with Turkey. Azaz has been repeatedly hit by Russian airstrikes in recent days.

    The Observatory, which tracks Syria’s civil war based on reports from activists inside the country, said 15 militants and eight DFS fighters have been killed since Sunday.

    Bahaa al-Halaby, an opposition activist based in Aleppo, said on Monday that 20 civilians were killed in the fighting but did not have figures for fighters killed. He said the fighting began when DFS launched an offensive and captured several villages before being pushed back by militants.

    “I think the aim of this attack is to thwart attempts to set up a safe zone,” al-Halaby said via Skype.

    The DFS is led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which has been battling the Islamic State group across northern and eastern Syria with the aid of U.S.-led airstrikes. Turkey views the Kurdish forces, known by the acronym YPG, as an extension of the Kurdish PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Ankara.

    The YPG sees the plans for a safe zone as an effort by Turkey to use allied Syrian rebel factions to block its advance along the border.

    After Turkey shot down a Russian warplane over northern Syria last Tuesday, Russia has hit the highway linking the town of Azaz with the Bab al-Salameh border crossing with Turkey twice, killing seven and wounding ten people.

    Russia began an air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30 that Moscow says is intended to weaken the Islamic State group and other “terrorists” in Syria, but Western officials and Syrian rebels say most of the strikes have focused on central and northern Syria, where IS does not have a strong presence.

    Russia has been one of the strongest supporters of President Bashar Assad since the start of the uprising in 2011.

    The Observatory said on Monday that two months of Russian airstrikes have killed 1,502 people including 485 civilians. The group said that 419 IS fighters and 598 gunmen with other militant groups, including al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front, were killed in the air campaign.

    Also on Monday, the Observatory reported that IS fighters shot dead 18 soldiers and pro-government gunmen in a public square in the historic town of Palmyra. It said the 18 fighters had been captured in previous battles with the extremist group.

    IS fighters have captured and killed hundreds of government forces and state employees since the extremist group declared a caliphate in the areas under its control in Syria and Iraq.

    In July, IS released a video showing the killing of around 20 government soldiers in Palmyra’s renowned Roman era amphitheater.

    Syria’s conflict has killed more than 250,000 and wounded at least a million since the uprising began over four years ago.

    [ the same story told somewhat differently ]

    BREITBART – Kurdish-Arab Tensions Complicate Anti-Islamic State Fight in Syria

    Fighting has erupted between allegedly allied anti-Islamic State groups in Aleppo, Syria, killing over 20 people in the past two days.

    The clashes occurred between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is “a coalition of the Free Syrian Army (FSA),” along with Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front.

    YPG lost eight members while the Islamic rebels lost 15. Nusra Front militants allegedly beheaded two men they “accused of working with Jaish al-Thuwwar.”

    It all began on Thursday when the Nusra Front fighters and their allies “attacked posts belonging to Jaish al-Thuwwar, an Arab rebel group allied with Kurdish forces.” Opposition activist Bahaa al-Halaby stated the fighting started “when DFS launched an offensive and captured several village before being pushed back by militants.”

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the fighting mainly took place in Azaz, a strategically important border town near Turkey captured by terrorists in September 2013. That is significant because Turkey “vocally supported the fight against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and allowed weapons to cross into Syria on its southern border.” The capture of Azaz allowed easier access to the jihadists. Two months later, CNN revealed in a report Turkey’s secret jihadi route to Syria.

    Fighting between the groups appears to have reached near-constant levels in Sheikh Maqsud, which houses mostly Kurds. Liwa Ahrar Suriya, a rebel group based in Aleppo, said the village is a “military zone” and referred to the YPG as the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) based in Turkey. From Middle East Eye:

    “The PKK is cooperating with Russia against rebels, trying to cut the supply line to Aleppo,” read the statement, referring to the YPG’s support for Russian airstrikes against “jihadist” groups.

