Reader’s links for March 19 – 2016

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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

101 Replies to “Reader’s links for March 19 – 2016”

  1. Could this lead to WAR in Europe? Apocalyptic, yes. But even if conflict can be avoided, MAX HASTINGS says unchecked mass migration will make Europe unrecognisable (dailymail, Mar 19, 2016)

    “… Mass migration now poses the gravest threat to Europe’s stability and tranquillity since the end of the Cold War, and arguably since 1945.
    Max Hastings… “

    • The argument can be made that the threat is greater then in WWII since that was European on European fighting and the cultures weren’t being destroyed.

  2. We can’t stop the migrants: EU says Britain has ‘MORAL DUTY’ to Turkey to accept refugees (express, Mar 19, 2016)

    “THE EU sparked a furious row last night by saying Britain and the rest of the bloc had a “moral duty” to accept all refugees arriving by boat.

    Christos Stylianides, the EU commissioner in charge of immigration, enraged Eurosceptics by insisting that turning boats full of migrants round and sending them back to Turkey or Libya is “against our EU values.”

    Mr Stylianides is said to have to become angry when he was asked why the EU has not adopted the Australian system of sending boats full of illegal migrants back to their point of origin.

    The revelation came as EU leaders threw open the Continent’s doors to Turkey in a deal to tackle the refugee crisis.

    Talks to start the Turkish accession to EU membership process will now start in days and will eventually give its 77million citizens the right to come to the UK.

    In the meantime the Schengen area countries will give Turkey visa free access in exchange for allowing Greece to return migrants who arrive after Sunday back to Turkey after being assessed.

    And the EU has promised to accelerate payment to Turkey £2.3bn promised last November with a further £2.3bn to also be made available.

    The Daily Express has learnt that the European Commission is now blocking a radical Australian style proposal to turn ships around at see and not let the migrants land in Europe.

    The same policy was being pushed by Prime Minister David Cameron at the EU summit this week.

    The plan was raised by a very senior MEP at a private meeting earlier this month as the solution to Europe’s refugee crisis.

    But according to sources at the briefing, Mr Stylianides, a Greek Cypriot, at first tried to ignore the question and then “exploded” with anger when pressed on it.

    MEPs in the room were said to be “shocked and surprised” by his response to what many believe is “a reasonable solution” to end the crisis.

    At the meeting Mr Styliandes claimed that it is Europe’s “moral duty” to take in the refugees flooding in from North Africa and the Middle East.

    He also privately acknowledged concerns over allowing Turkey visa free access to the Schengen area countries which would allow the country’s 77million citizens to come to the UK in five years time…..”

  3. An article from die Welt about 4 scenarios for migrants coming to EU and also about new route to Europe. Very good maps. (partial google translation).
    Scenario 1 Agreement with Turkey
    Chancellor Angela Merkel puts her hopes in solving the refugee crisis to an agreement with Turkey. The Freiburger think tank SAT-simulation results, however: Even if an agreement is reached, the number of refugees arriving in Germany will rise – until the end of 2016 to about 2.1 million. Because the Syria conflict has not been resolved by an agreement with Turkey.
    And the refugees, alongside Syrians and Afghans, Iraqi and Pakistanis could begin to think about new routes through North Africa or the Caucasus on the way to Western Europe. The number of 2.1 million is according to SAT, a maximum value, according to the projection of the average is 1.3 million. “You have to plan with the maximum value always to be ready for anything,” says Arzt. A car company build its factory whatsoever for this worst case, to remain effective.

    Scenario 2: Peace in Syria
    Everything comes to Syria – this is the foundation of the policy. If there is an end of the Civil War, there will be decreasing the number of refugees; if the war will be going on, they’ll grow. The SAT Simulation paints a different picture: Even if peace will prevail overnight in Syria,about 1.8 million people will come to Germany until the end of 2016.
    Because the Balkan route in this scenario will probably remain open – it lacked even the political pressure to close them – and enable Iraqis and Afghans transit.