    Yasser Abdul Raheem, a leader of Fatah Halab, also claimed that forces from Jaish al-Thuwwar – an FSA faction of the SDF – had killed 20 civilians in Tanab on Saturday.

    However, the Kurdish Hawar news agency claimed instead that the killings had been carried out by Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.

    The Turkish government wants to create a safe zone along the border “to protect civilians and moderate rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.” The YPG believes the “safe zone” is actually to stop them from “advancing along the border.” The Turkish government, the U.S., EU, and NATO all consider the PKK a terrorist organization. When Turkey finally joined the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), evidence shows the government used their resources to bomb the PKK in Iraq, hundreds of miles away from their stated target in Syria.


    video -Funerals in Azaz – Syria Nov 30 2015

  3. Iraqi Kurds Smuggling Oil Through Israel to Circumvent Baghdad

    Kurdistan’s semi-autonomous government in Iraq (KRG) has been smuggling oil through Israel in order to bypass sales being monitored by the central government in Baghdad, Al-Jazeera reported on Thursday.

    KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami said that the oil was being smuggled out of the country in order to raise the necessary funds to enable the Kurdish militias to continue fighting ISIS.

    He said that one of the many methods used by the Kurds to avoid detection by the central government in Baghdad was funneling the oil through Israel. The purchasers of Kurdish oil took tankers to the Israeli port of Ashkelon, where they were loaded into storage facilities and later resold to European buyers, according to Al-Jazeera.

    The subterfuge was necessary, said Hawrami, because the central government in Baghdad had been financially discriminating against the KRG for a long time, and when the Kurds did not receive the 17% of the Iraqi national budget to which they are entitled, they started calculating alternative ways of making money, such as selling oil independently.

  4. Syria conflict: German cabinet approves IS mission (BBC, Dec 1, 2015)

    “The German cabinet has backed plans for military support in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.

    Tornado reconnaissance aircraft, a naval frigate and a 1,200-strong force will be sent to the region under the proposals – expected to go for a parliament vote as early as Wednesday.

    Germany decided to join the fight against IS after an appeal by French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the 13 November Paris attacks.

    Its forces will not engage in combat.

    MPs are expected to back the mission, which would become Germany’s biggest current military operation abroad…”

  5. France: Obama warns Putin not to get ‘bogged down’ in Syrian conflict

    US President Barack Obama gave a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin not to get too militarily involved in the Syrian conflict, during a press conference on the sidelines of the COP21 climate talks in Paris, Tuesday.

    • Obama Voices Support for Turkey

      President Obama met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Paris on Tuesday. The President emphasized Turkey’s right to defend itself and its airspace, following the Turkish shootdown of a Russian fighter jet.

  6. IRAQ – Scores of Shiite Muslims start pilgrimage to Karbala

    Scores of Shiite Muslims started making their way from Baghdad to the city of Karbala on Monday to take part in Arbaeen commemorations, with Iraqi security forces mobilised to control the flow of pilgrims and look out for potential suicide attacks.

  7. Spanish king honors Sephardic Jews expelled five centuries ago

    “Dear Sephardim, thank you for your loyalty,” the king told representatives of Sephardic Jews from different countries, at the royal palace.

    “Thank you for having kept like a precious treasure your language and your customs that are ours too. Thank you too for making love prevail over rancor and for teaching your children to love this country.  

    “How we have missed you.”

  8. US ‘prepared to expand’ special operations forces in Syria: Defense chief

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday that he was “prepared to expand” the role of special operations troops fighting Islamic State jihadists in Syria.

    “American special operators bring a unique suite of capabilities that make them force multipliers,” Carter told the House Armed Services Committee. “Where we find further opportunity to leverage such capability, we are prepared to expand it.”

    The United States has already announced it is sending about 50 special operations troops into Syria.

    • CNN – Carter: U.S. special operators headed to Syria

      Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told Congress that the U.S. is sending special forces to Syria.

  9. The Real Lesson of the Paris Attacks

    What if the terrorists had been targeting “just Americans,” or “just diplomats” — would that be “understandable terrorism” in John Kerry’s thinking?

    “If we should stop drawing cartoons, should we also stop having synagogues? Should they be converted into something else? Should we ask the Jewish people to leave?” — Organizer of a targeted fee speech event, in response to the question if they had brought the attack on themselves.

    Much of the world may only have been just bragging or emoting in saying, “Je Suis Charlie” or “Je Suis Juif” in January. But it turns out not to matter: the terrorists of ISIS think we are all cartoonists and Jews anyway.

    Since we cannot live with ISIS and similar groups, we had better do whatever it takes to speed up an end of our choosing before they speed up an end of their choosing.

  10. An Unnecessary Crisis
    Some guesses as to what exactly transpired in this week’s high-stakes standoff between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin.

    The Turks seemed particularly upset at the Russian bombardment of their allies, the anti-Assad Turkmen militia. Turkey has invested a lot of support in this militia; President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly admitted that they had been supplying it with arms. Another worrying factor for Ankara was the growing post-Paris consensus to prioritize the fight against Islamic State at the expense of the fight against Bashar al-Assad, which has always been Turkey’s primary focus. Finally, the mood in the West regarding Putin’s bullying tactics, from Ukraine to Syria, had turned sour.

    Still, even if the Turks were confident of NATO support and correctly judged the growing Putin fatigue in the West, this remains too risky a decision for any country to take. The decision requires a great deal of self-confidence, as well as an element of risk-taking. All this points to Erdogan, who possesses both of these attributes.

    Turkey may now realize that it has overplayed its hand. Erdogan, who initially said there was nothing to apologize for, is now saying that if [the Turkish military] knew it was a Russian plane it would probably have acted differently. Erdogan likely changed his tune because Putin didn’t lose any time in retaliating against Turkish interests: Turkish convoys in Syria delivering supplies to the opposition have been bombed, Turkish businessmen have been denied entry at the Moscow airport, tourism packages are being cancelled. . . . Eventually the tensions will subside, but for the moment two mercurial leaders are confronting one another. How long the confrontation will last depends on their particular calculations.

  11. Germany: Darmstadt – Muslims sentenced to life for ‘honour killing’ of daughter

    A mother and father were sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering their 19-year-old daughter, during their trial for the crime in the city of Darmstadt, Tuesday.

    SOT, Barbara Sieger, state prosecutor (German): “The verdict today is a life sentence and is it for both of them. That is also what the prosecutor had demanded. The only thing that the court did not decide on was the gravity of their guilt because that is a subjective question. However, the prosecutor’s office considers the verdict to be fair. ”

  12. Germany: Die Linke [ the Left ] against joining war against the so-called Islamic State

    Die Linke Parliamentary group co-leader Dietmar Bartsch said that Die Linke opposes to the German government’s decision to participate in the war against the so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), speaking at a press conference in Berlin, Tuesday.

  13. Canada anxious over possible backlash against Syrian refugees

    OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Canadian government is concerned about a possible backlash against plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, especially if the public thinks the newcomers were being “pampered”, a cabinet minister said on Tuesday.

    “Canadians are struggling for jobs themselves. Canadians have been waiting, in some case years, for social housing. There is a possibility of a social backlash against refugees if Canadians see them as being pampered,” Immigration and Refugees Minister John McCallum said.

    “So I think it’s really important in executing this plan … (that) we don’t want Canadians to think we are giving refugees everything and not accommodating the needs of our own people,” he said.

    The new Liberal government has already pushed back its deadline for accepting the refugees to the end of February from January 1, partly because of security concerns after last month’s attacks in Paris.

    Authorities across Canada are scrambling to prepare for the arrivals by arranging for temporary accommodations, healthcare, long-term social support and schools, along with discussing employment possibilities.

    McCallum, who is helping coordinate the federal effort, told a public forum on the refugees that his biggest challenge was to ensure the general public maintained its support for the effort.