    Scenario 3: The civil war continues
    If we fail to end the Syria conflict and thus to reduce the flow of refugees, that threatens a partial closure of the Balkan Route. The policy currently being discussed is to keep the route alone for Syrians and Iraqis open – ie only for those people who come from a war zone. In this scenario, to the end of 2016 about 2.3 million refugee will come to Germany. For the other people on the run – as for those who have taken the trip for economic reasons – there would remain an alternative route: across the Mediterranean to Italy.
    The Freiburg scientists model is based on the experiences that they have had in two decades with dynamic processes. Thomas Arzt says that – on a theoretical level – refugees flows like water masses: From several sources, the water flows in different ways in different basins. The basins are in this model the states of Europe, in which flow refugees. The currents flow always different, depending on what capacity have the basins and which of the paths are permeable.

    Scenario 4: New Conflicts in Africa
    However, the war in Syria may not be the only source of refugees. “Although a closure of the Balkan route looks like a successful solution, it could be very problematic,” says Thomas Arzt. Namely, when there are a new failed states in Africa, so-called failed states.

    The SAT strategists have simulated what it would mean if the already smoldering conflict zones in Africa will escalate. Especially Nigeria with its strong dependence on oil and the terrorist threat of Boko Haram is deemed to be a State which could tilt. But also from countries such as Chad, Sudan or the Congo, one must worry about larger waves of refugees . If it happens, a lot of people would additionally start moving, especially taking advantage of the politically unstable Libya as a nodal point on the way to Europe. After crossing the Mediterranean the Italy and Spain would be the regions through African migrants will reach Germany.
    Moreover, in the Middle East, the situation in Lebanon, Yemen and Egypt is heavily stressed. If the Syria conflict remains unresolved, these wave of migrants will presists, additionally, migration attempts will be expected from the African continent. This scenario happens, the SAT computing model predicts to the end of 2016 about 3.7 million refugees in the Federal Republic.

    Scenario 5: Open borders
    The scenario of 3.7 million migrants, however, presupposes that the way is closed for non-Iraqis and non-Syrians. If the the borders in the Balkans stays permeable, the SAT gives simulation that some 6.4 million people seek refuge in Germany until the end of this year.
    The Freiburger think tank is so far the only one that calculates world refugees for such models. Commercial director Arzt who couts as his clients such companies ke Audi, Edeka or the airport operator Fraport , considers it a failure of policy not to use such proven methods in business in solving the refugee crisis.

    In fact, the new worldview permeated to other disciplines slowly. Because here companies are losing a lot of money if they do a business plan using the wrong model. Insurance companies like Munich Re use such analyzes to assess the likelihood of natural disasters and thus can translate it into below-cost insurance policies . Many financial firms turn to complex risk models on the capital markets. Large corporations optimize their global supply chains. They have to such tricks to be able to produce even with still smaller bottlenecks their suppliers . Simultaneously, the redundancy can not be too large because it causes high costs.

    What kind of consequences can have a a purely linear view was shown by the bankruptcy of US investment bank Lehman Brothers and the subsequent financial crisis that brought the global economy to the brink of collapse. At that time no one could imagine the suddenly break of an important source of financing – such a scenario simply was not provided in the risk models. Today, a similar error in the refugee crisis could result in fatally wrong decisions for the political stability of Europe itself

  4. BREAKING: Explosion in Istanbul’s Taksim, injuries reported (hurriyetdailynews, Mar 19, 2016)

    “An explosion occured on March 19 in central Istanbul, on the busy ?stiklal Avenue in Taksim, Do?an News Agency reported.

    According to initial reports, two people were injured in the explosion.

    Details to follow…”

  5. China Wants to Make ‘Minority Report’ a Reality
    Beijing is working on data-collection efforts that will help them identify subversives—before they strike.

    China has a new strategy in fighting crime, ripped from science fiction and hastily pasted at the top of the list of paranoia-inducing concepts.

    It’s called pre-crime. It goes further than sting operations, counterterrorism, or any other government action to preempt criminal activity ever before.