    He also said Ottawa needed to keep Canadians reassured about security. After the attacks in Paris, some critics complained the initial target was too ambitious and could lead to militants sneaking in disguised as refugees.

    On November 13 Paris was hit by coordinated attacks in which 130 people were killed. The group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the violence.

    Canada, which has said all necessary security checks would be made before refugees are flown in, has sent 500 officials to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to oversee the effort. They are working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations refugee agency.

    Many details of the plan are still not clear, even though Canada has committed to bringing in 10,000 refugees by the end of the year.

    Ottawa has said it would use military and chartered planes to fly the refugees from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. McCallum told reporters late on Monday that he hoped the first plane would arrive next week.

    IOM official Craig Murphy, who is based in Amman, told reporters in Geneva by phone on Tuesday that the processing center in Jordan would be able to handle a maximum of 500 refugees a day by December 5.

    All male applicants were being asked about military service, although having served in the Syrian armed forces would not automatically disqualify anyone, he said.

    • French PM Valls warns of National Front ‘trickery’ (BBC, Dec 1, 2015)

      “French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned voters not to fall for the “trickery” of National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen, ahead of key regional elections on Sunday.

      Opinion polls suggest a surge in support for the far-right FN after the migrant crisis and the Paris attacks.

      “Beware of those who say with us there would have been no attack,” said Mr Valls.
      Earlier the head of the bosses’ group condemned the FN’s policies.

      Pierre Gattaz, the president of Medef, told Le Parisien the party’s programme was “not economically responsible” and it reminded him of left-wing politics from the early 1980s.

      Bringing the retirement age back to 60, raising the minimum wage and bringing back the franc were “exactly the opposite of what we need to kick-start economic growth in this country,” he said.

      French voters go to the polls in all 15 French regions, with a first round on 6 December and a second round the following Sunday.

      According to opinion polls, support for the anti-immigration and anti-EU National Front has risen across the country to the extent that the party is on course for victory in two regions.

      Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the party leader’s 25-year-old niece and grand-daughter of FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, could do well in the south-eastern region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur.

      Polls suggest she could secure 42% of the vote in the first round and go on to win the second round ahead of the centre-right mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi…”

    • Turkey: ‘One of us leaves office’ – Erdogan challenges Putin over IS support claims

      Following accusations and evidential claims that Turkey has been collaborating with the so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in regards to the facilitation of oil deposits, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement from Ankara on Tuesday. The Turkish president announced that “If such a thing is proven, the nobility of our nation</strong 🙂 🙂 🙂 would require that I would not stay in office,and I tell Mr Putin, would you stay in that office?"

  14. An expert on Islam has suggested that Norwegians could improve integration by removing beer, wine and spirits from the Christmas party table.

    Norway’s call to remove crosses causes backlash

    Following heated debate, Norwegian officials have dropped the requirement that any buildings that house refugees remove their religous imagery in order to not offend the newcomers.

    • Sen. Coats: Obama Admin Now Acknowledging ISIS Strategy Has Failed

      Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), former Ambassador to Germany, said on “America’s Newsroom” that the Obama administration is quietly acknowledging that their strategy against ISIS has not worked.

      Coats talked to Bill Hemmer this morning about two new developments, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter announcing today that the U.S. will send special ops forces to Syria.

      The move comes just after the White House called on Congress to formally authorize military action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

      Coats said the administration has said “for months, if not years” that they don’t need such authority from Congress.

      “They’re deflecting it because the president doesn’t want to stand up and take responsibility to say, ‘my strategy hasn’t worked,'” he said, adding that Congress has always been willing to authorize military force against ISIS.

      Coats said it’s clear that the current strategy isn’t working, but the president is trying to “blame Congress” rather than admit failure.

  15. CBC – Winnipeg game night unites Muslims, non-Muslims alike

    Night of games at Across the Board Cafe gives people a chance to see each other ‘as they are’

    A group of Winnipeggers got together to strengthen bonds and play games with members of the Muslim community Monday night.