    Like the 2002 film Minority Report, China wants to fight crimes before they happen. They want to know they’ll happen before they’re planned—before the criminal even knows he’s going to be part of them. Bloomberg Business reported that the Communist Party “has directed one of the country’s largest state-run defense contractors, China Electronics Technology Group, to develop software to collate data on jobs, hobbies, consumption habits, and other behavior of ordinary citizens to predict terrorist acts before they occur.”

  6. Protesters clash with SLC police outside Trump rally

    SALT LAKE CITY — Video clips captured outside the Donald Trump rally in Salt Lake City Friday night shows protesters in a shoving match with officers in riot gear.

    In the video, the protesters can be heard shouting “Trump Stinks!”

    In another clip, protesters appear to tear down a security tent and can be heard yelling “Shut it down!”

    The clips were captured by FOX News correspondent Peter Doocy. Later Friday night, things calmed down in the vicinity as the rally ended and the crowds ultimately dispersed.

    FOX 13 also received a report of rocks being thrown at people exiting the Infinity Event Center, where Trump made his first appearance in Salt Lake City this campaign season.

    FOX 13 News’ Lauren Steinbrecher spoke with protesters and police about their take on Friday night’s events, see below for her report.

  7. Latino, Immigrant Activists to Protest All Trump Arizona Events

    by Griselda Nevarez

    PHOENIX, AZ – Hundreds of Latinos and immigrant rights advocates plan to protest Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump when he speaks this weekend at several campaign events in Arizona, which holds its presidential primary Tuesday.

    Trump is scheduled to attend an event Saturday morning with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity in downtown Phoenix before traveling about 30 miles to another event in Fountain Hills. He’ll end the day with a rally in Tucson. Organizers say they’re working out the details as they plan to have a presence at all three of Trump’s events.

    “We’re coming together to stand up against the hate and the violence that Donald Trump is inciting towards our people,” said Carlos Garcia, director of Puente Arizona, one of the groups helping to organize the protests.

  8. Syrian ‘Asylum Seeker’ Filmed Conducting Mass Killing Arrested in Sweden

    A recent Syrian migrant claiming refugee status in Sweden is facing criminal charges, after footage of him murdering prisoners of war in a cold blooded “mass killing” emerged.

    The alleged mass murdering asylum seeker, named Haisam Omar Sakhanh, has been in Sweden since 2013. He was arrested this Friday in the town of Karlskoga, Sweden, where he has been charged him with a crime against international law.

    Fingerprints and a mugshot appear to shown that Mr. Sakhan initially fled to Italy in 2012, where he was arrested for occupying the Syrian embassy and investigated for allegedly attacking other Syrian migrants.

  9. RUSSIA – FlyDubai plane crash kills 62 in Russian city of Rostov-on-Don

    Everyone on board Boeing 737-800 en route from Dubai were killed when plane crashed and exploded on landing

    A Boeing 737-800 passenger jet operated by the low-cost airline FlyDubai has crashed while attempting to land in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

    All 62 people on board, 55 passengers and seven crew members, were killed when the plane crashed and burst into flames early on Saturday morning, Russian officials said.

    The plane, which had flown from Dubai, had been circling the airport for up to two hours after an initial aborted landing attempt, according to Russian news reports. There were high winds in the area at the time.

    The plane was coming in for a second attempt to land at 0043 GMT when it plunged to the ground and burst into flames. The crash occurred inside the airport’s perimeter, about 250 metres short of the runway.

    Footage shown on local media showed a huge fireball erupting from the crash site. The authorities took more than an hour to get the blaze under control, the emergencies ministry said. More than 500 rescuers and 60 vehicles were dispatched to the crash site.

    Investigators said the poor weather conditions and pilot error were possible reasons for the crash. Russian media reported that an Aeroflot flight due to land at a similar time chose to fly to a different airport due to the weather conditions in Rostov.

    Rostov’s governor, Vasily Golubev, said: “It looks like the reason was the strong gusts of wind, reaching hurricane levels.”

    However, the agency LifeNews reported that a Ural Airlines plane landed at Rostov and then took off again while the FlyDubai plane was circling. It quoted the plane’s pilot as stating that the weather conditions were not easy, but nothing unusual or dangerous.

    The Emirates-based FlyDubai confirmed that flight FZ981 had crashed on landing.

    The airline said it was in the process of verifying the passenger list but provisional information indicated there were 33 women, 18 men, four children and seven crew on board.

    The airline has confirmed the nationalities as 44 Russian, eight Ukrainian, two Indian, and one person from Uzbekistan.

  10. MOLENBEEK – Le premier adjoint à la mairie de Molenbeek, Ahmed El Khannouss, a réagi sur iTELE et s’est réjoui de l’arrestation de Salah Abdeslam, c’est “un soulagement”, la fin de “4 mois de tensions, d’inquiétudes auprès de la population”. Le premier adjoint est revenu sur l’opération menée par “des forces antiterroristes”. Il a expliqué qu'”une personne est sortie en courant et a refusé d’obtempérer, il a été immobilisé par des tirs.” Ahmed El Khannouss se dit tout de même “surpris” : “nous pensions que Salah Abdeslam avait quitté la Belgique.”

    • Belgium: Paris attack suspect Abdeslam fighting French extradition order

      Sven Mary, the lawyer of Salah Abdeslam, the key suspect in last November’s Paris attacks, said “I think that the rest of the main figures [in the attack] have been already arrested,” to press outside the federal police headquarters in Brussels, on Saturday.

      SOT, Sven Mary, Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer (French): “On Wednesday, he will attend the Council Chamber (court) in Brussels where the arrest warrant in Belgium is expected to be extended … and the investigation will continue. Because of the also existing European arrest warrant, he will have to appear again at the court at the Council Chamber in Brussels, in two weeks.”

      SOT, Sven Mary, Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer (French): “There is an ongoing Belgian investigation. The extradition to France is so far suspended because the magistrate in Belgium needed to hear Abdeslam in Belgium”.

      SOT, Sven Mary, Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer (French): “I think that the rest of the main figures have been already arrested.”

      SOT, Sven Mary, Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer (English): “We discussed this today; is that there is a European warrant for arrest that has been executed because it has by the French government. And that he refused to go to France. We decided that – I decided that we had to refuse the decision that he has to be extradited to France. Because there is a Belgium investigation going on – if there is an investigation going on; we don’t need him in France we need him here in Belgium.”

      SOT, Sven Mary, Salah Abdeslam’s lawyer (English): “Second point is that there is now a collaboration with the Belgium justice, let’s go further on with that collaboration. I think that it’s very important that he talks with the judge who is a very good judge.”

  11. Trump protesters block streets in Fountain Hills


    Trump protesters were blocking vehicles leading into Fountain Hills in advance of Donald Trump’s campaign stop Saturday morning.

    Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies were seen directing tow trucks to start hauling the violators away.

    Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers pulled up to assist deputies at Shea Boulevard and State Route 87, where protestors, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, maneuvered their vehicles to block traffic.

    Earlier in the morning, protesters were lining up in Phoenix in advance of Donald Trump’s appearance at a campaign event at the Phoenix Convention Center.

    Trump was appearing with Sean Hannity at 9 a.m. for a town hall meeting.

    Protesters were staging in Tonatierra Park and planned to march to the event in a peaceful protest.

    They were carrying a message they want Trump to hear.

    “We don’t want you here in Arizona,” said protester Salvador Reza. “We don’t want your hate.”

    Protesters will march several blocks to where Trump will speak.

    “We want to make sure that people know that not everyone is in agreement with Donald Trump,” Reza said. “There’s more than 50 percent of people who don’t want him.”

  12. U.S. Marine Killed, Others Wounded in ISIS Attack in Iraq (abcnews, Mar 19, 2016)

    “A U.S. Marine was killed and several other American service members were wounded today by indirect fire from enemy forces near Makhmur in northern Iraq, US officials tell ABC News.