    “Playing for Peace,” a night of free table top games, was held at the Across the Board Cafe and hosted by the Islamic Social Services Association.

    “When we had the bombings in Paris and Beirut, there kind of was a moment when I thought, ‘You know what, we need to do something,” said Clinton Skivitzky, the organizer of the event.

    Skivitzky came up with the idea after reading about a café in Jerusalem that was giving Palestinian and Israeli customers 50 per cent off if they dined together.

    “I thought, ‘That is an awesome way to mix people,'” he said. “Board games are a really fantastic way to get to know someone in a really safe environment, in a structured sense.

    “[It] lets you meet them and learn about their personality and really get to see them as they are.”

    Doors opened at 5 p.m. and the place filled up in no time.

    Mike Hofer attended the event. He’s been to similar board game events in Winnipeg and said it’s a great place to meet new people.

    “Everyone can bond over a common interest,” said Hofer. “I met a number of my closest friends through table top gaming.”

    Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ offensive lineman Obby Khan helped keep people fed at the event with [ halal ??? ] food from his restaurant, Shawarma Khan.

    “Tonight is about Muslims and non-Muslims hanging out together and just sharing stories and having some fun,” Khan said. “I think it’s the duty of everyone to stand up for what’s common sense and what’s right and what’s wrong.”

    Shawarma Khan provided food for everyone who donated $10 or more to the Red Cross Red Crescent campaign to help Syrian refugees.

    video – Clinton Skivitzky, the organizer of the event.

  16. CANADA – Stepfather of convicted B.C. terrorist causes scene at mosque event

    A man claiming to be the stepfather of a convicted terrorist sparked conflict at a Victoria mosque over the weekend at an event hosted in light of the deadly Paris attacks.

    John Nuttall converted to Islam before he was found guilty of plotting to detonate pressure-cooker bombs at the B.C. Legislature in 2013, according to David Taggart.

    Taggart said he attended the Masjid Al-Iman mosque on Quadra Street Sunday to ask about the Quran as part of a two-year search for answers, but things quickly became heated.

    “Because my son was personally involved in that, I had a responsibility as a father to understand why, and then to show him the error of his ways,” he said outside the mosque Sunday.

    But Taggart’s frustration boiled over outside the event, which drew hundreds of people looking to learn about the mosque and its beliefs in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks earlier this month.

    “You taught him from the Quran that violence is allowed! And it is written!” he yelled at a mosque member.

    Taggart was asked to leave the property and was spoken to by police, but not charged with anything.

    He later said he did not intend to cause a scene.

    “I think a lot of other people came here today to be peaceful, and to try to understand and be welcomed,” a woman who witnessed the confrontation said. “And I think it’s really inspiring that a lot of people are taking it well.”

    Meanwhile inside, members of the mosque tried to bridge the gap on a religion they say has been misunderstood.

    “I really want to stress that Islam is truly a religion of peace and the acts of a few individuals should not destroy the image of a religion as a whole,” said Imam Ismail Nur to a packed room.

    The Imam has since said he’d welcome a proper visit from Taggart to discuss Islam.

    Meanwhile, a B.C. Supreme Court judge is still deciding whether the RCMP entrapped Nuttall and his partner Amanda Korody into plotting to blow up the B.C. Legislature in 2013, and the pair’s lawyers are asking for a stay in proceedings for reasons of entrapment.

    • GREECE – MACEDONIA border – Migrants protest in Gevgelija, army on full alert

      After a short calm, migrants from the countries that have not been hit by war are protesting at the Greek-Macedonian border near Gevgelija, where dozens of them climbed a barbed wire fence seeking entry to Macedonia.

      GEVGELIJA – After a short calm, migrants from the countries that have not been hit by war are protesting at the Greek-Macedonian border near Gevgelija, where dozens of them climbed a barbed wire fence seeking entry to Macedonia.