    ISIS forces fired two rockets onto a base where American troops are advising and training the Iraqi military, according to a U.S. official. Only one of the rockets is responsible for the damage and loss of life.

    In a press release from Iraq, the U.S. military confirmed only that a coalition member had died as a result of “enemy action.” The Defense Department will not identify the individual until next of kin has been fully notified.

    This loss represents only the second time an American has been killed in combat with ISIS in Iraq since the U.S. reentered the country in late 2014.

    In October of last year Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler was killed by enemy small-arms fire during a raid that freed 70 hostages from ISIS captivity in northern Iraq.”

  13. VoA- Muslims Living in America Pushing Back Against Election Year Islamophobia

    Rising Islamophobia in the United States fueled by comments on the presidential campaign trail has put Muslim Living in America in the spotlight. In Illinois, which has one of the largest populations of Mohammedans in the U.S., some are taking a stand and trying to set the record straight. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more.

  14. DAILY MAIL – GREECEE ‘He took her behind the toilets and she started to scream’: The Syrian have-a-go heroes who found suspected Afghan migrant paedophile in woods trying to undress a seven-year-old girl… and frogmarched him to the police

    Mohammed Al-Mulhem, 26, and Dldar Sedo, 24, heard a commotion behind a row of temporary toilets
    An Afghan man was seen ‘trying to remove girl’s T-shirt and trousers’ and they grabbed hold of him
    Sedo, a Kurdish tailor from Aleppo, said: ‘People wanted to kill him but we needed to let the police take care of this’
    The pair along with a team of Syrian vigilantes then led the alleged paedophile to officers
    About 14,000 migrants live in Idomeni camp on the Greece-Macedonia border

  15. Militants Kill 8 Police in Egypt’s Northern Sinai (abcnews, Mar 19, 2016)

    “Egypt’s state-run news agency says militants attacked a checkpoint south of northern Sinai’s provincial capital of el-Arish, killing eight policemen.

    MENA reports that the militants attacked the checkpoint Saturday.

    A Sinai-based Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement circulated on social media. The Associated Press could not independently verify the authenticity of the claim.

    The local IS affiliate has been targeting Egyptian troops in Sinai and claimed the downing of a Russian airliner last October that killed 224 people.

    Sinai has been plagued for years by an insurgency, which escalated after the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi amid mass protests against him.”

  16. Tunisia: New Deaths in Standoff Near Libyan Border (abcnews, Mar 19, 2016)

    “Tunisia’s government says security forces have killed two gunmen hiding in a town near the Libyan border, where a manhunt followed an unusually violent attack earlier this month.

    Three civilians and a member of the national guard were wounded by shots fired by the gunmen in Saturday’s standoff outside Ben Guerdane, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

    Seven civilians, 12 security forces and 49 assailants have been killed in the area since gunmen attacked Ben Guerdane on March 7, according to the government.

    The attack heightened international concerns about lawlessness in Libya, where Islamic State extremists are expanding.

    Other fighting was reported Saturday near Tunisia’s border with Algeria. Defense Ministry spokesman Belhassen Oueslati said one soldier was wounded in a shootout in the Kasserine region.”

    • Greece: Scuffles break out as refugees protest closed border in Idomeni

      Scuffles broke out between rival groups of refugees in Idomeni when one group attempted to break police lines on the Greek-Macedonian border, Saturday. A rival group protected the border, not wanting to break the laws of Greece or Macedonia.

    • Greece: First ferry from Lesbos to the northern Greece after EU-Turkey deal
      About 2,500 refugees, who were stranded at the port of Mytilene, Lesbos, boarded a ferry heading to the northern Greek town of Kavala, rather than Athens, on Saturday night, a day after the deal between the European Union and Turkey was signed.

    • Germany: Police detain antifa at Die Rechte rally in Baden-Wuerttemberg
      Several protesters were detained during a counter-demonstration against a rally staged by supporters of ‘Die Rechte’ party in the city of Bruchsal in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Saturday, who were protesting German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy.

    • Germany: ‘Die Rechte’ met by counter-protest during anti-refugee march, arrests made

      Hundreds of supporters of the right-wing ‘Die Rechte’ party rallied against Angela Merkel’s refugee policy in the city of Bruchsal in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Saturday.

    • Austria: Thousands march in Vienna in support of refugees

      Thousands of activists rallied in the streets of Vienna, Saturday, in support of asylum seekers and in condemnation of the European immigration policy.

      SOT, Michael Gerner, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) – Christian Social Union (CSU) secretary (German): “All those people in their countries are in danger of death, in Somalia of female genital mutilation; awful, inhuman conditions and death. And this is the pact of EU with Erdogan. Here we stand against it, with the people from the whole Europe. Erdogan out, Orban out and this government out.”

      SOT, Selma Schacht, organiser of demonstration (German): “We say: no fences in Europe, open the borders, the mass – dying must end, no fences and no hotspots.”

      SOT, Helga Schroeder, activist (English): “There would be enough resources for decent and good housing for everybody, for refugees and for so-called Austrians. But we have to organise and to fight to get these resources for all of us. There would be enough.”

  17. MOROCCO – CASABLANCA – Two Killed, 54 Injured in Football Fan Scuffle in Morocco

    A football match between two local football clubs in Morocco’s Casablanca ended up in mass fights on the stadium and in the streets resulting in two deaths and dozens of injured.

    The clashes began during the match between the Raja de Casablanca and Chabab Rif Al Hoceima clubs. The heated fans of one of the teams first lighted flares and then attacked their opponents, reported citing local media. The fights on the stadium have rapidly developed into street brawls.

    Local authorities reported that eleven cars parked on the streets of the city have been pelted with stones.

  18. ‘Hindus for Trump’: Reliable Indian-American Democrats rally behind frontrunner

    Indian-Americans, the third-largest ethnic group in the U.S., can usually be counted on to pull the lever for Democrats in national elections.

    But 2016 is anything but the usual election. Indian-Americans this year are said to be trending overwhelmingly for GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

    Prior to this election year, as many as 65 percent of Indian-Americans leaned Democratic, making them the Asian-American subgroup most likely to identify with the party, according to a recent study.
    Even some from the Indian-American Muslim community are supporting Trump, undeterred by the leftist media mantra that he is racist against the Muslim community.

    Indian-Americans are among the most highly educated racial or ethnic groups in the U.S., according to a Pew Research Center study.

    According to the study, Hindus account for 51 percent of the 3.2 million Indian-Americans, while Christians and Muslims comprise 18 and 10 percent, respectively.

  19. Turkish official fired after wishing death on Israelis hurt in bombing
    An official from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party was reportedly fired Saturday after saying she hoped Israeli tourists injured in Saturday’s deadly suicide bombing in downtown Istanbul had died.

    Irem Atkas sent her ill-wishes over Twitter shortly after a bomb was detonated in central Istanbul, killing three Israelis and wounding 11 others, according to Turkish officials.

    “I wish that the wounded Israeli tourists were dead,” Irem Aktas, a board member in the women’s branch of the party in the Istanbul neighborhood of Eyup tweeted shortly after the attack. Her account was removed from social media site not long thereafter.

    Aktas was reportedly dismissed from her duties immediately afterwards.

  20. Tuvia does Germany
    When he talked to Germans, “I found out that eight out of 10 Germans hold anti-Semitic views,” he said. “By anti-Semitic, I mean that most of them, if you ask them if they are, would scream ‘Not me!’ but if you ask them they tell you that Jews control world politics, all the money, and the stock exchanges and the banks. I ask them stupid questions.

    “I go to Wannsee, where they decided to kill the Jews.” Tuvia’s talking about the Berlin suburb where Nazi officials, meeting in January 1942, decided to commit genocide. “Right cross the street from it there is a hotel and restaurant. It is packed. They do weddings there, and you have to reserve well ahead of time. I ask the owner stupid but honest questions about how it works, how do young German girls say to their young German lovers, ‘Honey, let’s get married right next to where they decided to gas the Jews’?