      Two police cordons are in place at the Gevgelija crossing, and Macedonian security forces caught a large group of migrants who somehow managed to skirt the barbed wire fence and sent them back to Greece.

      As RTS reports, a large number of special unit policemen are arriving to the border and the military has prepared tear gas and water cannons, with armored vehicles already at the border.

      Economic migrants are protesting in reply to the fact that several thousand people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan entered Macedonia during the night, while they have been waiting in vain for days on the other side of the border, RTS notes.

  17. Migrant crisis: Stranded at the Greek-Macedonian border (BBC, video, Dec 1, 2015)

    “Macedonia has become the latest country to restrict the flow of migrants entering the country, erecting a fence on its border with Greece. Only people from three ‘war-torn’ countries, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are being allowed to pass. Several thousand migrants have been refused entry.
    From the Greek-Macedonian border the BBC’s Chris Morris reports.

  18. Amnesty: Qatar ‘shamed’ by inaction over migrant workers (BBC, Dec 1, 2015)

    “Amnesty International says Qatar has done “almost nothing effective to end chronic labour exploitation” since it was chosen five years ago to host the football World Cup in 2022.

    It says the abuses shame the Gulf state and football’s governing body, Fifa.

    An estimated 1.5 million migrants work in Qatar, many in the construction boom fuelled by Qatar’s successful bid.

    Qatar denies exploiting workers and says it has implemented a range of labour reforms.

    Qatar’s migrant worker population is expected to reach two million within the next two years, Amnesty says.

    “Too little has been done to address rampant migrant labour abuse. Qatar’s persistent labour reform delays are a recipe for human rights disaster,” said Mustafa Qadri, Gulf migrant rights researcher for Amnesty.

    Amnesty said Qatar had failed to make changes in several key areas, including giving workers the freedom to change jobs, to leave the country and the right to join unions.

    A May 2015 report by Amnesty identified nine fundamental migrant labour rights issues…”

  19. Nigeria’s Dasuki ‘arrested over $2bn arms fraud’ (BBC, Dec 1, 2015)

    “Nigeria’s former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has been arrested for allegedly stealing $2bn (£1.3bn), his representatives say.

    Mr Dasuki is accused of awarding phantom contracts to buy 12 helicopters, four fighter jets and ammunition. He denies the allegations.

    The equipment was meant for the fight against Boko Haram Islamist militants.

    Mr Dasuki was picked up early in the morning by security agents, a PR firm representing him said…”

  20. Syria conflict: MSF denounces hospital barrel bomb attack (BBC, Dec 1, 2015)

    “Medecins Sans Frontieres has condemned an “atrocious” barrel bomb attack on a hospital in a rebel-held town in Syria on Saturday that killed seven people.

    The medical charity said the attack in Zafaraneh was a “double tap” – an initial strike followed by a second, deliberately timed to hit medics.

    The first bomb struck a populated area and the next three landed beside a hospital where casualties were taken.

    Parts of the hospital, which MSF supports, were destroyed.

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied that his forces drop barrel bombs – oil barrels, fuel tanks or gas cylinders packed with explosives, fuel, and metal fragments – but their use has been widely documented…”

  21. People did cheer 9/11, says ex-NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani (BBC, Dec 1, 2015)

    “The former mayor of New York City has said there were “pockets” of people celebrating when the World Trade Center towers fell on 11 September 2001.

    But Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor at the time, disputed claims by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that thousands of people were involved.

    Mr Trump’s comments have been refuted by local political leaders because of a lack of evidence.
    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie simply said “it didn’t happen”.

    Mr Giuliani, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican nomination himself, said: “We did have some [reports of] celebrations, there were pockets of celebration, some in Queens, some in Brooklyn.”

    He said in one specific report which was later proved to be true, owners of a sweet shop were celebrating and children from a nearby housing development “beat them up”.

    But he said Mr Trump was wilfully exaggerating the numbers and he himself “would’ve been thrown out of the race” had he made such an inflated claim during his 2008 campaign.

    Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik later backed up Mr Giuliani’s comments, saying “10-50″ people were reported to be celebrating in different areas throughout the city….”

  22. Iraqi Forces Surround Ramadi, but It Could Be a Long Siege (abcnews, Dec 1, 2015)

    “After months of sluggish progress, stalled advances and outright failures, Iraqi troops and militias backed by U.S.-led airstrikes have surrounded the key city of Ramadi and appear poised to launch a new attempt to wrest it from the Islamic State group.

    The battle that is shaping up threatens to turn into a drawn-out siege, with thousands of residents caught in the middle as the forces try to wear down the militants since they took over the capital of western Anbar province in May. Western officials and analysts warned that the strategy of a methodical, slow siege could make the fight even more difficult.

    On Monday, the Iraqi military dropped leaflets into the city, telling the remaining residents — estimated at anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 — to leave, the strongest signal yet that an assault is imminent.

    But residents told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the militants have clamped down, setting up checkpoints across the city to monitor civilians’ movements and prevent anyone from going.

    “Loudspeakers from mosques give warnings that civilians are not allowed to leave, and anyone who tries to do so will be either arrested or killed,” one resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear for his safety.

    Ramadi, like the rest of Anbar province, is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, the minority community that complains of discrimination by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Some Sunnis in other parts of Anbar and in northern Iraq welcomed IS rule, at least initially…”

  23. Gunmen Abduct Tunisian Red Cross Worker in Yemen’s Capital (abcnews, Dec 1, 2015)

    “The International Committee of the Red Cross says unidentified gunmen in Yemen’s capital kidnapped a Tunisian woman working for the group.

    Spokeswoman Rima Kamal says the Tunisian woman and a male Yemeni colleague were on their way to work in Sanaa on Tuesday morning when they were stopped by the gunmen. Kamal says the kidnappers released the Yemeni man hours later.

    Shiite Houthi rebels captured Sanaa more than a year ago, in an ongoing conflict pitting them against pro-government forces, southern separatists and various local militias. Saudi Arabia views the rebels as a proxy of its archrival Iran, and has led a military coalition against the Houthis since March.”

  24. Two military police personnel shot dead in Karachi (tribune, Dec 1, 2015)

    “Masked gunmen riding a motorcycle shot dead on Tuesday two military policemen in Karachi.

    The victims’ jeep was stuck in traffic on the city’s main MA Jinnah Road when they came under attack from behind, according to officials.

    “The assailants stopped their car and opened fire on them near Tibet Centre in Karachi,” a police official told The Express Tribune…”

  25. Muslim man divorces wife after she confesses to being gang-raped (tribune, Dec 1, 2015)

    “An Indian man allegedly divorced his wife via text message after she confessed she was gang-raped.

    The woman, who remains unidentified, said she received a message saying “talaq” three times after telling her husband about the incident, Daily Mail reported.

    Although many Islamic scholars believe the word must be pronounced on three separate occasions, spread over three months, and accompanied by efforts at reconciliation to constitute a divorce, the 25-year-old woman claims she was driven out from her home after receiving the message….”

  26. Nearly half of Swedes ‘worried’ about terror (thelocal, Dec 1, 2015)

    “Fear of a terror attack taking place in Sweden has risen sharply, with 46 per cent of people polled saying they are concerned, up from 34 percent in January.

    The poll, carried out by Novus for public broadcaster SVT, suggests that Swedes are becoming increasingly concerned about terrorism taking place on home soil.

    Asked “just how worried are you that there could be a terror attack in Sweden?”, almost half of respondents they were either “very worried” or “quite worried”.

    Only 7 percent those questioned said that they were “not at all worried”.

    Pollsters carried out their research last week in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people and the terror threat level being raised in Sweden for the first time in history.

    A previous poll which asked the same question in January, just after the attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, found that 34 percent of people questioned were worried about the possibility. A similar percentage shared their concerns with rival polling firm Sifo….”