    “I ask childlike questions like that. That’s how you get people to talk.”

    Germans are “obsessed with the Jews,” Tuvia continued. “Why do they know the names of Israel’s prime minster, defense minister, foreign minister? When you ask about German ministers they have no idea. Why do they know about everything that’s going on in Israel? When I ask them what about Chechnya” — which after all is far closer to them than Israel — “they can’t answer.”

    Germany is building “a beautiful Jewish center,” he continued. “But when you go to the synagogues, there is nobody there, except maybe tourists. Germany is rebranding themselves as being Jewish. Germany is actively engaged in covering up its soul. But are Germans nice to the Jews? F••• no.”

  21. War looms in Western Sahara
    Tensions are boiling over in the Western Sahara, a region Morocco has occupied since 1976, and local Sahrawi groups warn that if the UN pulls out its troops from the region in a concession to the Moroccan government, war will likely follow.

    Morocco has occupied the region since it was handed to its troops by Spain, when Madrid ended its colony there. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) holds a government-in-exile in Algeria, arguing for its rights to rule over the region, and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front has been fighting for independence in the disputed territory.

    If the UN ends its peacekeeping mission in the vast and mineral-rich Western Sahara that would be “the shortest way to the resumption of war,” warned Polisario Front’s UN representative Ahmed Boukhari, as reported by Associated Press on Friday.

    “If there is no mission, there is a vacuum and an invitation to war,” he warned, calling on the UN Security Council to maintain the UN presence in the region.

  22. Deutsche Welle – Greece starts evacuation of Lesbos refugees

    Ferries have begun the process of removing 6,000 refugees from Greek islands to the mainland, German media reports. The evacuation follows Friday’s repatriation deal between the EU and Turkey.

    Greece has begun to evacuate refugees staying in temporary camps on eastern islands in the Aegean Sea to the mainland.

    In Lesbos, DW correspondent Jaafar Abdul Karim reported that all camps on the Greek islands are to be evacuated within 24 hours. Several hundreds refugees are expected to board one of the first ferries to Kavala on the northern Greek mainland.

    Karim described a state of confusion among the refugees about what would happen to them.

    He later tweeted that 1,200 refugees were already onboard one ferry, which was set to sail on Sunday with 2,500 people onboard.

    Another DW correspondent, Verica Spasovska, also tweeted that refugees in Lesbos were boarding the ferry for Kavala.

    Newly arrived refugees would still have to remain on the islands until their registration is complete, officials said.

    EU teams to assist

    The Greek conservative newspaper “Kathimerini” said that the EU promised Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that Brussels would send 2,300 security and legal experts to assist in the evacuation. The first are expected to arrive this weekend.

    Germany and France have promised to send up to 300 officials to assist, the German news agency DPA reported, citing a letter from German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and his French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve to the European Commission.

    In addition, Germany and France are expected to offer “technical expertise” to support Athens in the repatriation process.

    “This is necessary in view of the current situation in Greece and is an important expression of European solidarity,” the pair wrote. “We hope that many Member States will join our example.”

    Controversial deal

    Under the deal agreed on Friday between the EU and Turkey, for every Syrian refugee that is returned to Turkey, the EU will resettle one refugee directly from Turkey.

    The aim is to stop migrants from making the perilous trip across the Aegean Sea, where around 4,000 people have drowned over the past few years.

    The actual return of migrants to Turkey will begin from April 4, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

    Greece struggles to cope

    Greek officials say more than 47,000 undocumented migrants are in the country. In March alone, more than 21,000 people arrived, according to figures from the United Nations refugee angency (UNHCR).

    In recent days, the number of arrivals have increased again. One Greek Coast Guard suggested that migrants may fear the door to Europe is being closed by the signing of the EU-Turkey deal on Friday.

    “They want, whatever it costs, to get to Greece and therefore the EU,” said the officer on the island of Chios.