  27. Refugees to be moved from Sweden by EU (thelocal, Dec 1, 2015)

    “Sweden will soon benefit from a “relocation” programme for some of its asylum seekers, the European Commissioner of Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos has said.

    “Sweden is among the group of member states that has welcomed the highest number of refugees this year,” Avramopoulos said at a press conference in Stockholm on Monday, adding that Sweden had made “tremendous efforts”.

    In September, the EU unveiled a plan for redistributing nearly 160,000 migrants and refugees from frontline states Italy and Greece although so far only a small number have been relocated. These include 19 people from Eritrea who were sent to northern Sweden.

    But earlier this month Sweden asked Brussels to relocate to other EU countries some of the asylum seekers arriving by the thousands in the country, after revealing that it could no longer guarantee accommodation to all of those fleeing violence in their home nations.

    “Sweden has asked to become a beneficiary of the relocation mechanism,” Avramopoulos said. “We completely understand this.”

    The Commissioner added that in the future Sweden would be exempt from taking in migrants under the relocation programme….”

  28. Swedish nationalists cheer record poll support (thelocal, Dec 1, 2015)

    “UPDATED: The anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party has polled 19.9 percent, the group’s highest-ever projected share of the electoral vote in a survey by Statistics Sweden.

    Twice a year, Sweden’s number crunching agency Statistics Sweden asks more than 9,000 people about their voting preferences in the country’s biggest political poll.

    The nationalist Sweden Democrats’ support has risen by 5.5 percent since the last Statistics Sweden survey in May and seven percent more than in the last elections in 2014.

    “I think we have the potential to become the largest party,” Sweden Democrats’ party secretary Richard Jomshof told the Swedish news agency, TT, after the figures were announced.

    “I am absolutely convinced that the party has benefited from the situation that has arisen in recent months, even if we do not acknowledge the situation,” he said, referring to the refugee crisis.

    Jomshof said that he expected his party to receive a boost in Statistics Sweden’s survey, but perhaps not such a large one.

    “That there is growing support for our views, puts much pressure on the other parties,” he said.

    The poll also suggests that more Swedes would vote for the country’s centre-right opposition parties than the current centre-left Social Democrat-Green government, with 39 percent opting for the Moderate-led Alliance and 33.5 percent for the coalition….”

  29. Paris Attacks: 2,000 Raids, 210 Arrests Since State of Emergency (nbcnews, Dec 1, 2015)

    “PARIS — More than 2,000 raids have been carried out in France since the country declared a state of emergency after the terrorist massacres in Paris 18 days ago, the prime minister said Tuesday.

    More than 300 weapons have been seized with 210 people taken into custody since the Nov. 13 attacks, Manuel Valls told radio station Europe 1.

    Valls said the number of arrests indicated that the searches “are not due to chance” and “allow support for objective suspicions.”

    He was speaking as police in Italy and Kosovo arrested four Kosovars suspected of being part of a jihadi cell that spread Islamist propaganda and made threats against Pope Francis, judicial officials told Reuters….”

  30. Obama in Paris Says He Would Urge Young Jihadis to Choose a ‘Good Life’ (nbcnews, Dec 1, 2015)

    “President Barack Obama has advice for disillusioned youth on the verge of joining a radical, violent organization: Choose a peaceful path instead.

    “I would say to a young man or woman is that regardless of your religious faith the essence of a good life is not what you can destroy but what you can build, it’s not who you can harm, but who you can help,” Obama told French television channel Canal Plus on Tuesday when asked what he would say to a young jihadi.

    “Every religion, whether it’s Christianity, Islam, Judaism, defines a good person and a good life based on what they do for others,” he added.

    Obama — in Paris to attend the United Nations’ climate change summit — said ISIS militants are able to lure new followers by taking advantage of their feelings of isolation and loneliness.

    “This gives them something to attach themself to despite that fact that (ISIS is) a cult of death,” he said….”

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