    A tense situation remains in the makeshift Idomeni refugee camp close to the Greek border with Macedonia.

    “We are worried that it could lead to violence or even to a storming of the Macedonian border fence, “ a police office from the provincial capital Kilkis told DPA.

    The Greek crisis unit estimates that around 10,500 people remain in Idomeni after the so-called Balkan route to northern Europe was blocked.
    Yahoo News – Migration deal: Quick start, tough implementation

    Government officials in Greece signaled Saturday that implementation of a migration agreement between the European Union and Turkey could only occur gradually, with key details still to be worked out on how migrants newly arriving from Turkey will be processed and returned.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met ministers and senior officials involved in the migration crisis, hours after the deal was reached in Brussels to send back migrants arriving on the Greek islands to Turkey, starting Sunday.

    Hours before that implementation was due to start, it remained unclear how migrants would be sent back. Greek officials had previously suggested that the European border protection agency Frontex could escort chartered private vessels back to Turkey.

    Yiannis Balafas, the deputy interior minister, said swift screening procedures in the Greek islands would require additional staff promised by the European Union.

    “(Migrants) will be returned after they have been swiftly processed. That is why we need the technical assistance,” Balafas told private Mega television.

    Greece is expecting some 2,300 European experts, including migration officers and translators, to help implement the deal.

    “Obviously, none of those people have arrived yet,” a government official told the AP, asking not be identified pending official announcements. “What we have at the moment is a political decision. This must now be put into practice.”

    Migrants on Lesbos and other islands in the east Aegean Sea were being taken by ferry to the mainland ports of Piraeus and Kavala where they will be placed in shelters and eligible for an EU-wide relocation program.

    “Migrants on the islands will be moved to mainland shelters, including 2,500 people on Lesbos who are being transported to three different shelter locations,” the government officials said.

    From Sunday onward, migrants who arrive on the islands will be screened and their identities recorded before being sent back to Turkey.

    Germany’s interior minister said the Balkan route that migrants have been using to reach Central Europe is “finished” now that Turkey has agreed to take back people who arrive in Greece illegally.

    In a statement Saturday, Thomas de Maiziere described the deal between the European Union and Turkey as a “turning point in the refugee crisis.”

    De Maiziere said Germany will send border police and immigration staff to help Greece process any new arrivals.

    His ministry said the number of migrants reaching Germany each day is now down to about 100 a day, a sharp decrease from the thousands who were arriving in the country daily last year.

    Early Saturday, several migrants tried to sneak into Macedonia under cover of darkness only to be turned back by Macedonian. After they returned to Idomeni, some of the migrants said had been beaten by the Macedonian border guards.

    Anmen Boudin, 17, an Algerian migrant, said he was among a group of 20 men who tried to sneak into Macedonia by climbing the border fence west of Idomeni, only to be quickly surrounded by Macedonian security forces. Boudin said he was now using crutches to walk around because he was repeatedly struck in the legs before being bundled with the other migrants into trucks and returned to Greece.

    He said another group of 20 migrants also jumped the fence, but were also turned back and several of them were beaten.

    In Idomeni, a group of about 50 migrants — including a legless man from Gaza — continued a protest by the railway line, but did not interfere with the traffic flow.

  23. Anyone’s guess, but “Anne’s Opinions” are worth a look:

    What is Putin playing at in Syria?
    The world was stunned when Putin stepped in to “save the day” for Barack Obama when the latter refused to intervene over his own red lines being crossed by Syria’s Bashar Assad as he gassed his own people. Everyone was worried what Putin’s aims were, how or whether they would be fulfilled, and what was his end game.

    • To answer the question of what Putin is playing, he is playing chess on the world board to restore Russia as a major player in the game of world power. He is also proving that he is a master at the game.

      His actions in Syria keep Assad in power, a warm water port for Russia, an excuse for Iran to stay involved on that region, the Sunni jihadies running around in that region (as well as Libya) and keeps Turkey from getting involved in other regions of the Middle East.

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